House of Commons Hansard #398 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was company.

Topics

Solicitor-Client Privilege in the Context of Parliamentary PrivilegePrivilegeGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I thank the hon. member for Durham for his intervention. I will certainly take his comments under advisement.

The hon. parliamentary secretary is rising on a different point of order.

Parliamentary PrivilegePoints of OrderGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this is a different point of order in the sense that I, as an individual, am concerned about how privileges might be utilized, whether today or previously, as a mechanism to achieve some sort of alternative agenda. That concerns me.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, privileges are very important and are about the rights of individual members of Parliament. Maybe a review could be done of the last 50 or so points of privilege brought to the attention of the Speaker for an overall opinion. Maybe what is necessary is for the Speaker to give some guidance, with respect to the standing orders, on when members are standing up.

I have been a parliamentarian for almost 30 years. My concern is that the very important rule about why it is there is maybe being deviated from. It is the reason I raise this as a point of order. I would appreciate it if you and the other Speakers of this House would review the rules. It is all I ask.

Parliamentary PrivilegePoints of OrderGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I thank the parliamentary secretary for his point of order. He certainly touches on a topic that has come up in the last several days. I can assure him that there are a number of questions of privilege currently under consideration on which the Speaker has yet to provide direction.

As members come up with points of order or questions of privilege, these are privileges accorded to them in the Standing Orders. That said, as I indicated in my intervention relating to the hon. member for Durham, it is incumbent on Chair occupants to ensure that the time being taken for these interventions is managed in a way that is in line with the expectation of this privilege given to hon. members. It is not a means by which a member can tax the time of the House unnecessarily. At the same time, if members have additional points to add that provide new information or other aspects of the question of privilege that are relevant and pertinent, there is an obligation to hear those comments as they pertain to the question under consideration.

I appreciate that it is a bit of a subjective call on our part. We listen carefully to what is being said. As you have seen on numerous occasions, if a member is soon into, for example, some form of debate on a question under the guise of a standing order, you will see that these interventions are very short-lived.

I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for his comments. In turn, we will take those under advisement and get back to the House, if necessary.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the outset of my presentation today, I brought the House of Commons' attention to a detailed report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in which it listed the extensive conversations, secret discussions, the Prime Minister's Office had been carrying out with the former attorney general, and indirectly, with the former Treasury Board president, about putting this whole scandal behind the government. I listed the five different conditions the former attorney general is said to have provided in exchange for her willingness to put the matter to rest. Those conditions are the following:

First, remove the principal secretary to the Prime Minister, the now disgraced Gerald Butts.

Second, remove the outgoing Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick.

Both of them have been removed.

The third condition was to remove senior adviser to the Prime Minister Mathieu Bouchard, whose inappropriate behaviour, and perhaps illegal conduct, I chronicled for the House extensively earlier today.

Fourth, guarantee that the new Attorney General would not overturn the decision of the director of public prosecutions and issue a deal for SNC-Lavalin to avoid a criminal trial.

Fifth, and finally, the former attorney general asked that the Prime Minister take responsibility for his inappropriate conduct and apologize, either to caucus or to the public, or better yet, both.

The first two conditions were met. Butts and Wernick are gone or going, but the three remaining conditions have not, apparently, been met. Mathieu Bouchard, the senior adviser, remains. The Prime Minister has not committed, not guaranteed, that he will avoid further interference in granting SNC-Lavalin a special deal to avoid trial. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Prime Minister has not taken responsibility for his conduct. He has not apologized. He has not held himself to account, this at the same time he has punished the whistleblowers for speaking out.

Today the former Treasury Board president, the MP for Markham—Stouffville, appeared in an interview with Anna Maria Tremonti, a CBC reporter. Tremonti confirmed that secret negotiations were going on.

I quote from her: “We just learned last night on CBC News that there were secret discussions to broker a compromise with the former attorney general before you were both removed from caucus this week.”

