Mr. Speaker, new information revealed in the tapes last week prove that the Prime Minister has not been telling the truth.
00:16 - The Prime Minister not only had knowledge of the pressure being applied to the former attorney general but he and his office were, in fact, orchestrating it.
00:24 - As the clerk said, the Prime Minister wanted his way, and he was going to get it.
00:28 - I know I am not allowed to say that the Prime Minister lied, so my question is this.
00:32 - Why did the Prime Minister give deceitful and false information to Canadians regarding the pressure he and his office applied to the former attorney general? As the hon. opposition House leader knows, members cannot do indirectly what they cannot do directly.
00:50 - I would ask her to be careful with that. The hon. government House leader.
00:52 - Mr. Speaker, it is important that Canadians be reminded that the Prime Minister gave unprecedented access to the former attorney general.
01:02 - He waived solicitor-client privilege as well as cabinet confidence.
01:05 - It is also important to note that the Prime Minister has taken responsibility for the breakdown of communication within his office as well as with the Clerk of the Privy Council.
01:15 - It is important to note that the justice committee looked at this matter for over five weeks.
01:20 - It actually held meetings in public so that Canadians could hear.
01:24 - It is also important to note that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is currently studying this matter.
01:29 - Mr. Speaker, Canadians are not buying the ever-changing saga the Prime Minister is trying to peddle.
01:37 - First of all, he said there is nothing to see here and all allegations are false.
01:41 - Second, we all heard that it is Scott Brison’s fault.
01:44 - Now the blame is being placed, and was placed, on the former attorney general.
01:48 - It was all her fault for not saying “no” loudly and clearly enough to the Prime Minister.
01:53 - When we heard the tapes, and all of us heard, she said “no” to the Prime Minister.
01:59 - Why does the Prime Minister not stop telling us his perspective and tell us the truth? Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives will continue pointing fingers and trying to divide Canadians.
02:14 - What we know is that it is important for Canadians to be able to hear.
02:17 - That is exactly why the justice committee sat.
02:20 - They have members from both sides of the aisle on the committee.
02:23 - They set parameters, and within those parameters, they asked the former attorney general to appear.
02:27 - For the entire time the former attorney general was the Attorney General, the Prime Minister gave unprecedented access to ensure that solicitor-client privilege was waived, as well as cabinet confidence, so that Canadians would hear directly from witnesses.
02:41 - The justice committee actually studied this matter for over five weeks.
02:45 - The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is currently studying this matter.
02:47 - Mr. Speaker, it was the Prime Minister who instructed the Liberal MPs on the justice committee and the ethics committee to shut down the investigation, and they complied.
02:56 - Now, after we heard the tapes just yesterday, guess who said he has more information to give? It is Gerald Butts.
03:03 - It is clear that there is much more to this scandal and there is more information.
03:09 - It comes right from the Prime Minister and his office.
03:11 - Will the Prime Minister allow his Liberal MPs on the justice committee to reopen this important investigation? Mr. Speaker, the members who sit on the justice committee will make those decisions for themselves.
03:28 - What is clear is that by allowing submissions to committee, the system actually works.
03:32 - The former attorney general was at committee and testified that the rule of law in Canada is intact and that Canadians can have confidence in our institutions.
03:40 - This once again proves that the work committees do will continue to function.
03:44 - The former attorney general was able to submit new information, as were others, and I think it is important that the committee gets to do its important work.
03:51 - Let us not undermine the work of our institutions.
03:53 - Mr. Speaker, the interference scandal involving the Prime Minister and his office has been dragging on for over two months.
04:04 - On day one, the Prime Minister outright denied everything.
04:10 - Then he changed his story from one week to the next.
04:16 - Audio recordings and written submissions were released on Friday, clearly confirming that the Prime Minister and his office interfered and tried to cover up a scandal involving a criminal prosecution.
04:27 - What new version will the Prime Minister give us today? Will he finally tell Canadians the truth? Mr. Speaker, we are telling Canadians the truth.
04:42 - That is exactly why the members who sit on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights asked to hear from the witnesses.
04:48 - The witnesses appeared, and now all the facts are publicly available.
04:52 - It is important that Canadians be able to hear for themselves.
04:59 - The Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidence so that witnesses could appear before the committee and share their testimony.
05:08 - Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister refuses to hold a public inquiry.
05:15 - He refuses to testify before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
05:17 - He refuses to let all the relevant witnesses speak freely.
05:19 - The allegations of interference came from Liberal members.
05:23 - We did not make anything up. The allegations came from Liberals who are currently sitting in the House.
05:30 - All we ask is that privilege be waived so that we can get to the bottom of this business.
05:37 - Seeing as Gerald Butts has more documents to submit, will the Prime Minister let the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights find out the whole truth? Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidence so that Canadians could hear the truth.
