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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is believe.

Liberal MP for Winnipeg North (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 69% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, in good part I have really enjoyed a lot of the dialogue and listening to comments across the way. I cannot help but desire to see something happen within the procedure and House affairs committee. The member made reference to a lot of rules by talking about the discussion paper and that is what the government House leader was attempting to do, to bring it to PROC so that the committee would be able to get the type of debate and discussion about the pros and cons of the rules that are being suggested.

The member made a reflection in terms of the mother Parliament in England. I know the member has gone through the document and he has made reference to it throughout his speech. I wonder if he finds that there is anything within that document that would go against the mother Parliament. It seems to me that it is a good discussion paper and many of the things within the discussion paper are in fact quite often reflected within the mother Parliament. Would the member not agree that would have been a very good discussion point in itself at PROC?

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I took some exception to the member's comments in regard to the Prime Minister and the change that was committed to Canadians. I would like to remind the member that with private members' bills we have free votes, unlike the New Democratic Party. We have even seen the government lose a number of those votes. We have seen committees where amendments were passed that opposition members proposed.

The member was here during the Harper administration, and that did not occur. I am wondering if the member could be forthright about how we have seen some positive changes and recognize that if the government of the day wants to make significant changes to modernize Parliament and if the combined opposition—the Conservatives and the NDP are united as one, it would appear, on this issue—does not want to reform the Parliament of Canada and modernize it, that could be a problem for the government. This is one of the reasons why we are struggling to make sure that we get that discussion going, but it would be irresponsible to give it a veto. Would the member not agree?

Privilege April 13th, 2017

You love her. You love each other.

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity in the past to work with Conservative governments and New Democratic governments when there have been substantial rule changes. I have also had the opportunity to work in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs when there were some changes to the rules.

The way the changes to the rules would be made is committee members would say they would adopt the low-hanging fruit that everyone could agree on, and nothing really changed. They could not make reference to Speaker's rulings or electronic petitions. Now we have a government that says it wants to modernize Parliament. That means there will have to be some substantial talks. When I reflect on my years in the Manitoba legislature, never did I ever approach the government and say that if I could not get unanimous consent, there could not be any rule changes in the House, because that would be undemocratic.

Would the member not recognize there is a need, at least from the government's perspective, to modernize Parliament? That cannot be done in the identical fashion of everyone agreeing on the low-hanging fruit, such as adding a comma or a period here and there. There needs to be good faith negotiations from the opposition, too. The opposition also has to have a role. It is not fair to demand a veto on it. Would the member not agree?

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I truly do appreciate the level of interest in the Standing Orders and the discussion paper. I really would love to see PROC have that discussion. I have been somewhat lenient in rising on a point of order, but I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that you encourage members to be more relevant when it comes to the motion that is being debated currently.

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, 99% of the things I just heard from the member were most inappropriate. She is attempting to come across as a defender of democracy. I am sorry to disappoint the member, but she is wrong on so many counts.

This is an issue of privilege. I have had the opportunity to debate issues of unfettered access to the parliamentary precinct. This has occurred in the past. The member should listen to the debate that has taken place. I have listened to the debate thoroughly. It seems to me that the Conservatives are working with their brothers and sisters in the New Democratic Party. It is great to see the two parties getting along so nicely. It is nice to see them giving hugs and high-fives and feeling good about their relationship.

What is actually taking place in PROC is all about a discussion on reforming and modernizing Parliament. I get that they are having a difficult time with that.

This motion is all about unfettered access. That is the privilege issue. That was the motion being moved. Why would the Conservatives and the NDP not want to see it ultimately come to a vote?

Questions on the Order Paper April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that whether it is this speaker or the previous speaker, they want to have a debate about the possibility of having rule changes brought into the House. The Prime Minister and the government, and in fact a number of members in the House, want to see Canada's Parliament modernized. This, in essence, is what it is all about. Hopefully, we will get to that discussion at the procedure and House affairs committee.

However, today we are actually debating unfettered access to this precinct. That is the actual debate. I have had the opportunity to have this debate on several other occasions. Sometimes the vote occurs immediately. Other times, we might have a few members get involved. The members across the way try to give the impression that we are trying to prevent a vote from taking place. The member knows full well that, as with other questions of privilege, if people were to be somewhat relevant to the privilege, we could possibly even have a vote this morning. We do not see the government trying to prevent a vote.

Does the member believe that this question of privilege is any different from the others we had on unfettered access? Perhaps he could illustrate why it should take into consideration other changes that are not necessarily relevant to unfettered access to this building. It is an issue of relevancy, in good part.

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we listened to some of the comments yesterday on the issue of relevancy. We have the member, in essence, not being relevant. What we are supposed to be talking about is privilege, and the bus was an integral part of the question of privilege that was being debated.

I ask the member why he chose to talk about something that is outside the actual privilege. What we are supposed to be talking about is unfettered access to the Parliament buildings. The member consistently made reference to rule changes and was trying to label them as a behaviour. That is not what we are technically supposed to be debating. If we want to debate the rule changes, there are other forums where we can have that discussion. I personally welcome that discussion.

I am wondering why the member refuses to talk about unfettered access. Why is so little time in his comments spent on unfettered access?

Privilege April 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I just want to reinforce that all members, I believe, recognize the importance of unfettered access to the House. I have had the opportunity in the past to sit on the PROC committee when we have dealt with this issue. We would hope that an issue of this serious nature would not be politicized.

It has been a little while since I was on one of the green buses, but yesterday I was on a green bus. There was a discussion I overheard in regard to whether a member of Parliament should be able to get off the bus at any point, whether it is halfway down the Hill or a quarter of the way down the Hill.

Does the member think a member of Parliament should have the ability to get off the bus at any point he or she desires?