The former Treasury Board president was not able to comment on these negotiations, but she did say the following:

Well, I have been very clear from the beginning of when this took place. The issue, just to remind your listeners, is that there is very good evidence that there were attempts to interfere with, have political interference with, a very serious criminal trial, and I had to resign from cabinet because I was not willing to deny that that took place. And from the beginning, I have tried to suggest that the way to deal with this is to speak the truth, to admit that mistakes were made, to apologize to Canadians for it, and find out how it happened and make sure it never happens again.

That’s been my stance from the beginning that I have communicated to the Prime Minister and his office and others. So to that extent, there have been conversations going on, but I would not say that they were intense in any way. There were no efforts to bring all the people involved into a room together to actually try to resolve this, so I was, I would have to say, fairly stunned when I was expelled from caucus on Tuesday without ever having had an opportunity to speak to caucus, to share my perspective on what happened and why I resigned from cabinet, for example.

She goes on in this interview to make some other very interesting observations.

I will note that although I do not share the party's colour or perhaps the political ideology of this particular member, she is a widely respected medical doctor, and up until her most recent political stand, someone the government had put forward as an example of the integrity and expertise it boasted on its front bench. Therefore, I ask Liberal members not to roll their eyes and dismiss her as though she is some sort of political enemy. She has not been a political enemy to the Liberal Party. These remarks show that she might have been the best friend the Prime Minister could ever have had if he had been willing to listen to her wise counsel that he rest himself on integrity. However, he did not listen to that. Instead, he punished her for speaking truth to power. She goes on to explain how that happened. She said:

Well, what I did, for example, I have to say was a hard thing to do. I made the decision to resign from cabinet because there is a constitutional convention of cabinet solidarity. That means that when we talk about a decision in cabinet, we may air our disagreements around the table privately, but we have to go out from that room of one mind prepared to defend and support the decision that we have made together, and I've always been able to do that on any of the other important issues that we've talked about.

In this case...the issue at the heart of this is the independence of our judicial system. We cannot have a democracy without an independent justice system that is free from political interference. And I felt there was evidence that there had been some attempts of interference, and the expectations of cabinet ministers to deny that the interference took place and/or to suggest that it didn't matter, that it wasn't important in some way, was not something I could do in good conscience, and so I could not meet my expectation of cabinet solidarity on that matter, but it was a very hard thing.

You know, I don't want to go into a lot of detail, but I have received some treatment which I think is less than respectful from former colleagues and lots of folks on social media and elsewhere. You know, that's not what the story is about. I can deal with critique, but it takes a certain measure of courage to step up and do something that is going to upset others, but I believe so strongly in the importance of us as a country having a justice system that we can trust, to know that decisions are not going to be made in the courts based on whether the person or the company on trial is friends with or associated with a particular politician who will plead their case. That's the fundamental issue here.

She has hit the nail on the head. A lot of people have said that this is an inside-baseball story. Who could possibly make sense of all the intricacies of the justice committee, the ethics committee, deferred prosecution agreements and the Shawcross doctrine. It is all so boring. When are people's eyes going to glaze over?

What keeps shocking members of the Liberal Party is that eyes are not glazing over. People are not losing interest in this scandal. If the Liberals want to understand why, they need only listen to their own former treasury board president, because she said it here so simply, and I will say again what she said:

but I believe so strongly in the importance of us as a country having a justice system that we can trust, to know that decisions are not going to be made in the courts based on whether the person or the company on trial is friends with or associated with a particular politician who will plead their case. That's the fundamental issue here.

That is why the people of Canada understand and have followed this scandal so carefully. They do not need to know all of the intricacies of the Shawcross doctrine or how cabinet confidence works. What they do know is this. In our system everybody is supposed to be equal under the law, that there is no special treatment for special people or special companies. We have the rule of law and not the law of rulers. We cannot buy justice with powerful lobbyists.

That is exactly what is at stake in this scandal. Do we have one law for the people and another for the powerful? Everyday people on the streets understand how much we stand to lose if we normalize the process of politicians walking into the court sphere and helping special people avoid prosecution.

The former Treasury Board president was asked by Anna Maria Tremonti, the CBC host, “Do we have a justice system in Canada that is now deeply flawed? You left, you didn't get what you wanted, it doesn't change. Does that mean our justice system is flawed as it stands right now, under this Liberal government?”

