Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-20 10:20 [p.29466]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present four petitions on behalf of my constituents.
The first petition calls upon the Minister of Veterans Affairs to remove any statutory limits on back-pay eligibility for the disability allowance and to work with individual veterans to achieve just and due compensation for a disability allowance in a timely manner.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)

Question No. 2477--
Mr. Brad Trost:
With regard to the Investments to Combat the Criminal Use of Firearms (ICCUF): (a) what has been the total cumulative federal actual spending on ICCUF since its inception; (b) what are the total number of firearm prosecutions initiated; and (c) what are the total number of successful firearm prosecutions?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2480--
Mr. Brad Trost:
With regard to the total number of serving RCMP officers in each province for each year since 2001: (a) how many were charged with a criminal offence that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; (b) how many were convicted of these crimes that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; (c) of those charged with these crimes, how many remained on active duty, broken down by crimes that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; and (d) how many lost their jobs as a result of these criminal charges that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2485--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to corrections to government websites since January 1, 2016: (a) how many corrections have been made to erroneous, incorrect, or false information placed on government websites; and (b) what are the details of each correction, including the (i) website address, (ii) information which had to be corrected, (iii) corrected information?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2486--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to Access to Information Requests received since January 1, 2016, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: (a) how many requests required extensions in excess of (i) 180 days, (ii) one year, (iii) two years; (b) in how many cases was the information released in the time period noted in the original extension letter sent to the requestor; (c) in how many cases did the government fail to provide the documents in the time period set out in the original extension letter sent to the requestor; and (d) what is the longest extension for requests currently being processed, broken down by each department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2487--
Mr. Bob Zimmer:
With regard to concerns raised by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada about information shared on Facebook: (a) what specific safeguards does each department and agency have in place to ensure that information individuals share with government entities on Facebook is not exploited; (b) does any government department or agency collect information obtained through Facebook, including on interactions individuals have with the government on Facebook and, if so, what are the details, including (i) type of information collected, (ii) number of individuals who have had information collected since January 1, 2016; and (c) what specific action, if any, has each department or agency taken to safeguard information since the concerns were raised by the Commissioner?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2488--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to the establishment of the Canadian Drug Agency proposed in Budget 2019: (a) where is the Canadian Drug Agency, or the transition office set up to create the Agency, located; (b) will the Agency be a stand-alone Agency or a division of Health Canada; (c) how many employees or full-time equivalents are currently assigned to the Agency or the establishment of the Agency; (d) which government official is responsible for overseeing the creation of the Agency; and (e) what are the details of all consultations the government has conducted in relation to the Agency, including (i) name of organization, individual, or provincial government consulted, (ii) date, (iii) type of consultation, (iv) results of consultation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2489--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to materials prepared for Ministers between January 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2490--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to materials prepared for Ministerial exempt staff members between January 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) recipient, (iv) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2491--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to the government’s sale of assets over $1,000 since January 1, 2016: (a) what were the assets sold, specifying (i) the asset sale price, (ii) the name of the purchaser, (iii) whether multiple bids were received, (iv) for what amount the asset was purchased by the government, (v) the reason for the sale; (b) was a third party used for the sale and, if so, (i) what is the name of the third party, (ii) was this contract tendered or not; (c) in the case where a third party was used, how much was the third party paid for their services; (d) for the government’s sale of stocks, (i) how much of the stock was sold, (ii) how much does the government still hold; (e) for sale of privately held companies in which the government held a position, (i) does the government still hold a position in the company, (ii) did the government have a market assessment done before the sale and, if so, by whom, (iii) what was the difference in the amount the government projected from the sale and the actual amount received; (f) how much income did the asset bring in during the year prior to its sale; and (g) how much was spent marketing the sale of each asset?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2492--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
With regard to each expenditure contained in each budget or budget implementation bill since fiscal year 2016-17, inclusively: (a) has the Department of Finance done an economic impact analysis of the expenditure; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what is the date, name and file number of any record which constitutes part of that analysis; (c) has the Department of Finance relied on any economic impact analysis of any organization outside government on the expenditure or not; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, (i) which organizations analysed the measure, (ii) what is the date, name and file number of any record obtained from that organization which constitutes part of that analysis; and (e) what were the findings of each analysis in (b) and (d), broken down by expenditure?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2493--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
With regard to government advertising since January 1, 2016: (a) how much has been spent on billboards, advertising and other information campaigns, broken down by (i) date released, (ii) cost, (iii) topic, (iv) whether any analysis of the effectiveness of the advertising campaign was carried out and, if so, the details of that analysis, (v) medium, including publication or media outlet and type of media used, (vi) purpose, (vii) duration of campaign (including those that are ongoing), (viii) targeted audience, (ix) estimated audience; and (b) what are the details of all records of related correspondence regarding the aforementioned billboards, advertising and other information campaigns broken down by (i) relevant file numbers, (ii) correspondence or file type, (iii) subject, (iv) date, (v) purpose, (vi) origin, (vii) intended destination, (viii) other officials copied or involved?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2494--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to penitentiary farms, and agriculture and agri-food employment operations of CORCAN: (a) in what agriculture and agri-food employment operations are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions presently engaged, and in what numbers, broken down by location; (b) in what agriculture and agri-food employment operations are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions planned to engage in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and in what numbers, broken down by location; (c) are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions engaged, or will they be engaged, in agriculture and agri-food employment operations, at any time, off of Correctional Service of Canada premises and, if so, to what extent, at what locations, by whom are those locations managed, in what numbers, and for what purposes, listed by location; (d) does Correctional Service of Canada or CORCAN have any contracts or relationships, with respect to labour provided through agriculture and agri-food employment operations at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, with Feihe International or Feihe Canada Royal Milk and, if so, when were they engaged, for what purpose, for what length of time, under what conditions, for what locations, and how will offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions be involved and to what extent, broken down by contract or relationship; (e) does the Correctional Service of Canada or CORCAN have any supply agreements, with respect to products generated by agriculture and agri-food employment operations at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, with Feihe International or Feihe Canada Royal Milk and, if so, when were they engaged, for what purpose, for what length of time, under what conditions, for what locations, and how will offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions be involved and to what extent, broken down by agreement; (f) of the $4.3 million allocated over five years in Budget 2018 for agriculture and agri-food employment operations at penitentiary farms, how much has been spent, at what locations, and for what purposes, broken down by fiscal year; and (g) what funds have been spent from Correctional Service of Canada's capital budget on infrastructure, equipment, and improvements to penitentiary farm and agriculture and agri-food employment facilities at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, at what locations, and for what purposes, broken down by fiscal year since 2015?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2495--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to Parks Canada water level management: (a) on the last occasion in June, July, or August 2018, for which data is available when a 12 inch stop log was removed from the Bobs Lake Dam, (i) what was the maximum water level increase (in centimetres) measured at Beveridge Dam, Lower Rideau Lake, and Poonamalie Locks, respectively, (ii) what was the period of time before the maximum water level increase was registered at Beveridge Dam, Lower Rideau Lake, and Poonamalie Locks, respectively; (b) what are the water levels on Christie Lake, in 5 centimetre increments, from 154.5 metres to 156 metres above mean sea level (MAMSL) in relation to the rates of water flow, in cubic meters per second (CMPS), leaving Christie Lake at Jordan’s Bridge (at the east end of Christie lake); (c) what are the water flow rates on Christie Lake, in Cubic Metres per Second, leaving the Bobs Lake dam, less the out flow rates at Jordan’s Bridge, in 0.5 CMPS increments, in relation to the rate of water level rise, expressed in Millimetres per Hour; (d) how will the new Bobs Lake Dam be managed to mitigate upstream and downstream flooding and the potential resultant environmental and property damage; (e) what have been the daily water levels, from January 1, 2000 to the present date, for each of (i) Bobs Lake, (ii) Christie Lake, (iii) Beveridge Dam, (iv) Lower Rideau Lake; (f) what have been the daily maximum water flow rates, in cubic meters per second, for each of (i) Bobs Lake, (ii) Christie Lake, (iii) Beveridge Dam?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2496--
Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:
With regard to government contracts awarded to IBM since January 1, 2016: (a) how many sole-sourced contracts have been awarded to IBM; (b) what are the descriptions of these contracts; (c) what are the dollar amounts for these contracts; and (d) what are the dates and duration of each contract?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2497--
Mr. Michael Barrett:
With regard to the government’s claim that it’s Senator selection process is “non-partisan”: how does it reconcile this claim with the Globe and Mail story which stated that “The Prime Minister’s Office acknowledges that it uses a partisan database called Liberalist to conduct background checks on prospective senators before appointing them to sit as independents”?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2498--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to partnerships signed between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Huawei since January 1, 2016: (a) what are the details of each partnership including (i) date signed, (ii) duration of partnership, (iii) terms, (iv) amount of federal financial contribution; and (b) does the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor approve of these partnerships?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2499--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to the approximately 103,000 non-citizens who were found to be on the National Register of Electors illegally: (a) how many voted in the 42nd General Election, held in 2015; (b) how many voted in each of the 338 electoral districts in the 42nd General Election; (c) how many voted in any federal by-election held since October 20, 2015; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c), by each riding where a by-election has been held?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2500--
Ms. Candice Bergen:
With regard to government commitments and the 271 commitments which, according to the Mandate Tracker, the current government has failed to complete as of May 3, 2019: (a) what is the government’s excuse or rationale for not accomplishing each of the 271 commitments not listed as completed or met, broken down by individual commitment; and (b) of the 271 commitments which have not been completed, which ones does the government anticipate completing prior to October 2019?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2501--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With respect to the West Block of Parliament: (a) is West Block subject to the Ontario Fire Code and the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, is the building subject to regular fire safety inspections, and on what dates have fire safety inspections taken place since January 2017; (b) is West Block subject to any other form of fire or safety codes or acts and, if so, what are those codes or acts, and what is the extent to which West Block is subject to each; (c) does West Block, as a whole, comply with the Ontario Fire Code and, if so, on what date was this certified; (d) is each space within West Block in compliance with the Ontario Fire Code and, if so, on what date was this certified, broken down by room or space, as applicable; (e) has each of West Block’s stairwells and exits been inspected for compliance with the Ontario Fire Code or the Fire Protection and Prevention Act and, if so, what were the details of instances where concerns, instructions, or conditions were expressed or imposed for compliance purposes; (f) is West Block, or any space or part thereof, subject to or in receipt of any exemptions or waivers to the Ontario Fire Code or the Fire Protection and Prevention Act and, if so, what are the details for each instance the location, room, or space, the subject of the exemption or waiver, the authorizing section of the Fire Code or Fire Protection and Prevention Act, the reason for the exemption or waiver, the date of application for the exemption or waiver, the date the exemption or waiver was granted, by whom the exemption or waiver was granted, any instructions or conditions that accompanied the exemption or waiver and, if applicable, the date on which the exemption or waiver expired, will expire, or was revoked; (g) has West Block, or any space or part thereof, since January 2017, had a request for an exemption or waiver denied and, if so, identify for each instance the location, room, or space, the subject of the request for exemption or waiver, the applicable section of the Fire Code or Fire Protection and Prevention Act under which the request was denied, the reason for the denial, the date requested, the date the exemption or waiver was denied, by whom it was denied, and any instructions or conditions that accompanied it; (h) what spaces in West Block have been identified as being potentially hazardous due to a likelihood of congestion in the event of a fire, evacuation, or other emergency, identifying in each instance the space, the identified hazard, the reason, and any amelioration actions or procedures that have been adopted; (i) have any complaints or concerns been received respecting West Block’s doorways, exits, stairwells, or exit, emergency, or traffic flow signage and, if so, identify in each instance the nature and details of the complaint or concern, the date on which it was received, the institutional or professional affiliation of the source of the complaint or concern, and any actions taken to ameliorate it; (j) respecting installed exit signage, which consists of overhead or high, wall-mounted rectangular signs featuring a white human figure on a green background, what requirements, guidelines, or standards governed and informed the selection, design, placement, and function of this exit signage; and (k) respecting installed exit signage, what are the reasons for using the white-on-green signage, versus red, text-based signage or other types of signage?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2502--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to federal government investrnents in housing, for each of the fiscal year since 2015-16: (a) what was the total amount of federal funding spent on housing in the city of Vancouver; (b) what was the total amount of federal funding spent on housing in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway; (c) how much funding was allocated to each of the following programs and initiatives in the city of Vancouver (i) the Rental Construction Financing initiative, (ii) Proposal Development Funding, (iii) lnvestment in Affordable Housing, (iv) Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, (v) Non-profit On-Reserve Funding, (vi) Prepayment, (vii) Reno & Retrofit CMHC, (viii) Renovation Programs On Reserve, (ix) Retrofit On-Reserve and Seed Funding; (d) how much funding was allocated to each of the following programs and initiatives in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway (i) the Rental Construction Financing initiative, (ii) Proposal Development Funding, (iii) lnvestment in Affordable Housing, (iv) Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, (v) Non-profit On-Reserve Funding, (vi) Prepayment, (vii) Reno & Retrofit CMHC, (viii) Renovation Programs On Reserve, (ix) Retrofit On-Reserve and Seed Funding; (e) how much federal funding was allocated to housing subsidies in the city of Vancouver for (i) Non-Profit On-Reserve Housing, (ii) Co­operative Housing, (iii) Urban Native Housing, (iv) Non-Profit Housing, (v) Index Linked, (vi) Mortgage Co­operatives, (vii) Rent Geared to Income, (viii) and Federal Community Housing Initiative; (f) how much federal funding was allocated to housing subsidies in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway for (i) Non­Profit On-Reserve Housing, (ii) Co-operative Housing, (iii) Urban Native Housing, (iv) Non-Profit Housing, (v) Index Linked, (vi) Mortgage Co-operatives, (vii) Rent Geared to Income, (viii) and Federal Community Housing Initiative; (g) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as grants in the city of Vancouver; (h) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as grants in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway; (i) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as loans in the city of Vancouver; (j) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as loans in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2503--
Mr. Don Davies:
What is the total amount of federal government funding for each fiscal year from 2015-16 to 2019-20 allocated within the constituency of Vancouver Kingsway, broken down by (i) department or agency, (ii) initiative, (iii) amount?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2504--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the Allowance for people aged 60 to 64 program: (a) how many people receive this allowance each year; (b) how many people apply; (c) how many request are approved; (d) for the request that are denied, what are the three most common reasons invoked; (e) how many people are deemed ineligible, and what are the three most common reasons; (f) what was the total budget to deliver the program, broken down for the last five years; (g) what was actually spent in the last five years, broken down by province and territory; (h) how many full-time equivalent and part-time equivalent work directly on the program; (i) how much does the program cost to administer; (j) how is the program marketed; (k) what were the advertising costs and how much was budgeted and spent in the last five years; (l) has the government reviewed this program and, if so, what was found; and (m) for the reviews in (l), are there reports of reviews available online and, if so, where?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-421-2477 Investments to Combat the ...8555-421-2480 Serving RCMP officers8555-421-2485 Corrections to government ...8555-421-2486 Access to Information Requests8555-421-2487 Concerns raised by the Pri ...8555-421-2488 Establishment of the Canad ...8555-421-2489 Materials prepared for min ...8555-421-2490 Materials prepared for min ...8555-421-2491 Sale of assets8555-421-2492 Expenditure contained in e ...8555-421-2493 Government advertising
...Show all topics
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-17 16:03

Question No. 2454--
Mr. Murray Rankin:
With regard to the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik and his claims that Canada violated his rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, since June 1, 2018: how much has it cost the government to litigate the case, broken down by (i) the value of all legal services, (ii) disbursements and costs awards for Federal Court file numbers T-727-08 and T-1580-09?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2455--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
With regard to the restrictions announced in April 2019 by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on Chinook salmon fishing in British Columbia: (a) did the government do an economic analysis of the impact of the recreational fishery restrictions on the fishing tourism industry for 2019, and, if so, what were the findings of the analysis; and (b) did the government do an economic analysis of the impact of the restrictions, both recreational and commercial, on the various communities and regions of British Columbia impacted by the restrictions and, if so, what were the findings of the analysis?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2456--
Mr. Larry Maguire:
