House of Commons Hansard #401 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was north.

Topics

JusticeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and those Liberals talk about letting members on their side of the House make decisions without direction from the PMO. That certainly was not the case when the Prime Minister unilaterally turfed two female caucus members, in the process breaking the laws of this place. We know what the Prime Minister does to people who do not agree with him. He pressures, intimidates and then threatens them if they do not fall in line, and then he throws them out.

Since the leader of the opposition will not be intimidated, and the Prime Minister cannot kick him out of caucus, the Prime Minister has threatened him with a lawsuit. A simple question: When are we going to see you is court?

JusticeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. I know that the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes is new to the House, relatively speaking, but I think he knows the rule that one has to direct their questions and comments to the Chair.

The hon. government House leader.

JusticeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, you should be able to confirm that you received a letter to inform you of the will of caucus on these measures. It is up to the Liberal caucus to decide our own affairs. I would encourage that member to focus on his caucus and its caucus matters. We have caucus discussions, and we know that what happens in caucus stays in caucus, but to satisfy the rules, Mr. Speaker, you were provided with a letter.

What is clear is that we have gone through a whole question period, and the Conservatives will continue to focus on us. We will continue to focus on Canadians, and that is why we are so proud to be talking about the budget. We look forward to being able to share how we are going to improve the lives of Canadians.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Mount Royal finally dissociated himself from the shameful statements his friend, the mayor of Hampstead, made comparing secularism to ethnic cleansing. The Minister of Justice was asked to condemn the statements yesterday, but he chose not to.

Insulting Quebec is apparently okay with the Minister of Justice.

Will the minister condemn the statements made by the mayor of Hampstead and pledge not to challenge the secularism bill in court?

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, our government has always stood up for Canadians' fundamental rights and will continue to do so. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the rights of all citizens. We cannot choose which to protect and which to limit. Our position is clear. The state must not dictate what people can or cannot wear regardless of their beliefs.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, every time we ask a question we see the Minister of Justice and Attorney General pick up his notes and repeat the answers written by the Prime Minister's office. That says a lot about the independence of the new attorney general vis-a-vis the Prime Minister. Could we please get a straight answer to a simple question?

Will the Minister of Justice challenge Bill 21 or support a legal challenge, yes or no? It seems to me that he does not need notes to answer the question.

Intergovernmental RelationsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I stated yesterday, Canada is based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is not up to the state to determine what people can or cannot wear no matter their beliefs. We have institutions to protect Canadians' fundamental rights. As Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice, I will support and protect these laws.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

April 9th, 2019 / 3:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in 2018, Quebec took in roughly 22,000 asylum seekers. The Quebec government housed them, cared for them and looked after them. The budget does not offer Quebec a single cent for refugee settlement. In the budget implementation act, the Liberals do not address the problem of Roxham Road.

Instead of making minor adjustments, why did the Minister of Immigration not just announce the suspension of the safe third country agreement?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to acknowledge the excellent partnership we have with the Province of Quebec and the City of Montreal. I wish to extend my sincere appreciation for that partnership and for their hard work.

Canada has experienced an increase in people coming to this country as a result of situations going on all over the world. People are fleeing war and persecution. It is in partnership with municipalities and the provinces that Canada remains a welcoming country as we work to ensure that these individuals enjoy the full benefit of the rule of law in Canada and that at the same time, the system is operated—

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Bill Oliver, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure for the Province of New Brunswick.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

In her response earlier, the hon. government House leader made reference to a piece of correspondence she had given you. I do not believe that the rest of us have seen this letter, but as you know, Mr. Speaker, and as she knows, any letter or any document that is made reference to in the House must be tabled for the benefit of all of us. We would now like to see this letter to determine whether this actually demonstrates that the Liberal Party was in fact in conformity with the Parliament of Canada Act. She was very careful not to make that clear in her comments, so we would like to see it for ourselves.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is the member asking for unanimous consent for this? Otherwise, I am not at liberty to disclose communications from caucus or members individually.

The hon. member for Lethbridge is rising on a point of order.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During question period, a falsehood was spoken, and I just wish to draw some attention to that.

The Minister for Women and Gender Equality said that women are actually participating in the workforce to a greater extent. I have a document from the Library of Parliament that actually shows that women participated in the labour force to a greater extent when the former government was in place, and that number has declined since this new government came to power.

I would ask for unanimous consent to table the document.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member for Lethbridge have unanimous consent of the House?

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order arising out of question period.

I would have risen if I could have at the moment this event occurred, but under our standing rules, there are no points of order during Question Period. Under our standing rules, we are not to interrupt members when they are speaking. We are not to heckle. We are not to create a din.

Just as a point of reference for you, Mr. Speaker, at the point that you were trying to bring the House to order, when the Minister of Finance was speaking, with the volume at my desk at full, as high as I could listen to it, as far as our technology would take it, I was unable to hear the minister over the heckling. That is just unacceptable, and I wish that we would find a way. We have the Standing Orders.

It is disrespectful to this institution, to democracy itself and to our constituents that we allow this sort of bad behaviour to continue at high volume.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, who has raised a very important point that I have brought attention to numerous times. Members often do not recognize it.

In a democracy, we need to hear things that we do not like. We need to respect the opinions of others and listen to them, whether we like it or not. I would like to see more of that practised here. I continue to look for ways to advance that end.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader has an argument in relation to a question of privilege that has been raised.

Member of Parliament for Markham—StouffvillePrivilegeOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the question of privilege raised this morning by the hon. member for Markham—Stouffville. In her intervention, the member referenced an alleged breach of the Parliament of Canada Act.

