House of Commons Hansard #223 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ombudsman.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, for clarity, the Ethics Commissioner suggested a conflicts of interest screen. The way that screen is administered, which is consistent with the previous government's approach, is that the Department of Finance identifies the issues that should be put forward as conflicts of interest, and then that is administered through my chief of staff. It is an approach entirely consistent with those in the past, in my estimation, one that has been working and one we will continue to make sure works.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is in fact not at all consistent. He hides behind this so-called ethical screen, but it turns out his political staffer is the only person enforcing it. Really? An ethical screen needs to be enforced by departmental officials, not someone who relies on the minister for employment. This is a complete farce.

We now know that, for two years, the only person policing the minister's ethics has been his senior political staffer. When will the finance minister disclose what else he is hiding in the web of numbered companies, to finally ensure that no more conflicts of interest exist?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what to say other than that the member opposite is flat out wrong. The situation we have been using has been an appropriate conflict of interest screen, as recommended by the Ethics Commissioner.

What I have said is that we are going to go further. This is the way we get confidence from Canadians to continue doing the work they want us to do. The reason we are getting deflected on these sorts of issues is that the members opposite do not want to acknowledge what their constituents are feeling, and that is confidence in our economy, confidence that their children and grandchildren are going to be better off, because the things we are doing are making a real difference for Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are not fools.

What the Minister of Finance said at the beginning of question period is very simple: he has been in a direct conflict of interest for the past two years and he is taking action only because he was caught. That is what is really happening with the finance minister, and it is unacceptable. He may be smiling, but Canadians are not fools.

For the past few days, he has been repeating that everything is okay because there is an ethical screen in place to prevent him from doing anything stupid. However, I can see why he is smiling because the person in charge of his ethical screen is his chief of staff, who, of course, does not have any idea what ethics are, as we learned this morning in The Globe and Mail.

When will the minister finally act in the interest of all Canadians?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, to repeat, the commissioner said the conflicts of interest screen was the best measure to ensure there were no conflicts.

All I can assume is that the member opposite is actually questioning the commissioner. That is not what I am doing. What I am saying is that I have followed the commissioner's recommendations, but I have decided to go several steps further. This is what allows us to continue in the work we are doing for Canadians, the work that we will continue, no matter what, making a real difference for families today. Things like the Canada child benefit and the working income tax benefit make a real difference and will help people to see better outcomes.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will help the minister to understand on behalf of all Canadians.

When a person is in a conflict of interest or a conflict of ethics, it takes a third party to help him properly reflect on the situation. That should not be the chief of staff since he is on the minister's payroll. It should be an independent party who will tell the truth. In short, the ethical screen that the minister claims to have in place is a sham.

What else is the minister hiding about his other numbered companies?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is a reason why the member wants to talk about my finances and that is because he does not want to talk about Canadians' finances. However, that is our goal. We want to continue working for Canadians. We have been very clear: it is very important that we improve the situation of Canadian families. It is very important that we continue to have a very good level of growth. Those are our goals. They are very important. I will continue to work to achieve them.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning La Presse reported that Netflix hired three lobbying firms that met with Canadian Heritage officials four times in five months this spring. According to the Registry of Lobbyists, over the past two years, they have had 11 separate opportunities to chat with three different departments and with the Prime Minister's Office. They did not waste any time; they know very well who calls the shots here. All these consultations are great, but clearly, they are merely a gimmick. Who is the government consulting when it comes to culture? Apparently, the Americans.

Is this preferential treatment for Netflix and web giants part of the minister's vision, or just an idea from the lobbyists camped out in the Prime Minister's Office?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, in the course of our consultations, we heard from over 30,000 people and we listened to the Quebec and francophone cultural sector. I understand the concerns of the cultural sector, which is precisely why we are investing in it. We have reinvested in the Canada Media Fund specifically to support francophone content in our television programming. We invested $675 million in Radio-Canada to make sure we have an excellent public broadcaster in French. We will also update our laws, particularly the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act, to protect our culture in this digital age.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know that Netflix lobbied the Liberal government heavily in lead-up to the deal announced last month. It is a deal that is funded by increasing Netflix rates on Canadians, all the while letting this massive corporation keep its unfair advantage. Now we have learned that other digital giants, like Google, have lobbied the government 63 times.

Are we going to see more sweetheart deals with these massive corporations, and why is the government so focused on preventing big businesses from paying their fair share?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, in the context of our consultations, we heard from 30,000 people from across the country, and I have been in close contact with the cultural sector throughout the country.

We announced some key investments in the context of our creative Canada strategy. We are reinvesting in the Canada media fund. We are also reinvesting in CBC with $675 million. However, more than that, we announced our first cultural export strategy, $125 million more, and ultimately we will be modernizing our Broadcasting Act and our Telecommunications Act to make sure we protect our culture.