The former Treasury Board president replied, “No, in fact I think Canadians can be very thankful that the system did work. I believe it worked because the former attorney general did not bend to the wishes of those who wanted her to interfere in the trial.”

“The decision around this particular trial, the SNC-Lavalin case, it's been described by some as the largest corporate corruption trial in modern Canadian history”, says the former Liberal Treasury Board president. “It's not an insignificant trial in any way”, she goes on, “and there is a person called the director of public prosecutions who is completely non-political, who has a large office of people who are trained in criminal prosecutions. She made the determination that this should go to trial. There is a tool that the former attorney general could have used if this company qualified, but the director of public prosecutions said they did not qualify for that.”

She goes on to state, “There is lots of evidence as to why. We can be thankful that we did not have...political interference did not occur, but it was because the former attorney general was not willing to meddle.”

This goes right to the heart of one of the principal defences that the government has so far made. The Liberals say that the company did not get a special deal in the end, so none of this matters, so let us forget about it and move on. It is not because of them; it is because of one principled woman who stood in their way. What did they do? They trampled over her, kicked her out as attorney general and now they have forced her right out of the Liberal caucus. They have tried to destroy her reputation and sent out powerful former Liberal ministers to make racial and sexist slurs against her as part of a long-standing, two-month campaign of character assassination.

With all of that said, it is because of her that this company did not wrongly get off without a trial. The former Treasury Board president was quite right when she pointed out why, and let me say it one more time, “There is lots of evidence as to why. We can be thankful that we did not have...political interference did not occur, but it was because the former attorney general was not willing to meddle.” In other words, the Prime Minister's office was on one side, the former attorney general's office was on the other side and further still was the director of public prosecutions. The Prime Minister's Office slammed and slammed against that wall that was the principle built in stone of the former attorney general.

Try as they might, like a battering ram, to bust through that wall, that wall held. On the other side of that wall was the top prosecutor of the land, whom the Prime Minister was trying to overpower but he could not do it. The seemingly irresistible force of a Prime Minister was up against an immovable object, and that was the principled former attorney general.

No one on that side of the House of Commons, who still stands behind the Prime Minister, should fool themselves into thinking the administration of justice was protected by anything other than her principle. It is true that as of now SNC-Lavalin is headed for a criminal prosecution. However, it is not true that this has anything to do with the Prime Minister or the people around him. He did everything in his power, over a steady campaign, four months long, to avoid that trial, a trial that his own former Treasury Board president says might be the biggest criminal corruption trial in Canadian history.

However, the people who stood their ground paid the price. We know that. We have witnessed it this week. The Prime Minister has signalled how he responds when strong, principled, courageous people stand up to him and speak truth to power.

George Orwell said, as my friend from British Columbia recently reminded me, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”

No more appropriate words could be spoken in the House of Commons than those on this particular week. The anger and hatred that senior Liberals have shown these two courageous whistle-blowers over the last two months demonstrates just how accurately Orwell captured the sentiment and the consequences that truth tellers often face.

We are all blessed that they did tell the truth, that they did do their job and that, for now, the sacred, precious, fragile gift handed down from our ancestors of an independent legal system is, in the moment, safe. I say in the moment because we do not yet know the next chapter in the story.

Will the government succeed in covering up any other political interference that went on? We do not know. Will the government succeed in covering up the real motives for the Prime Minister's extraordinary defence of this accused corporate criminal? Will we ever find out who stood to benefit from the Prime Minister blocking this trial for fraud and bribery? Finally, will the trial ever actually make it to court? These delays will drag on, maybe until after the next election.

With the Prime Minister refusing to rule out a future deferred prosecution agreement, with his current position that he has done nothing wrong, what assurance could we possibly have that he will not do it again? If he, as is his current position, believes there was nothing wrong with the four month campaign of pressure applied to the former attorney general, that it was perfectly acceptable for everyone from his chief of staff to his principal secretary to the clerk of the Privy Council to his senior adviser to his finance minister to the finance minister's chief of staff, all relentlessly badgering the former attorney general to write a letter overturning the decision of the prosecutor and shelving the charges, if he thinks that all of that was perfectly appropriate, why would he not just do it again? He is open to it.