05:59 - Nothing related to this matter was off limits.
06:01 - The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights got exactly what it asked for.
06:04 - It is clear that the Conservatives are going to keep ignoring what the witnesses have to say.
06:11 - We on this side of the House respect our institutions and always will.
06:17 - Mr. Speaker, everything the Prime Minister has been saying for the past couple of months has been contradicted in the past 72 hours by an audio recording that was made public of a conversation on the SNC-Lavalin scandal involving the Prime Minister.
06:36 - The very principles of our democratic traditions are at stake, including the rule of law, the independence of our judicial system and the very principle of equality before our national institutions.
06:45 - The Prime Minister has lost all credibility.
06:48 - We need a public inquiry. Will the government launch a public inquiry? Mr. Speaker, we know that the members who sit on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights have studied the matter.
07:03 - Just as the committee members requested, the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidence so that the former attorney general could give her testimony.
07:11 - We know that the committees are doing their work.
07:15 - We know that the Ethics Commissioner is doing his job because an investigation is under way.
07:21 - We will respect their work. The NDP must know that it was someone from their own party who requested more documents.
07:29 - That is exactly why the former attorney general provided them.
07:33 - Mr. Speaker, this scandal is not going away.
07:36 - Every day, there is fresh evidence that the Prime Minister and his chief advisers misled this House and misled Canadians.
07:42 - No evidence so far has been as compelling and as devastating to the Prime Minister’s case as the audio recording that Canadians heard this weekend.
07:51 - The Prime Minister should stop hiding or trying to talk his way out of this.
07:54 - He needs to do the right thing. Will he come clean with Canadians by calling a public inquiry now? Mr. Speaker, the justice committee sat and had witnesses appear.
08:10 - At every step, the opposition members, including the New Democrats, said that the committee would not meet and witnesses would not appear.
08:16 - They said that the former attorney general would not be able to speak and share her story.
08:21 - The Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege, as well as cabinet confidence, to ensure that Canadians could hear everything that they should get to hear, because we believe that is exactly how it should be.
08:32 - The former minister also confirmed that she had nothing further to offer a formal process.
08:37 - That is within her testimony, and we know that all facts are now on the table.
08:41 - Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday the Prime Minister and his Liberal Party friends laughed at the members of Grassy Narrows First Nation as they were thrown out of an exclusive fundraiser.
08:53 - They had no other chance to ask him directly for justice after decades of mercury poisoning in their community.
09:01 - Apologies from the Prime Minister are not good enough anymore.
09:06 - Chief Rudy Turtle does not accept the Prime Minister’s apology, because his community needs actions and not words.
09:12 - Will the Prime Minister commit to visiting Grassy Narrows immediately? Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question and for her advocacy.
09:24 - The people of Grassy Narrows have suffered for generations.
09:28 - We continue to work with the community and support its needs, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to build a health facility in the community.
09:36 - The minister is looking forward to meeting with Chief Turtle to determine how we can continue moving this critical work forward.
09:42 - It is imperative that the Government of Canada, the province and the community all work together to ensure that the people of Grassy Narrows get the support they need, which they did not get for 10 years under that government that is doing all the heckling.
10:19 - Mr. Speaker, they expect better. The members of Grassy Narrows First Nation are asking for justice after decades of mercury poisoning in their community.
10:29 - Last week, the Prime Minister made fun of them as they were being escorted out of his fundraiser.
10:35 - That is not leadership. Leadership is engaging with people, going to Grassy Narrows and seeing what these families are going through and keeping one’s promises.
10:45 - The Prime Minister’s apologies are no longer enough.
10:48 - Will he commit to visiting Grassy Narrows immediately? Hon.
10:52 - Carolyn Bennett (Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Lib. ): Mr. Speaker, the residents of Grassy Narrows have suffered for generations.
11:03 - We continue to work with the community to meet their needs and fulfil our promise to build a health facility in the community.
11:16 - The minister would be pleased to meet with Chief Turtle to determine how we can continue to advance this crucial work.
11:26 - Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told Canadians that no one ever raised concerns with him about his many attempts to interfere in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, but the recorded phone call and text messages released last week prove that this is blatantly false.
11:42 - The former attorney general repeatedly told the Prime Minister and his top officials that their actions were “entirely inappropriate”.
11:48 - Both his top political adviser and top public servant have resigned in disgrace.
11:54 - When will the Prime Minister stop changing his story and tell Canadians the truth? Mr. Speaker, we believe that Canadians should get to hear exactly what is taking place.
12:08 - That is why all justice committee meetings took place in public, and that is also why the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege, as well as cabinet confidence, to ensure that when witnesses appeared they would be able to share their testimony.
