House of Commons Hansard #303 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

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

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed will please say nay.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ActPrivate Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 98, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, May 30, 2018, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona has seven minutes and 50 seconds coming his way from what was left from the previous start.

The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to resume my speech on Motion No. 22.

Part of my speech was deferred until later in the day so that we could debate a very important private member's bill, Bill C-262. The theme of my speech was the government's lack of respect for Parliament. I said that was evidenced by its approach to the committees' recommendations and the government House leader's attitude to debates on committee reports and recommendations.

Take, for example, Motion No. 6, which allowed the government to avoid addressing Parliament if it did not want to. The government was looking for ways around the Standing Orders of the House of Commons instead of learning how things work here and doing things in accordance with the procedures of the House.

I also spoke about the Special Committee on Electoral Reform and all of the work it accomplished. In the end, the government did not respect this committee's work either. I think that this year, vote 40 under Treasury Board in budgetary expenditures is another example of the schemes this government comes up with to avoid scrutiny.

Given all of this, I also said that we understand that the government's agenda is moving at a snail's pace and that it wants to make some progress by the end of June. We were and are prepared to consider a notice to extend the sitting hours, provided that opposition days and opposition motions get treated the same as government business. That is not the case in the motion as drafted.

A Conservative colleague moved an amendment. I think it is a good amendment, but it contains a clause that may not be acceptable to the government, because it has nothing to do with opposition days.

Consequently, in the spirit of co-operation, and in the hope of making an offer that will be acceptable to the government, we suggest that this other aspect, which is not related to opposition days, be deleted from the amendment so that the government can support it. We could all support the main motion then, once it becomes a fair motion that gives equal treatment to government business and opposition business.

It is in that spirit that I move, seconded by the member for Berthier—Maskinongé, that the amendment be amended by deleting paragraph (a).

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat disappointed in my New Democratic friends. I would have figured that they would see the benefits of having active debate in the legislature on important pieces of legislation. Rather, what I have witnessed, which I will have the opportunity to expand upon, is a variation of different games being played.

I have spent over 20 years in opposition and I am aware of many different types of games. Having said that, I would argue that the types of legislation we are talking about are in democracy's best interest. When we talk about Bill C-76 and when we talk about other pieces of legislation, we are talking about really good stuff for Canada's middle class in many different ways, yet time and time again New Democrats and Conservatives have one objective: to not let anything pass. They work together. It is that unholy alliance. Nothing is good; prevent everything from passing.

Does the member not realize that being a constructive opposition means that at times he might have to work a few extra hours? That is really what this motion is all about. All governments of all political stripes have moved this motion in the past. Why does the NDP not want to put in those extra hours in order to pass some good legislation that Canadians will benefit from?

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

6:35 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Winnipeg North very often makes it difficult to dignify his comments with a response, but I am going to make an exception in this case and respond to what he said, because I just think it is factually way off base.

First of all, I do not think he even realized that I moved an amendment initially, but if he did and had he been listening to what I was saying, he would know that the amendment is actually trying to establish an offer to the government to make the amendment by the Conservatives more palatable to the government.

That is a negotiation. I am not saying that there are not good ideas coming from various places in this debate, but the idea of moving the amendment was to actually try to make an offer so that we could all come to an agreement on the later sittings.

The principle of that offer is simple. It is just to say the business that comes from the opposition should not be accorded any less importance or value than the business coming from the government. That is not unreasonable.

The member will recall that many times throughout this session the NDP has proposed unanimous consent motions to move bills through many stages at once in an effort to help expedite the passage of legislation by the government. If the member, who apparently spends a lot of time in the House but not necessarily paying attention, would go back and consult the Debates, he would see that the NDP has been making many attempts on various pieces of legislation to try to expedite the passage of the government's legislation. In fact, in some cases we are more responsible for the success of the government's legislation than the government itself.

I would repeat again in this House the fact that the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley made an offer to the Minister of Democratic Institutions on how to move forward with Bill C-76 in a fair and timely way and allow Canadians to contribute to that conversation, but the offer was not even dignified with a response from the minister.

The Liberals say they want to work with us, but when we write to them with a proposal on how to work together, they do not even get back to us.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary for the government has complaints about the content of the speech by my friend in the NDP. He did not even notice when he moved an amendment. I gather it is unparliamentary to refer to the physical presence or absence of members in this House, but we can still draw attention to their mental absence from the House in spite of their physical presence.

