House of Commons Hansard #386 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was snc-lavalin.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Standing Committee on Justice and Human RightsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are here today with a motion calling upon the Prime Minister of Canada to testify under oath as to what he knew or what his role was in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

For those who are watching, who may have heard about this over the last couple of weeks, I want to break down what happened.

SNC-Lavalin is a Montreal-based company. Its description is that it provides “engineering, procurement and construction services”. It has a lot of employees in the Montreal area. It has won a lot of major taxpayer-funded, multi-million-dollar contracts from the federal government, so there are a lot of votes at stake and there is a lot of profit at stake here.

In 2015, the RCMP laid charges against this company. The charges alleged that the company offered bribes worth $47.7 million to Libyan officials, and Moammar Gadhafi's son was named in the court documents, I believe. The company is also alleged to have defrauded Libyan public agencies of approximately $129 million.

Recently we found out that the RCMP has laid out a bribery scheme here in Canada with the company, involving the $127-million Jacques Cartier Bridge contract. In this case, a federal official pleaded guilty last year to accepting more than $2.3 million worth of payments from this company. What is the cost of doing business here?

In 2015, the RCMP said, “Corruption of foreign officials undermines good governance and sustainable economic development.” This is a huge deal.

Fast-forward to this year. The company—this very wealthy, well-funded company—went on the lobbying spree to end all lobbying sprees. Imagine American-style lobbyists. It was a full court press on the government, on everybody. There was meeting after meeting with the Prime Minister's Office. They would not take no for an answer, because the company wanted to get out of this. That is the motivation here.

Why? It is because if SNC-Lavalin is convicted, the company would not be able to bid on federal contracts. That is the big penalty here. There is a lot at stake.

In the budget bill, after the company's lobbying, the Liberals snuck in something called a deferred prosecution agreement. In this bazillion-page document that had everything under the sun, the Liberals snuck in a major change to our laws. A deferred prosecution agreement, simply put, would allow SNC-Lavalin, if it went this route, to not have to go to jail or be convicted. It could just pay a fine, and then the company would also be eligible to bid on federal contracts.

This is all happening behind closed doors. It gets snuck into an omnibus budget bill, and the bill passes. However, we have something called the Public Prosecution Service, which is at arm's length, and it is the Public Prosecution Service that makes the call on whether or not this deferred prosecution agreement is used. The public prosecutor said that no, the service was not doing this and the case was going to trial.

Then the former attorney general held firm on that decision and said it was going to trial. Then, according to the Clerk of the Privy Council in testimony last week, after the Prime Minister's story on this issue has changed a million times, he essentially said that they went to the former attorney general and laid out the economic implications of what would happen if this went to trial and there was a conviction. This happened after she had made her decision to proceed.

What we are talking about here is the Prime Minister's Office and the supposedly non-partisan head of the public service standing accused of being involved in obstruction of justice at the highest levels. That is why the Prime Minister needs to testify in front of Canadians.

Let me lay out five reasons that this is so important.

First of all, keep in mind the former attorney general stood her ground after all of this and then what happened? She was fired. The Prime Minister fired her. This is a potential obstruction of justice. This is not just an ethics breach. This is not just an Aga Khan island slap-on-the-wrist situation. There could potentially be serious criminality involved in this.

Second, what message does this send? It sends a message to everybody in this country that there are two sets of rules, that there are two different justice systems in this country, in Canada, one for people who can afford millions of dollars for lobbyists and can apply pressure based on ridings in Montreal, and one for racialized communities, women, who do not have that opportunity. We can sit here and talk about all sorts of ways to deal with that issue, but that is the reality. There are many people in Canada who do not get this opportunity and that is a huge problem.

The third thing is that the Prime Minister, “Mr. Feminist”, acts like he is such a feminist and stands up for women. The Clerk of the Privy Council, at the justice committee last week, basically said the former attorney general experienced things differently when he was trying to explain whether this was “inappropriate pressure” that could be criminal. Where did we hear that before? The Prime Minister had a groping allegation and he used those exact same words: She experienced it “differently”. This is not he said, she said. As Maclean's magazine said, “It’s a ‘he, he, he-said'.” He is a fake feminist.

