House of Commons Hansard #249 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.

Topics

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1283Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

With regard to letter from the Minister of National Revenue on July 31, 2017, that stated “with consideration given to recent advances in technology, adults who independently manage their insulin therapy on a regular basis are unlikely to meet the 14-hours-per-week requirement” and the decision to clawback the disability tax credit from diabetes patients: (a) which section of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recommended this finding; (b) what specific recent advances in technology is the Minister referring to; (c) which stakeholders, if any, were consulted in advance of this change; (d) did any stakeholders object to this recommendation and, if so, which ones; (e) what medical advice did the CRA seek in order to support this finding; (f) does Health Canada consider diabetes to be a serious enough condition in order to meet the 14-hours-per-week requirement; (g) was the Minister of Health consulted in regard to the CRA decision, and if so, was the Minister of Health in favour of the CRA decision; (h) how many diabetics are estimated to be impacted by the CRA decision; and (i) what is the yearly estimated increase in tax revenue as a result of the CRA decision?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1284Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

With regard to bonuses, performance pay, or paid incentives under other names for employees of the Canada Revenue Agency, since November 4, 2015: (a) what bonus programs currently exist in each division or section of the Canada Revenue Agency; (b) for each bonus program in (a), what are the titles of the bonus programs; (c) for each bonus program in (a), what are the criteria or circumstances under which an employee is paid a bonus; (d) for each bonus program in (a), how many bonus payments may an employee receive in a year; (e) for each bonus program in (a), what is the annual maximum an employee may receive in bonuses; (f) for each bonus program in (a), how is the maximum amount an employee can be paid in bonuses calculated; (g) for each bonus program in (a), how many employees received bonuses in fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2015 respectively; (h) for each bonus program in (a); what if any changes to the qualifying criteria have been made between January 2014 and October 2017?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1286Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

With regard to polling by the government: (a) which department manages public opinion polling; (b) how many public opinion polls have been administered since November 5, 2015; (c) what amount has been spent on polls since November 5, 2015; (d) on average, how much does one public opinion poll cost; and (e) what is the list of all poll questions and subjects that have been commissioned since November 5, 2015?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1287Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

With regard to the Advertising Coordination and Partnerships Directorate of Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Communication Procurement Directorate of Public Services and Procurement Canada: (a) how many full-time equivalents work in each directorate; (b) what amount is spent on salaries in each directorate; and (c) what are the public service classifications (i.e. EX-1), and corresponding pay ranges of each full-time equivalent?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1288Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

With regard to the Prime Minister’s trip to Edmonton on October 20, 2017: (a) what was the total cost of the trip; (b) how many exempt staff traveled with the Prime Minister; (c) how many non-exempt staff traveled with the Prime Minister; and (d) what were the security costs for the trip?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1290Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

With regard to the statement by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on September 29, 2017, in the House of Commons that “our officials did talk with the City of Oshawa and the mayor”, in relation to the closing of the Canada Border Services Agency office in Oshawa: what are the details of these talks, since November 4, 2015, including (i) officials present, (ii) City of Oshawa representatives present, (iii) was the mayor present, (iv) date, (v) location, (vi) type of communication (phone, in person, etc.), (vii) summary of discussion?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Statements by Minister of Revenue Regarding the Disability Tax CreditPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have notice from the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge that he wishes to add to arguments in relation to a question of privilege that he raised last week.

Statements by Minister of Revenue Regarding the Disability Tax CreditPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

December 11th, 2017 / 3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to provide additional information to support my question of privilege of Tuesday, December 5, regarding the Minister of National Revenue deliberately misleading the House.

In my submission to you, Mr. Speaker, I demonstrated on several occasions that the Minister of National Revenue tried to convince the House that no changes had been made to the eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit, as well as the way it is interpreted. I then provided an internal memo from the minister's own officials, the procedures and medical review team, that the Department of National Revenue was applying a new and different interpretation to the eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit.

I now have evidence that the minister's parliamentary secretary has also confirmed that the minister's statements were false. On Friday, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of National Revenue was interviewed on CBC News, and during that interview she was asked about the fact that the Canada Revenue Agency was applying different criteria and, because of the fallout from that, the agency had decided to pull back on applying this new interpretation.

She was asked if the government needs to say sorry for what people had gone through because of these changes. The parliamentary secretary said, “Of course, of course...we do apologize for that.”

The reporter pressed her again, stating, “So I just want to be crystal clear here. You said when there is an apology due, we offer one. But you're saying in this instance that you do apologize..”. Her reply again, “Of course.”

The body of evidence is overwhelming. This House can only conclude that, of course, the Minister of National Revenue deliberately misled this House.

On Wednesday, December 6, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader tried to defend the minister, and referenced page 86 of O'Brien and Bosc's House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition. The parliamentary secretary said:

the following three elements have to be established when it is alleged that a member is in contempt or is deliberately misleading the House: one, it must be proven that the statement was misleading; two, it must be established that the member making the statement knew at the time that the statement was incorrect; and three, that in making the statement, the member intended to mislead the House. These criteria have not been met in the situation at hand.

I disagree with the member. To address the member's first element, I have clearly demonstrated that this minister's statements were misleading. To his second point, her own department officials, and now her parliamentary secretary, have revealed that the minister's statements were false. It is not credible for everyone else involved in the interpretation of the criteria to acknowledge the false statements except for the person in charge.

To the member's last point, and I covered this in my question of privilege last Tuesday, the minister made these claims time and time again during question period on many occasions, and anyone who has listened to her statements could not come to the conclusion that they were not deliberate. Clearly, her mission was to convince the House that no changes had been made to the eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit as well as the way it is interpreted.

I am certain that any Canadian following this story would be confused about the conflicting information available on this matter and would have some level of concern that this minister deliberately misled this House.

