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House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chairs.

Topics

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have a list of petitioners who call upon the Government of Canada to ensure that Canada Post supports the local economy by preserving local jobs and maintaining mail processing at post offices in local cities, towns and communities throughout New Brunswick and that prior to making any change to their mail processing and transportation network, Canada Post conduct a true and in-depth study into the service and economic impact on local communities.

The petitioners call for an open and transparent consultation with the local communities that will be impacted by the change and that Canada Post reveal its long-term operational plan to Parliament and to the Canadian public.

Aerial SprayingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have well over 1,000 names of petitioners from the Slocan Valley, Grand Forks and Nelson in my riding as well as other parts of B.C., Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and Alberta, who are concerned about what they call aerial spraying or chemtrails. They say that aerial spraying is being carried out by aerial entities at high altitudes that create long-lasting plumes. They do not act as traditional aircraft condensation trails. This is being carried out without the knowledge of the people of Canada.

The petitioners call upon the government to fully inform the people of Canada about this aerial activity occurring at high skies and to explain why it is taking place and also to cease this activity forthwith.

Animal CrueltyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition that contains hundreds of signatures from people in Victoria and Greater Vancouver, B.C., as well as parts of Ontario.

People are getting tired of hearing about animals being abused while their abusers walk free. The link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans has long been documented. Better protection of animals would also serve to protect humans in the long run.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to work with the provinces to ensure that federal and provincial laws are constructed and enforced and will ensure that those responsible for abusing, neglecting, torturing or otherwise harming animals are held appropriately accountable.

SupertankersPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to rise today to present two petitions.

The first petition is about the supertankers that are threatening British Columbia's coastline.

The petitioners are from Vancouver and Victoria. The petition is appropriate as we debate Bill C-3 today that pretends to talk about a way to protect our coastline.

The most effective way would be, as these petitioners request, the continuation of the federal-provincial moratorium against supertanker oil traffic, which has been in place since 1972.

Lyme DiseasePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 21st, 2013 / 3:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by individuals in favour of my private member's bill, Bill C-442, a bill that would create a national Lyme disease strategy.

Lyme disease is a scourge. It is becoming an epidemic. This summer the U.S. Centre for Disease Control reported that the estimate for Lyme disease in that country has gone from 30,000 new cases a year to 300,000 new cases a year.

Like myself, these petitioners hope that the House will pass my legislation for a strategy.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Statements by Prime Minister Regarding Repayment of Senator's ExpensesPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will keep my intervention relatively brief, as we look forward to the response from the government on the point of privilege that was raised in a very succinct and powerful way by my colleagues from Timmins—James Bay, as well as the opposition deputy House leader, the MP for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

I rise today, because in adding to this question of privilege we are now seeing official court documents clearly indicating, and we take this with the greatest of seriousness, that the Prime Minister deliberately misled the House this past spring. I will not repeat the numerous sources of precedents which my hon. colleagues cited on the seriousness of when a member of Parliament stands before the House and utters things that they know to be patently false.

In this case, either the Prime Minister directly misled us and Canadians, or allowed himself to be misled by his staff. Either way, this matter needs to be investigated in its proper place, at the procedure and House affairs committee, to get to the bottom of this evermore complex scandal that ties directly to the Prime Minister's own office and his inner circle of trusted advisors.

Here is what we learned today from documentation that is currently in the hands of the RCMP. On February 20, 2013, Senator Duffy wrote to his lawyer about the Prime Minister's Office. According to his lawyer, the documentation said, “Then Nigel called tonight. He was expansive, saying we [the PMO], had been working on lines and the scenario for you that would cover all of your concerns, including cash for repayment”. He also said, “We are working out this whole scenario for you, Senator Duffy, and the lines you are going to say publicly, and we are even going to pay for it”.

Now, these are court-filed documents. These are what the RCMP is currently investigating. However, what is important for us in this question of privilege is that with this information before us now as members of Parliament is that the Prime Minister's chief of staff informed Senator Duffy that the PMO was working on lines and the scenario for Mr. Duffy that would cover all of his concerns, including cash for repayment—obviously an offence under our statutes and laws—and that they were working out this whole scenario for him.

The government House leader wants us to believe that the Prime Minister did not ask his staff what was happening on an issue that was dominating the national media and certainly in question period in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister was facing these questions day after day from the Leader of the Opposition, and day after day he simply did not engage his staff on this question regarding Mr. Duffy and these illegal payments; he was the victim of his chief of staff's single-handed conspiracy against him and against the truth.

It is impossible to believe this rogue actor theory that it was Nigel Wright acting alone, when we have documents that continue to surface showing it was a coordinated effort in the Prime Minister's own office and that his own staff were involved in the cover-up.

