House of Commons Hansard #391 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we have confidence in the members who sit on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. We know that they can do their job. They must do their job.

The government gave an unprecedented waiver of cabinet confidence and solicitor-client privilege so that the former minister could speak fully.

Since 1987, there have only been four instances where cabinet confidence was waived, and none of those included solicitor-client privilege. We will do so because we know that Canadians must hear her. This is exactly why the former attorney general was there.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Canadians see what is going on. They know that the right to speak was cut off after January 14, but that the former attorney general should have the right to talk about what happened during a period of time between January 14 and February 12. There is a lot of information that is critical to this case.

Will the Prime Minister allow the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to have the former attorney general come back to testify?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights will do their work and make their own decisions. The committee has heard different views. All the facts are now public.

The former minister appeared before the committee for nearly four hours. Waiving cabinet confidence and solicitor-client privilege means that all pertinent information can be shared with the committee. The former minister did just that. We know that the members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights will do their work. We have confidence in the committee's work.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister expects us to have confidence in a justice committee that shuts down debate 20 minutes into a meeting, before a motion can even be debated. Now Liberals are throwing up the smokescreen of Anne McLellan. Anne McLellan served in cabinet with the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and the Minister of Veterans Affairs. She was a minister during the Liberal sponsorship scandal. That is going to make this go away?

Why does the Prime Minister not lift the gag order tomorrow at the justice committee and let the former attorney general speak?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that we have regard and respect for the work that committees do. We have—

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please.

The hon. government House leader.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, we on this side have regard and respect for the work that committees do. We have respect for officers of Parliament. We know that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is actually looking into this matter. We know that there are two ongoing court cases.

From what we just heard from the member opposite, it is clear that Conservatives will continue to undermine our institutions.

The former attorney general appeared at committee. Something she said is that Canadians can have confidence in their institutions and that the rule of law was followed.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is these Liberals who are eroding Canadians' confidence in their institutions, and Anne McLellan is not an institution. She is a former Liberal minister who was there during the sponsorship scandal.

The former attorney general has made it clear that she has more to say. The Prime Minister is standing in her way, blocking her from completing her testimony.

Will he stop being so afraid of what she has to say, remove the gag order and let her speak?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, this government gave an unprecedented waiver for the former minister to speak fully and in detail. The Prime Minister and this government waived solicitor-client privilege as well as cabinet confidence. Since 1987, there have only been four times when that has happened, and none included solicitor-client privilege.

One of those times was under Stephen Harper. It is interesting that the member now talks about how committees operate. It is clear that he is projecting, because he knows that Stephen Harper used to tell them what to do.

We on this side have confidence in our members who sit on the justice committee. We know that they can do their work fully independently of this place.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week at the justice committee emergency meeting, Liberal MPs shut down debate on the PMO's interference scandal. Tomorrow, Liberals intend to hold a meeting out of the public eye, behind closed doors. They keep telling Canadians there is nothing to see here, that it is just procedural. The fact is that the former attorney generalwants to tell her whole truth, but the Prime Minister refuses to let Canadians hear it. This is a deliberate obstruction of justice.

Canadians deserve the truth. Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and allow the former attorney general to speak her whole truth for Canadians to hear—yes or no?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been clear on every occasion that the decision that is being discussed was for the former attorney general to take. It is clear that the decision that the former attorney general took remains in place.

We also know on this side that committees can do their important work. We see that the NDP now have the same talking points as the Conservatives, and they look for direction from their leader as to what to do at committee and what not to do. That is not the approach of this side. This Prime Minister and this government respect the work of members who sit on the committee. We will let them do their important work.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's attempt to interfere with the SNC-Lavalin bribery case has cost him his former attorney general, the President of the Treasury Board and the Clerk of the Privy Council. He is going to bring a Liberal back from the sponsorship days to make it all right. Who is coming up with these ideas?

It is no wonder the OECD anti-bribery unit said this has set all the alarms ringing. This is like a five-alarm dumpster fire of political cronyism, incompetence and now obstruction.

What is the Prime Minister so afraid of that he will not let the former attorney general speak her truth so Canadians can get to the bottom of this very tawdry scandal?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do actually want to start by thanking Mr. Wernick for his decades of service to this country, his 37 years of service to this country. We know that when it comes to our public service, we have the best public servants in the whole wide world, and they serve our country well. When it comes to members who sit on the justice committee, we have confidence that they will do their important work.

That member might choose to use name-calling, or whatever approach, but we know that the justice committee can do its work. We know that officers of Parliament should be able to do their work. We believe in and support the independence of the judicial system. We will focus on Canadians, while they focus on tactics.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are still waiting for answers on the SNC-Lavalin scandal. It is high time Canadians got the whole truth.

The former attorney general must be allowed to speak her whole truth. In her March 14 letter, she clearly reiterated that recent events have been a wake-up call for many across the country, and further clarity and information are needed.