With that, I leave you, Mr. Speaker, with a ruling from October 21, 1978, where Speaker Jerome quoted a British procedure committee report of 1967, which states in part:

the Speaker should ask himself, when he has to decide whether to grant precedence over other public business to a motion which a Member who has complained of some act or conduct as constituting a breach of privilege desires to move, should be not—do I consider that, assuming that the facts are as stated, the act or conduct constitutes a breach of privilege, but could it reasonably be held to be a breach of privilege, or to put it shortly, has the Member an arguable point? If the Speaker feels any doubt on the question, he should, in my view, leave it to the House.

Statements by Minister of Revenue Regarding the Disability Tax CreditPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge for these additional arguments that I will consider along with the other arguments that he and others have previously made in the House on this issue.

I see that the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader wishes to add something.

Statements by Minister of Revenue Regarding the Disability Tax CreditPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on the point of order, after listening to my colleague across the way, I believe some new information has been brought to the House. On behalf of the government, I would like to look at what the member has put on the record and come to the House in due course with further information.

Statements by Minister of Revenue Regarding the Disability Tax CreditPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary and would ask the government to return with alacrity, if it has additional argument, or to let the table know if that is not going to happen.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, be read the third time and passed.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton has nine minutes remaining in his speech.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I alluded to before question period, the most substantive part of Bill C-51 deals with amendments to the Criminal Code related to Canada's sexual assault laws. I support many of the amendments to the Criminal Code brought forward in Bill C-51, including those amendments that clean up the Criminal Code by codifying law determined by the Supreme Court of Canada, including the Regina v. J.A. and Regina v. Ewanchuk decisions.

That being said, there is one area of Bill C-51, in terms of changes to sexual assault laws, that causes me some concern. That area of concern relates to the defence disclosure requirements. Bill C-51 would require that in order for the defence to tender evidence in terms of records that relate to the complainant, it would have to bring an application to the court. In other words, records that relate to the complainant would be deemed inadmissible unless the court determined otherwise. Such an application would have to be brought prior to the trial. Moreover, the complainant would have the right to counsel and would be a party to that application.

I have a number of concerns with that. First, the definition of “records” is very broad. The type and scope of records that would be captured are just about any records related to the complainant. That would potentially include joint records, records that both the accused and the complainant otherwise have a right to access, records that are subject to crown disclosure that are in the control of the crown, and records that were ordered subject to a third-party application. When we talk about the breadth of records that would be captured, we could be talking, in some trials, about thousands and thousands of records that would be subject to such an application.

That would potentially result in delay. In addition to the potential for delay, the timing of the application is of some concern. The application would have to be brought prior to a trial. What is the problem with that? One problem is that there are often issues that arise in trials that are not necessarily foreseeable prior to the trial. Therefore, from a practical standpoint, that would mean there could be records that do not appear to be relevant prior to a trial, but could become very relevant as a result of an issue that arises in the course of a trial. That would mean inevitably that there would be applications brought prior to trial. However, in those instances where records become relevant that were not necessarily obvious or apparent prior to trial, it would result in the need for mid-trial applications. That would mean the adjournment of trials and delay in the administration of justice.

That is particularly concerning in light of the Jordan decision. In Jordan, the Supreme Court determined that delay is presumptively unreasonable where 18 months pass between the laying of charges and a trial in matters before provincial courts, and 30 months in the case of matters before superior courts.

Over the last while, since the Jordan decision was rendered, we have seen dozens and dozens of serious criminal cases thrown out of court, cases involving everything from murder, to sexual assault, to other violent offences. In addition to that, we have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of cases that would otherwise be perfectly prosecutable, but for the Jordan decision, dropped as a result of delay.

The prospect of adding further delay to a system that is stretched to the limit is problematic. What it will potentially mean is more sexual assault cases being thrown out than otherwise would be the case. That is less than comforting to victims of sexual assault. Frankly, it is unacceptable that we could be opening that possibility, and certainly runs counter to the purported objectives of the Jordan decision, which include ensuring that the victims see justice.

I believe that some legitimate questions have been raised about the appropriateness of a complainant being party to such an application with the right of counsel. Very often in sexual assault cases, the outcome of the case rests on the credibility of the complainant. The fact is that most complainants are truthful, but not all complainants are truthful, and in some exceptional circumstances, complainants are not truthful. The effect of this would be that a complainant would gain insight into the defence's case and potential lines of cross-examination. This in turn could undermine trial fairness in a significant way.

In closing, I would like to quote the recent caution of Ontario Superior Court Justice Molloy in the Nyznik case, at paragraph 17, where she stated:

Although the slogan “Believe the victim” has become popularized of late, it has no place in a criminal trial. To approach a trial with the assumption that the complainant is telling the truth is the equivalent of imposing a presumption of guilt on the person accused of sexual assault and then placing a burden on him to prove his innocence.

That pronouncement of Justice Molloy is something that we as members of Parliament need to be mindful of as we try to strike the right balance between ensuring that victims of sexual assault are protected and that their dignity and privacy are upheld with the right of the accused to make full answer in defence.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Whitby Ontario

Liberal

Celina Caesar-Chavannes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, I think we could all agree on the merits of the bill, and I do appreciate the member's insight when it comes to talking about the legalities. I was somewhat disappointed that at the opening of his speech, the member took the opportunity to be partisan and to attack our government, particularly on this very sensitive and important bill as it relates to consent and victims' rights.

In this debate, we have heard members on both sides of the House talk about how the bill would give women the confidence to come forward. We have demonstrated our capacity to work together in the House. We unanimously passed a motion put forward by the interim opposition leader.

I wonder what the member would say to women in his riding about the benefits of the bill as it pertains to them specifically.