House of Commons Hansard #274 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreed.

Topics

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister committed to give surf clam quota to companies that partnered with multiple first nations, yet the Liberal company that actually got the contract did not have multiple first nations partners until after it was awarded a contract that was worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In fact, the company did not even exist until after the contract was awarded.

I am no pescatarian, but something is fishy here. Maritime politicians, the Mi'kmaq First Nation, and many others are asking if this is just a kickback for Liberal Party donors.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, what is fishy is colleagues standing up in the House of Commons and asserting a series of things that are not accurate.

What we said is that we would have a public process to encourage industry and indigenous groups to submit proposals of how they could access this important fishery, something that the previous Conservative government did in 2014-15, but it forgot to include indigenous peoples. We selected a proposal that included the best economic benefits for indigenous peoples in five provinces, four Atlantic provinces and Quebec, and we are very proud of that decision.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest, I have the privilege of having many members of the Canadian Armed Forces among my constituents. Many work at CFB Gagetown, where every summer reservists from across the country go through their training, learn their trade, and hone their skills.

Can the Minister of National Defence inform this House how our government is fulfilling its commitment to employment initiatives, and invests in Canadian youth and in the Canadian army reserves?

National DefenceOral Questions

March 22nd, 2018 / 2:55 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the member for New Brunswick Southwest, for her dedicated service to her constituents.

As outlined in our defence policy, our government is committed to employing new and recently enrolled members of the reserves. Last week, I announced our new full-time summer employment program for members of the reserves. Through this initiative, reservists will receive competitive pay and learn valuable military skills.

I would like to also take this opportunity to thank them for their tremendous service to Canada.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are misinforming Canadians by saying the deployment of our troops to Mali is a UN peacekeeping mission when in reality it is not. The head of the UN mission in Mali recently said, “The terrorists are waging a real asymmetrical war against us—and I'd like to emphasize the word 'war.'” Insurgent ambushes, roadside bombs, and terrorist attacks on UN bases are the norm in Mali.

Will the Prime Minister honestly say what the United Nations is saying and admit he is sending our troops into a war zone in Mali.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the safety of our brave women and men in uniform is extremely important to us, and we are doing everything we can to ensure they can do their work as safely as possible.

However, let me be frank. There are risks in Mali, as there are with all UN peacekeeping operations. That is because UN peacekeepers go where they are needed, which is inevitably where there are conflicts and instability. Canadians believe in an international rules-based order, and we need to back up that belief with our actions.

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, almost a year ago, the Liberals refused to listen to the NDP and remove the section on grain transportation from their omnibus transportation bill. As a result, the bill is still being studied in the Senate and our grain producers are still being held hostage by CN and CP. It is time for the Senate to fix the Liberal government's botched job and remove the section on grain transportation from Bill C-49.

Will the government commit to supporting our motion today formally asking the Senate to expedite the passage of these provisions, and help the crisis facing grain farmers out west?

Rail TransportationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are taking measures to accelerate the flow of grain for our western farmers to get it to world markets. At the same time, I have been urging the other chamber to move as quickly as possible in the adoption of Bill C-49.

Unlike the Harper government, which had 10 years to try to modernize the movement of freight rail and did not do anything except come up with a band-aid bill, we are actually putting in place something that will allow us to deal with the movement of freight rail, including grain, efficiently once that bill is passed.

International DevelopmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, on February 23, UNICEF called on the international community to intervene urgently to help the Rohingya people. Colleagues in the House are familiar with the suffering they have endured, and now they face yet another threat, the rainy seasons and cyclones that will soon hit the region. The impact could have terrible effects on what is now the largest refugee camp.

Could the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie update the House on what the government plans to do to help the Rohingya people.

International DevelopmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Compton—Stanstead Québec

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau LiberalMinister of International Development and La Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Kitchener South—Hespeler for his strong involvement in human rights issues.

Canada was one of the first countries to provide live-saving assistance in response to the Rohingya crisis. Last Friday, I announced an additional $8.15 million in emergency assistance in anticipation of the monsoon rains, bringing our aid to nearly $46 million.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and I are working on a more impactful approach in terms of humanitarian assistance and the respect of human rights.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is perfectly obvious to those of us on this side of the House that the Prime Minister's attempt to enhance his image by sending our soldiers to Mali is another display of shockingly bad judgment on his part. As we see it, there is no peace to keep in Mali. There is war.

Can the Prime Minister and his government tell us if Mali is a war zone, yes or no?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we do everything we can to protect our soldiers, but we want to be frank and honest with Canadians. There are risks in Mali, as there are with all UN peacekeeping operations.

UN peacekeepers go where they are needed, which is inevitably where there are conflicts and instability. Canadians believe in an international rules-based order, and we need to back up that belief with our actions.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3 p.m.

GPQ (ex-Bloc)

Michel Boudrias GPQ (ex-Bloc) Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, 800 workers have lost their jobs at the Davie shipyard because Quebec has been hoodwinked by the federal government.

Any day now, we are expecting a call for tenders to go out for the maintenance of seven Halifax-class frigates in the current fleet. Curiously, though, it seems that the criteria have been set in such a way that Davie will not be eligible to bid on the work, specifically because one of the conditions is that the shipyard docks be free of ice all year long.

Will the government put out a call for tenders immediately and make sure that the eligibility criteria allow Davie to bid on the work?

