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Results: 1 - 15 of 352
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to see the final report of the advisory council on pharmacare. I strongly support universal single-payer public pharmacare so Canadians have access to medicines. I hope the recommendations will be implemented.
However, I am concerned about the prices Canadians pay. There has not been progress to reform the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. In 2017, I proposed regulatory changes to help the PMPRB protect consumers from high prices. This included changing the countries with which we compared prices. We said that value for money should factor into drug prices. We proposed that refunds should be reported to increase transparency and set fair prices. Those changes were to be in place by the end of 2018, but this has not happened.
National pharmacare is essential, but it must be accompanied by good stewardship of public funds. Canadians should not pay the third highest drug prices in the world. I encourage the Minister of Health to proceed with the PMPRB reform without further delay.
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Madam Speaker, today the government received the final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
I attended the closing ceremony and was moved by the powerful testimony of families, grandmothers and elders.
The report has 231 calls for justice. Let us highlight calls to which all Canadians are asked to respond.
One, read the report; two, speak out against racism, sexism and misogyny; three, hold governments to account; and four, decolonize ourselves—learn the true history of Canada.
Our response must be more than words. Governments must recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and must make investments in education, housing and restorative justice to bring about true reconciliation and stop the violence against indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited and trans people.
We all have a responsibility to act. I will be an ally—will you?
Please read the report.
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Madam Speaker, it is my honour to rise in the House to speak in support of Motion No. 111 put forth by the member for Abbotsford, which would declare the second week of September as Mennonite heritage week, as a time to recognize the contributions Canadian Mennonites have made to building Canadian society.
ln supporting this motion, I will share some details of Mennonite contributions to the history and heritage in my riding of Markham—Stouffville. Our region had been home to indigenous peoples for thousands of years. ln fact, one of the largest Huron-Wendat villages in North America stood on the boundary between Markham and Stouffville some 500 years ago.
Then in 1804, settlers, including Abraham Stouffer, his wife Elizabeth and her brother Peter Reesor, arrived from Pennsylvania. They transported their families and possessions in four large covered wagons, each drawn by four to six horses. They brought pigs, fowl, sheep, cows, oxen, housewares, farm implements and homemade food for the six-week journey.
They followed a path forged in 1615 by French free-spirit voyageur Étienne Brûlé. Within 10 years, another 55 families arrived from Pennsylvania and settled into the community. The vast majority of those families were Mennonite. The federal government soon abbreviated the name of the town to Stouffville to honour Abraham Stouffer and his family.
The early history of Markham—Stouffville is the story of Mennonites and pacifism. They were the first conscientious objectors in Canada's pre-history. ln the War of 1812, Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe exempted them from military service under the Militia Act of 1793. Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe was more interested in taking advantage of the significant Mennonite farming skills than in recruiting unenthusiastic soldiers. Mennonites helped our country's early leaders learn the gifts of tolerance and forbearance to develop a more broad-minded country.
ln modern times, as we confront existential threats like climate change, economic inequality, racism, violence and global instability, Mennonites offer us a blueprint to live productive lives full of hope, meaning and purpose. Specifically, they challenge us in five important ways.
Number one, Mennonites are known for addressing issues on both a local and a global scale. The Stouffville Care & Share Thrift Shop collects and sells local thrift goods, with all funds raised supporting local and international development and peace projects. Residents benefit from more choice and lower prices. At the same time, all funds raised support international development and relief. Everybody wins.
Number two, Mennonites move beyond their own personal stories of persecution and injustice to help the persecuted and afflicted. Abraham Stouffer's ancestors were expelled from Switzerland in a climate of religious intolerance in 1709. That was the backdrop for a life of courage and faithfulness. Today, Mennonites in Stouffville have an inspiring track record of supporting the persecuted through their work with international refugees. During the Syrian refugee crisis, 1,500 refugees were resettled by Canadian Mennonites over just 12 months, from 2015 to 2016. Mennonite commitment to religious freedom is borne out in words and actions.
