An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families

Status

Second reading (House), as of March 19, 2019

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-92.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment affirms the rights and jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples in relation to child and family services and sets out principles applicable, on a national level, to the provision of child and family services in relation to Indigenous children, such as the best interests of the child, cultural continuity and substantive equality.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 10:10 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the people of Montreal were waiting for many years to see the replacement of the Champlain Bridge. Stephen Harper and the Conservative government failed the people of Montreal and thereby the people of Quebec, and in fact all Canadians, on many fronts. This is a good example of how the Harper government could not get the job done. With this government, we have seen historic investments in infrastructure in every region of our country. The Champlain Bridge is a good example.

The Conservatives, once again, have taken this day to attempt to bump debate on government legislation, Bill C-92, which is critically important legislation. In my own riding of Winnipeg North, hundreds of children are in foster care. This is about reconciliation, and the Conservatives continue to want to filibuster on what is important legislation that needs to be debated.

Why does the member opposite feel that the Conservative Party is entitled to deny Canadians good, solid legislation and debate while it tries to play politics on the issue of SNC-Lavalin, when his own leader and that party have met with SNC-Lavalin? He did not make reference to that either.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it shows the sensitivity of the Conservatives when they have to reflect on their past performances inside the House. In this debate, the two previous Conservative speakers talked about SNC and serious allegations. Now when I challenge them on those allegations, we find that they are very uncomfortable, and justifiably so, because if we compare Stephen Harper and his administration on the issue of judicial independence to this government, it is ultimately night and day, with Harper being the darker side. A vast majority of individuals would recognize that. We only need to look at some of the appointments that were made or attempted under that administration.

I want to provide some thoughts in regard to the standing committees. It was not that long ago when there was a memo sent out by the Conservatives at the time. They wanted to deliberately obstruct committees. That is something that has not changed with the Conservative Party. If we want to get into the details of what is taking place here in Ottawa, I would summarize it by saying that the official opposition is continuing to follow the memo that was issued many years ago to deliberately obstruct committees.

Standing committees can contribute in a very valuable way to the proceedings of this House, and so can the proceedings that take place in this chamber. Preventing debates, such as debate on Bill C-92, is a disservice to Canadians. The Conservative opposition needs to get back on track and start thinking and acting on what is in the best interest of Canadians, as opposed to the best interest of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 10:55 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member talked about the government wanting to move to Bill C-92. It has made commitments for years that it finally tabled in a flawed bill. That bill could be improved and do the job it is supposed to do if the government is willing to accept amendments to it.

As we know, the government has all of these tools in the tool box, which is the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. The member protested that he wanted to move to debate on Bill C-92, but during the entire half-hour speech, he did not move to adjourn the debate and go to orders of the day. He has in his possession a whole range of tools that he chose not to use.

My question is very simple. If the Liberals really believe in going to Bill C-92, which Canadians have been waiting years for, why did he not use any of the tools he has? Is that incompetence, or is it because the government actually does not want to go to Bill C-92?

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question, even though the Champlain Bridge was not incorporated in it.

Having said that, I am glad there is support and encouragement for the government to use the tools within the Standing Orders so we can get this important legislative agenda, in particular Bill C-92, through the House. That means at times we will have to move to Government Orders and use time allocation to do that, because as has been demonstrated yesterday and today, the Conservatives, and we will have to wait to see about the NDP, continue to filibuster.

As a result, the member is right; there are tools within the Standing Orders, and I hope that when the time comes for us to use those tools, the NDP House leader will be behind us in making sure they are effective in enabling us to pass the legislation, because it is obvious the Conservatives do not want us to pass anything. They have demonstrated that through obstruction, both here and in our standing committees.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. We should have started the debate on Bill C-92 yesterday.

Bill C-92 affects thousands of children throughout our country; in fact, it affects hundreds of them in Winnipeg North alone. In Winnipeg North, there are hundreds of children in foster care. In Manitoba, well over 10,000 children are in foster care and many of them are indigenous. Our indigenous communities talk about reconciliation, and this is a big part of it.