12:21 - Canadians are listening and are able to engage.
12:23 - We know that additional documents have been provided that actually substantiate and confirm exactly what the testimony had been thus far.
12:31 - It shows that the system is working and that people are able to submit documents, and that is exactly how it should work.
12:41 - Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did not fully remove the restraints, and new information and evidence have been submitted to the committee, so clearly its work is not done.
12:48 - The Prime Minister also told Canadians to heed Michael Wernick’s words and, oh, we did.
12:53 - The recording proves that Wernick threatened the former attorney general if she did not do the Prime Minister’s bidding and stop the independent criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
13:03 - Clearly, the Prime Minister knew all along and directed the coordinated campaign to bully the former attorney general to interfere, and he was told it was wrong over and over.
13:13 - When will the Prime Minister finally tell Canadians the truth? Mr. Speaker, the government gave unprecedented waivers so that the information could be shared in public so that Canadians could hear directly for themselves.
13:29 - Nothing related to the matter was off limits.
13:31 - The waiver actually covered the entire time of the former attorney general’s entire term, and it covered the whole period during which the allegations were made.
13:39 - Members who sit on the justice committee set parameters for the study to ensure that the study would be able to be done to its best.
13:47 - The Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege, as well as cabinet confidence, so that Canadians could hear exactly for themselves.
13:56 - Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister asked Canadians to listen to Michael Wernick and we did that.
14:01 - He also said that the former attorney general did not relay her concerns about negotiating a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin.
14:10 - We now know that she did so several times. Canadians have not been fooled and know that the Prime Minister has no credibility on this file.
14:17 - When will the Prime Minister stop changing his story and tell Canadians the truth? Mr. Speaker, the government waived cabinet confidence and solicitor-client privilege so that those with information could talk about it openly.
14:35 - That is unprecedented. Nothing related to this matter was off limits.
14:44 - The waiver covered the former attorney general’s entire term of office.
14:48 - That was the period of time during which the allegations were made.
14:50 - All the facts are now public. The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is continuing his work.
14:59 - A file has been opened. Mr. Speaker, the government controlled the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
15:07 - The Liberals heard what they wanted to hear.
15:08 - The opposition wanted to hear from 11 witnesses, but its request was denied.
15:09 - I am not sure the Prime Minister understands how dangerous it is to abuse our justice system.
15:14 - This is not a dictatorship. This is a nation governed by the rule of law.
15:18 - Now that two ministers, the Prime Minister’s top adviser and the country’s top civil servant have resigned, are we really supposed to believe nothing happened? The Liberals have to stop deceiving Canadians.
15:31 - People want to know the truth. : Mr. Speaker, Canadians need to be able to hear the truth, and that is exactly why the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidence.
15:45 - That is also why witnesses can appear and testify.
15:50 - Canadians had the opportunity to tune in to all the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights meetings because they were public.
15:58 - Liberal members of the justice committee are doing their job.
16:04 - Clearly, the Conservatives are doing their leader’s bidding and still think that is the only way to operate.
16:11 - Mr. Speaker, in February the Prime Minister said, “I would recommend that people pay close heed to the words of the clerk of the Privy Council. ” Last Friday, Canadians did just that, when they heard the clerk carrying out orders from the Prime Minister, pressuring the former attorney general to cut SNC-Lavalin a special deal.
16:29 - The tape makes it clear that political interference in an ongoing criminal proceeding was happening at the highest levels of the government.
16:39 - The tape does not lie. Why does the Prime Minister not start telling the truth? Mr. Speaker, Canadians were able to hear the truth, and that is exactly why justice committee members were able to have their meetings in public.
16:52 - That is a decision they took, and that is what took place.
16:54 - The Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege, as well as cabinet confidence, because Canadians do deserve to be able to hear the truth.
17:02 - It is also important to note that the former attorney general said that the rule of law in Canada is intact, and that the rule of law was followed.
17:10 - The Prime Minister recognizes that we can always improve our institutions, and that is why he accepted responsibility for the breakdown of communication and trust within his office.
17:18 - We have put in measures to move forward in an even better way.
17:22 - We will continue to deliver for Canadians. Mr. Speaker, the tape makes it clear that the Prime Minister was demanding a special deal for SNC-Lavalin.
17:32 - We heard the clerk clearly when he said that the Prime Minister “is gonna find a way to get it done one way or another” and that “he is in that kinda mood”.
17:42 - The tape removes all doubt that there was a coordinated campaign to interfere in an ongoing criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, and that the Prime Minister himself was orchestrating it.
17:53 - In light of this damning new evidence, will the Prime Minister finally end the cover-up and start telling the truth? Mr. Speaker, to ensure that Canadians can hear the truth is exactly why justice committee members had their meetings in public.
