House of Commons Hansard #217 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was scientific.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, it was the Senate that actually invited the Auditor General in to examine all expenses of the Senate. If any senator is found to have broken the law, then of course taxpayers would expect that senator to face the full consequences of the law.

However, it is no different for members of Parliament. There are 68 members of the NDP who owe over $2 million back to the taxpayer, another 23 who owe over $1 million back to the taxpayer, and this summer we will see the sad spectacle of the Leader of the Opposition and other members in court trying to defend that.

Canadian taxpayers want their money back.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty sad for a Prime Minister who promised us transparent government and hides behind the antics of that man. It says a lot.

Speaking of hiding, we know how the government has tried to drive the access to information system into the ground and obstruct the commissioner at every turn. Now we are learning that it is using summer students to vet government documents, including issues of cabinet confidences, issues of privacy, issues of timely access in which Canadians have a right to information.

This is just plain incompetence. Other than hiring students from Kijiji, does the government have any plan to address the terrible crisis of access to information in this country?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, what I can say in this place is that there have never been more access to information requests that have been followed through on, that have been responded to. It is a record number. I believe it is 46,000.

That is the record of this government. The requests come in, they are processed, and they are responded to. That is the access to information regime. We are proud to have this open government that responds to the requests of the citizenry.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it turns out the Conservatives have also been hiding the facts when it comes to security issues.

The minister has repeatedly insisted that the Security Intelligence Review Committee has a mandate to fully oversee CSIS, but it turns out this is not the case.

Yesterday, the head of the Security Intelligence Review Committee said it cannot follow information once shared with other departments, yet this is exactly the power being dramatically expanded by the Conservatives.

Can the minister explain why he has once again been caught misleading Canadians on Bill C-51?

Public SafetyOral Questions

May 26th, 2015 / 2:30 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let me just inform my colleague that economic action plan 2015 proposes to commit up to $2.5 million over five years, ongoing, in additional funding to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, a Canadian institution, a Canadian model of which we can be very proud, and an example for the world.

When will the NDP get serious about terrorism, put its money where its mouth is, and support our budget?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem has to do with more than just resources. The head of the Security Intelligence Review Committee himself says that the committee's mandate is too limited. Bill C-51 will allow our intelligence service to share information with 17 other agencies, but it will not allow the Security Intelligence Review Committee to know what these 17 other agencies are going to do with that information.

Why did the government not expand the committee's mandate as called for by the NDP?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my colleague that the Security Intelligence Review Committee has a broad mandate and can investigate all the operations conducted by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, here and abroad. It can even travel to other countries for that purpose. In contrast to the superficial parliamentary oversight that we see in other countries, the committee gets to the bottom of things.

Bill C-51 has the committee report to Parliament. We are obviously open to continuing to ensure that it is fully transparent and that it ensures that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service carries out its main mandate of protecting Canadians.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness should know that Canadians are opposed to Bill C-51, mainly because of the lack of oversight. Yesterday, the head of the committee complained about being hamstrung when it came to overseeing the sharing of information between agencies. In the case of the Afghan detainees, it was the Department of National Defence, and not the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, that had the information. It is therefore simply impossible to investigate.

Does the minister think it is acceptable to limit the oversight of our intelligence agencies?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I am thinking about the Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: every institution has recourse and monitoring mechanisms.

It is important to remind my colleague that these measures were put in place to protect Canadians. The public understands, since a recent poll indicates that more than 71% of Canadians support our anti-terrorism measures. More importantly, these measures will be in place to truly protect the public. I thank my Conservative colleagues for supporting these measures.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec and the Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec have reiterated their call for the Conservatives to protect the supply management system. The Prime Minister even said that Canada would have to make difficult choices in the trans-Pacific partnership negotiations, which is causing concern in Quebec's agri-food industry.

Will the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food meet with his Quebec counterpart to renew the Conservatives' commitment to protecting supply management? It is a simple question: yes or no.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Brampton—Springdale Ontario

Conservative

Parm Gill ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our government will continue to promote Canadian trade interests across all sectors of our economy, including supply management. That has never prevented us from successfully completing other free trade agreements, such as free trade with Europe and South Korea. We make absolutely no apologies for ensuring that any deal reached must be in Canada's best interests. As always, we will only sign a trade agreement if it significantly benefits Canadian businesses, workers, and their families.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the past is any indicator, we cannot trust the Conservatives.

A government memo shows that the trade negotiations between Canada and Japan are still at a standstill after three years. What is more, Japan has rejected two invitations from the Conservatives to resume discussions this year. An agreement with Japan would contribute nearly $4 billion to the Canadian economy.

What is the Conservatives' plan to bring Japan back to the negotiating table?

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Brampton—Springdale Ontario

Conservative

Parm Gill ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we obviously know what the NDP's position is when it comes to trade. It has opposed virtually every single deal we have signed, and we have signed 38 since coming into office. Canada continues to engage with our Japanese partners to advance our trade interests both through bilateral talks and at the TPP. The TPP negotiations are at advanced stages, with all TPP countries focused upon concluding a comprehensive and high-standard agreement as soon as possible.

