House of Commons Hansard #255 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. The Canada Infrastructure Bank will invest in infrastructure that is in the public interest, providing an innovative, new infrastructure financing tool, and attracting private sector investment to build transformational projects that may not otherwise get built. This is an optional tool that our provincial, territorial, indigenous, and municipal partners can use to increase the long-term affordability and sustainability of infrastructure in their communities.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister broke the law. He has been found to have violated four major sections of the Conflict of Interest Act and, in breaking the law, he wasted hundreds of thousands of Canadians' hard-earned tax dollars. He has offered no meaningful answers in the House, and has refused a reasonable invitation to discuss the Ethics Commissioner's findings in the serene and respectful surroundings of the ethics committee.

Why, at the very least, will the Prime Minister not simply repay Canadians for his illegal vacation?

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, as I have said on numerous occasions, immediately after the report was released, the Prime Minister took responsibility and accepted the findings of the commissioner. The Prime Minister has taken steps to ensure that all future family vacations are cleared ahead of time. There is a process here. There was a concern, and the commissioner looked at it and offered a report. We have accepted the recommendations, and the Prime Minister has accepted responsibility.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, even the British prime minister appears before a committee.

As the Liberal House leader recites the Prime Minister's empty lines, the message is “Case closed, nothing going on here, the PM promises to consult the Ethics Commissioner about future vacations.”

However, there are other important findings in the commissioner's report. For example, evidence of the PM's bizarre, unethical attitude regarding lobbying. He thinks he can break conflict and lobby laws, because he is just relationship building. His interaction is ceremonial.

When will the Prime Minister do the right thing?

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, the Prime Minister and this government will continue to engage with Canadians, and listen to the very real challenges they are facing. When it comes to these questions, the Prime Minister has answered these questions.

Since the new year, the Prime Minister has been available at numerous town halls, including last night in Winnipeg. Tonight, he will be in Edmonton. Canadians are asking tough questions, questions that matter to them. We will continue to engage with them.

Canadians are concerned about the economy, and the government has created 422,000 jobs in 2017, the best number since 2002.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former ethics commissioner's report is very clear: the Prime Minister violated four sections of the Ethics Act. This is compounded by the fact that he broke his own rules by accepting a family trip to the Aga Khan's private island. Moreover, he reoffended when his family planned yet another trip on the public purse.

Canadians deserve answers. The time of reckoning has come.

Can the Prime Minister tell us that he will take responsibility for his mistakes and pay back this illegal gift?

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, the Prime Minister took responsibility and accepted the recommendations.

Since the beginning of the year, the Prime Minister has answered questions asked by Canadians all over the country at open and public town halls. Canadians continue to be concerned about job creation for the middle class and for those working hard to join it.

Under our plan, Canadians created 422,000 jobs in 2017, an annual record since 2002. We understand that the opposition does not want to talk about the economy because they know that our plan is working.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Canadian taxpayers pay for their family vacations down south with their own money. It is inconceivable that we have to pay for the illegal travel expenses of the Prime Minister, his family and his friends. This is an inappropriate and illegal gift, and it must be paid back.

When will the Prime Minister finally reimburse Canadian taxpayers for the cost of his illegal vacation?

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, the security agencies make determinations on what is needed to protect the Prime Minister, as they have done for previous prime ministers. We will follow their recommendations. The former commissioner has acknowledged that these costs were incurred as part of the role of the Prime Minister.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the former health minister repaid inappropriate expenses in 2016, the Prime Minister said, “The situation was a reminder for all of us to be extremely careful about our expenses and about the public trust that we wield.”

Now that the Ethics Commissioner has ruled that his vacation was illegal, why is the Prime Minister refusing to show the same level of respect for taxpayers? He knew the trip was wrong because he tried to hide it. If he truly accepts the commissioner's finding of guilt, why will he not repay Canadians?

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 I just said in French and shall repeat in English, the security agencies make determinations on what is needed to protect this Prime Minister, as they have done for previous prime ministers, and we follow their recommendations. The former commissioner has acknowledged that these costs are incurred as part of the role of the Prime Minister.

ThePrime Minister will continue to work with the commissioner to clear future family vacations.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is such a double standard. There is one set of rules for the Prime Minister and another set of rules for everyone else. Contemptible, hypocritical, and entitled is the only way to describe the Prime Minister's coached response and the coached response of those around him to be found guilty on four counts of breaking ethics rules.

If this were any other workplace, the Prime Minister would be fired and at the very least would have to pay it back, but in this place, he cannot be fired until an election, so we are asking him to pay the money back. Why will he not?

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, I have said many times that the Prime Minister accepts the responsibility and accepted the finding.

When the Conservatives were in government, they had a habit of undermining our officers of Parliament and now that they are in the opposition, they continue to do the same. For weeks, months, and a year even, they were asking for the report to be released. Now that it has been released, they refuse to accept its decision.