18:13 - That is exactly why the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege, as well as cabinet confidence.
18:19 - It is also important to note that the Prime Minister, as well as the Clerk of the Privy Council, in that same recording, confirmed that this was a decision for the former attorney general to make.
18:29 - They confirmed, within that same recording, that those were tools that were available only to the former attorney general.
18:41 - What we know is that the former attorney general made a decision, and that decision remains the case today.
18:43 - Order. I would ask the hon. opposition House leader and others not to be speaking when someone else has the floor.
18:48 - Mr. Speaker, we can tell a lot about a man by what he thinks is funny: Witness the Prime Minister using Grassy Narrows to be the butt of his jokes for his rich friends at the Laurier Club.
19:00 - Mercury poisoning is a nightmare. I have seen the effects of Minamata disease on children in Grassy Narrows.
19:06 - Grassy Narrows survivors had to pay top dollar to the Liberal Party to even get close to getting to the Prime Minister, and he thinks this is funny.
19:15 - Does the Prime Minister understand that he has shown a fundamental lack of moral compassion and leadership? Mr. Speaker, our government is steadfast in our commitment to build a new health facility in Grassy Narrows.
19:32 - We continue to work with the community to support its needs.
19:36 - The minister is looking forward to meeting Chief Turtle to determine how we can continue to move forward on this important issue.
19:43 - It is imperative we all work together, the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the community, to ensure that the people of Grassy Narrows get the supports they need.
19:52 - Mr. Speaker, they deserve better than cheap laughs from the Prime Minister, the frat boy.
19:59 - He promised the people of Grassy Narrows that he would clean up that river, and he broke that promise.
20:04 - However, he keeps his promises to his friends at the Laurier Club, which is why he sent Michael Wernick in to push 17 times in 17 minutes to get the former attorney general to overturn the SNC investigation: “Thank you for your donation” to the Liberal Party, even if it is an illegal donation.
20:22 - What happened to the Prime Minister’s promise of ethical and moral government? Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the work that we have done as a government.
20:36 - Since being elected in 2015, we have found $17 billion, new dollars, to invest in education, in the environment, in infrastructure.
20:46 - We have removed 81 long-term drinking water advisories.
20:50 - That party over there committed to balancing the budget at all costs.
20:56 - Thank God that Canadians saw differently and elected us.
21:14 - The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay Mr. Speaker, last week, confidential information about an individual’s candidacy to the Supreme Court was reported by the media.
21:27 - Let’s be clear. The fundamental purpose of that media leak was to have Canadians believe that the relationship between the Prime Minister and his former attorney general began to fray some time ago.
21:39 - There is every reason to believe that the source of the leak is the Prime Minister in an effort to launch a smear campaign, but in doing so he wilfully tarnished the reputation of Manitoba Justice Glenn Joyal.
21:50 - Will the Minister of Justice launch an official investigation into this breach of confidentiality? Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our process when it comes to not only selecting judges in Canada but also selecting judges for the Supreme Court of Canada.
22:06 - We will ensure that this continues in future and that we appoint highly qualified judges through transparent and reliable processes.
22:16 - Mr. Speaker, in an attempt to undermine the credibility of the former attorney general, the Prime Minister attacked the sitting chief justice of Manitoba.
22:24 - The former attorney general did not just pull his name out of a hat.
22:28 - It came from a list that was recommended by an independent panel.
22:31 - The Prime Minister does not respect the independence of our justice system, the confidentiality of the court appointment process or whose reputation he drags through the mud.
22:40 - The former justice minister has said that this leak was inappropriate.
22:43 - Will there be an investigation into who from the Prime Minister’s Office did this leak? Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our judicial appointment process both for superior courts across the country and for the Supreme Court of Canada.
22:58 - One of the reasons we had to fix it was precisely because Prime Minister Harper was in conflict with the chief justice of Canada at the time.
23:14 - We have done better. We have a process that is full of integrity and we are going to continue forward in that direction.
23:22 - Order. I am having trouble hearing the questions and the answers.
23:25 - The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman Mr. Speaker, the justice minister just besmirched the appointment process for all justices.
23:34 - It is shocking that the Prime Minister thinks that he is above the law, whether it is pressuring his own Attorney General to influence the independent prosecutor or leaking details to damage the reputation of a sitting judge.
23:45 - This Prime Minister’s government is corrupt.
23:47 - Canada’s legal community, the OECD and Transparency International have serious concerns about the Prime Minister’s scandals.
23:55 - Will the Liberals launch an investigation into this leak, yes or no? Mr. Speaker, as I have stated on numerous occasions, we have confidence in our institutions, and that is why we know that committees can do their work.
24:11 - When it comes to one of the matters that the member has referenced, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is investigating this matter.