I want to ask the member to share his thoughts on our amendment and on the whole issue of an equality between the government and opposition in terms of how the extension of hours works.

By the way, we have seen today that the government seems to want to use that time not to have more debate on bills but to move more time allocation motions and to fit more of those into one day. However, that aside, we take the view—and I think the member would agree—that if there is going to be an extension of time spent debating government legislation and if we are going to have that extra time for discussion of government initiatives, surely the same courtesy should be afforded to the opposition. As well, surely we should not trust the government to be some kind of neutral arbiter of the rules of the House when clearly it is instead always trying to tilt the playing field to its advantage.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, really, that is the main substance of what the NDP agrees with.

On the Conservative amendment, it is not just about whether we support midnight sittings or whether we are willing to stay later or not. I think we are all willing to put in that work, and the work needs to be done. However, there is an important principle in this place, and it is out of that principle that we get opposition days—or supply days, as they are referred to. The principle is that for Parliament to approve funding for the crown, the government has to hear about issues from not just ridings that are represented by members of the governing party but from people all over the country and the various views that exist within Canada. That is part of the function of an opposition day. Extending the sitting hours does not diminish the importance of those other issues being heard in the right proportion, but if we extend the sitting hours as the original motion proposes to do, which is to treat only government business during those extended hours, then we have a situation in which the government is getting not just more House time, but proportionally more House time, and that is part of what is at issue in these amendments.

I do not think this is partisan or unreasonable. It is just asking the government to observe, in the extension of the hours, the same principles that govern the normal sitting hours.

Nor is this debate unreasonable or partisan. Sometimes there has been some kind of allusion that maybe this debate is somehow a filibuster in and of itself, but this is business that the government brought before the House, and members are debating it. They are moving amendments and they are even trying to find compromises. This, to me, looks like an appropriate parliamentary debate about how we are going to get business accomplished with some give and take.

I wish the government would acknowledge that this is what is happening on the floor of the House instead of pretending that members are being obstructionist.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by commending my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona for his courage and his impeccable French. I really enjoyed hearing him speak in French.

I would like to hear him say a little more. I would like him to explain the importance of the amendment he just moved. We feel like the government wants to move all its bills forward right now. We have no problem with that. Someone in the House mentioned democracy earlier. Is there anything democratic about cutting opposition days and limiting opposition members' time to speak and to represent the people of our ridings?

I would like the member to tell us more about his amendment.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2018 / 6:45 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague for complimenting my French. I will try to live up to her compliment in my response.

I think that the very important principle at the heart of opposition days is that many members of Parliament who are not part of the government have important business in their ridings that they want to be able to discuss in the House of Commons. Opposition days exist for this reason, and there is a certain proportion of days allocated to government business and to opposition business. The government is not respecting this ratio when it extends the sitting hours of the House of Commons but limits those additional hours to just government business. The point of the amendment is to ensure that this proportion is maintained even when we are sitting extended hours.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening with interest to the discussion and debate in the House on this particular motion, Motion No. 22, and I am rising to support the motion.

I have been in this place for a very long time and I have watched political gamesmanship come and go. I have watched, when we were in opposition, all these little games being played occasionally. However, I think what we are talking about right now is that there are still some important government bills that need to be finished. Let us just pick one.

Let us look at Bill C-74, the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1. I understand and I heard very clearly the debate from the hon. member that this is not going to be fair, that the government had a long time, and that it could have done a lot of things. This may or may not be true; that is not the issue. The point is that there are some things in our budget implementation bill that must come to pass in a certain period of time.

Let us look, for instance, at the Canada child benefit, which is being indexed starting in July this summer, and what will happen if we do not finish the debate on it or if we do not get it passed. If we do not get that done, middle-class families will not get the benefit of the indexation.

There is the workers benefit plan. If we do not get this debate done, workers will not be able to take advantage of that extra $500 that they may get, especially if they are making $15,000 a year. That could help them out over the rest of the time.

One could argue about how many angels dance on the head of a pin, who said what, when they said it, and what this is all going to mean if it is or is not fair. At the end of the day, who is it supposed to be fair to? It is supposed to be fair to our constituents. It is supposed to be fair to Canadians. Canadians need to get the benefit of some of the things that are happening in these bills.

Let us look at the issue of pollution. In this House today, we are talking a lot about the environment and pollution, etc. The indexing of carbon needs to start. It needs to move forward. There are 67 nations in the world that have a carbon price, so let us get moving on this. Let us start getting money in and money out, and getting that money back into provinces so that they can start moving. Then we could get the greenhouse gas emissions down, and some other things could come about from the indexing of carbon.

