House of Commons Hansard #388 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mennonites.

Topics

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. Members know that each side gets its turn and there will be more turns for each side. I remind members to show that they can be patient, act like adults and not interrupt.

The right hon. Prime Minister has the floor.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the principle of solicitor-client privilege and the principle of cabinet confidentiality are fundamental tenets of our justice system and, indeed, of our system of government. We do not and will never take those principles lightly.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been refusing to tell the truth since the news about SNC-Lavalin broke.

For nearly three weeks now, the message has changed daily. He even refused to let the former attorney general speak while allowing the current Attorney General to speak everyday. It is completely ridiculous.

After question period today, the Prime Minister will finally let the member for Vancouver Granville talk about what happened, but only some of what happened.

The Prime Minister promised to be different, so why is he not giving her free rein to speak her truth?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, from the very beginning, I have always been very clear about what we did.

As we have always done, we will continue to stand up for jobs, workers and businesses across the country while respecting and protecting our institutions, the rule of law and the principles of our democracy.

That is what we are doing now by waiving solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality so the former attorney general can speak to the matter.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, from the beginning of the SNC-Lavalin saga, the Prime Minister sent mixed messages to Canadians. First, he refused to allow the former attorney general to speak at all. Then he gave in but only a little bit. This week, she wrote the justice committee and said that she will not be able to tell us anything as to what happened after January 14.

Are these the actions of a Prime Minister who says that sunlight is the best disinfectant? Enough is enough. Will the Prime Minister let the former attorney general tell her story, speak her truth and tell Canadians exactly what happened?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite has deep respect for our justice system and for the fundamentals of that justice system and knows full well that solicitor-client privilege is one of the foundational tenets of our justice system and that cabinet confidentiality is one of the fundamental necessary tenets of the functioning of our democratic system. That is why, when we take the step to waive cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege in this matter, he must recognize it as a significant step toward—

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Michael Barrett Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, CPC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is not answering the question. Will the Prime Minister, right now, give permission to the former attorney general to speak freely about her time as veterans affairs minister, about the meetings she had with the Prime Minister in Vancouver and her presentation to cabinet last week, and if not, why not?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we respect the responsibility of the justice committee and the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner to get to the bottom of this matter and to have a full airing of this. That is why we have taken the unprecedented step of waiving cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege in regard to the matter that is under study by that committee.

The members opposite do not seem to be pleased with that, because they are playing political games with it. What we are doing is allowing for a full airing of this matter at committee.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Michael Barrett Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, CPC

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister respects the committee, let it do its job. Let it hear from the former attorney general. We are asking the Prime Minister, and Canadians deserve the truth. They deserve an answer from the Prime Minister right now.

Will the Prime Minister waive the privilege? Will he waive the cabinet confidentiality and let the former attorney general speak freely about her time as veterans affair minister and speak freely about their meeting in Vancouver? Will the Prime Minister waive the privilege?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the members opposite have moved entirely off the actual matter in question, which is regarding what happened while she was attorney general and minister of justice. This is something we know Canadians want to hear and that is why we have taken the unprecedented step of waiving cabinet confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege to enable the former attorney general to speak to the matter it is studying at committee.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has expressed his admiration for dictators and some might say that he wants to lead Canada in that way.

In the SNC-Lavalin case, the former attorney general wanted to enforce the law, but that did not suit the Prime Minister. He, his chief of staff, his principal secretary, and even the Clerk of the Privy Council pressured the former attorney general to halt the trial, which began on October 29.

What lawful authority did the Prime Minister have to get his collaborators to talk to the former attorney general's staff on December 18?

JusticeOral Questions

February 27th, 2019 / 2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what our government has done every step of the way is stand up and defend workers and jobs in Quebec and across the country, and stand up for the companies and the work that Canadians do across the country.

We will always stand up for Canadian jobs, while respecting the independence of our judicial system, our institutions, and the rule of law.

That is what we have always done and that is what we will always do.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, no one should be breaking the law to protect jobs.

On December 19, the Prime Minister and his cabinet had lunch with the Clerk of the Privy Council. Later in the day, the clerk called the former attorney general to ask her to stop the trial. The Prime Minister, his chief of staff, his principal secretary and the Clerk of the Privy Council are all involved.