24:17 - We know that there is an ongoing court case.
24:19 - The former attorney general, in her appearance at committee, confirmed that the rule of law in Canada is intact and that the law was followed at all times.
24:27 - We recognize that we can always strengthen and improve our institutions, and that is why this government has taken measures to ensure that we continue working hard and raising the bar so that we deliver for Canadians.
24:40 - Mr. Speaker, I do not know why this is always so difficult for the Liberals here.
24:45 - Last week, the Manitoba Bar Association issued a very scathing statement regarding the confidentiality of the judicial selection process by the compromising of Chief Justice Joyal’s recommendation.
24:59 - Now this serious breach of confidentiality under the Liberals has violated that justice’s privacy and undermined Canadians’ confidence in our judicial process.
25:10 - Why is it so difficult for him to do the right thing, contact the Privacy Commissioner and get an investigation on this? That is what should be done.
25:17 - It should not be that difficult. Mr. Speaker, we have put into place a judicial appointment process across Canada for both the Supreme Court as well as for superior court justices that is unparalleled in its rigour, its transparency and in outcomes.
25:35 - We have appointed outstanding judges, over 260 since we took office, and we will continue to do that.
25:43 - Mr. Speaker, families in Windsor will pay the price because Liberals again refuse to fight for them.
25:51 - Fiat Chrysler will eliminate the third shift at the Windsor assembly plant, which is 1,500 jobs plus the suppliers.
26:00 - The Prime Minister has done nothing to implement a national auto strategy.
26:05 - In every opportunity he had to save the manufacturing sector, he chose to abandon it.
26:12 - When will the Prime Minister finally stand up for Canadian workers and implement a national automotive manufacturing strategy and protect jobs? Mr. Speaker, we were very disappointed to hear about the news in Windsor.
26:30 - We know how difficult the FCA third-shift shutdown is for the workers and their families.
26:35 - That is why I immediately visited the leadership of FCA in Windsor, along with the Unifor leadership, to talk about what we can do to protect these jobs.
26:43 - Our government has been very clear about supporting the automotive sector.
26:47 - We have invested in 40 different projects that have helped leverage 6 billion dollars’ worth of investments since 2015, and we will continue to support the automotive sector.
26:58 - Mr. Speaker, Chrysler is investing $4. 5 billion in Detroit, creating 6,000 jobs.
27:06 - GM is investing in Michigan, creating thousands of jobs.
27:09 - Meanwhile, GM Oshawa is closing, losing thousands of jobs.
27:13 - Windsor is losing jobs in the thousands, and in Brampton, hundreds of jobs.
27:18 - These automakers are investing in the future, just not here in Canada.
27:21 - The minister left $800 million in a fund from last year’s budget while opportunity escaped and others beat him to a new, cleaner greener auto jobs plan.
27:31 - Will the minister finally turn around a losing record and make sure that the Windsor assembly plant has a new product? Mr. Speaker, I fundamentally disagree with the member opposite.
27:43 - If we look at the track record of the previous Conservative government under Stephen Harper, it lost 30,000 jobs in the automotive sector before the recession.
27:52 - In the first three years of our government, there were 6,000 new jobs in the automotive sector.
27:57 - More importantly, we have put forward a fund of $2 billion, the strategic innovation fund, that has been used by the automotive sector to help leverage 6 billion dollars’ worth of investments here in Canada.
28:09 - We always have and always will defend the automotive sector and the auto workers.
28:19 - Mr. Speaker, tax evasion is still a concern for Canadians, which is why our government has invested more than $1 billion to equip the Canada Revenue Agency to combat tax fraud.
28:29 - April 3 marks the third anniversary of the first reports on the Panama papers.
28:35 - The Minister of National Revenue has already informed us that the CRA identified 894 Canadians in this information leak.
28:43 - Can the minister give us an update on the CRA’s investigation into the Canadians identified? Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Thérèse-De Blainville for his excellent question and for his ongoing interest in addressing tax evasion.
29:00 - Our government has indeed invested nearly $1 billion to equip the Canada Revenue Agency to combat tax fraud.
29:09 - I am pleased to inform the House that, last week, the Canada Revenue Agency carried out two search warrants in connection with the Panama papers in an alleged case of tax evasion in the amount of $77 million.
29:23 - Our plan is working. We are starting to see results and the net is tightening.
29:32 - Mr. Speaker, on Friday, we heard new evidence from the former attorney general that clearly showed that the Prime Minister carried on a campaign to politically interfere in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
29:49 - We still have a lot of questions to ask. In October, PMO adviser Mathieu Bouchard said, “We can have the best policy in the world but we need to get re-elected. ” What did he mean by that? Mr. Speaker, we know that Canadians need to hear the truth.
