House of Commons Hansard #157 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was co-operatives.

Topics

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal House leader keeps referring to her government's unilateral power grab as a discussion paper. Well, let us listen to some of that discussion. Don Martin said that the changes are aimed at strengthening the “elite Liberal advantage”. John Ivison's response has the headline “Liberals latest attempted power-grab in Commons sure to fail again”. Chantal Hébert said, “A majority government has already quite a lot of power without abusing it by changing the rules”.

I have one simple question for the Liberals: How do they think this is going over?

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the government House leader has brought forward a discussion paper that is worthy of a good talk, whether it is inside this chamber or at the committee level. Most important is that we engage Canadians and the experts, because it is, in fact, time that we modernized Parliament. I believe the government House leader is on the right track in advancing that very important issue.

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can we have a discussion when one party dictates everything? No party should be allowed to single-handedly change the rules for how our democracy works, no matter which party it is.

If the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons really wants Parliament to be more efficient, she should commit to working with all the other parties. Even Jean Chrétien sought unanimous approval for changing the rules when he was Prime Minister.

Will the Liberal government make a commitment here and now not to change the rules unilaterally, yes or no?

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, members need to realize that the government House leader has provided a discussion paper, which is the continuation of a great deal of debate that has been taking place for well over a year now, and in many different forums, including the PROC committee. I am an optimistic person, and I am hopeful that at the end of the day, we will see a more modern parliamentary system, if we get a higher sense of commitment from all sides of the House.

HousingOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

By using the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Mr. Speaker? One thing we know for sure is that the Liberals are smooth talkers. This week's budget includes a nice bunch of announcements, but considering all of the 2015 promises they have broken, can we really trust them?

Canada's housing crisis is not letting up. Right now, 1.5 million households are in urgent need of housing. Waiting lists for social housing are longer than ever, and the social housing stock is in terrible shape. Why is there nothing in the budget to help people with inadequate housing right away?

HousingOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Mr. Speaker, it gives me enormous pride to stand here today and tell you about the historic investments in housing this government is making, the longest investments in the history of this country. It is not just $11 billion over the next 10 years, but also a doubling of the base funding in last year's budget, which brings that to almost $15 billion. We are going to work with our partners in the provinces and municipalities to deliver the best housing to as many Canadians as possible.

This is a historic agreement. We look forward to working with the provinces and territories over the next few months. Members should not forget that there is money for aboriginal housing, too.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the environment minister responded to the $1.2 billion in cuts to programs fighting climate change by saying “the numbers are in there”. Well, they sure are: page 150, 2017-18, cut $750 million; 2018-19, cut $500 million. To make matters worse, the Liberals are cancelling the public transit tax credit which will make it more expensive to ride the bus. If it is not the middle class and those working so hard to join it, who do the Liberals think take public transit?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has given me an opportunity to talk about the extraordinary green budget that we have that is going to implement the pan-Canadian plan on climate change. There is $2.9 billion to address climate change and air pollution; $2.2 billion invested in clean tech; $364 million for Parks Canada; $73.5 million for a new Canadian centre for climate services. With respect to the money the member is talking about, and we have met a number of times, it is the same amount of money, $2 billion for the low-carbon economy fund, but we are responding to provinces that need additional time to flow the money. Money will—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston.

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Speaker, throughout this week we have told the Liberals there can be no discussion on changing the Standing Orders without first an agreement on the need for consensus. Today, I want to point to the 1985 report of the McGrath committee. This was yet another special Standing Orders committee. It worked entirely by unanimous consensus. This is the sort of thing that is done throughout Parliament. I chaired the subcommittee on human rights for eight years and we always worked on the basis of consensus.

There are so many examples throughout this place of working by unanimous consensus. Why, when we come to the most important thing of all, our Standing Orders, does the government not want to do that? Why does it not want to work by unanimous consensus?

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate all questions relating to the Standing Orders, because it is a subject which I feel very passionate about. Having said that, I think that we have a wonderful opportunity before us. We have a discussion paper that has been put forward in advance by the government House leader. I would challenge all members to get engaged with that discussion. In fact, I would suggest that there are many individuals, stakeholders, and others who also have some thoughts in terms of how we can modernize Canada's Parliament. I see that as a positive thing and I would invite all members to get engaged.

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, the leader over there keeps saying that these proposed changes are designed to help MPs achieve work-life balance, but here is what is really driving the changes: the Prime Minister wants to sit just one out of five days, one whole, entire hour per week.

The Prime Minister has been in the House since 2008, so can he explain to taxpayers who work five days a week why his full-time job should turn into a part-time job for the same pay?

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the discussion. I can assure members, and I am sure everyone can sympathize, that I work seven days a week. Some of those days I am in Winnipeg, and some of those days I am in Ottawa.

