June 2, 2017


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.


?

Jenny Kwan

NDP

Ms. Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, tragically, a woman lost her life attempting the dangerous irregular crossing into Manitoba.

I was deeply disappointed, and frankly shocked, when I raised this last night and the member for Ajax stated:

It occurred in Minnesota. The person in question was not near Canada at the time, so I am not sure how that life would have been saved by anything being different.

I am not aware of any cases of people dying of hypothermia while crossing at authorized ports of entry into Canada. I wonder if the member is.

Suspending the safe third country agreement would have meant that people would not be forced to risk their lives to enter Canada.

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, in response to me in question period yesterday, said he was trying to discourage people from crossing at unsanctioned ports of entry. Does the minister know that by not suspending the safe third country agreement, he is forcing them to take those great risks?

Bashir Khan, a lawyer in Manitoba, said, “The Canada-U.S. Safe Third Countries Agreement, which took effect December 29, 2004...sealed her fate. I think Canadian law is to be held responsible for that woman's death—for that innocent woman's death.”

The longer the government refuses to acknowledge this issue, the bigger an impact it will have.

In addition, I am shocked to learn that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is on the public record in response to this tragedy as saying, “It is important to follow the rules and cross the border in a legal and regular manner.”

He went on to say, “People should not think that some back door or side door is a free ticket to get into the country.”

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness knows very well that Canada is a signatory to the United Nations refugee convention, which recognize the rights of refugees. Irregular crossings are not illegal. They are not queue-jumping. They will be processed according to our rules as inland asylum seekers.

It is not a free pass. It comes with great risks. This crossing cost this woman her life. I know the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness knows that. To suggest otherwise is unconscionable. It is reprehensible that he is trying to blame the victim.

If the government suspended the safe third country agreement, this tragedy, I believe, would not have occurred.

The Trump administration, along with the rhetoric from the Prime Minister about how Canada welcomes everyone, is fuelling the increase in irregular border crossings. The CBSA and the RCMP have stated that resources are being stretched because of the increase in irregular crossings. Communities are stretched to the limit. What is is needed is for the government to stop hiding and sticking its head in the sand and wake up, open its heart and mind, and match its words with action, because frankly, lives depend on it.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Permalink
LIB

Serge Cormier

Liberal

Mr. Serge Cormier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is very familiar with the rules of the House. The question she had submitted for this evening's adjournment proceedings had to do with the executive order put in place to prohibit people of certain nationalities from travelling to the United States. That is the question I will answer for the member opposite.

As the member knows, the executive order was supposed to come into effect in March, but it seems that certain judicial bodies in the United States have suspended the implementation of certain provisions of the order. Based on what we learned from our discussions with the Americans, the executive order was supposed to be fully in force. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have permanent resident cards and a valid American visa, and are authorized to travel to the United States, should not be refused entry into that country.

Accordingly, people travelling to the United States should always verify whether they meet all the eligibility criteria to enter the U.S. before their departure and ensure that their travel documents are in order. Some people are asking how Canada's policies would be affected, in terms of refugee protection and asylum in Canada, if the executive order were to be fully restored.

I can assure the House that Canada has and will continue to have a robust system for granting asylum that provides protection to those who truly need it.

The United States, like Canada and any other country, has the right to decide who can and cannot enter its territory. Our government continues to work with its American counterparts to ensure that Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada can continue to travel to the United States and contribute to the close personal and economic ties of our two countries.

Our government will continue to monitor the status of this executive order and deal with situations pertaining to U.S. entry as they arise. We are also pleased to be working with the United States as it reviews certain aspects of its resettlement program. Canada will continue to welcome emigrants and the government will also continue to keep Canadians apprised of this situation.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Permalink
?

Jenny Kwan

NDP

Ms. Jenny Kwan

Mr. Speaker, the member knows very well that aside from the executive order, there are huge anti-immigrant sentiments going on in the United States and people are living in fear. That is why they are taking risks and crossing at these unsanctioned border entries. That is why people are risking their lives. We have had individuals who have lost fingers and toes.

They have gone through a system here in Canada. They have applied to the IRB, are qualified to apply to the IRB, and are successful here, but not in the United States. Does that not tell the member something about what is going on in the United States? We now have a death on our hands as well.

The members of the immigration committee are refusing to even acknowledge that we should be studying this issue. They have refused to do this four times now. What is the government so afraid of that it cannot find the courage to stand up and do what is right?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Permalink
LIB

Serge Cormier

Liberal

Mr. Serge Cormier

Mr. Speaker, as I said at the beginning the question from the member opposite for the adjournment debate concerned the U.S. executive order on immigration and that is the question I answered.