We heard it just today. The evidence is completely contrary. This is a most serious matter, and it goes to the very heart of the principle of ministerial accountability, in this case, prime ministerial accountability. One cannot simply brush off the fact that one was caught in a lie by saying that the staff did not inform them and they only had half the information.

The principle of ministerial accountability means that ministers are accountable for what they say in this place with regard to their portfolio. With regard to the Prime Minister's own staff, with regard to the Mike Duffy repayment for cash and the cover-up that followed, it is undeniable that the evidence is mounting that the Prime Minister intentionally or unintentionally misled this House in the spring.

Parliament and Canadians deserve the facts. We can no longer fall to the lowest level of cynicism, that repeating talking points that emerge from the Prime Minister's office is somehow a replacement for the truth. That is simply not the case.

This matter of privilege, for all members of Parliament, not just the official opposition, but I would argue also for Conservative members across the way, needs to be addressed properly. It needs to be addressed succinctly. We can no longer operate under the cloud of a Prime Minister, and his most recent spokesperson standing in the House today repeating the falsehoods, hoping that by saying that all questions have been answered that it is as if all questions have been answered. That is not the case.

Mr. Speaker, I put forward this brief submission to you with the new evidence that we have been led to today, and I look forward to your ruling.

Statements by Prime Minister Regarding Repayment of Senator's ExpensesPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I thank the hon. member for his further comments and his question. I understand the hon. government House leader will be coming back at a later date, and I look forward to that.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the consideration of government business Motion No. 2, I move:

That the debate be not further adjourned.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period.

We will maintain the same rotation that we did last session. I will recognize the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to say we are getting used to this, but maybe we are even getting good at it.

The fact that the government continues to invoke closure, even on motions which the opposition finds some agreement with, is breathtaking. Its disregard for democratic principles and for Parliament to do its job is something that is historical. No other government has invoked closure and the cessation of debate more than this government. It has shut things down in a majority position, which is quite startling. One could imagine that if it was frustrated in its ambitions to pass legislation that maybe it could somehow justify this use of the guillotine on debate. However, that is not the case.

My question very simply to the government on this motion is this.

We recently received a ruling from you, Mr. Speaker, to divide the votes on this motion to allow members of Parliament to vote with a clean and clear conscience. I know it is a novel concept sometimes, but it is good to remind the government of it.

If the government House leader will be answering this, I would ask if he is in agreement with the principle that you set forth in your ruling, that members of Parliament should be allowed to conduct themselves in a way that aligns clearly with their convictions in representing constituents. If the further practice of omnibus motions and omnibus bills is the way that the government proceeds, it will thereby break the spirit of the ruling that you gave this past week.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I respect all of your rulings, and that applies equally to this particular one.

The motion that we are debating in this House, government business Motion No. 2, is one that in a normal House of Commons would proceed by unanimous consent. That has been the case many times in the past when it has been proposed. It is one that allows bills that were there in June to be restored at the stage they were at, but it goes beyond that. It takes into consideration some of the issues that have been raised, committee mandates that have been sought by opposition parties, so that the interests of everybody as they existed in June could continue to operate on an even-handed basis.

We thought that went further in terms of fairness; rather than simply cherry-picking the matters that had been proposed by the government, we would look at matters that were proposed by everybody to ensure that everybody's interests were protected, that nobody would be prejudiced by the fact of having a new throne speech, and that we could all proceed with business in an expeditious fashion.

That is what Canadians want, for their parliamentarians to work hard, but they also want them to make decisions and deliver results. That is what we are doing here.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, since it achieved its majority the way in which this Conservative-Reform Party government treats the House of Commons is quite disappointing. It treats it with a lack of respect in terms of what is necessary to move things along in an orderly fashion. This is not the way one should be governing. One does not bring in motions and then force the opposition to conclude a debate without allowing for due process.

This government and the Prime Minister have set records for the number of times they have implemented time allocation. This House leader has made it as if it were part of a normal process to bring in time allocation. Then they come up with all sorts of weird statements to try to justify it.

What the government is doing is wrong. The Prime Minister needs to instruct his government House leader that it is time to start sitting down with the opposition to try to work through agreements. There are many pieces of legislation where we would find agreement throughout the House to have the legislation go through in a normal fashion. We have to allow for debate and allow individual members to accurately represent their constituents, by standing up, speaking, and sharing their concerns and ideas about what the government is actually doing.

What the government is doing today, as it has done 50 times before in the last year, is just wrong. It is anti-democratic. It is a poor way for a reform-conservative government to be attempting to run the House of Commons.