The Prime Minister is somebody who wraps feminism around him like a warm, fuzzy cloak to get votes and then when the rubber hits the road, when lobbyists come upon him, it is “she experienced it differently” and “she should have done something else”. That is garbage. That is disgusting. He needs to be held accountable for that in front of the justice committee. One does not get to stand up and claim to be a feminist and then do that to a woman. That just cannot be done.

The Prime Minister has also kept her silent. He has kept her muzzled and on a leash while he goes out and spins this story. That is disgusting. That is wrong. He needs to be held to account for that.

Finally, as a Calgary MP, deferred prosecution agreements are not supposed to consider economic arguments, yet the Clerk of the Privy Council said in the justice committee that he told the former attorney general about the economic argument and that a lot of jobs were at stake.

Maybe the company should not have bribed Libyan officials to begin with. Maybe it should not have bribed people for contracts. Maybe there should be a cost for doing that. Where is the economic considerations for all of the punitive policies the government has put against Albertan energy companies?

Constituents in my riding are looking at this and asking why Montreal gets deferred prosecution agreements. As we found out today, the government is considering changing the rules, so even if the company is convicted, it can still bid on federal contracts. Why are those jobs better than jobs in my riding? The role of a prime minister is to unite our country. All jobs are important. The Prime Minister should stand for justice.

This is disgusting. This is what every single one of us in this place should be standing up against, regardless of political stripe. Every person sitting on the Liberal backbench is not here just for themselves. They are here to stand up for justice and for their community. Their role is to hold the government to account, even if that government is of the same partisan stripe as they are. This is where the rubber hits the road. This is where we stand for what is right or we stand for nothing at all.

The Prime Minister was wrong. He should stand in front of the justice committee and answer for the fact that he has put words in a strong woman's mouth, that he said that one set of jobs is better than another set of jobs, that he stands accused of obstruction of justice.

Everybody in this country, regardless of how we vote, stands for one thing and that is the independence of our judiciary, the fact that our country can stand tall and proud and say we do not do business the same way that other countries do. That starts today with the leader of our country. He needs to be in front of this committee and he needs to be held to account.

Every person who votes against the motion will be giving him a shield for this type of abrogation of democracy. Every person who votes against the motion should be held to account by the people in their communities who do not want to be divided on this type of garbage, and this is the stuff that can divide our country.

When, at the highest level of government, the leader of our country, a fake feminist, stands up for jobs with a company that is accused of bribing Libyans, we have to get our act together and it starts with the Prime Minister.

Opposition Motion—Standing Committee on Justice and Human RightsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 25th, 2019 / 1:50 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member that I am going to stand up for jobs in Calgary, as I will for Winnipeg and as I will for jobs in Montreal, unlike the Conservative Party that wants to pick and choose areas and cause division. These remediation agreements are nothing new to the western world. The U.K. and the U.S.A. have them.

At the end of the day, nothing wrong has been done. I am convinced of it. Just because the Conservatives are working with the New Democrats does not mean that something wrong has actually occurred. They have been targeting personal attacks and so forth from virtually day one when they acquired the opposition benches. There is a responsibility of all members of Parliament to look at their constituents and that means there are some victims here too that need to be referred to. What about the individuals who work for SNC-Lavalin?

We want corporate responsibility and accountability and we will ensure that happens, but we are going to protect jobs, too, no matter what region of this country they happen to be in. Does the member not feel that she has an obligation to jobs not only in Calgary but in all parts of Canada?

Opposition Motion—Standing Committee on Justice and Human RightsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, yelling and screaming a crock of baloney makes it no less a crock of baloney, and that is what we just heard.

For the member to stand and have the audacity to say we have a responsibility as members of Parliament, he is darn right we do and it is to stand for the rule of law. The member stood earlier today and said there was no inappropriate pressure. He just said that. He just said nothing wrong happened and we should just take the Prime Minister's word for it, who is in the middle of this. He stands at the heart of this.