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, we are still negotiating with Davie shipyard to meet the needs of the Canadian Coast Guard regarding the icebreakers. We are continuing our discussions and doing our due diligence, and we will continue to look for solutions with the shipyard.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3 p.m.

GPQ (ex-Bloc)

Michel Boudrias GPQ (ex-Bloc) Terrebonne, QC

Speaking of icebreakers, Mr. Speaker, the clock is ticking for Quebec. The St. Lawrence needs icebreakers now, next year, and for many years to come. However, it seems that Seaspan, currently in Vancouver, has been incapable of delivering the only icebreaker that has been commissioned so far on schedule.

This is not complicated. If the St. Lawrence is not navigable year-round, merchant ships and other vessels will go elsewhere. If we are not able to compete, it is because the federal government is currently snubbing the best shipyard there is, Quebec's Davie shipyard.

My question is very simple: yes or no, is the government going to award the contract for the four icebreakers—

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Delta B.C.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, discussions are ongoing and we are exercising due diligence. Frankly, we are not going to negotiate on the House floor.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for La Pointe-de-l’Île on a point of order.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Beaulieu Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think you will find unanimous consent of the House to adopt the following motion: That, in the unanimous opinion of the House, the Canadian government respond to the Quebec government’s request by committing to reimburse all costs for the large wave of asylum seekers who arrived in Quebec last year, since refugee settlement falls under federal jurisdiction.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order because in a moment I will be seeking unanimous consent for a motion that will address the ongoing grain crisis in the Prairies. On Monday, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food heard from witness after witness who said the situation is decidedly unsatisfactory.

That is why I am very hopeful that, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following urgent motion that, in light of the acute crisis within the grain transport industry, a message be sent to the Senate calling on their honours to divide Bill C-49, an act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts, into two bills in order to create a new bill comprised of clauses 2 to 13 and clauses 20 to 59, as well as related transitory, consequential, and coming-into-force provisions respecting transportation of grain; and that the House implore their honours to pass the new bill at the earliest opportunity.

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Public Services and ProcurementOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Access to Information on Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in relation to my privilege motion made in this place on March 2, which is with the Chair right now. Until the Chair has ruled with respect to that privilege motion, I have the ability to add additional submissions to that motion from March 2.

As I rise, I would ask that this be done today in two ways. In the first part, I would like the Chair and his office to include my speech from the opposition day motion today, because the elements I expressed in my speech are germane to the privilege motion I brought saying that my privilege as a member and shadow minister has been breached or fettered by the refusal of the Prime Minister to allow Mr. Jean to appear before committee.

I am supplementing additional information for your consideration, Mr. Speaker, because today the Liberal members of the public safety committee once again refused to allow Mr. Jean to appear before them to answer questions and provide evidence with respect to the India conspiracy theory that Mr. Jean previously provided to select members of the press gallery. The additional reference from this presentation is once again the denial of the right of the standing committee to have Mr. Jean before it to give all members the ability to do their job unfettered with the information required.

With respect to that, I would like to add my submission of reference to the decision of Speaker Parent from November 1999, where there was a contempt suggestion by a member with respect to his privilege being breached. It is germane to this case because that case related to employees of the government who had information that a member needed to perform his duties as a member of Parliament.

The decision relies upon Erskine May, which states:

[A]ny act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any member or officer of such House in the discharge his duty, or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results may be treated as a contempt even though there is no precedent of the offence.

In this case, Speaker Parent decided against the member. However, the situation with Mr. Jean can be distinguished, because in that case Speaker Parent said that it involved an access to information request and there was no proceeding of Parliament impacted by the inability of members to access information required, which is their privilege. In this case, the vote today by Liberal members at the public safety committee, the consistent refusal by the public safety minister and the Prime Minister to provide Mr. Jean to a standing committee of Parliament to provide the same information he provided to members of the press gallery, is obstructing a proceeding of Parliament.

Also, the other proceeding of Parliament impacted by this obstruction is the Prime Minister's repeated references to the conspiracy theory and the suggestions that Mr. Jean, a leading public servant, has given to provide an alternate theory about the Jaspal Atwal invitation. In my speech today, I read into the record the report from CBC News that stated that Mr. Jean, who was later identified but was an unnamed official at that point, said that the invitation itself was part of an Indian government conspiracy vis-à-vis the Prime Minister's trip to India. That information was provided to members of the media, and the government continues to obstruct members from having the same rights as members of the press gallery.

If the information is being provided to the press gallery, which reports on public affairs, there is no way the government could suggest it is confidential or in some way secret. The national security adviser could not provide sensitive information to members of the press. If it was provided to them, we are entitled to it.

To distinguish the Parent decision from 1999 involving Minister Eggleton, I refer you, Mr. Speaker, to the refusal today, obstructing a parliamentary committee in its ability to call a witness, a senior official of the Canadian government. The other parliamentary proceeding which distinguishes the Parent decision is the Prime Minister's repeated references to Mr. Jean's conspiracy theory and discussions to the media in question period. Therefore, our inability to probe and analyze that response by the Prime Minister by calling Mr. Jean to committee also violates my privileges and all of our privileges as members.

Until you rule, Mr. Speaker, I will continue to add additional supports for my motion from March 2 that our privileges have been violated by the obstruction of this government.