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Results: 1 - 15 of 95
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-03-13 10:17 [p.2063]
Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today in extraordinary circumstances.
I would like to sincerely and warmly thank all the parties in the House for working with us at such an important time.
I can assure Canadians that the priority of the government and all members of the House is to ensure the health and safety of every Canadian. That is why we are moving the following motion:
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, following the adoption of this order, the House shall stand adjourned until Monday, April 20, 2020, provided that:
(a) the House shall be deemed to have adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28;
(b) for the supply period ending on March 26, 2020, the eighth allotted day shall be the final allotted day;
(c) the order for the deferred recorded division on the opposition motion standing in the name of the member for Vancouver Kingsway, considered on March 12, 2020, be discharged and the motion be deemed adopted on division;
(d) the motions to concur in Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2020, and interim supply for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2021, be deemed adopted on division and the appropriation bills based thereon be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time, deemed read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole on division, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage on division, deemed read a third time and passed on division;
(e) there shall be 10 allotted days in the supply period ending on June 23, 2020;
(f) a bill in the name of the Minister of Finance, entitled An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (special warrant), be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time, deemed read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole on division, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage on division, deemed read a third time and passed on division;
(g) currently scheduled committee meetings shall be cancelled;
(h) the order of the day designated for Monday, March 30, 2020, for the consideration of the budget presentation, shall be undesignated;
(i) if, during the period the House stands adjourned, the Speaker receives a notice from the House leaders of all four recognized parties indicating that it is in the public interest that the House remain adjourned until a future date or until future notice is given to the Speaker, the House will remain adjourned accordingly;
(j) Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be deemed read a third time and passed;
(k) during the period the House stands adjourned, the House may be recalled, under the provisions of Standing Order 28(3), to consider measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19 and the impacts on the lives of Canadians;
(l) the government’s responses to petitions 431-00042 to 431-00045 be tabled immediately and questions on the Order Paper numbered Q-245 to Q-259 be made into orders for returns and that the said returns be tabled immediately;
(m) the government provide regular updates to representatives of the opposition parties;
(n) any special warrant issued under the Financial Administration Act may be deposited with the Clerk of the House during the period the House is adjourned;
(o) any special warrant issued under the Financial Administration Act and deposited with the Clerk of the House shall be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the committee shall meet to consider any warrants referred to it within 20 sitting days; and
(p) the House call on the Auditor General of Canada to immediately conduct an audit of the special warrants issued under the Financial Administration Act and that the Auditor General of Canada report his findings to the House no later than June 1, 2021.
Madam Speaker, this decision was taken to help keep all Canadians safe and healthy. We made this decision together, with all the parties, and we did not make it lightly.
Our action today demonstrates that we take this challenge seriously. I want to thank all of the health care workers and professionals.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all health care professionals, who are going through tough times at work as they help us through this crisis.
To Canadians, workers and families; to children concerned for their parents; to sisters and brothers concerned for loved ones and friends, we are all united. We will face this together, and we will get through this together.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-03-10 13:18 [p.1872]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to inform the House that Thursday, March 12, 2020, shall be an allotted day.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I declare the motion carried. Therefore the study of the motion to concur in the supplementary estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, and interim supply for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2021, scheduled for later this day is postponed to a later date.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:03 [p.1727]
That, notwithstanding Standing Order 81, for the supply period ending March 26, 2020, three additional allotted days shall be added for a total of 10, provided that one of the additional days is allotted to the Conservative Party, one of the additional day is allotted to the Bloc Québécois, and one of the additional days is allotted to the New Democratic Party, and, if necessary to accommodate these additional days, the supply period may be extended to April 2, 2020, and no allotted days shall fall on a Wednesday or a Friday.
She said: I am very happy to rise today in my capacity as the House leader for the official opposition to speak to the motion that we have put forward today.
I will be honest. I wish we were not talking about the Standing Orders today. I think there are a lot of issues gripping this country, including illegal blockades. We have seen individuals set fires and put up barricades on railroads, causing our economy to come to a halt. We have seen absolute weak leadership and no leadership from the government. Today would be a good day to talk about things like that.