Number three, Mennonites work together collaboratively on common goals with a shared sense of purpose. They work in partnership and community. This is a model for how we, in the House of Commons, could work better across party lines to deal with the entrenched challenges of our generation. We can learn and then practise an ethic of caring and sharing our hardships with friends and neighbours, to improve our quality of life and increase our sense of community. As parliamentarians, we can follow Mennonite examples of barn-raising collaboration to bring effective solutions to our most pressing challenges.
Number four, Mennonites have modelled the importance of working through shared values. The transformative power of shared values brings a sense of urgency, belonging, legitimacy and healing to our communities. Our shared values allow us to build communities grounded in compassion and service. For example, a local Mennonite woman in Stouffville recently received a provincial Trillium grant to build a three-season structure to host indigenous reconciliation programming, including the KAIROS blanket exercise workshop.
Number five, we can celebrate the Mennonite model of a strong work ethic and sense of industriousness. For over 200 years, Mennonite farmers have tilled the soil of Markham—Stouffville, managing farm resources, taking risks, growing food, feeding cities and raising families. Seventy-five farms, many of which are run by Mennonite farmers, are now part of the Rouge National Urban Park, our country's newest national park, which will hugely benefit from Mennonite industriousness and superior farming skills.
My riding of Markham—Stouffville has vastly benefited from 200 years of Mennonite industriousness and community. Mennonites built a community with deep interlocking roots. Their zeal for justice and peace translated into lives of service, compassion and mutual assistance. The crest of the top of the Whitchurch-Stouffville coat of arms is the dove of peace, another Mennonite contribution to our rich town history.
Finally, while my husband and I were both raised in the Presbyterian Church, we started attending our local Mennonite congregation a few years after we moved to Stouffville. We eventually became members of the Community Mennonite Church, because we were inspired by the focus on peace, social justice and care for the environment.
With that, members can understand even more of why I am happy to stand in support of Motion No. 111 to establish Mennonite heritage week so we can honour the important legacy that Mennonites have made to Canadian history and culture.
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-91, an act respecting Indigenous languages.
As all members in the House know, indigenous issues are among the biggest challenges and the biggest opportunities facing our country. As we create together the space for indigenous peoples to be fully self-determining, with an improved quality of life, we must all work together, across party lines, in a non-partisan fashion.
It is in that spirit that I would like to thank the member of Parliament for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo for offering me this opportunity to speak as an independent member of Parliament on this important legislation.
The preamble, though not the body of Bill C-91, notes that:
the Government of Canada is committed to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which affirms rights related to Indigenous languages.
Specifically, I would like to remind colleagues that article 13 speaks to the fact that:
Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
Article 14 goes on to talk about the fact that:
Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning....
States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.
Bill C-91 takes the very important step to establish an office for the commissioner of indigenous languages.
I want to use the time given to me today to highlight some amazing initiatives across the country by indigenous peoples for indigenous peoples to promote indigenous languages.
I had the privilege of visiting many communities when I was minister of indigenous services, as well as when I was minister of health, and I want to share some of the wonderful initiatives I have witnessed.
Let us start in British Columbia.
In British Columbia, it is estimated that there are approximately 30 different first nations languages, and close to 60 dialects are spoken. We cannot speak about first nations languages without remembering Kukpi7 Ron Ignace. Kukpi7 is the name for chief in the Secwepemc language of British Columbia. Kukpi7 Ron Ignace is certainly one of the champions of indigenous languages in his first nation in British Columbia.
Together with his wife, Marianne Ignace, who is a professor at Simon Fraser University, they have written an extraordinary book. This is a book that has been worked on for a lifetime. It is called Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws.
I had the opportunity to visit the community of Skeetchestn, where Kukpi7 Ignace is the chief. I heard the children signing and sharing together in their language, and it was inspiring.