With regard to the procurement, deployment, usage and maintenance of all new and existing information and communications techonolgies (ICT) and all related costs incurred by the government in fiscal year 2018-19: (a) what was the total level of overall spending by each federal department, agency, Crown corporation, and other governement entities; (b) what are the details of all these expenditures and related costs, including salaries and commercial purchases; (c) how many full-time employees, part-time employees, indeterminate appointments, term employees, contractors and consultants were employed to manage, maintain and improve ICT systems and infrasturcture in each federal department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entities; and (d) what is the ratio of all ICT support workers (full-time, part-time, indeterminate, term employees, contractors and consultants) to non-ICT employees in each federal department, agency, Crown corporation, and other government entities?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2457--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
With regard to the caribou recovery agreements negotiated, proposed, or entered into by the government since November 4, 2015, including those currently under negotiation or consultation: (a) for each agreement, has an economic impact study been conducted and, if so, what are the details, including findings of each study; (b) for each agreement, what is the total projected economic impact, broken down by (i) industry (tourism, logging, transportation, etc.), (ii) region or municipality; and (c) what are the details of all organizations consulted in relation to the economic impact of such agreements, including (i) name of organization, (ii) date, (iii) form of consultation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2459--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, since its creation: (a) what is the number of meetings held with Canadian and foreign investors, broken down by (i) month, (ii) country, (iii) investor class; (b) what is the complete list of investors met; (c) what are the details of the contracts awarded by the Canada Infrastructure Bank, including (i) date of contract, (ii) value of contract, (iii) vendor name, (iv) file number, (v) description of services provided; (d) what are the details of all travel expenses incurred, including for each expenditure the (i) traveller’s name, (ii) purpose of the travel, (iii) travel dates, (iv) airfare, (v) other transportation costs, (vi) accommodation costs, (vii) meals and incidentals, (viii) other expenses, (ix) total amount; and (e) what are the details of all hospitality expenses incurred by the Bank, including for each expenditure the (i) guest’s name, (ii) event location, (iii) service vendor, (iv) total amount, (v) event description, (vi) date, (vii) number of attendees, (viii) number of government employees in attendance, (ix) number of guests?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2460--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to ongoing or planned government IT projects over $1 million: (a) what is the list of each project, including a brief description; and (b) for each project listed in (a), what is the (i) total budget, (ii) estimated completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2461--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to international trips taken by the Prime Minister since January 1, 2016: (a) what are the details of each trip, including (i) dates, (ii) destination, (iii) purpose; (b) for each trip in (a), how many guests who were not members of the Prime Minister’s family, employees of the government, or elected officials, were on each trip; and (c) what are the details of each guest in (b), including (i) name, (ii) title, (iii) reason for being on the trip, (iv) dates individual was on the trip?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2462--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to government expenditures on gala, concert or sporting event tickets since January 1, 2018: what was the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) total cost, (iv) cost per ticket, (v) number of tickets, (vi) title of persons using the tickets, (vii) name or title of event for tickets purchased by, or billed to, any department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2463--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to Minister’s regional offices (MROs): (a) what are the current locations of each MRO; (b) how many government employees, excluding Ministerial exempt staff, are currently working in each office; and (c) how many Ministerial exempt staff are currently working in each office?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2464--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the statement by the Minister of Indigenous Services on April 30, 2019, that “Kashechewan will be relocated”: (a) where will the community be located; and (b) what is the projected timeline for the relocation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2465--
Mr. Luc Berthold:
With regard to the government’s response to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in certain parts of the world: (a) what specific new measures has the government taken since January 1, 2019, in order to prevent ASF from coming to Canada; and (b) what new restrictions have been put in place on imports in order to prevent ASF from coming to Canada, broken down by country?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2466--
Mr. Dean Allison:
With regard to usage of the government's fleet of Challenger aircraft, since January 1, 2019: what are the details of the legs of each flight, including (i) date, (ii) point of departure, (iii) destination, (iv) number of passengers, (v) names and titles of passengers, excluding security or Canadian Armed Forces members, (vi) total catering bill related to the flight?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2467--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
With regard to all government contracts awarded for public relation services since January 1, 2018, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: what are the details of these contracts, including (i) date of contract, (ii) value of contract, (iii) vendor name, (iv) file number, (v) description of services provided, (vi) start and end dates of services provided?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2468--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to Service Canada’s national in-person service delivery network, for each Service Canada Centre: (a) how many centres were operational as of November 4, 2015; (b) what were the locations and number of full-time employees (FTEs) at each location, as of November 4, 2015; (c) how many centres are currently operational; (d) what are the current locations and number of FTEs at each location; (e) which offices have changed their hours of service between November 4, 2015, and present; and (f) for each office which has changed their hours, what were the hours of service as of (i) November 4, 2015, (ii) May 1, 2019?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2471--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the government’s Connect to Innovate Program first announced in the 2016 Budget: (a) what is the total of all expenditures to date under the program; (b) what are the details of all projects funded to date under the program, including (i) recipient of funding, (ii) name of the project, (iii) location, (iv) project start date, (v) projected completion date, (vi) amount of funding pledged, (vii) amount of funding actually provided to date, (viii) description of the project; (c) which of the projected listed in (b) have agreements signed, and which ones do not yet have a signed agreement; and (d) which of the details in (a) through (c) are available on the Connect to Innovate section of Industry Canada’s website and what is the specific website location where each such detail is located, broken down by detail requested in (a) through (c), including the subparts of each question?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2472--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to concerns that infrastructure funding has been announced, but not delivered, in Kelowna, British Columbia, since November 4, 2015: (a) what is the total amount of funding committed in Kelowna; (b) what is the total amount of funding paid out in relation to the funding committed in (a); and (c) what are the details of all projects, including (i) date of announcement, (ii) amount committed, (iii) amount actually paid out to date, (iv) project description?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2473--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the Connect to Innovate Program and specifically the project to close the Canadian North Fibre Loop between Dawson City and Inuvik: (a) what is the current status of the project; (b) what are the details of any contracts signed in relation to the project, including the date each contract was signed; (c) what amount has the government committed to the project; (d) of the funding commitment in (c), what amount has been delivered; (e) what is the start date of the project; (f) what is the projected completion date of the project; (g) what are the details of any tender issued in relation to the project; (h) has a contractor been selected for the project and, if so, which contractor was selected and when was the selection made; and (i) which of the details in (a) through (h) are available on the Connect to Innovate section of Industry Canada’s website and what is the specific website location where each such detail is located, broken down by detail requested in (a) through (h)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2474--
Mr. Kerry Diotte:
With regard to all expenditures on hospitality since January 1, 2019, broken down by department or agency: what are the details of all expenditures, including (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) date of expenditure, (iv) start and end date of contract, (v) description of goods or services provided, including quantity, if applicable, (vi) file number, (vii) number of government employees in attendance, (viii) number of other attendees, (ix) location?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2475--
Ms. Sheri Benson:
With regard to the Non-Insured Health Benefit (NIHB) Program, and the provision of medical transportation benefits in Saskatchewan for each fiscal year from 2012-13 to the current : (a) what is the number of clients served; (b) what is the number of approved trips; (c) what were the approved transportation service providers and the number of trips approved for each; (d) what were the approved modes of transportation and the number of trips per mode; (e) what was the average wait time for approval of applications; (f) what was the number of trips that required lodging, accommodations, or other expenses unrelated to the provision of the treatment being sought; (g) what were the reasons why additional expenses in (f) were approved and the number of applications or trips approved for each; and (h) what was the number of appeals launched as a result of rejected applications, the average length of the appeals process, and the aggregate results?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2476--
Ms. Sheri Benson:
With regard to the 2019-20 federal budget presentation of March 19, 2019, and issues related to the Phoenix pay system for public servants, as of today: (a) what is the total number of affected clients; and (b) what is the total number of affected clients in each electoral district?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-421-2454 Abousfian Abdelrazik8555-421-2455 Restrictions on Chinook sa ...8555-421-2456 Information and communicat ...8555-421-2457 Caribou recovery agreements8555-421-2459 Canada Infrastructure Bank8555-421-2460 Government IT projects8555-421-2461 International trips taken ...8555-421-2462 Government expenditures on ...8555-421-2463 Ministers' regional offices8555-421-2464 Statement by the Minister ...8555-421-2465 Outbreak of African Swine Fever
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Members will recall that back in 2015, the Prime Minister made a whole series of commitments, including that he was going to work with all members of the House of Commons. Instead what we have seen is a new tool, never used in parliamentary history before, gag closure.