Let us look at Norway. For me, this is the finest example of what a carbon tax could do. Norway started a carbon tax way back, with their former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. All of the oil companies decided that they hated it, but they paid it, and that moved them forward to start doing technology and changing to clean technology in terms of oil and bringing down their greenhouse gases. I think they are the fifth-largest oil producer in the world, but they are number one in terms of environmental sustainability and they are no longer paying a tax.

I hear sometimes from across the way, especially from the hon. members of the official opposition, that this measure is going to kill the economy. Norway has the highest per capita income in the world. All of the Norwegians are enjoying the benefits. The money is going into social programs. It is going into making sure that Norway is a better place for quality of life. When we look at some of these things, we see that we have to get moving.

British Columbia has had a carbon tax, I think for about 10 or 12 or 15 years. Now British Columbia is the number one performing economy in Canada. British Columbia is actually creating more jobs, and we are seeing better employment in British Columbia than in anywhere else across the country. Let us get moving on some of these things.

The point is that we need to move forward with the initiatives that we need to finish before we rise. We all want to go back to our ridings and enjoy the summer, spending time with our families and our constituents. Our constituents need us to roll up our sleeves and get moving here. Let us forget whatever gamesmanship we want to play and who said what and where and when, and who is right or wrong, and let us just get this done for Canadians.

Let us just move forward and do it. I do not understand why this is so difficult to comprehend. When we look at all the people who are waiting for these bills to move forward, we see it is really time to start talking about how to do things to change it.

Let us talk about, for instance, Bill C-65, which addresses harassment and violence in the workplace. Let us get this done, get it moving, so that we can diminish the amount of harassment and violence in the workplace. We know that this is important. If we do not get this done before we rise, and we wait until we come back in the fall, what will happen is that it will continue for an extra three months.

We passed Bill C-66, on which all of us came together. That was a shining example, in my opinion, of how well we can work when we care and when we put Canadians first. Let us look at the expunging of the records of LGBTQ2+ Canadians who were convicted of offences involving consensual sexual activity. The bill was introduced on the same day the Prime Minister delivered his apology. Everyone in this House came together. We moved forward, and those affected are going to be able to get compensation. We can do things when we want to.

Sometimes I think the politics get in the way of getting the work done. Let us all agree that we need to get this done. Working later hours means that we can get to some of these important pieces of legislation that must be passed for the benefit of Canadians. This is what I am getting to. If we have these extended sittings, one can actually discuss and debate the bills and do what we need to do with these bills. The motion would give us time for that extra debate on those bills.

At least before we rise for the summer, we would be able to say to Canadians that we worked hard; some of us did not like it or think it was fair or the the right thing to do, but we were putting them first. I think we sometimes forget to do that in this place. We forget who we are serving and why we should be serving them in a very efficient and effective manner. Tricks and tactics are cute. Everyone gets a “gotcha” and “my strategy is better than yours”, but sometimes we have to put that aside for the benefit of the people who elected us.

Let us think of what we need to get going on and agree on in terms of British Columbia and New Brunswick, which are facing flooding. We know that in British Columbia, there are chances of fires over this very hot summer, which may be another thing we have to deal with. Therefore, let us put in place some kind of process so we can move forward and get help to them.

On Bill C-74, the budget implementation bill, we have seen amendments come from the standing committee. Let us deal with those amendments. Let us look at this and talk about how we get going. We are talking about the Canada child benefit, which is the biggest one I can think of for the middle class. I know that families are waiting for this to give them the extra money they need to help their children. Time is of the essence when we are looking at putting money in people's pockets. Not only that, but once we index it with this bill, it is going to assist indigenous communities. Many do not know that they are eligible or that they need to apply. They need to know how to apply for this money, and it is important for them.

As I said, the new workers benefit, the CWB, will allow Canadians to take home more money while they work, and it will encourage Canadians to enter the labour market. Some of the other pieces in the budget implementation bill will help to create a work-life balance for people in this House and women and men who are working and trying to bring up their children. They are worried that they do not have the time for anything, that they are neither fish nor fowl, they are neither workers nor parents.

Let us move forward and be generous with our time in terms of helping Canadians. We can look at some of the work to do in this House that will not only help middle-class Canadians but also move the economy forward, get people working, and get more jobs going in the summer. I am not being condescending, but we all know that sometimes, for our constituents, a month, two months, or a year is what they need to get moving to live the quality of life they want. Let us get moving on some of these things.

