House of Commons Hansard #393 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was justice.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of O Canada, led by the hon. member for Windsor West.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Business of Supply

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Since today is the final allotted day for the supply period ending March 26, 2019, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the supply bills. In view of recent practices, do hon. members agree that the bills be distributed now?

Business of Supply

2:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Quebec's InterestsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the latest budget deficit is massive, and Ottawa expects Quebeckers to foot the bill for spending that does not meet their needs.

There is no money to reimburse Quebec for the $300 million it has spent on the reception and integration of asylum seekers. There is no money to increase health transfers, which is Quebeckers' top priority. There is no money for the blue line or high-frequency rail in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. Even new spending leaves Quebec out in the cold.

Ottawa says it will fund rural high-speed Internet, but not until 2030. Ottawa announced compensation for dairy farmers, but there is nothing allocated in the budget.

Once again, the Canadian government has found ways to drive Quebeckers deeper into debt without even addressing their priorities. We could talk about this all day.

Clearly, Quebeckers are not getting what they need from Ottawa.

National Day for Truth and ReconciliationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the span of 130 years, 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly taken from their parents and placed in Indian residential schools. The goal was to assimilate them into Canadian society and make them forget their culture and their history.

Today, I will be voting in favour of Bill C-369, which seeks to designate September 30 as a national day for truth and reconciliation. The date was chosen to coincide with Orange Shirt Day, which was created by Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley. I want to thank them for their leadership, and I also want to thank the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River for introducing this vitally important bill.

World Down Syndrome DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—University, SK

Mr. Speaker, I invite everyone to join the Canadian Down Syndrome Society in celebrating World Down Syndrome Day tomorrow, March 21. World Down Syndrome Day is observed on March 21 to increase public awareness about Down syndrome, a congenital disorder caused by having an extra 21st chromosome. It is my hope that someday March 21, World Down Syndrome Day, will be as popular as Terry Fox Day.

On my Twitter, I have re-posted a video of a boy named Christopher sitting at a table about to have lunch. Christopher has Down syndrome. Asked if he is bothered by having Down syndrome, Christopher has the perfect answer when he says, “No. Why?”

Tragically, most children with Down syndrome will never get old enough to answer this question, because up to 85% of pregnancies with this disorder are never allowed to come to term. Imagine if we had a truly inclusive and just society, one where children with Down syndrome were valued and supported.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day of La Francophonie, a day to celebrate the vitality of the world's francophone community. In Alberta, that community is alive and well. The Franco-Albertan community, like many others, is thriving and growing every year.

Our investments are making a difference. Over 30% of children in Alberta are now registered in French-language programs. Thanks to the strength of francophone organizations in Alberta, such as Radio-Canada, the Cité francophone and the Regroupement artistique francophone de l'Alberta, more Albertans can live in French every day.

Our francophone community is at the heart of our identity, and our investment in that community will continue to attract francophone immigrants to Canada.

As a proud Franco-Albertan, here is what I have to say to all those who are watching at home: Whether you are francophone, francophile, “franco-curious” or “franco-queer”, the francophonie and the International Day of La Francophonie are for you.”

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, French is often defined by its vocabulary and grammar, which can be difficult, but it is so much more than that. French may be our language, but it is also our culture, expressed through our poetry, literature and music. It is alive with expressions, regionalisms and imagery, and it is steeped in history.

Language is more than just a way to express ourselves; it also defines how we view the world. It gives us a different awareness, a unique perspective of our environment. The French language gives us incredible opportunities to access far-off places united by a rich tapestry of history and culture.

The NDP supports francophone minority communities across Canada in defending their distinctive character and their right to receive quality services in their language. All francophones share a love of this sweet, beautiful language that makes us so proud.

I rise today to wish everyone a happy International Day of La Francophonie. As Michel Rivard said, may it live forever, and may it never be forgotten.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, on this International Day of La Francophonie, I would like to acknowledge an important event, namely the 50th anniversary of the Société de la francophonie manitobaine, the SFM. In 1916, the Association d'éducation des Canadiens français du Manitoba, the AECFM, was founded in the wake of the Thornton Act prohibiting French as a language of instruction. This was one of many statutes that were since deemed unconstitutional. The AECFM laid the foundation for our SFM, which was officially founded in 1968 with a mandate that extends beyond education to every sector affecting the lives of francophones.

