House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was hybrid.

Topics

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Perkins Conservative South Shore—St. Margarets, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia inquiry revealed that RCMP Commissioner Lucki chastised the lead investigator: “The commissioner then said that we didn't understand, that this was tied to pending gun control legislation”. Also quoted in these documents was the RCMP communications officer, who said, “[I]t was all political pressure. That is 100 percent [the minister] and the Prime Minister.”

Why will the government not believe that investigating officers are telling the truth?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalPresident of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member that I have already stated unequivocally that there was no interference in this matter, and I would refer the member to the commissioner's statement, in which she also stated unequivocally that there was no interference or pressure.

Canadians, including those who were directly impacted by this terrible tragedy, have expressed concerns about when and how the RCMP shared information with the public, and that is precisely why the government specified in the order of reference that the Mass Casualty Commission examine the communications approach taken both during and after this event. The work of the Mass Casualty Commission is important.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Perkins Conservative South Shore—St. Margarets, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister opposed the creation of the inquiry, and it is shameful how the Liberals are trying to evade accountability for this outrageous political interference.

The minister continues to quote a supposedly independent statement from Commissioner Lucki, a statement that was likely cleared by the public safety minister's office before being issued. In essence, he is quoting himself and impugning the integrity of the investigators.

When did the Prime Minister's Office and the Minister of Public Safety's office approve the commissioner's statement that the minister is now using to defend himself?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalPresident of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the member may not be aware, but the commissioner of the RCMP is independent of government and there cannot be, in law, any interference with her work.

I would remind the member that, on Tuesday, the commissioner issued her own statement, in which she stated unequivocally that—

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am going to interrupt the hon. minister. I am about 20 feet away from him, and I am having a hard time hearing him.

I would ask the minister to continue, and if this continues, we will have to start from the top.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was referencing for this House the statement that the commissioner released on Tuesday, in which she said, “I take the principle of police independence extremely seriously, and it has been and will continue to be fully respected in all interactions.”

That is the truth, and there was no interference in this matter, as there has been no interference by this government in any police operation.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious and appalling situation. Darren Campbell, a senior RCMP officer, has said that there was partisan political interference in the Nova Scotia tragedy. This is both appalling and disgusting.

A lot of people trust Mr. Campbell, including us. The Globe and Mail quoted former RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson, who said that Darren Campbell “is one of the best investigators in the force and a highly reliable officer with tremendous integrity”. Why does the minister not believe Mr. Campbell?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalPresident of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. I am not in any way questioning the integrity or the honesty of the superintendent. I know former commissioner Paulson very well, and I take him very much at his word when he commends the officer for his integrity. However, I will just simply remind the House that, in this case, there was no interference in this matter and, second, that the commissioner has issued a statement in which she also says that there has been no interference in this matter. Those are simply the facts.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Here are the facts, Mr. Speaker. A minister claims he did not interfere, but a senior RCMP officer, Mr. Campbell, says that there was in fact political interference. Who is telling the truth?

Some very serious people say that Mr. Campbell is telling the truth. Peter Lepine also told The Globe and Mail, “I've followed Darren Campbell since the day he was a recruit. He's an extremely competent police officer and extremely well trained in the world of major investigations.” If we have to choose between the minister and Mr. Campbell, the Conservative Party chooses Mr. Campbell.

Why does the minister refuse to acknowledge the truth?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalPresident of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, again, as I understand it, Superintendent Campbell referred to a conversation, to which we were not party, that he had with his commissioner. I am not in any way questioning the man's integrity. My understanding is that he is an exemplary police officer.

Let me be very clear: There was no interference in this matter, and the commissioner has confirmed that in the statement she released on Tuesday.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jake Stewart Conservative Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has hit a new low to ram through legislation.

Superintendent Campbell noted that Commissioner Lucki told the RCMP that she had promised the Minister of Public Safety and the Prime Minister's Office that the force would disclose the types of firearms used in the mass shooting because it would advance the government's pending gun control legislation.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he used the suffering and death of Nova Scotians for personal political gain?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalPresident of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, that statement is absolutely false. In fact, I would remind the House that our government promised Canadians in the summer of 2019 that we would strengthen gun control and that we would ban military-style assault rifles—

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am going to have to interrupt.