We also have seen issues around investment leaving this country. As we have just seen this week, Teck has taken out its application for a very important project that we wish had been built in Alberta. It would have helped jobs right across the country. The Liberals and their policy are driving investment away. That is something we could be talking about today.
We also have the coronavirus, which is gripping world. We do not know if it is contained. Could it be a pandemic? That is an issue Canadians are thinking about.
However, today we are talking about changes to the Standing Orders. I will get to the fact that we only have four speakers today, but for now I will say that I am sharing my time with one of the next three speakers, the member for Perth—Wellington.
I will start by giving a little background and then will quickly let my colleagues know, as some may not be aware, how a minority Parliament operates. I want to give some context about opposition days and why they matter.
Throughout the run of a full year, the government must devote 22 days for the opposition parties to raise topics of their choosing. The rules spread those out over winter, spring and fall, and from there the opposition parties agree on how to carve them up. It is up to the government to decide which days are used for opposition motions, but on those days, the opposition gets to bring forward any topic it chooses as long as it falls within Parliament's jurisdiction. Today, the Liberals decided to give Conservatives a Friday as their opposition day.
On Fridays, as we all know, the House has a much shorter sitting period, because we all want to get back to our ridings for the important things going on in our constituencies. To be blunt and very clear, for all of us who have been here for a while and know this and for the newer MPs, giving an opposition party, any one of us, a Friday as an opposition day is a full-out slap. It is a full-out insult. It is a full-out, 100% punishment.
That is what the Prime Minister is doing right now. He is punishing Conservatives. Why? It is because we have been standing up to him, because we have been pointing out his weakness and calling out some of the ways the government has not recognized that it is in a minority, not a majority, Parliament.
We have seen a number of things that we are very concerned about. We have raised them with you, Madam Speaker. They include things like the government's leaking bills to the press before they have been brought to the House. We had to rise on a point of privilege. As we saw, the Minister of Natural Resources had to stand and apologize. We accept that apology, but it was pretty disrespectful to all of us in this place for the government to leak contents of a bill to the press before we saw it.
We have also seen the government give incomplete and inaccurate responses to Order Paper questions. Actually, this is what the Minister of Natural Resources had to apologize for. No one has apologized yet for the leaking of the bill.
In responses to the Order Paper questions, misleading answers have been given, and then even in defence of those misleading answers, we have seen misleading answers given again. It is totally unacceptable, and as Conservatives, we are going to call that out.
There are the two issues on which I have seen such a high level of disrespect. First is the new NAFTA agreement and how the Liberals have worked with us on that. As Conservatives, we are the party of free trade. We believe that many Canadians and many Canadian sectors need an agreement. It is not a great agreement, but we have been supporting it, while asking tough questions.
One of those questions has been about the economic impact to Canadians, and the Liberals have refused to give us that. Instead, they are getting up, as we saw when the Deputy Prime Minister stood in this place, to completely mislead and try to poke a stick in our eye, saying that we were somehow blocking the new NAFTA deal, which is completely misleading, completely disingenuous and insulting.
To add insult to injury, yesterday when I tried to expedite Bill C-4, to get it through in a much faster way, the Liberals opposed it. In fact, it was the member for Winnipeg North, a Manitoban, who said no.
The Liberals are sucking and blowing at the same time, and in doing that they are insulting us. They are not recognizing that we are in a minority Parliament.
The really insulting thing they did occurred last week, when the Prime Minister excluded our leader from a meeting of all opposition and government leaders on the topic of the rail blockades simply because our leader spoke the truth as to how to approach the illegal blockades. He was called names and excluded by the Prime Minister. Then three days later, the Prime Minister basically repeated verbatim what our leader had said. That was disrespectful and disingenuous, and not at all the way a minority Parliament should work.
Last Parliament, we said this often: The Prime Minister wanted an audience in this place; he did not want an opposition. I am afraid that has not changed. He did not get the voters' message in the election. He did not get the memo that his majority has been taken away. He needs to recognize quickly that Conservatives are going to stand up for the interests of the millions of Canadians who voted for us, who did not vote for the Liberals, and the growing number of Canadians who see a country and an economy paralyzed by the weak Liberal government.
Conservatives are not afraid to give voice to Canadians who disagree with the Liberals and the Prime Minister. Conservatives will demand that Liberals be open and transparent. They will be honest in this Parliament. Conservatives will hold the Liberal government to account.
