June 9, 2017

LIB

Francis Drouin

Liberal

Mr. Francis Drouin

Mr. Speaker, I agree, but I do not necessarily disagree about him leaving in shackles. If people break the law, they deserve to leave in shackles, especially for election fraud.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Elections Act
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell will have five and a half minutes remaining in his time for questions and comments when the House next resumes debate on the question.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Elections Act
Permalink

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


CPC

Blake Richards

Conservative

Mr. Blake Richards (Banff—Airdrie, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming quite clear that the Liberals have a habit of saying one thing and then doing the complete opposite.

First the Liberals campaigned on a promise to run small deficits of just $10 billion. I am not sure in whose world that is a small deficit, but that is what they said. Instead, they are running massive out of control deficits. Then they promised they would have a balanced budget by 2019. Now they have absolutely no plan to return to a balanced budget until possibly 2055. Two generations from now, our grandchildren, will still be paying for the Liberals' spending spree and the Liberals will continue to run deficits with no explanation of how or when they will return to balance.

We then had the Liberal broken promise of cutting taxes for the middle class. Instead, what Canadians have is a carbon tax, a huge new tax that will raise the price of absolutely everything, such as food, gas, home heating, and clothing. Everything will cost more. The average Canadian household will pay as much as $2,600 more per year as a result of the Liberal cash grab.

We have the Liberal broken promises when it comes to small businesses. We have seen the Liberals break their promise to reduce the small business tax rate to 9%. We have seen the Liberals impose new payroll taxes on small businesses.

However, these broken promises do not really come as much of a surprise. The Prime Minister infamously insulted hard-working Canadians who own small businesses by saying, “a large percentage of small businesses are actually just ways for wealthier Canadians to save on their taxes...” He is accusing small business owners of being rich people just trying to avoid paying taxes. It is unbelievable.

We have seen the Liberals try to sneak in another new tax grab on small business owners. Financial advisers are warning small business owners that when the Liberals announce new rules requiring Canadians to report the sale of their principal residence to the CRA, this change could eliminate the capital gains exemption on the sale of their primary residence if they run a business from their home. When asked about this, the Minister of Finance refused to give a clear answer.

Now on top of all this, the Liberals are saying that some small businesses are too small to be small businesses.

Active versus passive business income rules, which the Liberal government recently issued a new interpretation of, will adversely affect many small businesses, and are adversely affecting some, such campgrounds, by arbitrarily assigning them as passive income when the amount of work involved is clearly anything but passive.

Many campgrounds and other small businesses have recently received tax bills that are more than three times the rate of other small businesses since they do not have five full-time year-round employees and are unable to qualify for the small business tax rate as a result. These tax bills will put many of these small businesses right out of business.

A business being considered too small should not be a reason to exclude anyone from this tax rate, especially when entrepreneurs are often a part of their daily operations on their small businesses and work incredibly hard.

When are the Liberals going to start standing up for small businesses rather than trying to tax them out of existence?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Joël Lightbound

Liberal

Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, just before I start, I would like to clarify I will be answering the question of February 22, 2017, as was agreed upon.

Before that, the member has talked a lot about Liberal cash grabs and various taxes. I would just like to remind the member that the first thing we did when we came to power was to reduce taxes for the middle class and introduce the Canada child benefit, which has lifted out of poverty hundreds of thousands of kids across this country, and families. If he cares to visit the food bank in his riding or in his community, he will see the impact that it has had, and I am very proud of that. The other thing we have done is that we raised taxes for the richest 1%, and we came back on policies of the previous Conservative government that were, frankly, regressive, such as the TFSA limit doubling to close to $11,000 and the income splitting, which benefited the richest 10% of Canadians.

To come back to the question that was asked on February 22, I would like to emphasize that protecting the long-term financial security of Canadians is a cornerstone of the Government of Canada's commitment to help the middle class, and of course those working hard to join it. During last fall's housing announcement, the Minister of Finance announced housing stability measures, which included tax measures intended to close tax loopholes involving the capital gains exemption on the principal residence. These measures improved the stability of the housing market, including tax measures to improve tax fairness for Canadian homeowners.

