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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is conservative.

Liberal MP for Winnipeg North (Manitoba)

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

Statements in the House

Business of the House November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if it is appropriate to ask, but is it possible to ask the question again?

There may have been a misunderstanding. My understanding is that there was unanimous support for the motion. Therefore, if it is possible, could you ask once again? I had thought all parties were in support of the motion.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member made reference to Tri-Mach as the company with concerns in terms of future employment and so forth. I would like to assure the member that different businesses have different approaches. Overall, when we take a look at what is trending in Canada today, what we will find is a high sense of optimism and hope, and that is realized in very tangible ways.

The member just commented on one business with which he has concerns. What we do know is that close to half a million jobs have been created in the last two years, most of which was done in the last year. We have seen a tangible commitment to have small business tax reduced down to 9%. There are so many wonderful things within this budget implementation legislation in terms of the prospect of future jobs the member commented about.

He might want to rethink how he is going to vote if he believes, as I do, that Canadians want to see the generation of the type of job numbers we are seeing today. That is a strong positive. Obviously, there is a far better sense of opportunity. We have far more jobs being created today than Stephen Harper ever created in his 10 years. They got about one million in 10 years, while we are talking about close to half a million in two years. That is good news for Canada's economy and having an overall healthier middle class.

Privilege November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wanted to provide a response to the question of privilege raised by the member for Thornhill on November 2, respecting the Prime Minister's response to an oral question on Tuesday, October 31.

I submit that the matter is a dispute as to the facts, and therefore does not meet the criteria for finding a prima facie question of privilege. Page 86 of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, sets out the criteria for establishing whether a member has deliberately misled the House. It states:

it must be proven that the statement was misleading;...it must be established that the Member making the statement knew at the time that the statement was incorrect;...that in making the statement, the Member intended to mislead the House.

I submit, these criteria have not been met. On October 31, 2017, in response to an oral question from the member for Edmonton—Strathcona, the Prime Minister stated the following:

...two ministers had controlled assets held indirectly. The finance minister has announced that he is moving forward, going above and beyond what was originally asked. In the case of the other minister, those assets were divested 18 months ago.

The Ethics Commissioner has confirmed that there is no difference of opinion on this issue between her and the Prime Minister. In fact, on November 2, 2017, the Ethics Commissioner released a statement that refutes the allegation that the commissioner is at odds with the statement made by the Prime Minister.

I agree with the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley who intervened on this issue. “Now the reasons she has as Ethics Commissioner to keep the number somewhat vague, as less than five but more than one, is something that is at her discretion. That is not for us to judge.”

Allegations of breach of privilege are often dismissed as disputes as to the facts. There are numerous precedents in support of this. Most recently, on May 5, 2016, the Speaker ruled:

As members can appreciate, the threshold is very high, purposely so given the seriousness of the allegation and its potential consequences for members individually and collectively. From this, it stands to reason that a finding of a prima facie case of privilege is an exceedingly rare occurrence in cases with respect to disputed facts.

I submit that the matter is a dispute as to the facts and therefore does not meet the conditions for a prima facie question of privilege.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the member truly reflects and embodies the Conservative Party in opposition, which is so much out of tune and out of touch with reality. The Conservatives have no problem distorting truths in order to substantiate a specific theme that they want to espouse. They have no reservations about character assassination, and they have no problem saying things that are just not true.

The member talked about Canadians wanting to see an investment here in Canada, and they are seeing that investment. There is far more investment than with the Stephen Harper government, in which she was a member and a cabinet member. We have record high amounts being invested in Canadian infrastructure. In every region of this country, this government is building. The commitment towards Canada's infrastructure is higher in this government than in decades and, I would argue, quite possibly in the history of Canada.

Will my colleague across the way not recognize the truth and say that we have a significant investment in Canada's infrastructure in these last two budgets? If she does not believe that, can she tell me of another national budget, in particular that the Harper government quite possibly introduced, where there was a stronger commitment to Canada's infrastructure? Tell me when that occurred.

Points of Order November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address the points of order raised last week on the application of Standing Order 69.1(1) and 69.1(2).

The purpose of this new Standing Order is to address the improper use of omnibus bills. The rule addresses instances where a government includes in a bill distinctly unrelated provisions that do not fall under a common theme. In a situation where a bill contains provisions that are unrelated to the common theme, the Speaker may put to the House separate votes at second reading and third reading on those unrelated elements.