In 1979, Joe Clark and his government fell after just 49 sitting days. It is often said it was because they could not count, but really it was because they had miscalculated badly. Today is just the 26th sitting day of this Parliament, and sadly the Liberals and their growing pattern of disrespect are hurtling us toward one unnecessary political disaster after another.
We are going to give the Liberals a chance to work collaboratively with opposition parties and work with Parliament by dedicating three additional days for each of the opposition parties. Members will notice that we are working collaboratively. Members will notice that we put the opposition parties in our motion. We are not looking just for our gain. We want to see all of us work together.
The motion would give three additional days for each of the parties to put forward an idea for debate and propose solutions for the many difficulties that Canadians face. We are giving the Liberals a chance to right their wrongs toward the opposition parties. We will give the Prime Minister a chance to correct his course. Today is a chance to press reset.
Recently I read an article in which the Liberal House leader, talking to a member of the press in the context of a minority Parliament, said, “Never take one day for granted. Anything can happen.” This may be a lesson for the Liberals and the Prime Minister: The things he does affect all of Parliament. This is also, with respect, a lesson for the Liberal House leader that he should never take one day for granted, because anything can happen.
Today, with the amount of time that we have, we will talk about giving additional days to the opposition. We are hoping this will result in a reset and that the Liberals will respect that we are in a minority Parliament, will tell us the truth, will not exclude people who disagree with them, will not mislead this Parliament and will be open, transparent and respectful. Then we can continue to work, as we should, as the official opposition and as opposition parties to hold the government to account and do the very best we can for this great country that we serve.
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-28 10:13 [p.1728]
Madam Speaker, as we have seen with the past government, and indeed with the current government, the Prime Minister feels this is his House. We know differently. This is the House of the electors who elected the 338 members of Parliament. We are here to be their voices.
I want to ask our hon. colleague to once again share with those who are tuning in today the importance of opposition days. I honestly think our colleagues across the way do not get it. Perhaps Canadians need to fully understand what the opposition days mean.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:14 [p.1728]
Madam Speaker, it obvious, in the last 20-some days that we literally have been in Parliament, by the number of opposition days we have been able to bring forward solutions to problems facing the country that the government has seemed unable to do themselves.
I will give the House one example. On our very first opposition day, we were able to pass a motion and establish the committee that is working right now to address the crisis with our relationship with the Government of China and the Beijing regime.
The role of the official opposition is to hold the government to account. However, our role is also to offer substantial solutions and fixes.
Another issue we brought forward was the illegal blockades. Again, we would like to be talking about that. We think there are some important things the government could do.
The role of our opposition is to present a government in waiting, which is a party that offers solutions to the current government, and to hold it to account. That it is what we are doing.
View Peter Julian Profile
Madam Speaker, it is vitally important that other voices are heard in the House of Commons. With majority governments, generally those voices are marginalized, except on an opposition days.
In the NDP's case, we brought forward issues that had not been discussed in the House, issues such as a declaration of a climate emergency, housing as a human right, the thalidomide compensation, the environmental impacts of microbeads and banning that practice. I could go on and on. The government often refuses to consider these important issues.
Could the official opposition House leader tell us how important it is for opposition voices to be raised more frequently and to bring issues to the forefront that the government denies? How important is that to right and privilege?
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:16 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, I believe the NDP supports the spirit of this idea as well.
The role is so important. All of us come with our experiences and perspectives. We all want to see Canada be the very best it can be. We want Canadians to have the best life and we have different ways of addressing the challenges Canadians face.
The opposition can bring these ideas as well. It is not just the Liberals who have solutions to problems. The NDP have some solutions. The Bloc will possibly have some solutions. We will see. The Conservatives certainly have been providing those. Therefore, it is vitally important.
However, what is just as important is that the government not disrespect Parliament, this institution, and the important role all of us play in this place.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, by giving the opposition more government time to debate their motions, this will negatively affect the government's legislative agenda.
Let me remind the House that this motion will delay several important bills, such as Bill C-4, the bill to implement the historic trade agreement between our great country, the United States and Mexico. Let us remember that the United States, Mexico and all premiers want this bill to be passed, and passed quickly.