It is a particular motion that does not allow opposition members, once the gag closure motion is moved, to even utter one word on government policy, to offer any amendments, to ask any questions, to, in any way at all, intervene on the bill, the legislation, the business before the House. It has been moved several times already in the last couple of weeks. So much for the solemn commitment to improve the functioning of Parliament.
The Liberals also promised they would do away with omnibus legislation. The Harper government was renowned for that, throwing a whole bunch of different bills into one piece of legislation and throwing at the House of Commons. It was profoundly disrespectful to members of Parliament and profoundly disrespectful to Canadians.
However, the Liberals have doubled down over the last four years. They have now presented more pieces of massive omnibus legislation than in any other Parliament in our history.
Members will recall that Liberals and the Prime Minister talked about bringing in democratic reform, actually reforming our election process so every vote would count. That would make a lot of sense. Canadians voted for that. The Liberals only got 39% of the vote and yet they have 100% of the power in the House of Commons. They bring in gag closure, they bring in omnibus bills and that promise, that solemn commitment to bring forward democratic reform has been thrown away.
The Liberals also talked about dealing with climate change. Tomorrow they will be rubber-stamping a pipeline that will destroy any opportunity for Canada to meet any commitments that have been made internationally.
The member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie estimated that even before the pipeline, it would take Liberals 200 years to meet the Paris commitments. The planet will not exist at that time if Canada continues to be as irresponsible as the government has been, both under the Conservative government and the Liberal government.
The Prime Minister solemnly promised he would address the massive housing crisis in the country. Tragically, we know that is not the case. The Liberals said that they would address the health care crisis and promised, yet again, that they would bring in pharmacare. I think it is the third time, with a Liberal majority government, that Liberals promised to bring in pharmacare and yet have failed.
After four years, we have a litany of broken promises. Perhaps one of the most significant promises, even though this bill has not attracted a lot of interest, is the broken promise on information being provided to the Canadian public. That is why I call Bill C-58 the “another Liberal broken promise” bill.
The Liberals committed back in 2015 to provide information to the Canadian public. That makes a lot of sense. Canadians have a right to information from the government. It does not belong to the Harper government. It certainly does not belong to the Liberal government. That information belongs to Canadians.
Putting in place an effective information regime that allows people to access information, important government information, important information that should be available to the public, was a commitment the Liberals made back in 2015. Like so many other commitments, it has ended up on the scrap heap.
The Information Commissioner called Bill C-58, the “another Liberal broken promise” bill, regressive and went so far as to say that the access to information regime would be better under the status quo than under Bill C-58.
Is that not a sad commentary, that a Liberal government, four years later, has so little to show for itself except for a litany of broken promises solemnly delivered in 2015? Canadians believed them. I certainly thought, and I think most Canadians believed, that when the Prime Minister made those solemn commitments that he had at least the intention of keeping them. However, the Liberals have not. As the Access to Information Commissioner reminds us, the bill that the Liberals have brought forward is worse than what currently exists.
How did the Liberals fall so short? Despite committing to so many things, discarding their promises on the scrap heap of broken Liberal promises history, how did they even get the access to information wrong? Four points need to be brought to bear regarding why the Liberals failed so lamentably on access to information.
To be sure, the Conservatives did the same thing when they were in power. They said they would enhance access to information for the public, recognizing that Canadians felt they should have a right to access the information that was available to the federal government. It is a fundamental tenet of democracy, that information available to the federal government is available to Canadians. When we do things in the House of Commons and speak in public, that information is available. When government ministers do things in private, that should also be available through access to information.
It is the Canadians' government. It is Canadians who choose their parliamentarians. It is Canadians who ultimately decide who governs them. Because of this, it is fundamental that Canadians have access to information.
Bill C-58, which is worse than the existing access to information law, has a number of key exemptions or shortcomings, deliberate attempts to undercut the access to information regime that the Liberals planted in the legislation. It has essentially put poison pills in the legislation. They have a beautiful title about enhancing access to information, but we must look at the details, as New Democrats do. We always do our homework and always pore through legislation to ensure there is at least a semblance of reality in what is written in the legislation, as opposed to the political spin that comes from the Liberal government.
First, there was a recommendation that the coverage of access to information include ministers' offices and the Prime Minister's Office. This is another key commitment from the 2015 election that has been broken. Given the incredible scandal regarding SNC-Lavalin, it is absolutely fundamental that Canadians can access information related to what transpires in the Prime Minister's Office and in ministerial offices. It is a no-brainer. So many democracies around the world have already incorporated into their access to information regimes that ministers' decisions and decisions of the prime minister's office, that type of correspondence, are subject to access to information rules. Unlike in so many other democracies, the Liberals deliberately exempted the Prime Minister's Office and ministerial offices.
Second, as the Information Commissioner has long recommended, there has to be appropriate sanctions for non-compliance. If the government or government members try to get around access to information rules, there should be sanctions for that. However, that is absent from the bill as well.
The Information Commissioner was critical of what the Liberals offered in access to information, because it would do nothing to reduce delays or extensions. This means the Liberal government can basically rag the puck and ensure that information is not available to the Canadian public.
In the last Parliament, when the New Democrats were the official opposition, we spoke out repeatedly about the Harper government doing this. It simply delayed things beyond belief to ensure that for all practical purposes, access to information was simply not available. Again, the bill would do nothing to address this.
The bill would also do nothing to narrow exemptions for ministerial advice or cabinet confidence, ensuring that, with a broad brush, the Liberals could simply stop the access to information system to which Canadians have a right.