However, the Conservatives are filibustering, and today we are now talking about the Champlain Bridge. Members in the Liberal caucus, like my colleague, very much want to see that bridge. We are the ones who are pushing for that bridge to be completed. We recognize the importance of the bridge to residents of Montreal, and that is why we are pushing it.

If the Conservatives want to have a debate on the bridge, then they should go to the public accounts committee, which will have future discussions about it. Is it really necessary here in the chamber, especially given that we are supposed to be debating Bill C-92? No, it is a filibuster by the Conservatives, and shame on them because they do not understand what the priorities of Canadians really and truly are. They should get back on track with Canadians and get rid of the former Harper government-style, gutter-type politics.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11 a.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is finally becoming clear what the government is trying to do. It was absolutely so incompetent with the indigenous language legislation that it had to table drop 30 amendments. The Liberals know that there are some real challenges with Bill C-92. They were after their friends to say it is the Conservatives who are stalling, when we know they have tools they could use today to enable us to get on with that debate.

Please keep your blame for those who deserve it, which is right on yourself. You could have moved on. Thank you very much, but please tell us why you did not do that.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have this opportunity to speak about the Champlain Bridge. This is a very important project for the people of Montreal, Quebec and Canada.

This infrastructure project began in 2007 when Le Journal de Montréal published an article about the need to build a 10-lane bridge across the river. A month later, Novaroute, a private firm, decided to conduct a study in order to publish a story about building a tunnel under the river. At that point, everyone had already known for more than 10 years that the bridge would have to be replaced, but the plan was several years in the making.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts issued a report in response to the Auditor General's report. The Auditor General found that the Conservatives completely botched the job of ensuring that the bridge would be built in a timely manner and in the best interests of Canadians.

This report shows that the Conservatives mismanaged public funds. The Auditor General's report is astonishing. The report included a number of recommendations directed at the Harper Conservatives, who could have considerably improved their approach.

It is mind-boggling that the Conservatives are bringing these reports back to our attention to discuss them, but I will talk about them.

The reports indicate that, according to the Auditor General, the Conservatives did not even properly plan the bridge's construction. It is absolutely unbelievable that they did not even produce an adequate plan for getting the job done.

On October 6, 2011, the day after the announcement about replacing the bridge, an article reported that it would be a new bridge, not a tunnel, built through a P3, costing a maximum of $5 billion and that it would be ready within 10 years. Both the Office of the Auditor General and a government news release indicate that the decision to use a P3 model was made in 2011, a fact that is also supported by a news article. Deputy Minister Kelly Gillis said that the decision was made in December 2013, because that was when the government announced the accelerated timeline to replace the bridge in 2018, and the analyses carried out in 2012 and 2013 addressed the best way to complete the project quickly.

According to the Office of the Auditor General, the value-for-money analyses were of little use to decision-makers and contained many flaws favouring the P3 model. What is more, the department's analyses indicated savings that were unrealistic.

It was unrealistic. The Conservatives say that they are extremely good at managing the economy and public funds, but according to the OAG, the department's analyses were unrealistic. It took a Liberal government to get this bridge built and to make sure the work was done properly.

I would also note that the Conservatives wanted a toll on this bridge that would have cost every person who crosses the bridge five days a week $2,340 a year. It is unbelievable. That is $2,340 that would have been taken or practically stolen out of taxpayers' pockets. It is terrible when we think about it. Montrealers are lucky we are here now to manage the resources. The bridge is almost finished, and there is no toll. It is a bridge for public use. It is a bridge that everyone will be able to use. The Conservatives wanted this bridge to be used only by their wealthy friends.

The following is another recommendation from the Office of the Auditor General:

After completing the construction of the new Champlain Bridge, Infrastructure Canada should create realistic benchmarks for construction costs, risk evaluation, and efficiency rates in value-for-money analyses, for use in future requests for proposals for infrastructure projects.