The loopholes being referred to involved, in particular, certain claims to the exemption being made on the part of non-residents, directly or through trusts. The Canada Revenue Agency, the CRA, in coordination with the aforementioned fall housing announcement, announced a change in administrative practice regarding the claiming of the principal residence exemption. The CRA indicated that it would begin enforcing a long-standing legal requirement that a tax designation be filed in order to claim the full principal residence exemption.

It is important to note that the CRA has a long-standing practice of accommodating a home office and certain other income-earning activities such as room rental within certain limits. These limits would be in the context of the principal residence exemption. The accommodation is twofold. One, the change in use of a part of a residence from home occupancy to income-earning purpose is not treated as a disposition by the CRA. Second, the gain that accrued on the residence after the change in use continued to be eligible for the exemption. I would like to note that the administrative practice on the change of use has not been modified.

As I said, the government is committed to creating a fair tax system that benefits the middle class and those working hard to join it.

As I mentioned by way of introduction, the government is proud of having reduced taxes for the middle class, a move that will help nine million Canadians.

We are also proud of having brought in the Canada child benefit, which will give an average of $2,300 more to nine out of ten families in this country. I also talked about that, and it might be one of the things I am most proud of.

Canada's corporate tax system is competitive. The opposition member ought to know that the tax rate for Canadian corporations is the second-lowest in the G7, and its overall business tax rate is the lowest.

We are doing everything we can to ensure that our tax system supports our vision of a fair and prosperous Canada.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
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CPC

Blake Richards

Conservative

Mr. Blake Richards

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the fact that nothing the member had to say answered anything that I asked, and it is kind of like question period all over again, he did a good job of reading the talking points that were given to him, so there is that.

The member mentioned as well about the food banks, and he mentioned my riding specifically. I can say that the food banks in my riding are experiencing higher demand than ever. Why is that? It is because of the actions of the current government. We are seeing huge unemployment in my province right now, and we are seeing it because the government has created a tax situation by raising taxes, despite what the Liberals claim, and creating such an uncertain regulatory environment for our primary natural resource industry that they are putting people out of work and out of business. Therefore, we are seeing huge demand for our food banks. The member should be checking that himself.

He also mentioned how people are so much better off. I can say that in my riding that is not what people are telling me at all. They are telling me the complete opposite as a result of the current government.

I would like to follow up on my last point from my first intervention, and that is that recommendation no. 31 from the 2017 pre-budget report of the Standing Committee on Finance recommended that the rules that target small businesses for being too small be changed. The recommendation reads, “That the Government of Canada recognize the income earned by campgrounds and storage facilities as “active business income” for the purpose of determining eligibility for the small business deduction.”

The government did not follow that rule, and the hon. member supported it. If they are successful in taxing campgrounds out of existence, what other small businesses are they going to go after next?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Joël Lightbound

Liberal

Mr. Joël Lightbound

Mr. Speaker, the member is saying that I am not answering the question. We are talking about the question he asked on February 22. I have that Hansard here. It does not talk about campgrounds. It talks about the CRA and the principal residence exemption, which I answered.

If he does not see the impact of the Canada child benefit in his riding, and he saw the impact of the previous government, which was definitely focused on the wealthiest 10% and 1%, maybe he is not talking about the same people as I am in my riding.

I am going to answer in French. Maybe that will help me get my point across. Anyone claiming a principal residence exemption must now file a designation with the Canada Revenue Agency. Other than tax measures affecting trusts, eligibility criteria for the exemption have not changed for individuals who are Canadian residents when they purchase their residence.

The Canada Revenue Agency applies a long-standing administrative practice of granting the principal residence exemption for a dwelling that includes a home office if certain criteria are met. The measures introduced last fall with respect to residences do not change this approach.

We will continue to implement the government's plan to maintain the integrity of Canada's tax system as part of its long-term plan to grow the economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class.

On that front, might I remind the House and this member that we have created 250,000 full-time jobs over the course of the last couple of months.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
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CPC

Mike Lake

Conservative

Hon. Mike Lake (Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here. I might welcome the folks who are watching this question on Facebook Live. We are on Facebook Live, because it is an opportunity for Canadians who follow my Facebook feed, many of whom live with autism themselves or in their families, to hear the answers we have been getting in question period. So far, we have asked 13 questions.

