Supporting Local Democracy


Wednesday, January 30th, 2019
Adjournment Proceedings

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Conservative):  

Madam Speaker, I begin my comments by thanking the councils and municipalities in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke that contacted me to directly question the federal government’s mismanagement of labour relations at Canada Post.

During question period, I asked the minister responsible for Canada Post a very important, clear and direct question regarding the democratic process in Canada. My question related to the municipal mail-in ballot many rural municipalities held in their communities for municipal elections.

In an all-too-familiar pattern that starts with the Prime Minister, the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North chose to insult Canadians, living in rural municipalities and using mail-in ballots, who were expressing their concern through me when I asked my question. In classic Liberal non-sequitur, the government spokesperson on this issue made a confused reference to the collective bargaining process.

The question from Canadian rural municipalities was whether the federal government would use taxpayer-owned resources to ensure the democratic process in municipalities was not disrupted by the federal government’s inability to manage the collective bargaining process with postal workers. This is not the first time the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North has insulted Canadians in her role as a Liberal cabinet minister.

Many organizations, secular and religious, in my riding and across Canada were outraged when the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North put extreme ideology ahead of common sense by requiring Canada summer job applicants to sign an attestation requiring Canada summer job program applicants to hold the same views as the political party in power. Ironically, the minister was trying to hide behind the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when most reasonable Canadians held the view that making organizations, particularly faith-based organizations, sign such an undertaking to qualify for government funding actually contravened the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The mere fact that the Prime Minister and the Liberal government would force large segments of the Canadian population to be purged from applying to a federal program because they refused to violate their right to freedom of religion, conscience and expression, which includes not being coerced into something they are fundamentally opposed to, neatly sums up why the government must be defeated. That position is an affront to democracy.

By insisting that applicants for student summer job grants sign an attestation in support of abortion, the divisive election campaign the Prime Minister is so eager to engage in, if Gerald Butts’ tweets are any indication, has already started. In what reasonable Canadians hope was a major backdown, Canadians will not know if that obnoxious requirement was actually changed until they see the list of successful applicants for the 2019 Canada summer jobs season.

Question period is the only time Canada’s official opposition has the regular opportunity to serve our necessary role in the democratic process to make the Government of Canada accountable to Canadians. When the Prime Minister or a representative of his party choses to avoid accountability, the insult is to all Canadians.

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant Conservative:  

Madam Speaker, I take my role to encourage openness and transparency in the Canadian democratic process very seriously. ln fact, as a consequence of my concern about openness and transparency in the democratic decision-making process, I am proud to confirm that tomorrow, during Private Members’ Business, the House will be discussing my private member’s bill, Bill C-278, an act to amend the Lobbying Act, for greater transparency and reporting on foreign income for lobbyists.

I encourage Canadians watching this debate to tune in tomorrow while Bill C-278 is being debated. I invite the government’s representative to take this opportunity right now to apologize to all Canadians, with a promise to do a better job answering their questions and concerns when a member of the official opposition asks a question on their behalf.


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