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Results: 1 - 15 of 43850
View James Maloney Profile
Lib. (ON)
View James Maloney Profile
2021-05-11 10:05 [p.7019]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources in relation to Bill S-3, an act to amend the Offshore Health and Safety Act. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, I have four petitions to present this morning.
The first petition is in support of Bill S-204, a bill that has just passed the Senate and that I presented to the House yesterday. The bill would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without the consent of the person it came from. This bill has been before the House in various forms for approaching 15 years. The petitioners are very hopeful that this will be the Parliament that finally gets these measures passed into law.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the second petition highlights the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, in particular in China, and it calls on the government to use tools such as the Magnitsky act to sanction those responsible for the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the third petition highlights the humanitarian and human rights situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Petitioners are calling for various actions by the Government of Canada to respond to these events, including an international investigation into credible reports of war crimes and gross violations of human rights law. The petitioners and others are concerned about broader issues of human rights and intercommunal tensions in Ethiopia and are calling for greater engagement from the Government of Canada on them.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the fourth and final petition I am presenting in the House today is with respect to Bill C-6. Petitioners are supportive of efforts to ban conversion therapy. They are also concerned about the definition of conversion therapy that is used in Bill C-6 and the effect it would have of prohibiting private conversations and the expression of personal views in conversation, things that, in reality, have nothing to do with conversion therapy but that could be falsely defined as such, based on drafting problems with the bill. Petitioners implore the House and the government to work toward a version of the bill that actually bans conversion therapy and to get that bill passed into law as quickly as possible.
I commend these four petitions to the consideration of members.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-05-11 10:08 [p.7019]
Mr. Speaker, I am presenting virtually this morning a petition from a number of constituents concerning the Trans Mountain pipeline. The constituents initially launched this petition at a time when the Government of Canada had not finalized the purchase, but the points remaining to continue to present this petition relate to the fact that diluted bitumen has no scientific way to be cleaned up, which the petitioners emphasize puts the areas in which the Aframax tankers in largely increased numbers would transit from the Port of Burnaby to other ports at an unacceptable level of risk to the marine ecosystem. They call on the government to cease any federal spending on completing the Trans Mountain pipeline or purchasing it.
View Chris Lewis Profile
View Chris Lewis Profile
2021-05-11 10:09 [p.7020]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise in the House and present this petition regarding the dire financial circumstances facing over 12,000 independent travel advisers across Canada. Over 12,000 Canadians have been forced into near bankruptcy, slipping through the massive cracks of the government's inept COVID response. These travel advisers have been left to languish, excluded from all COVID business assistance packages. This petition calls for the House to immediately get sector-specific funding to these long-suffering business owners.
View Dan Albas Profile
Mr. Speaker, I have two e-petitions to present today.
The first petition is related to animal testing for cosmetics. The over 600 petitioners would like the Canadian government to examine some of the other practices around the world, particularly in Europe, and update our laws accordingly.
View Dan Albas Profile
Mr. Speaker, the second e-petition, which is very dear to my heart, is regarding the interprovincial transit of Canadian wine, beer and spirits. The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to support Bill C-260.
Unfortunately, the Minister of Finance did not include such measures in the budget bill this time, but I am hopeful that, by hook or by crook, we will see interprovincial trade of beer, wine and spirits in Canada. It should not be a crime to share some of the good ales and fine drinks across this great country.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-05-11 10:10 [p.7020]
Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on April 28, 2021 by the member for Portage—Lisgar concerning allegedly misleading statements made by the Prime Minister.
The member argued that the Prime Minister, by denying he knew of allegations of sexual misconduct against General Vance in 2018, intentionally misled the House during Oral Questions. In support of that allegation, she presented internal emails from the Privy Council Office and testimony given before the Standing Committee on National Defence. The member then reviewed the precedents in this matter. Following this, she intervened again to point out that, when there is some doubt on the matter, the Chair should let the House decide, while stressing the importance of clarity for the deliberations and the integrity of the information provided by the government.
The member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke then argued that it would hinder members' work if they were misled in order to prevent them from holding the government accountable. In order to determine whether some officials were negligent, members must know whether the Prime Minister or staff within his office were aware of the allegations. He also urged the Chair to take note of the testimony given before the Standing Committee on National Defence.
In response, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons stated that the Prime Minister had not misled the House and that his answers had remained consistent.
The House leader covered in detail the points raised by the member for Portage—Lisgar while citing the statements, emails and committee testimony. He argued that the facts had been twisted to raise doubt about the Prime Minister’s statements. He indicated that a simple doubt was not enough to establish a prima facie question of privilege and that, in this case, there was no possible doubt.
The member for Rivière-du-Nord added that there were differences between the Prime Minister’s statements and the testimony heard by the Standing Committee on National Defence. He also urged the Chair to take note of the testimony and asked that the matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for clarifications.
The question of privilege which the Chair has been asked to rule on is the following: Did the Prime Minister's responses during Oral Questions contain contradictions that would allow one to conclude that he intentionally misled the House?