This seems to make perfect sense, but former Conservative infrastructure ministers Lawrence Cannon and Denis Lebel did not understand it. They did not know what they were doing. I want to share another quote from the report:

Without obtaining results of durability analyses in advance, Infrastructure Canada could not know whether the proposed bridge designs would meet the expected service life requirement before it signed a contract with the selected bidder. [For instance]...they did not fully assess several deterioration mechanisms—for example, frost damage and the compounding effect of all deterioration mechanisms. As a result, [the OAG] performed comprehensive durability analyses on the designs of key non-replaceable components of the new bridge. In [its] analysis, [it] did not find design problems that would affect the examined components’ ability to meet their expected service life.

I would like to come back to the passage stating that Infrastructure Canada could not know whether the proposed bridge designs met the expected service life requirements. The Conservatives were so inept and incapable of managing public assets that they were not even able to figure out if this bridge would last. The bridge would be built and then perhaps one day collapse. A bridge should last at least 100 years and ideally 125 years.

According to the Auditor General, the Conservatives did not know if it would last because they did not even evaluate this requirement. Ten years ago, several people died in Montreal because of how certain structures were built. It is disgraceful that the Conservatives did not even take the time to evaluate this properly. We are now here to debate this issue. It is disgraceful that the Conservatives continue to put forward the proposals of Stephen Harper, Denis Lebel and Lawrence Cannon. We are pleased that they are no longer in power. We have come out of this decade of decay and poor management of our economy and public assets. They should be ashamed.

Now, I would like to remind members that we are supposed to be debating Bill C-92.

We are supposed to be debating Bill C-92, which is about the children, youth and families of first nations, Inuit and Métis. We are not debating that right now because instead we are doing what the Conservatives want, which is to debate this infrastructure report. This is an infrastructure report that demonstrates the poor management of the Conservative Party when it was in power, regarding the public good in Montreal with respect to the Champlain Bridge. Therefore, we are not debating this very important bill concerning child welfare for our children.

When I gave my maiden speech in the House of Commons three years ago, I spoke about child welfare. The speech was about the 11,000 kids in care in the province of Manitoba.

Since that time, I have had the opportunity in my riding, one of the poorest ridings in the country, to speak with mothers and fathers who have had their children taken, such as Chantelle Hutchison, who drove all the way from Brandon, Manitoba, to see me in Winnipeg to advocate to, somehow, get her child back, her little girl. I keep this photo of the little girl above my stove so that when I am cooking in my apartment here in Ottawa I remember why I was elected. Even though we were not able to help the mother get her child back, I hope if Chantelle is listening right now she knows that this legislation we have here today is because of her hard work advocating not only on behalf of her child but for the thousands of children and families in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and right across the country.

This legislation is so important that I call on the Conservatives to not play games anymore and to stop debate on this report, which I am sure is very important, but this child welfare bill is so important it needs to move forward. It needs to move on through this House and to the Senate. If we spend a lot of time playing these games, this legislation will not become law and we will not effect change. We will continue doing the same things we did with the Indian residential schools.

I will admit that I was mean to the Conservatives. However, I will throw them what I hope is a rose. I was proud when Stephen Harper stood in the House and gave the apology for the Indian residential schools, because it was a defining moment in the history of our nation. We were able to come together in a good way. We had indigenous leaders here. We had all-party support. The apology was made and then we built a stained glass window just outside the old chamber to commemorate it, so that every time we as parliamentarians go through our door, in and out of that chamber, we remember the Indian residential schools. I think this law is like that.

Indian residential schools were about placing children in large institutions. However, back in the sixties we slowly changed how the system worked. We started to place children up for adoption. We call that the sixties scoop, the stolen generation. Then, in the eighties, we stopped using adoption and started placing them with foster families in child welfare. We continue to do that today. It is extremely sad that it continues. We are perpetuating the same mistakes of the past but in a different way. It is more diffused. Instead of concentrating children in one place, we are spreading them around society.