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, our feminist Prime Minister is recognized around the world for our government's efforts to promote and defend women's rights. However, in my riding of Ottawa—Vanier, I hear from many female public servants that the public sector health care plan does not support their choice of contraceptive. The plan only covers oral contraceptives.

Can the President of the Treasury Board update this House on the measures he is taking to correct this situation?

HealthOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Ottawa—Vanier for her question, but particularly for her leadership.

Empowering women and respecting their rights, including their reproductive health rights, is what we do as a government. Women should have their choice of contraceptives, which is why my department has reached out to the public sector unions to make it clear that we agree that non-oral contraceptives should be covered under the public service health care plan. We will work with our public sector unions to make that happen.

TaxationOral Questions

October 26th, 2017 / 2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, even before the finance minister introduced his disastrous small business tax increases, the Liberals were already clawing back disability tax credits from people with type 1 diabetes. The 80% of people who were receiving the credit became the 80% denied.

Why are the Liberals taxing the vulnerable to pay for their out-of-control spending, and will the minister immediately instruct her agents to return to the criteria used in April this year?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians have access to the credits and benefits to which they are entitled. Let me be absolutely clear. There has been no change to the eligibility criteria for the DTC related to diabetes. Our government actually made it easier for Canadians to apply for the credit by allowing nurse practitioners to complete their patients' applications. The concerns brought up by these groups are worrisome. We have already met with them and will continue to work with them.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, Kat Grossman is a 27-year-old woman who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes five years ago. Now she has to deal not only with the consequences of her disease, but also with the mean-spiritedness of the Liberal government, which is denying access to the disability tax credit. What message is the government sending to public servants to get them to take money away from the most vulnerable?

When will the government accept that it is solely responsible for this and give Kat and all diabetics their money and their dignity back?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, there has been no change to the eligibility criteria for DTC in relation to diabetes. We have heard the concerns raised by these groups. We have already met with them and will continue to work with them. The agency is currently hiring nurses to review the disability tax credit applications, and as the first step in the process, the minister has asked the agency to improve its data collection for the credit to better understand the portrait of claims and the decision-making process of the agency.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, this week both the minister and the Prime Minister have insisted that neither the law nor its interpretation regarding the disability tax credit have changed in any way, but we know that the Liberals changed the application process in May to reduce tax credit approvals for type 1 diabetics.

Will the Liberals finally admit that they are so desperate for cash that they are raising taxes on diabetics?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, let me again be absolutely clear. There have been no changes in terms of the eligibility criteria for DTC for people with diabetes. The concerns raised by the groups are worrisome. We have already met with them, and we will continue to work with them.

For 10 years, the former Conservative government cut scientific research, including on diabetes. We have actually invested $41 million in diabetes research. Our goal remains absolutely clear that Canadians will continue to receive the credits to which they are entitled.

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals continue to claim that there has been no change in policy, but yesterday I tried to table documents in the House that establish that in May of this year, the process did in fact change. The Liberals refused to allow this evidence to be tabled.

Having made a decision to raise taxes on diabetics, why are they now denying responsibility for their actions?

TaxationOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that all Canadians have access to the credits and benefits to which they are entitled. Let me be absolutely clear. There has been no change to the eligibility criteria for the DTC related to diabetes. Our government actually made it easier for Canadians to apply for the credit by allowing nurse practitioners to complete their patients' applications.

The concerns that were brought by these groups are worrisome. We have already met with them, and we will continue to work with them.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Health was at ground zero of the opioid crisis. She visited the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver and heard from front-line workers about the brutal realities of this growing epidemic. For 12 months we have been urging the Liberal government to declare this a national public health emergency, and for 12 months it has refused.

Today Donald Trump declared this a public health emergency. How is it possible that the government has fallen behind the Trump administration in taking action to save lives?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are in a national public health crisis in Canada, and we are responding in a way that is comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate, and evidence-based. We recently announced $7.5 million to enhance the development of evidence-based practices that could be used when dealing with this crisis on the ground. To build on this investment in budget 2017, and many actions to date, we will continue to bring forward evidence-based solutions to help save lives and turn the tide on this national public health crisis.

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, never once has the finance minister been straight with Canadians. Reporters had to dig to find out about his villa in France. Two years after telling everyone he had put his Morneau Shepell shares in a blind trust, he had to admit that it was not true. Now that he has been caught profiting from a bill that he himself introduced, he is trying to buy his way out of the problem. Maybe on Bay Street, when people commit a crime, they just ask the judge, “How much do I have to make the cheque out for?” However, it does not work that way in the House of Commons. This is an admission of guilt by no other means, so I ask the—

EthicsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I want to remind the hon. member, as I said during statements by members, that props are not permitted in the House of Commons.

The hon. member for Calgary Signal Hill.