Let me tell the story of Huu-ay-aht First Nations in British Columbia. It is among the Nuu-chah-nulth-speaking first nations. The Huu-ay-aht people have taken an incredible initiative as they continue to pursue and inspire others by their efforts to be fully self-determining. They have established a social services project that takes on a number of initiatives, particularly for children. They have decided to exercise their right to take on child and family services within the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, and they are specifically ensuring they do so in order to bring their children back to their community so they are raised in their language and culture.
Let us move a little east to the province Alberta.
I want to tell my colleagues about the incredible work that is being done in Maskwacis, a region just outside of Edmonton. I had the privilege of being in this community when it announced the beginning of the Maskwacis Education Schools Commission.
I was there with Grand Chief Willie Littlechild, who used to sit in this very House. He spoke about the incredible initiative that the Maskwacîs peoples had been able to undertake in order to start a school system of their own.
Grand Chief Willie Littlechild had been raised in residential schools. He talked about how his language and his culture had been taken from him as he was taken away to one of the largest residential schools in our country. However, now the Maskwacis, which is a gathering of four Indian Act bands, have come together to start a schools commission in order to exercise self-determination. Their education system there is Cree based, based upon the language of their people and their way of teaching. The contents of their teaching are based in their Cree culture and in their language.
We will then go a little further east again to the lovely province of Saskatchewan. Many examples can be seen across Saskatchewan, but perhaps one of the highlights in my mind is when I had the privilege of visiting the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, an extraordinary community just outside the city of Saskatoon.
While I was there, the chief showed me many things, but one of the most impressive was when we went to visit the Charles Red Hawk Elementary School. I met the woman who was the language teacher in that school. She gives Dakota language lessons to the children there. Their proudest moment was when a small group of children stood up spontaneously and asked me if they could sing O Canada to me in the Dakota language. It was a moment that is indelibly impressed on my mind. I saw the pride, not only of the children but of the elder who had taught them their language.
I want to then move to the wonderful province of Manitoba. I have spoken in the House before about the things that I have learned from the first nations of Manitoba as well as the Métis nation of Manitoba.
However, today I want to share a conversation about the work of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. The chiefs have been real leaders in one of the critical issues in our country, and that is the overrepresentation of indigenous children in care. They have highlighted the link between children being taken from their community into the foster care system and the loss of language that accompanies that. In fact, they have gone so far as to propose an act. It is called, the “bringing our children home act”.
In that act, the Manitoba chiefs speak to the fact that “We are reclaiming, practising and promoting our responsibility to pass down our knowledge, language, culture, identity, values, traditions, and customs to our children.”
This morning I had the opportunity to be in the indigenous affairs committee. A gentleman there had been in Manitoba and had experienced the foster care system. His name is Jeffry Nilles. I encourage people to look at the tape of his testimony in today's committee. He talked about what it meant to have been taken from his community, away from his family, about how he was shamed if he spoke in his language. It brought tears to our eyes as we heard about the moments he was treated cruelly because he naturally went to his native language and was punished for doing so. Now he is a man who is proud of the language of his peoples, but it has taken him some time to get there.
I will move further east again to the northern part of the province of Ontario. I would like to highlight in particular the extraordinary community of Fort Albany First Nation. I want to highlight a gentleman there who has been a real inspiration to me. His name is Edmund Metatawabin. Perhaps many members have had the opportunity to meet Edmund.
Edmund wrote a wonderful book, Up Ghost River, which had a big impact on my life. He talks about the role of residential schools. In fact, his book is an account of his residential school experience. He talks about the trauma of being separated from his language and his lineage, when he was forbidden to speak his language. He talks about the disastrous results that have ensued because languages and customs were suppressed by residential schools.
There is a good hint about the importance of indigenous languages in his book. Perhaps the most profound sentences in that book are when Edmund Metatawabin says, “There is no concept of justice in Cree culture. The nearest word is kintohpatatin.” He says that this “loosely translates to 'you've been listened to.'” Metatawabin writes, “Kintohpatatin is richer than justice—really it means you've been listened to by someone compassionate and fair, and your needs will be taken seriously.”