Therefore, I hope we can stop debate on this lovely report. I am sure the committee members worked very hard on it. I can continue hammering away on the Conservatives if they would like. I can do it all in French, with all the costs. However, what I really want to get to is this. I think the legislation, Bill C-92, should go to committee. If we can get it passed at second reading and to committee, we can have the debate, we can hear what indigenous organizations and indigenous peoples want, deal with the legislative amendments from some provincial governments and come to a conclusion.

It was mentioned in the debate about the indigenous languages legislation from last night, which is very important, how over 30 amendments were table dropped. That does not mean the government was just willing to table legislation and not see any changes at all. It means it was willing to consult and listen to people. I think it is important that things are not written in stone when it comes out of the justice department so that improvements can be made through public discussion. That is what needs to happen with this law. It is great to debate and get people on the record here in this chamber, but what we really need is to have this legislation move on to committee, because that is where we will see that change.

I am going to leave the House with a statistic. We know there are 11,000 kids in care. We know that every day in Manitoba a newborn baby is seized, a newborn baby is taken from the mother, sometimes for good reason and sometimes not. In Manitoba, if someone was in the child welfare system and they give birth, there will be a note on their health file and if they give birth in the Manitoba health care system, their child will automatically be taken.

I see men and women come into my office, week after week, trying to get a letter of recommendation, not for immigration purposes, not for a visitor visa, but to say that they are a good parent. I look at the certificates and all the training they have gone through to become good parents and to prove they are good parents. It is strange that they have to get certificates to prove they are good parents. Not everyone else has to do that. I never had to do that. I am sure most of the members here never had to prove that they were a good parent.

However, that is what happens day in and day out in this country for some of the poorest citizens who cannot afford lawyers, who cannot afford to really advocate on their own behalf, who are sometimes only 18 or 19 years old, who got pregnant and who want to love their child.

I know there are people who will say online or will write me to say that there are terrible people who need to have their children taken. The Province of Manitoba, through the Health Sciences Centre research branch published a report looking at child welfare, and 87% of all children taken are taken not because of issues related to abuse but are taken because of issues related to poverty. That leaves 13%. Incredibly enough, that 13% is where we have allegations of abuse. Of that 13%, only 12% are substantiated abuse. This means that in the vast majority of cases, there is no abuse involved. It is just because people are too poor to look after their own children, or for other issues.

That is a travesty of justice in our age. That is why it is important that we have some consensus to stop debating report 51 and move on to Bill C-92, a historic piece of legislation that will affect great change across our nation, which is needed now, before this Parliament ends, while we have the opportunity and the chance.

Do not let this occasion slip through our fingers. Whether members win in this upcoming election or not, every parliamentarian who participates in this debate on Bill C-92, who lets this legislation move forward, will be able to look at themselves in the mirror. When they are at home and wondering why they lost or won that election, they will be able to look themselves in the eye at two o'clock in the morning and know that they made a difference.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is becoming more clear as this debate progresses is the attempt by the Liberals to distract.

What they are trying to distract from is their appalling position in terms of SNC-Lavalin, and the fact that they easily could have been debating Bill C-92 now in the chamber had they just exercised some of the tools they have at their disposal. They are trying to shift the blame. The reason the Liberals are trying to shift the blame is perhaps that the bill is as challenged as the indigenous languages bill, where they had to table drop 30 amendments, and it is unheard of for a government to have to table drop 30 amendments.

We absolutely think we should be looking at the child welfare legislation, but I hope it is not as dismally flawed as other legislation the Liberals have presented in the House.

How can the hon. member sit there and say that we need to talk about Bill C-92, when as a member of the government he is not exercising the opportunities that he has to make it happen?

