House of Commons Hansard #194 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Tougher Penalties for Child Predators ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being 5:30 p.m., pursuant to order made Tuesday, May 30, and today being the last allotted day for the supply period ending June 23, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the opposition motion.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Opposition Motion—Tougher Penalties for Child Predators ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Opposition Motion—Tougher Penalties for Child Predators ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Opposition Motion—Tougher Penalties for Child Predators ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Opposition Motion—Tougher Penalties for Child Predators ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed will please say nay.

Opposition Motion—Tougher Penalties for Child Predators ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Opposition Motion—Tougher Penalties for Child Predators ActBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 81(18), the recorded division stands deferred until later this day.

[For continuation of proceedings see part B]

[Continuation of proceedings from part A]

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos Liberal Québec, QC

moved:

That Vote 1, in the amount of $129,915,146, under Privy Council Office — Program expenditures, in the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, be concurred in.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my remarks this evening by acknowledging that this week is the 25th annual National Public Service Week.

Now is the time to celebrate the tireless work of the more than 250,000 public servants who support the Government of Canada and ensure that the needs of Canadians are met.

I want to sincerely thank my officials who have supported me since the day I was sworn in as Minister of Democratic Institutions. They work hard to ensure that I am supported in my duties as minister. I feel proud and fortunate to work with such an exemplary group of public servants. Even more than that, Canada can be proud of the strength of its public service, thanks to individuals such as these. I thank them for all that they do.

I am pleased to rise this evening to speak to this opposed vote. This particular motion deals with vote 1, in the amount of $129,915,146, under Privy Council Office program expenditures, in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018. Of this $129 million, $1 million deals with the creation of the new, non-partisan, merit-based Senate appointments process.

As the Minister of Democratic Institutions, I am mandated to “restore Canadians' trust and participation in our democratic processes”. My job is to improve, strengthen, and protect Canadian democracy.

I was honoured when the Prime Minister asked me to take on this portfolio, as, to me, it is one that touches every single Canadian. The effectiveness of our democratic institutions and the health of our democracy is one of the most defining features of our identity as a country. We know that when Canadians have faith in their institutions, they are engaged. It is when they lose faith in these institutions that they become disengaged from the process and disheartened by their lack of voice in the system.

Unfortunately, Canadians' faith in the Senate was shaken during the Senate expense scandal that saw the previous Prime Minister's Office directly interfere in the day-to-day operations of the Senate. We listened when Canadians told us they were losing faith in this institution. We listened when they told us they did not think the Prime Minister's Office should be interfering in the careful deliberations of the upper house. We listened when they told us the Senate should not simply be a rubber stamp for the government in the House of Commons, but instead should be conducting its important constitutional role as the chamber of sober second thought. Under the previous government, the reputation of the Senate suffered.

Canadians care deeply about their democracy. It is our job as legislators to ensure that we continue to strengthen and protect our great institutions.

That is why we announced in our 2015 election platform that, once elected, a Liberal government would set up a non-partisan committee whose members would be appointed based on merit and would propose candidates to the upper chamber to the Prime Minister.

We made this commitment to restore Canadians' trust in this institution. The Senate, after all, plays a pivotal role in our Parliament, and as it is written in our Constitution, we cannot pass legislation without it going through the Senate.

On January 19, 2016, we established the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments and launched a non-partisan, open, and transparent application process. It consists of three permanent federal members and two ad hoc members from each of the provinces or territories where a vacancy exists.

The independent advisory board has a mandate to provide non-binding, merit-based recommendations to the Prime Minister on Senate appointments by carefully assessing applications using merit-based criteria. The advisory board looks to identify Canadians who would make a significant contribution to the work of the Senate.

From now on, Canadians across the country will be able to apply to become a senator.

The changes we made reflect our commitment to make the Senate a more open and transparent institution, a Senate that is arm's length from the government and less partisan than ever before.

If Canadians want to apply to serve in the Senate, they simply have to visit the government's website, Canada.ca. Our government is committed to a merit-based assessment of Senate candidates. Our emphasis is on individuals who meet the merit-based criteria established by the government.

The first such criterion regards gender, indigenous, and minority balance. Individuals will be considered with a view to achieving gender balance in the Senate. Priority consideration will be given to applicants who represent indigenous peoples and linguistic minority and ethnic communities, with a view to ensuring that representation of those communities in the Senate is consistent with the Senate's role in minority representation.