That is a word I will never forget. It reminds me of the richness of a word and how much a particular culture can teach us just by showing us the words of its language, as well as how much that can mean to all of us.
Let me continue to travel across Ontario. This time we will come right down to the border of Ontario and Quebec, and in fact this community crosses into the United States as well. It is the community of Akwesasne. The community has an amazing leader in Grand Chief Abram Benedict. Here again I saw how language is so much a part of the pride of this community.
I had the opportunity to visit for the first time the Mohawk immersion school there. This is a school in which elders have come together to teach the young people, who are the teachers. In turn, those teachers teach the children. People in that middle age group did not know their Mohawk language and had to learn it from the elders. Now they, as teachers, are passing it on to children.
One of the things that impressed me at that school was that they had created their own teaching materials. They had taken children's books and adapted them so that the words were Mohawk. It was not just the words; the concepts, pictures, traditions and stories were appropriate for the Mohawk community. It is an extraordinary example, and one that needs to be recognized.
And now we travel to la belle province. Quebec is home to many first nations, but I am going to talk about just one of them, the Huron-Wendat Nation. Their leader, Grand Chief Konrad H. Sioui, is an extraordinary man.
Konrad Sioui left quite an impression on me. He has many stories to share and knows much about his people's history and their places. He told me how those peoples named places, rivers and mountains. Where he lives, every place has a name in his language.
Across the country, many places have names that come from indigenous languages. Grand Chief Sioui talked about the importance of preserving those names in indigenous languages.
We know, for example, that the word Toronto comes from an indigenous language. It is believed that it comes primarily from a Mohawk name, tkaranto, which means “trees standing in the water”. Right here in the city of Ottawa, we know that the word Ottawa comes from the word adaawe from the Anishinabe language, which means “to buy”. Maybe we could sometimes think about the fact that our city has something to do with buying, but I will not spend too much time on that point.
Let us move along to some places in Quebec, since I was just discussing Quebec. Shawinigan is an Algonquin word that means “portage at the crest”. We then look at the northern part of Quebec, because we must not forget the north, where we find the amazing town of Kuujjuaq, which means “the great river” in Inuktitut.
We had better spend a bit of time in the Atlantic, although I know my time is running out. I want to talk about the incredible work of the Mi'kmaq in the Atlantic, and in particular their incredible education authority. The education authority is entirely led by the Mi'kmaq people and is called Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey. I think the Mi'kmaq will forgive me for not getting that exactly right. I tried. We have often affectionately called this group “MK” because it is a little easier to say.
This is an education authority designed by Mi'kmaq for Mi'kmaq children. It has been incredibly successful, and this is in no small part related to its commitment to the Mi'kmaq language. It has, in fact, created an online talking dictionary, so that people can now find Mi’kmaq words online. There are now 6,000 or more Mi'kmaq words in this online talking dictionary. It offers language classes using the Internet, and video conference facilities have been set up so day cares throughout the region can teach Mi'kmaq to their children.
I was happy to hear that St. Francis Xavier University has now delivered its first program in the Mi'kmaq language.
While we are in the Atlantic, let us move north to Labrador and talk about Nunatsiavut, which is one of the four land claim regions of the Inuit Nunangat. The commitment of Inuit leaders in this country to the revitalization, maintenance and promotion of Inuktitut is something extraordinary. Inuit speak regularly about how Inuktitut is at the core of Inuit identity, spiritual beliefs and relationships to the land, as well as their world view and culture. It is fundamental to Inuit self-determination. I witnessed this myself when I went to meetings of the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, which are all translated into Inuktitut.
However, I should note that the Inuit do not support Bill C-91, and it is important for us to recognize that. The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami organization, the ITK, hopes to see the bill amended to include both an annex that addresses Inuktitut as a distinct language and provisions allowing Inuktitut speakers to access federal public services in their language.
