House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vote.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was actually not talking about my impressions but about those of young Canadians who do not participate in the system and find no reason to do so, because their vote does not count in the outcome that they want necessarily.

For me, the only wasted vote is the vote that is not cast. If someone does not vote, that is a real waste. In my view, participation is what matters most. The way we count votes and determine representation needs to be studied, and it is not our job to decide that in this debate. That will be the committee’s job.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too want to address the issue of a wasted vote.

I do not think we want to give the impression that any vote is wasted. Any time someone takes the time to exercise their franchise, their vote is counted. They may not win, but I do not think we should leave the impression or allow to stand that the hard-won right to vote that our veterans and the generations before have secured for this generation, for Canadians now, is ever wasted.

We might not always get our way, but we always get our say. That is the crux of the debate from the point of the view of the official opposition.

The member said that when people's opinions are not sought out, apathy grows. What better way to seek out the opinions of the people than through a national referendum. We might come to a mixed member proportional representation plan after this committee. We might come to the Liberals' preferred preferential ballot. We might come to a hybrid plan. We might have any sort of options, any combination.

However, unless the people are given the right to make the final decision, apathy will grow, and this will be illegitimate. Why will the Liberals not support a referendum at the end of the day, to give credence, to give a power, to this process?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the word “process” is the key word here.

We are not at that point in the process. The point in the process right now is to study all of our options, to study every option. It is not only about voting. It is also about whether we bring in mandatory voting. I am hoping that we look at election financing reform, and that is my personal opinion. There are lots of different sides to this.

To say what we are going to do at the end of it when we are not at the beginning of it is a bit premature. I would like to study this properly and thoroughly and decide at that point the best course forward. That is what I am looking forward to.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked a lot about wasted votes. How does he think the motion we are debating today will help resolve these questions of consultations or even engage people whose vote is not represented here? How will that help us avoid wasted votes?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we want to avoid wasted votes, we have to get people genuinely involved. The consultations called for in this motion are very important. We need to be on the ground involving people who do not usually get directly involved in politics. We have to go see them and find out what they think. They have to feel included in the process. That will make a big difference and will help make people in this country feel less apathetic. I am excited to see how this plays out.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to participate in this important and historic debate on the establishment of a special all-party committee on electoral reform. This is an issue that affects all Canadians, and I am glad to see such strong principles proposed in the amended motion to guide this committee's study.

I wish to spend my time today discussing some of the changes to our electoral system that have been introduced over the past century; changes that at the time were seen as rather dramatic alterations to our system. Many of these reforms, however, are now looked back upon by Canadians as moments of true progress in the history of our great democracy.

The electoral system we have today is the product of almost 150 years of evolution. The election we saw in October was quite different from elections upon Confederation, when only a fraction of Canadians, namely land-owning men, had a say in our democratic institution. Our government's pledge to replace the first past the post system is just another step in this historical evolution to a more inclusive, efficient, and stronger electoral system for all Canadians.

Allow me to begin in 1920, over a half century after Confederation.

After 50 years of elections in this country, Parliament established the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer. It was not until 1927 that the Chief Electoral Officer was appointed by the House and not the government. These were seen as quite major changes at the time, but they are ones we can all look back on, knowing they have helped lead to nearly a century of trusted and independent electoral administration in this country.

It was not until 1964, nearly a full century after Confederation, that Parliament introduced independent electoral district boundary commissions to draw riding boundaries, bringing an end to gerrymandering. Prior to this, the government could simply decide who got to vote where, with little recourse for individuals, communities, or opposition parties. This is another instance of what was once proclaimed to be a fundamental change to our electoral system. In hindsight, we see that this reform has helped build trust among Canadians that our electoral system has integrity, that it is fair, and that all communities have a voice.

In our ever-evolving system, parties only began registering with Elections Canada in 1970, and they only became subject to election spending limits in 1974. After a century of elections, Parliament significantly altered our politics by removing the role of big money in our elections. I truly believe our democracy is stronger because of that, but once again, it was an area of contentious debate at the time. Today, the idea of unlimited spending in an election would be quickly dismissed by Canadians as a barrier to the level playing field we hold dear for free and fair elections. We are proud that our elections are based on ideas and debate, and not simply dollars.

I have spoken briefly of some reforms to the electoral system itself, but I would like to turn now to the increasing franchise over the years; a clear example of how far our electoral system has progressed since Confederation. Allow me to return back to the 1920s, when elections in this country were decentralized and run under a hodgepodge of provincial statues.