We will continue our efforts and we will work with our American counterparts to ensure that resident Canadians and permanent residents of Canada can continue to travel to the United States as they did before and under the same conditions, which continue to apply today.

The adjournment debate was on the question raised by the member concerning the executive order and that is the question I answered.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Permalink
?

Sheila Malcolmson

NDP

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, this week we are thinking of the families of murdered and missing indigenous women as the inquiry finally begins its first week of hearing testimony. I hope it is going as well for them as possible now that they are finally being heard. Getting at the cause of thousands of murdered and missing indigenous women is crucial to our country, but almost a year after the inquiry's launch, families are still feeling left out and now concern and frustration is growing, as articulated by the families.

We have this one week of hearings, but then things will be suspended until the fall. It is time for the government to own up to its mistakes and to remedy them. The commissioners and the government cannot continue on the path they have taken so far. Is appropriate funding fully available to the commissioners and is the government doing everything it can to support the families of murdered and missing indigenous women?

Many times we have heard government members on the other side say, and I quite agree with them, that they are committed to concurrent implementation, that we do not need to wait until the end of the inquiry to take action on the things we already know as a country we need to do to make women safe and bring justice to indigenous families.

Here is one set of directions New Democrats would have hoped the government would have taken already.

Ten years ago, Cindy Blackstock filed a human rights complaint about discrimination against first nations children. Since then, the government has not taken action, despite a court order and three non-compliance orders. The federal government is guilty of racially discriminating against 163,000 first nations children, says the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. An investment of $155 million is all that the government needed to end this discrimination. It was not found in last month's budget and last week's Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling said that two teenage suicides in the Wapekeka First Nation reserve might be blamed on the federal failure to implement Jordan's principle and comply with the now four Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders.

Following the budget tabled for 2017, Cindy Blackstock said:

There’s nothing new in the budget for First Nations children and their families, in child welfare, or their implementation of the Jordan’s Principle...even though they’ve been found out of compliance with legal orders to stop that inequality.

It’s a moral issue: is Canada so broke that the finance minister and the Prime Minister have made a deliberate choice to discriminate against little kids?

That was said by Cindy Blackstock with the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society.

A second large area of action that I would have thought the government would have moved forward on already is domestic violence shelter funding for indigenous women. Only five additional shelters on reserve have been funded. That has been loudly identified as inadequate and Inuit leaders, the Pauktuutit Inuit women's association in particular, says 70% of Inuit communities have no access to any violence against women shelters and there was nothing in the budget for them at all.

When will the government finally act to make indigenous women safer and rebuild the trust that this country needs so much?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Indigenous Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Liberal

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people and answer the question from the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.

Our government is committed to ending the ongoing national tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. The Government of Canada established this independent national inquiry, recognizing that its work represents an essential step toward reconciliation with indigenous peoples. As an independent inquiry, the commission is determining how best to achieve its mandate, including how to contact families and conduct family and survivor hearings. This inquiry is a crucial step toward understanding and addressing the underlying systemic challenges that have contributed to the unacceptable rates of violence against indigenous women and girls.

Our government is concerned about what we are hearing from the families who fought so hard to get this national inquiry in place. We have read the letters from families. They are making heartfelt suggestions and asking important questions.

The commission has responded to the letter and committed to changing, especially when it comes to communicating. We are seeing that on display now in Whitehorse, as families are being heard and commissioners are accessible.

The government remains committed to working with indigenous governments and communities, with the provinces and territories, and with other key partners to end this national tragedy.

This government has taken immediate action on the root causes, with investments in women's shelters, housing, education, and child welfare. Budget 2017 will invest an additional $3.4 billion in indigenous priorities over the next five years. It builds on budget 2016's historic investment of $8.4 billion in government-wide spending on indigenous programs, and will result in a combined increase in funding for indigenous programs of 27% by the year 2021-22. These investments are being made in the priorities of indigenous communities, including health care, education, housing, and critical infrastructure.

This government has also funded family information liaison units to assist families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in finding the answers they need from government agencies. They are located in provincial and territorial victim services to better provide help and services to address trauma. The services are required to be trauma-informed and culturally responsive. Jurisdictions are expected to work with indigenous organizations to achieve this goal.

Family information liaison units will work directly with families of missing or murdered indigenous women and girls to gather the outstanding information they seek from government agencies and organizations related to the loss of their loved ones, and will coordinate and gather information from various systems and agencies at all levels of government.

Additional funding has been made available for indigenous organizations for complementary services to victims and families. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada will work collaboratively with all parties to ensure that the commission is able to fulfill its mandate.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Indigenous Affairs
Permalink
?

Sheila Malcolmson

NDP

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson

Mr. Speaker, the member cites the funding of domestic violence shelters on reserve, but it only funded one building a year for the next five years, with nothing offered for Inuit women in the north.

