House of Commons photo

Track Thomas

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is liberals.

NDP MP for Outremont (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Government Appointments May 18th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is not about Madeleine Meilleur's integrity or her experience; it is about a fake consultation process.

The Prime Minister has just chosen a Liberal minister to be the official languages commissioner. Ms. Meilleur wanted to be a senator, but the Prime Minister made it clear that he preferred her to be commissioner.

We learned today that Gerald Butts, the Prime Minister's principal secretary, had contacted Ms. Meilleur previously.

What right do Gerald Butts and Katie Telford have to interfere in this so-called non-partisan appointment process?

Government Appointments May 18th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have lost all credibility on independent appointments by choosing a Liberal minister as commissioner.

If the Liberal government had chosen, say, a former Conservative, it would have shown it was serious about accountability and moving beyond partisanship. However, that is not what it did.

Could the Liberal House leader, in charge of defending Liberal ethical scandals, please explain in what official capacity Gerry Butts communicated with Madeleine Meilleur before she was nominated?

Ethics May 18th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the reason the Liberal House leader is forced to stand and defend the Prime Minister day after day is that there is no minister for ethics on the government side. That is why we have an Ethics Commissioner.

The independence of the Ethics Commissioner is of paramount importance, no matter the political party.

What would the Liberals have said if Stephen Harper, as prime minister, had named Paul Calandra to choose the ethics commissioner during the Senate scandal?

Ethics May 18th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal House leader rises every day to defend her own boss's ethical scandals.

How can she possibly have the credibility to choose the next Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner when this person will most likely continue investigating her boss?

If the Prime Minister felt the need to recuse himself from choosing the next commissioner, why does the Liberal House leader not feel the need to do the same?

Government Appointments May 17th, 2017

Cash for access, accepting private gifts, using private aircraft, co-writing legislation with corporations, appointing a member of a firm immediately after blocking an investigation into that firm—the list goes on, Mr. Speaker.

With all these conflicts of interest, it is more important than ever that we have an independent Ethics Commissioner. The Liberal government House leader stands every day to defend her boss's ethical scandals. How can she have any credibility to choose the next person to investigate her boss? Will she recuse herself?

Government Appointments May 17th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals could not care less about their conflicts of interest. That is what you call arrogance.

The Prime Minister just appointed a Liberal minister to the position of Commissioner of Official Languages. Mrs. Meilleur said, “I thought I could contribute as a senator, but the Prime Minister made it clear that he did not want any politicians in the upper chamber.”

Why does the Prime Minister think partisanship is inappropriate in the Senate but perfectly fine in the commissioner's office?

Ethics May 17th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, another member of that same panel accused seven ministers of not understanding the principles of independence at all, and I think she was right.

When the Canada Revenue Agency let KPMG off the hook for its tax evasion scheme, what did the Liberals do? They appointed a director from KPMG to be the treasurer for the Liberal Party of Canada.

What will it take for the Liberal government to admit that it is clearly in a conflict of interest?

I want an answer that has to do with KPMG this time, not the talking points we keep hearing.

Ethics May 17th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, so much for Prime Minister's question period.

The Liberals refused to allow a parliamentary investigation into the sweetheart deal between the Canada Revenue Agency and KPMG, but that was not the end of the sketchy story. A member of the Liberal-appointed panel looking into tax evasion attended an event sponsored by, guess who, KPMG. This was on top of appointing someone from KPMG as treasurer of the Liberal Party. How does the revenue minister explain this mess?

Member for Sturgeon River—Parkland May 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today we pay tribute to the extraordinary member for Sturgeon River—Parkland and interim leader of the Conservative Party for her service as a member of Parliament, as a minister, and as leader of the official opposition and thank her for the honour, integrity, and passion she has brought to this House over the years.

We learned last night that not only will the member be handing over the reins to a new leader, she will also be stepping down as MP. That news was met with an outpouring of recognition and tremendous gratitude, and rightly so. She will be missed as an MP and as a great leader of the Conservative Party—my personal favourite, for the record.

In less than two weeks, a new Conservative leader will be chosen. We do not know who that will be, but we do know it will not be Kevin O'Leary. I guess for that, at least, we can be thankful.

I thought today I would tell a story that demonstrates why the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland is so widely respected. This House is often filled with passionate debate and disagreement, as it should be. As opposition leaders of often diametrically opposed parties, we frequently have very different perspectives on issues, but sometimes we can find common ground and bypass party differences for the greater good. In March, the leader of the official opposition and I, and ultimately all members of this House, were able to come together and do just that.

A series of shocking decisions showed us once again that our legal system does an abysmal job of addressing cases of sexual assault and protecting the victims. The Halifax ruling made it clear that appropriate sexual assault training for judges was not only necessary, but had become urgent.

The Criminal Code stipulates that no consent is obtained where the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity. This ruling went completely against the Criminal Code and it became clear that it was necessary to act quickly on this.

The member had introduced legislation, Bill C-337, that would require judges undergo comprehensive training in sexual assault law. I was very impressed with the proposed bill. It is an important step forward for survivors of sexual assault who are struggling in a judicial system that far too often fails them.

It was clear to me that the legislation should receive unanimous support, not only due to the urgency of the problem but also because at that moment in particular, it was critically important that every member of the House come together and say “we believe survivors”.

We reached out to the member and her office and offered to endorse the bill and fast-track it to committee by proposing unanimous consent. That unanimous consent was forthcoming.

It is rare for all leaders of political parties to support each other's legislation and even more rare for leaders to propose unanimous consent for each other's legislation. However, when it comes to how our judicial system handles cases of sexual assault, I am so proud to say that members of the House unanimously agreed to put survivors first.

Quite sincerely, I thank the leader of the official opposition for the tremendous work she did for this bill. I know that this goes back to the hon. member's university days when she took part in a project that looked into how sexual assault complainants were treated in the courts. I know how important this is to her and I am extremely honoured that the House passed the bill yesterday.

I thank the hon. member for being so open to working in a collaborative and non-partisan way. That is what made possible this important accomplishment. I will always be very proud of this moment and I hope she will be as well. I can safely say that the leadership that the hon. member for Sturgeon River—Parkland showed in the House certainly earned her the respect of the entire NDP caucus.

In closing, Catherine and I wish my colleague, the leader of the official opposition, her family and her wonderful spouse, J.P., many years of peace and happiness together.

Ethics May 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that is independent? The Prime Minister's principal secretary sits on the party's national board; the party's constitution states that the Liberal leader must consent to the appointment; this individual worked for the Liberals and KPMG at the same time, but yeah, that is totally independent.

For all this talk about the middle class and those working hard to join it, the Prime Minister has shown time and again that his priority is the Liberal Party and those working hard to influence it.

How many conflicts of interest does it take before the Prime Minister finally drops his talking points and recognizes the ethical problem?