House of Commons Hansard #406 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, our government believes that environmental sustainability and economic growth must go hand in hand. In partnership with the provincial government, we created the B.C. salmon restoration and innovation fund, to which our government will contribute $100 million over five years, with provincial funding of over $42 million. We are also proposing $5 million in funding for the Pacific salmon endowment fund.

Our government will continue to ensure that resources are managed sustainably and protected wisely so our children and grandchildren can benefit for years to come.

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, it has always been odd that the Conservatives promise cuts without ever providing any details, but now we know why they are reluctant to share their plan with us.

The Conservatives recently published a so-called tax guide with all sorts of misleading information. Their guide included their plan to give tax credits to the rich, but it failed to mention the Canada child benefit.

Can the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development assure the House that the current government has no intention of adopting the Conservative plan to cut the Canada child benefit?

Social DevelopmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Thérèse-De Blainville for his hard work.

In 2015, Canadians made the right choice between the Conservatives' plan, which was to help millionaires, and the Liberal plan, which was to help middle-class families. In 2016, we brought in the Canada child benefit, which lifts 300,000 children out of poverty every month.

In 2019, it is really unfortunate that Conservative MPs are trying to hide the very existence of the Canada child benefit and deprive 3.5 million Canadians of it every month. It is very unfortunate.

International TradeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Richard Martel Conservative Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals signed the new free trade agreement with tariffs on aluminum and steel, which are still in place today. Then the Liberals imposed their own tariffs. Their improvised plan did not work. Approximately 86% of Chinese aluminum imports enter the United States tariff-free, compared to less than 1% of our aluminum.

When will the government stand up for our steel and aluminum producers? Why do Chinese companies have better access?

International TradeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the illegal and unjustified U.S. tariffs must be lifted. That is the message we constantly send to the United States, and it has been received.

Yesterday, for example, I spoke with Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate finance committee. He wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, and I quote, “If these tariffs aren't lifted, USMCA is dead. There is no appetite in Congress to debate USMCA with these tariffs in place.” Those are the Republican senator's own words.

EthicsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, before appointing a judge, this government checks its database to see if the candidate is a good Liberal. Well, it is working. We have learned that 91% of political donations from judges went to the Liberal Party. It has raised over $300,000 that way.

Their Liberalist database should be called “Sponsorship 2.0”. A friend is a friend. That was and still is true.

Could this be the real reason why the government is refusing to restore public funding for political parties?

EthicsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we implemented a transparent, merit-based process for appointing judges.

We will continue to appoint judges using a very rigorous process, and we will continue to have a judiciary that reflects the diversity and quality of Canadian society.

EthicsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, putting a $500 limit on political donations and restoring public funding for political parties based on votes received would reduce lobbyists' influence over the government. The Liberals obviously do not want that.

It would prevent the use of front men, which is something we have become accustomed to under the Liberals and the Conservatives. It would also prevent a judge from being appointed for giving the Liberals over $300,000.

We are fed up with patronage. Voters have the right to demand a fair democratic system and public funding for political parties.

When will this government do something? Are the Liberals waiting for members of the Bloc Québécois to give them money for their Liberalist database?

EthicsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, here in this country, there is an annual limit on political donations. Individuals cannot give a party or candidate more than $1,600. That is extremely important. These rules are clear and effective.

Public SafetyOral Questions

April 30th, 2019 / 3:05 p.m.

Independent

Darshan Singh Kang Independent Calgary Skyview, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday The Hill Times published a disturbing article referencing a potential trend in our political system, which I cannot abide by. This is of course the use of racism as a political tool.

I find the statistics on this subject extremely alarming, including the fact that we have seen a nearly 50% increase in hate crimes from 2016-17 across the country.

Could the Minister of Public Safety update the House on the steps the government is taking to properly address these disturbing revelations?

Public SafetyOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, there can be no room for hate, not in Canada. The RCMP and other Canadian police forces investigate and lay charges wherever possible.

We have quadrupled the security infrastructure program to help religious and cultural organizations protect themselves. We are funding critical research into ultra right wing, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, violent extremism. We identified this issue in the latest public threat report. We have raised it at the Five Eyes and G7 allies meetings to build international coordination against racism and hate.

We intend to be the finest example of pluralism the world has ever seen.

Royal AssentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

April 29th, 2019

The Honourable

The Speaker of the House of Commons

Ottawa

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bill listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 29th day of April, 2019, at 10:09 a.m.

