House of Commons Hansard #252 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sexual.

Topics

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1429Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

With respect to Health Canada’s Drinking Water Safety Program, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) capital expenditures on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve, and INAC expenditures on maintenance and operations for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve: (a) what amount has been allocated, broken down by program and by year (and, where applicable, by region), over the last ten years; (b) what amount has been spent, broken down by program and by year (and, where applicable, by region), over the last ten years; and (c) why, in applicable instances, were allocated funds left unspent or transferred away from the originally-intended line item?

(Return tabled)

*Question No. 1316Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

With regard to the tweet by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on November 7, 2017, which stated that “Canada salutes Nicaragua and Syria for joining on to the Paris Agreement!”: what are the titles of all individuals who approved the tweet?

(Return tabled)

*Question No. 1317Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

With respect to programs delivering mental health services to Indigenous children, programs delivering health services to Indigenous children, and the implementation of Jordan’s Principle: (a) how much has been allocated over the last five years, broken down by program and by year; (b) how much has been spent over the last five years, broken down by program and by year; (c) how much has been allocated through the Non-Insured Health Benefits program on hospital beds over the last five years; (d) how much was spent on hospital beds over the last five years; and (e) how many individual hospital beds were purchased and acquired and then distributed to recipient individuals or institutions over the last five years?

(Return tabled)

*Question No. 1318Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

With respect to the Child and Family Services program, the Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve and other programs offered by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and Health Canada for the purposes of early child development and early childhood education for Indigenous peoples, the Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program and other programs offered by INAC and Health Canada for the purposes of diagnosing and treating addictions and other mental health and wellness issues, including suicide prevention initiatives, and the Mental Health Continuum Framework: (a) what, if any, concerns, vulnerabilities, gaps, shortfalls and other lacunae in funding, program design and delivery were identified by the two respective departments, broken down by program; (b) what steps, if any, have been taken to rectify the concerns, vulnerabilities, gaps, shortfalls and other lacunae mentioned in (b), broken down by program; and (c) how much has been allocated and spent for each of these programs, in aggregate and broken down by region, for each year between 2009 and 2017?

(Return tabled)

*Question No. 1345Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, SK

With regard to terminology used on the government’s Mandate Letter Tracker: what is the difference between a “commitment not being pursued” and a broken promise?

(Return tabled)

*Question No. 1345Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I liked your comment in regard to the word “question”.

I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

*Question No. 1345Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is it agreed?

*Question No. 1345Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada Summer Jobs ApplicationRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have notice of a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Canada Summer Jobs ApplicationRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to seek leave for the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing an important matter requiring urgent consideration pursuant to Standing Order 52.

The issue in question is the 2018 Canada summer jobs application and the new attestation that is required to be signed by applicants in order for their application to be accepted by the standards laid out by the government.

The attestation in question reads:

...both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

I have heard from many organizations and individuals from across the country, and more specific at least 40 within Elgin—Middlesex—London. They believe that the specific requirements of this attestation constitute an overreach on behalf of the government. These employers believe they cannot sign such an attestation in good faith due to the implicit requirement that they agree with the government on contentious social issues.

Many groups that still desire the funding that is usually available to them through the Canada summer jobs program have indicated they will fill out an application without signing the attestation or amending it themselves before they sign. Unfortunately, the government has expressed that such modifications are unacceptable, will result in an application being deemed incomplete, and will not even move forward for the consideration of funding.

I am sure you are aware, Mr. Speaker, that section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms identifies, among other things, freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, and freedom of belief as fundamental freedoms. Every government has a duty to uphold these fundamental freedoms and defend the rights of all Canadians, regardless of whether they agree with the specific views held by individuals.

Brian Bird from McGill University wrote:

The idea that certain groups in Canada should not receive public funds is often voiced by individuals who simply reject the views of the group that seeks funding. This attitude fails to recognize that this funding is not a pot of money that the governing political party brought to Ottawa when it assumed power. These funds come from taxes that all Canadians, with our range of views and beliefs, have paid. That these funds might at times be given to groups with which we disagree is part of the price of living in a truly inclusive and diverse society.

The notion that people who disagree with the government on controversial moral issues...must either adopt the government’s view or be excluded is acceptable in totalitarian regimes. It is not acceptable in Canada — a country that strives, in the words of the Charter, to be a “free and democratic society.”

Although the government has issued a set of retroactive definitions in order to attempt to appease groups that feel threatened, this has left many people more confused than reassured. Many of these employers still express a clear objection to the attestation and refuse to sign it, even if they might meet the government's clarified criteria.