30:15 - That is exactly why the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidence so that witnesses could share their testimony in committee.
30:26 - Meetings were held for five weeks, giving Canadians the opportunity to hear for themselves what those witnesses had to say.
30:32 - What is clear is that the Conservatives made a decision before the members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights decided to discuss this case.
30:43 - They do not want to hear the truth. It is up to them to decide.
30:48 - Mr. Speaker, it seems like we are hearing new truths coming every day that would warrant the justice committee to investigate further.
30:57 - Liberals are saying that there is nothing new on this SNC scandal, but last week we heard substantial new evidence from the former attorney general, and Gerald Butts has also tabled new evidence with the committee.
31:09 - Clearly the justice committee’s investigation was not complete.
31:13 - Canadians still want answers to questions like, what did the Prime Minister’s chief of staff mean when she said that she did not want to debate legalities anymore? Mr. Speaker, it is important that Canadians be able to hear for themselves, and, once again, that is exactly why the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege as well as cabinet confidence.
31:34 - This is an unprecedented action that took place, because the Prime Minister recognizes it is important for Canadians to be able to hear for themselves.
31:43 - These committee meetings took place in public and Canadians were able to hear them.
31:47 - Members of the committee asked for additional documents to be submitted and those documents have now been submitted.
31:52 - That once again confirms that the system is working and that Canadians can have confidence in the system.
31:59 - Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister’s staff said, “it’s just a bit ironic that she wants an alternative justice process to be available in one sense, but not one for SNC. ” It seems like the entire Liberal government has been seized with getting bribery charges dropped against SNC.
32:18 - As a little reminder, that included $30,000 for Gadhafi’s son for prostitutes in Canada.
32:25 - The finance minister believes that this company should get a special deal.
32:30 - I have a simple question: Will the Liberals let him come to the justice committee and explain to Canadians why? Mr. Speaker, we know that the justice committee studied this matter over five weeks, which is longer than most pieces of legislation are even studied at committee.
32:47 - We know that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is currently investigating this matter.
32:51 - We know that there is an ongoing court case.
32:54 - We know that when it comes to deferred prosecution agreements, this is a new tool that went through the House of Commons, was voted on and it is a legal measure that can be considered.
33:03 - What is interesting is that we hear this sanctimony from the other side, but where was that member from the Conservative Party when it voted against measures for women and gender programs, when it voted against programs for seniors and when it voted against— Order, please.
33:16 - The hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
33:23 - Mr. Speaker, the Liberals continue to spin, spin, spin and the truth keeps on putting them down.
33:30 - We heard more shocking evidence from the former attorney general that affirmed her testimony, which the Prime Minister desperately tried to discredit.
33:39 - The Liberals are saying that there is nothing new on the SNC-Lavalin scandal, but Gerry Butts sent new evidence to the justice committee to attack the former attorney general’s credibility yet again.
33:51 - There are plenty of unanswered questions and Canadians deserve answers.
33:55 - Here is a simple one for the Prime Minister: When will the Prime Minister end the cover-up? Mr. Speaker, let us try this again, and I will try to keep it very simple.
34:09 - Members who sit on the justice committee, and there are members from all parties who are recognized in this House and who sit on the justice committee, came together and set parameters when it came to the allegations currently being challenged or attacked by the opposition member.
34:26 - Then the justice committee was able to ask witnesses to appear and witnesses appeared.
34:31 - To ensure that Canadians could hear the truth, the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege as well as cabinet confidence for the entire time for which the allegations were being challenged.
34:43 - Mr. Speaker, the Canadian canola sector, which employs over 250,000 Canadians and contributes $26. 7 billion to the Canadian economy, is under attack, having been wrapped up in the Liberal government’s dispute with China.
35:00 - Last week, the agriculture committee convened an emergency meeting to address this crisis.
35:05 - Shamefully, the Liberals blocked the ministers from being questioned.
35:09 - Our canola farmers deserve answers. What assurances can the minister provide farmers that Liberals are resolving this crisis for Canada’s most valuable agricultural commodity? Mr. Speaker, I completely understand the worries of our farmers.
35:28 - I was in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba last week and the week before to speak with farmers and stakeholders.
35:35 - I can assure members that it is a very high priority for our government.
35:41 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is having discussions with its counterparts in China and we are working on finding a science-based solution.
35:52 - Mr. Speaker, last week, the Liberals blocked the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food from inviting ministers to testify about the canola crisis.
36:05 - The canola sector contributes over $26. 7 billion to Canada’s economy and supports more than 250,000 jobs nationwide.
36:17 - Our canola farmers should not pay the price for the Liberals’ mishandling of the dispute with China.
36:23 - Our farmers are entitled to straight answers.