What lawful authority did the Prime Minister have to instruct the clerk to put pressure on the former attorney general? Canadians want to know.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is troubling to see that the Conservatives have chosen to play politics by going after SNC-Lavalin workers and workers across the country.

Quebeckers and Canadians know very well that we will always defend jobs on this side of the House. We will always defend workers, but we will also respect the rule of law and our institutions, including the independence of our justice system. The Conservatives' attacks will not change this.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of young people sent an SOS to all politicians during the “La planète s'invite à l'école” event. They know that their generation will pay the price for global warming.

Will the Liberals listen to them and include measures in the budget to end fossil fuel subsidies and massive investments in renewable energy?

Given the urgent need to address climate change, young people understand that the time for dithering and half-measures is over. Will the Liberals recognize this and take appropriate action?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, I have the opportunity to spend a lot of time speaking to youth across the country. Despite what the NDP is saying, young people understand that we cannot choose between economic growth and environmental protection. We must do both at the same time.

That is exactly what we are doing by putting a price on pollution and investing in safer ways to transport our resources to markets other than the United States. That is what young people expect and that is what we will continue to do.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, throughout the byelection in Burnaby South, people made it clear to Jagmeet Singh that the Liberals only care about the wealthy and the well connected.

Everyday Canadians are struggling to put food on the table. They cannot afford the medication that they need. While the Liberals will move heaven and earth to help the corporate elite, everyday Canadians are left behind. All Canadians deserve safe, affordable housing, public universal pharmacare and food on the table.

No more delays. No more excuses. Will the Prime Minister put everyday Canadians first for a change, and make real investments in budget 2019 for the people who are most in need?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the NDP never lets the facts get in the way of a good rhetorical question.

On this side of the House, we set a goal of achieving the lowest poverty level in Canada's history, and yesterday the Canadian income survey showed that we hit our first target three years ahead of schedule.

In the first two years of our mandate, our investments helped to lift 820,000 people out of poverty, including almost 300,000 children.

That is what we are doing to help people in Canada.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Official Languages and I are extremely proud to be starting our study on the modernization of the Official Languages Act, which is turning 50 this year.

This act has helped Canadians make great strides in linguistic development and identity building over the years. That is why the committee has launched this study. Canada's official languages are a source of national pride and an integral part of our identity.

Could the Prime Minister tell us how the government will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Madawaska—Restigouche for his hard work on the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Conservative politicians across the country are attacking the French fact in Canada, backed by the Conservative Party leader across the aisle. We will always stand up for minority language communities. I have asked the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie to review and modernize the Official Languages Act. Our goal is to ensure that the act responds to the challenges arising from the transformations that Canada has undergone and to always protect our official language minority communities.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, in less than an hour, the former attorney general will be testifying before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Unfortunately, she will not be able to speak her full truth because the Prime Minister will not let her. We are not the ones saying this. It is the former attorney general herself who said it.

However, the Prime Minister can reassure Canadians by answering a very simple question here in the House.

Did anyone in the PMO or in a minister's office contact SNC-Lavalin representatives to assure them that they would not have to go to trial, yes or no?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have done what Canadians expect of us every step of the way. We have stood up for jobs, stood up for workers and invested in our country's economic growth, while at the same time defending our institutions, standing up for the rule of law and defending the independence of our judiciary.

That is what we have always done, and that is what we will always do, to protect jobs and to protect our institutions at the exact same time.

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the best way to protect our institutions is to let everyone state the facts clearly. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister denied the former attorney general of Canada that freedom to speak. She herself acknowledged that she will not be able to speak her full truth.

I will ask my very simple question again. Did anyone in the PMO or in a minister's office contact SNC-Lavalin representatives to assure them there would be no criminal trial, yes or no?

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have always stood up for good jobs across the country, stood up for employers, and stood up for the workers who work so hard every day to build a better Canada and help their families, and we always will.

That is exactly what we will always do, and, at the same time, we will ensure that we always comply with the law, protect the integrity of our justice system and defend our institutions. That is what Canadians expect, especially after 10 years under a Conservative government that did not do any of those things well.