We can look at the Minister of Democratic Reform. I do not necessarily agree or disagree with any of the arguments that have been made, but at the end of the day, we need time to move forward, with the election coming up.

I know that some members have said that we did not do it, and so now what? Who are we punishing when we do not do it and say we could have done it and should have done it, and now we are running late? At the end of the day, getting work done is not about saying “woulda, coulda, shoulda” and that we have a timeline. Let us just put aside some of the scoring of points we try to do in this place. It would really help Canadians in feeling that they can trust their politicians, that politicians sometimes care about them more than about scoring points and creating tactics and “gotcha” moments in the House.

We can look at tax reform in Bill C-74, for instance. We are talking about the fact that small and medium-sized businesses can use the corporate tax savings to help themselves get about $7,500 a year so they can expand their businesses. In so doing, they can create more jobs. It would help people come summer and moving on into the fall. They can bring new capital investments. Those are some of the things we are talking about.

We also know there are loopholes for large private corporations and that they use the loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Let us fix that. Let us get some of these things moving. It may be the unintended tax advantage they are looking for. Let us fix it. Let us move on and get some of these things done.

I will go back to carbon pricing. Right now, everyone is debating carbon pricing and what is happening with carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, and the Paris agreement. Let us get it moving. Every time we delay things here in the House, we are making Canadians lag behind. We are putting things on hold, when we know that time is of the essence. Again, I am not necessarily disagreeing with people who say that we had an opportunity to do it but we did not and that we are not giving the opposition enough time to get their pieces on the table.

Right now we have legislation on the table that has to be passed for the benefit of Canadians. I will reiterate. Let us put aside all the tactics we are employing in the House, all the gamesmanship, and come together, as we have shown we can. We did it with the LGBTQ2+ issue. Let us show that we can come together for the benefit of Canadians, because that is what we were elected to do.

There will always be enough time for gamesmanship and pointing fingers. However, the environment, the economy, and jobs are very important things. Look at the changes we are proposing in terms of making Parliament more open and transparent. We have promised to give the Canadian public a bigger say when looking at projects and when planning, and so on. We can get better input from them. Let us get that going. The summer gives Canadians an opportunity to start thinking about these things and having input.

Let us talk about parliamentary committees. I remember being in opposition when the parliamentary committee system was run by the parliamentary secretary, and we had to do what the parliamentary secretary said. They got the agenda going and nobody listened to anyone. We said we were going to change it. We came in, and we did. Parliamentary secretaries sit on committees, because they need to hear what is going on so they can go back to the minister and say what people are debating. However, they have no vote. They cannot run the show anymore. It is now far more democratic in parliamentary committees.

Having chaired a committee myself, I can say that now everyone is busy debating the issues and people are agreeing on so many things. I look to my seatmate here, who is chair of the finance committee. The finance committee is doing yeoman's work. It is changing things and making amendments that are making a difference, and it is all because Parliament is working a whole lot better.

I could go on, but I am not going to. I just want to make a plea. We have made our points in the debate in the House that the government is dragging its feet or not dragging its feet. Members have made their points. Let us now get on with the work. Let us roll up our sleeves and work the extra hours. Let Canadians see that we are committed to them, to the work we need to do, and to the reason we were elected, and let us just get things done.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to my colleague, I think that was a speech pointedly lacking in self-awareness about what we are debating and what the government has done.

She told the House that we should support this motion, which would give the government an extended ability to pass legislation, without affording the same basic opportunity to the opposition. She is proposing supporting this motion, and opposing the amendment, to give the government advantages the opposition will not have. Why should we do this? The member tells us that it is because they are good bills. She thinks the government legislation is good and should be passed.

With all due respect, the point of a Parliament is that some people think these are good bills, and some people do not think these are good bills. We have sufficient time and mechanisms for debate and discussion about them but should afford opportunities to the opposition to also put forward ideas, in the context of opposition days, and to have the same opportunities the government has.

We have signalled that we would support the motion if the amendment passes. It is simply not good enough for the member to say that the government has legislation it likes, and therefore it should have extra advantages passing its legislation, but it thinks the opposition proposals are bad, and therefore it should be disadvantaged, at a procedural level, in putting them forward. Clearly, that is unreasonable.