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I know members love to play games. I know there are all sorts of manoeuvres that can be made using the Standing Orders. Just yesterday, two motions were proposed by the Conservatives that delayed debate on Bill C-92.

We talk about relevance here, so I am going to talk about it. I do not believe the report has any mention of SNC-Lavalin, yet the member opposite raises this issue. What does that have to do with our debate?

I would like to point something out. Some believe that the justice department and its lawyers write legislation in stone and that it is so good that when it comes out of the justice department, no changes need to be made by parliamentarians. That is wrong. Parliament should have a role to play in making changes and debating those changes when they go to committee. Our role as a Parliament is to assert our power as parliamentarians to make changes in legislation.

Let us talk about the legislation on indigenous languages. Over 30 changes were made because people were willing to listen and make those changes, and that is great. Members should listen.

If this legislation, Bill C-92, requires more changes, we are willing to listen. I know some groups want to see some little differences and they want to see a little more power being given to indigenous groups. I know the Province of Manitoba has some concerns. However, these changes happen in committee and are made by the people who study this day in and day out and who are experts in this subject matter area. They have the best understanding, as they have been studying these issues for a number of years.

I trust the member opposite has a great expertise in this area and can bring great ideas to make those changes.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11:30 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think it would be helpful for anyone watching this from home to understand the kinds of machinations that go on in this place. I agree with the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre that it would be much better if we were debating Bill C-92, the indigenous child welfare legislation. At this point, it is inadequate and needs to get to committee.

Cindy Blackstock said, “the red flags are already flying, such as the pan-Indigenous approach, the lack of a clear funding base, a lack of attention to the child welfare needs among and between first nations, Métis and Inuit.”

However, we find ourselves here because of the refusal of the Liberals on the justice committee to allow the former attorney general to speak. That puts the opposition, in this case the official opposition, the Conservatives, in a mood that says they will do anything to monkey wrench what is going on in this place.

Although I do not like monkey wrenching in general, I have to admit there is nothing that makes sense about saying that those involved in the SNC-Lavalin question of inappropriate pressure brought on our former attorney general are allowed to speak twice if they happen to represent the view of “nothing go on here, move on”. We are denied the opportunity to put critical questions to the former attorney general.

In the context of a debate that should be on something else, the Conservatives have taken the chance they have through procedural machinations and monkey wrenching. In this case, my sympathies are with the official opposition because we should not have been denied that opportunity to hear from the former attorney general, as much as I agree with the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre that we should be discussing Bill C-92.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise today in the House and join this concurrence debate.

I know this issue was discussed yesterday, but since this is my first time rising since it happened, I do want to add my voice to those of many others who have expressed condolences for the victims of the terrible terrorist attack targeting the Muslim community in New Zealand, and express my solidarity with the victims and all those who are in some way affected by this event.

I also want to highlight growing concerns about the persecution and violence targeting Christians in Nigeria. This is something I have been hearing about from constituents and I know it is a concern for many members in the House as well.

I want to set the stage with respect to the context of the debate. There is some discussion back and forth about the procedure that brings us here.

The opposition has moved a concurrence motion with respect to a report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. It is interesting to hear members of the government speak as if we just should not use the opportunity to bring forward concurrence motions that reflect important public policy issues, but instead we should only debate the things that the government puts on the agenda. This reflects a certain misunderstanding about the role of the opposition and what we are here to do. It is perfectly legitimate for the opposition to put forward motions with respect to committee reports and other issues that reflect public policy issues and reflect what we hear from our constituents. There is nothing illegitimate about the opposition doing its job in that way.

Members of the government would like to talk about aspects of their own legislative agenda, but they need to understand that this is not just about a government and an audience. This is about a government and an opposition. This is how the House of Commons is supposed to work.

We know the government would like to, and on multiple occasions has attempted to, reduce the powers and prerogatives of the opposition to indeed reduce us to a mere audience. However, this Conservative opposition has not and will not go quietly in that respect. It is important for us to assert the prerogatives of members, to assert the important role of the opposition and to use the tools that are available to us, yes, to raise, through concurrence and other measures, important public policy issues, but also to use these tools as a way of challenging the government to do better in other areas.

