Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings
Mr. Speaker, first let me say that it is always a pleasure to rise in this august chamber on behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. I wish it was under different circumstances.To all of the parties that supported the creation of the Canada-China special committee, I thank them. It has opened a door into a world that we often have failed to see. There are a number of things the Communist Chinese government has for its own goals. I am reminded of a phrase that I heard recently: We do not understand a system until it has been exploited. Many systems within this great country have been undermined in many cases by the Communist Chinese government, whether through cyber-espionage or in other fashions. There has also been the unlawful detainment of our citizens in a process that could only be explained as lawful by a dictatorship.I am particularly concerned that as we point a finger at these authoritarian countries, we should always be aware of how we run our own ship of state here at home. I am going to speak briefly about the importance of responsible government.When we talk about the rule of law, it is important that as a rule-of-law country we support it, but responsible government actually predates Canada as a Confederation. In responsible government the executive, fused in the legislative body of the people, must ultimately carry the support of the members of the chamber. When this chamber passed a motion in response to the Public Health Agency of Canada denying information that was requested and passed by the Canada-China relations committee, it violated an order of that committee given a particular purview of the House.The members of that committee, even Liberal members, asked for some accountability from the Public Health Agency and from the minister responsible, and they received none. They brought those concerns to this chamber and, after multiple efforts to bring that agency into alignment, a motion was passed in this chamber requiring a public servant to come to the bar, as we well know, to be admonished.In my mind, there is still the troubling matter of the other half of the order, which was to have those documents submitted to the House. As I rose earlier today, I indicated my displeasure with the government going to the Federal Court. If we are to have responsible government in this country, the government, which is fused at the hip to Parliament and to this House, must recognize that when a lawful order is given, requiring it cannot be circumvented. It cannot be misaligned, and it cannot be diverted away by appealing to another court of law. Parliament, in its own matters, remains supreme.I am sure there will be many arguments made by the government saying all sorts of things, whether in the public space, in Federal Court or in the House, but let me remind the government that responsible government requires it to be subject to something greater than its own authority. It is not the authority outside this chamber that it should ultimately recognize, but the authority granted by the Canadian people to the House. I hope the Speaker will protect those things. I know he said he would and he will do it with due diligence, but I have to again publicly admonish the government for its approach to treating this chamber, the voice of the people, with such contempt.I know there are many things on the minds of many of us as we start to think of the summer and have heard rumours of an election. We need to preserve the underpinnings of our great system, responsible government and the rule of law. We need to always stand up for those things, and we should always bear in mind that we must first emulate those principles. (1720)Last, I would also encourage the Prime Minister to listen to the Leader of the Opposition when he asks questions about ethical government. Those are things that the government would be well served to consider more often.In conclusion and while I am on my feet, I move:That the House do now adjourn.
Latest posts