There is an impact when those services are not available. I saw it myself in relation to health. People said that tuberculosis, for instance, was not recognized quickly enough because there was no health care provider who spoke Inuktitut and could take a proper patient history. This is an important reality.
Time does not permit me to tell members about the things I observed in wonderful places like the Northwest Territories and Yukon. There are many examples of people working to revive indigenous languages.
It is my intention to support the bill, but more work needs to be done on this issue. This work should be continued in the next Parliament by those who have the privilege of returning to this place.
I had the privilege of learning an indigenous language when I lived in the country of Niger, in west Africa. I became moderately fluent in the Hausa language. The Hausa people have a saying:
[Member spoke in Hausa]
This means “silence, too, is speech”. Let us not, any of us, be silent on this matter, on the need to revitalize, maintain and promote indigenous languages. Let us recall that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples lays out minimum standards for the survival, well-being and dignity of indigenous peoples.
The right to use, develop and transmit indigenous languages to future generations is nothing less than a matter of survival. The duty to recognize and affirm this right rests on us all.
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for his concern for this issue. The simplest answer to his question would be to say that it is not up to me. The answer is, in fact, up to indigenous peoples, be they first nations, be they from the Métis nation, be they Inuit, to determine for themselves. That is, of course, the definition of self-determination, one of the most fundamental rights of indigenous peoples.
It may, in fact, be that different indigenous peoples may answer the question differently in terms of whether it is a geographic decision or whether there is a cultural or historic basis for the decision. It is very important that we in this place unleash the decision-making process and allow it to be free to be where it belongs, which is in the hands of first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
That is why I take so very seriously the concerns raised by people like Natan Obed, the president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, for whom I have the deepest respect. They say that we need to listen.
I have acknowledged that I will be supporting this bill, but I think there are pieces missing, and I think we have to listen to the requests. As much as possible, we have to work side by side, indeed be led by indigenous peoples, to know how we as settlers and as partners working together can support this critical right.
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. member for her passion on this incredibly important issue.
The simple answer to her question is absolutely. Absolutely, there is more that we can and must do to continue to walk the talk, as it were, in terms of the promotion of indigenous languages.
I would acknowledge that we have come some distance. I was thrilled to hear during debate this morning that not only was the indigenous language of Cree spoken, but in fact, for the very first time, a question by one of my colleagues and the answer to that question were given in the Cree language. That is something to be celebrated, and we need to see more of that.
My colleague, the member for Vancouver Granville, speaks the language of Kwak'wala. I am not sure if I am saying that exactly right either. However, she talked about the fact that she might be able, in this House, to speak in her language, but we would need to provide interpretation.
I really like the member's idea about putting this bill in an indigenous language. It is not too late to do that. I would join others in this place in calling upon the Department of Indigenous Services to take the time to make sure they get it right, to work with first nations, Inuit and Métis to make sure this is ultimately, sooner rather than later, translated into at least a few of the languages it is seeking to preserve.
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, his question raises a fundamental and important issue that members of the House need to consider.
In the development of legislation, particularly legislation that is entirely devoted to an issue that affects indigenous peoples, we need to find a way as legislators to ensure it meets the expectations of indigenous peoples, that it recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples and that it is inspired and led as much as possible by indigenous peoples.
There has been progress over the last number of years. I have heard some people talk about the fact that there was not adequate co-development on this bill and that some bills had done better than others. We can do much better yet. It is not possible to consult all 1.7 million indigenous peoples in the country on all legislation that comes forward, but we can find better mechanisms to reach communities so we do not hear in committee in years to come that people felt they did not have an opportunity to provide input on it.
I challenge all members, especially as we look to the fact that there will be a new Parliament after October or November, and those who may have the privilege to sit in this place in years to come to work together in a co-operative, non-partisan way to really study what co-development legislation looks like. How can we address the importance of ensuring people have the opportunity to contribute so they will come to committee and tell us they have a way to contribute. That is our responsibility.