To give a bit of background on the Canadian autism partnership, in budget 2015, the Conservative government of the day funded $2 million for a working group to establish a Canadian autism partnership. That working group worked alongside self-advocates, an incredible advisory group of seven self-advocates. They worked with the autism community through CASDA, the Canadian ASD Alliance, and met with thousands of Canadians in every province and territory plus with provincial and territorial governments.

We had a vote on this. First, we had a budget ask of $19 million over five years, which was rejected in budget 2017. We subsequently had a vote in the House of Commons just last week on this issue. Every single Conservative member, every NDP member, and the Green Party voted yes to this, but every single Liberal member but one opposed the Canadian autism partnership.

The Liberals seem to have three talking points. I will address each of them in order.

One is the fact that the government is consulting and having a series of meetings on accessibility legislation. Accessibility legislation is a good thing, and we look forward to seeing what that is going to look like, but I think the NDP member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke said it best when, during debate, he said,

...we have heard yet another one of those speeches that talks about consulting people, thinking about it, working on it later, and finally coming to a conclusion sometime over the distant horizon.

The second thing the Liberals seem to bring up over and over again in their talking points is the fact that the government is investing in Ready Willing & Able, autism surveillance, and an autism research chair. It is important to note that all of those initiatives were put in place by the Conservative government. They really are a legacy of Jim Flaherty, the former finance minister, who was a champion for developmental disabilities throughout his entire term in office.

Third, the talking points seem to refer to the fact that the government has invested $39 million in autism research over the past five years. Again, that is something our Conservative government was very proud of. In fact, the Canadian autism partnership working group includes four of the world's top researchers in autism: Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, from the University of Alberta; Jonathan Weiss, from York University; Stelios Georgiadis, from McMaster; and Stephen Scherer from SickKids.

What those researchers want in terms of autism policy in this country is for their research to actually be used to benefit Canadians living with autism throughout their lifespan. This is something we have heard time and again. This is the demand from the autism community in Canada. They want to see something that is going to have a real impact on autism policy and early intervention, education, housing, and vocation, all the things that affect people with autism throughout their lifespan.

I hope the parliamentary secretary will not simply repeat the same talking points we have heard time and again and instead will explain to Canadians living with autism and their families why every single Liberal MP but one voted against the Canadian autism partnership.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Joël Lightbound

Liberal

Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, as on the other side of the House, we know that autism affects people from all walks of life and that it has a significant and lifelong impact on both those with autism and their families. To suggest that anyone on this side of the House is insensitive to the struggles faced by those affected by ASD or their families is simply not true.

I would like to work with the member opposite to find solutions and see how we can be helpful on this front. I would more than willing, and I know the minister would be as well, to work with the member to find solutions and move forward.

ASD is already an important part of the Government of Canada's commitment to supporting those with disabilities. The member has mentioned it, but I will reiterate the government's position.

The government is committed to eliminating systematic barriers and delivering opportunities to all Canadians living with disabilities through the development of the planned federal accessibility legislation under the leadership of the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. We have recently completed consultations with Canadians on this legislation, and it will be introduced in Parliament in late 2017 or early 2018.

We know the challenges that persons with disabilities often face in making the transition to the workplace. Through programs like the opportunities fund for persons with disabilities, administered by Employment and Social Development Canada, we are supporting initiatives that help those with disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, reach their full potential. Through this $40-million funding program, organizations are helping persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment.

In partnership with the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, CASDA, the government is investing $15 million in “Ready, Willing and Able”, RWA, an initiative that is connecting persons with developmental disabilities with jobs.

We are also providing the Sinneave Family Foundation and Autism Speaks Canada with $11.4 million for the community works program, which is creating employment opportunities for individuals with autism, by expanding vocational training programs across Canada.

We have also recently committed $1.3 million to Meticulon, a social enterprise which is helping individuals with ASD find gainful employment by harnessing their unique skills in software testing within the high-tech industry.

We are also committed to filling specific gaps in knowledge related to autism and are making significant investments in research and improving data that are building the foundational evidence base around this condition.

Through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, CIHR, the government has invested more than $39 million over the last five years to support autism research, in areas as diverse as understanding the genetics of ASD to the relationship of ASD to mental health problems and treatment.