The member stands here and expects all of us to just take his word for it, when his job is at stake. Do we think he is going to have his appointment if he does not defend the Prime Minister? No. Anybody in this place needs to stand against what this man just did and stand up for justice in Canada.

Opposition Motion—Standing Committee on Justice and Human RightsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, when I look at the timeline of what has transpired over the last month, especially with respect to the former attorney general, she released a letter to Canadians when she was shuffled in cabinet, in which she spoke about truth to power and that the justice system had to be free from political interference. Then, of course, she resigned the day following the Prime Minister's comments that her presence in cabinet spoke for itself. She lawyered up with a former Supreme Court justice and then last week, there was her unprecedented point of order when she explained to the House that she abstained from the vote because she did not have the privilege yet to speak and that she hoped to be able to speak her truth one day.

When we take all of the actions of the former attorney general and place them within the constantly changing narrative of the government, are these the actions of a woman who has nothing to say and are these the actions of a government that has nothing to hide?

Opposition Motion—Standing Committee on Justice and Human RightsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is exactly why every member in this place needs to vote to bring the Prime Minister to the justice committee to be held to account. This is the man at the centre of eight million changing narratives. This is the man who has dragged the impartiality of the public service into question by allowing the Clerk of the Privy Council to tell a woman that she experienced things differently. That is what is at stake here.

The fact that the Prime Minister has not been able to answer these questions and is hiding behind his back bench, his front bench, whatever, that is where democracy dies. I am not going to allow that to happen and I do not think Canadians are either. Canadians are not going to allow this sort of garbage to happen and they are not going to allow it to happen come October. Therefore, I ask my colleagues opposite and in every corner of this place to reach around, find their spine and do what is right.

Opposition Motion—Standing Committee on Justice and Human RightsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would remind all members of the House that it is not unusual for a Prime Minister to appear in front of a committee. In fact, in September 2006, Prime Minister Harper appeared in front of a parliamentary committee to explain his government's actions with respect to Senate reform. In the United Kingdom, the prime minister appears three times per year, 90 minutes each time, in front a House of Commons committee to be held accountable for his or her government's actions.

I encourage members opposite and all members of the House to support the motion in order for us to get to the bottom of this crisis, frankly this constitutional crisis, about the division of powers between the judicial and executive branches of government, a constitutional crisis about the Shawcross doctrine and a constitutional crisis about the independence of criminal prosecutions. We need to hear from the head of government himself: the Prime Minister.

Opposition Motion—Standing Committee on Justice and Human RightsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have moments in this place where we have to decide to do what is right or what is right for ourselves. Any colleague opposite who stands up and votes against this is firmly doing the latter. On behalf of Canadians, I ask each and every one of them to not cover up for their boss and to make sure that he gets to committee and is held to account for this absolute disaster that is of his own making.

Single Tax Return in QuebecStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the single tax return was first proposed by the National Assembly and the Quebec government, and its implementation is now being called for by key members of the business sector, including the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the Quebec City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Quebec Employers' Council, the Federation of Independent Business, the Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Quebec CPA Order and the Coalition of the Youth Chamber of Commerce in Quebec.

There are now a lot of people backing this proposal, and not all of them are separatists. These people are asking for one thing, namely that the government focus on what is best for taxpayers. It is in the interest of taxpayers to have a single tax return. The tax returns can and must be unified while maintaining Quebec's taxation autonomy. These are not my words. These are their words. It is simple. There it is.

Human RightsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, as parliamentarians, we are on the front lines of defending and safeguarding democracy. As representatives, we cherish our ability to speak out about human rights abuses. However, this is not the case in every country.

Today I am speaking out about the arbitrary detention of Senator Leila De Lima of the Philippines, who was jailed two years ago yesterday. Senator De Lima is the former chair of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, former justice secretary, and was elected as a senator in 2016. Her arrest followed her outspoken criticism of the Philippines war on drugs, and her calls for congress to investigate the thousands of extrajudicial killings an other human rights violations.