Will the Liberal members on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights back off and agree to let her appear at committee tomorrow morning?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we know that the government waived cabinet confidence and solicitor-client privilege so that the former minister could speak fully. We know that the members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights are doing their work and asking questions. We know that the former attorney general testified for four hours and answered many questions. We saw them keep asking the same questions and get the same answers.

We can also see that the member was reading a question given to her by the House Leader of the Official Opposition. She cannot ask her own questions. She has to do what her leader tells her to do.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the former attorney general says the SNC scandal is a serious wake-up call, and the OECD says all alarms are sounding. This is serious. Canadians and our allies must be reassured that our rule of law is intact. We need the whole truth, not just the pieces the Prime Minister will allow us to hear.

Tomorrow, Liberal members will determine the future of the investigation. Will the Prime Minister let the former attorney general speak tomorrow at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, exactly as that member has asked, I would like to reassure Canadians and international partners that the rule of law is intact in Canada.

I would like to reassure Canadians that they can have trust and faith in our democratic institutions. It is the justice committee that is doing its important work, and it continues to do so. The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is studying this matter. We know that they will do their important work.

We know that there are two ongoing investigations, courts cases. We know that we can have confidence in the independence of our judicial system. We have confidence, and Canadians can too.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I know Canadians would have more confidence in our system if the Prime Minister would just let the former attorney general speak.

The SNC-Lavalin scandal has yet again shone a light on the government's ethical failures. The former attorney general's testimony detailed grossly inappropriate actions taken by the Prime Minister and his inner circle. However, this was not even her full story. The Prime Minister continues to refuse to let her speak fully and freely. Canadians deserve to hear the rest of her story.

If the Prime Minister has nothing to hide, will he allow Liberal members on the justice committee to let her speak?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I will try this again.

There are members of Parliament from both sides who sit on committees. When it comes to our members, they make their decisions, and they know how to proceed. What they do know is that members have been appearing. It was actually this Prime Minister and this government that waived solicitor-client privilege as well as cabinet confidence to ensure that the former attorney general and minister of justice could appear at committee and share what she needed to share.

We know that she was there for over four hours. We know that the questions got asked. She was able to answer them. We also know that the questions were quite repetitive.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, imagine that, she was there for about four and a half hours. She was allowed to speak, yet she told us and all Canadians that she has more to say, that her testimony has not been made complete.

My question is very simple. Canadians want a full story. They want to understand the full picture here. They do not see why the government is shutting down the justice committee and not allowing the former attorney general to speak.

Parliament belongs to Canadians. They deserve answers. Will the Prime Minister end the cover-up and let her speak?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, again, we have confidence in the work members of Parliament who sit on the justice committee will do. We know that they are capable of it.

We know that the Prime Minister has taken responsibility for the breakdown in trust and communication within his office. We know that he has committed to finding a better way forward, because that is exactly what it is.

When it comes to the Conservatives, it is interesting. They talk about what Canadians want. Canadians want an economy that works for them so that they can work and be able to contribute. Canadians want a clean, greener future for their kids and grandkids. That is what we are delivering. The Conservatives continue to have no plan and play their tactics.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of not having a plan, more than 150,000 students in Quebec went on strike on Friday to call for action on climate change. They are calling on governments to take action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. They are sounding the alarm because the government is getting further and further away from its greenhouse gas reduction targets every year.

Will the Prime Minister eliminate subsidies for the oil and gas industries?

Will he show some political courage by proposing measures to reduce pollution and investing in renewable energy, or will students have to jeopardize their education to get their message across?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Sean Fraser Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate all the young people who marched across Canada and around the world to support climate action just last week. The irony is not lost on me that while students were striking for climate action, the Ford government in Ontario was actually touring university campuses to fight action on climate change.

In answer to the member's question, we are taking action to reduce emissions. We are putting a price on pollution that is going to make life more affordable and bring our emissions down. Our electricity is going to be 90% clean by 2030. We are making the largest investment in Canada's history in public transit.

These are real measures that are going to impact climate change. They are going to make a difference for Canadians for generations.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

March 18th, 2019 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the safe third country agreement was not working over a year ago. The U.S. is not a safe country for asylum seekers. Children continue to be separated from their parents. Gender-based violence is no longer recognized as a basis for asylum.

The Prime Minister stated that the treatment of asylum seekers by the U.S. was wrong, but instead of suspending the agreement, the Liberals are looking to expand it and apply it to those crossing into Canada irregularly. Is this what a Liberal feminist government looks like, denying women fleeing domestic violence the right to make an asylum claim?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bill Blair Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, Canada and the United States have the most secure and efficient border in the world. The safe third country agreement remains an important tool for us to continue to work together on the orderly processing of asylum claims made in both our countries. We know that this agreement can be improved, and I have personally met with members of the U.S. Congress, border protection agencies and the Department of Homeland Security, because we believe that there are opportunities to improve this agreement to the mutual benefit of both countries and our citizens.