Today, our community is growing thanks to strong organizations that support our diverse francophonie, which includes francophones, francophiles, Métis and newcomers. I am proud to be one of the 110,000 members of that community.

Long live our Manitoban francophonie!

Harry WattsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Sunday, I was honoured to join in the celebration of life for Mr. Harry Watts, along with Canadians from every province and territory, hundreds altogether. I am deeply grateful and humbled to have known him as a dear friend.

Harry served Canada during World War II as a motorcycle dispatch rider; he delivered messages that were top secret and too sensitive to be sent by way of telegraph or telephone. His book, The Dispatch Rider, sold over 4,000 copies, and all profits were donated to charities. One of his favourite charities that he supported was National Service Dogs, which helps provide dogs to children with autism and to veterans suffering from PTSD.

Harry lived every day to the fullest during his over 95 years of life. Harry's love of God and his strong faith sustained him right to the day of his physical death on March 10, 2019.

I would like to thank Harry's family for sharing him with all of us. They are in our prayers as they journey through this valley of loss and grief.

We will remember him.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, happy International Day of La Francophonie.

Whether we live in Ottawa—Vanier or Vancouver, Abidjan or Hanoi, let us celebrate the French language and the diversity and richness of our francophone culture. Despite the tensions and the language crisis in Ontario and even in New Brunswick, we must reaffirm the importance of the French language and its place in our society, and let the new generations pick up the torch.

We should be proud to be among the 300 million French speakers around the world and the significant economic, social and cultural capital they represent. Today and in the future, we must continue to take action to strengthen our laws and policies and to invest in the sustainability of our official languages. This will stimulate our economy, promote trade and help enhance the leadership, prestige and influence of Canada's diplomatic efforts around the world.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day of La Francophonie, and it is an honour for me, and all Acadians, to talk about official language minority communities across this big, beautiful country.

The Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie recently announced consultations on plans to modernize the Official Languages Act, which just makes sense, since this act is now 50 years old. This legislation is in dire need of a facelift, considering the reality facing our minority language communities, whether we are talking about anglophones living in Quebec or francophones living in Acadia and across the country, of course.

I remind members that no law can be effective if the institutions meant to enforce it ignore their obligations. Let us enact clear official languages legislation and let us have the good sense and political will to enforce it properly.

To my fellow Canadians, here's to our Official Languages Act.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, we are celebrating the International Day of La Francophonie.

French is a noble language with a rich vocabulary, and its complexity is living proof of its strength and history. Let us not forget that French is the language of Molière, Voltaire, Montesquieu and Georges-Étienne Cartier. The International Day of La Francophonie is an important one, not only for the international community, but also for our great bilingual federation, Canada.

As Prime Minister Harper always said, Canada, as a political entity, was first founded by French speakers. Today, over 11 million francophones are living and thriving in our magnificent country. Over 300 million people around the world speak French and that number will grow to over 700 million by 2050.

It is important to point out that Canada is the one that pushed the French government to establish the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie in the 1970s. We are one of the organization's founding members, and we must continue to play a leadership role in that organization in the coming years. Long live the Francophonie.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Colin Fraser Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, today we are celebrating the International Day of La Francophonie. This is an opportunity to remember that Canada's vibrant francophonie extends from coast to coast to coast.

In West Nova, most of the people living in and around Argyle and Clare are Acadian, and they communicate in French every day. They are proud of their language and culture.

I am privileged to serve them as their MP in a Liberal government that will always stand up for our official languages.

Conservative governments in Ontario and New Brunswick are attacking our francophone institutions, but our government is implementing a historic plan to invest in education, infrastructure, early childhood education, and other sectors that will ensure the vitality of our francophone communities.

I wish all francophones and francophiles a happy International Day of La Francophonie.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gudie Hutchings Liberal Long Range Mountains, NL

Mr. Speaker, today is International Day of La Francophonie, a day when all Canadians gather to celebrate francophone cultures.

It is the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, which continues to illustrate the importance of Canada's linguistic duality.

Let us continue to welcome francophone tourists in their official language during their visit. Tourism operators in my region are always looking for bilingual employees, especially in the summer. What a great summer job opportunity for our students.

In my riding, Port-au-Port is the cradle of the francophonie on the island of Newfoundland. The people of Port-au-Port are Acadian and French descendants who are now proud Franco-Newfoundlanders.

Let us all celebrate francophone cultures together.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the facts are clear about the Prime Minister and the SNC-Lavalin affair.