The European Parliament has said that the charges against her were fabricated and has called for her release. Amnesty International regards her as a prisoner of conscience. In November, the UNHCR's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called on Philippine authorities to immediately set her free.

I ask members to joining me in calling for the immediate release of Senator De Lima.

TaxationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not seem to know when to stop failing.

After figuring out that budgets do not balance themselves and abandoning any pretense of keeping his promise to balance one in our lifetime, the Prime Minister now says that low-income Canadians do not benefit from tax cuts. Maybe that is why he will never give them any.

As half of Canadians admit that they cannot stretch their household budget to the end of every month, we know that Canadians do not benefit from ever-increasing Liberal taxes. However, the Prime Minister is intent on making Canadians pay for his failures anyway. He never had to worry about money, so why expect that he will care about ours?

Struggling Canadians are being forced by this failing Prime Minister to pay more and take home less, with higher Liberal payroll taxes, and a carbon tax that increases the cost of their fuel, home heating and groceries. Rather than paying for Liberal failures, Canadians can choose a Conservative low-tax plan and Conservative leadership to get ahead.

Conservatives are fighting for better.

Canada Winter GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the 2019 Canada Winter Games are officially under way in my hometown of Red Deer, Alberta until March 3, with over 3,600 athletes and coaches from coast to coast to coast competing in winter sport.

I would like to recognize the eight participants from my riding of Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam: Andrei Secu, a biathlon participant; curlers Hayato Sato and Joshua Miki; hockey players Matthew Seminoff and Thomas Milic; Ashley Robb, a ringette player; and speed skaters Noah Hyun and Sherilyn Chung.

I thank all the families and friends for always supporting these superb athletes.

This is their moment, and we are all cheering them on.

At-Risk Youth SymposiumStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, on February 7 in Essex, I attended an at-risk youth human trafficking symposium, hosted by the Essex Ontario Provincial Police, with over 200 community service providers, in support of its recent community safety initiative, Project Gap.

I want to thank all who participated actively in this symposium. It was an important opportunity for many to learn what human trafficking looks like domestically in Canada. Listening to the courageous survivors tell their stories with no filter to educate us on their experiences was powerful and eye opening.

Human trafficking can happen to anyone and is rampant in Canada. Youth, largely girls and young women from all socio-economic backgrounds, are being targeted in small towns and cities alike as well as increasingly online. There are even videos and books being sold in our country that create a road map for aspiring sex traffickers or pimps. This is not acceptable.

Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, and we must do more to educate Canadians to recognize the signs of all who are being domestically trafficked. I want to thank the Essex OPP detachment, led by Inspector Glenn Miller, and Staff Sergeant Brad Sakalo, who are always going above and beyond to advocate for our local youth.

Sylvain Cléroux GreenhousesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Fayçal El-Khoury Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 19, a massive blaze destroyed the greenhouses of Serres Sylvain Cléroux, a company in the riding of Laval—les Îles that is one of Quebec's largest flower producers.

Thanks to our first responders' heroic efforts, over one million square feet of spring seedlings were saved. I want to commend our police officers, paramedics and firefighters for doing such an incredible job of tackling the blaze in very harsh winter conditions.

I also want to wish the greenhouse owner, Sylvain Cléroux, and his employees the best of luck with the work ahead to rebuild this company, which is the pride of Laval's ornamental plant industry.

Government ProgramsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, are we not all tired of paying for the Prime Minister's mistakes? I know I am. I know my constituents in Markham—Unionville are.

The Liberals are full of empty promises, like not raising taxes on Canadians. As usual, they have failed. We keep calling on the Prime Minister to once and for all commit to not raising any more taxes and no surprise, he just keeps spending and making Canadians pay for his mistakes.

The facts are clear. Canadians are paying more because of the government. Let us talk about how the job-killing carbon tax will cost $1,000 per household. What about his $1.6 million tweet that rolled out the red carpet for almost 40,000 illegal border crossers into Canada, or the parents and grandparents program that was opened and shut within 10 minutes?

The government keeps spending and keeps breaking the rules. That is not what the Canadian government should do. It is not what the Canadian government will do in—

Government ProgramsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Thérèse-De Blainville.