The Attorney General says he might do it, but he does not know yet. He will not say, but he is thinking about it. There is no further comment, and he tells us we will see him after the next election.

Members should not say I did not warn them. They should not be surprised if in the lead up to Christmas later this year, the Prime Minister is back in office and all of a sudden, unsurprisingly, SNC-Lavalin gets let off corruption charges. Members opposite get excited about the prospect that SNC might get let off on the crimes of fraud and bribery. Some Liberal members take great delight in the prospect that after the next election, the Prime Minister could step up and have his Attorney General shelve those charges so the company could get off with impunity, as the Libyan people are left to suffer the consequences of the corruption that SNC is said to have carried out.

The reaction we just witnessed on the floor of the House of Commons confirms my warning that if the Prime Minister is back in office, make no mistake that he will let SNC-Lavalin off and he will contaminate our justice system with more political interference. He has made it clear that he does not believe there is anything wrong with a prime minister pressuring an attorney general to override a top prosecutor.

That is not my allegation. He had a chance to stand up at his February 15 press conference and state clearly and definitely that what happened was wrong. In fact, what the former Treasury Board president noted as a solution was for him to stand up at that press conference and say that it was a mistake, that he should not have done it, that he would never do it again and that he was sorry. However, he refused to do that because he does not think there is anything wrong with what he did. If he does not think there is anything wrong with it, why would he not just do it again?

I welcome him to come before the House and make a promise to that end, not that his promises have meant anything in the past. Even if they did and we could believe them, he has not even yet promised that a future re-elected Liberal government would refrain from imposing a settlement that would shelve the criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin.

In other words, this is not over. This is only the beginning. The future of judicial and prosecutorial independence is very much a live issue in the coming federal election.

One leader has thus far said that if he becomes prime minister, he will not interfere with his attorney general and will not allow for a political decision to override the prosecutor and shelve criminal charges against large-scale, white-collar criminals. That leader is the leader of the Conservative Party.

Maybe the leader of the NDP will say the same thing. I welcome him to do so. By all accounts, he is an honourable man. The leader of the Green Party may say the same thing. Our disagreements notwithstanding, she too is an honourable person. I believe they all will commit to the idea that if they are elected prime minister of Canada in October of this year, there will be no political interference to let this large-scale, accused corporate criminal off the hook.

However, there is one leader who has thus far refused, and done so resolutely, to rule out doing that.

In other words, we are just at the very beginning of this debate about the future of the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. We will have to decide as a nation whether it is acceptable for crony capitalists and corporatists to flood this place with lobbyists and illegal donations in order to buy themselves justice.

Any other Canadian accused of any other offence would have no political recourse against it. Those individuals would have to hire a lawyer and fight the charges in front of a judge or a jury of their peers. However, the Prime Minister thinks there is absolutely nothing wrong with the idea of a corporation with billions of dollars, massive influence, shareholders, lobbyists and board members linked to power in government using all of that influence to avoid repercussions in our criminal justice system.

He thinks that is perfectly fine and he believes that decision should reside with his office, not with an independent prosecutor who is immune to political interference, not with an attorney general who is sworn to non-partisanship, but with him, with the Prime Minister with the most political office in all of the land. He is creating a justice system based on who people know in the PMO, where there is one set of rules for the people and another set of rules for the powerful, where he replaces the rule of law with the law of rulers.

We have to remember just how fragile a gift we have inherited. We are among the blessed few born in a democracy with an independent system that judges the guilt or innocence of people in the court of law and carries out that judgment independent of political decisions. Billions of people around the world would literally give their lives for the chance that their children might live in such a country as ours.

Three hundred thousand people a year arrive on our shores, the largest sustained rate of immigration of any country in the world, because people flee from places where politicians decide who faces trial and who walks free. These people come here because they heard and they understood that in Canada it is different, that everybody is equal under the law and no one is above the law.