The hon. minister can start from the top, please.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said, unfortunately, the member's comments are absolutely false. In fact, I would remind the House that in the summer of 2019 we made a promise to Canadians that we would strengthen gun control and ban military-style assault rifles.

When the Prime Minister appointed me public safety minister, he placed, in my mandate letter, a direction to ban military-style assault rifles. We made that promise to Canadians, and we kept that promise to Canadians.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Mr. Speaker, during the April 28 meeting with the RCMP commissioner and Superintendent Campbell, there were notes handwritten that stated that the commissioner promised to release information about an active criminal investigation to support a pending announcement on gun control. The Minister of Emergency Preparedness has been standing in the House saying that there was no interference, but the Prime Minister just said there was no undue interference. The story is changing.

The commissioner was working with the government to advance its political agenda. Does the minister deny this?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before we go on to the answer, there are two things: I want everyone to respect each other, and when we are making statements in the House, please be very judicious on the words you use accusing someone of being something. I am hearing names from one side and other absolute terms from the other. I just want to remind everyone to be judicious. We want to leave on a nice note before the summer.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalPresident of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, perhaps it would be helpful if I read the entire statement that the RCMP commissioner issued Tuesday.

The commissioner writes:

It is important to note that the sharing of information and briefings with the Minister of Public Safety are necessary, particularly during a mass shooting on Canadian soil. This is standard procedure, and does not impact the integrity of ongoing investigations or interfere with the independence of the RCMP.

She concludes by stating:

I take the principle of police independence extremely seriously, and it has been and will continue to be fully respected in all interactions.

There was no interference.

PassportsOral Questions

June 23rd, 2022 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the passport crisis comes as no surprise to anyone.

The union warned the government in January. This was foreseeable. Since 2018, the government has cut 450 jobs in passport offices. In the midst of a crisis, the 600 new hires the minister is talking about do not represent an increase in service. Those hires just bring the number of staff back up to prepandemic levels. We are in the midst of a crisis, and that requires crisis-level effort.

When will the minister deploy enough staff to keep the offices open seven days a week?

PassportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Speaker, passport offices are open weekends in the busiest urban centres to make sure that people who urgently need their passport can get it.

We have hired 600 people since January and we are in the process of hiring 600 more. We are reassigning hundreds of employees from Service Canada and other organizations, including the Canada Revenue Agency, Statistics Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

We are making every effort to resolve this situation, which is truly unacceptable for Canadians.

PassportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not what is happening; the union is looking for those 600 people. It found five at the Guy‑Favreau complex. So much for that.

The union projects a return to normal only in October. The chaos cannot last another four months. The minister can bring people out of retirement to help. She can transfer resources from other departments. She can create a training blitz for the new employees. At the very least she can let in the people who are sleeping outside and ensure that they are treated humanely, even if that means renting rooms. That is how to manage a crisis.

What is the minister waiting for?

PassportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Speaker, we have already done all of those things that my hon. colleague is calling for. It takes 15 weeks to train a passport officer. This has already been going on for months. The first class of passport officers starts on Monday. This is not something that changes overnight. It is already in place.

The situation in Montreal improved today. In Laval and in Saint‑Laurent, everyone was given an appointment. At the Guy-Favreau complex, everyone is working to ensure that the hundreds of people there get their appointment.

We will continue to prepare and do everything we can to serve Canadians.

PassportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is a discrepancy between what we are hearing and what we are seeing. The passport crisis is not just an administrative fiasco. People are standing out in the rain at their wits' end. People are missing their parents' funerals. People are losing contracts. The minister's message to them? “Your call is important to us.”

When will the people standing in line truly feel their situation is being taken seriously?

PassportsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Speaker, we are taking the situation very seriously. That is exactly why we adjusted our approach in Montreal. The situation in Montreal is exceptional. It is not like anywhere else in the country.

Every day for the past seven days, between 1,500 and 2,000 people have lined up outside passport offices. Each person in line today got an appointment card for either today, tomorrow, Saturday or even Sunday, because we want to make sure they get their passport.

That is what we want, and that is what we are doing.