House of Commons Hansard #416 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

8:45 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, an obvious example is that the person is not going to drive a car. If someone is going to get behind the wheel of a car and take command of a motor vehicle, it is reasonable to expect that the person might be pulled over, particularly if he or she was also consuming alcohol. It is a pretty clear that if a person does not get behind the wheel of a car, the person has a reasonable expectation that he or she will not be tested.

8:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Madam Chair, I wonder if the minister could expound further on the value of mandatory roadside testing and what the limitations are around that in terms of charter rights against unreasonable search.

8:45 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Chair NDP Carol Hughes

Order. I remind members that we are in session, and if they want to have conversations, they can have them elsewhere.

The hon. minister.

May 14th, 2019 / 8:45 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, I believe that those hon. members may contribute later on this evening, but we will see what happens.

Mandatory roadside testing is seen as an efficient way to police our roads and make driving safer. The kinds of provisions that we have placed in Bill C-46, which is now the law, will save lives.

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Madam Chair, I would like to go back to the matter of THC testing.

I know that many people who consume marijuana on an ongoing basis have potentially high levels of THC in their bodies. They have expressed the concern that they will always test positive to THC and therefore will never be able to drive. I wonder if the minister can comment on that.

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, as one of the first jurisdictions to legalize cannabis, we began the process first of all by consulting. The Minister of Border Security, as he then was, consulted across Canada. We are currently testing two devices under my jurisdiction in order to get us past the finish line with ever better methods of testing.

8:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Madam Chair, I have some brief questions for the minister.

It is clear that the government attempted to interfere politically in Vice-Admiral Mark Norman's trial. His lawyer said that we should be very concerned when anyone tries to erode the resilience of the justice system or demonstrates a failure to understand why it is so fundamental to the democratic values we hold so dear. She added that there are times when we agree with what happens in a courtroom and times we do not, and that is fine. However, what one must not do is point a finger and try to weigh in on the scales of justice. That is not what should be happening.

I want to ask the minister why his government tried to use Vice-Admiral Norman as a scapegoat.

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, I reject the premise of the question.

As I have said a number of times this evening, the director of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said, twice, that there was no political interference. The prosecutor in the Vice-Admiral Norman case said the same thing. I trust what they say.

The Department of Justice produced the documents. We met our obligations to the court and were complimented for doing so.

8:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Madam Chair, can the minister tell us why Admiral Norman was chosen to be the scapegoat?

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, as I have said repeatedly, the RCMP made the decision to investigate. The RCMP worked with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to determine whether to begin the process and when to end it.

8:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Madam Chair, the PMO decided to lay charges against Admiral Norman before the RCMP got involved.

Can the minister confirm that?

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, as I have said this evening, I was neither attorney general nor minister of justice at the time, so I do not know the details. However, I do know that the RCMP is independent and operates at arm's length from the government.

8:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, who is responsible for the Prime Minister's Office? Is it the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada?

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, in a parliamentary system based on the Westminster tradition, we obviously all have obligations and duties.

8:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Madam Chair, on April 6, 2017, the Prime Minister confirmed that he supported the decision made by the chief of the defence staff. He said that it was an important issue that was of course being investigated and that it would probably end up before the courts.

What information led him to arrive at this conclusion?

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, as I have stated several times this evening, I was not the minister at that time.

The RCMP conducts its own investigations. It is a very independent institution that we are proud of. It conducts its investigations at arm's length from the government.

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Madam Chair, the minister stated several times that he was not the minister at that time, and I understand. However, when he took on the responsibilities that come with the job, he must have been briefed on his new portfolio.

Is the minister in a position to tell us if this situation was foreseen from the beginning? The Prime Minister stated that Mr. Norman would probably be charged.

The minister must have information from his department that would allow him to answer the question.

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, the RCMP is independent from the Prime Minister's Office, independent from the government and independent from my department. The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that he was aware of that independence.

We are proud of the RCMP and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Both institutions did their job well in this case, and we can be very proud of that.

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Madam Chair, the chief of defence staff met with the Prime Minister, his chief of staff, and his former adviser Gerry Butts to discuss Vice-Admiral Norman's case, but he kept no notes of the meeting.

Is that how things are supposed to be done under the Access to Information Act?

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, I answered that question earlier this evening. As I said, I was not at the meeting. Different people do things differently at these meetings.

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Madam Chair, I understand the answer, but it should come from the Minister of Justice or the Attorney General.

Is it standard practice?

Mr. Butts took copious notes at every meeting and kept them all. I just want to know if, under the Access to Information Act, it would be normal not to have any notes.

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, to my knowledge, the rules do not apply in this case.

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Madam Chair, the minister probably already got this question. The fact remains that we have been asking these questions for several months without getting any answers. At some point, the minister just might end up responding. I will ask the question again.

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Look at me smiling.

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Yes, you are quite a gentleman.

The Privy Council Office was firmly opposed to disclosing documents to the defence, including a memo from the former clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick. Does that ring a bell? Canadians have the right to know what was in that 60-page memo from the clerk of the Privy Council to the Prime Minister on an ongoing case.

Is the minister prepared to disclose that information immediately?