I want to ask the member a very specific question about her speech and what she said. She praised the idea of a carbon tax, and she said the carbon tax in B.C. was a great thing. I want to ask the member about the peak price people pay in her riding for gas. Should people in her riding be paying more for gas, less for gas, or the same amount? What would she like to see people in her riding pay for gas? Would she like to see them pay more, less, or the same amount? I would love to hear that from the member.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are back again to this sort of hedging and arguing about things. The hon. member asked me a question with a yes or no answer. Most things do not have a yes or no answer. Most things have more factors involved in them. I cannot say yes or no. That may not be what happens when we implement a carbon tax.

In British Columbia, the carbon tax has created a strong economy for British Columbians and a large number of jobs. British Columbia has the best performing economy in the country. Tell me we are not. We are. Is there a problem? Does the member have a problem with that?

Is the member saying that he does not like that we want to index the child benefit? Is the member saying that I, alone, like it or that only the government likes it? Does the member not care about that? Does the member not care about the CWB for workers who are making $15,000 and who could get an extra $5,000 a year? Is the member opposed to that? Is that a bad thing we are asking to have passed in this House?

I just do not understand the member's argument. We are back again to spurious arguments. They are not about people and helping people to do things. If the member disagrees with the CWB and the middle class getting more money because of the indexing of the child benefit, the member should say so. That is all we are saying. Let us get some of those things done.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my hon. friend and colleague from British Columbia for her strong endorsement of the NDP's management of that economy, which she correctly states is the strongest economy in the country and for which I am grateful.

However, I thought we were here to talk about Motion No. 22. As a consequence, I feel compelled to bring the member back to the question my hon. colleague from Elmwood—Transcona put on the table. I think he fairly and properly characterized his motion as a compromise in an effort to get from the opposition agreement with the government that we extend the sitting hours of this place.

They would be prepared to do that, I think he said very clearly, if they would treat non-government business the same as government business and let matters involving supply from the opposition, sometimes called opposition day motions, be treated in the same fashion.

I am sure my colleague would agree that all members are equal in this place. That is a fundamental principle of Parliament. I wonder, therefore, in the spirit of compromise offered by my colleague, if she would be willing to accept that as a way to move forward to do the important work she described.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's comment about his particular government in the province of British Columbia having done so well, but we know that the economy was up and jobs were being created four or five years before the NDP came into power. It has been in power only for a short time.

You are asking whether, when we have only a short period of time and we are looking at extending the hours to fit the work we have to do, it is important to say that work that is not as urgent as some of the things we have to get done before we rise should be ignored and we should just fill the space with other things. That would be a nice thing to think about if we were talking about this in March, but we are talking about this with just a few weeks left in the House, and we still have some of the important things that I talked about, such as the child benefit and bringing back protection to fisheries and marine habitats. As a coastal MP, I know that this is very important. That should be happening now.

We need to get done the work that needs to be done. If there is time left, we could discuss some of these other things, but should we not get done the work that we started? We should finish that, and then we can talk about any other kinds of compromises on other things.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I want to remind hon. members to make their statements and their questions through the Chair, not directly to each other.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, what my colleague was talking about really got to the core of what this is about. This is about advancing not just the legislation that has been originally introduced in the House by the government, but also the work the committees have done along the way to shape, mould, and bring forward amendments to that work, and to see it eventually come back to the House so it can be deliberated and voted on prior to the end of the session we are in now.

Would my colleague not agree that this is not about a proportion of time spent for each party? This is about working and bringing forward the legislation and committee work that all parties have been contributing to in order to get to the point where the legislation comes back to the House to be voted on.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I could not have put it better myself. My hon. colleague put it in a nutshell. That is exactly what we are talking about. There is essential work that is already on the table and that has already been done by committees and by the House, which we need to finish. Let us finish that work. That is all I am saying.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was unfortunate that my colleague did not answer a previous question about how high the carbon tax would have to be and how high she would like the price of gas to go, but perhaps she could answer a simpler question. How much will the carbon tax cost the average Canadian citizen?

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting question, because we are still dealing with the provinces on how they want to see the price on carbon move forward. We are not saying that every province wants a carbon tax. British Columbia did want it, and it worked well.

