Derek Vincent LEE

LEE, Derek Vincent, B.A., LL.B.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Scarborough--Rouge River (Ontario)
Birth Date
October 2, 1948
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Lee_(politician)
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=343f8a28-17d8-4230-9774-2805e41a7395&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
LIB
  Scarborough--Rouge River (Ontario)
October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Scarborough--Rouge River (Ontario)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Scarborough--Rouge River (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (September 1, 1999 - September 12, 2001)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Scarborough--Rouge River (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (September 1, 1999 - September 12, 2001)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
LIB
  Scarborough--Rouge River (Ontario)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
LIB
  Scarborough--Rouge River (Ontario)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
LIB
  Scarborough--Rouge River (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 384)


January 31, 2011

Mr. Derek Lee

With regard to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie, what are the exact, line-by-line details of all travel and hospitality expenses incurred by the Minister and all exempt staff since January 1, 2009?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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December 15, 2010

Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I want to make two brief contributions to this intervention, but before I do that I want to say that, at least from my perspective and I think the perspective of my friend from Parkdale—High Park, this intervention is being made not as government versus opposition versus government. It is actually referenced and focused on Parliament as an institution.

Some day, the men and women on that side of the House may be on this side of the House, and there is a distinction. The men and women on that side of the House are in government. My two remarks are focused on this.

Just as an individual member does not have, cannot have and should not be permitted to have a licence to malign another member under our rules, and everyone here understands that, should that occur in proceedings, which sometimes happens intentionally or inadvertently, the member who is purportedly maligned is able to get up and set the record straight and, hopefully, if a mistake was made, an apology occurs, et cetera.

However, in this case, I want you, Mr. Speaker, to take note that the question of privilege raised here is with reference to the government, not to a member, using its position in question period as a forum to allegedly malign or misinform.

Question period is intended to be an opportunity for the opposition parties or individual members to ask questions of the government. It is not to debate but to ask questions, to actually impose a procedural accountability. Recently, however, there have been many instances, and I will refer to one that happened two or three weeks ago, where, in question period, one of the ministers rose and responded to a question and referred directly to an individual member of the Bloc Québécois. I am not sure I even recall all of the elements of it but it was intended specifically to malign, in some way, a member of that political party in a way that had either zero relevance to the question raised or only marginal or indirect relevance. I thought that was grossly unfair and it happened on more than one occasion.

The one big point I am making is that, just as an individual member cannot be allowed to use freedom of speech in this House to malign, so cannot the government be allowed to use its position in question period to do the same types of things. If it can do that, if it is a free-for-all at question period, if the answers to questions can be totally irrelevant and, at the same time, malign another member, that is the same thing as saying that it is okay for the Crown to undermine a function of Parliament. It is a free-for-all for the government to go right ahead and undermine every member of the opposition it possibly can because that will fulfill its political objective. We cannot let the government do that.

Mr. Speaker, you and the other speakers will say, “If the House does not have confidence in the government, defeat it. We will have an election”. That might be possible today in this Parliament, but what if a government has a majority? Most of the time in this country, our government has had a majority in the House and the opposition members cannot defeat the government. Therefore, if this problem that we are trying to outline here continues to exist and maybe even grow, we will have a situation where the government, the Crown, in majority, has built itself the right in this House to undermine, to malign and actually disrupt and obstruct members of the opposition in doing their job of scrutinizing the government.

Sometimes men and women on this side of the House ask some very tough questions that are worded in some very sharp and pointed ways that offend the government. It is not personal, it is essentially opposition parties doing their job. However, to allow the government to do the same thing and undermine individuals can only end in undermining the functions of the House.

The complaint is on a member who says, “I have been maligned and I think I am being institutionally maligned by a government that has taken on as part of its function the business of gathering information, which, if stated in a certain way in question period or whenever the heck government members get the floor, can only result in the maligning and intimidation of a member of the opposition”. There is the implied threat that if the member gets up, the member will be attacked by one of the government's attack dogs and the entire federal government is working on this as part of its agenda. That is something that Parliament cannot allow. If it goes macro and becomes institutionalized in this place, our effectiveness as a Parliament on behalf of Canadians will be undermined.

I do not know exactly how you, Mr. Speaker, are going to be able to deal with this because it is perhaps a novel point. The question of members maligning other members intentionally or inadvertently arises from time to time and we can all collectively apologize and go to confession for that. However, when the government starts to do it, it is a new ball game and a different type of issue.