This is the fundamental point I need to make. Yes, Liberals made a whole series of commitments that they have ripped up with complete disregard to the solemn commitments made to the Canadian public. They basically threw them out the window.
However, in terms of access to information, this is one of the most egregious broken promises. The Liberals could have approached this in an open way. They could have said that they actually do want to make sure Canadians have access to information from their government and that this is a fundamental aspect of democracy. They could have said that they would work with the NDP, because we have always been the number one champions in this House of Commons for access to information. We believe fundamentally in it, and, as in so many other areas, we and members in the past have always championed the most effective approach possible on access to information, including the member for Timmins—James Bay, who has felt very strongly about this and has worked in this regard for years.
The Liberals could have done that, but instead they rejected the NDP amendments and refused to improve this. We now have a bill before us that can only be chalked up as another Liberal broken promise. As the Information Commissioner said, the status quo is actually better than what the Liberals have produced. That is a shame, and we are voting against it.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2019-06-17 21:24 [p.29239]
Mr. Speaker, I fail to see how this legislation is going to improve the existing situation, which is that many of the access to information requests are not being completed within the specified timeline and that the government has put any number of gag orders on government employees to prevent them from ever releasing information. I wonder if the member could comment on what would actually be helpful to add to this legislation to address the gap that exists today.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2019-06-17 21:25 [p.29239]
Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, one of the things that might be done was in Senate amendment 3, which was a recommendation from the former information commissioner. I do not know if it was a recommendation of the current Information Commissioner. If I have it right, this was an amendment that spoke to the Information Commissioner reviewing extensions. Right now, departments can effectively grant themselves extensions for requests. If requests ought to be answered in 30 or 60 days, a department can write back and say that it is going to be 200 days or three years or whatever the department figures is adequate, and they are not under any requirement to justify that to anyone.
Part of the idea was that if they were asking for an extension that exceeded 30 days, they would have to go to the Information Commissioner and make a case as to why they were not able to satisfy that request within the normal period. There might even have been some negotiation with the Information Commissioner about what was an adequate extension. Therefore, we would not just take the department's word for it. However, that amendment did not survive, in my understanding, in the government motion.
It is quite right that one of the big frustrations with the current regime, not the only one but a big one, is the massive extensions that are self-granted by government, essentially without any third-party review. I think a pretty clear way of solving that problem would be to kick the extraordinary extensions over to the Information Commissioner to ensure that they really were required. However, my understanding is that we are not going to see that here. This is another example of where we are setting the bar too low for a once-in-generation reform of our access to information laws.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
View Rachel Blaney Profile
2019-06-17 21:28 [p.29240]
Mr. Speaker, I am here today to speak to the government motion on the Senate amendments to Bill C-58.
Before I do that, though, I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate my brother Toron and his wife Jacqui.Today is their wedding anniversary, and I know that they are spending the day with my nieces and nephew, Abby, Malcolm, Josie and Zylia. I just wanted to acknowledge that this is another day, as many of us know in this House, that we do not get to be with family. I wanted to make sure that they know that I am thinking about them today.
Today we are talking about something that is fundamentally important, which is access to information, the tools we have to access information as parliamentarians representing everyday Canadians, and how that information can be accessed by journalists and reporters in this country.
I have been in this place for almost four years. I have worked really closely with my constituents on these issues. I have talked to them about the different tools I have as a parliamentarian and where they need to go to get information. They need to feel more connected to the government and to the people who represent it here in this place. I am very passionate about this issue.
Today we are talking about Senate amendments that would improve what I felt was a bad bill by making sure that the Information Commissioner would have real teeth, real power, to address some of the issues that come up in this place.
One of the things I have found very distressing, and the member who spoke before me also addressed this issue, is how often folks request information and are given a letter from a department authorizing itself to delay. Someone asks a question and now is told that the wait will be another 200 days for that information.
One of the most startling examples was that The Globe and Mail reported in April 2018 that it took one year to receive RCMP statistics for its well-received investigative series “Unfounded”, which revealed that police have been dismissing one in five sexual assault claims as baseless. This is really important information. When we see these kinds of startling facts, we know that there is something happening in this place and in this country that we need to address. These important investigations need to happen so that we know that something in the system is not working that we need to see addressed in multiple ways. If that information is not released, how are we supposed to do our work, and how do Canadians trust us?
I asked a question earlier about cynicism. I see that growing. I see it growing all the time. I talk to people who are frustrated with the government. They feel that when they want information, they have no way of knowing it. The automatic response is that something sneaky is happening and that they cannot trust those people.
I think we need to discuss what happens to democracy when we have everyday Canadians feeling that every politician is sketchy. We have an oath in this country. We sit in these seats and represent thousands of our constituents. We have the honour, as I do, to represent hard-working people who do everything in their power to live a good life, look after each other and look after their community. If they cannot trust the people who represent them, that should concern every single one of us.
If information cannot be uncovered to understand how things work, and, when something seems unfair, why it happened, how do we build that relationship, and how do we improve democracy?
I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the member for Vancouver Granville, who used to be the justice minister. I have a deep respect for her. I have known her for many years. I am very proud to represent the nation she comes from. I am very proud to represent the people of her traditional territory.
When that happened with SNC-Lavalin, it sent shock waves through my riding. It was very personal. I had constituents from my riding calling me and saying that she was in their class, that they know who she is, that she was from their family. They could not believe what was happening. They asked, do Liberals not know who she is, because they know who she is? Constituents were frustrated by the lack of information. They were frustrated by the process that unfolded. It was very troubling to them.
When I think about that and look at that happen, it takes away that sense of trust and connectivity. It brings all of these issues to the forefront when they are not addressed in a good way, and, in my opinion, these issues were not addressed in a good way. A lot of constituents contact me and say that they still do not know what happened, but that what happened was not right.
We look at the systems, and that is important. As legislators in this place, what we look at, debate and discuss is the process, how something is going to happen. Right now, we know that the Information Commissioner still will not have the ability to review whether in some cases like that one cabinet confidence is being claimed and whether it should be claimed.
I think about this a lot. I want to see a better democracy. I was very frustrated when the government campaigned to have electoral reform. It was very meaningful. I did multiple town halls in my riding. It was really interesting. People came forward. They were not sure and they did not know if they wanted to move to a different system, but they wanted to talk to me about it. They wanted to hear information. We tried to bring people in who were non-partisan to talk about different systems and how they would work. We had a lot of intelligent questions.
I will admit, people walked out the door saying that they were not sure; they were not sure if that was the right way to go forward. However, when they were told that it was no longer a discussion, when the Prime Minister stood up and said that Canadians do not want electoral reform, people were upset. They felt that they did not get to be a part of the decision-making process. That is really important.
Sometimes people get frustrated in this House, and they let us know by their heckling. However, we need to look at these systems. We need to make sure that everyday Canadians are part of the decision-making process. When that does not happen, we should have systems in place for them to be able to find out why it did not happen that way.
Again, we are seeing a failed piece of legislation. I am really disappointed. It is another broken promise. One of the things that was talked about in the last election was making sure that the PMO and the ministers were subject to these acts. That was one of the promises of transparency, that Liberals were going to do it differently and that Canadians would see a more open, transparent government.
Unfortunately, what we are seeing, again, is that the PMO is still blocked off. It is something to really think about. When everyday Canadians cannot get access; when journalists cannot get information from these particular departments, these ministries, what are we telling people? We are telling people that their voice does not belong in those places. However, they do belong in those places. In fact, we are here to represent those very voices.
I am really disappointed in this legislation. I think we could have gone so much farther. It is time for daringness. When I listen to constituents in my riding, what they want to see is honesty, openness and an authentic touch. They do not want to hear lines repeated. Some people think that if they just keep saying the same thing over and over that people will believe them.
