House of Commons Hansard #232 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

November 8th, 2017 / 3:05 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we understand the concerns of the francophone cultural sector. I want to reassure and remind the cultural community of the historic investments we have made to support francophone culture.

We have made massive investments in arts and culture, over $2.2 billion to be precise. We have reinvested in the Canada media fund to support French-language television and committed $675 million to CBC/Radio-Canada. These investments have a tangible impact on our artists' lives.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting Canadian farmers by investing in the growth and innovation of Canada's agrifood sector. We have made considerable investments in Canadian farmers.

The 2017 budget set a clear target to increase our agricultural exports. We know that we have always been and will continue to be there for Canadian farmers.

Could the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food tell us about the steps we are taking this week to provide tax relief to our Canadian farmers?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Glengarry—Prescott—Russell for his question and great help on agricultural issues.

This week I announced that the government will provide tax relief for farmers who had their herds destroyed because of bovine TB. We are also designating the region where farmers can qualify for a livestock tax deferral due to floods and drought. I have also announced that we will maintain the cash purchase tickets for grain farmers.

This government has and will continue to make sure that agriculture thrives in this country.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, Syria is a country from which thousands of refugees have fled to Canada. President Assad has murdered countless of his citizens. Canada's Armed Forces are helping to fight this tyrannical regime. However, during this Remembrance Week, the Minister of Environment shocked Canadians by praising Syria for supposedly taking action on climate change.

Instead of blaming her staff for the tweet, will the minister apologize to Canadians and to our Syrian refugees for legitimizing the murderous Assad regime?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I have worked as a human rights lawyer. I absolutely agree. I am disgusted by the current regime in Syria, and the atrocities it is committing are completely inexcusable. A mistake was made. I take full responsibility as minister. We deleted the tweet within half an hour, and on my personal Twitter account, I said that it was unacceptable.

We are going to continue working with the people of Syria. They deserve a life free from violence. Canada will continue to support the Syrian people in reaching this goal, and achieving a long-term political solution.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, Rails to Relevance is an annual project of Claremont high school, bringing bright young kids from this great public high school to Ottawa by rail—by VIA Rail.

The Canadian Transportation Act review by the Hon. David Emerson recommended that Canada cease to have a national passenger rail service. Can the Minister of Transport reassure this House that Canada is committed to national passenger rail, and will invest in and modernize a national VIA Rail service?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to rail passenger service for Canadians. We have always been committed to it. I am a regular rail user. Once a week I go between Montreal and Toronto. I have had the pleasure of going across the country from Halifax to Vancouver. In fact, I would encourage Canadians who have never taken the train to go out and try that mode of transport. I think they would find it a very pleasant way to move across and to enjoy this magnificent country.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Boudrias Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, I seek the consent of the House to move the following motion: that this House recognize the expertise of the Davie shipyard in Lévis, which represents 50% of the country's production capacity; and that it call on the government to adjust its national shipbuilding strategy to take into account the production capacity of the Davie shipyard.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Joliette on a point of order.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. A year ago, on October 26, 2016, the House voted down my Motion No. 42 on tax havens.

Specifically, my motion called on the government to amend section 5907 of the Income Tax Regulations in order to ensure that the income that a Canadian company brings back from its subsidiary in Barbados, or 22 other tax havens, will henceforth be taxed in Canada.

In my view, the vote was full of irregularities and should be retaken. The code of conduct for members of Parliament is part of our Standing Orders, which clearly prohibit an elected member from furthering his or her private interests. We now know that the Minister of Finance has companies located in tax havens. His family's company, Morneau Shepell, promotes the use of tax havens through pension funds and insurance companies. Adopting Motion No. 42 would have had a major impact on the minister's finances. It would have seriously impeded his ability to carry on business as usual. In the Journals of October 26, 2016, we see that the Minister of Finance took part in the vote and voted against Motion No. 42. In fact, with the notable exception of the hon. member for Cambridge, every Liberal member voted against Motion No. 42 because they were strongly urged to vote along party lines.

On pages 220 and 221 of the second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, published in 2009, it says that members may not vote on questions in which they have a personal interest, and that any such vote may be challenged and disallowed.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order.

Members cannot rise on a point of order in the middle of another point of order, but I appreciate that the hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier wants to get the attention of the House.

The hon. member for Joliette.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance had a private interest in the motion on tax havens being defeated. As I was saying, according to House of Commons Procedure and Practice, I challenge the Minister of Finance's vote, as well as the vote of all those he could have influenced. I urge you to disqualify them.

As indicated on page 214 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, “On being elected, Members of the House of Commons become trustees of public confidence. Members must place the public’s interests over their private interests and derive no personal benefit or gain from their decisions.”

I know this because the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is responsible for enforcing the code of ethics and the Conflict of Interest Act. She does an amazing job. This is not about the ethics of a single member of Parliament. This is about the result of a vote and the integrity of the House of Commons as an institution presided over by the Speaker. We are here, at the heart of representative democracy, at the heart of the bonds of trust that need to exist between the public and its representatives and without which the House of Commons has no legitimacy. In light of the irregularities and the appearance of conflicts of interest that tainted the vote on Motion No. 42 on tax havens, I think that the vote should be overturned and taken again.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Joliette for his comments.

At first glance, this seems to me to be a matter of debate, but I will consider the matter and then come back to the House, if necessary.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, under the provisions of Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, Canada's National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2017-22.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the governments response to 13 petitions.

Fisheries and OceansCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans entitled “Supplementary Estimates (B) 2017-18”.

Poor House Commemoration DayPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, Sara Lauzon, a young, dynamic constituent in Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, asked me to present a petition, calling upon the House of Commons to pass a motion recognizing April 14 of every year as poor house commemoration day in Canada. This day would commemorate the lives of Canadian citizens that died or lived in an asylum, a house of refuge, or a poor house facility in Canada.

The suggested date for the holiday is April 14 due to the act respecting mentally incompetent persons and their estates passed in Alberta in 1937.

HousingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions. The first one has to do with affordable housing in Canada.

Over 1.6 million families do not have access to affordable housing and are spending more than 30% of their income on housing. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes access to affordable housing as a basic human right and not a privilege.

The people of Canada are calling on the House of Commons to pass Bill C-265 sponsored by my colleague from Hochelaga in order to implement a national housing strategy to advance and promote the right to housing.

Local FoodPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls on the federal government to implement a national strategy to promote purchasing local foods in order to support our farmers, especially since agriculture represents one in eight jobs in Canada.

It also calls on Public Works and Government Services Canada to implement a local foods procurement policy for Canada's 48,000 federal institutions. These two petitions are signed by people back home.

Water QualityPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, water quality in Lake Champlain has deteriorated over the years due to the proliferation of cyanobacteria.

Residents of the Lake Champlain area demand that the mandate of the International Joint Commission be reviewed to resolve the issue of the quality of the water in Lake Champlain.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present three petitions today.

The first petition deals with the pressure to live up to the Paris accord targets and to ensure that the global average temperature does not exceed 1.5°C, and certainly stays below 2°C.

The petitioners call for reductions in greenhouse gases as well as support for the developing world to the global south that is hardest hit and least to blame.

Wild SalmonPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls upon the government to put in place the 75 recommendations in the Cullen report on wild salmon to protect wild salmon from the toxic fish factories that dot the coast of B.C. and Atlantic Canada.

Shark FinningPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the last petition, once again, from petitioners in Saanich—Gulf Islands, calls on the government to stop the trade in shark fins. Canada does not allow the practice of finning sharks, but we still allow the trade, distribution, and sale of these products that threaten the global shark population.