For example, our government is supporting the Kids Brain Health Network, a trans-Canadian research network focusing on improving diagnosis, treatment, and support for families raising children with brain-based disabilities. This research network represents a federal investment of more than $39 million between 2009 and 2019. An additional $183 million in funding is supporting research in brain health and brain-based disabilities relevant to the ASD community through the brain health fund.

I want to reiterate that supporting families affected by autism requires collaboration across all levels of government and with autism organizations that are working to provide important services and raise awareness of disabilities like ASD.

We will continue to work toward that goal.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Mike Lake

Conservative

Hon. Mike Lake

Mr. Speaker, that highlights why Canadians have so little faith in the political system.

I like the parliamentary secretary. We get along. We have had conversations before. However, it is clear that he is reading a speech that was given to him by his leadership to explain, somehow, how the Liberals did not fund the Canadian autism partnership. Most of the names of the organizations and people that were named in that speech are part of the Canadian autism partnership working group, which has put forward this advice to government.

What is even more astonishing to me is that on World Autism Awareness Day this year, more than a dozen Liberal members of Parliament showed up on the steps of Parliament Hill for a photo op with families and individuals living with autism. Some even shared some words of support. However, on May 30, when it came time to actually stand and vote in favour of the Canadian autism partnership, all but one opposed it. I hope the parliamentary secretary, with his remaining minute, will try to at least attempt to offer Canadians some explanation of that vote.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Health
Permalink
LIB

Joël Lightbound

Liberal

Mr. Joël Lightbound

Mr. Speaker, I have explained most of the government's position and efforts when it comes to autism spectrum disorder. I can tell the member that I have the utmost respect for the work that stakeholders, clinicians, and the families of those living with ASD do, as well as the work the member does on this file. We will be looking at ways to improve research, data, and support for families of those affected with ASD. I will be more than willing to work with the member opposite to look at ways to do that in the future.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Health
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?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP)

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pursue a question that I asked in question period not that long ago, on Friday, June 2. I suppose it is now June 9, as it is a bit after midnight.

The context of my question to the Minister of Environment was that just the day before, the President of the United States had claimed he had exited the Paris agreement. In legal reality, which is the reality, the United States is still part of the Paris agreement and remains legally bound by its obligations. The earliest possible date on which Donald Trump can pull the U.S. out of Paris is November 4, 2020, which, ironically, is the day after the next U.S. presidential election. There is no question that the President of the United States intended to do maximum damage to the global effort.

My question for the minister was about what more Canada could do under the circumstances. I named some specific actions. One was to revisit our target, which is still too weak. It is 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. That is the target that was left behind by the previous Harper administration. It is inconsistent with the Paris goals. If we achieve that target by 2030, it is insufficient to fulfill our obligations under the Paris agreement. We need to do much more if we are serious about avoiding a 1.5° global average temperature increase.

The exciting thing that happened in the days since I asked the question, and I will return to the minister's answer, is that, if anything, Donald Trump has galvanized sub-national levels of government throughout the United States to commit to the Paris agreement. Ironically, his rhetorical flourish that he was elected by Pittsburgh and not Paris led to the mayor of Pittsburgh, Mayor Peduto, to say that Pittsburgh is committed to Paris and Donald Trump should not speak for Pittsburgh when he says he was elected by Pittsburgh. He was not elected by Pittsburgh and it wants the Paris agreement to go forward.

There are 211 mayors across the United States who have recommitted their city governments to reducing greenhouse gases, as have more than 30 states. Just yesterday, the state of Hawaii passed the first law in the United States specifically mentioning the Paris accord and saying that Hawaii and state officials are now legally bound to come up with a treaty with plans within the state of Hawaii to meet those targets.

The answer I received from the hon. Minister of Environment was excellent. She said, “If the U.S. administration is going to step back, we are going to step up.” However, the only specific concrete measure she suggested was that the House would debate the Paris agreement, which we have already done. She said we would vote on it, and we know how that went. It was 277 to one in support of the Paris agreement.

To meet our targets under the Paris agreement and to play a global role that could be called leadership, we need to do much more. Setting a price on carbon is merely a foundational piece. It will not achieve even the weak Harper target. We need eco-energy retrofit programs. We need to make sure that we encourage the transition to electric vehicles far more aggressively than we are doing. We cannot afford to postpone, as the government just did, our methane regulations. We need them right away. We need to do much more and faster on our infrastructure fund. Money that has been re-profiled for after the next election needs to be spent sooner.

