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Track Blake

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is obviously.

Conservative MP for Banff—Airdrie (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 63% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Privilege April 7th, 2017

On the same point of order, Mr. Chair. First, it is quite rich, hearing that member talk about somebody who wants to talk on and on in the House of Commons.

On the substance of the member's point, he is trying to claim that somehow it is not a question of privilege that the member has brought here. What we are talking about is essentially all members' privileges being breached and to be able to have a debate about this issue in the House of Commons. The most serious matter that comes before Parliament is a question of privilege. The prima facie case has been established by the Speaker, and the ability of the House to then have a debate is something that is an important privilege for all members. That has been breached here.

The member can cite whatever he likes to try to indicate there is an ability to use those procedural tactics, but at the end of the day that is what has happened. Procedural tactics were used by the government to try to prevent members' privileges from being exercised.

This is, in fact, something the member should have the opportunity to raise, fully defend, and explain, prior to having a ruling on it. He is doing that. I hear him making substantive points about why this is a question of privilege, and it is appalling to hear the government representative, the parliamentary secretary, trying to shut that down and eliminate his opportunity. It might almost be another breach of privilege on top of a breach of privilege.

I hope the government will refrain, and the member will have the opportunity to make his case.

Privilege April 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on the point of order before you.

I find it unprecedented that somehow on a matter of privilege, which is probably the most serious thing to come before the House, a matter of dealing with a member's privileges, that there would be a limit put on the amount of time that members can speak to make the case they need to make.

I find it appalling for the Parliamentary Secretary to the government House leader to suggest that there should be some kind of limit put on someone by asking this kind of question, and for the Speaker to condone it.

Is there some kind of precedent for this? To me, it seems that a member should be given an opportunity to make a case when we are talking about a breach of a member's privileges, a most serious thing. A member should have the opportunity to make the case needed for a point of privilege.

Taxation April 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, when she says the rules have not changed, she might want to try telling that to the campgrounds who are currently taking this government to court to fight this.

If nothing has changed, the minister should explain why they are all of a sudden faced with huge new tax bills. I will give her a hint: they ended the review of these rules that Conservatives put in place in the last Conservative budget, and then changed the interpretation of what is considered an active business so they could go after family-run campgrounds.

If the Liberals are successful in taxing campgrounds out of existence, what other small businesses will they send the taxman after next?

Taxation April 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are waging war on small businesses. Family-run operations like campgrounds and self-storage facilities are being targeted for being too small to be a small business and are receiving huge new tax bills.

The Minister of National Revenue keeps claiming that she knows the critical role that small businesses play, even while the government ended the review of active versus passive business income rules that would have ensured small businesses had access to the small business tax rate, as they should.

Will these Liberals stop talking out of both sides of their mouth and actually stand up for small businesses instead of trying to tax them out of existence?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns April 6th, 2017

With regard to the rules used to define active versus passive income for purposes of the small business deduction: (a) when was the review of the rules, which was originally started in Budget 2015, completed and if the review was not completed (i) when did the government decide to discontinue the review, (ii) what were the reasons for the discontinuation of the review; (b) prior to the discontinuation or completion of the review in (a), were any consultations or analyses undertaken by the Minister of National Revenue or the Minister of Finance and, if so, what were (i) the results, (ii) the date of each consultation, (iii) the location of each consultation, (iv) the name and title of individuals or groups consulted, (v) the recommendations that were made to the Ministers; (c) when was the decision made to change the interpretation of rules, which was issued through a bulletin by the Canada Revenue Agency on August 23, 2016, and by whom was the decision made; (d) prior to the issue of the bulletin in (c), were any consultations or analyses undertaken by the Minister of National Revenue or the Minister of Finance; and (e) if the answer to (d) is in the affirmative, what were (i) the results, (ii) the date of each consultation, (iii) the location of each consultation, (iv) the name and title of individuals or groups consulted, (v) the recommendations that were made to the Ministers?

Standing Orders of the House of Commons April 5th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are trying to ram through substantive changes to see them held less accountable to the people they serve: changes that will see Liberal MPs take Fridays off; changes that will see the Prime Minister show up to work here in question period just once a week; changes that will limit the ability of MPs to hold the government to account on behalf of Canadians.

Canadians work hard and they expect nothing less from their MPs. They expect the Prime Minister to put in a full work week and they definitely expect the government to be held accountable for its actions.

Why is the Prime Minister so afraid of being held accountable by Canadians?

Petitions April 3rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, I rise today with a petition signed by residents of my constituency, mainly from Airdrie and Crossfield.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to support my colleague's bill, Bill C-316, by the member for Calgary Confederation, so Canadians are able to indicate their desire to donate their organs and tissues through their annual tax return. They ask that this information be shared with their provincial or territorial government for the purpose of being added to existing donor registries.