They understood, those many newcomers who came to our shores and enriched our country, that we had a long-standing and apparently durable tradition of judicial and prosecutorial independence that developed over more than 800 years, from the time of the Magna Carta in Great Britain, the mother country of our parliamentary and legal system. They knew that at the moment that King John signed that parchment he was committing himself to being under the law not above the law, and that meant that henceforward the king, all of the Crown and all those inside the court of the Crown would be subject to the same treatment. No matter their name, their title, their lineage, their wealth, their race, their religion, people understood that when they came to Canada they would be treated as equals.

The protection of that principle is what is at stake in the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal.

Are we going to hold this company accountable, just like any other Canadian would face accountability if charged with a crime, or are we going to allow backroom meetings by lobbyists and insiders with political decision-makers in the Liberal Prime Minister's government to extend a special deal to avoid trial and dodge accountability? That is what we are debating here today.

I heard the cries of those on the other side that we should just move on, forget about this and get back to talking about something else. “Hey, didn't you hear? We spent $41 billion the other day in the budget. Can't we talk about all that deficit spending?”, the Liberals cry. We will have time for that. They will be held accountable for all the money they have squandered, the debt they have piled up and the taxes they have raised on the working class people to pay for it.

There will be plenty of time for that accountability, I assure the Liberals, and we will welcome that debate with relish. They can spray dollar signs in all directions all they want. We will not be distracted in our role of official opposition. We will show up here every day and do our job of protecting the rule of law, the system of justice and the equality of people. We will do that here today and every day. We will never apologize for doing it.

They can cry, they can howl and they can scream on the other side of the floor, as they are now doing, begging and pleading for silence, but we will not be silent. We will continue to speak up. We will defend the principles that made this country great. We will remember when we look at the green on the ground here that it represents the fields in which the original commoners met to fight for their rights. We will remember that this is the House of the common people—

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I came in during the beginning of that speech and was not sure exactly what it had to do with the budget.

Could the member back it up a little and explain to us how this actually has anything to do with what we have been talking about? I did not want to miss the point and I want to make sure of that for hon. members who are confused like me.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay will know that the rules of relevance, as they relate to budget debates, are quite vast. We will allow the hon. member for Carleton to wrap up. There is just about one minute or so remaining before we need to interrupt for members' statements.

The hon. member for Carleton.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, out of respect for the hon. member, who missed the beginning of my speech, I will start over again at the very beginning.

I ask, Mr. Speaker, that you put aside the normal rules of decorum to allow the member to bring popcorn into the House of Commons, because I promise it is going to be one hell of a show.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I naturally urge the hon. member for Carleton to be judicious in his choice of words and not use words that would be considered unparliamentary.

The hon. parliamentary secretary to the minister of employment is rising on a very brief point of order, as it is time to go to members' statements.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

April 4th, 2019 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I caught most of the member's speech but I recorded it all. To help him out, I am going to binge-watch it this summer. It is called “Game of Drones”.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I think the hon. member for Carleton also enjoyed the humour of the hon. parliamentary secretary, but that was not a point of order.

Mirabel ExpropriationsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, 50 years ago, 12,000 people were forced from their homes by the Canadian government so that it could build the disastrous Mirabel airport.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau scooped up prime farm land to pave it over. After expropriating land from 12,000 people, tearing down their homes and ruining their land, the same Pierre Elliott Trudeau authorized having air traffic bypass Montreal for Toronto, meaning that those farmers sacrificed their land for nothing.

Taxpayers shelled out $500 million to expropriate land from families for an airport that Ottawa doomed to failure.

Yesterday, the National Assembly of Quebec unanimously called on the Canadian government to officially apologize to the people of Mirabel who had their lands expropriated.

I am calling on the Prime Minister to acknowledge Quebec's request and apologize on behalf of Canada for the unnecessary harm caused to these 12,000 people.

Paul-André MasséStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Rioux Liberal Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with emotion that I pay tribute to a committed politician who touched the lives of many people in the riding of Saint-Jean.