For instance, we have said that the former attorney general should be able to testify before the justice committee with all of the fetters off. She should be able to actually talk about why she resigned from cabinet and events that happened afterwards. Up until now, the Prime Minister and the government have not allowed that to happen. We have, in a number of ways through parliamentary procedures, highlighted the unwillingness of the government to allow that conversation to take place. Now we have members of the justice committee who are trying to shut down hearings into what happened involving the Prime Minister, the former attorney general and SNC-Lavalin. Therefore, we are very concerned about that.

We hear concerns from Canadians. They are looking for answers and want us as the opposition to use the tools that are available to us to seek answers, and certainly we are going to continue to do that. Therefore, we make no apologies for being an efficient and effective opposition; for standing up for what Canadians are saying; for raising issues around infrastructure, around the Champlain Bridge; and also for raising issues around corruption, dealing with the government. These are things we are going to continue to highlight, whether members of the government like it or not.

Parenthetically I will say that in some of the speeches and comments we have heard from members of the government, they have talked about Bill C-92, which is the legislation that apparently the Liberals were intending to bring forward today. I will draw to the attention of members the fact that Bill C-92 was tabled in the House the last Thursday before the break. Therefore, in terms of sitting days, it has been tabled here for about three days.

Canadians know that the government has been in place for approaching three and a half years. Certainly, these issues around child welfare and indigenous child welfare are important issues for discussion. The government could have moved forward with the discussion of this issue a long time ago. The Liberals could have put forward reforms that they thought appropriate much earlier in their mandate and we would have already discussed these changes and have moved forward with them. However, the government is waiting until the last possible minute to put these things forward and tabling it. Then right away the Liberals are saying that anyone who puts forward other motions and other issues for debate in the House is somehow obstructing this.

The Liberals have been way behind the eight ball in putting forward proposals in this area, and now it is someone else's fault. Their failure to take action, their failure to move the discussion forward earlier, is not something that should lead to the opposition losing its opportunity to raise other issues as well. Their lack of management of the House calendar and their own legislative agenda does not somehow create a requirement for the opposition, especially when all the Liberals would have had to do to facilitate greater co-operation in the House on matters of agenda and procedure was allow the former attorney general to speak at committee without the kind of restrictions the government is continuing to put on the former attorney general.

Canadians want and deserve to hear what she wants to say, and she wants to speak about those things as well. If the government would like to move forward, the first step is to listen to Canadians and let the former attorney general address all the issues around this sordid affair and then allow Canadians to make their own judgment.

I would like to address, in particular, the issues raised in the concurrence motion. This is report 4 of the Auditor General, which deals with the proposal to replace the Champlain Bridge in Montreal and the issue of extensions and late fees being paid by the government. It is another case of Canadians paying in the form of late fees for the mistakes of the government.

We see so many areas in which Canadians are paying more as a result of the mistakes of the government. We are seeing, as a result of that, attempts by the government to raise people's taxes. We know that those attempts to raise taxes are not the end of it from the government. Indeed, this out-of-control spending is the same thing we saw from the Kathleen Wynne Liberals in Ontario. When there is out-of-control spending, it leads to subsequent proposals from the same government for higher taxes.

We have a critical window of time to fix those failures, to get back on track in terms of spending, to address the deficit, to control the areas of failure that are costing Canadians and to thus prevent this kind of situation where taxes will have to go up.

Moving forward on the Champlain Bridge is an important project. It is a process that began with the previous Conservative government, but we have seen a failure to move this forward effectively by the current Liberal government. This is representative of a larger problem in terms of the infrastructure policies of the government. The government has failed to deliver on infrastructure in many different areas. The Liberals talk a lot about infrastructure. They have made a lot of promises about infrastructure, but they have failed to deliver.