In other words, what I am hoping to get to tonight in this debate is the clear understanding that the world is not abandoning Paris and Donald Trump is not going to destroy the Paris agreement, but without more action from governments that support it than what we have declared so far, we will not achieve our Paris targets. Canada needs to do much more than we are currently committed to doing.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

Joël Lightbound

Liberal

Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, with or without the government of the United States, the momentum around the Paris agreement and climate action is unstoppable. We in Canada look forward to working with many states and U.S. stakeholders, and with partners and communities around the world, to build these relationships while protecting the environment.

I am proud of the instrumental role we played in negotiating the Paris agreement. Today, we are steadfast in our determination to implement our commitments through our domestic efforts, which included the pan-Canadian framework, and through our global leadership, including through advancing the implementation of the agreement.

Canada's historic $2.65-billion commitment is our largest climate investment ever, and it shows our commitment to global action.

As a member of the High Ambition Coalition, we want to see more ambitious and accelerated climate action, not less. We want to move forward, not back. We want to build on the exceptional success of the Paris agreement and see the results, not bring the world back to discussions that took place years ago.

Canada will continue to play a leadership role when it comes to climate change. In September 2017, Canada will host and co-chair a ministerial meeting with China and the European Union to move forward on the implementation of the Paris agreement and encourage clean economic growth. In 2018, when Canada holds the G7 presidency, it will give priority to action on climate change and promoting clean economic growth.

Since forming government, we have worked hard here at home to develop pan-Canadian solutions with provinces and territories.

In the Vancouver declaration, the federal government and the provinces and territories agreed on two essential things. The first is to implement GHG mitigation policies in support of meeting or exceeding Canada's 2030 target of a 30% reduction below 2005 levels. The second is to increase the level of ambition of environmental policies over time in order to drive greater GHG emissions reductions, consistent with the Paris agreement.

In the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, our government, along with provinces and territories, put forward a comprehensive, detailed plan that shows how we will meet our emissions reductions target, a plan that the previous government always failed to deliver.

Our government made it clear from the start that it was taking a very different path from the one the Harper government infamously took, which consisted in setting targets without ever coming up with a plan to achieve them and taking no real action to fight climate change. This has made Canada's targets that much harder to achieve, but we are determined to do so.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   The Environment
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?

Elizabeth May

Green

Ms. Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the parliamentary secretary for health is here in the wee hours to debate this, but although measures under the current Liberal government are better than what we had under the previous nine years under Stephen Harper, they are not as good as what we had under the Right Hon. Prime Minister Paul Martin. It seems to me that if we could dust off the 2005 budget that was put forward at that time by the minister who is now the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, we would actually have more for climate. We would have eco-energy retrofit.

Although it was in the Liberal platform that we were getting rid of them, we still have fossil fuel subsidies. We now have seen the details on how the pan-Canadian framework will deal with the largest polluters in those jurisdictions that do not have their own carbon price. They are getting all kinds of loopholes. We are letting Nova Scotia get away with still burning coal, and it has weaker commitments under the pan-Canadian framework than it had before.

We have to do much better. While I applaud the government for being more on the right track than the last one, I cannot in all conscience let it off the hook when my children's and grandchildren's future is at stake.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

Joël Lightbound

Liberal

Mr. Joël Lightbound

Mr. Speaker, there is a world of difference between the previous government and our government, not only when it comes to rhetoric, but also when it comes to action.

I want to remind the House and the hon. member of some of the measures we have taken to fight climate change. Canada is doing its part and is a leader on climate change.

We are pricing carbon pollution right across Canada, accelerating the phasing-out of our traditional and highly polluting coal-fired power plants, developing a clean fuels standard to stimulate greater use of biofuels, investing in public transit and electric vehicle infrastructure, putting in place strong regulations on methane emissions, and taking action on short-lived climate pollutants, including HFCs. We have introduced a lot of measures.

I think what really sets us apart is that we allocated the necessary resources to see our plans through and that our goal is not to constantly pit economic growth against the environment, but to ensure that they continue to go hand in hand.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   The Environment
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Deputy 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 12:30 a.m.)