The second criterion is non-partisanship. Individuals must demonstrate to the advisory board that they have the ability to bring a perspective and a contribution to the work of the Senate that is independent and non-partisan. They will also have to disclose any political involvement and activities. Past political activities would not disqualify an applicant.

The third criterion is knowledge. Individuals must demonstrate a solid knowledge of the legislative process and Canada's Constitution, including the role of the Senate as an independent and complementary body of sober second thought, regional representation, and minority representation.

The fourth criterion is personal qualities. Individuals must demonstrate outstanding personal qualities, including adherence to the principles and standards of public life, ethics, and integrity. Individuals must demonstrate an ability to make an effective and significant contribution to the work of the Senate, not only in their chosen profession or area of expertise but in the wide range of other issues that come before the other place.

Since spring 2016, our government has appointed 27 senators through the new appointment process. Whether they are from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario or British Columbia, they who have taken their sears in the Senate are all outstanding Canadians who are doing an excellent job on behalf of all Canadians. These new senators are from a variety of professional backgrounds; they are former judges, Olympians, engineers, civil servants, teachers, police commissioners and more, and they will add their knowledge and skills to the wealth of experience each member already brings to our institution.

While we have taken steps to modernize the Senate through the appointment process, the Senate itself has undertaken a number of modernization efforts to fulfill its important constitutional role. For example, the Senate has begun inviting ministers to appear at Senate question period. This gives senators an opportunity to directly question ministers in relation to their portfolios and mandates and to hold the government to account. I had the opportunity to appear before the Senate during its question period in February this year.

Furthermore, a new special committee was created in the Senate to deal specifically with Senate modernization. This Special Committee on Senate Modernization has released 11 reports to date on a variety of modernization efforts the Senate can implement within the current constitutional framework. These reports deal with issues such as question period, the speakership of the Senate, regional interests, and more.

On May 11, 2017, the Senate adopted the seventh report of the Senate Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament. This report implemented recommendations from the Special Committee on Senate Modernization that amended provisions in the Senate rules to allow any group of at least nine senators to be recognized either as a recognized party in the Senate, as long as the party was registered under the Canada Elections Act, or had been in the last 15 years, or as a recognized parliamentary group formed for parliamentary purposes. This change is a response to the influx of senators who are now sitting with designations of Independent or Non-affiliated. There are currently 43 senators who are not sitting as part of a recognized political party.

The Senate has also made changes to its committee structure. In December 2016, a sessional order was moved to increase the size of Senate committees to accommodate non-affiliated senators and to give them better representation on committees that is more in line with their numbers in the chamber.

The Senate is taking an active role in modernization efforts, and we applaud all senators for their hard work in this regard.

Our efforts to modernize the Senate by making it more open and transparent go hand in hand with our vision of governance.

We promised Canadians a government that is fair, open, and transparent, and that is what what we are doing. In addition to reforming the Senate, the Prime Minister gave me a mandate to deliver on other government priorities, such as significantly enhancing transparency for the public at large and media in the political fundraising system for cabinet members, party leaders, and leadership candidates.

I recently introduced Bill C-50, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing). This bill, if passed, will make political fundraising more open and transparent for Canadians.

Any fundraising activity with a ticket price of $200 or more and involving the Prime Minister, cabinet members, ministers, party leaders, and leadership candidates currently sitting in the House of Commons must be publicly advertised at least five days prior to the event. In addition, a list of everyone in attendance must be submitted to Elections Canada within 30 days so that it can be posted online.

Canada, it should be repeated, has one of the strictest oversight systems in the world when it comes to the financing of political parties. We have strict spending limits, a cap on annual donations, and a ban on corporate and union donations, but that does not mean we cannot do more to improve and strengthen our institutions.

Canadians have a right to know more about political fundraising in Canada. Bill C-50 will give Canadians more information than ever before on fundraising. This is part of my commitment and this government's commitment to protect, strengthen, and enhance our democracy.

This commitment also led us to introduce Bill C-33, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. If passed, Bill C-33 would make it easier for Canadians to vote. It would make our elections more open and inclusive and would help to build confidence in the integrity of our voting system.

Specifically, the legislation would do the following. It would restore the Chief Electoral Officer's ability to educate and inform Canadians, especially young people, indigenous Canadians, new Canadians, and others about voting, elections, and related issues. It would help more Canadians to vote by restoring vouching and using the voter identification card as ID. Guided by the Charter of Rights, it would break down barriers preventing millions of Canadian citizens living abroad from voting in Canadian elections. It would invite more Canadian youth into our democracy by allowing voting pre-registration for Canadians aged 14 to 17.

