Appropriation Act No. 1, 2021-22

An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.

Sponsor

Jean-Yves Duclos  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

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

This enactment grants the sum of $59,304,837,417 towards defraying charges and expenses of the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022 that are not otherwise provided for.

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.

Votes

March 25, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-27, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022
March 25, 2021 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-27, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022
March 25, 2021 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-27, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022

Opposition Motion—Elections During a PandemicBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2021 / 3:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity today to discuss this opposition motion that was introduced by the member for La Prairie. It is a very important discussion to be having, and I have been listening closely to what members from all sides of the House have had to say about this.

I will admit I am perplexed, as I mentioned in a few different interventions today. Despite the fact that I am squarely in the camp of those who do not want to have an election during a pandemic, I am concerned about the manner in which this motion is being brought forward by the Bloc Québécois. Namely, only two days ago during question period, the member for Beloeil—Chambly, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, said in response to a question from the Prime Minister that he was not afraid of an election and to bring it on.

The Conservatives and the Bloc seem to be startled by the concept that we would like to be prepared in the event of an election, one that could easily be triggered by the opposition. They seem to be confused by that, yet we have the leader of the Bloc Québécois saying to bring it on. This is what he actually said during question period. When the leader of the Bloc Québécois, a party that quite often is put in the position of being the party that decides between going to an election and not, makes comments like that it gives a great need to be properly prepared and bring forward legislation as is being brought forward in Bill C-19.

I also find it very interesting that the Bloc Québécois has talked about consensus when talking about Bill C-19. There is a need to ensure we have consensus when changing our election laws in this country. Bloc members have mentioned it many times today, but this is extremely hypocritical.

Something else that relies tremendously on consensus in the House is changing our Standing Orders. For those who do not know, when we change the Standing Orders, the rules that govern how we debate in the House, how we conduct ourselves and how we follow procedures, they are usually changed with consensus. Only a year ago, the Bloc Québécois teamed up with the Conservatives, the NDP, the Green members and probably the independents at the time to change the Standing Orders and change the number of opposition days given.

Bloc members come in here and say that we need consensus for Bill C-19 and that there absolutely must be consensus among all parties. However, their actions a year ago when it came to changing the Standing Orders indicated that consensus was not needed because they had a majority. The rules could just be changed with their majority. I find it extremely hypocritical when the Bloc comes in here and starts preaching about consensus.

Of course the response to that suggestion, as I heard before, is that the rules were only being changed temporarily to add those three days. They were not being changed indefinitely. Guess what? Bill C-19 is just a temporary bill. It would temporarily be putting some temporary rules in place in the event that an election happens to get called.

The Bloc really needs to stand up. Somebody needs to stand up and explain to me what the difference is between consensus on Bill C-19 and consensus on Standing Orders. From my position, the only difference is the Bloc's opinion on the matter and its desire on the outcome. We need very important measures in place during a minority Parliament in the event that an election happens to be called, and people change their minds all the time.

The Conservatives right now are saying that they do not want an election, but I sat in the House for five years when the Conservatives said that they did not want carbon pricing. Guess what? They changed their minds on that. Who is to say that they will not change their minds on an election? Maybe, in the event that the Conservatives suddenly say they have changed their minds, as they did on carbon pricing, and that they want an election now, we should have some measures in place on how our Chief Electoral Officer should run an election. That is all that Bill C-19 would do.

Members have been saying it is a permanent change to our election process. I have heard Conservative after Conservative say that we are changing the way that Canadians vote and other misleading information, such as that we could count the ballots until the day after the election, which is totally false. One small exception built into the legislation talks about if an election happens on a holiday Monday when mail is not delivered, then there should be a consideration to count those ballots on the Tuesday morning because they would not have been delivered on the Monday. However, the Conservatives talk about a massive shift in the way that we run elections and count ballots, and about counting ballots after election day.

Think of the possibilities of that happening. There are only so many holiday Mondays during the year, and if it happened it would only be because the mail was not delivered. However, there is a deeper problem to this. When people start making comments like that, when they start talking about counting ballots afterwards, it starts to sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of Canadians as it relates to the integrity of their elections. Did we see that anywhere else recently? I think we did. Not that long ago, our neighbours to the south had a leader who sowed the seeds of doubt for months. I think all members of the House would do very well to be very careful when it comes to sowing the seeds of doubt about our electoral process.

Members need to be up front. If they have a problem with the fact that under certain circumstances ballots might have to be counted on a Tuesday, if the Monday was a holiday, they should at least identify that is the case. They should not outright say that all ballots will be counted after. They could then take it to committee and see if the committee could look at how to fine-tune that, but they should not intentionally sow the seeds of doubt in Canadians. I will say I am skeptical on this, because when PROC was studying this in the spring I was on the committee and indeed, Conservative members at the time were sowing the seeds of doubt. I would refer members to David Akin's reporting from back at that time, where he specifically said as he was watching the committee meeting that Conservatives were sowing seeds of doubt about the validity of mail-in ballots.