For example, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said that it was “seriously concerned”, and that “The attestation and examples still amount to the government’s coercion on matters of conscience and religious belief...“They foreclose the possibility of wide-ranging views and even healthy disagreement. The attestation remains unacceptable.””

The deadline for applications is this Friday, February 2 and, unfortunately because of the attestation, many groups will be excluded from this year's round of funding. These are groups that provide employment opportunities for Canadian youth, offering them life-long, transferrable skills that will improve our workforce over the long term. Additionally, many groups use funding through Canada summer jobs to improve Canadian society as a whole by providing aid to refugees, running day camps for those with disabilities, and encouraging at-risk youth to make good choices. Ultimately, the denial of this funding will be a loss to Canada as a whole.

In light of the concerns I have paired with the fact that the deadline for applications is nearly upon us and the reality that there has been no opportunity for Parliament to debate this issue, which will affect every riding throughout Canada, I believe an emergency debate on the attestation would meet the urgency requirements laid out in the Standing Order.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your time and your consideration on this very important issue.

Speaker's RulingRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

First, I want to remind members that their representations in relation to a request for emergency debate are to be quite brief. I thank the hon. member for raising her request for emergency debate, however, I find that it does not meet the exigencies of the standing order.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I wish to inform the House that, because of the ministerial statements, government orders will be extended by 22 minutes.

Before question period, the hon. member for Lethbridge gave her speech and now we have a five-minute period for questions and comments.

The hon. member for Oakville North—Burlington.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, when I spoke earlier this afternoon, I was quite hopeful this debate would continue to be a non-partisan. We heard amazing speeches this morning from the minister, the member for Jonquière, and the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. The member for Calgary Nose Hill gave a powerful speech this morning. Earlier we had a question for the member for Berthier—Maskinongé, which received a standing ovation from all hon. members. Thus, I am really disappointed the member for Lethbridge chose this opportunity to turn her intervention in the House into a partisan speech.

Would she clarify that a survivor coming forward has an ability to appeal to the minister who in turn can appoint the deputy minister to respond? If the employee is not satisfied, he or she can appeal to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. The board can rule or turn it over to the Speaker who can intervene.

Would the hon. member clarify the record on the actual process that can take place?

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am a little confused by the hon. member's question because she has swung the accusation that I am turning this into a partisan debate, when that is not at all what I did. I clearly acknowledged that this was a non-partisan issue. This is why I am raising before the House the process that the minister for labour has proposed, which is that any concern that a staff member has within the Parliament would go forward to the minister of labour. It would be up to the minister to look at that concern and decide whether to investigate it.

I do not believe that process serves the staff members of the House very well. If a staff member of the minister has a concern or a complaint to be made because of something that was done, then he or she needs a mechanism to bring his or her concern forward without fear of the minister getting involved and trying to scapegoat.

I am sorry but that question was absolutely inappropriate and based on a false premise.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Cape Breton—Canso Nova Scotia

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, to press the member across, it was an absolutely legitimate question. She implied there was no appeal process. Clearly, there is an appeal process. Would she like to correct the record?

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I still contend that the process being put forward by the minister in Bill C-65 by which a staff member within this place would bring forward a concern or a complaint, does not protect that staff member to bring his or her concern forward and know that it will be heard. That process needs to be put in the hands of a third party, arm's-length individual, who is non-partisan in nature.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member showed what a great chair of the Status of Women Committee she would have made in her thoughtful remarks. I do not think it is partisan at all for the member, in supporting a piece of government legislation, to demonstrate that she has read the detail of the bill and has presented thoughtful, original criticisms and suggestions for how to improve it.

Does the member think, in light of the response to her comments, that the government is willing to hear constructive amendments at committee? I hope it will take our support, our good faith, and our desire to be constructive in the tone it should be received and work with us to make the bill as good as possible.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question and for being able to see through some of the mudslinging that is actually happening from my colleagues across the aisle.

At the end of the day, I stood in this place and said that this is a discussion that needs to be had. I am standing on this side of the House in support of the government's initiative.

My only concern is this. Right now, when a staff member who works for a member of Parliament brings forward a concern or a complaint, an allegation, it will be going to the minister. I do not believe that serves our staff members the way it should. In addition to that, it is up to the minister, who is a Liberal minister, to determine whether or not the allegation is true or false.

I cannot help but believe that there is potential for that minister to engage in gamesmanship, in terms of perhaps showing favouritism to Liberal members but then going hard after a Conservative member or an NDP member or a Green Party member or a Bloc member.

What I am saying is simple. The individual who oversees this appeals process needs to be a third-party, non-partisan, neutral individual, full stop.