The Native Women's Association of Canada said, “it's not anywhere close to being enough. This is nothing less than a crisis. There are basic services that are needed immediately. [...] We don't need more pilot projects on this.”

How can the federal government continue to go bit by bit? How much longer do women have to wait? Instead of keeping up with the traditions that we had with the Conservatives for 10 years offering too little, why is the government not stepping up to end violence against indigenous women right now?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Indigenous Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Liberal

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is committed to real reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is an important step on its path to ending the unacceptable rates of violence against indigenous women and girls.

It is critical that the commission hears from as many people as possible, so that together we can address this national tragedy. The hearings have started this week in Whitehorse. It is very important that the commission continues to inform the families about what they are doing and their work plan, and will always consider what is best for the families.

We are determined to do the right thing for the survivors and families, to honour the spirits and memories of those we have lost, and to protect future generations.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Indigenous Affairs
Permalink
CPC

Luc Berthold

Conservative

Mr. Luc Berthold (Mégantic—L'Érable, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you, as well as your team and all the pages, for being here so late and joining me for this final late show tonight. I am pleased to be here. I especially want to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe for being here tonight. I am particularly pleased that she is the one who is here to answer my questions about government appointments because we are going to talk about big dollar amounts, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance is very knowledgeable in that area.

On May 18, I had the opportunity to talk about Ms. Meilleur's appointment to the position of official languages commissioner. At that time, I reminded the House of something that happened in 2015: the Liberal Party was elected and many people started to dream. Liberal supporters, particularly Liberal donors, started to dream of the golden road that leads to an official position within the Government of Canada, which had now become accessible to them because of the money they donated to the party over the course of their lives.

We heard quite a few examples. Ms. Meilleur's case was particularly telling, and we have learned even more in recent days. With every passing day, it seems, we learn more about this appointment. For once thing, we learned that Ms. Meilleur made a generous $5,000 donation to the Liberal Party of Canada and another $500 donation to the Prime Minister's campaign. We also learned that two people on the Minister of Canadian Heritage's payroll used to work for Ms. Meilleur.

There were desperate attempts like the one on May 18 to explain about the rigorous, transparent, and open process leading up to Ms. Meilleur's appointment. There was even a suggestion that my colleague, the official languages critic, gave the appointment her blessing, which is way out of line. Acknowledging someone's merits is not the same as approving their appointment. Unfortunately, the Minister of Canadian Heritage used a friendly conversation with our critic to justify her choice. Personally, I think that using such conversations to justify the unjustifiable to everyone here is pretty low.

What the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage said in her response really stuck with me. She said that she had a chance to speak with the party critic, that she did the interview herself for the final, definitive selection of the candidate for the position of official languages commissioner, and that it was a completely standard process. On May 18, however, the same day I asked that question, the official languages commissioner appointed by this government, Ms. Meilleur, confirmed that she had met with two important people from the Prime Minister's Office, two important people whose names are being repeated a lot in the House these days, Mr. Butts and Ms. Telford. We could find out exactly what their role is, but according to the minister, those individuals—

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Geoff Regan

Liberal

The Speaker

Unfortunately, the member's time is up.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Liberal

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Mégantic—L'Érable for his question, which enables me to reiterate the Government of Canada's approach on new appointments.

I would also like to take a moment to thank the pages and staff who are also here this evening supporting us during this late night. I thank them so much for being here.

In February 2016, the Prime Minister announced the introduction of a new approach to Governor in Council appointments, one that is more open, representative of Canadian diversity, and merit-based. The government is proud of this new approach, which makes the process more rigorous.

In this case, 72 people applied for the position of Commissioner of Official Languages. These candidates were evaluated by an independent recruiting firm based on the criteria in the job description.

Next, a selection committee comprised of a majority of public servants, scrutinized the candidates' files and chose 12 candidates for the interview stage. Following this first round, less than 10 candidates were asked to undergo psychometric tests and an assessment of their references. Then a short list of candidates was given to the Minister of Canadian Heritage for the final selection.

The selection was then made for Madame Madeleine Meilleur to fill this position, as she clearly emerged from the process as the most qualified candidate. This rigorous, merit-based process also included consultation with the critics and the leaders of both opposition parties. As the minister has stated in the House several times, at no point have her qualifications come into question throughout this process.

During her 13 years as the minister responsible for francophone affairs, Madame Meilleur worked to create the position of French Language Services Commissioner and to ensure that this position would be independent of the legislature.

Madame Meilleur was also the driving force in ensuring that Ontario's French language television station, TFO, was able to operate independently from TVO, its English language counterpart.