If passed, this bill will strengthen the integrity of the electoral process by giving Elections Canada new tools to ensure that only Canadians with the right to vote are listed in the national register of electors. In addition, this legislation will increase the level of independence of the commissioner of Canada Elections.

Bill C-33 would keep our government's promise to repeal certain elements of the previous government's so-called Fair Elections Act, which made it harder for Canadians to vote.

We believe that Canada is better served when the franchise is extended to as many Canadians as possible, not restricted. We will continue to look at ways to encourage greater voter participation and engagement. We will continue to work with the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which is currently studying the report of the Chief Electoral Officer, entitled “An Electoral Framework for the 21st Century: Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the 42nd General Election”.

The committee has been studying this report, item by item, and I would like to thank them for all the work they have done so far in that regard. I very much look forward to receiving their recommendations.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity today to remind Canadians that our work is not finished. Indeed, as I carry out my mandate, I will continue to work hard to protect, strengthen and improve our democratic institutions. To that end, I am currently working with the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to assess our electoral process' degree of vulnerability to cyber threats.

I will also be looking at bringing forward options to create an independent commissioner to organize political party leaders' debates during future federal election campaigns, with a mandate to improve Canadians' knowledge of the parties, their leaders, and their policy positions.

I will also review the limits on the amounts political parties and third parties can spend during elections and propose measures to ensure that spending between elections is subject to reasonable limits.

Our democracy is strengthened when Canadians can get directly involved in our process. While casting a ballot is one of the most important ways to make our voices heard in our democracy, we have to ensure that Canadians know that it can be so much more than that. We can do this by continuing to examine what barriers exist between Canadians and participation and by learning how to create pathways for meaningful engagement.

I intend to do just that.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, we can tell that the minister has a very ambitious agenda. I know Canadians would know, through the Prime Minister's mandate letter, the task that has been asked of her.

I want to pick up on the idea of enabling more voters to get out. One of the pet peeves I have, and we saw it with the Conservative government's legislation, is marginalizing the importance of the voter identification card. I wonder if the minister could provide her thoughts on the importance of the voter identification card and how it might be used going forward.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, we know and have the facts from Statistics Canada that almost 200,000 Canadians did not vote in the last federal election because they did not have the sufficient identification required to vote. The voter identification card is an excellent way for Canadians to be able to use that as sufficient ID to cast their ballots. All Canadian citizens have the right to vote. We need to ensure that they have the opportunity and the possibility to vote and that is exactly what Bill C-33 intends to do. I hope that all members in the House share that the importance of democracy is ensuring that everyone can participate.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

June 14th, 2017 / 5:50 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Madam Speaker, last year I put a private member's bill forward, Bill C-237, the candidate gender equity act. Through discussions of that bill and the subsequent democratic reform committee, that proposal was put forward but was voted down both times by the government. Canada now is about 65th place in the world in terms of the percentage of women in the House of Commons. I am wondering if the minister has any concrete plans to make changes to increase the number of women in the House.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, obviously gender inclusion and ensuring that we have more gender balance in the House of Commons is a deeply important issue for me, as it is for this government. I thank the member for bringing forward his proposal. It is something that I am looking into to see what kinds of actions we can take because we know that we are richer when the House is more adequately reflective of the population at large. I look forward to carrying on conversations about what we can do to encourage more women to run for office and to see how we can support them when they do put their names forward.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, the minister spoke about Bill C-50, which she recently tabled, that sets out rules for how to perform cash for access fundraising. Of course, those who object to the practice, object to the idea of selling access to ministers. It is the principle that is objectionable. Does she at least recognize the difference between an ordinary MP and ministers of the crown who are in charge of disbursing large amounts of government funding, together around $300 billion a year?

The bill does not stop that practice, but I wonder if she recognizes that there is a difference between the influence that ordinary MPs have with respect to government funding and the influence that ministers of the crown have.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, as it is clearly outlined in Bill C-50, this legislation would only apply to cabinet ministers, the Prime Minister, party leaders, and leadership contestants. It is precisely to provide more information to Canadians about political fundraising. It is within the rights of Canadians to contribute to a party, to a leader, to a candidate who shares values, who shares ideas, who shares aspirations for the future of our country, and that is precisely why this legislation is designed to provide more information than ever before about who is attending fundraisers, when they happen, and where they are taking place.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Madam Speaker, I am somewhat confused in the minister's answer just now because in the rules that she is bringing forward what they are really trying to do is make it so that all cash for access fundraisers with Liberal cabinet ministers will now be legal, which currently does not fit under their own guidelines that were laid out by the Prime Minister and put in their mandate letters.