36:28 - Since the Liberals do not want to invite the ministers to testify before the committee, what is their game plan for truly defending agriculture and ending the canola crisis? Mr. Speaker, I take the canola crisis and the discussions with China very seriously.
36:43 - I have been travelling around western Canada over the past few weeks, meeting with farmers, our partners and our provincial counterparts.
36:49 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with its Chinese counterpart.
36:56 - Furthermore, the Minister of International Trade Diversification and I will be appearing before the Standing Committee on International Trade tomorrow afternoon.
37:04 - Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said on February 15 that if anyone, including the Attorney General, had issues with anything they might have experienced in the current government, it was their responsibility to come forward and her responsibility to come forward, and no one did.
37:25 - Now we have audio recordings in which she in fact did come forward and said, seven times in 17 minutes, that his interference was inappropriate.
37:36 - Does the Prime Minister really expect us to believe he did not know about that conversation? Mr. Speaker, it is important to note that the Prime Minister has taken responsibility for the breakdown in communications and trust within his office and has put measures in place, because we always believe that we can strengthen our institutions and the way we work on behalf of Canadians.
37:58 - It has also been stated that the Prime Minister was not briefed by the clerk on his conversation with the former attorney general and minister of justice.
38:07 - The Prime Minister also stated that he should have spoken directly with the former minister about this matter.
38:16 - Mr. Speaker, the only problem with that story is that the Clerk of the Privy Council said to the former attorney general at the time that he would be reporting back to the Prime Minister the substance of the conversation they were having.
38:31 - In that conversation, she warned the clerk no less than seven times that the actions of the Prime Minister and the clerk were totally inappropriate.
38:42 - Now the Prime Minister expects us to believe he did not know a thing about that.
38:46 - How is that possible? Mr. Speaker, to ensure that Canadians would be able to hear for themselves, the Prime Minister actually waived solicitor-client privilege as well as cabinet confidence.
38:59 - The Prime Minister also made sure, and it was encouraged, that members of the justice committee would ask witnesses to appear so that Canadians could judge and hear for themselves.
39:09 - I know members opposite cannot fathom that members of a committee could do the work on their own because they are so used to being instructed by their leader, but that is not the approach we take on this side.
39:24 - We think it is important that we respect our institutions, including committees, and the work of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
39:32 - Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister sent out the clerk to claim that he never told the Prime Minister about this spectacular telephone conversation that we have now heard through audio recordings.
39:43 - The clerk claims that is because the Prime Minister went on vacation the very next day.
39:49 - We now know that was not true. He did not leave for a vacation for two more days, and the clerk has testified that the Prime Minister, notwithstanding vacations, is always available 24-7.
40:01 - Is the Prime Minister really going to expect us to believe that he would not have known about this explosive conversation? Mr. Speaker, the member picks and chooses his points, says what he wants to say and listens to what he wants to hear.
40:18 - We know that Canadians are paying attention and should be able to hear the truth for themselves.
40:23 - That is exactly why the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege as well as cabinet confidence so that the former attorney general could appear at committee.
40:31 - Members of the justice committee asked for additional documents to be presented, and those documents have now been presented.
40:37 - Within that same audio recording, the clerk also confirmed that the Prime Minister said that these were tools and decisions for the former attorney general to take.
40:44 - The former attorney general took a decision and it remains a decision.
40:51 - Mr. Speaker, climate change is real and the cost of inaction is enormous.
40:57 - It is disappointing that while climate change is having a real impact on the health and well-being of Canadians, the Conservatives still do not have a plan to protect our environment.
41:06 - If they do not have a plan on climate change, they do not have a plan for the economy or for the future.
41:16 - Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment please advise this House of the actions our government is taking to fight climate change? Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her question and for her continued advocacy to protect our environment.
41:29 - As of today, it is no longer free to pollute in Canada.
41:33 - The great news is that in her province, eight out of 10 families will actually be better off as a result of the climate action incentive that they will claim on their taxes each year.
41:46 - The fact is that during the next federal election, Canadians are going to have a choice between a government that takes climate change seriously or Conservative politicians like the Leader of the Opposition or Doug Ford, who have buried their heads in the sand.
41:56 - It may be April Fool’s Day, but the biggest joke on the Hill is their climate plan.
42:04 - Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told Canadians to listen to Michael Wernick.
42:18 - We did, and last week we heard new evidence that further proves that the Prime Minister directed a coordinated campaign to stop the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, thereby interfering with the prosecutorial discretion of the former attorney general.
42:38 - When will the Prime Minister stop changing his story and start telling the truth? Mr. Speaker, it was stated at committee that the rule of law in Canada is intact, that Canadians can have confidence in their institutions and that the rule of law was followed.
42:58 - The Prime Minister recognizes that we can always improve and strengthen our institutions.