Paul-André Massé passed away on March 17. Born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Mr. Massé became a member of Parliament for the Liberal Party of Canada in 1979 and was re-elected in 1980. As a former member of the military, he proudly promoted Royal Military College Saint-Jean and the Saint-Jean Garrison.

Paul-André was a public official who served others in the interest of bettering society. Generous and dedicated, he was a tireless volunteer for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Centre des aînés johannais.

I wish to extend my sincere condolences to his family, relatives and friends. They will miss him, but they should know that his spirit and optimism will live on and continue to guide us.

Cost of LivingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, April 1, as we all know, is April Fool's Day. It has recently become something altogether different.

This year on April 1, gas prices across Canada went up due to the carbon tax. The carbon tax in British Columbia, already the highest in Canada, increased yet again with no rebate, punishing drivers to fund government pet projects. Many people in rural and remote communities simply do not have access to alternatives to their vehicles to get to work, school or medically necessary appointments.

Adding insult to injury, the B.C. government-owned monopoly, ICBC, raised auto insurance rates. Also, every year on April 1, the federal excise duty on beer, spirits and wine increases automatically, along with thousands of user fees instituted by this Liberal government. In my view, any tax increase should be presented as part of annual budget where it can be debated and voted on.

The bottom line is that April 1 is the day that leftist governments of all stripes have decided to make the cost of living more expensive. It has become the day that left-leaning governments decided to take taxpayers' money—

Cost of LivingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Don Valley East.

Shootings in New ZealandStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to strongly condemn the horrific slaughter of 50 Muslim men, women and children in Christchurch, New Zealand. This act of terrorism perpetrated by hate and ignorance tried to divide communities, but it has had the opposite effect. It brought diverse faith groups together in solidarity around the world.

As the chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, I recently led a delegation on a bilateral visit to New Zealand. I convey my deepest condolences to the victims' families and to the people of New Zealand for this heinous attack.

I will end with a quote from Maya Angelou's poem Still I Rise:

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

PharmacareStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to talk about Jim. Jim is no stranger to parliamentarians. He sits each day on the bridge between the Château Laurier and Parliament Hill in every kind of weather: rain, hot sun or the brutal Ottawa winter, which often hits -30°. Jim always has a warm smile and a hearty greeting for everyone.

Jim lives on a fixed disability income that barely pays for his rent and food. The medication that he urgently needs to stay alive costs him $580 each month. There is no way he could ever afford that, so he relies on the generosity of strangers to get through each month because we have no pharmacare in this country. Every day the Prime Minister and Liberal cabinet ministers pass Jim in their limousines and they just do not seem to care.

There are hundreds of thousands of Canadians like Jim who are struggling to pay for their medication in the face of the Liberal betrayal on pharmacare. The leader of the NDP, like Tommy Douglas before him on medicare, will make sure Jim and countless others like him get the pharmacare they deserve.

Shelter MoversStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, Shelter Movers is a national charity providing moving and storage services at no cost to survivors of domestic abuse.

Leaving abuse can be fraught with obstacles. Beyond the costs, logistical challenges and safety concerns, women fleeing violence face the prospect of losing everything they own. Returning is too dangerous.

Shelter Movers is the only service of its kind in Canada, working with community partners to fill a major gap in our social safety net. The organization has completed almost 800 moves to date and is on pace to perform move number 1,000 this year. Three hundred volunteers help up to nine families every week to move out of abusive homes in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Now a national expansion is under way across urban and rural Canada, thanks to $1 million in support from our Liberal government. I thank Shelter Movers volunteers for their compassion and service. Let us work together in the House to ensure their services are no longer needed.

Special Assistant to Member of ParliamentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the spring of 2015, after my personal assistant, Nate Veltkamp, left my office to work at St. Clair College in the foreign student program, Adam Roffel joined our team to take his place.

Adam was a recent graduate of the University of Windsor, with a masters degree in history. I knew we had an excellent raw recruit to train. He quickly grew into the role of personal assistant, and for four years learned all about government services and constituency communications, as well as all the challenges of engaging and enlisting the help of a multitude of ministries and bureaucratic agencies for the benefit of the constituents of Chatham-Kent—Leamington.