As the Minister for Democratic Institutions, which includes this place, in the late hours last night the House leader for the government tabled a notice of a new Clerk coming to our chamber from the Senate. I want to know whether or not the government consulted with the Speaker and other parties before they made this unilateral decision?

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, that question is better posed to the government House leader, as this was not part of my portfolio. However, I do welcome and congratulate the individual whom we are putting forward for recommendation. My understanding is that he is of exceptional quality and has a long and distinguished career in this place, in Parliament.

Furthermore, I also want to use this opportunity to clarify that Canada has very strict rules when it comes to political fundraising. In fact, the maximum an individual can contribute is $1,550 a year, a level that was put in place by the previous government . We do believe it is important for Canadians to be able to exercise their democratic expression by supporting a political party of their choice. I know that all members in the House fundraise in order for them to run campaigns, that parties require funds to be able to operate, and that parties play an important and vital role in the democratic engagement and discourse that we have in this country.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Madam Speaker, I have another, related question. The minister mentioned the limit of $1,550. The Province of Quebec has always led the way when it comes to electoral finance. Currently, my understanding is that individuals can donate only $100 there. That is the limit for donations. I wonder if the minister would ever consider lowering the limit. Fifteen hundred and fifty dollars seems a bit excessive and most Canadians could not afford that. Would the minister ever consider lowering the limit from $1,550 to, say, $500 a year?

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows, every province regulates how it does political fundraising and that is up to each province to decide. I believe that at the federal level this is a reasonable limit. With regard to that, it should be noted that the average donation is about $207 a year. There are fewer than 2% of Canadians who are members of political parties and who donate to political parties. It is something that more people could contribute to. It is just $5. It is a way to express support for a party that shares the ideas and the aspirations that people have as a country.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, in the minister's mandate letter, it says to bring forward options to create an independent commissioner to organize the political party leaders' debate, and she did mention that. On this independent commissioner, will the minister promise in the House not to follow the process followed by the government when it failed to appoint a Commissioner of Official Languages, and actually commit to doing a fulsome process where all parties in the House are consulted in person through a committee where we can all agree, with the members of the New Democratic Party as well?

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, in fact I have already begun consulting with the parties opposite, both the leaders and the presidents of the parties as well as my opposition critics, on a whole range of issues including the debates commissioner within my mandate letter. Furthermore, I am particularly pleased and proud that we are going to be bringing this forward, since the party opposite refused to participate in the consortium debates during the last federal election. This is in specific response to ensure that if a party leader decides not to participate we will have debates and Canadians will be able to participate.

In 2011, 11 million Canadians tuned in to the national consortium debate. In 2015, because the previous prime minister refused to participate, the debate with the largest viewership was four million. This is an important initiative to ensure that during an election Canadians have access to the ideas, to the policies, and to the individual who is asking for their vote and for their trust.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Madam Speaker, before I begin, I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton Manning.

I am here tonight to speak about the estimates and about the part of the process that I am specifically charged with, which is being the critic of the Treasury Board and is also related to the budgetary things we find the government doing, the out-of-control spending we are watching, the fact that the debt is growing, and the fact that this will be put off to future generations. I will touch on a few things first, if I am allowed. I want to talk about what has been proposed by the government in terms of estimates and the reforming of estimates.

First, we should indicate that changes to the Standing Orders of the House are traditionally done with the unanimous consent of all parties. We do not take lightly the proposal to change the Standing Orders for estimates reform, although the government thinks differently. It thinks it can ram it through unilaterally and do what it wants. Its proposal would drastically reduce the time Parliament has to examine how government spends taxpayers' money. The government can improve this kind of accountability to parliamentarians without a change to the Standing Orders.

When it comes to the rationale for why the government is proposing to table the main estimates on May 1, the stated goal of the proposal is to delay them and therefore improve the alignment of the main estimates with the budget. However, there is no fixed date for the budget, or even a requirement by any government to table a budget, and there have been times in this country's history when it was appropriate not to table a budget in this Parliament. If we change the rules around what a government can and cannot do all of a sudden without that government agreeing to table a budget on fixed budget dates, then we are starting to take out the accountability factor that the government seems to want to have in terms of the House of Commons and parliamentarians.