As the Chair stated in a ruling on April 8, 2019, asking the House to deal with the possible expulsion of a member from caucus is not a proper subject for a question of privilege. The Chair stated that if a member believes that the House needs to put in place certain practices, perhaps by way of additional Standing Orders, this should be done through a substantive motion following proper notice.

The Chair also made reference earlier today, as well as in the April 8 ruling, to the Speaker having no role in the interpretation of statute nor in the conduct of changes that were made to the Parliament of Canada Act. As the Chair pointed out, all that is allowed under subsection 49.8(5) of the Parliament of Canada Act is that the Speaker be informed of the results of the caucus decision.

As the hon. member pointed out, the Speaker confirmed on December 10, 2015, that all actions required by the Speaker as it relates to subsection 49.8(5) had been taken, which she stated is indicative that the chair of the Liberal caucus did indeed inform the Speaker of the decision of the Liberal caucus.

Just to be absolutely clear I will state that, pursuant to subsection 49.8(5) of the Parliament of Canada Act, the chair of the national Liberal caucus sent a letter to the Speaker over three years ago outlining the decisions of the Liberal caucus as they relate to sections 49.2, 49.3 and 49.4; subsections 49.5(1) to 49.5(4); and section 49.6 of the Parliament of Canada Act and their application to the 42nd Parliament. The Liberal caucus decided that the provisions would not apply for the 42nd Parliament. Given the fact that the Liberal caucus did not adopt these provisions, the points raised by the hon. member on this issue are moot.

The hon. member also states that her question of privilege is with respect to which rules apply with regard to the expulsion and readmission of caucus members. I would contend that, given the Liberal caucus decided that the provisions of the Parliament of Canada Act would not apply for the 42nd Parliament and sent the Speaker a letter to confirm this, there is no confusion around which rules apply.

Furthermore, as I said earlier, it is not the role of the Speaker to adjudicate these matters.

Member of Parliament for Markham—StouffvillePrivilegeOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

Member of Parliament for Markham—StouffvillePrivilegeOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, on the same question of privilege, I am quite surprised by the position the government is taking. Apparently, the Liberal caucus reached a decision that the law did not apply to it and because it made the decision, the law does not apply. I would be very interested if the hon. member could provide the legal rationale.

As a member of this place who was part of the discussion and debate on the Reform Act to change the rules under the Parliament of Canada Act, I have consistently bemoaned, and I know it may or may not be a matter for the Speaker to look at this, the larger question of how much power leaders of organized parties that are recognized have over the conduct of their individual members. However, the principle of Westminster democracy in this place is that all members are equal and the Prime Minister is merely first among equals.

I assumed, when we passed the Parliament of Canada Act and the amendments found in section 49, that the recognized parties would comply with the requirements of section 49 in the Parliament of Canada Act and that surely they applied to every party once the law was passed and in place. It is quite distressing to hear now from this member that the caucus decided for itself to ignore the requirements of the law and feels that it has met all the requirements by sending a letter to the Speaker that details the caucus's decision to ignore the law.

Member of Parliament for Markham—StouffvillePrivilegeOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. I will come back to the House in due course with my decision.

Circulation of Committee Document—Speaker's RulingPrivilegeOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am now ready to rule on the question of privilege raised on March 19, 2019, by the hon. member for Milton, concerning an alleged leak of proceedings at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

I want to thank the hon. member as well as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, and the members for Essex, St. Albert—Edmonton and Cariboo—Prince George for their comments.

In her intervention, the member for Milton alleged that earlier that day the text of a motion that was to be debated in camera by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights was leaked to members of the media by Liberal staff. While the member acknowledged that it is normally committees themselves that must regulate such issues, in her opinion this disclosure of the work of the committee was egregious enough to constitute a breach of privilege that requires the Chair's intervention.

In response, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons insisted that no rules were breached in making public a motion not yet moved in committee since this act is not part of a committee’s proceedings.

To begin, the Chair would like to confirm that, despite what has been reported in the media, it has not been clearly established when exactly this motion was shared with the media. To that end, it is my understanding that the chair of the committee has committed to investigating this issue.

Nonetheless, both the member for Milton and the parliamentary secretary were right to cite House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, at pages 1089 and 1090, which states:

Divulging any part of the proceedings of an in camera committee meeting has been ruled by the Speaker to constitute a prima facie matter of privilege.

Of note, though, is that the sentence that follows, on page 1090, is equally instructive. It reads:

However, if a committee does not report a divulgation of in camera proceedings, a Speaker has ruled that there are no procedural grounds on which to intervene.

It seems to the Chair then that these two principles must be considered together, rather than separately. For to consider only one could very well lead to a misinterpretation of what the House has accepted as its principles and practices. In ruling on a question of privilege concerning an alleged breach of confidentiality of in camera committee proceedings, Speaker Milliken stated on February 25, 2003, at page 3986 of the Debates:

In the absence of a report from the committee on such an issue, it is virtually impossible for the Chair to make any judgment as to the prima facie occurrence of a breach of privilege with regard to such charges.

The message is simple and steadfast: Committees are the masters of their proceedings. The Speaker must not supersede their judgment unless and until the circumstances are serious or extreme enough to warrant an intervention by the Chair in the absence of a report from a committee.

This in no way diminishes the importance of confidentiality of in camera committee proceedings. In fact, it is this insistence on confidentiality that breathes life into and sustains the very nature and value of such proceedings. Members and staff alike who are privy to these confidential discussions must assuredly continue do their utmost to respect and protect this important obligation.

From the evidence presented and studied thoroughly, the Chair could not find any indication, nor reasonably conclude, that this was an exceptional situation requiring an intervention in the absence of a committee report. Accordingly, in my view as Speaker, there is no question of privilege.

I thank all hon. members for their attention.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill had completed her speech. It is now time for questions and comments.