However, when we look at democracy, the invigoration of democracy, and when we talk about why people do not get out to vote, it is because we are allowing cynicism to grow. We are not making sure that we open these doors and allow things to go forward.
Toby Mendel, the executive director of the Centre for Law and Democracy, said, in response to this bill, “The proposed reforms are just not good enough. At this point, we need root and branch reform, not incremental tinkering.”
I am a person who stands in this House, who looks at a lot of legislation. Most recently, in my role as vice-chair of the indigenous and northern affairs committee, we looked at Bill C-92, which talked about indigenous children in care. One of the things that was really heartbreaking for me is what I see happening again and again, which is this: “We will do a little better. It will not be enough. It is not going to save people's lives in a profound way. It is not going to look at the very foundation of the things that are broken. But we are going to make it a little prettier on the surface, and hopefully that will fix it.”
A little bit better is not good enough. It is not good enough for democracy, and it certainly is not good enough for indigenous children in this country who are struggling in profound ways every single day.
We were told very clearly that the new score for Canada would be 92 out of a possible 150 with this legislation. That means we would get bumped up from 49th to 46th.
I do not like our country to be in the middle. I want our country to be challenged to do better, because I want Canada to be at the top. I want other countries in the world to see the work we are doing in this place and think they have to aim higher because of what Canada is doing. I want them to look at how accountable we are to our constituents, to the Canadian public, to our reporters, and that we are not afraid to have these discussions, even if they are really painful and really hard.
We have to talk about really painful things in the House. If we are not brave enough to do that, if we do not allow people to have the information they need to make decisions for themselves, it is like saying that we are separate. However, we are all one.
I remember one of the elders in my community, Alberta Billy, telling me that a long time ago the cedar trees were so big that they would go into the forest and pick one to build a canoe for the community. They would respect that tree and then they would make a canoe out of it to be used by the community.
We do not have those big trees anymore. We have to find two trees now and find a way for them to come together. Finding two trees that are going to fit seamlessly together is a lot of work. That is the world we live in now. We do not have those big trees.
If we look at that canoe as if we were all in this together, then we know we have a western world that came here as colonizers and we have an indigenous world and we are trying to build a canoe together.
Let us look at the fact that indigenous communities around this whole country had great systems in place. Let us look at how we can do better, be more accountable to the people we serve. That is what a leader is. It is the person who follows behind, who serves from behind. This legislation fails to do that.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-17 21:48 [p.29242]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. She eloquently explained our role here.
We are debating a bill on access to information. The term privileged information is often thrown around. What I find interesting is that information is considered a privilege. In Ottawa, only a select few, such as the government agencies that respond to our requests or the ministers, have access to certain information. The idea is to protect the privilege, or information, that we have.
Information has an impact on people's lives, mostly thanks to the media. Journalists use privileged information to uncover stories or report on the government's actions, for example.
While my colleague was giving her speech, I was looking through the requests received by departments. The Minister of Health has not yet responded to an access to information request regarding her department's response to the opioid crisis.
The purpose of the bill is to make information more accessible to the public. Could my colleague explain why the bill does not meet this objective?
If we are supposed to look at the glass as half full instead of half empty, how can we make information more accessible, in accordance with the law, instead of hiding it?
I do not think the bill meets these objectives.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
View Rachel Blaney Profile
2019-06-17 21:50 [p.29243]
Mr. Speaker, I mentioned earlier in my speech the fact that The Globe and Mail did a story about how the government delayed and delayed information, which unveiled the fact that one in five sexual assault claims was dismissed as baseless. That is what the RCMP and the police are saying. We know there is something fundamentally broken.
The member talked about information on the opioid crisis. A lot of people in my riding have died from opioid overdose. It is devastating to our communities, and knowing what is happening would make a big difference. When the government is selective about what people get to hear or what they do not get to hear, it creates a real problem with democracy, because it separates us from our constituents, and that needs to stop.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2019-06-17 23:06 [p.29253]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise, albeit at this hour, to discuss Bill C-75 and the Senate amendments that have been brought to this place from there.
I agree with the thrust of the Senate amendments on behalf of the New Democratic Party, which supports the thrust of those amendments, but reluctantly have to say that, as amended, we must oppose this bill for the reasons I will describe.
I agree with the Minister of Justice, who spoke earlier, about some of the positive changes in this initiative. The bail reform provisions are exemplary. The intimate partner violence provisions are also very good. I am pleased that the Senate had the opportunity to deal with some of the recommendations by Judge Marion Buller, who, of course, chaired the inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. She had the benefit of testifying before the Senate committee and, in turn, it had the ability to reflect her wisdom. That finds its way into the amendments before us tonight.
This improves the bill quite significantly, as I will describe, but there are some very significant issues that remain. I want to commend our colleagues in the other place for the work they have done to improve this flawed bill. We need to thank them for some of the work they had the opportunity to do.
We too, on the NDP side, have done an enormous amount of research and consultation, with people from the criminal defence bar, academics, prosecutors, former deputy attorneys general and others. We have done our homework on Bill C-75. After all, it is a mammoth initiative, the most significant criminal justice reform bill in a very long time. Regrettably, as a result of those consultations, we concluded that we must continue to oppose the bill, for reasons I will describe in a moment.
To be clear, we are in support of the amendments made by the Senate, yet decry the government's inadequate response to those amendments and ultimately have to therefore oppose the final bill as amended.
To begin with, why was Bill C-75 initiated? The Minister of Justice was clear about that in his remarks earlier. He alluded to the Askov case in the Supreme Court of Canada, and then, of course, the Jordan decision. The court said that there has to be a trial within a timely period, and it set down very specific limits for both indictable and summary conviction cases.
The objective was one of efficiency. It was to try to make our courts more efficient to deal with the enormous and, quite frankly, embarrassing backlog we have with our court cases, and to deal with the consequence of the Jordan case. As we know, often people who are guilty of offences walk free because the courts are not able to give them a trial within a reasonable period. That has to be an embarrassment to all Canadians.
Efficiency was the goal of this bill. However, after the consultation I just described, the debate in the House, and the work I was part of on the justice committee, where we heard a great variety of presentations, we concluded it is simply not an adequate response to the Jordan problem.
As I alluded to earlier, there are some good things in this bill, which I will also refer to later. However, sadly some of the deeply problematic things continue in the bill. I want to talk, by way of giving illustrations, of the general concerns that the criminal justice bar has had with this bill. I will start Ms. Sayeh Hassan, who is a Toronto-based criminal defence lawyer. By way of summary, she said, “While there are parts of Bill C-75 that have the potential for improving the criminal justice system, many other parts will not only be unhelpful when it comes to reducing delay but will also wipe out numerous rights currently afforded to an accused person.”
The big ugly elephant in the room is the fact that the government chose to completely ignore what so many people have talked about, which is the need to get rid of mandatory minimum sentencing. We had a reasonable hope that it would do so. After all, the Prime Minister told the former minister of justice that it was part of her mandate. Nothing happened.
Sean Fine, of The Globe and Mail, wrote:
As far back as October, 2016, the [former attorney general] told the Criminal Lawyers' Association in a speech that she would change the minimum sentencing laws “in the near future.” Days later, she told The Globe that new legislation would be coming soon, “certainly in the early part of next year.”
It never happened.
Our colleagues in the other place made a similar observation. It is the fourth item on their list of formal observations. I think it is worth repeating what they summarized. Under “Mandatory Minimum Sentences”, it says:
In its Delaying Justice is Denying Justice report, the Committee recommended that the Minister of Justice undertake a thorough review of existing mandatory minimum sentences in order to: ensure a reasonable, evidence-based approach to when they are appropriate; and consider whether persons with mental health issues should be considered for alternative sentencing options or treatment when faced with mandatory minimum sentences.