To answer this question, three elements must be proven to convince the Chair that statements were deliberately misleading: First, the statement must effectively be misleading or manifestly contradictory; second, the author of the statement must know, in making the statement, that it is false; third, the member intended to mislead the House.
Before continuing, I would be remiss if I did not mention the unusual nature of the argument put forward by the members. A thorough review of precedents, including those to which the member for Portage—Lisgar referred, shows and reveals a common trait. The remarks under review were always those made by a single member. In this case, what is being proposed is a review not only of the Prime Minister’s responses, but also of the context in which they were made. The Chair is being asked, in fact, to conduct this review in light of the proceedings of a standing committee relating to a study currently under way. There is no precedent where the Chair has used testimony from a committee without there being a report on the subject.
This aspect of the matter is a concern for the Chair. It is not for the Speaker to untangle the committee evidence to determine who knew what and when. Such an initiative would trespass on the role of committee members and constitute a breach of my duty to act with impartiality. It is up to the committee to continue its own study and to inform the House of its conclusions, if it deems it appropriate, as has been the tradition.
In this respect, the scope of my mandate is thus limited. The question of privilege raised is tantamount to asking the Chair to, on the one hand, compare the responses given by the Prime Minister during question period and, on the other hand, rule on his intention when those responses were provided.
More broadly, as Speaker Milliken summed it up on April 21, 2005, at page 5412 of Debates:
In the present case, I must determine whether the minister's responses in any way impeded members in the performance of their parliamentary duties and whether the remarks were intentionally misleading.
When previous questions of privilege concerning misleading statements have been deemed to be prima facie questions of privilege, the three elements to be proven to convince the Chair that the statements were deliberately misleading were clearly satisfied. In the example cited by the member for Portage—Lisgar from February 1, 2002, at pages 8,581 and 8,582 of Debates, and in a similar case from March 3, 2014, at pages 3,430 and 3,431 of Debates, the members involved admitted that they had made false declarations. In both cases, given the indisputable evidence before the House, previous Speakers ruled on February 1, 2002 and March 3, 2014, at the aforementioned pages in Debates, that a prima facie case had been established. Given the contradictory statements made by the members in each case, my predecessors determined that there was no choice but to have the situation referred to the appropriate committee for further consideration.
With respect to the question of privilege before us, I have reviewed the responses to Oral Questions offered by the Prime Minister on March 10, 11 and 24, 2021, and on April 27, 2021. The Chair did not find contradictions in them or elements that would allow one to conclude that they are misleading statements. There is thus no reason to continue this analysis.
I acknowledge that some members think that the Prime Minister's responses are contradicted by the information presented in committee, while others maintain that the same information confirms the validity of his responses. These disagreements occur frequently in the House, and it is not the Chair's role to adjudicate them. In the event that members are clearly and deliberately misled by deceptive statements, the Chair may have a role to play to ensure that members can perform their duties. Based on the information I have, that is not the case here.
Thus, the Chair cannot conclude that the Prime Minister deliberately misled the House. I find that there is no prima facie question of privilege.
I thank the hon. members for their attention.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-05-11 10:20 [p.7021]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join in the debate today. It is our second day of looking at the budget implementation act, Bill C-30. Given that the budget was over 700 pages long and the budget implementation act is over 300 pages, I will start at a higher level of extraction by examining the nature of this legislation and refamiliarizing some of us with the controversial issue of omnibus bills.
This is clearly an omnibus bill, but I want to set out why it is not offensive. At over 300 pages long, the budget implementation act contains well over 20 acts. It affects the Canada Labour Code, the Federal Courts Act, the Trust and Loan Companies Act, two different varieties of student loans and student financial assistance. I will not read them all, but a large number of pieces of legislation are affected.
The issue of illegitimate omnibus budget bills takes us back to the era of the Harper administration in a minority. They were the best way to push through offensive legislation when parties that formed the majority of the members of Parliament, but were not the administration, would have objected. With the use of offensive omnibus budget bills, the Conservative government quite shrewdly discerned that it could put through things that would not otherwise get public support or MP support, given that they are confidence votes. It put through things such as the Budget Implementation Act 2008 and Budget Implementation Act 2009, which weakened environmental assessment leading up to the majority actions of that government. It continued to put lots of things in budget implementation acts that were omnibus bills.
An omnibus bill merely means that many pieces of legislation are being passed all at once. This is not offensive is if it is all to one purpose. Everything in Bill C-30 is mentioned in the budget. As far as I can see, there are no sneaky surprises, as we discovered in a recent budget in which there were deferred prosecution agreements for corporations. As I go through this bill, it is not like the omnibus budget bill of spring 2012 that destroyed our environmental assessment process, which has still not been repaired. It gutted the Fisheries Act and eliminated the national round table, among other things. This is an omnibus bill, but it is appropriate in that everything I can find in Bill C-30 is consistent with the budget itself and has to do with legislative changes to make it possible to enact the budget, which this Parliament has now passed.