My question for the government House leader is this. When can we anticipate that the government will start negotiating in good faith with members of the Chamber through the House leadership teams of all political parties so we can bring back some sense of normalcy to the way things are administered in the House of Commons?

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the House leader for the Liberal Party for his very constructive negotiations and engagement, in particular on government Motion No. 2, which we are considering right now. The Liberal Party was very forthcoming and agreed to the normal approach, which would be to deal with the matter dealt through a motion for unanimous consent to restore matters as they were back in June.

We appreciated that constructive approach from the Liberal House leader. We thought it was the appropriate fashion in which to operate. I was not surprised that was the response from the Liberal House leader, accustomed as I am to his business-like approach to dealing with these matters. We appreciated that opportunity to negotiate and discuss it with him and to arrive at that agreement.

I am disappointed that unfortunately the official opposition did not share the same approach. As a result, we are spending a little more House time than perhaps we would have liked to allow us to be where we were in June. To deal with that principle, on a principled basis, to allow everyone's interests to be reflected so there is no prejudice to any party or individual who had business before the House is what this motion seeks to do. It seeks to protect the interests of the opposition and the interests of the government. We are pleased to be putting that forward.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, what a surprise. We have returned from a one-month prorogation and we are yet again debating a closure motion that would shut down debate, something that is at the very heart of our democracy.

I always thought that under our system, the only bills that remained active and were not penalized by prorogation were private members' bills. The government knows very well what it is doing when it prorogues. It knows that with prorogation, any government bills that have not passed die on the order paper. We might be more open to this kind of request from the government if we had heard a different throne speech.

Since there was an extra month of no work in the House of Commons, we expected to see some drastically different things to justify the extra month the government imposed before rebooting. We were not expecting to simply lose a month of debate on the bills in question. They want to push these bills through without debate and without acknowledging that there is a price for shutting down the House for over four weeks for absolutely no reason.

Before attacking the other parties, the government should show some humility. It should also show some humility when it shoves everything together and moves omnibus motions to bring legislation back to the floor of the House of Commons.

Holding hostage the committee for abused, missing women—

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order. The hon. government House leader.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I prefer to take a more optimistic approach to characterizing the work of the people here in Parliament. In fact, our members of Parliament, through the months of May and June, actually sat on some occasions as late as 2 a.m. because we agreed to have extended hours in this House. As a result of that, we did not lose a month of debate; we actually gained more than a month of debate.

Good discussions took place here. People debated bills, and bills advanced as a result of the hard work put in by members of Parliament on all sides of the House, as should be acknowledged. As a result, a number of bills enjoyed support from all sides of this House and were able to go to committee. All we are asking is that those same bills be able to go to the same stage they were at thanks to all that hard work. It was the equivalent of well over a month of additional debate that took place in May and June.

An example would be Bill C-56, the combating counterfeit products act, which was there in May and June. As a result of the support of all parties in this House, that bill passed on a voice vote and went to committee. In fact, the NDP member for Scarborough Southwest said, “...we in the NDP do want to see this bill go back to committee...”.

This is the chance to do that, to acknowledge the work that was done by parliamentarians like him in June and to give effect to it by allowing it to be restored at committee as it was in June. It is a bill that would defend the interests of Canadians and it is supported by all parties. That is the kind of bill we are looking to see restored as a result of government business Motion No. 2.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk to the House very briefly about the role of democracy.

When I go out to schools in my community, I talk about how the government is responsible to Parliament, the peoples' representatives. We have not seen anything like that in this particular government. Every time the Conservatives bring in a time allocation, it is more and more clear that the current government does not respect the people of Canada because it does not respect the role of Parliament. It wants to change the rules at a whim. That is what this is about. This is about changing the rules to suit the Conservatives so that we can all pretend, or at least they can pretend, that the Prime Minister did not prorogue this place.

I would like to know if the government intends to continue with omnibus motions. We have certainly had our fill of omnibus budget bills that have allowed the Conservative government to push through incredibly destructive legislation, such as all the repeals to environmental protection and the changes to the Navigable Waters Act.

Just this past weekend I was in a community that is suffering in terms of those changes and is facing a dump being foisted upon them.

I would like to know from the Conservative government when it is going to respect communities, respect the role of Parliament, and respect the rules of this place.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the very essence of this motion is to respect the work done by parliamentarians. It is to give effect to the work that parliamentarians did last spring. It is to allow that time not to be lost in vain.

This is to actually give effect to the committee mandates that were given by this House, the debates that took place on bills, and the advancement of those bills to different stages. That respects the work of Parliament. That respects the work of parliamentarians. To do otherwise would, I think, disrespect the work of parliamentarians.