Canada Winter GamesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have some good news from the Canada Winter Games, which are taking place in Red Deer, Alberta, until March 3.

The 12 athletes from Thérèse-De Blainville deserve to be recognized for their talent, perseverance and discipline. It has taken a lot of determination and sacrifice for these high-calibre athletes to achieve their dream and represent their community with such distinction. They can be sure that their community is proud of them.

Lorraine native Edouard Thérriault won two gold medals and one silver medal in freestyle skiing. Émilie Villeneuve, who is also from Lorraine, took home gold with her synchronized skating team. Léa Tessier, who is from Blainville, won gold in the short track speed skating team relay. Fellow Blainville resident Gabrielle Deslauriers captured a gold medal and a bronze medal in artistic gymnastics.

The games are not over yet. Anything can happen, and we will keep dreaming with them. I congratulate these athletes for being an inspiration and setting a great example for everyone.

Enver Creek Secondary Robotics TeamStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is a great accomplishment to report from my home riding of Fleetwood—Port Kells in Surrey. Enver Creek Secondary in Fleetwood sent its senior robotics team to the VEX competition held earlier this month in nearby Port Moody, where they topped the field of 25 teams to be ranked first in the world for their programming skills.

Robotics is a core talent at Enver Creek. Last week, its seniors qualified for the VEX World Championship on the strength of their robot skills score, which was 14th in the world out of 10,000.

Congratulations to all the kids and their coach, Reuben Heredia, for his outstanding accomplishment, one that has been built on skill and dedication. The students code and test for eight to 15 hours a week all on their own time.

Enver Creek and the crew are now getting ready for another round of competitions, this time representing Canada in Louisville, Kentucky. Congratulations, well done, and best of luck.

VeteransStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are many lessons that veterans can teach the youth of today. That is the premise of a new book by a 17-year-old constituent of mine, Emma Williamson.

Emma wrote the book to give the youth of today a better understanding of the sacrifices that veterans have made. The book is a collection of messages from veterans and current members of the 56th Field Artillery Regiment in Brantford.

None of these veterans and soldiers consider their sacrifice equal to those who have paid the ultimate price of war, but they deserve our recognition for having served honourably and for having been willing to put themselves in harm's way for our sake.

We owe Emma a debt of gratitude for writing this book and reminding us that their sacrifices shall never be ignored and their bravery never overlooked.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.” Lest we forget.

HousingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, when I talk to my friends Karina, Steven and others living with disabilities, they tell me that the two most important issues to them are employment and housing.

I recently travelled to Israel with fellow MPs, the Reena Foundation, March of Dimes, Holland Bloorview rehabilitation hospital and others to learn more about its initiatives around inclusivity and accessibility. It is a pleasure to see some of those folks with us here today. Later today, there will be a reception to highlight the importance of supportive housing for those living with developmental disabilities.

I am proud of our government's commitment to ensure that those living with disabilities are supported through the national housing strategy. Over the next decade, we will invest $40 billion to build stronger communities.

I want to say thanks to all those organizations that are working to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our communities have access to safe, accessible and inclusive housing.

Linda LatourStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to read a tribute written by students and staff at the Jardin-Bienville elementary school in Saint-Hubert for their principal, Linda Latour, as she approaches retirement:

She cares about the well-being of students and staff of the school, and has made this school one big family in which everyone has a found a place to grow and thrive. She has created a nurturing environment in a beautiful brand new building, where judo classes have become quite popular. Ms. Latour is not afraid of hard work and has taken on all kinds of challenges, including moving mountains and moving schools. To her, nothing is impossible!

Thank you, Ms. Latour. Things will not be the same without you. As we bid you goodbye, we will keep smiles on our faces and happiness in our hearts.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Conservative Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, February is Black History Month, when we celebrate the immense contributions of black Canadians. Black Canadians have overcome significant challenges. Some were brought to Canada as slaves prior to the abolition of slavery in Canada, in 1793. Some then came to Canada, escaping slavery through the Underground Railroad. Many have come more recently as immigrants, such as those who came to work in the steel plants in my home community of Whitney Pier, Cape Breton.