Topic:   Royal Assent
Subtopic:   Privilege
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December 15, 2010

Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, on the matter of the alleged breach of privilege, I want to focus on one important but fortunately narrow point.

In her statements and remarks to Parliament about this particular issue, the Minister of International Cooperation led parliamentarians to believe that the KAIROS application was turned down on a particular basis. Whether it was her remarks in the House or her remarks at committee, which are part of the parliamentary record, her remarks led parliamentarians to believe that the KAIROS application did not fit with the criteria used by the government. When I say “government”, I refer to CIDA. I am not talking about the cabinet table. I am talking about the rest of government.

That had the effect of making the applicant, KAIROS, and it should have had the same effect on everyone else in this House and at the committee, believe that the KAIROS application was somehow deficient, that the denial of the application was administratively proper.

As things turn out, the parliamentary record now appears to show that there was not anything out of order in relation to the application at CIDA, that there was full compliance, and CIDA recommended approval. This has been confirmed, at least in part if not in totality, by the member who was the parliamentary secretary at the time this issue first arose

Members on the fact scenario here have been misled, and whether it was intentional or not, I do not know. However, this has misled members and undermined Parliament. It has actually caused Parliament to spend a whole lot of extra time on this because the question has come up time and time again. It is an issue for many people across the country.

We were allegedly so misled on this that we did not really understand that it was not anything about KAIROS, or about the process, it was simply the minister or ministers at the cabinet table who made a decision. And the decision may be politically arbitrary. I do not know, they are entitled to make those decisions in government, but an undocumented, arbitrary decision was the reason KAIROS did not get funding.

We could not have known that here because the minister, either here and/or at committee, told us all that the application just did not meet the criteria that existed at CIDA. That scenario of misinforming us, of misleading us, has caused us to spend a whole lot of time.

I want to make sure that you, Madam Speaker, and the speaker corps had a really good focus on this because I think the House has been misled. I think we have a smoking gun. It may or may not be a hanging offence, and we are not alleging that it is, but we are saying that it is a matter of privilege because the process and the words that caused us to be misled have not been properly addressed.

I am very hopeful that the minister will speak to the House about this and I am waiting to hear what she has to say.

Topic:   Royal Assent
Subtopic:   Privilege
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December 14, 2010

Mr. Derek Lee

Mr. Speaker, the answer to the last question is that this bill is related to franchises. A fraud is a fraud is a fraud. The problem is getting in on a franchise scenario after the thing goes bad, getting the evidence of the deceit, of the fraud.

The biggest reason why I think we do not have provincial legislation governing franchises is the big boys. We all know who the big boys are: huge multi-billion dollar enterprises that properly use franchises in food service, restaurants, retailing, doughnuts. I will not mention any names. The big boys say please do not over-regulate this business area, because it would clog the thing and give rise to all kinds of problems and it would be worse off after the governments legislate. The provinces have said that they would leave it there. The problem is that the little guy is getting hurt and defrauded from time to time.

The federal government would have difficulty legislating in relation to franchises, because I think it is pretty much accepted to be a provincial jurisdiction, but in the meantime, there are smaller investors who are getting hurt. It is really sad when we see it. Then we look back with 20:20 hindsight and ask how they could be so dumb to leave $100,000 with this guy when they never got to see what their real estate location looked like. They might say that it was their brother-in-law or somebody who knew somebody else and they came from their home town. It is really sad, and there is an incapacity of government on a public policy basis to provide solutions to that. It is an unresolved issue, as my friend points out.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Standing up for Victims of White Collar Crime Act
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December 14, 2010

Mr. Derek Lee

Mr. Speaker, that is a very legitimate question. Certainly the Canada Revenue Agency can go back a few years, but some of these frauds take place over five and ten years and individuals will have paid tax on income from investments that, in some way, were fake. In other words, the income they were told they had never came.

However, being told they did have income, they were good people and they paid income tax on it. Certainly limited adjustment of tax paid going back some years is possible, but individuals have to be able to convince the CRA that the income they thought they had was fake.

These people are unfortunate. In the case referred to by my friend, there actually was an ongoing enterprise. There actually was money moving around, and therefore it is very difficult to dissociate the income that they were advised of from the enterprise that produced the income. A proportion of the income they were told they had was fake, maybe all of it, but because they cannot get at the records, it is very difficult.

My friend also asked about mandatory restitution. I do not believe that helps at all. If there are viable assets or the hope of assets, then a restitution order is an appropriate public policy disposition.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Standing up for Victims of White Collar Crime Act
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