During its study of Bill C-75, some witnesses expressed significant disappointment that it does not include any reforms to the mandatory minimum sentencing provisions in the Criminal Code. In the Mandate Letter to the Minister of Justice...of 12 November 2015, [the Prime Minister] stated that the Minister...was to “conduct a review of the changes in our criminal justice system and sentencing reforms over the past decade.” In the Minister’s letter to the Chair of the committee, he stated that the Government “is committed to advancing sentencing reform” and that it is “committed to reviewing the mandatory minimum penalties in the Criminal Code with an eye to eliminating many of them and restoring judicial discretion.”
The committee [of the Senate] observes that the Government of Canada has had four years to bring forward amendments to these provisions in the Criminal Code and that, to date, no legislative action has been taken.
I join with my colleagues in the other place in noting that the government's failure to address the often unconstitutional mandatory minimums cannot be understated. It is a serious problem.
This led the Criminal Lawyers' Association to write in its position paper that “[m]andatory minimum sentences frustrate the process of resolving cases by limiting the Crown’s discretion to offer a penalty that will limit the Crown's ability”—
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2019-06-13 15:23 [p.29070]
Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak to the message received from the other place with regard to Bill C-58, an act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
I would like to recognize that this is my first official duty debating a piece of legislation as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, who is a fabulous minister, I might add.
I also want to acknowledge the many stakeholders who were involved in getting Bill C-58 to this point, starting with our colleagues in the other place, who conducted a very thorough and thoughtful study of this bill.
I must also recognize the contributions of parliamentarians and stakeholders and particularly the contributions of the Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner in the development of Bill C-58, as well as, of course, our colleagues on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics who worked long and hard on the amendments being proposed.
I would especially like to note the interventions of a number of indigenous organizations, their influence on the matters we are considering today and with whom the government is committed to engaging more closely on these matters in the future.
Together, the ideas and suggestions in the letters and presentations at both committees contributed to ensuring that the concerns of Canadians were taken into consideration and reflected in the final version of the bill.
I would remind the House that the bill would implement some of the most significant changes to the Access to Information Act since it was introduced more than 30 years ago, changes which have not been seen since the advent of the World Wide Web. This is part of the Government of Canada's continuing effort to raise the bar on openness and transparency.
We believe that government information ultimately belongs to the people it serves, and it should be open by default. That is quite simply a fundamental characteristic of a modern democracy, and the bill reflects that belief.
In that context, we welcome many of the proposed amendments that would further advance this objective. I would note, however, that two of the amendments would effectively legislate matters that are beyond the intent of the bill, whose purpose, I would remind the House, is to make targeted amendments to the act.
Those targeted amendments include providing the Information Commissioner with the power to make binding orders for the release of government information and the creation of a new part of the act on the proactive publication of key information.
For the reason that it goes beyond the intent of the bill, the government respectfully disagrees with the amendment that would limit time extensions to respond to a request to 30 days without prior approval of the Information Commissioner.
The government is declining this proposal because these provision have not been the subject of consultation or thorough study in the context of the targeted review that led to Bill C-58. This proposal risks having unintended consequences, particularly for the office of the Information Commissioner.
The government does agree with our friends in the other place that the time extension provisions merit further study. These will be examined as part of the full review of the act which Bill C-58 requires to begin within one year of royal assent.
For the same reason, the government respectfully disagrees with the proposal to create a new criminal offence for the use of any code, moniker or contrived word or phrase in a record in place of the name of any person, corporation, entity, third party or organization. Once again, the provisions of the Access to Information Act concerning criminal offences have not been the subject of consultation or thorough study in the targeted review. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to review changes to this provision in the context of a full review.
A third amendment of concern would require the Information Commissioner to review the operation of proposed part 2 of the act regarding proactive publication and report the results to Parliament on an annual basis. Giving the commissioner oversight of proactive publication by institutions supporting Parliament and the courts would create the potential to infringe on both parliamentary privilege and judicial independence. For this reason, the government respectfully disagrees.
It is also proposed that the Information Commissioner's ability to receive and investigate complaints related to fees and time limit extensions be removed from the act. While the government recognizes the intent of this amendment, which relates to some of the other proposals that were advanced, the commissioner's authority to receive and investigate complaints regarding waiver of fees would be removed from the act, an outcome I am certain hon. members on all sides of the House would agree is undesirable.
Similarly, as the amendment with respect to the extension of a time limit was not agreed to, we must preserve the powers of the Information Commissioner to receive complaints concerning time limits and to investigate these complaints, and therefore this amendment is not necessary.
With these few exceptions, the government is pleased to accept the proposed amendments in the message from the other chamber, subject to some technical adjustments to ensure the proper functioning of these provisions.
For example, we agree with the proposed amendment that would eliminate the government's authority to set and collect fees, apart from the application fee. As the government has committed to Canadians, it will continue to charge no fees other than the application fee of just $5.
A related amendment proposed in the message would retain the right of requesters to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner regarding decisions to waive the application fee. While the Senate amendments would have removed that right, we consider that the Information Commissioner should continue to have oversight over the way the authority to waive fees is exercised by institutions.
Some of the amendments proposed in the other place would foster and, in some cases, require more extensive consultations and better communication between the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. This is paramount to continue to ensure privacy protection while the government seeks to foster more openness and better access to government documents.
The bill already provides the Information Commissioner with new power to order the release of government information. To ensure that this does not compromise the right to privacy, an amendment proposes that the Information Commissioner must consult the Privacy Commissioner before ordering a release of personal information. This amendment also proposes that the Information Commissioner have the discretion to consult the Privacy Commissioner when investigating a complaint regarding the application of the personal information exemption. Both of these and some related amendments were suggested by the commissioners themselves, and the government has previously indicated that it supports these amendments. We believe they will strengthen the protection of personal information and further safeguard Canadians' privacy rights.
The government also accepts an amendment that would retain Info Source. Government institutions will continue to be required to publish information about their organization, records and manuals. Canadians seeking to exercise their right of access to government records will continue to have access to this tool.
As hon. members are surely aware, the government processes tens of thousands of access requests each and every year. It is an unfortunate fact that in a small number of cases, the requests are made for reasons that are inconsistent with the purposes of the Act. They may be made to harass a certain employee or work unit, for example. Such requests can have a disproportionate effect on the system and slow down resources on legitimate requests.
The government agrees with the amendment from the other place that the power of government institutions to ask the Information Commissioner for approval in order to refuse to act on requests should be limited to requests that are vexatious, made in bad faith or that would constitute an abuse of the right of access and would backlog the system. That would enable government institutions to focus their efforts on legitimate requests after having obtained approval from the Information Commissioner.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the main objectives of Bill C-58 is to provide the Information Commissioner with the power to issue binding orders for the processing of requests, including the disclosure of records.
The commissioner would be able to publish these orders, establishing a body of precedents to guide institutions as well as users of the system.
Originally, in order to give the commissioner time to prepare to assume this power, it would not come into force until one year after royal assent. However, the commissioner has asked that this power be available immediately upon royal assent. Reflecting the value it places on the commissioner's perspective, the government has already indicated its support for this amendment.
Another amendment asked for the Information Commissioner to file her orders in Federal Court and have them enforced as Federal Court orders. Under Bill C-58, the Information Commissioner's orders are legally binding without the need for certification. We believe that this amendment is unnecessary and would add a step in the process.
However, the government will look at these amendments at the one-year review of the act, with a year's worth of experience under the new system.