Will the member comment on how this will delay very important legislation before the House at this time?
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:18 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, that question in and of itself shows how disingenuous and disrespectful these Liberals are. Yesterday, I stood in this place and I asked that we pass a motion that would mean Bill C-4 could be before this place today. Who said no to that? The member for Winnipeg North, a Liberal.
The Liberals shut down the opportunity to bring Bill C-4, the new NAFTA agreement, to the House today. Why? They would rather politicize it and punish all of us because we dare stand up to the Prime Minister.
We will take no lessons from the Liberals. They are delaying NAFTA and they are being disingenuous and politicizing this important agreement. We are the ones who tried to get it through, and get it through today.
View John Nater Profile
View John Nater Profile
2020-02-28 10:19 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, “Parliament is more than procedure – it is the custodian of the nation’s freedom.” Those words were spoken by the great defender of parliamentary democracy, the Right Hon. John George Diefenbaker.
Today, we find ourselves called upon to once again stand in support of this great institution, to once again stand for the right of opposition parliamentarians to hold the government to account.
Many Canadians may not be closely following the business of supply. They may not closely follow the allotted days, or the opposition days, that are often called in Parliament. However, these days, in which the agenda of the House falls to the opposition parties, are absolutely essential to our great parliamentary democracy. We as the opposition, both the official opposition and the other opposition parties, have the right to bring forward matters that we feel are important to our constituents and to all Canadians.
Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, sixth edition, states “The Opposition prerogative is very broad in the use of the allotted day and ought not to be interfered with except on the clearest and most certain procedural grounds.”
We have brought forward this opposition day motion on this day for very important reasons. The Liberal government decided to punish the official opposition by giving us a short parliamentary day, a short day when only two full speaking slots would be allocated to the opposition parties.
The Liberal government seems to have forgotten that it is among the weakest governing mandate in Canadian history. The Liberals forget that they actually lost the popular vote in the last election and Canadians saw fit to return them with a minority of seats in this place.
Bosc and Gagnon states the following, on page 855:
The setting aside of a specified number of sitting days on which the opposition chooses the subject of debate derives from the tradition which holds that Parliament does not grant supply until the opposition has had an opportunity to demonstrate why it should be refused.
In other words, before we as the opposition can consent to the continued funding of the government, we must, and we will, have the opportunity to raise our concerns in this place. We will not be silenced. We will not accept that the government, and only the government, has a legitimate voice in this place.
I would remind members of the Liberal party that they are first and foremost members of the legislative branch of government. Those who do not sit in cabinet are not members of the executive branch. They are parliamentarians and parliamentarians first and foremost. They too should be concerned that the members of the executive branch of government are the ones who are trying to control the debate of this very place.
I ought not to need to remind the government of its legislative record and its mismanagement of House time in the previous Parliament. At the time of dissolution, it had left at least 17 government bills lying on the Order Paper. This is in spite of the fact that it used time allocation on dozens of occasions. On top of that, there were 13 motions for closure and 40 motions to proceed to orders of the day, thereby bypassing the opportunity for opposition MPs to move concurrence motions or to table petitions on behalf of the constituents in each of our 338 ridings across the country.
Today's debate is about returning the House to the people, to give the official opposition, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party each one additional opposition day during the supply period, to give each of these parties the opportunity to raise the issues before granting supply to the Liberal government.
I do not need to remind the House either about the disregard we have seen in the past by the Liberal Party to this institution.
In the previous Parliament, on one of its very first bills, Bill C-14, the medical assistance in dying act, the Liberal government was found to have contravened the rights and privileges of the House by leaking the contents to the media before it was tabled for all parliamentarians to see. Old habits die hard, because it appears it did that once again this time with Bill C-7, the amendments to medical assistance in dying.
The Conservatives do not need to remind the Liberals either about the impacts they bring upon themselves when they attempt to use draconian measures to shut down debate in the House. We all remember Motion No. 6, when they tried to unilaterally take control of every mechanism for debate in the House. We do not need to remind the Liberals of the standing order standoff, when they tried to diminish the opportunity for the opposition to hold the government to account by unilaterally changing the rules of the House. It fell to the Conservatives, as the official opposition, and the third party, the New Democrats, to ensure we were that line of defence, that we were that thin line of the wedge to prevent the Liberal government from doing that.