Bill C-19 is really about temporary measures. It is about putting measures in place just in case. I have also heard numerous members in the House talk about the Liberals being the only ones talking about an election. The member for Calgary Nose Hill said that. I encourage anyone to go on to the Twitter and Facebook feeds of the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, and tell me who keeps talking about an election. The Conservatives shared a tweet yesterday. As if there was nothing else to get political gain from, they shared a tweet of a meme that had two pictures in it. The top picture was a bunch of people having fun and dancing in the sun. Above it, it said a one-dose summer.

The picture below that was of a middle-aged man with an oxygen mask on his face, lying in a hospital bed. The caption above that said “Trudeau's summer”. I am referencing it. I am quoting it. I maybe should not have said that. I am happy to be corrected.

However, that is what it said. My point is, who is looking for an election right now? Who is trying to gain political points right now? Go no further than the social media feeds of the two political parties, and we will see who is talking about an election.

We have the Conservative Party blasting out these tweets that are politically motivated. We have the Bloc Québécois whose leader said in the House, two days ago during question period, “bring it on,” in reference to an election, and then opposition members are standing here trying to wrap their heads around why it is we want to be prepared with Bill C-19. It really should not be a mystery to anybody.

If that does not convince Canadians, how about the fact that on 14 occasions, Conservatives and Bloc members have voted non-confidence in the government? It happened on March 8, with Bill C-14; on March 25, with a concurrence motion to pass supplementary estimates; on March 25, with Bill C-26 at second reading, report stage and third reading; on March 25, with concurrence on the interim supply; on March 25, with Bill C-27, which was more interim supply. All of these were confidence votes. On April 15, there was the fall economic statement, Bill C-14; on April 21, there was the budget motion; on April 22, the budget motion amendment; on April 26, another budget motion; on April 30, there was the motion to introduce the budget implementation act. Time after time, opposition members are voting against the government and showing they do not have confidence.

I will hand it to the member for Elmwood—Transcona, who said earlier in his intervention that it was necessary for somebody to work with the government. I will hand it to the NDP: It works with the government from time to time. We used to see that in the beginning, a little, from the Bloc as well. We totally do not see that anymore. The NDP still does, to a certain degree.

I know I am getting towards the end of my time. I want to highlight one more thing with respect to the motion. If we look at the “second resolved clause” in this, it says:

In the opinion of the House, holding an election during a pandemic would be irresponsible, and that it is the responsibility of the government to make every effort to ensure that voters are not called to the polls as long as this pandemic continues.

I agree with this. Actually, I agree with the motion by and large. What I disagree with is that it is only the responsibility of the government. I believe that this is the responsibility of all of Parliament. The government certainly has its job to do in making sure that we can avoid an election to the best that we are humanly possible, but the opposition has a responsibility to do that as well. The opposition plays a key role here in a minority Parliament. It could very easily take down the government, as I have indicated numerous times throughout my speech. I think it is important that what is reflected in this motion is the fact that the opposition has to play a role in that too.

With that, I would like to move an amendment to this opposition motion presented by the member for La Prairie, and I hope it will garner the support of this House. It is seconded by the member for Kanata—Carleton.

I move that the motion be amended by adding, after the words “responsibility of the government”, the words “and opposition parties.”

May 4th, 2021 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

I am indeed here. I am pleasantly surprised to get a turn a little earlier than I thought. I raised my hand when there was some talk of how we might have a discussion to move past this.

Obviously, there is a lot in Ms. Vecchio's motion about the WE Charity scandal, but what's important to note is that my Liberal colleagues on the committee have also made this about the WE Charity scandal, because they refuse to have a vote because they are trying to protect, presumably, the Prime Minister for sure and others who were mentioned in the original motion from having to come to discuss the WE Charity scandal. All that is to say it's very much the Liberals on the committee who, as much anybody else, have made this about the We Charity scandal.

What I've tried to propose is a way forward that puts the focus back on prorogation. We've heard many times—and I don't think it's in dispute—that the Prime Minister effectively.... While it's the prerogative of the Crown to prorogue Parliament, she does that on the advice of the Prime Minister. It's effectively the Prime Minister's prerogative to decide when Parliament is prorogued.

There are obviously differences of opinion about the reasons for the Prime Minister's prorogation. We've heard also some disagreement, and I think some real questions. We've even heard from Liberals at committee that, well, you know, the length of the prorogation might have been different, and maybe they didn't quite get that right and the timing of when it began.

There are some questions about the nature of the prorogation. We know that the Prime Minister is the decision-maker. I've offered many times on the record and off the record to various folks on the Liberal side that we could bring this back to the topic of prorogation by having the Prime Minister at committee for an hour and, as far as I'm concerned anyway, dispense with the rest. I know there are other committees pursuing the WE Charity question, and rightly so, but for as long as my Liberal colleagues are going to continue to filibuster in order to defend other Liberals from having to talk about the WE Charity scandal, this is what it's about.