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   The Environment
Permalink
LIB
?

Luc Thériault

Bloc

Mr. Luc Thériault (Montcalm, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, today we begin our last day of debate on Bill C-44, and all we have left is two hours and fifteen minutes.

We will not have an opportunity to speak at third reading because we are 34th in line at the eleventh hour of debate. I therefore submit to you that my parliamentary privilege has been violated. What had not yet happened three days ago is happening now. Time allocation is preventing a political party from speaking on a bill.

I would like to remind you that, last month, I raised a question of privilege about the government's plan to use more closure motions, thereby preventing members of non-recognized parties from participating in debate, stifling diversity of opinion, and basically bypassing the views and interests Bloc Québécois voters in what looks an awful lot like democracy denied.

In your ruling of June 6, 2017, you recognized that my concerns were legitimate:

The privilege of freedom of speech is undoubtedly the most important right accorded to members of this House.

However, you refused to fully endorse my arguments:

As the member's claims are more speculative in nature at this point, it would be premature and presumptive for the Chair to rule based on assumptions of what might transpire.

Well, now we are no longer speculating. Things that had not yet transpired three days ago are happening today. The Bloc Québécois will not be able to speak to Bill C-44, the budget implementation bill, the most important bill of the parliamentary session. However, the Bloc Québécois is the only party that caught one worrisome aspect of the bill.

By giving the infrastructure bank the status of agent of the crown, even on projects that are entirely private, Bill C-44 puts the financial sector above Quebec's laws. With the infrastructure bank, after an order of the government, agricultural zoning, environmental protections, and municipal bylaws will no longer apply. This raises serious constitutional issues.

For a private construction project to be exempt from Quebec law, an old colonial-inspired power must be invoked, namely, declaratory power, but that needs to be done by Parliament on a project-by-project basis. Bill C-44 therefore invokes the government's power over public property to federalize the bank's projects. However, we are not talking about public property. We are talking about private investors. Bill C-44 may be unconstitutional. The Quebec National Assembly is unanimously opposed to this bill and the Government of Quebec is prepared to challenge it in court.

I know what you are thinking, Mr. Speaker. You are thinking that I am raising a point of debate. You are partly right. This issue definitely deserves to be debated, but that debate will never happen because the Bloc Québécois, the only party to raise this issue, would not be able to participate because of the discriminatory rules of the House.

In your June 6 ruling, you said that you cannot go against the will of the House. I find that unfortunate, but I understand. That being said, it is not time allocation motions alone that exclude the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party from debate. It is time allocation motions and the fact that we are relegated to 34th place in the speaking order.

Mr. Speaker, the hypothetical question that was asked three days ago has become a reality today. I am asking you to find that my parliamentary privileges have been violated. I am asking you to review the speaking order for debates in the House to ensure that all points of view can be heard, despite the repeated gag orders. That is the basis of our democracy. I am asking that all parties, recognized or not, be able to speak in the House in the first round of speeches.


Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Rights of Non-Recognized Parties
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LIB

Geoff Regan

Liberal

The Speaker

®I thank the hon. member for Montcalm for his question of privilege. I note that he took the opportunity to include some aspects of the arguments concerning the bill being debated today. He cited a portion of my June 6 ruling, but I invite him to reread the ruling in its entirety. In it, I indicated the following:

The privilege of freedom of speech is undoubtedly the most important right accorded to members of this House. At the same time, there is an important distinction to be made between the right to freedom of speech and the right to participate in the proceedings of the House and its committees. Asked to rule on the right of members to make statements in the House pursuant to Standing Order 31, my predecessor stated on April 23, 2013, at page 15800 of Debates:

“...there are inherent limits to the privilege of freedom of speech. Aside from the well-known prohibitions on unparliamentary language, the need to refer to other members by title, the rules on repetition and relevance, the sub judice constraints and other limitations designed to ensure that discourse is conducted in a civil and courteous manner, the biggest limitation of all is the availability of time.”

I thank hon. members for their attention.


Subtopic:   Privilege
Sub-subtopic:   Rights of Non-Recognized Parties
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LIB

Carla Qualtrough

Liberal

Hon. Carla Qualtrough

moved that Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, be read the third time and passed.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1
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June 9, 2017