Ultimately, alignment of the two documents will depend on streamlining the internal government processes and the timing of the budget, which are both under the full control of the government, so it should be very clear that a change in terms of when estimates are tabled could easily be done by the government without putting changes into the Standing Orders.

The primary implication of this change would be to drastically reduce, as I have mentioned, the time Parliament has to consider the main estimates for their approval. As this debate has been going on for some time, at least since the end of last year and into this year, several people have weighed in on it. I will read three quotes, and this is from the parliamentary budget office in terms of the report they wrote called “Considerations for Parliament in Reforming the Business of Supply”, dated November 22, 2016. The first quote comes from pages 11 and 12:

Unless the Government is able to present a clear plan to reform its internal management processes, this example shows that it is unlikely that delaying the release of the main estimates by eight weeks will provide full alignment with the budget.

In other words, the stated goal would not be achieved in terms of what the analysis of the parliamentary budget office said when it looked at what was being proposed. The second quote comes from the same document and it reads:

The Government asserts that Parliament does not play a meaningful role in financial scrutiny. [The parliamentary budget officer] disagrees with this view. We note that notwithstanding the Government’s performance information of admittedly poor quality, and their inability to reconcile the Government’s spending proposals, parliamentarians have performed a commendable job of asking pertinent questions in standing committee hearings, Question Period and Committee of the Whole.

Again, this is part of the analysis of the parliamentary budget officer in terms of what the government wants to do. The third quote comes from The Globe and Mail, November 2, 2016, which quoted the former parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page, as saying:

On budget and estimates alignment, the report suggests that MPs should consider a delay in the tabling of main estimates until well after the start of the fiscal year. How does that improve financial control? Bureaucrats are effectively saying Parliament would review requested spending after the start of the fiscal year on April 1, with budgets tabled in late winter. If you start from the perspective of financial control, Parliament should see the fiscal plan, departmental plans and requested authorities (voted and statutory) before April 1.

The point of reading these quotes is that, to get our agreement to unanimously support this, we have been simply told to trust the government. At the end of the day, when we have brought up the issues, the President of the Treasury Board essentially ends the conversation by saying we just have to trust the Liberals, because he has been in Parliament for so long, over 20 years, and he has experienced more of Parliament from the opposition benches than the government benches, and he knows that this would help.

Estimates reform is a worthy goal. It is one which many Parliaments have tried to tackle. However, this is done in such a way as to not want to take input from the opposition and to, in fact, reduce the amount of scrutiny that the opposition has. The bottom line, in many ways, is that Parliament would have less scrutiny by way of confidence votes on financial matters in the House.

Why does that matter to the opposition? It matters greatly, because many times in our country's history, especially in minority governments, there are times when other issues are crowding in around the administration of a minority government. On every occasion, to have a confidence vote is an important occasion for the opposition in terms of having a tool to hold the government to true account. Therefore, when we reduce those, we are taking away some of that. This is reminiscent in many ways of what was tried by the government with Motion No. 6.

Motion No. 6 was a reactionary, spiteful motion put before us which basically took away many of the powers that are given through our parliamentary democracy for the opposition to use to hold the government to account. In that scenario, Canadians spoke up, and told the government that it was wrong, and it eventually backed-off from Motion No. 6.

There are some parallels here to being told what it is we are going to have in terms of financial accountability on the government side to the opposition in saying, “Well, we just need to do it, because we feel it is the right thing”. This goes against the traditions of the House.

I want to tie this to the record of the government on financial issues or its economic record. We see in the overall scheme of things, especially now with what is being debated in the Senate today, there are escalations on certain forms of taxation being automatically put into the budget bill. Of course, our friends in the Senate are debating them today, and will continue to debate them whether this is good for Canadians or not.

In looking back, I want to focus on two things in terms of not only the broken promises, the $10 billion tiny deficit the Liberals campaigned on but also the things that really affect Canadians. However, my time has run out, and so I will stop there.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I am sure the member will be able to provide some more information during questions and comments.

Questions and comments. The hon. member for Hastings—Lennox and Addington.

Concurrence in Vote 1—Privy Council OfficeMain Estimates, 2017-18Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Madam Speaker, The Globe and Mail has called the current sequencing of the estimates bad, to the point of absurdity, and said that it is a discredited practice that has only served to keep MPs in the dark about how tax dollars are being spent. When the member is studying the main estimates, does the hon. member not want them to include items from that year's budget, so the estimates are actually relevant?