In the 1920s, the federal legislation deferred to the provinces in allowing disqualifications on the right to vote for “reasons of race”. This provision worked to disqualify many Canadians, including those of Chinese, Japanese, and Ukrainian descent, among others. However, it was not until 1948 that Parliament deleted references to disqualification on the basis of race. It was not until 1950 that Parliament allowed the Inuit the right to vote, and it was not until 1960 that Parliament allowed first nation people the right to vote without forcing them to give up their status or home on a reserve.

Expanding the franchise was divisive at the time. Today, however, we look back and simply wonder what took Parliament so long to recognize the rights of all Canadians in exercising their vote.

Women were not able to vote until legislative changes were enacted in 1918. Those individuals living in poor houses or the homeless were not able to vote until 1929. War objectors were not able to vote between 1938 and 1955. It was only in 1970 that the voting age was lowered to 18 from 21.

What I am trying to get at is that, when we reflect on these developments without the partisan frames in which they were originally debated, we see reforms that uphold and correspond to our values as Canadians; we see reforms that uphold the rights of all Canadians; and we see reforms that strengthen the bond between the people and the government and that instill trust that the government is formed by the true democratic will of all Canadians.

It is almost incomprehensible that we could ever exclude a full 50% of society from the franchise, that we could exclude indigenous peoples, ethnocultural minority groups, and those who dared to express different beliefs from those of the government of the day. While I am certainly not proud of the history of disenfranchisement in Canada's electoral history, I am truly proud of how far our democracy has evolved into a more inclusive system for all Canadians.

Electoral reform is the next step in this evolution toward a more inclusive system. We can build a better system that provides a stronger link between the democratic will of Canadians and the election results, one that motivates Canadians to take part, one that reflects our collective values of fairness, inclusiveness, gender equity, openness, and mutual respect. To get there, the process leading to reform must also embody these values. Parliamentarians will need to set aside partisan interests and engage in a thoughtful and substantive dialogue with each other and with citizens.

I strongly believe that stepping away from the first past the post system and embracing a new system that can reflect these values and the values articulated in this amended motion would be another milestone in the history of Canada's elections. I suspect future generations will look back at the reforms proposed in this motion and reflect on them, as I have done today with past reforms. I suspect they will note this is yet another example of how our electoral system has evolved to further increase the inclusion of all peoples, to better reflect the will of voters and the representation of the House, and to work toward a system that produces a House that looks more and more like the faces of Canadians.

I hope all members will join me and support the creation of this committee.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, talking about adding people to the voting process, many Conservative governments had a key role to play in adding indigenous Canadians and women. That is a proud legacy that Conservatives have.

I have a question for the parliamentary secretary about something the previous member said when he spoke. He said that now is not the time to talk about the end result. The end result, if this motion is passed, is five months away, so I would say now is the time to be talking about the end result. All the official opposition is asking for is that, no matter what the end result is, Canadians will be given the right to authorize the change through a national referendum.

We can have the discussion over the next number of months as to what a new system should look like, but why will the Liberals not agree with us in the Conservative Party that, no matter what comes out of this special committee, Canadians themselves should have the final say, through a national referendum?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question, and I also welcome his remarks on the important history that all parties have had in the House about increasing the inclusion of Canadians into the democratic process.

I believe that right now we are taking the first step in beginning this conversation. This is a big conversation and a big dialogue that we as Canadians must have about how to continue to move our democracy forward. We will do it by engaging with Canadians, the committee doing extensive consultations, and members of Parliament conducting town halls. As we develop what kind of system we want to put forward to Canadians as to how to govern ourselves, we will think about the next steps after that.

I thank my hon. colleague very much for his question and welcome the contributions of all members of the House to this dialogue.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

I would like my colleague to tell us what the government plans to do when it receives the committee's recommendations. The committee will produce a report and recommend the voting system that, of all the options presented to the committee, may have garnered the most support.

Can she assure us that once the report has been presented and the committee has provided its recommendations on a new voting system, the government will accept whatever the committee has agreed on? Will the government accept those recommendations with no further debate?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Sherbrooke for his comments and his question.

As we all know, the government and the House receive all recommendations from all parliamentary committees, and those recommendations factor into the deliberations.

