House of Commons Hansard #179 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone in the francophonie recognizes that she was the best Liberal available for the job.

On another topic, we know that Bill C-44 is an omnibus bill that goes against the Liberals' campaign promises. This bill also provides for the creation of the infrastructure bank. The bill has not even been passed and the government is already in the process of appointing the chair of this bank.

Does the Prime Minister realize that not only is he breaking his election promises, but, more importantly, that he is flouting Parliament's authority?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure bank is an important part of our ambitious plan to build and rebuild Canadian community infrastructure. We are investing more than $186 billion to support our municipal sector, our provincial and territorial sectors, and to build the infrastructure they need.

As far as the appointments are concerned, we will make sure that once the bank is established, the appointments will be confirmed after that.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, if you want to build something strong, you shall respect the authority of the House.

That is the problem with this government. It believes that it can do whatever it wants, not just with the infrastructure bank, but also with Investment Canada. Yesterday, a minister said in a parliamentary committee that the government was in the process of choosing a new president for this other government organization, which has not been approved yet because Bill C-4 has not yet been passed by this Parliament.

Once again, can the Prime Minister explain why he is flouting Parliament's authority?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent for giving me the opportunity to talk about the Invest in Canada agency. That is exactly what we need to attract investments here in Canada. This agency will provide concierge services and attract investments that may be made in the riding of my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent.

All of Canada's municipalities and provinces applaud the creation of this agency. What we want to do in 2017 is to attract investments to Canada because we know that economic growth creates good jobs for Canadians across the country.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, so much for Prime Minister's question period.

The Liberals refused to allow a parliamentary investigation into the sweetheart deal between the Canada Revenue Agency and KPMG, but that was not the end of the sketchy story. A member of the Liberal-appointed panel looking into tax evasion attended an event sponsored by, guess who, KPMG. This was on top of appointing someone from KPMG as treasurer of the Liberal Party. How does the revenue minister explain this mess?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, cracking down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance is a priority for our government. We invested a historic $444 million, which has allowed us, in the first year alone, to carry out more audits, hire an additional 100 auditors, and recover $13 billion, including $1.3 billion through the voluntary disclosures program. That is just the beginning. With the additional amounts allocated in this year's budget, our second budget, we will recover even more money for Canadians next year.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, another member of that same panel accused seven ministers of not understanding the principles of independence at all, and I think she was right.

When the Canada Revenue Agency let KPMG off the hook for its tax evasion scheme, what did the Liberals do? They appointed a director from KPMG to be the treasurer for the Liberal Party of Canada.

What will it take for the Liberal government to admit that it is clearly in a conflict of interest?

I want an answer that has to do with KPMG this time, not the talking points we keep hearing.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I just said because my colleague just does not get it.

Cracking down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance is a priority for our government. My job is to produce results. With more auditors and more audits, we recovered an extra $13 billion last year. That is what I call results. We will invest in services for Canadians. That is what we promised, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals could not care less about their conflicts of interest. That is what you call arrogance.

The Prime Minister just appointed a Liberal minister to the position of Commissioner of Official Languages. Mrs. Meilleur said, “I thought I could contribute as a senator, but the Prime Minister made it clear that he did not want any politicians in the upper chamber.”

Why does the Prime Minister think partisanship is inappropriate in the Senate but perfectly fine in the commissioner's office?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

May 17th, 2017 / 2:30 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our two official languages are at the heart of our history and of who we are. They are a priority for us. We went through a long, open, transparent, merit-based process. Mrs. Meilleur was clearly the best candidate for the position. She defended the French language for over 30 years. She fought for the Montfort Hospital. She fought to ensure that Franco-Ontarians can get service in French in their province. She is the best person for the job.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Cash for access, accepting private gifts, using private aircraft, co-writing legislation with corporations, appointing a member of a firm immediately after blocking an investigation into that firm—the list goes on, Mr. Speaker.

With all these conflicts of interest, it is more important than ever that we have an independent Ethics Commissioner. The Liberal government House leader stands every day to defend her boss's ethical scandals. How can she have any credibility to choose the next person to investigate her boss? Will she recuse herself?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, I am guessing that the member has not heard my previous answers, so I will remind him that just as we committed to Canadians, we have introduced a new, open, transparent, and merit-based appointments process to ensure that the diversity of our country is reflected, to ensure that the two languages of our country are considered, and to ensure that we are making better decisions when it comes to gender parity. The member knows that we have opened this process to have all positions available online. All Canadians can apply. I have full confidence that the Canadian who is chosen to fill the post will take the responsibility very seriously.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, AB

Mr. Speaker, when he is not designing government programs to help his billionaire friends, he is vacationing and spending taxpayer dollars like he is a billionaire himself. We all know that his taxpayer-funded billionaire-island vacation has landed him in hot water with the Ethics Commissioner, but what we have learned is that he has been misleading Canadians about who owns that very island, so here is a simple question for the Prime Minister. Who owns the island he used tax dollars to vacation on?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that the purpose and intentions of the opposition are very different from the purpose and intentions of this government. This government was elected by Canadians. This government was—

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. It is a little noisy this early in question period. We need some order so we can hear the answers. The hon. government House leader has the floor.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This government was elected to represent middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join the middle class. That is why we lowered taxes on middle-class Canadians by raising taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians. That is why we are giving more money to families with children that need it the most. Our approach is to respond to the very real challenges Canadians are facing. The approach of the previous government was really to make patronage appointments, which we will not do. That is why we have an open and transparent—

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, AB

Speaking of the 1%, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's spokesperson now claims that he had no idea that his friend did not own this billionaire island, but now there is new evidence surfacing that seems to make his claim implausible. We now know that the Prime Minister's officials used taxpayer dollars to reimburse hospitality expenses for one staff, who was staying on the island with the Prime Minister, to Lexthree Ltd. Did the Prime Minister believe that his friend had changed his name to Lexthree Ltd., or did he know all along that he was staying on an island that was owned by a bunch of shell companies?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, this government was elected to represent the very real challenges Canadians are facing. Those are the very people we will continue working hard for. One of the first things we did after taking office was to ask the Clerk of the Privy Council to—

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. Canadians expect better than the kind of noise I am hearing today. Let us settle down and listen. We have to hear the answers as well as the questions, or it will be a shorter question period.

The hon. government House leader.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that members are in this place wanting to do important work but do not want to listen to the answer. That is why the tone of this place, the conversation we have, actually matters.

One of the first things we did when taking office was to ask the Clerk of the Privy Council to develop guidelines surrounding reimbursement for travel by sitting Prime Ministers, their families, and guests. Prior to our taking office, no such guidelines existed.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, the Prime Minister accepted an invitation from the Aga Khan to visit his private island. Then, we learned that the island in question does not in fact belong to the Aga Khan but to four companies that have been linked to tax evasion.

Given this blatant conflict of interest and all of the questions that have been raised about this over the past few months, is the Prime Minister still happy about his choice?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said many times, he is happy to answer any questions the Ethics Commissioner may have for him. We are here to address the real challenges facing Canadians. We will continue to work for all Canadians.