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, I received a call from Chief Leo Friday of Kashechewan First Nation. Ten days from now, more than 2,000 people from this community will be forced to leave their homes in the annual evacuation process. The chief is concerned about the resilience of the dike and there are legitimate fears of severe flooding.
Our country spends millions of dollars annually for evacuations and for repairing flood damage in homes. When can we expect a serious commitment to funding the relocation that, for years, the community has been asking for?
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege concerning my recent expulsion and the expulsion of the member for Vancouver Granville from the Liberal caucus and a breach of the Parliament of Canada Act.
The question of privilege concerns a breach of my rights, the rights of the member for Vancouver Granville and other members' rights. While respecting the confidential nature of caucus discussions and my and the member for Vancouver Granville's obligations to maintain confidentiality of caucus discussions, how do I know that mine and my colleague's rights were breached?
On November 5, 2015, section 49 of the Parliament of Canada Act required Liberal MPs to vote four times. These four votes were to be recorded.
On March 21, 2019, the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood confirmed in a Toronto Star article that with respect to the four required votes, “Nothing like that ever happens in caucus....” As such, this would mean that one of the recorded votes that did not occur was the rule concerning caucus expulsions. This also means that one of the recorded votes that did not occur was the rule for readmission of a member to the caucus.
When the Prime Minister and his office prevented Liberal members of Parliament from exercising their rights under section 49.8, they violated the rights of Liberal members in three ways.
First, the Prime Minister deprived members of their right under right under section 49.8 to vote four times in a recorded manner.
Second, in depriving members of their right to vote, the Prime Minister denied members the opportunity to adopt the rules in sections 49.2 and 49.3 concerning caucus expulsions and caucus readmittance respectively. In doing so, the Prime Minister deprived members of their right to determine the expulsion of a caucus colleague on a secret ballot vote and their right to determine the readmittance of a Liberal member to the caucus on a secret ballot vote.
Third, in denying members their right to vote and adopt the expulsion rule in section 49.2 and the readmission rule in section 49.3, the Prime Minister denied members being considered for expulsion or readmission the right to a due process, one that is not ad hoc, not arbitrary nor unlawful.
With respect to expulsion specifically, section 49.2 lays out a clear process for expulsion and the bar is deliberately set high. First, at the time, on April 2, at least 36 Liberal MPs would have had to write to the caucus chair requesting an expulsion. Second, a majority of the entire caucus, not just a majority of MPs present, would have had to vote in favour of expulsion in a secret ballot, an absolute majority.
In other words, on April 2, 2019, when I and the member for Vancouver Granville were expelled by the Prime Minister, the Liberal caucus had 179 members, which means that at least 90 Liberal MPs would have been required to vote in favour of expulsion in a secret ballot. If only 120 MPs showed up to vote, 90 votes in favour of expulsion would still have been required.
The Prime Minister stated at the April 2 open meeting of the Liberal caucus and on national television that he had taken the decision to expel the honourable members from caucus. The Prime Minister added that he had met with me and the member for Vancouver Granville to inform us of his decision. This confirms that we were expelled prior to the commencement of the Liberal caucus meeting.
The Prime Minister's words that night to the Liberal caucus are important to underscore because expulsion should not be his decision to take unilaterally. However, the decision had been already made.
Members of Parliament are not accountable to the leader; the leader is accountable to members of Parliament. This is a constitutional convention.
I cannot adequately underscore how important this part of the confidence convention is. In fact, it is so critical to the functioning of our institutions that the last Parliament decided to take part of that unwritten constitutional convention and enshrine it in legislation to make an amendment to the Parliament of Canada Act.
This question of privilege is timely. Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, you ruled on a question of privilege raised by the member for Perth—Wellington. Respectfully, that response does not address our situation nor our concerns.