Then last month he accepted a position with a local health integration network. We all want to wish Adam the very best in his new position with the LMH, where I am convinced he will continue to flourish, grow and serve our community, as he did so well as the special assistant to the member of Parliament for Chatham-Kent—Leamington.

LiUNA Union MemberStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, Italian Canadians have always been a key part of Canadian society for generations and helped to build this great country. That is why I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize a remarkable man by the name of Rocco Di Giovanni, who came to Canada in 1960.

A now retired construction worker who has been a LiUNA union member for over 57 years, Rocco has helped build subways, bridges and highways throughout the city of Toronto. He has contributed to a better way of life for his family and all of ours in Canada. I am truly blessed to know Rocco and to call him and his lovely wife Giovanna true friends.

It is stories such as Rocco's that show that Canada really is the best place to live. I thank Rocco for everything that he has done and continues to do to improve the lives of all Canadians.

InterCultural Online Health NetworkStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jati Sidhu Liberal Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to acknowledge the InterCultural Online Health Network, iCON, for its efforts in advancing the well-being of multicultural and indigenous communities in British Columbia.

Celebrating 10 years of service and partnership with the South Asian community, I was happy to attend a health forum for seniors and caregivers living with diabetes and hypertension. iCON has successfully brought together key stakeholders in health, such as the B.C. Ministry of Health and its health authorities, health care providers, patients and families. iCON has started a dialogue on health care issues to help educate communities with workshops and web-based resources.

I encourage the Minister of Health to connect with Dr. Cheema and Dr. Ho, iCON leaders, to explore how we can bring iCON to communities throughout the country.

Manitoba Court ChallengeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I quote: “Ottawa cannot impose a carbon tax on a province that has a credible greenhouse gas-reduction plan of its own, and we do.” Those were the words of Manitoba premier Brian Pallister yesterday as he announced that Manitoba would launch a court challenge to the newest Liberal tax scheme.

On April 1, the Liberal government's carbon tax came into effect. The tax has already raised the price of everything in our province. Manitobans are paying more for fuel, more for groceries, more for home heating and more for everything.

My province is in good company, joining Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick to fight against this Liberal cash grab. Whether in eastern, western or central Canada, the Liberal carbon tax is hurting Canadian families. I applaud the Government of Manitoba and Premier Brian Pallister for doing what is right.

Conservatives look forward to forming government so that we can scrap the carbon tax and help all Canadians get ahead.

Lake MemphremagogStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to restate my concerns about the water quality of Lake Memphremagog, which supplies drinking water to 175,000 people living primarily in Sherbrooke and Magog.

Coventry, Vermont, is home to a massive landfill very close to our lake. Last fall we learned that the American authorities had approved a 51-acre expansion to the site. I remind members that this landfill is seeping toxic tailings into the lake. The landfill limit will jump from 250,000 tons to 600,000 tons of waste per year for the next 22 years.

Elected officials at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, along with experts and residents on both sides of the border, are demanding that the project be halted and that more extensive studies be carried out. A number of environmentalists in Vermont even thanked Canadians for their commitment. I urge all levels of government and neighbouring municipalities to support this cause day in and day out.

Clean water is essential not only to our everyday lives, but also to the lives of our children and our—

Lake MemphremagogStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Vaudreuil—Soulanges

Vaudreuil-Soulanges Wine ExpoStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past 16 years, people in my riding have been getting together at the Salon des vins to sample local and international wines. This fundraiser for the local hospital foundation helps ensure that future generations in our community will have access to the best possible services.

This year, citizens, wine enthusiasts and exhibitors will gather in Vaudreuil-Dorion to sample local and international wine, enjoy gastronomic delicacies and discover the talents of more than 30 exhibitors from our community, our country and beyond.

As honorary president of the 2019 Salon des vins, I invite everyone in our community to join me, the organizers and the exhibitors on May 15 at the Vaudreuil-Dorion arena for an evening of tasting, discovery and good conversation, all for a good cause.

Cheers, Mr. Speaker.