We will take responsibility. We have accepted the recommendations and we thank the commissioner for her work.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2017, there were more than 4,000 opioid-related deaths in Canada. It seems that only the government does not understand the extent of the crisis, which is now moving into eastern Canada.

In Hochelaga, the Dopalliés project reaches out to drug users to teach them about safe practices. It is working and saving lives, but we still do not know whether the funding will be renewed in April. This is urgent.

What is the minister waiting for to renew programs that effectively address the opioid crisis?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government is deeply troubled by the deepening opioid crisis in Canada. Our emergency action to date includes significant federal investments, new legislation, and expedited regulatory action.

Going forward, we will continue to work with the provinces and territories to increase access to treatment, support innovative approaches, and fight the stigma of opioid use. We will continue to work with all our partners.

HealthOral Questions

February 1st, 2018 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the numbers are in. In 2017, a staggering 4,000 Canadians died from opioid overdoses, an unprecedented 1,400 people in British Columbia alone. However, this is not an opioid crisis. It is not an overdose crisis. It is a crisis of social isolation and bad drug policy.

Jagmeet Singh has proposed the only real solution: treat addiction as a health issue, not a criminal one. When will the government abandon the failed war on drugs and adopt a health-based approach to addiction and drug use?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that we are facing a national public health crisis due to opioid overdose, and our government is treating this as a public health issue and not a criminal matter.

We are not looking at decriminalizing or legalizing any other drugs aside from cannabis, as decriminalization would not assure quality control of drugs, and there would still be the risk of contamination on the streets. By streamlining the application process for supervised consumption sites and giving legal protection for those who seek emergency help during an overdose, we are working toward improving access to treatment and social services for those who need it.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader just does not seem to understand. The Prime Minister has been found guilty of committing an illegal act. He took a gift worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from someone who was at that moment doing business with his government.

Does the government House leader not understand that the Prime Minister broke the law?

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, I understand. I understand that I was elected here by the people of Waterloo to represent their concerns. The Prime Minister had confidence in me and asked me to become a minister, asked me to become the government House leader, to take on those responsibilities seriously.

While the Conservatives continue to be focused on the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and this government will continue to be focused on Canadians and the very real challenges that they are facing. If members would notice, we have been engaging with Canadians. We have a plan that is working. Some 422,000 jobs have been created by Canadians for Canadians because our plan is working. Conservatives do not want to talk about the economy because they know our plan is working.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was found guilty of violating four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act when he took a private vacation on a billionaire's island in the Caribbean. We have been asking a very simple question for the last four days. The responses have been inadequate. They have been shameful and have been disrespectful to this place. The Liberals are saying, “There is nothing to see here. Oh, the Prime Minister broke the law, but it does not matter, move on.”

This is important. Why will the Prime Minister not pay back the money to Canadians?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 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 we have said every single time the same question has been asked over and over again, immediately after the report was released, the Prime Minister accepted the recommendations and accepted responsibility.

The Prime Minister will continue to focus on Canadians so that we can ensure that the economy and our strategic investments are working for them. We are here for Canadians by Canadians. Those are the very people we serve. While the Conservatives will continue focusing on the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and this government will continue focusing on Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, we seem to be getting nowhere with the scripted answers from the government House leader, but fortunately, there was another member of this House who had a front-row seat on this illegal vacation.

I would like to ask the Minister of Veterans Affairs, did he incur any expenses that he billed to taxpayers for the trip, and does he think the Prime Minister should pay back Canadians for the $200,000 he has billed them for this illegal vacation?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 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 I have said, immediately after the report was released, the Prime Minister accepted responsibility and he accepted the recommendations. It was the opposition members who thought that the commissioner should investigate. The commissioner has investigated. She has released her report. We have accepted the recommendations. The Prime Minister has accepted responsibility.

While the Conservatives continue to focus on the Prime Minister, this Prime Minister and this government will continue to focus on Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, the only recommendation was a finding of guilt.

If Canadian taxpayers file a false expense claim when they file their taxes and the taxman finds out they have broken the law, they do not get to keep their ill-gotten tax return and just say, “Sorry, I will not do that again.” They have to pay it back with interest and penalties. Once again, there is one set of rules for the Prime Minister and one set of rules for everyone else.

Why will the Prime Minister not finally do the right thing and pay back the ill-gotten gains that he billed to taxpayers? He should pay the money back.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 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 I have said, the Prime Minister accepted the recommendations and accepted responsibility.

It is clear that the Conservatives will talk about anything except for the economy. They praise themselves on being stewards of the economy. What they could not do in 10 years we have been able to accomplish in two years, with 422,000 jobs created by Canadians for Canadians, the highest number since 2002.

We will continue to engage with Canadians. We will continue to respond to the very real challenges they are facing. They know that our plan for the economy is working.