In the face of bigotry and discrimination, they have and continue to overcome. Together we must continue to fight racism. While much work has been done, there is more work to do.

As we honour the contributions of black Canadians, I would like to recognize the contribution of one in particular. Bruce Kyereh-Addo was a Conservative activist who campaigned for important causes in every part of the country. He worked as a staffer in Ottawa and in three provincial capitals.

Bruce died tragically and unexpectedly this past December at the age of 33. He was well known and much loved by our Conservative family from coast to coast.

This month, we recognize the contributions that he and so many other black Canadians have made to our politics, arts and culture, science and all aspects of Canadian society.

Military Family Resource Centre in WinnipegStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Doug Eyolfson Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week, I had the honour to attend the Military Family Resource Centre's annual yellow ribbon fundraising gala to celebrate and support the important work it is doing for military families in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg's Military Family Resource Centre is a pillar of our military community, providing resources, support and programming to military families, and making a difference in the lives of hundreds of men, women and children. Its hard work and dedication has helped build a community where families at 17 Wing are welcomed and supported.

I want to thank everyone who worked tirelessly to organize the successful fundraising gala. Their efforts help support the incredible work being done on behalf of families in our community.

It is an honour to support this organization, and I thank it for everything it has done and will continue to do for our community.

Saint-Hyacinthe—BagotStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Saint-Hyacinthe and Acton Vale are very involved in their community. They are selfless with their time and energy. I would like to acknowledge the contributions of some of these remarkable people from all walks of life, who are dedicated to improving community life.

We have many volunteers, but I would like to highlight the outstanding contributions of the following people: Micheline Bienvenue and Denis Hinse of the Optimist Club; Lynda Chambers and Denise Joyal of Harmonie vocale; Mélanie Lagacé, who is involved in agriculture; Céline Lussier-Cadieux of the Boisé-des-Douze nature reserve; Claude Marchesseault, a Saint-Hyacinthe community builder; Rosaire Martin, who is involved in all municipal affairs; Claude Millette, a world-renowned visual artist; Robert Pinsonneault of the Orchestre philharmonique de Saint-Hyacinthe; as well as Micheline Healy, Richard Standish, Jacques Tétreault and Annabelle Palardy, who work to protect and defend our environment.

Their involvement keeps our community's tradition of caring and support alive, and I thank them for it.

FinanceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised Canadians that 2019 would be the year that he finally balanced the budget. It is no surprise that the Prime Minister has failed and he has no plan and no intention of balancing the budget ever.

The Liberals have blown the budget and Canadians are paying for it. Soon the Prime Minister will bring in his fourth consecutive deficit.

Permanent Liberal deficits mean that taxes will go up again, and at a time when Canadians simply cannot afford it. According to a recent survey, half of Canadians are barley getting by each month when they should be getting ahead.

Instead of paying for costly Liberal failures, Canadians should keep more of their money that they earn. The Conservatives offer Canadians a better choice in 2019: a Conservative government that will balance budgets and lower taxes to create well-paying jobs that help Canadians get ahead.

Academy AwardsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to congratulate Domee Shi on winning her first Oscar for her animated short film Bao last night at the 91st Annual Academy Awards. Ms. Shi wrote and directed this Pixar production about a Chinese Canadian woman whose dumpling miraculously comes to life. It is delightful.

Born in China, she moved to Toronto with her family at the age of two. Her eight-minute film is set in Toronto and features many of our city's landmarks. Ms. Shi used her upbringing and love of food as inspiration for Bao, which has played in theatres with Incredibles 2.

A graduate of the animation program at Ontario's world-renowned Sheridan College, Domee Shi is the first woman to direct a short film in Pixar. In her acceptance speech she said, “To all of the nerdy girls out there who hide behind their sketchbooks — don’t be afraid to tell your stories to the world.”

On behalf of all Canadians, please join me in congratulating Domee Shi for her extraordinary work in telling her story.