HANSARD: Under What Circumstance is it Justifiable to Obstruct Parliament?

House of Commons Hansard #247 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session.
Bill C-34—Time Allocation Motion
National Security Review of Investments Modernization Act
Government Orders
November 6th, 2023 / 12:15 p.m.

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am entering this debate because I have seen the Conservatives over and over again think of different tactics to delay progress on virtually anything in this House. They will bring forward successive concurrence debates to delay progress of other matters in this House, even though those debates are being actively dealt with at committee. Therefore, here we are.

What I am hearing from the minister is that on this issue, the very questions the Conservatives are raising have been discussed extensively at committee, yet they are still in this House trying to block passage of the bill. Under what circumstance is it justifiable for all of us as parliamentarians to be in this House to obstruct the work that needs to be done on behalf of Canadians?

François-Philippe Champagne Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a very good question. The obstruction tactics that we see from the Conservatives are hurting Canadians. I like the way the colleague put it. There have been two concurrence motions for when we brought this bill forward. For folks at home who are at watching and wondering what a concurrence motion is, it is a delay tactic, which is what is happening.

There were over 20 hours of debate in the House, 11 meetings at the INDU committee, with over 20 hours debate at the committee, and 44 witnesses. On the basis of that, everyone agreed, and we all voted for the amendments. Everyone agreed. We are at a time when Canadians are scratching their heads, and I understand my colleague because I am scratching my head too, thinking that, if everyone agrees, why do we not do the right thing.

We asked the opposition to stop obstructing when it comes to national security. I have heard colleagues ask, “Why do you not act at the speed of business?” I will turn the question around: Why do my colleagues not act at the speed of the business? People are watching. Businesses are asking, “What? You don't want to vote on something you agree upon? What kind of democracy is that?”

In a democracy, we need to debate, but there is a point when we need to act, and the time to act is right now.


Latest posts

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.

Are you ready to take action?

Constituent Resources
Mobile Offices
Contact Jenny

Sign up for updates