Providing the Information Commissioner with the power to issue binding orders to government and institutions is not a trivial change. It is a game-changer for access to information. Whereas now the Information Commissioner must go to court if an institution does not follow her recommendations, Bill C-58 puts the onus on institutions. Should they disagree with an order by the Information Commissioner, institutions will have 30 days to challenge the order in Federal Court.
As for the courts, I would remind the House that the government accepted an amendment that would ensure that Bill C-58 does not encroach on judicial independence. As the House knows, part 2 of the bill would impose proactive publication requirements on 260 departments, government agencies and Crown corporations, as well as the Prime Minister's Office, ministers' offices, senators, MPs, parliamentary entities and institutions that support the courts.
The amendment would also enshrine in law the proactive publication of information of great interest to Canadians, particularly information relevant to increased transparency and responsibility with regard to the use of public funds.
This includes travel and hospitality expenses for ministers and their staff and senior officials across government, contracts over $10,000 and all contracts for MPs and senators, grants and contributions over $25,000, mandate letters and revised mandate letters, briefing packages for new ministers and deputy ministers, lists of briefing notes for ministers or deputy ministers, and the briefing binders used for question period and parliamentary committee appearances.
Putting these requirements into legislation will ensure that Canadians will have access to this kind of information automatically, without having to make a request. It will impose a new degree of transparency on this government and on future governments.
As passed by the House, Bill C-58 would require similar disclosure by the judiciary.
Concerns have since been raised about the impact that the publication of individual judges' expenses could have on judicial independence, and those concerns are exacerbated by the fact that, due to the traditional duty of reserve, judges express themselves only through their judgments and can neither defend themselves nor set the record straight. The amendment proposed in the message that would require the publication of judges' expenses according to each court, rather than on an individual basis, would address these concerns and include additional measures to increase transparency.
The government also welcomes and accepts the amendment to remove the specific criteria requiring requesters to state the specific subject matter of their request, the type of record being requested and the period for which the record is being requested.
This was included in the original bill as a way to ensure that requests provided enough information to enable a timely response.
We listened to the Information Commissioner's concerns about this clause and especially to the indigenous groups who told us that these provisions could impede their access rights. I just want to note that this amendment, along with several others proposed in the message, was suggested by the former Treasury Board president when he appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in October.
The proposal and acceptance of this amendment reflect the government's commitment to guaranteeing that indigenous peoples have access to the information they need to support their claims and seek justice for past wrongs, for example.
As members can imagine, when it comes to records that are several decades or, in some cases, more than a century old, asking someone to state the specific subject matter, type of record and period requested may constitute a barrier to access.
I also want to assure the House that the government has taken careful note of the feedback from indigenous groups who felt that the governments did not consult them properly when drafting Bill C-58.
To respond to these concerns, the government supported the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, the National Claims Research directors and the Indigenous Bar Association in surveying selected first nations researchers and policy staff about the issues they were encountering with respect to access to information, compiling and analyzing the results in a discussion paper, and undertaking a legal review of Bill C-58.
Nonetheless, we recognize that further work is needed, with greater collaboration between the government and indigenous groups. I would draw the attention of the House to a letter written by the former president of the Treasury Board and sent to the committee in the other place. The letter detailed specific commitments to engaging indigenous organizations and representatives about how the Access to Information Act needs to evolve to reflect Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples, including how information and knowledge of indigenous communities is both protected and made acceptable.
This engagement, as with all engagements with first nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, will be founded on the fundamental principle of “nothing about us without us”. The government is committed to ensuring that programs, policies and services affecting indigenous peoples are designed in consultation and in collaboration with them.
In that regard, I would remind the House that this bill represents only the first phase of the government's reform to access to information. A full review of the functioning of the act would begin within one year of royal assent of Bill C-58, with mandatory reviews every five years afterward to ensure that the Access to Information Act never again falls so far out of date. I would add that the government recognizes that engagement with indigenous communities and organizations needs to be a central part of these reviews of the act.
In conclusion, I would recall for the House that in its fifth global report, issued in 2018, Canada was ranked number one in the world for openness and transparency by Open Data Barometer, well ahead of many other nations, including many so-called advanced countries. I would note that in this most recent report the author states:
The government’s continued progress reflects a strong performance in virtually all areas—from policies to implementation. Its consistent political backing has been one [of] the keys to its success.
Bill C-58 would continue to advance our progress toward more open and transparent government.
I again thank our friends in the other place for helping to make a good bill even better. I share the Information Commissioner's opinion that Bill C-58 is better than the current act and urge all members to join me in supporting it.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-13 17:14 [p.29085]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Victoria for yet again a very cogent reminder of how effective a member he has been in the House with his presentation of all of the weaknesses of the Liberals' attempt to deny and delay on access to information. He set out very clearly why it is so important to have the bill amended, which is what the Liberal government has absolutely refused to do. The Liberals are gutting improvements that they refused in the House of Commons.
When the bill went to committee, the Liberals just rammed it through without accepting many of the dozens of amendments that had come from opposition parties like the NDP. Now the Senate has shown some intelligence in dealing with this particular issue, and again the Liberal gang is trying to railroad the bill through the House of Commons.
The member for Victoria provides so much depth of detail and intelligence to his analysis of these types of bills. His voice will be missed in the House of Commons. There is no doubt about that.
What does he feel is the most egregious aspect of the deny and delay aspects of the bill, allowing the government to deny a whole range of applications for access to information, information that belongs to Canadians, and delay responding to these requests for access to information in the same way the former Stephen Harper government did?
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2019-06-13 17:16 [p.29085]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from New Westminster—Burnaby for his very kind remarks.
He talked about the amendments. I was involved in bringing forth some 36 amendments to Bill C-58 at committee. Many of them were deemed inadmissible because they were beyond the scope of the bill we were amending, but they were part of the package that all of those academics and activists and journalists had asked us to bring forward. Twenty were ultimately accepted as admissible, but of course, the government disallowed every single one of them. Why the Liberals are opposed to this I do not know.
Journalist Jeremy Nuttall, who writes for the Tyee, talks about writing cheques for $5. People have to pay $5. It costs the government way more money to cash the cheque than to do otherwise. One cannot go online like can be done in British Columbia with a credit card and request the information.
The Liberals pride themselves on updating the bill but they are stuck with this horse and buggy bill. It is very hard to understand why they would not take the opportunity to improve it. It is not like all of the provinces have not done stuff that the government could learn from. The Liberals are so rigid and do not seem to accept that we can do it better for Canadians. I am not suggesting that the provinces' legislation is perfect by any stretch, but it is so much better than what we have here.
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
NDP (QC)
View Brigitte Sansoucy Profile
2019-06-12 14:55 [p.28992]
Mr. Speaker, this is National Public Service Week, but many public servants do not feel like celebrating.
Céline, a public servant who lives in my riding, told me that, because of the Liberals' and the Conservatives' Phoenix pay system fiasco, she has been owed over $18,000 for more than a year and a half. Once again, the Liberals are giving hundreds of millions of dollars to a large corporation while problems just keep piling up.
Why have the Liberals still not repaid Céline and the other public servants who are in the same situation?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2019-06-12 14:55 [p.28992]
Mr. Speaker, our public servants deserve to be paid properly and on time. Stephen Harper's Conservatives botched the Phoenix pay system, creating real problems for thousands of public servants who work hard every day.
We are working to find a modern and reliable solution with the help of public servants, experts, unions and suppliers. We have found three suppliers who will carry out pilot projects before the end of the year. That is part of the next step to provide reliable, long-term solutions.
I encourage the member to send us her constituent's information. We will—
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