If we're going to end up voting on this motion, then I'm going to support the Conservatives' motion. There's no doubt in my mind about that. The question then becomes, can we get back to making this about prorogation? That means having the sole decision-maker on prorogation come before the committee. I know that I'm not saying anything that's actually new here, but I think it's important because we've heard so much, so many words, from other colleagues that I think it's easy to lose the thread here.

The reason we're having this study is that the Prime Minister himself proposed this as a mechanism to prevent political abuses of prorogation. There can be legitimate reasons for prorogation. I think I've said here before—maybe I haven't—that the Manitoba legislature routinely prorogues. Every year, they come back with a Speech from the Throne. There have been uncontroversial prorogations in Canada's history. There were several, I think, in the Chrétien era. Nobody has talked about them, because they weren't interesting.

There are a lot of ways to prorogue Parliament. I'm not disputing that it is a tool that can be used. The pandemic is clearly all-consuming, so the idea that there might be a prorogation having to do with that is not outlandish. It's just that it happened to be announced the day after the minister of finance resigned right in the middle of a scandal and the day before a whole bunch of documents were due that might have shed some light on that scandal. I think any right-thinking person might think that there really is a connection there.

Yes, there may be questions for the Prime Minister about the WE Charity scandal, but also about the timing of the beginning of that prorogation. There are also questions about why the Prime Minister saw fit not to end it earlier, for instance, and to have us come back in order to have a far more fulsome discussion than what took place in Parliament about the expiration of the CERB program and what would replace it. We know, of course, that the legislation ended up being rushed through and there were some problems with that legislation.

Again, when we talk about the sickness benefit and then people later using that in order to quarantine from international travel that they had taken against the advice of the government, that was something that.... All parties agreed to that legislation and didn't identify that as a problem, but in fairness to opposition parties, I'll say that we didn't have a lot of time with that legislation. It was tabled and had to be passed in a matter of days, because the CERB deadline was there, despite the fact that I know I can say with certainty that New Democrats were calling for the House to sit in the month of September so that we could have that longer discussion.

There are a lot of legitimate questions about the timing and the nature of the prorogation that belong rightly with the sole decision-maker in respect of prorogation in the context of a study that has come about as a result of his own proposal for how best to prevent abuses of prorogation.

It makes perfect sense to have the Prime Minister here for one hour, and we could move on. I am putting that back on the table. I welcome a discussion about why it is that people don't think one hour of the Prime Minister 's time, in order to make good on his own proposal for how to prevent abuses of prorogation, the kind that we saw in the Harper years....

I would like some of my Liberal colleagues to say, if they think it's true, that had this mechanism existed in the Harper Parliaments, they would not have thought it was appropriate for Stephen Harper to come before PROC and defend his government's position. Then maybe explain how this mechanism is actually supposed to prevent political abuse of prorogation if the only decision-maker doesn't actually have to defend the decision in questioning to committee, because then I don't think it's a very good mechanism.

Of course, people at this committee will know that I think the best mechanism would actually be to have Parliament vote on prorogation because in instances of non-controversial prorogations—as I have said, there have been more of those than not in Canada's history—I don't think it would be difficult to get Parliament's assent to a prorogation. But in cases where it is controversial, then I actually think it's Parliament that should decide whether Parliament rises. It's Parliament that should decide whether all the work of committees is suspended or not. It's Parliament that ought to decide whether the legislative agenda gets cleared or not.

If a government doesn't want to move forward with certain legislation, it's always their prerogative not to put it up for debate on any given date. We saw that. Bill C-27 was a bill, a bad bill, I might add, that was presented by the Liberal majority government in the last Parliament, and I don't know that it was debated at all, in fact. I was relieved. I would have preferred that the government just withdraw it to give people peace of mind about their pension. That always hung over people's heads in the last Parliament, so withdrawing it would have been a better way forward, or dare I say, even a prorogation mid-Parliament.

There were times in the last Parliament that I did say that I thought we were about due for a prorogation. There was a lot of stuff on the Order Paper that the government clearly wasn't interested in moving forward with and I thought it would be good to just have the government reset its direction. Then the government picked the most controversial moment that it possibly could have, raising the spectre of political abuse for prorogation after over five years in government. So yes, we have questions. That's fair. That's what Parliament is for. That's what the accountability function of Parliament is all about. It's a principle of responsible government that elected parliamentarians be able to pose questions directly to decision-makers within government. Let's get the Prime Minister here and let's get this study over with and let's move on to something else.

Thank you to Mrs. Shanahan for allowing me to make that intervention sooner rather than later.

Thanks to the committee for listening to that again.

Interim SupplyGovernment Orders

March 25th, 2021 / 7:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Interim SupplyGovernment Orders

March 25th, 2021 / 7:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos Liberal Québec, QC