House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was oversight.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, workers in Regina and across the country are fighting corporations for their pensions. They should not have to fight their government too.

In the Minister of Seniors mandate letter, it says that only people over 75 will get an increase to the old age security pension. The Liberals' wealthy and well-connected friends will be fine, but most seniors between the ages of 65 and 75 will be left behind.

Will the government agree to raise benefits for all seniors or will it continue to leave certain seniors in need behind?

PensionsOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, over the past five years we have made significant investments in our seniors.

One of the first things we did was restore the age of retirement back to 65, from the 67 the Conservatives wanted to send it to. We then increased, by 10%, the guaranteed income supplement for our most vulnerable single seniors that kicks in at 75. We made investments in housing and investments in affordable drug strategies. We continue to move forward in many different ways to support our seniors.

Yes, indeed, we have also committed to raising the OAS for seniors over 75, because we recognize there are greater costs associated with living longer, which is a good thing for Canadians. We will be there to help them.

Official ReportOral Questions

January 29th, 2020 / 3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Annie Koutrakis Liberal Vimy, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In relation to my voting attendance Monday, I would like to reiterate that I was in the chamber and heard the question but was not in my seat when the vote started, which I now understand is the rule for a recorded vote.

This was obviously an error as a new member of the House. As a result, please remove my vote from Monday's relevant vote count.

Official ReportOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I thank the hon. member for the clarification. Accordingly, I direct the table to modify the results of the recorded division held on Monday and consider the matter now settled.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind hon. members of the importance of recorded divisions. The results of each vote reflect the opinion of the House and the parties. It is therefore imperative that the voting process be conducted with the utmost integrity.

Therefore, I will take this moment to remind hon. members once again that in order for their votes to count, they must be in the chamber to hear the motion being put to the House by the Chair. They must also be in their seats when the recorded division begins and remain so until the vote is completed and the results announced.

The leader of the Bloc Québécois in the House of Commons is rising on a point of order.

Official ReportOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am asking for the unanimous consent of the House to table the impact study prepared for the Comité deux villes/deux alumineries and the Société de la Vallée de l'aluminium entitled “Impacts économiques 2020-2029 sur l'économie du Québec des projets compromis par la non-inclusion de l'industrie de l'aluminium à l'amendement de l'ACEUM”.

Official ReportOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

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

Official ReportOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Motion No. 2Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to order made on January 28, 2020, the House will now proceed to the consideration of Motion No. 2 under ways and means.

Motion No. 2Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

moved that a way and means motion to introduce an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States be concurred in.

Motion No. 2Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Motion No. 2Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Motion No. 2Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Motion No. 2Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Motion No. 2Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed will please say nay.

Motion No. 2Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Motion No. 2Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

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

Vote #10

Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion carried.

Ways and MeansGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

moved that Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be read the first time and printed.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

The House resumed from January 28 consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Audit of the Government's Investing in Canada PlanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to order made Tuesday, January 28, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable relating to the business of supply.

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

Vote #11

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion carried.

Procedure for Votes in ChamberPrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege, of which I have given notice to the table, regarding the vote that happened on the Speech from the Throne earlier this week. I understand the member for Vimy has indicated she does not want her vote to be counted. You said that would be done. Obviously, we accept that.

However, this is much more serious than that. This raises many more questions, which I will get into here and which I believe you need to give us some direction on, Mr. Speaker. This affects the privileges of every member of the House.

The privileges of all members are affected when there is a question about the conduct of one member. In this case we are in a minority Parliament where every single vote that is a confidence vote will matter.

In this case, while there was a significant spread between the yeas and the nays, one can easily imagine a scenario in which the vote of one member could determine whether the government maintained the confidence of the House. We have a situation where a member was given not one, not two, but three opportunities to talk about what happened.

I say with respect, and I do not wish to overstate this, that it is so important that the voting rights of members are protected here. Maybe when the Standing Orders were written it was simply enough, without cameras in this place, to trust the word of a member.

Mr. Speaker, if you review the tape, which we all have access to, and which is the official recorded record of what happens in the House, you will see that the member in question was not in her seat for five minutes after the vote commenced.

Every time the camera pans past her seat, it is empty. This is not a matter of seconds and a member saying, “I heard it and I rushed in and sat down.” I am sorry. I want to take all members at their word in this place, but the video evidence is crystal clear.

For the hon. member to say today, “I now know that I needed to be in the chamber in order to vote”, you told us that on Monday night. You told the House, “To be clear, you must be in the chamber in order to vote”, and she stood and said, “I was here. I heard the question.” That is absolutely false.

Now what do we do? What do we do when there is a situation where it could absolutely have been the difference between the government surviving and the government falling? Do we have a situation where a member can stand in this place and mislead the House and there are no consequences for it? The government survives, the legislation passes, the motion passes and the next day, or two or three days later, they say, “Oh, sorry, what could we do? I made a mistake.”

Mr. Speaker, we need you to protect the rights of all members of Parliament. If some members of Parliament are given the right to vote when they are not in this place, that takes away the rights of every member of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, a misleading statement by a member is listed as an offence against the House. That is on page 82 of Bosc and Gagnon. It is an offence against the House. It is not an offence against a particular party. I would say it is offensive to you, Mr. Speaker, as the guardian and custodian of our privileges, but this is something that could have made all the difference.

In the last Parliament, on Bill C-10, the transport bill, it was a tied vote that the previous Speaker had to break the tie on. We had three members in the lobby. We had three members who knew better than to come in and take their place and vote because to do so would have been dishonourable. It would have broken the rules of the House. What if we had just sent them in? The legislation would have been defeated at second reading. What would the remedy then have been?

Mr. Speaker, we are in this situation now where it is more imperative than ever that you protect the rights of all members and not just the governing party, and I know you would never do that. You are here. You were elected by all of us. You protect the rights of all of us.

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but I think you need to review the tape to see if you find the same as we have, time after time. I wanted that member to get up and unequivocally apologize. Instead what she did was to say, “I was here”, three times. The tape does not lie. The tape shows exactly what happened.

I believe that we need this to be found a prime facie question of privilege and that the matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, because we need to know what the path forward is.

What if this is just an instruction that is given to any side of the House where they say, “You know what, things happen. Just run in and say you heard it. There is nothing the Speaker can do, and the House has no powers. Just be close to the House, come in, and if it comes up before your empty seat is called, just stand up and say that you were here. We'll sort it out in the wash”. That is unacceptable.

Again, I implore you to watch the tape, Mr. Speaker. This is not a matter of that single vote. That single vote has been withdrawn, but when the camera pans across the first row, second row, third row and fourth row before the member is in her seat, I am sorry, but she did not hear the question. She knows she did not hear the question.

I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that you rule in favour of moving this to the procedure and House affairs committee so that we can settle this once and for all.

Procedure for Votes in ChamberPrivilegeGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I thank the hon. whip for his point of privilege.

The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.