Committees of the House April 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I think the problem the Liberals are trying to solve is that they have a Prime Minister who does not want to be held accountable. He probably cannot really answer the questions. If I read through these emails, it is very clear, in the theme of these things, that everyone in Canada sees that the Prime Minister is not capable of answering questions, and he does not want to have to do that. He does not want to be held accountable.

The member is correct that the way things function here now works really well. When we have a majority government, at the end of the day, the Liberals will almost certainly always be able to put through whatever legislation they seek to put through, but the tool the opposition has at its disposal is to make sure Canadians are aware of what is occurring.

Often what a government can try to do, much like what the government is trying to do in this case right now, is push something through, ram it through, so quickly that Canadians do not have a chance to become aware of it. The opposition members have these tools at their disposal to create debate about something to make sure that Canadians are aware of it. They can then make a judgment about whether they think this is something appropriate for the government to do. The government is trying to remove and eliminate those tools so Canadians will never have put in the light of day what it is trying to do. Therefore, it will avoid being held accountable, and that is not acceptable.

Committees of the House April 3rd, 2017

I apologize, Mr. Speaker. I did not realize I had done what you referred to. In all the other cases, I was trying to insert titles, but my apologies.

I listened to the so-called question from the government House leader, and I was saddened to listen to the deflection tactic being used. One of the changes the Liberals are trying to make is to basically be able to proactively time allocate on things and be able to say that they will dispense with the whole idea of pretending they will allow debate. They will just tell us right off the bat that they will not allow any debate. That is one of the changes they are proposing.

They are also proposing eliminating, basically, any ability for the opposition to debate things in committees. Essentially, that is what they are trying to do. They are trying to ensure that the Prime Minister only has to be here one day a week to be held accountable by Canadians. They are trying to have one less day a week of question period, where they have to be held accountable to Canadians.

I hear these deflection tactics. At the end of the day, this is really all about ensuring that they do not have to be held accountable to Canadians. That is what they want to do. Canadians are not stupid. They understand what the Liberals are trying to do, and they will not accept it. They will not tolerate it, so they might as well give up the ghost right now and start being held accountable, as they should be.

Committees of the House April 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say it is a pleasure to rise to be part of this debate today, but obviously, given the heavy-handed attempts of the government to try to ram through changes that would make it less accountable, I cannot say it is a pleasure. It is something I have to do, something we all have to do, to try to stand up for the rights of Canadians to make sure the government is held accountable. I am proud to do that, but I certainly wish I did not have to be doing it, because the government should not be taking this heavy-handed approach in trying to ram through the types of changes it is trying to ram through.

The government would obviously eliminate some of the accountability that is built into the measures put in place in the House by ensuring the prime minister only has to be, essentially, held accountable by Canadians for 25 hours in the entire year, by making sure there are less days members have to be here in the House of Commons to be held accountable, and by taking away some of the ability of the opposition parties to draw the attention of Canadians to important issues so the government can be held accountable by Canadians.

That is really why I am standing up today. I am doing everything I can and I know my colleagues across the opposition benches are as well. This is one of those rare moments when we see all the opposition parties standing united. That means something, because we are standing up for democracy. We are standing up for Canadians and their right to hold the government accountable through their members of Parliament whom they have elected. That is something too fundamental for us not to stand up and fight for all the way.

I listened to the government House leader give a speech that tried to deflect away from a lot of these things.

Before I get to that, Mr. Speaker, I will mention that I will be sharing my time with the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. I cannot forget to let you know that.

The government House leader talked and used a lot of time to try to deflect away from the real issues here. She tried to claim that somehow this was going to make things more accountable, that somehow they really wanted to have this discussion, which no one seems to have heard is actually happening. The Liberals have had all kinds of time to have a discussion, but there does not seem to be one. They only want to have a discussion when they can be sure they are going to get their way. If they cannot have their way, they do not want to even start the discussion.

That is where we are. The opposition parties are saying these kinds of changes have always been done with the unanimous consent of the parties. That is to ensure that changes are not being made to simply benefit the party in power, which is what the government is very clearly trying to do. I think the Liberals are hoping and expecting that maybe Canadians will not pay attention to this. Maybe they think Canadians will not be smart enough to realize what they are trying to do. However, Canadians are not stupid, and they will not stand for this kind of garbage that we are seeing from the government. They will not stand for this kind of heavy-handed approach. They will not stand for a government that is trying everything it can to be held less accountable. They will not stand for a prime minister who refuses to answer questions of Canadians in the House of Commons.

As proof of that, I would like to just spend a little time reading some emails. Being a member of the committee that is looking at these changes, I have received hundreds, into the thousands, of emails over the last 10 days or so. I know Liberal members of the committee have been sent these as well, because I can see they are copied on a lot of these. In fact, it is usually me being copied on some of the ones being sent to them.

