During Question Period today, the government was asked about topics including ethics and accountability in relation to the government dealings with WE Charity, EI sickness benefits, and COVID-19 vaccine development, among others.
Ethics and Accountability; WE Charity
- (Conservative) observations that June 10 was the last time the House of Commons sat to debate legislation that will continue to be debated today; assertions that since then, the WE controversy has engulfed the government and the PM; assertions that the PM awarded a $900 million sole-source contract to an organization that paid members of his family hundreds of thousands of dollars; questions regarding why the PM was not present in the House today; assertions that new details about WE Charity continue to emerge; observations that charity watchdog Charity Intelligence Canada stated that it had serious concerns about WE Charity over the weekend, including financial statements and resignations from the board of directors; questions regarding whether the PM or Cabinet were aware of those concerns when the contract was awarded to WE Charity; observations that WE Charity receives money from the taxpayer as a charity, but the ME to WE for-profit corporation charges the charity for services; assertions that both WE Charity and the ME to WE for-profit are buying tens of millions of dollars worth of prime Toronto real estate while giving a platform and endorsements to the politicians who approve the grants; calls for the PM to appear before committee to testify on the topic; assertions that it is unusual that the public service would have come up with the idea to award the Canada Student Service Grant contract to WE Charity on its own; observations that the Charity Intelligence watchdog has said that WE had no experience delivering such a program; observations that the government has said that the public service recommended WE to deliver the program, yet WE sent a proposal to manage the program to senior public servant Rachel Wernick on the same day the PM announced the program; questions regarding who in the PMO prepped WE for the announcement; assertions that during the most recent meeting of the ethics committee, Liberal members filibustered and ran out the clock so that questions could not be answered; observations that in 2018 Charity Intelligence said that in 2018 the auditor flagged that WE Charity was in break of its bank covenants, a major red flag; assertions that either the government was aware of these concerns and approved the decision, ot were incompetent; criticisms of the government’s commitment to transparency and openness; observations that the finance minister has close family with financial ties to the WE organization; references to the minister not recusing himself from discussions or the decision to award a $43 million deal to the WE organization; references to suggestions that the government did due diligence before granting this $912 million contribution agreement; questions as to whether this due diligence demonstrated that WE Charity had accumulated $40 million of real estate; calls for every minister to answer questions on whether they have any connections to WE; calls for Minister Chagger to state whether she was aware of the PM’s conflict of interest with regard to WE Charity; suggestions that there is a new scandal every day; assertions the PM has already broken ethics laws twice and is now under another conflict of interest investigation; recollections that the government paid over $1 million to WE Charity for a 2017 event on parliament hill featuring the PM’s mother; questions as to whether she was paid for this appearance.
EI Benefits; Sickness Coverage
- (Bloc Québécois) observations that the PM promised to implement an increase of EI benefits to 50 weeks for individuals who are suffering from serious illnesses; questions regarding when the government intends to act on this.
Ethics and Accountability; WE Charity
- (New Democrat) assertions that the WE Charity controversy is another example of the government helping their close friends over ordinary Canadians; assertions that the government should use existing programs to help students; calls for the government to admit that it prioritized close friends over students; observations that people with disabilities and others who needed help were told to wait, but when friends of the government needed help they were quickly offered an almost-$100 billion bailout; assertions that students are having to wait to get paid for the work they have done in good faith in their communities; observations that students’ futures are at stake; calls for the government to put the interests of students ahead of those of their friends; accusations that the government is refusing to take responsibility for a disturbing pattern of self dealing that now sees the PM and Minister of Finance under ethics investigations; assertions that the Liberals do not think the rules apply to them; calls for the PM to take responsibility, waive Cabinet confidence on the matter, appear before the ethics committee in person, and fully cooperate with the ethics commissioner in his investigation; observations that this is the third time the PM is under investigation by the ethics commissioner; assertions the government went around the public service to award a nearly $1 billion contract to an organization the PM is extremely close to; questions as to whether young people and students are paying the price for the government being unable to resist giving presents to their friends.
Ethics and Accountability; WE Charity
- (Bloc Québécois) references to the government creating a $912 mil program without going to tender; reports that the government concluded that program could only be operated by people who hire the Trudeau family; questions as to how the government came to the conclusion that WE Charity was the only one who could administer the program; suggestions that the government should be working for the common good and public interest during a pandemic; assertions the PM is working for his family and friends and gave $40 million in taxpayer money to an organization that hires his family; calls for the PM to step away from his position until the ethics commissioner’s inquiry is finished; recollections that the PM did not recuse himself before the decision was made; questions as to why the PM remained silent when his mother and brother were paid by WE Charity; suggestions that the PM’s decision was ethically indefensible; references to the Aga Khan’s Island, SNC Lavalin, WE Charity, and other friends of the governing party; assertions that ethical scandals are not social distancing from the PM; assertions that the House is not sitting, the government is not being transparent, and the PM has shown he cannot be trusted; questions as to whether the PM will give up his position to the Deputy PM.