There are items of concern. When the bill gets to committee, maybe improvements could be made on some of these, but certainly it is of concern to see withdrawal of supports for important things within our economy during COVID. We are clearly not looking at a post-pandemic budget. After not having had a budget for two years, this budget continues to face times of deep uncertainty. I have had my first vaccine shot. I will wait four months and then get a second shot. With vaccines, we see there is light at the end of the tunnel, but with variants, spikes and economies in various provinces opening up a bit and then closing rapidly, there are a lot of reasons why businesses and individual Canadians will continue to need support.
The notion that we would lower the Canada recovery benefit from the current $500 a week to $300 a week by July should be looked at. That is soon, and we may not be ready for that. The wage subsidy is ending by September. A lot of businesses in my riding know for sure that they will need that wage subsidy well beyond September. There are deep concerns particularly in the tourism sector, so I will focus on tourism for a minute.
The tourism sector has received $500 million in the budget, and that is not nearly enough. We underestimate it, as Canadians and even as parliamentarians. All of us have tourism in our ridings, and collectively across the country tourism's contribution to GDP is roughly the same as the oil sands. It employs far more people, thousands and thousands of them, across Canada in every region, and $500 million is not adequate to meet the needs of the tourism sector.
Big businesses in my riding, attractions such as Butchart Gardens, would normally have upwards of 700 to 800 employees seasonally. Butchart Gardens did not have anything like that number last summer because it was not open, but the wage subsidy allowed it to keep specialists employed: the hundreds of people who were recruited from around the world as horticulturalists. It simply will not be able to keep that workforce if we do not have a wage subsidy. If it loses that workforce and these specialists, horticulturalists and experts are not able to be employed here, they will go to other countries. Their skills are in demand.
We have a very big concern about the $500 million provided for tourism and the $1 billion for promotion. Some of the businesses in my riding feel rather hollowed out by the notion that we will have a billion dollars going to advertising attractions in Canada that cannot stay open.
It is also peculiar that we have a decision by the Department of Transportation that cruise ships on our coasts will not open until February 28, 2022. I have yet to see any justification for that arbitrary date. This is a big concern, because if we are letting people get on airplanes, are saying there are vaccination passports and that people are okay to travel, certainly we should be informed of why there is this arbitrary date. It would continue to damage tourism.
This budget is also very short on support for ground transport. The bus lines of this country, whether Wilson Bus Lines or Maritime Bus, need more connectivity between cities and towns. The support for Via Rail is welcome, at $491 million, but it is all in the Windsor-Quebec corridor. What about Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal to Halifax? In the absence of Greyhound, the Irving Bus Line and others that run between communities, those routes need daily trains and an expanded economy service.
What is missing again is what we are going to do to improve our financial prospects going forward. If we are not going to be looking at cuts, we need more revenue. There are some new taxes in this budget and some ways to save money. I particularly applaud the idea that the Government of Canada is going to stop spending as much on travel by civil servants: That is a $1-billion savings over five years. Most of that travel, as we know, was by air. We have learned during COVID that we can find other ways to meet that avoid greenhouse gases and avoid so much travel.
Long-term we need to look at more revenue. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has pointed out that our debt-to-GDP ratio is going to level out at about 51%. It was about 30.6% before the pandemic, and it will be 2055 before we get to pre-pandemic debt-to-GDP ratios. In 1995-96, we were at 66%, but we do not want to go through that deep austerity program ever again. We have to protect our health system. We have to expand it with pharmacare, which should have been in this budget and was not.
We need to look at where we can get more revenue and be consistent. For heaven's sake, it is time to stop subsidizing fossil fuels. It is time to cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is going to cost another $10 billion to $12 billion. We are looking at excess profits from our banks. We should be going after those. We should be looking at a wealth tax. We certainly do not do enough in this budget. It suggests consultations on what to do about credit card interest rates and horrific payday loans. Those things need more attention.
We need to look at improving the revenue line so that we can afford universal pharmacare, which we must, and so that we can make sure the day care program takes place across the country for all Canadians. As well, we need to bring in support initially for low-income dental and get rid of the interest on Canadian student loans. All those need revenue in their appropriate place. With that, I am thankful for the time to speak to Bill C-30.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2021-05-11 10:30 [p.7023]
Madam Speaker, I always appreciate the words of the member. She is very helpful, especially related to our Porcupine Caribou herd, which I will mention later. I thank her for clarifying the omnibus bill. All budget implementation acts are omnibus bills because they have to deal with so many bills and departments.
To clarify, there are $1 billion for tourism. It is $500 million directly to tourism, $100 million to marketing and $400 million to tourism events such as festivals and museums. On top of the existing support programs that are being extended, there is $700 million for business financing and expansion of the small business financing program.
I wanted to thank the member for her great support over the years for the protection of the Porcupine Caribou herd that has so much effect on the Gwich'in people. Hopefully, she supports the $24 million for pan-Arctic scientific research through the polar continental shelf program, which many MPs might not know of, but is very important—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
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