I hope this is something government members are listening to. I see the government members are having a conversation over there. Maybe they can have a conversation among themselves. It would be time they had a conversation with the opposition parties about actually getting down to work in trying to ensure that the changes being made are not being made by them and them alone to benefit them and them alone. It is time they actually benefit Canadians. They need to learn that. They need to listen, because this is Canadians speaking, and I am going to share their words with those Liberals right now and hope they will actually do some listening.

I will start out with some of the comments I have received here.

The first is from someone named Marilyn Raible. She says, “As a Canadian citizen and a taxpayer, it is with total disgust to hear the Liberal Party once again is trying to sneak something past the people of Canada that once again would only benefit the Liberals. All of those elected and now sitting in Parliament must be accountable to the Canadian people and the democratic principles. You were put in these positions to work for and represent the Canadian people and Canada as a whole.”

She goes on to say, “As a democracy, we have the right to have elected officials sit in Parliament from Monday to Friday and debate and scrutinize bills for the good of the people. The Liberal Party has no right in shutting down Parliament on Fridays and permanently limiting debate or scrutiny on their bills. Men went to war to fight for these freedoms that we experience in this great country of Canada. This is what democracy is all about, the freedom to speak up and debate and to work for the good of the Canadian people. I say no to shutting down Parliament on Fridays and no to limiting debate on bills.”

I have one from Hugh Freeman, who says, “This is in respect to the committee that you are currently participating in concerning the debating of the rules of the House of Commons. Be advised that I disagree with the formation of, the terms of reference of, and the timing of this to put it in conflict with the coincidental budget hearing, with the apparent purpose of trying to hide your committee from the Canadian public. I also disagree with the PM trying to shirk his own responsibility by trying to no longer attend Friday House sittings and have advised him separately of that.” The Prime Minister is hearing about this, too. He continues, “Although it seems clear that the intent was to hide this committee hearing behind budget matters, be assured the public has indeed noticed your nefarious behaviour and will endeavour to ensure you pay a price for this at the polls.”

I have read a couple of emails so members can get a sense of the pattern here, and I will read some others as well, but I think what we are hearing is Canadians saying, “We won't be fooled. We are not stupid. We see what this government is trying to do. We see they're trying to benefit themselves and themselves alone. We see that they're trying to make sure they're not held accountable. We see they're trying to avoid question period so that opposition members, on behalf of Canadians, can ensure they're held accountable.”

People are using words like “nefarious”. I can read a number of comments in here that refer to the Prime Minister as a dictator. Those are the kinds of comments Canadians are making, because they are so upset about what is being done here. They see it as akin to those kind of things. When people are seeing it and speaking about it in such strong terms, that means something. That means Canadians are seeing what is going on here. They understand what the government is trying to do and they are upset and they will not tolerate it. They are making threats even to the point of saying that the Liberals will pay the price for this at the polls.

Liberal backbenchers will see no benefit from this, because the Prime Minister is the one who is going to benefit in that he will not have to be held accountable. I hope some of those backbenchers are saying, “You know what, Mr. Prime Minister? My constituents won't stand for this and I can tell you I'm going to pay a price for this at the polls. I don't think it's acceptable and it's also not right.” I hope they speak up, maybe when they go to their caucus meeting on Wednesday, and let the Prime Minister know that this is completely and utterly unacceptable and it will not be tolerated by the Canadian people. Maybe some of them will have the guts to tell the Prime Minister that.

I will continue with some other emails. There are so many of them it is hard to choose which ones to read. I will read this one from Corey Smith. It is addressed to the Liberal members of the committee, and says, “Please stop the proposed changes to Parliament. I encourage you to keep the ability for debate and accountability available to both members of your own party and the opposition. I encourage you to encourage the Prime Minister to show up to work and be accountable more than one day a week. I understand the need to get home to your ridings, but working a half day on Fridays is not too much to expect. I personally work five to six days per week. I understand that you work long hours. I worked road construction. Often we worked until dark Mondays to Thursdays and we would finish early on Fridays to allow for travel, but not before noon. Is this a case where the Prime Minister is not capable of answering questions due to lack of experience and this is a good way for him to avoid this? Would you have allowed this from Mr. Harper? If things are getting to be too much for Prime Minister Trudeau, Parliament can be prorogued. This has happened. However, debate and accountability should never permanently be removed through limitations of this nature. Show how much you love Canada and stop this. You may be in the opposition in the future wishing you had the ability to debate and hold people accountable. It would be a shame if it is lost.”

There are hundreds more emails like these where people are telling the Liberal government that they will not stand for this, that they will not tolerate this, and it is time that the Prime Minister understood that he cannot just do whatever he wants. He has to be accountable to this House of Commons and accountable to the Canadian people. I can say that as the opposition, we will ensure that he does exactly that.