I mentioned the fact that Norway now has the highest income per capita in the world. Its people are enjoying an extraordinary quality of life. Looking at the evidence, I would suggest that this is not a negative. It is a positive. I am looking at the evidence here at home with British Columbia, in Norway, and in 67 other countries around the world that have decided to put a price on carbon. It is of benefit. The evidence tells us that. One can, again, start asking those kinds of questions, but, really, they are not simple; they are simplistic.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, here we go again: another spring, another motion from the Liberal government to sit until midnight. In fact, it is exactly the same motion for midnight sittings that the Liberals used last year. It also has the same flaws that last year's motion contained, and quite frankly, the issues dominating debate in the House are pretty much the same.

Last spring, the Prime Minister was under an ethics investigation. This spring, now that the Ethics Commissioner has found the Prime Minister guilty in four different ways, it is the Prime Minister's friend, the fisheries minister, who is embroiled in what has become known as “clam scam”. Of course, the finance minister is under investigation as well. Boy oh boy, round and round we go.

Last spring, the Liberals were getting ready to ram through the House major changes to the way Parliament works, all to their benefit, of course, because the Liberals never do anything unless it is going to benefit them. Conservatives fought tooth and nail when the Liberals tried to ram through those changes that would erode our democracy. Well, this spring it is the very rules about electing members of Parliament to the House that the Liberals are trying to rig, and to rush those changes through Parliament as we speak.

We see this time and time again. When the Liberals are failing at something, they try to change the rules to benefit themselves. Last spring, the Liberals tabled a budget with a runaway deficit and no balanced budget in sight for decades. This spring, another whopping deficit and still no plan to bring the budget back to balance. Today, they made an announcement of another $4.5 billion to buy a 60-year-old pipeline, which did not need government money as we already had a private investor who was putting billions into it and creating jobs. However, now the federal government is giving them $4.5 billion to take down to Houston. Who knows what the costs will be to build this pipeline.

Let us remember that the federal government is not that good at building much of anything. We can look at its records on ships, planes, and the Phoenix system. I do not really trust the government to build anything.

I digress. My point is that more and more billions of taxpayers' dollars are being spent by the Liberal drunken sailor government. We see questionable ethics and self-serving rule rigging, taxing, and spending. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Now let me turn to the principle of government Motion No. 22. Let me be clear. Conservatives believe in hard work. We believe in doing hard work rather than just talking about it. We do not have a problem at all with working a little extra in the spring. In fact, it is something of an annual ritual around here. We usually work harder in the spring as we gear up for the summer.

The last Conservative government also asked the House of Commons to put in some extra hours in the spring, but one thing we never did in government was to steal time for government business on opposition days. The current government did this last year and is proposing to do it again. It is probably going to ram it through again this year.

Let me just explain once again, for our constituents who are watching, what this means. Paragraph (j) of Motion No. 22 would shortchange the opposition, both the Conservatives and the New Democratic Party, on the only four opposition days remaining this spring. Let me just offer a quick explanation. Over the course of one year, the rules of the House of Commons require the government to set aside 22 sitting days for discussion of topics of the opposition's choosing. That is 22 days in total for the NDP and the Conservatives to talk about issues they believe are important.

We get to discuss the opposition topic all day. Regardless of whether it is a short sitting day, such as a Wednesday, when we have our caucus meeting, or a longer day, such as a Tuesday, we debate the opposition topic all day. That is why we call them “opposition days”. It simply does not matter how long the day is. We get to debate our opposition topic from the beginning of the day to the end of the day.

We have brought forward some very important topics during our opposition days, topics such as support for Kinder Morgan. Interestingly, the government voted against that topic when we brought it forward, but it is now buying the pipeline. That is quite something.

We have brought forward very important topics, such as helping Yazidi girls and women who were victims of ISIS terrorists. We have brought forward motions supporting Israel. There are a number of topics that we have brought forward on opposition days. As I said, it does not matter how long that day it is; it is our day.

If the government is asking the opposition to work longer days, we are fine with that. It only makes sense and it is only fair for the government to also be willing to discuss the opposition topics on those longer days as well, but it is not willing to do that. We have two opposition days left, and I believe the NDP has two as well. Even though we are going to be sitting longer hours, according to Motion No. 22, on opposition days the government is going to stop us earlier from talking about the issue that we have brought forward, probably at 5:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. The government will then continue with its business for the rest of the day, but we, the opposition, will not be able to talk about the topic we have brought forward. We do not have a lot of days to do it, and those days are important.

Again, let me remind everyone that when we were in government we did not do that. We might have sat a little longer in the spring, but opposition days also went longer in the spring. It is unbelievable that the Prime Minister, who was elected promising to respect parliamentarians, disrespects the job that we do here so much that he will not even let opposition topics be debated on these longer sitting days.