43:01 - That is why he acknowledged that there was a breakdown of communication and trust within his office and has put measures in place to ensure that, moving forward, we have even stronger systems in place.
43:10 - The Prime Minister also acknowledged that he should have spoken directly with the former minister on this matter.
43:16 - It is important to note that the Conservatives are picking and choosing, but we should look at all the facts.
43:27 - Mr. Speaker, over 22 million Yemeni are suffering immensely because of the conflict that has been raging there for four years.
43:34 - The Liberals announced $46. 7 million in aid for Yemen in February.
43:38 - Meanwhile, in 2016, Canada authorized the export of 15 billion dollars’ worth of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia and the sale of 500 million dollars’ worth of other weapons, which are being used to create a blockade in various ports, thereby preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the people of Yemen.
43:55 - What is the point of offering humanitarian aid with the left hand if the right hand is making it impossible for that aid to reach civilian populations? Mr. Speaker, our government supports the peace talks in Yemen.
44:08 - We call on parties to fully implement their commitments and to bring peace to the people of Yemen.
44:12 - We call for full access to humanitarian aid.
44:16 - We have announced additional millions to go directly toward saving people’s lives in Yemen, as was referred to.
44:21 - Our government has also a UN motion mandating the UN human rights commissioner to send investigators to Yemen to investigate crimes against humanity.
44:30 - Mr. Speaker, many rural communities across Canada are experiencing an infrastructure deficit after 10 years of neglect by the Harper Conservatives.
44:43 - For small communities, support from a higher level of government is absolutely essential to getting crucial infrastructure built.
44:52 - Could the Minister of Rural Economic Development update the House on recent actions our government has taken to help rural communities across the country fill the infrastructure gaps? Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.
45:14 - Our government understands that rural municipalities are eager to get infrastructure projects done, and we know how important it is for them to have a dependable, co-operative partner in the federal government.
45:23 - That is why in budget 2019 we introduced a top-up of $2. 2 billion, which will flow directly to municipal governments to get their infrastructure projects under way.
45:32 - While Conservatives across the country continue to show disrespect for municipalities, our government remains a dependable partner for rural communities.
45:41 - Mr. Speaker, after hearing the tape last Friday, Canadians were able to get a clear picture of just how far the Prime Minister and his operatives were willing to go to stop the criminal proceedings against SNC-Lavalin.
45:57 - In fact, he—he being the Prime Minister—was quite determined on this, as Michael Wernick said on the tape to the former attorney general.
46:05 - The Prime Minister has changed his story several times, and we have reached the point where he needs to speak the truth to real power, the real power being the people of Canada.
46:14 - When will the Prime Minister come clean and finally tell Canadians the truth? Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve to hear the truth, and that is exactly why the justice committee was meeting in public.
46:29 - That is exactly why the Prime Minister waived solicitor-client privilege as well as cabinet confidence for the period in which the justice committee determined parameters for their study of this matter.
46:41 - These meetings took place in public so that Canadians could judge for themselves.
46:45 - The Conservatives will continue to speculate and to pick and choose points, but we have confidence that Canadians are able to see all of the facts because they are all on the table and they are all in public.
48:25 - To the Prime Minister, Quebec’s secularism legislation is discriminatory.
48:28 - He said, “It’s unthinkable to me that in a free society we would legitimize discrimination against citizens based on their religion. ” The opposite is true.
48:37 - This is an anti-discrimination bill since the rules apply to everyone.
48:42 - Will the Prime Minister promise not to challenge Bill 21 in court? Mr. Speaker, Canada is a secular country.
48:54 - That is reflected in all our institutions. Government employees have the right to express their faith and no one should have to choose between a job and the right to wear a religious symbol.
49:04 - We all have a responsibility to protect fundamental rights.
49:09 - Any initiative that erodes those rights is unacceptable.
49:12 - Canada is open, inclusive and rich in diversity.
49:18 - Mr. Speaker, all I understood from that answer is that Canada is anything but secular.
49:24 - We know that the Prime Minister has already made up his mind and put the Quebec government on notice.
49:30 - He said that everybody knows he will defend the Canadian charter and that Mr. Legault and all Quebeckers know that his position on this is very firm.
49:40 - Is that a threat? Will the government respect the will of Quebec and agree not to file or fund any legal challenges to Bill 21? Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec only just tabled its bill.
49:58 - We are going to take some time before commenting on next steps.
50:03 - That being said, as I just mentioned, we are the party of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and we will always stand up for the charter.
50:10 - No government should be making someone choose between their job and their religious symbols.
50:22 - I wish to draw the attention of members to the presence in our gallery of a former member of the House of Commons, former federal minister, former occupant of the chair, and former premier of Quebec, the Hon.
50:42 - Jean Charest. .