Let us start from the beginning on the infrastructure file. The first minister of infrastructure, who is from a neighbouring riding in the Edmonton region, was very concerned about the infrastructure of his office. He was very concerned about developing the infrastructure where he and his political staff would be operating. Huge amounts of money were spent on renovations in his office, and this was widely discussed within his constituency and the surrounding area. I heard those discussions. When the priorities of the infrastructure minister should have been infrastructure Canadians use, such as roads, bridges and so on, so much in the way of public dollars went into renovating the infrastructure of his office instead.

We see repeatedly from the government announcements and reannouncements of the same projects, projects, in many cases, that were previously put in place, and a lot of the work done, under the previous government, yet we see a lack of action.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister and eight of his ministers fanned out across the country to reannounce infrastructure announcements that had already been made, which provided more opportunities for photos and selfies. However, the Liberals, when it comes to infrastructure, as in so many other areas, are all talk and no action. They are not moving forward. We see that on all sorts of key infrastructure, including the Champlain Bridge.

I would add that while there is a failure to move forward on Canadian infrastructure, the government made a decision to make a big investment in something called the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the AIIB. The AIIB is headquartered in Beijing and really is a tool of China's foreign policy to build infrastructure throughout Asia. We have seen the way the Chinese government seeks to build infrastructure as a way of extending its political influence and control throughout the continent. There is the example of a port constructed in Sri Lanka. It has raised big concerns about Chinese control and influence as a result of the way this port project has proceeded.

There are many different cases through the so-called belt and road initiative, whereby the Chinese government seeks to extend its influence by spending money on these kinds of projects. One might understand why the Chinese government sees it as in its national interest to do so. However, what I do not understand and what constituents in my riding do not understand is why it is in Canada's interest to be spending Canadian taxpayer dollars on building infrastructure in Asia through a vehicle that is designed to advance the foreign policy objectives of the Government of the People's Republic of China. That does not make sense to me and my constituents, and I do not think it makes to taxpayers anywhere.

While putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is building a pipeline in Azerbaijan and projects outside the country, we have had a failure to move forward with vital infrastructure projects here in Canada.

I have raised the issue of the dissonance between the eagerness to invest in infrastructure overseas and the failure to invest in infrastructure here in Canada. The government's response is that this is about Canadian companies now having the opportunity to bid on these projects. The Liberals say that if they give money to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, this vehicle of China's Communist government's foreign policy, Canadian companies will be able to participate in these projects. That would be an interesting argument, if it were true.

When I was in Beijing last, I visited the headquarters of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to discuss its procurement policies. It said very clearly that it has an open staffing and open procurement policy. Therefore, any company from anywhere in the world, theoretically, has the same opportunity to bid on their projects, regardless of whether the country in which that company is headquartered is a member of the bank. That was the Liberal government's one argument for putting hundreds of millions of dollars into this foreign infrastructure bank: it would provide opportunities for Canadian companies to bid. However, Canadian companies already have those opportunities.

Canadian nationals already have the opportunity to work for the bank. In fact, when we went to Beijing, we met with a Canadian national who was working for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Therefore, the Liberals' only argument for hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money going to these projects falls through. It would not have been difficult to find that information.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11:55 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, whether it is today or yesterday, the sad reality is that the Conservatives, as the official opposition, are filibustering and preventing Bill C-92 from being debated. Bill C-92 affects the lives of children. In Manitoba alone, there are over 11,000 kids in foster care, most of whom are of indigenous heritage. When one talks of reconciliation, Bill C-92 is a big part that reconciliation and provides hope in many different ways.

For the second day, the opposition has brought in another concurrence motion. There are over 500 motions and only another 49 sitting days. If it was up to the Conservatives, they would bring forward a motion every day. Their intent is to be destructive to the government and its agenda. It is as simple as that. Today Conservatives are even saying that we have other tools we should have used to force them to behave responsibly. Unfortunately, we will have to look at those because of the opposition.