First, he interfered in a criminal prosecution that led to the attorney general stepping down from cabinet. A week later, Gerald Butts resigned from the PMO over this scandal. A week after that, the Treasury Board minister resigned in support of the former attorney general. Just this week, we saw the resignation of the Clerk of the Privy Council, as Liberal MPs joined in the corruption by not allowing the former attorney general to tell her full story.

The OECD has raised its concern about corruption over this sordid scandal. Even worse, the Liberals on the justice committee have now shut down further inquiries into this matter and the Prime Minister has lawyered up. He has denied from the start that there was anything wrong and is now saying that there is nothing more to see here. So much for transparency.

Here is the bottom line. The Prime Minister thinks he can distract from this corruption with an election year budget, but Canadians are not buying it.

National Francophonie WeekStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, my riding, Egmont, has the largest francophone community on Prince Edward Island. As an Acadian descendant, Évangéline is part of my history. As her MP, I am pleased to speak French in the House for the first time in a long time to wish everyone a good National Francophonie Week.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the many women who have reached out to me and my NDP colleagues from coast to coast to coast. These women are appalled by the Prime Minister's treatment of the first indigenous woman to serve as Attorney General.

The former attorney general stood up to the most powerful man in Canada, the Prime Minister, who was asking her to do something wrong. She did not change her mind and she lost her job because of it. Now she is being silenced and cannot tell her full story. Unfortunately far too many women can relate.

Women know what it is like to fight twice as hard to prove themselves and have their decisions disrespected by men desperate to hold on to power and eager to let women take the blame for their actions instead of accepting responsibility.

Canadian women are watching. They see the difference between people calling themselves a feminist and actively working to support women, not control them.

I am a proud New Democrat, and we value the contributions of women in this place. We will always work to amplify their voices. We will never suppress them.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Prime Minister breached the unwritten constitution. He told the former attorney general he did not want SNC-Lavalin to go to trial. When he did not get what he wanted, he replaced her with a new Attorney General, who he thought would do what he wanted. It is as simple as that.

It is this legislature, its committees and parliamentary parties that are supposed to hold the Prime Minister, the head of the executive branch of government, accountable for a violation of the unwritten constitution. But that has not happened. This House and its committees have not adopted a motion of censor, have not adopted a motion of contempt and have not adopted any other reprimand to the Prime Minister.

Therefore, for members of the House who still have confidence in the Prime Minister, I say this. I respect their decision, but surely, at minimum, we can all agree on the need to uphold our constitutional order. That should be begin with a reprimand of the Prime Minister through a motion that does exactly that.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day of La Francophonie. Millions of people around the globe speak French, but only one wrote the most beautiful songs of the century in that language. He promotes a culture of peace and non-violence from coast to coast to coast. Today I want to highlight the extraordinary genius of Yves Duteil.

As Yves Duteil sings in La langue de chez nous:It is a beautiful language with splendid words
Whose history can be traced in its variations
Where we feel the music and smell the herbs
Goat's cheese and wheat bread
...
It tells us that in that far-off country of snow
It faced the winds blowing from all directions
To impose its words even in the schools
And that our own language is still spoken there
...
And from Île d'Orléans to Contrescarpe
Listening to the people of this country sing
It sounds like the wind moving over a harp
And composing a whole symphony

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were shocked and appalled when the Prime Minister shut down the justice committee's investigation into the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal. Serious questions remain unanswered and key players in this affair have yet to testify.

My question therefore is for the chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. Could he inform the House if the future agenda of the committee will include an investigation of this matter?

EthicsOral Questions

March 20th, 2019 / 2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have received letters from three members of the ethics committee requesting an investigation into this matter. I can confirm, as chair of the ethics committee, that this investigation is in order.

As always, members are welcome to submit witnesses. Any members of the public who have information of wrongdoing that may help with an investigation can come forward and submit it to the ethics committee without fear.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just learned that the ethics committee has opened an investigation into his corruption scandal. Will he commit, right here and right now, to co-operate fully with this investigation and to appear and testify?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by wishing all my colleagues and all Canadians a happy International Day of La Francophonie.

This government understands how important the work done by committees is. We on this side of the House will always respect the committees, always co-operate with them, and always let them do their work independently of the government.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is false. He used his majority to block the investigation by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

We have just learned that the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics will investigate the corruption scandal.

Once again, will the Prime Minister confirm to this House that he will co-operate and agree to testify before the committee?