Here is an example. We only work a few hours on Fridays. If we could readjust those hours so that I could attend events on a Friday evening where my constituents would love to see me, I am open to that. The bottom line is that most Canadians actually start work before 10 a.m. Why not start at 9 a.m.? At least let us have that discussion. That is what the government House leader is asking us to do.

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before I go to the next question, I realize the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader is getting up quite often and I cannot get over how much help the opposition is trying to give him, but I do not think it is necessary. If you could keep your comments down, that would be very helpful.

The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is talking about Canadians working, and my understanding is that Canadians pay taxes for goods and services that they expect to work all the time. For example, Canadians would not pay for a sewer service that only allowed them to flush the toilet once per week. In the same vein, does the Prime Minister think that Canadians will continue to pay for his service if he rams through his undemocratic changes to Parliament and only shows up for work once a week?

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the member. It is not undemocratic. I have been a parliamentarian for almost 25 years, most of those years, more than 20, on opposition benches. If the opposition members would like to take a look and get a better appreciation of what is being proposed in the discussion paper, they would see that there would be more accountability from the government benches and they would be seeing a Prime Minister who would be here more than once a week, as they know. The bottom line is I invite them, as the government House leader has done, to get engaged.

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is using Orwellian newspeak to try to explain why he is doing the Prime Minister's dirty work of permanently shutting down Parliament on Fridays, permanently limiting debate, and trying not to show up for work. The government House leader, in turn, is trying to get members of the procedure and House affairs committee to do her dirty work by ramming through these changes behind Canadians' backs.

I am very interested: will the member for Brampton North vote down this ridiculous proposal and stand up for her constituents right now, or will she vote to allow the government to muzzle her and them?

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I look at this as a positive discussion. As I indicated, I work seven days a week, whether it is in Winnipeg or in Ottawa. When I am in Ottawa, like others, I work hard. When I am in my constituency, I work hard. This is a discussion paper that allows us to deal with important issues, and we cite Fridays just as an example. We can say that instead of coming in at 10 o'clock in the morning, why not come in at nine o'clock? Most Canadian workers actually do work before nine o'clock. Let us have that discussion. I think it is time.

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is good to be here on a Friday asking the government questions and holding it accountable on behalf of all Canadians. Of course, we know that if it were up to the Liberals, we would shut down the House of Commons on Fridays altogether, reducing their ability to be held accountable by 20% per week. The Prime Minister wants to go further. He only wants to be in the house for 45 minutes a week to answer questions from the opposition and the millions of Canadians we represent.

Why are the Liberals working so hard to make life so much easier for them in Parliament?

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there is no Liberal recommending that the Prime Minister work once a week. The only ones who are recommending that seem to be the Conservatives. The bottom line is that what we should be doing is taking that discussion paper and entering into a dialogue that will modernize Canada's Parliament. Canadians expect that. This Prime Minister has made that commitment, and the government House leader has provided us the opportunity to really get engaged on this issue. Let us see if we can get some expert witnesses from across Canada who will also get engaged in the debate, along with other Canadians.

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, when we were in government, the Conservatives worked hard to make life better for Canadians. Now that they are in government, the Liberals are working to make things easier for themselves and harder for everyone else. They want to cancel Friday sittings of the House. They want to limit debates in committee. They want to eviscerate debate here in this House, and the Prime Minister only wants to show up for 45 minutes a week to be held accountable.

We know that the Prime Minister has always had an address on easy street. Is that why he is working so hard to make Parliament so much easier for him?

Standing Orders of the House of CommonsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have already responded to a number of the accusations from across the way for the member. I would suggest that at the end of the day, what we are trying to do here is something that is very positive, something Canadians really want us to do. We recognize that there is a need for us to modernize Parliament. I challenge all members of this House, and even to go beyond that, I would like to see individuals from our constituencies come forward with ideas. I am very passionate about the Standing Orders, because I see their value. Whether in the standing committees or in the House of Commons, we can make a difference. The time is now.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

March 24th, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker? To distract from the ethics scandal over his trip to the Aga Khan's private island, the Prime Minister decides to go on a cross-country tour to beef up his image.

However, he went to Ontario and forgot about Franco-Ontarians. He then went to Quebec and forgot that there were anglophones in the Eastern Townships. These oversights are an affront to official language minority communities. That is why he was reprimanded by the Commissioner of Official Languages yesterday.

Does the government acknowledge that the Prime Minister violated the Official Languages act, yes or no?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our two official languages are at the heart of our history and our identity. The short answer to the hon. member's question is absolutely not.

Our very first action plan will be presented this year, but in the meantime budget 2017 includes investments that reflect our interest in this file, in the infrastructure of our official language communities, and in accessing justice in both official languages. Official languages are so important to our government—