In addition, Madame Meilleur has fought for increased francophone immigration in Ontario and for a bilingualism policy for the City of Ottawa during her time as a city councillor here.

The government has great confidence in the abilities of Ms. Meilleur, who clearly has much experience in the protection and promotion of Canada's official languages.

The government is highly confident that Madame Meilleur will fulfill the duties of official languages commissioner with vigour and resolve. The role of the official languages commissioner is of utmost importance, as it ensures compliance with the spirit of the Official Languages Act in our society.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
CPC

Luc Berthold

Conservative

Mr. Luc Berthold

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the hon. member from New Brunswick that my colleague, the official languages critic, was not consulted. I do not think that she should repeat things that mislead the House.

Since my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, is familiar with big dollar amounts and comes from New Brunswick, I am going to talk about the other appointment that was announced yesterday. Francis McGuire will become the president of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency as of June 12, 2017.

The skills that Mr. McGuire brings to the table are that, according to Elections Canada, he contributed a total of $31,698 to the Liberal Party of Canada between 2004 and 2015. That includes a $5,000 contribution in 2006 to the President of the Treasury Board when he was running for leadership of the Liberal Party and a $500 contribution to the member for Gatineau and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

My question for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance is this: does donating big dollar amounts get donors government appointments?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Liberal

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Again, Mr. Speaker, I wish to reiterate that the Government of Canada is proud of the appointment of Madame Meilleur as the new official languages commissioner, and also that of Mr. McGuire.

Protecting and promoting both official languages remains a priority for our government.

Following a rigorous process, Madame Meilleur's qualifications and her experience made it clear that she is the best candidate to fill this role.

The decision was made following an open, merit-based process during which Madame Meilleur stood out as the best candidate for the job.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Geoff Regan

Liberal

The Speaker

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until later this day at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 12:27 a.m.)

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
?

Monique Pauzé

Bloc

Ms. Monique Pauzé (Repentigny, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, during the Standing Committee on Finance's clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-44, I presented an amendment that the committee chair ruled inadmissible. Since the Standing Orders do not recognize us as members of the committee, I was not allowed to dispute the chair's ruling. I was not even able to ask the committee to overturn the ruling. That is how our parliamentary rules treat members of non-recognized parties.

The chair of the Standing Committee on Finance justified his decision on the grounds that it would have broadened the scope of the bill, thereby extending the charge on the public treasury. We disagree. Here is why. The employment insurance fund is no longer part of the consolidated revenue fund. It is managed at arm's length, so there is no burden on the treasury.

Furthermore, my amendment would not broaden the scope of the bill or the benefits. It is not a new benefit. It merely extends the qualifying period, much as Bill C-44 does anyway.

Bill C-44 makes it possible to go back further than 52 weeks when it comes to sick leave, preventive withdrawal, or compassionate leave, but not in the case of parental leave. This bill makes changes to the employment insurance program regarding maternity leave and seeks to increase the number of weeks a woman is eligible for benefits during her maternity leave. What happens, though, when the mother loses her job during her maternity leave or just a few days later? She will be penalized.

The current EI system penalizes women who lose their jobs right after giving birth. This government, which claims to be a feminist government, has been aware of this situation for at least a year, and yet it does nothing. It continues to allow women who lose their jobs to be penalized by the EI system, which it refuses to change.

Our amendment has only one purpose, that is, to protect mothers and children when the moms lose their jobs. Imagine a single mother who has just had a baby and then loses her job. That is truly heartbreaking.

I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to allow me to debate this amendment today on behalf of women. I am sure you understand how difficult it can be for women who find themselves in these situations, but I also understand that it is not up to you to change the rules of the House.


Subtopic:   Point of Order
Sub-subtopic:   Bill C-44
Permalink
LIB

Anthony Rota

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota)

I thank the hon. member. The Chair will consider the matter and get back to the House shortly.


Subtopic:   Point of Order
Sub-subtopic:   Bill C-44
Permalink

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.


LIB

Anthony Rota

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota)

There are 113 motions in amendment standing on the Notice Paper for the report stage of Bill C-44.

Motion No. 87 will not be selected by the Chair as it requires a royal recommendation.

All remaining motions have been examined, and the Chair is satisfied that they meet the guidelines expressed in the note to Standing Order 76.1(5) regarding the selection of motions in amendment at the report stage.

Motions number 1 to 86 and 88 to 113 will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting pattern available at the table.

I will now put Motions Nos. 1 to 86 and 88 to 113 to the House.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1
Sub-subtopic:   Speaker's Ruling
Permalink
?

Gabriel Ste-Marie

Bloc

Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette, BQ)

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-44 be amended by deleting the short title.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink

June 2, 2017