This is to bring forward legislation and bring forward ideas to the House. I believe, as the Minister of Democratic Institutions has said and most ministers in this government have said, committees play an important role in the legislative process and at the end of the day the decision will be made by the House. The committee has an important role to play in terms of gathering information and making recommendations, but those final decisions are made by all members here in the House of Commons.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think today's debate will go down in history, as the motion really did strike a blow for democracy, where parties were prepared to put Canada first and partisan interests second. As we go forward, I want to ask the parliamentary secretary if she agrees that it would be a good thing to encourage every member of Parliament to use the mechanism of our householder to share information with Canadians about why first past the post is a perverse voting system and to share with them a range of options and ask for their feedback in that way.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, while I would not say that we should prejudge Canadians' reflections on different electoral systems, I think it is an absolutely terrific idea to use our householders and the tools we have at our disposal to share what different options are available to Canadians and to invite them to submit their feedback. At the end of the day, we want to hear from as many different people as possible.

Throughout the election campaign and over the past number of months, I have asked a number of people in my riding for their thoughts. I am indeed considering doing that exact thing, putting this information into my householder, inviting feedback, and using that to guide me in my own decision and my own thinking on this matter.

I thank the member very much for an excellent suggestion.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

June 2nd, 2016 / 1:45 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I intend to split my time with the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

I am really pleased to rise to speak to this motion. As the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley mentioned earlier today in the House, I had a hand in crafting the proposal. As a new member of Parliament, it was nice to see openness within my party and that member to working with a new MP on an interesting idea on how to move voting reform forward. Today, it is nice to see that same spirit is prevailing in this place.

I have been a long-time advocate for voting reform. It is one of the issues I have held dear through my entire participation in the political process, let us say, and involvement in politics. We have heard partisan illusions about what the government may or may not be intending for a voting reform idea, proposal or initiative. I do not think anyone on this side of the House is naive that this is the beginning of a process. There may yet be many things that go awry in that process. It is up to the government and cabinet to decide whether ultimately they will take the recommendations of this committee seriously, or whether they will do their own proposal. Therefore, I do not think anyone here is naive about where we are at.

This is a very positive first step, but it is just one step. However, it is really important because we need to take that first step if we are to get to any kind of meaningful voting reform. I feel, not just from a partisan perspective, it is important that the government not do this by itself. This is the second reason why I felt this kind of proposal was important. If we really believe in voting reform and if we honestly want to move that forward, whatever proposal comes forward and for it to be legitimate, it cannot be just one party pushing it through. This proposal is a way of building in, at least into the initial stages of that process, that idea that proposals can only move forward with the support of multiple parties instead of just one party.

It is right and good in this case of electoral reform, which I think is different from just about any other issue. This is a place where people come to disagree, or people who already disagree come to work that out. In other places, what happens in Parliament and the differences we see manifest in Parliament, are things that are fought for, not in a chamber but on a battlefield. We do come here and we do disagree, but we do it according to certain rules and on certain terms. By doing that, we ensure we do in a way that does not put people's lives in jeopardy for the values they hold and we have an understanding we will work things out with words. It is not always pretty. It is not always nice. However, it is a far better system than the kinds of ways of resolving conflict in some other parts of the world.

When we talk about voting reform and how people actually get here in order to engage in, if we want to use a militaristic metaphor, that kind of battle or that kind of argument, then it is important people agree on how we get here. Those are the basic rules and it is those rules that ensure that kind of civility.

I personally believe that if members of a party make it part of their electoral platform that they have a particular system, a particular model in mind and they get overwhelming support during an election, they may go ahead with that, but not in a way that people in other parties are not prepared to sign on to. We need at least the support of some other parties.

This is a way of building that into the process to ensure that whatever comes out of this process, at least at that first stage, will be something that a number of members across party lines in this place have agreed on. That is really important because it speaks to the legitimacy of changes. No government should be able to unilaterally change the rules by which people get here and fix the next election.

In that sense, I agree with some of the arguments from other members in this place about the importance of not having a government unilaterally change the rules.

As I have said, I have been a long-time advocate of voting reform. I have also been an advocate of a particular system, although there are a lot of debates to be had about how that may manifest. I have been an advocate for a mixed member proportional system. It is really important that people in particular geographic locations of the country have direct representatives who represent those locations within Canada. It is also important that our parliaments not be composed of false majorities or give a false impression of where Canadians are at.

Recently we have seen governments get 100% of the power with only 39.5% of the vote. That does not work because it does not reflect where Canadians are at. The problem with the first past the post system is that it tends to generate those issues. That is also a problem with the alternative vote method. It does it in a slightly different way, but it still produces parliaments that do not reflect the division of opinion within Canadian society.