Wait, did the Prime Minister not recently fly down to New York and encourage people to listen to those who disagree with them? I think I remember that news coverage. There was our Prime Minister, standing at second base in Yankee Stadium with hand on heart, which we have come to learn is the Prime Minister's telltale sign that sanctimony and hypocrisy will soon be following. Nonetheless, there he was, telling university graduates about the importance of tolerating and listening to other people's views. However, our “do as I say, not as I do” Prime Minister has a different attitude when he comes back to his own country and our House of Commons.

Let us not forget that the Liberal Prime Minister, who claims to believe in tolerating other people's views, has imposed a values test on Canadians and organizations looking for help to hire summer students. Those views he does not want to listen to. Their views he is not going to tolerate. Their views have to be shut down because the Prime Minister does not think they are worthy of listening to. He will go to the U.S. and lecture people in the United States about listening to other people's views, but when he comes back to Canada he does the exact opposite. It is unbelievable.

The same Liberal Prime Minister surely did not seem to have tolerance for opposing views when he fired the former chair of the fisheries committee, the hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, because he disagreed with the Prime Minister over the summer jobs values test.

The same Prime Minister kicked the hon. member for Saint John—Rothesay off the committee as punishment for disagreeing with the Prime Minister about his dangerous and reckless plan for small business tax changes. Do members remember all that?

Do they remember the feminist Prime Minister? This one was particularly galling for me. He ordered his MPs to veto the election of the hon. member for Lethbridge, who was duly elected to the House of Commons, as chair of the status of women committee, a role which was filled by nomination of the official opposition, because he did not agree with her views on an issue of personal conscience. He was telling an elected member of Parliament what she can think, what she can believe, and what she can hold dear to her heart. It is utter hypocrisy.

Sadly, this sort of behaviour is not limited to just the Prime Minister. Let me be very clear. I do not think that all Liberal MPs are like this, but, sadly, a lot of them are seeing their leader do it, and they think it gives them permission to do the same thing.

Leadership starts at the top. This is not just a cliché; it is true. An organization's culture is often shaped and moulded, and the signal is sent by the boss. That fact of life is no different with the government. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change was on national television a few weekends ago, saying she has no time for politicians who disagree with her.

Earlier this spring, the Minister of Finance called our deputy leader, the hon. member for Milton, a neanderthal because she did not agree with him. There was no apology, no outrage. They will say one thing and do something completely different.

Now we have the government House leader bringing forward a motion that cuts off debate on opposition motions. No longer will they be opposition days, but opposition half days. The Prime Minister apparently cannot stomach having to listen to opposition ideas for a few extra hours. Maybe the Prime Minister should not have flown off to New York City to give a sermon on tolerance of different opinions. Maybe he should be reflecting on his own words, and at next week's cabinet meeting, maybe he should lay his hand on his heart and give the same speech to all of his colleagues. Certainly the disrespect the Liberals have been showing for ideas is matched by the disrespect they have for Parliament.

However, it is not just weeks of legislation that the Liberals have decided to hinder Parliament with, but also that we have not talked about recently that is incredibly important. Parliament has not been consulted on ordering Canadian troops into harms way as part of a United Nations mission in the west African nation of Mali. In a breach of tradition and practice, the Prime Minister is refusing to consult Parliament on this deployment. The seriousness of this deployment of our soldiers into an active war zone, which is widely considered to be the most dangerous UN mission in the world today, warrants a debate and a vote here in the House of Commons.

Again, the Prime Minister does not want to hear any voices that might disagree with him, that might challenge him, or that might ask him questions that he has no answer for. The Prime Minister, instead of doing what a leader does and taking the heat that comes with leadership, refuses to show the respect that this House, but mostly that our soldiers and their families, deserve.

On the security front, indeed, all Canadians have a vivid memory of the fiasco the was the Prime Minister's journey to India in February. The fumbling and flailing around that we saw from the government and the Prime Minister in the days that followed led to a full-blown diplomatic incident with our ally India, the largest democracy in the world. Conservatives wanted the national security advisor, Daniel Jean, to appear before a parliamentary committee to explain how those conspiracy theories came to be and his comments to the media. Members will recall that for weeks and weeks, because we had seen media reports about Daniel Jean telling the media that India had been part of this so-called conspiracy, we had wanted to talk to him. We wanted him to explain what was going on when a man convicted of attempted murder of a former Indian minister was invited to pal with and hang around with the Liberals at swanky parties in India.