First, the response to the question from the member for Perth—Wellington concerned the member for Whitby, who resigned from caucus and was not expelled. This is not the circumstance with respect to myself or the member for Vancouver Granville.
Second, we are not asking that the House deal with the possible expulsion of a specific member of caucus as a question of privilege. Rather, the matter of privilege is with respect to knowing which rules apply with regard to expulsion and readmission. This is necessary in order to ensure due process, fairness and that the rule of law is respected.
The Speaker's response to a point of order raised on December 10, 2015, by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills indicates that the chair of the Liberal caucus did indeed inform the Speaker in accordance with section 49.8(5) of the Parliament of Canada Act, but that the content of such notice would not be made public. The Speaker stated, “all actions required by the act to be taken by the Speaker have been taken.”
Recently, my hon. colleague, the member for Vancouver Granville, inquired of the Liberal caucus chair, the member for Lac-Saint-Louis, by email, no less than four times, asking for clarity on the rules that applied respecting expulsion from the Liberal caucus. We anticipated that expulsion was imminent as was being reported in the media. The expulsions have now taken place, however we still do not know the rules and so cannot determine if they were followed.
Notwithstanding the Parliament of Canada Act, the rules of this place, points of order, or questions of privilege or inquiries we have made of our former colleagues, both myself and the member for Vancouver Granville still do not know what rules applied to our expulsion, nor what rules would apply to any readmission.
Third, we acknowledge, Mr. Speaker, that you have stated that you have no role in the interpretation of a statute or in the conduct of these 2015 provisions, but with respect, it is our view that this does not relieve you of your responsibility to ensure that all members are aware of their rights in this place. This is our privilege. Accordingly, a remedy is required for our situation. This matter is urgent and cannot wait for new Standing Orders. Procedural fairness and the rule of law demand this.
Secret in-camera meetings or private notices should not be a shield to prevent the upholding of the law and members' rights. I ask that you find a prima facie case of privilege, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that the rights of members, both for expulsion and readmission, are upheld and are consistent with the law.
View Jane Philpott Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, fellow parliamentarians, House of Commons staff and honoured guests, I rise today in sorrow to pay tribute to Auditor General Michael Ferguson, a dedicated and honourable public servant who died too soon. He was just 60 years old.
Over the past seven years, Mr. Ferguson was a tireless champion of a transparent, open government that is accountable to all Canadians. He never wavered in his mission, even in recent months as he fought cancer.
During my time as minister of health and later as minister of indigenous services, I quickly came to know him as a man dedicated to helping the most vulnerable citizens, particularly in the context of justice and equality for indigenous peoples.
A son of New Brunswick, Michael Ferguson devoted his life to public service. His career serving the people of New Brunswick took him from comptroller of the provincial books to auditor general of New Brunswick, and then deputy minister of finance and secretary to the Board of Management. Along the way, he spent time as the president of the New Brunswick Institute of Chartered Accountants and spent three years on the province's Public Sector Accounting Board before being elected to the Fellowship of the New Brunswick Institute of Chartered Accountants.
In November 2011 Mr. Ferguson was appointed to be Canada's Auditor General, just the 14th person to hold the position since Confederation, following in the footsteps of the formidable Sheila Fraser.
Diligent, dedicated and humble, he was a model public servant. All Canadians owe him a debt of gratitude.
As Auditor General, his office examined such foundational issues as rail safety, tax collection, access to health services for remote first nations communities, food protection, cybersecurity and military procurement.
All governments must be open to outside critique. Michael Ferguson was able to focus on the granular details of government while also recognizing systemic issues. He was always striving to make us better as a government and as a country.
Michael Ferguson helped strengthen our democracy and maintain the integrity that Canadians expect from our public institutions.
Two days ago, he passed away surrounded by his wife Georgina and sons Malcolm and Geoffrey.
He is gone too soon, but we know that his was a life well lived.
On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Ferguson's family, friends and colleagues.
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