HANSARD: Jenny questions the accountability of the Prime Minister

House of Commons Debate
Preserving Provincial Representation in the House of Commons Act
Government Orders
May 16th, 2022 / 8:30 p.m.


Jenny Kwan (NDP) Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, the cornerstone of our democracy rests in people's ability to vote. We have heard from constituents over and over again. In particular, in my riding of Vancouver East, my constituents have consistently told me that they want to see a democratic system where every vote counts.

Prior to the 2015 election, the Prime Minister promised Canadians that would be the last first-past-the-post election that we would have. Of course, when the Liberals formed government, that was all but forgotten, even though the House had engaged in extensive work with regard to proportional representation.

I would like to ask the member for her thoughts about that. When the Prime Minister reneges on a promise like that, is the Prime Minister telling Canadians that they cannot trust what he promises? What damage does that do to our democratic system?


Rachel Blaney (NDP) North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, that is an important question. My response is it does break down those opportunities for connection with leadership. People want promises to be followed through on. It was most disheartening for me because of the amount of work that the committee did. It was a significant report.

I really hope that all Canadians take an opportunity to at least read the recommendations. The report talked about the next steps that need to be taken. The minister of the day treated it as if it was too complex and that it did not do what it said it did, which I completely disagree with. These are important things.

We have to follow through on our commitments. We have to let Canadians have a voice in that process. A promise was made, but the promise was not kept. Even the process of how that was laid out was absolutely flawed. It does breed cynicism, which can make all of our jobs much more difficult.

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HANSARD: Foreign Interference and Alleged Reputational Harm to Members of Parliament

Outside this chamber, just yesterday, there were individuals shouting, questioning and jeering about who the traitors may be. Members of Parliament had to walk past these individuals on the members' way to the House to do their work. I believe we must find a way to disclose which MPs are knowingly, intentionally, wittingly or semi-wittingly engaging with foreign states or their proxies to undermine Canada's democratic processes and institutions. I believe this can be done in a way that does not compromise national security.

If there are no consequences for MPs who knowingly help foreign governments act against Canadian interests, we will continue to be an easy target. This will further erode the trust and faith Canadians have in our democratic processes. If allowed to continue, it will further impugn the integrity of the House. Revealing any member of Parliament, former or present, who is a willing participant in foreign interference activities would have the effect of deterring this kind of behaviour. Moreover, it would send a clear message to those foreign states that this cannot continue and that they will not be able to continue to use parliamentarians in this way. This will further reassure the public of the integrity of the House.

I strongly believe that the House should refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee. A possible way to deal with the issue would be for committee members to undergo the necessary security screening to examine the unredacted report and look into the allegations about parliamentarians who were “‘witting or semi-witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.” We could allow the named parliamentarians to be informed and to come before the committee as witnesses; we could then explore options on how to disclose the named parliamentarians without compromising national security or police investigations of the matter.

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