Part of the issue is a philosophical one about whether we are busy electing individual representatives for a particular place, and that is certainly part of it, and it is important. In elections, we could have a system that would allow us to elect parliaments better, so we are not just electing individual members but electing a parliament. We want a parliament that represents the diversity of opinion within Canadian society.

This is one of the major virtues of a mixed member proportional system. It allows us to balance out the representation of a party within the chamber so Parliament reflects the division opinion within Canada. Then members are forced to engage meaningfully with members of other parties to try to come to some kind if not consensus at least decision. On some issues, there will be a majority composed of certain members and on other issues there may be a majority composed of other members. There is agreement between some on some things and between others on other things, and that would be fine. This would be a virtue.

I look forward to the day when Canadians can contemplate not just who their local representative will be, but also what their Parliament might look like. I can imagine the situation. Some people may feel strongly about a certain local candidate, but not that candidate's party. Some people may want to vote for an independent candidate, but also want to have a say in what party they want. It is perfectly consistent for Canadians to say that they like a local representative, but they are not big fans of his or her party so they will vote for the representative. However, now, because we have a mixed member proportional system, Canadians would get to vote for a party different than the local rep thereby helping to shape Parliament and making it more about how they think. Canadians do not always agree with one party so a mixed member proportional system gives them a chance to express what may be a division of opinion within themselves, at least with respect to where certain parties are at, and allow them to balance out their own vote in a certain way. I see that as a positive thing.

I came to political consciousness in Canada in the 1990s. It was a time when Canadian politics was seriously regionally divided. Quebec was largely represented by the Bloc Québécois. The Reform Party was really a western Canadian party with hardly any seats outside of western Canada. The Liberal Party was the party of Ontario. It had some seats outside of Ontario, but not many, and it used that to win consecutive majorities.

Having sat in a caucus for just over six months, I can say now how important it is to hear the different regional voices within caucus. A first past the post system or an alternative vote system would not guarantee that a party would get members from all parts of the country within its caucus. Having an element of proportionality allows for that. It would help to quell some of the divisive regional politics that Canada has sometimes seen by having those voices represented in each caucus. That is an important virtue of the mixed member proportional system.

I am really glad we are taking a positive first step toward having a process to get to a proposal that will have to be decided on either here or by some other method. We are not there yet. I look forward to discussing these ideas more during that process.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Whalen Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Elmwood—Transcona for his well-reasoned and thoughtful comments on this topic.

Today, we are really speaking about the notion of the committee. However, I am interested in his thoughts on how the list would be determined with respect to a proportional system, whether he is in favour of open lists where citizens across the country decide the ordering of the lists or closed lists where the parties decide.

Also, with respect to this notion of the mixed member proportional system he envisions, would the votes for individual candidates also count toward proportionality or would it just be the party vote?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will not prejudge the process by getting right into the substance of the debate. I do have some preferences on that, but I am also not a total expert on the details. That is part of what we have to hammer out.

First, the committee would have to decide that it wants to go to some form of mixed member proportional system. At the end of the day, it would be unfortunate if the list of MPs was just a creature of the leader's decision. It is important for internal party democracy that there be some method, whether through the party or Canadians directly having a say in who gets elected off what list. That is where my sympathies lie. This is one of the issues that merits further study. I look forward to having a committee that can do that and then make a decision, not unilaterally by government members but by members in collaboration.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, it appears there is a lot of interest among the different parties in having a new electoral system. For the proportional system, there are about six to eight models out there. I would like to hear from the member which system the NDP would prefer to have, at least on the ground base, to know where we can start from here.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, as I said, for a long time the NDP, as a matter of policy, has preferred some form of mixed member proportional system. That is where I am at as well. However, the nitty-gritty details would have to be worked out. We do not have a full proposal, but, in principle, it is important to maintain the idea of having specific regions and ridings in the country that are represented by an individual, and then to use list MPs to balance out Parliament and make it more representative of the views of Canadians overall.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on Electoral ReformBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. The member will have two minutes left for questions and comments following question period.

Jacques ParizeauStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, a year ago yesterday, Jacques Parizeau, a great Quebecker, left us.

A true pillar of the Quiet Revolution, Jacques Parizeau was a pivotal architect of Quebeckers' collective and individual growth.

He was behind the major initiatives that shaped modern Quebec and our distinct economy. His greatest legacy remains his humanity.