The legislation the member mentioned is not the subject of this motion. However, an example of a bill that is the subject of this motion would be the not criminally responsible reform act. Again, it is a bill that was supported in a vote by all members of this House. As a result, it was able to advance well beyond second reading.

If I were to listen to the NDP members right now, although they voted to have the bill advance before, they now no longer want that to be the case. They want to go back, start from the beginning, and throw away the hard work of parliamentarians on a bill they themselves claim to support.

I think if we talk to any ordinary Canadian, they would regard that as a little nonsensical. They would regard it as actually disrespecting the work of Parliament.

Our objective with this motion is to show real respect for the work of parliamentarians, allow what we did this spring to continue, and allow the achievements of all of us together during the spring to stand.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to this motion and to Motion No. 2, which the government wants us to pass.

I will not read this long text, because that is not what matters. What matters is understanding why we are debating it and why we are to vote on it here today. I believe it is because the Conservative government decided to prorogue Parliament this summer. As a parliamentarian, I have to wonder why the government did that.

We were told that it was in order to give the government more time to work on the Speech from the Throne, which I found rather insipid overall. I would therefore like to ask the member opposite a question. I wonder if he could confirm what I think. Basically, did the Conservatives want to have another month in the summer to simply relax, because the spring was too tough on them?

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the good news was that parliamentarians worked for more than a whole extra month's worth of debate time in the House in May and June. As a result, the House was able to get great things done, and it was not just the bills that we are seeking to have restored at the stage they were read: overall, in the first five months of this year, 37 pieces of legislation reached royal assent. In fact, that matches the most productive year of the Conservative government back in 2007, when we were in a minority, and we did that in just five months. That was done through the hard work of all parliamentarians, including sitting, on some occasions, as late as 2:00 a.m. to get work done here in May and June.

People did not take time off. People here worked very hard. They worked extra hard and put in extra time.

The question before us now is whether we shall throw away some of the product of that extra time, pretend it did not happen, and force everybody to go back to "go", or should we respect the hard work of parliamentarians, the debates that occurred, and the advancement of legislation, which in most cases all parties supported? Perhaps that was not so in some cases, but bills such as the not criminally responsible reform act and the tackling contraband tobacco act were apparently supported by the NDP.

We would encourage them to once again support their continued processing through the parliamentary process.

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, again we see another time allocation.

It is about democracy. Democracy means giving us an opportunity to debate the issues and to ensure that the government is not being challenged through court after court for something that it has rushed into, yet this is what we have been seeing over and over again.

These time allocations are not good for democracy. They are not good for the country. How could the member actually stand up and say that this is the best thing that can happen? Yes, there has been a lot of legislation put through, but let us be very clear that a lot of that legislation was done through time allocation and a lot of it was not supported by Canadians.

If the Conservatives were serious about dealing with issues, they would be calling for a national inquiry with respect to the missing and murdered aboriginal women and would not be trying to hold them as pawns. If they were serious about dealing with issues, they would be working extremely hard on making sure that they consult and work on the treaty implementation areas.

Instead of standing up and calling time allocation after time allocation and pretending that the House was never prorogued, why do the Conservatives not do the right thing and make sure that the issues that matter most to Canadians are discussed, as opposed to what they are doing, which is not dealing with the issues of the day?

MOTION THAT DEBATE BE NOT FURTHER ADJOURNEDBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE AND ITS COMMITTEESGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the greatest way to respect democracy is to respect the democratic decisions made in the House, including the decision made on the first nations elections act to deliver democracy to first nations and give them greater democratic rights.

In fact that bill, one of the bills we are discussing and one that passed at second reading on division, would establish an alternative modern-day legislative framework apart from the Indian Act system. It would provide for a more robust election system that individual first nations can choose. It would be up to them to choose whether they wish to opt in, but they can choose to do so. It is actually based on recommendations provided by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs and the first nations Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

We have a bill to provide greater democracy for first nations, a bill that they have proposed, that is optional, and that advanced in the House. The New Democrats would now have us believe that although it passed on division, they now wish it to go back to the beginning. That would not be a step forward for democracy, but a step backward. That is why a bill like this is a positive one.

At the same time, the motion that we have in front of us is one that would also restore the mandate for the committee looking into murdered and missing aboriginal women. It is balanced in that we are dealing with everybody's mandates, mandates that everyone put forward. The issue the member mentioned is very important to her; that would again be a reason to support government Motion No. 2.

Our approach throughout in preparing this motion has been to go beyond the traditional approach of focusing only on government bills and to take into consideration everybody's interests so that nobody is prejudiced by the fact that we had a new throne speech. That is what government business Motion No. 2 proposes, and that is why I hope it will be welcomed by all members of the House. It is designed to be fair to all members of the House.