I would like to turn to the application of the second part of the new Standing Order, which deals with the budget implementation bill. The member for Carleton identified some provisions in Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in the House on March 22, 2017, which he asserted were not referenced in the budget.

The member's principal concern is the reference in the budget document to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. I would draw the attention of the member to page 181 of the budget document, which states:

As the first North American country to apply for membership at the AIIB, Canada is demonstrating our strong engagement in multilateral institutions, and will commit to playing a unique and constructive role in supporting the Bank’s operations and governance. The Government will introduce federal legislation to operationalize Canada’s membership at this institution in 2017.

The budget proposal to introduce legislation to operationalize Canada's membership in the bank is found in division 2 part 5 of the budget implementation bill, Bill C-63.

As for the other measures in the bill to which the member refers, I would note the following links between the budget and the implementing bill.

Page 190 in the budget references, “Budget 2017 also proposes to amend legislation to implement the recommendations of the 2015 Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission.” The members know that the Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission report recommends remuneration schemes for judges, which require amendments to the Judges Act to implement.

Page 211 in the budget references, “Budget 2017 proposes to introduce targeted legislative amendments to bolster the toolkit for managing the resolution of Canada’s largest banks.” This commitment is reflected in division 5 part 5 of Bill C-63.

The member for Portage—Lisgar referred to the June 19 debate where the government House leader stated:

We want to ensure that MPs are not faced with the dilemma of how to vote on a bill that is most supportable but contains a totally unrelated clause, a poison pill, that they find objectionable. We want flexibility for MPs in these instances.

This is precisely the intended objective: to ensure members are able to vote on a totally unrelated measure in a bill. That can only serve to improve the transparency of the legislative process.

I have one final point that I would like to put on the record. Standing Order 69.1 in no way contemplates the division of a bill for the purposes of debate or for separate committee referrals. The Standing Order is crystal clear. There shall be a single debate at the second and third reading stages, with separate votes on distinctly unrelated provisions.

Questions on the Order Paper November 7th, 2017

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

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I like to think we have seen a great deal of sympathy in terms of what is taking place in Alberta. Being from the Prairies, I know there has been a great deal of concern, which goes well beyond my province. In fact, all Canadians want to see Alberta play the prominent role it has, and that I ultimately argue continues to play in Canadian society.

To try to give an impression that the government is not working for Albertans is just wrong. The member across the way talks about energy and energy jobs. We have pipelines that have been approved. We have a minister of infrastructure who has worked with other ministries to ensure that some of those infrastructure projects are expedited as much as possible to assist the province of Alberta. This is in addition to all the other benefits I was able to highlight, at least in part, such as the Canada child benefit, which is putting more money into the pockets of Albertans.

Can the member tell me what she believes the former Conservative government did that we have not done in terms of assisting the province of Alberta?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that my fellow prairie member of Parliament should be delighted with the fact that we have, for the first time in the history of government, seen in excess of $2 billion allocated for rural communities. All sorts of communities will be provided an opportunity to establish priorities as to how they would like to see that money spent.

At the end of the day, no matter what region it is, we will see a commitment by the national government to infrastructure and to asking municipalities, provinces, territories, and others to get engaged to assist us in establishing those priorities. In co-operation and working with the stakeholders, we are seeing record amounts of projects under way. They are fuelled with hope, because we have a national government that is prepared to invest in Canada's infrastructure.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, my concern is that the member is chewing into my time, but I suspect it will be added.

The member talks about small businesses, but get this: we have now put in place a massive reduction in taxes for small businesses, from 12% down to 9%. One would think the opposition benches would recognize it, but this is the difference. This is the reality of government policy by us that does not necessarily abide by the type of script or scenario the opposition wants to try to portray to Canadians. They will distort the facts. They will distort the reality. It is all a part of being out of touch with Canadians.

Whether it is small business or the middle class, the average Canadian is benefiting from the many initiatives undertaken by this government over the last two years, and they will continue to do so, because we in government will not take them for granted. We are committed to working hard for each and every Canadian, because we want to make a better society for all of us.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that will never happen.

The Conservatives have a story and want to stick to that story. They do not care about whether it lines up with factual truths. Just take a look at the person who is actually getting those child benefit increases, who had the—