Stephen Harper and the former government were going to put a toll on the Champlain Bridge. This government removed that toll, and the building of the bridge is going forward. Could the member explain why he felt the Harper government was correct in instituting a toll on that particular bridge?

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I only spoke for 20 minutes, which is not a filibuster, at least not by my standards. I think the member knows that. We are discussing an important issue of public concern, which is infrastructure. I know the government is embarrassed to have discussions about its approach to infrastructure because it is failing so badly to deliver on the commitments it made.

With respect to Bill C-92, the member for Winnipeg North feels the urgency of the issue. It is an urgent issue to discuss, yet the government, in spite of this talk today about the urgency of the issue, failed to bring forward legislative proposals for three and a half years. The bill has been tabled before the House for a total of four sitting days, including today. The government's lack of action on this does not obviate the need for significant discussion around the bill. Some of that discussion needs to take place internally before the bill is debated. Members need a bit of an opportunity to review the bill, of course, as well as for the debate to come before the House. That is part of the appropriate process of due scrutiny.

If the member for Winnipeg North wanted to see the bill pass earlier, his government should have proposed the bill at an earlier stage. As well, on the issues he is talking about relating to reconciliation, the government had somebody in cabinet with an indigenous background and significant experience within indigenous politics and who I think would have been a voice around the cabinet table and reflected that experience. The sniping we have seen toward that former minister is indicative of where the government is actually sitting when it comes to the issue of reconciliation.

On the issue of the toll, when the government makes spending commitments way outside the framework of a balanced budget, unfortunately Canadians cannot have confidence that it will follow through. It has made so many promises that it has not followed through on. This government has out-of-control deficits and promises that there will not be a toll, yet it is nowhere near meeting its spending commitments. The government promised a balanced budget in this budget being presented today. We will see if there is a balanced budget later today. I somehow doubt it. Canadians have a lack of confidence in the government's commitments because it just does not have the discipline when it comes to spending to follow through.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / noon
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.

I have noticed that his speeches are generally very detailed and well-researched. However, it is still important to point out that, generally speaking, the Conservative Party is known for its rather aggressive and somewhat crass approach. We cannot help but notice that the current approach taken by the Conservative Party is putting the Liberal Party in a very difficult position. Generally speaking, the Liberals signal left during elections and then turn right once they take office. We currently have a government that has done nothing about the things that it said were important priorities.

The member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, my neighbour's colleague, talked about the indigenous languages act yesterday. A total of 23 new amendments to the bill were flippantly proposed during the clause-by-clause study. That is reckless. It is obvious the file is being mismanaged when we look at the differences between the bill and what was said, namely that indigenous languages are so important to the Liberals and that this is such an important issue for them. Bill C-92 is a perfect example of this.

I would like my colleague to explain why the Liberal government does not take control instead of blaming the Conservatives. The government has everything it needs to do that, so that we can talk about Bill C-92.

Our parliamentary secretary said that there are only 49 sitting days left. It is shameful that the government waited so long to study such an important bill.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 19th, 2019 / noon
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member wants to talk about the budget. In fact, we wish that is what we could be talking about. Whether it is Bill C-92 or the budget, it is good stuff.

We can take a look at the Conservatives versus the Liberals on budget-related issues. We have made solid commitments to the Canada child benefit, lifting thousands of children out of poverty, and the guaranteed income supplement, lifting thousands of seniors out of poverty. We have invested in health care, in infrastructure, and we have invested and worked with provinces to develop a plan on CPP and on the price on pollution. These are all wonderful, progressive things.

I, like the member opposite, look forward to the budget, because I think we will see a continuation of the strengthening of Canada's middle class, those aspiring to be a part of it and those who are in need. These are really important issues for Canadians. I think we would both agree on that. There are issues such as the 900,000 jobs. Imagine all the taxes collected by those 900,000 new jobs.

Would the member not agree that the budget does matter?