June 2, 2017

LIB

Sean Casey

Liberal

Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows well, committees of the House are independent and are masters of their own affairs. Our government believes in the importance of the office of the official languages commissioner and in the protection and promotion of our two official languages. After a rigorous, open, and merit-based process, which included 72 candidates, a selection committee, multiple rounds of interviews, and testing, Madame Meilleur clearly emerged as the most qualified candidate for this important position.

As for the allegations of the member opposite, I would like to clarify that at no time was the position of official languages commissioner discussed. There was a rigorous process in place and it was followed.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
CPC

Karen Vecchio

Conservative

Mrs. Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, all week opposition members have been asking the heritage minister to explain the inappropriate appointment of Ms. Meilleur as the Commissioner of Official Languages. We have read that testimony from committees, requested a list of the final 10 candidates, proven incestuous ties to Liberal fundraising campaigns, and clarified shared staff between the minister and Ms. Meilleur.

When will the minister stand up and start taking this question seriously, stop reciting the Liberal-appointed commissioner's resumé, and admit that this appointment is nothing but Liberal patronage?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
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LIB

Sean Casey

Liberal

Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, our two official languages are at the heart of who we are as Canadians and are a priority for our government. The experience, expertise, and integrity of Ms. Meilleur has been recognized by many, both in the House and in official languages communities across Canada. For 30 years, she has worked tirelessly to promote official language rights and services, including the protection of the Montfort Hospital to ensure access to health care in both official languages in Ottawa. Ms. Meilleur will fulfill her duties with all the experience and impartiality required for this important position.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
CPC

Luc Berthold

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is a shameful response. The Liberals are not answering our questions.

They say that they are holding open and transparent appointment processes, but then they always seem to end up hiring a candidate with a Liberal history. People can apply online, but only Liberal donors get a FastPass.

Since the Liberals have been in office, sunny ways have become streets paved in gold for Liberal friends. Will the Liberals stop rolling out the red carpet for partisan appointees, rescind Ms. Meilleur's appointment, and finally show some respect for the House of Commons?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Sean Casey

Liberal

Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we committed to finding the best person for the job of official languages commissioner, and that is what we did. After a rigorous, open, and merit-based process, which included 72 candidates, a selection committee, multiple rounds of interviews, and testing, Ms. Meilleur clearly showed that she had the experience, skill, and impartiality required.

In addition to the letters that the Prime Minister sent to the party leaders in the House and the Senate, we also consulted the opposition critics for official languages. It will be—

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Anthony Rota

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota)

The hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
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CPC

Marilyn Gladu

Conservative

Ms. Marilyn Gladu (Sarnia—Lambton, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the heritage minister does not seem to understand that the official languages commissioner must be non-partisan in order to execute her role with impartiality. Madam Meilleur was a Liberal cabinet minister up until a year ago. She has donated to the Liberal Party and the Prime Minister's own leadership campaign. She even said she met with the Prime Minister's closest advisers about her appointment, which the heritage minister denies.

The minister claims one thing while Madame Meilleur says the opposite. There is a clear contradiction. Someone is not telling the truth. Who?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Sean Casey

Liberal

Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to finding the most qualified candidates for each position. We also believe that taking part in public life should not exclude anyone from serving Canadians in a new capacity. Once again, it is the qualifications that matter. In fact, we appointed Kim Campbell to lead the Supreme Court of Canada advisory board. Like Kim Campbell, we firmly believe that Madeleine Meilleur will be able to serve Canadians with all of the accountability, impartiality, and rigour required.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
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LIB

Anthony Rota

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota)

I would like to remind hon. members to have a little better control on their inner voices.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
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CPC

John Brassard

Conservative

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the puzzle is starting to show that there was no coincidence in anointing Madeleine Meilleur as the official languages commissioner. The pieces show that Madeleine Meilleur went down a familiar path known to many Liberals. If they want some patronage, they talk directly to the Prime Minister's friends.

We know that at least two members of the heritage minister's staff used to work for Madeleine Meilleur when she was a Liberal minister. We also know that someone from the minister's office was part of the selection committee. Who was it?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Sean Casey

Liberal

Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, after a long, open process based on merit, Ms. Meilleur clearly demonstrated that she will fulfill her duties with all of the experience and impartiality required.

As already mentioned, we take the appointment process for the Commissioner of Official Languages very seriously. A selection committee composed of a majority of public servants gave the minister a short list of recommendations, which informed the final nomination. All measures required were taken to ensure that these employees be excluded from the appointment process.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
CPC

John Brassard

Conservative

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

Just stop it, really.

Mr. Speaker, reading the same lines over and over in the House does not make it any better. This is a complete and utter train wreck, and like a train wreck, this is not going to end very well. How can the minister say that her staff was not in conflict with the Meilleur nomination? They used to work with her at Queen's Park. I am asking the minister to show proof of this so-called firewall that she says exists.

Will the minister commit right now to tabling the conflict of interest documents signed by her staff?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Sean Casey

Liberal

Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

Actually, Mr. Speaker, those were not the same lines, but these are.

There was a long, open process based on merit, and Ms. Meilleur clearly demonstrated that she will fulfill the duties with all of the experience and impartiality required. A selection committee composed of a majority of public servants gave the minister a short list of recommendations, which informed the final nomination. All measures required were taken to ensure that these employees be excluded from the appointment process.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
CPC

Pat Kelly

Conservative

Mr. Pat Kelly (Calgary Rocky Ridge, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is just embarrassing to listen to this parliamentary secretary repeat the same sophomoric drivel over and over again.

The Ethics Commissioner is investigating the Prime Minister. The Lobbying Commissioner is investigating cash for access fundraising. The Liberals made a shambles of watchdog appointments when they botched the official languages commissioner appointment through obvious patronage.

Will the Prime Minister agree, and guarantee, that as they search for an Ethics Commissioner, the Liberals will not simply recruit another Liberal insider?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Bardish Chagger

Liberal

Hon. Bardish Chagger (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I have said time and time again, we have put in a new process, an open, transparent, merit-based process, to ensure—

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
?

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
?

An hon. member

What happened?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
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LIB

Anthony Rota

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota)

What happened is that there was screaming going on, and I thought I would calm things down.

The hon. government House leader.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
LIB

Bardish Chagger

Liberal

Hon. Bardish Chagger

Mr. Speaker, we have put in a new, open, transparent, merit-based process to ensure that Canadians can apply. All available positions are posted online. When it comes to the work that the Ethics Commissioner is doing, that the Lobbying Commissioner is doing, and so forth, we value their work and we know that they do their work well. We will let them continue to do their work. Any information that we can provide, we will continue to do so, as has been said.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Appointments
Permalink
?

Matthew Dubé

NDP

Mr. Matthew Dubé (Beloeil—Chambly, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, they say the devil is in the details. Well, as it turns out, Bill C-50, which is supposed to put restrictions on fundraising activities, leaves the Liberals' Laurier Club untouched.

Well-to-do individuals who want to donate more than $1,500 will still be granted privileged access to ministers and the Prime Minister. In essence, this measure is about as hard-hitting as what they did with electoral reform.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to put a stop to this power brokering?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Democratic Reform
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June 2, 2017