Sure to have an illustrious career, whether in or outside politics, Jacques Parizeau chose to serve the common good and dedicate his life to building a Quebec that was both just and prosperous. He forced and opened many doors for Quebeckers. He helped us become accustomed to success. He gave us confidence in ourselves and in the future. He dreamed big for Quebeckers. He dreamed of a country that reflected them, and he devoted his life to that dream.

We are proud to continue his work for a free and prosperous Quebec.

PovertyStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Long Liberal Saint John—Rothesay, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Liberal Party for last week's adoption of policy resolution no. 5 to develop a poverty reduction strategy aimed at providing a minimum guaranteed income. Guaranteed minimum income is an idea which time has come. Every citizen, no matter who they are or what their employment status happens to be, receives a minimum income.

Dr. Rob Moir, associate dean of research at UNBSJ, has proposed that a prototype be implemented and studied in Saint John, where we have the highest rate of child poverty in the country. Saint John is the ideal place for this project. Dr. Moir, a professor of economics, has said that the numbers are large enough to be statistically valid, but small enough to be traceable. There are eight UNB Ph.D.s, across four disciplines, who have already committed to this project. I fully endorse this initiative of Dr. Moir's, and have risen today in the hope that my words will encourage others to do the same.

HealthStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dianne Lynn Watts Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to bring awareness to an issue that has caused more than 1,000 deaths in Canada. Opiate overdoses will kill 800 people in B.C. this year, if the death toll continues at its current rate. In the first four months, 256 people have been killed, and a public health emergency has been declared in B.C.

On Saturday, a 23-year-old from my community ended up on life support, and a 22-year-old from Kamloops lost his life. Last year, in Alberta, there were 274 deaths associated with fentanyl. It is 40 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Drug dealers are importing an inexpensive powdered fentanyl, mostly from Mexico and China, but it does not end there. A new drug on the street, W-18, and other W-series opiates, are 100 to 1,000 times more toxic than fentanyl.

As Dr. Virani, an Edmonton public health doctor, commented on a recent drug bust of four kilos of powder—

HealthStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. The hon. member for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun.

LaSalle—Émard—VerdunStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with pride that I rise today to honour the exceptional civic engagement of the residents of LaSalle—Émard—Verdun.

We have many examples of organizations that work for the well-being of the community, such as Club Richelieu, the Optimist Club, the Centre social d'aide aux immigrants, and the Centre des femmes de Verdun. The people of LaSalle—Émard—Verdun are engaged citizens, just like my many constituents present here today for our day on Parliament Hill.

Let me take this opportunity to highlight the outstanding contribution of Robert Thivierge, a fellow resident of LaSalle—Émard—Verdun who has devoted his life to socio-economic development. After a successful career at the Canadian International Development Agency, Mr. Thivierge continues to use his expertise to benefit society through the Canadian Executive Service Organization. That organization, CESO, has in fact presented this exemplary volunteer with an honorary award.

As we say at home, Robert, keep up the great work.

Steel IndustryStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, the United Steelworkers in the city of Hamilton were forced to file a second motion in the Ontario Court of Appeal after the judge still refused to release the secret deal between U.S. Steel Canada and the federal government in 2011. Details of the secret deal are critical for all parties involved as negotiations with potential buyers move into a critical phase. Only U.S. Steel Canada and its parent company have access to that information. How does that make for a fair process?

The current government could easily resolve the issue by releasing the secret deal. However, since being elected, the government has refused to help the 20,000 vulnerable pensioners or the 1,600 workers whose jobs are at risk. The Liberals have said nothing, zero. I have asked the Prime Minister and other ministers numerous times to release the details of the secret deal. Their non-answers have insulted me, the pensioners, and the workers of U.S. Steel Canada.

The current government should be ashamed. Step up to the plate, release the secret deal, and show the leadership that people expect and deserve.

Xavier DolanStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, every year Canadian films are selected for the most prestigious international film festivals and events and win many awards. This year is no exception. I rise today to recognize the tremendous success of director Xavier Dolan at this year's Cannes Film Festival for his latest film, Juste la fin du monde, or “It's Only the End of the World”. Mr. Dolan won the Grand Prix in the official competition, as well as the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.

His talent, sensitivity, and unique creativity have taken Mr. Dolan to impressive heights. He is part of a pool of Canadian audio-visual artists who have distinguished themselves and shine on the international stage. Canada's audio-visual industry helps promote our culture and is an important sector of our economy. Our government is proud to invest over $70 million in that industry every year.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, congratulations, Mr. Dolan.