In fact, in the previous Parliament, during a debate in this very House on a question of privilege, one of the most significant matters with which the House can be seized, a Liberal member of Parliament, the member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert, stood in the House, used a procedural measure to move to orders of the day and killed that debate. However, our Parliament is stronger than any one Liberal member of Parliament. At that time, the Speaker saw fit to return that question of privilege to the House so members of Parliament could have their voices heard.
We see this time and again with the Liberal government. At every opportunity it has to do the right thing, it goes the opposite direction.
That brings me to the events we have seen just in the last couple of weeks on the new NAFTA. It is not a great deal and it is not the worst deal; it is somewhere in between. We are the party of free trade and we support the implementation of the new NAFTA despite its imperfections. However, to hear the Deputy Prime Minister state publicly and in this place that the Conservative Party was somehow trying to delay the new NAFTA is an insult to the opposition and to the House of Commons.
Just yesterday, my colleague, the opposition House leader, gave the Liberals the opportunity to right their wrong by bringing forward NAFTA today. We could be debating NAFTA today and I could be raising the concerns of the people of Perth—Wellington, the farmers, the manufacturers, individuals who have concerns with the bill, However, the Liberals did not budge. In fact, speaking for the government, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader said no, that the government would not be willing to bring NAFTA forward. That is unacceptable.
We stand here today debating this opposition motion, a motion that gives the rights and responsibilities of the House back to all its members. I encourage all members to stand for their parliamentary privilege, to stand for democracy and vote in favour of this motion.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-02-28 10:29 [p.1730]
Madam Speaker, in the last Parliament, the opposition opposed our main estimates reform initiative. That is no secret.
Not only will this motion today delay government bills, but it seeks to change a fundamental balance that was struck way back in 1968 to give the opposition party time to debate motions of its choosing in exchange for an agreement to pass supply in one day. This balance and framework has remained intact for over half a century, until today.
Opposition days are very important when they bring to light an issue that is of material concern to the country, a province, a region or a group of Canadians. These are important debates that need to be had in this House. This is not that kind of debate. This is a blatant attempt to change the rules of the House of Commons in less than four hours.
In the last Parliament, the government brought forward what I viewed to be a sensible proposal to study certain rule changes. Instead of agreeing to the study, the opposition tried to shut down the House and disrupt the budget presentation, and all opposition parties cried foul. How things have changed. This is remarkable.
I thought the long-standing principle was to have this done by consensus. The procedure and House affairs committee is a proper place. I am curious if the hon. member of the opposition would like to describe why the opposition members are bucking this trend of building consensus. Why did they not do this in PROC, where it should have been done?
View John Nater Profile
View John Nater Profile
2020-02-28 10:30 [p.1731]
Madam Speaker, the rights and privileges of this House are not a gift given to the opposition by the Liberal government; the rights and privileges of this House are enshrined in the Constitution. They are enshrined in the authorities of this House. They are enshrined as a right and privilege of all parliamentarians to raise the issues that matter to them.
I do not need to remind the member for Central Nova that it was his House leader at the time who tried to unilaterally change the Standing Orders through a blatant attempt to reduce accountability through the discussion document she tried to table. It was unacceptable.
I would remind the Liberal government, which will soon be the opposition again, that this is not a change to the Standing Orders; this is an order of this House, an order of this Parliament, for the supply period ending March 31.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, it is an important distinction the member just made. Of course, it is quite a regular practice of the House to make orders that say “notwithstanding the Standing Orders” or “notwithstanding the usual practice of the House”. We do this on a regular basis when we have tributes and foreign leaders come to speak, so it does not in any way upset the balance. It does not change the Standing Orders to have an order that exists notwithstanding the Standing Orders. I wonder if the member has comments on that.
Also, could the member take the opportunity to share a bit more about what he is hearing in his riding about the new NAFTA deal and some of the negative impacts of the concessions the government has made? We still want to move forward with it and it is unfortunate the government has been delaying its own legislation when we could have been debating that today. If there is time in the response, what is he hearing from his riding about these issues?
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