Yours sincerely,

Assunta Di Lorenzo

Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

The schedule indicates that the bill assented to was Bill C-376, an act to designate the month of April as Sikh Heritage Month.

Royal AssentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion: That the House oppose the ratification of the USMCA until the American tariffs on steel and aluminum are permanently lifted, and mandate the Speaker to send a copy of this motion to the Republican and Democratic leaders in the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.

Royal AssentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Royal AssentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Royal AssentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, in a moment I will move a unanimous consent motion.

Bill C-97 contains two significant immigration provisions that should not be part of an omnibus budget bill. Over the weekend, some 2,600 Canadians wrote to me to condemn this action. Addressing the issue of crooked consultants is not a budget bill, and closing the door to asylum seekers looking for protection here in Canada should not be hidden in an omnibus budget bill. This is an affront to the work of parliamentarians and—

Royal AssentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

This is debate. I would ask the member to get to her request for unanimous consent.

Royal AssentOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House, that Bill C-97, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures be amended by removing part 4, division 15 and 16 on immigration, citizenship and refugee protection; that these divisions compose Bill C-98; that Bill C-98 be deemed read a first time and be printed; and that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for referral to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration; that Bill C-97 retain the status on the Order Paper that it had prior to the adoption of this order; that Bill C-97 be reprinted, as amended; and that the law clerk and parliamentary counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary to give effect to this motion.

Royal AssentOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Royal AssentOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

The House resumed from April 29 consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

It being 3:15 p.m., pursuant to order made on Monday, April 29, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion relating to the business of supply.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #1299

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion defeated.

Supreme Court Appointments Process—Speaker's RulingPrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on April 8, 2019, by the hon. member for Victoria concerning a leak involving the appointment process for the Supreme Court.

When raising his question of privilege, the member for Victoria asserted that his reputation as a member has been damaged as a result of speculation around the source of a leak of personal information of a prospective member of the Supreme Court. In particular, he felt that both he and the member for Niagara Falls are now under a cloud of suspicion, having been involved in the process initiated by the government of recommendations for Supreme Court nominees. Consequently, he argued that this suspicion, until resolved, has resulted in a direct impact on his privileges. He also contended that the leak has shown a distinct contempt of Parliament.

As referred to at page 22 of the third edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, the practice of an ad hoc committee of parliamentarians to review nominees for the Supreme Court is not new. Successive governments have used this mechanism to help them fulfill their duties. While composed of some parliamentarians, it is not a parliamentary committee but more of an advisory body to the government as part of the exercise of its prerogative power of appointment.

The issue raised then is one that concerns government and the way it reaches its decisions, an area over which the Chair has no authority. My predecessor reminded members of this on May 12, 2014, at page 5520 of the Debates, when he stated:

...it is not within the Speaker's authority to adjudicate on government policies or processes...the distinction between governmental procedures and House procedures remains and must be acknowledged.

On November 22, 2016, I reiterated this fundamental distinction when I stated at page 7084 of the Debates:

...when members request redress with respect to rules external to the House, as Speaker I can neither interpret nor enforce them. It has long been the case that the Speaker's role is limited to ensuring that the body of rules and practices that the House has adopted are respected and upheld.

As such, it is not for the Speaker to investigate or pass judgment on rules, events or actions external to the House, including the leak of information in question. Moreover, as the hon. member acknowledged, this incident is being investigated by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, a parliamentary agent who reports to this House.

That being said, damaging a member’s reputation is a serious matter if it can be proven that their ability to perform their parliamentary functions has been impeded. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states at page 112:

The unjust damaging of a Member’s good name might be seen as constituting an obstruction if the Member is prevented from performing his or her parliamentary functions.

It is incumbent upon members to demonstrate to the Chair exactly how they were hindered in the performance of their parliamentary duties. The hon. member has contended that the cloud of suspicion has damaged his reputation as well as that of the hon. member for Niagara Falls, but he has not explained in what way it has actually obstructed him.

Finally, the member for Victoria claimed that the leak constituted a contempt of Parliament. Although members of Parliament were part of the government's advisory group, it is hard to see how a leak from any non-parliamentary body can be a contempt of Parliament. Again, the member has not provided enough information for me to understand how a contempt against Parliament has been committed.

As the member for Victoria has not clearly demonstrated to the Chair how he has been impeded in fulfilling his parliamentary functions, I cannot find that this constitutes a prima facie question of privilege or of contempt of the House.

As an aside, I do not suppose it will help if I indicate my own very high regard of the hon. members for Victoria and Niagara Falls.

I thank all hon. members for their attention.