We will continue to negotiate with an eye to concluding the best possible agreement for Canadian businesses, workers, and their families.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP policy on trade is to have a transparent policy that brings good Canadian jobs to this country and helps Canadian businesses on the world stage.

While the Conservatives keep up their public bluster on trade, internal government communications tell a different story. Officials now admit that trade negotiations with Japan have ground to a halt. A good deal could be worth billions for our economy, but the Conservatives cannot even set a date for talks.

Why has the minister allowed this opportunity to stall, and what is he doing to get Japan back to the bargaining table?

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Brampton—Springdale Ontario

Conservative

Parm Gill ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has consistently opposed our efforts to open up new markets for Canadian businesses. In fact, it has an abysmal record when it comes to the trade file. The fact is that the NDP is ideologically opposed to any and all trade. New Democrats do not understand trade; they do not like trade. Only this Conservative government is focused on the priorities of Canadians when it comes to creating jobs and opportunities.

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, PIPSC, the union representing government scientists, is asking for an unprecedented scientific integrity package in its collective bargaining agreement. Rather than asking for a raise, they are asking the government to unmuzzle science. They are explicitly seeking protection from “coercion to alter their data”.

Canadians need to trust that government policies to keep us safe and healthy are based on objective evidence that has not been altered for partisan ends.

Will the President of the Treasury Board agree to this no-cost ask in upcoming contract negotiations?

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the hon. member is shilling for the union bargaining unit with its latest demands from the taxpayers. That is his right to do so, if he so chooses.

What we choose to do is bargain fairly and reasonably with the bargaining unit on behalf of the taxpayers to make sure we have fair and reasonable agreements that are affordable to the taxpayer, and we will continue to do so.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Deschamps report found that the hostile sexualized climate in the military is so ingrained that the chain of command turns a blind eye.

However, Major General Whitecross who has been deputized to fix the problem admits that there is still little consensus within the ranks as to its seriousness at all.

For example, it took five months for Julie Lalonde to get an apology after being verbally attacked for giving a sexual assault prevention lecture at Royal Military College.

The minister is missing in action on the Deschamps report and refused to attend Monday's committee meeting at all. Why, and when will he take personal responsibility and finally do something to restore a positive, supportive environment for all our men and women in this very important workplace?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, this kind of question is par for the course for that member, unfortunately. The military takes this matter extremely seriously, and every one of the general command of the Canadian Armed Forces has expressed great concern about the issues addressed by the Deschamps commission.

In fact, it was the Chief of the Defence Staff himself who appointed Madam Justice Deschamps to do that report and who appointed Major General Whitecross to begin implementing a strategy for zero tolerance approach to sexual misconduct.

I appeared before committee for two hours just a couple of weeks ago. I am always happy to appear. Yesterday, I was chairing the cabinet committee, and sometimes our schedules do not mesh, but I would be happy to come to the committee.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister is in denial.

The Deschamps report indicates that changes need to be made even among the senior ranks of the Canadian Forces to eliminate the culture of sexual misconduct. Officer cadets verbally attacked Julie Lalonde when she was giving a lecture on preventing sexual assault at the Royal Military College. She waited five months for an apology.

When will the minister show some leadership by implementing all of the recommendations in the Deschamps report?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, the member is well aware that the Canadian Armed Forces is responsible for disciplining its members and ensuring that there is zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. That is why the Chief of the Defence Staff asked Ms. Deschamps to write this report. He put Major-General Whitecross in charge of implementing the 10 recommendations set out in the report. We will not tolerate sexual misconduct within the Canadian military.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Major-General Christine Whitecross was clear yesterday in committee. The top brass apparently does not agree on the scope of the problem with sexual misconduct within the Canadian Forces. However, the Deschamps report was very clear. This is a systemic problem that has existed for decades. It will not be possible to change attitudes within the forces without some leadership from the government.

Will the minister finally break his silence and commit to protecting victims by putting an end to this hostile culture?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, it was under this government that the Chief of Defence Staff appointed a former Supreme Court justice to produce a fully independent and in-depth report on the issue of sexual assault within the Canadian Armed Forces.

It was under this government that the Chief of Defence Staff appointed a general to manage the response of the Canadian Armed Forces, in order to develop a zero tolerance approach to sexual assault. That is the position of the Canadian Armed Forces and of this government.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, despite the clear findings of systemic sexual misconduct, harassment and assault in the Canadian military, and the failure to properly address it, Major-General Whitecross still finds that “there is little consensus as to the gravity of the existing problem” among leaders in the military.

The Deschamps report is absolutely clear that there is a culture of sexual misconduct within the forces that requires strong leadership to fix.

After making a public commitment to do so, why did the minister refuse to come to the defence committee yesterday and answer questions about his response to the report? When will he start to show his leadership and ownership of this problem?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, if the minister were to micromanage the military command, the opposition would complain about political interference.

I appeared at the committee for two hours the last time that it met. In fact, it was supposedly on the estimates, but the member opposite did not ask me a single question about the estimates.

Members know that I am very accessible to the committee. I was out chairing a cabinet committee yesterday. I am always happy to appear before the committee.

The important thing is that the general who has been appointed with the specific mandate to implement the recommendations of the Deschamps report was there before the committee. If the member would like, I would be happy to appear whenever our schedules mesh.