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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rcmp.

Topics

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister is committed to making it the last election under first past the post whether Canadians want that or not. He is not prepared to allow the country to speak.

At today's press conference, the minister stated that committing to a referendum too early, as opposed to at all, would be like putting the cart before the horse, to which one of the reporters in the room responded that deciding that the 2015 election was the last under first past the post before coming up with an alternative is the real act of putting the cart before the horse.

There is every possibility the proposed new voting system would be less fair, less open, and less popular than the status quo. Therefore, it should have to defeat the status quo in a referendum—

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The right hon. Prime Minister

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we made it very clear in the last election that if we were elected, we would ensure this would be the last election under first past the post. It was not our compelling argument that convinced Canadians; it was what the last government did with its majority that convinced Canadians this must be the last election under first past the post.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we have just seen, the Liberals have repeated time and time again that the current electoral system is “unfair” and that it produces false majorities, that is until they got elected.

The facts are that over 60% of Canadians did not vote for the Liberal Party. The Prime Minister seemed to acknowledge the problem, but then he stacked the committee so Liberals could, alone, impose the next voting system on everyone.

Will the Prime Minister reverse his undemocratic decision and allow for a fully representative committee, where each member has the right to vote? Is that not the essence of democracy?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the essence of democracy is that we put forward a very clear plan to ensure that this was the last election—

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Members will come to order. We know this is a partisan place. It is supposed to be adversarial, and that is fine. There are going to be strong arguments on both sides, and that is good, however, let us listen to them, please.

The Right Hon. Prime Minister has the floor.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadians voted overwhelmingly for change in the last election. We proposed real change that would make this the last election under first past the post.

Our committee is actually the first committee to pull together members from every party. We are going to work seriously and focus in a way that will bring forward a better alternative for Canadians. We trust Canadians in their capacity to get the governments they elect. If you choose—

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Outremont.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, what part of this does the Prime Minister not understand? Members from two of those committees are being denied the right to vote. He has to change that.

Canadians have a hard time believing that the process is not rigged. The government will have a majority on the committee, and we know that the Liberal Party has already decided on the so-called preferential voting system, which is to the party's advantage.

Can the Prime Minister reassure Canadians and guarantee that his government will not act unilaterally without the support of all the other parties?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

May 11th, 2016 / 2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we were very clear during the election campaign that we would replace first past the post.

We were clear. That was the last election under this type of system, and we will change it. Canadians gave us a majority. We will use this majority to make it harder to elect a government that does not represent the views and perspectives of all Canadians. That is what Canadians expect, and that is what I will do.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, people expect parliamentarians to be an example of democracy.

Last month, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said in the House that he would block export permits for Saudi Arabia “if the military equipment is ever used to violate human rights”.

The videos speak for themselves: Saudi Arabia is using this type of equipment to crush civilians.

I have a straightforward question for the Prime Minister. Does he think that this video depicts actions that violate human rights, yes or no?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have said from the very beginning that the Canadian government, led by me, will not cancel a contract signed by a previous government.

Indeed, the leader of the New Democratic Party has pointed out that we do not cancel a commercial contract retroactively. It is just not done. The NDP member for London—Fanshawe said, “I said very distinctly, in no way wishy-washy, that this is a signed contract and that we are going to be honouring the contract.”

We are keeping the promise we made to Canadians since well before the election campaign.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the export permits that the Liberals signed after the election campaign.

After the United Nations reports on human rights in January, and after today's video, the government has no excuse to continue with this arms sale to Saudi Arabia so it can crush civilians with that type of equipment.

There is now evidence and we want to know if this really is the first piece of evidence the Prime Minister has seen of Saudi Arabia abusing human rights with armoured vehicles. We have trouble believing that no one in the government knew this before it appeared in The Globe and Mail.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, again, the member opposite was very clear during the election campaign that he understood how important it was for Canada to hold up to its word. We need to be able to project upon the world that when Canada agrees to something, it sticks to its word. He pretended to understand that in the election campaign. He pretended to understand that whenever he visited London. The fact is that he is throwing his own words out the window, because we need to ensure that we are respected on the world stage by keeping our word.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, as usual, the Liberal government's words do not match its actions. The Minister of Democratic Institutions claims that she wants to put partisan interests aside and that it is truly not about a skewed partisan interest. Except, all decisions on electoral reform will be made by six Liberals who form the majority on the committee. She also said that the ultimate decision on what system would be proposed would be made by cabinet.

If this really is not about partisan interests, why not allow all Canadians to have a direct say on electoral reform?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, it is a good day for Canadian democracy. Today we delivered on our commitment to establish an all-party parliamentary committee to study and bring forward recommendations to bring our electoral system into the 21st century.

We have taken a unique approach and we have shown leadership by including all parties, the Bloc, the Green Party, the NDP, and the Conservatives, around this table. I will add that this is the only committee that has all parties at the table. I look forward to the collaborative approach we will all take.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, it will only be a good day for democracy when the Liberals commit to a referendum.

The Minister of Democratic Institutions claims that all voices should be heard and treated with respect on electoral reform. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister insists that he will change the system without the permission of Canadians. He is against a referendum because he knows the people will not support his undemocratic changes.

If the government truly cares about what each and every Canadian has to say, why is it so afraid to hold a referendum?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, it is a great day for Canadian democracy. We committed to establishing a committee that would ensure there would be 338 town halls conducted across our great nation. The onus is upon us all, as members of the House, to ensure that the voices of those who do not currently have a say in politics are heard.

We need to have a conversation about ways to engage young people, women, new Canadians, seniors, those with disabilities and exceptionalities, and indigenous persons into this conversation. That is the debate.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. Every now and then, members may hear something from other members they do not like. However, in this place, we want to show respect for this institution, the Canadians who sent us here. We want to recognize that we have young people in the galleries. Let us listen, please.

The hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, if Liberals feel that the very system that elected them is illegitimate, then they cannot claim to have a mandate to make such a fundamental change to our voting system. Now they are setting up a committee that is designed to give them the answer that is best for them, and they have given themselves a majority on the committee as they attempt to bring in changes that will solely benefit them.

If the Liberals think the system that elected them is illegitimate, why are the Liberals giving themselves a majority on the committee?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, it is out of a great deal of respect for the people who put us here and for these democratic institutions that we have committed to reforming the existing system and to modernize it by bringing it into the 21st century.

It is out of a great deal of respect that we have committed to reaching out to all Canadians across this diverse nation and ensuring that those who do not normally participate in the electoral process, such as young people, women, indigenous persons, many seniors, and those with disabilities and exceptionalities, are included in this conversation.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is arrogance that the Liberals are giving themselves a majority on the committee when 60% of Canadians voted against them.

The minister keeps claiming that she believes Canadians should be consulted, but she refuses to hold the ultimate consultation, a referendum. The only way to ensure the Liberals are not allowed to rig a process to give themselves the outcome they want is to have the Canadian people have the final say.

Will the minister commit to placing the final decision in the hands of Canadians, through a referendum, or is she also too enamoured with basic dictatorships like China?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough—Kawartha Ontario

Liberal

Maryam Monsef LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, I come to this place with a great deal of humility and appreciation for these democratic institutions that so many across this globe would give anything to have.

We have committed to consulting with Canadians. Canadians will have the first say and the final say. I would really appreciate it if members in the House—

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!