By the way, we have a question on the Order Paper on that. The government will not tell us how much it cost. It is saying that there are just so many departments that it has to look into to find out. How much did all of those parties cost? I am pretty sure they cost a whole lot of money. We are not going to give up on getting those answers, because taxpayers deserve to know. However, the Prime Minister was going to have nothing to do with that kind of exercise and accountability.

Members will remember the Liberal convention in Halifax last month, where the party's outgoing president, the same Anna Gainey who joined the Prime Minister on his illegal vacation on the billionaire's private Caribbean island, told delegates that “now more than ever, we need to have his back”, referring to the Prime Minister. Well, just a few weeks before that, the Liberal caucus got a taste of having the Prime Minister's back. The Liberal whip told those on the Liberal backbench that they needed to have the Prime Minister's back and would have to be voting for close to 40 hours. They would have to have his back by voting down the opposition day motion to have the national security advisor appear at committee. They would have to have his back by voting for potentially up to 40 hours. That was quite something. They were not going to give in. At the end of all of that, “Oh captain our captain”, they were cheering on the Prime Minister.

Then a week later they realized they had better make sure the national security advisor appeared. He appeared, lo and behold, miraculously. I just want to know how good it felt for the Liberal back bench to have the Prime Minister's back. After all that was said and done, after the extreme pressure laid on by our amazing Conservative team, the government relented. The national security advisor appeared at the public safety committee. It must be so fulfilling, so rewarding to be part of the Liberal caucus, when things like that happen. It must make them proud to go home and tell their constituents what they were doing.

The Liberals wanted to change the way the government asks for spending permission and the way the House of Commons studies these spending proposals. That is what has brought us to where the main estimates have changed. This year the main estimates include a single $7 billion lump sum under the buzz phrase “budget implementation”. The government claimed it would be focused on initiatives announced in this year's budget. The wording provides no assurance.

Again, the Liberals are ramming this through. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, a dedicated public servant who has had a long career here on Parliament Hill, told the Senate committee he had never seen anything like it. His office stated:

While the Government has included a new Budget Implementation Vote for $7.0 billion, the initiatives to be funded through this vote are not reflected in the Departmental Plans. Hence, there remains a lack of alignment between the Budget initiatives and planned results.

Let me summarize that: Liberal slush fund. That is what the $7 billion amounts to.

There are so many more things I could go on talking about. Last year the government tried to ram through changes to the Standing Orders. It wanted to eliminate Friday sittings. The Prime Minister did not want to be here to answer questions. Of course, the list goes on.

Is there a pattern here? Yes, there is. When the chips are down for the Liberal government, its go-to move is to change the game, to rig the rules, to tilt the scales in its favour, always to regain and have its own advantage. We have seen a pattern.

I will close with this, in Bill C-76, the so-called elections modernization act, here is what is happening. The Prime Minister is having a hard time raising money, even with his cash for access. His policies are so bad, people who have supported the Liberal Party for generations cannot support it anymore. Today, I think Kinder Morgan is going to be another example for these lifelong Liberals. Liberal policy is so bad, so destructive of our competitiveness, and so destructive of our foreign relations that longtime Liberals are done writing cheques to the party. The Prime Minister cannot raise money anymore.

What is he going to do? He is changing the election rules in Bill C-76 so that third party funding can flow before the election and help him, but he is limiting the ability of parties that have raised money, who have had people donate willingly to their party. Those parties, like the Conservatives, actually have had a lot of people, hundreds of thousands of people, support them through financial donations.

The Prime Minister says that he does not like that, because he cannot raise money, because he is doing such a terrible job and is such a failure that nobody wants to donate to his party. However, the Leader of the Opposition, our leader, is doing well and the Conservatives are doing well. We have good ideas, stable, strong ideas that are getting donations from supporters right across the country.

The Prime Minister says he is going to change the rules so that the party cannot spend it. The Prime Minister has not learned that he cannot get away with it. I know he does not respect Parliament, but we do respect Parliament. I believe that members of Parliament who have been duly elected, in the end, will also respect Parliament and will follow through and do the right thing.

I hope that the government accepts our amendment. All we are asking for is that on opposition, days we have the same ability to to bring our issues forward, even if it is uncomfortable for the government. It is called democracy. Even if the Prime Minister will not respect democracy, I sincerely ask my colleagues on the other side of the House to respect democracy, support our amendment, and then we can finish the work that we are doing here in the House of Commons.