COVID-19; Vaccine Development
- (Liberal) observations that Canadians are wondering when life will return to normal; assertions that families have made changes to their lives to keep themselves and their communities safe; observations that Medicago was recently approved by Health Canada to commence clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine; requests for an update on the status of that research.
Taxation; Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
- (Conservative) assertions that the CMHC paid $250,000 to a group that labels homeowners as lottery winners to see how they could be taxed more; assertions that the minister said that a capital gains tax was not being considered, but before the previous election a document entitled Ontario Caucus Priorities for 2019 Platform contained such tax options which were being considered by the current parliamentary secretary to the same minister; calls for the government to commit to no new tax hikes on the principal residences of homeowners; assertions that the CMHC has spent a great deal of money to find out how the government could tax homeowners further; calls for an end to this practice, and for a commitment not to increase taxes on homeowners by increasing taxes on primary residences.
Support for Agriculture Producers; Compensation for Trade Agreements
- (Conservative) observations that poultry and egg producers in Canada are at the end of their rope; observations that the government promised to support them to offset losses caused by the Trans Pacific Partnership, but that compensation has still not been given; observations that producers are now facing further losses but are still waiting for help; calls for the agriculture minister to give a date when the assistance will be given.
Veterans’ Affairs; Veterans’ Benefits
- (Conservative) recollections that on June 15 the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs said that he was unaware of the practice of red flagging veterans’ files; observations that on June 2 he signed a letter thanking veteran Shane Jones for his email that had been forwarded to the minister from the PMO; observations that those email contained ATIP information that confirmed issues that veteran was dealing with regarding Veterans Affairs Canada; questions regarding whether the minister was aware of the practice of red flagging veterans’ files.
Canada-China Relations; Procurement Practices
- (Conservative) assertions the government has blinders on China; suggestions the government remains silent while China is attacking Uyghur Muslims, that Canada is the only one of the Five Eyes that has not banned Huawei, and that the government is now awarding a Chinese government owned firm a $6.8 million contract to provide security equipment to embassies; calls for the PM to stop pandering and stand up to China; suggestions Canadians are concerned by the government’s unwillingness to keep them safe from foreign threats; reports the government plans to use technology from a Chinese state owned company to secure embassies; assertions Nuctech Company works with entities under US sanctions and is providing equipment being used in the Uyghur genocide; calls for the government to commit to saying no to Nuctech Company.
Canada-China Relations; Immigration and Refugee Policies
- (Conservative) recollections that government ministers have said that all Canadian citizens in Hong Kong are welcome home now amid repressive security laws; suggestions the government is mute on broader issues for those Hongkongers who might seek sanctuary in Canada; questions as to whether there is a plan for an expected surge in asylum seekers.
Support for Youth; Entrepreneurship
- (Liberal) suggestions the government has worked hard to give tools to young entrepreneurs over the last few weeks; requests for an update on the department’s investment to increase business opportunities and create jobs for youth throughout Quebec.
Support for the Tourism Sector; Guiding and Outfitting
- (Conservative) observations that the guiding and outfitting sector is vital to rural and remote communities, is worth over $5.5 billion annually, supports 37,000 jobs nationally, and typically welcomes over 300,000 fishing and hunting clients; suggestions that the entire season has been lost and many are struggling to stay afloat while wage subsidies and loans are not helping; questions regarding what the government is doing to ensure fishing and hunting guides and outfitters survive.
Support for the Energy Sector; Direct Financial Support
- (Conservative) assertions the energy sector was devastated by the government long before COVID-19; suggestions the sector has been waiting 118 days to get the help they need despite the finance minister saying help was just hours or days away; questions as to how the PM plans to come up with tax dollars without the energy sector.
Infrastructure Investments; Economic Recovery
- (Liberal) reports that the Investing in Canada plan is a $180 billion program to upgrade infrastructure across the country; suggestions this economic stimulus is required during the post-pandemic recovery; requests for comment on the progress made in putting this plan into action.
Mentioned During Question Period
WE Charity, ME to WE, Charity Intelligence Canada, Medicago, SNC Lavalin, Huawei, Nuctech Company.