CANADIAN POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS
Justin Trudeau sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister
Source: CBC News, 11-4-15
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is sworn in November 4, 2015
Source: CBC News, 11-4-15
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 4, 2015
Source: macleans.ca, 10-19-15
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair speaks to supporters, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015 in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/CP)
A full transcript of NDP leader Tom Mulcair’s election night concession speech to supporters at the Palais des congrès in Montreal, Quebec:
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Merci. Merci beaucoup. Merci. Merci beaucoup. Mes amis, mes amis, depuis le début, cette élection porte sur le changement, et ce soir, les Canadiens ont tourné la page sur 10 longues années et ils ont rejeté la politique de la peur et de la division.
Et les Canadiens ont demandé au NPD de continuer d’être porteur de l’espoir et de l’optimisme qui caractérise notre parti.
Tonight, my thoughts are with the extraordinary people I’ve met across this country, the people who are counting on us as New Democrats: the First Nations women I met in Saskatoon who knew we could be relied on to call a national inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women and to lead the way to eliminate violence against women; the former auto worker I met in Essex who had lost his good-paying manufacturing job and was worried for the future of his kids; the grandmother I met in a seniors’ home in Brossard who held out so much hope for the next era of Medicare. I want you to know that we will work for you each and every day in this new majority Parliament.
Il est évident qu’il existe des différences majeures entre nos partis respectifs. Au cours des 78 derniers jours, l’accent a été mis sur ces différences pour permettre aux Canadiens de faire un choix, et aujourd’hui, les Canadiens ont fait ce choix et nous l’acceptons en toute humilité.
Moments ago, I spoke with Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Harper, Mr. Duceppe and Ms. May. Despite our many differences on policy and on the way politics should be conducted, I thanked Mr. Harper for his service to our country. I congratulated Mr. Trudeau on his exceptional achievement for both him and his party. In this campaign, Mr. Trudeau made ambitious commitments to Canadians, and Canadians will have high expectations for their next Parliament.
Justin Trudeau: ‘We beat fear with hope’
Stephen Harper: ‘It has been an unbelievable honour’
Elizabeth May: ‘I have a smile on my face’
Gilles Duceppe: ‘Le Québec que j’aime, c’est vous.’
Les députés néo-démocrates vont se mettre au service des Canadiens en travaillant avec les autres parlementaires pour bâtir l’avenir que nous souhaitons tous pour nos enfants et nos petits-enfants. C’est ce à quoi les gens s’attendent de nous. Nous allons nous tenir debout pour vos communautés. Nous allons nous battre pour vos emplois, pour vos familles. Nous allons lutter pour protéger l’environnement.
We will be unwavering in our pursuit of better health care for Canadians. We will stand strong in our fight against climate change and to protect our land, air and water. And we will be resolute in our efforts to build a true nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. It’s on these priorities and on many more that New Democrats will make real and lasting progress in this new Parliament. With this election, Canadians have asked us all to work for them. We will not let them down.
Je veux remercier, d’abord, les électeurs d’Outremont d’avoir renouvelé leur confiance en moi aujourd’hui. Et je veux remercier tous les candidats et les candidates qui ont fait campagne avec courage sous la bannière du NPD. Je ne pourrais être plus fier du travail accompli.
I could not be more proud of the diversity and strength of our NDP team, as Rebecca minded us, and that the work you have accomplished to build our party will carry us for years to come.
We ran in this election with the most women and the most indigenous candidates, not just in the history of our party, but in the history of Canada. This is something that makes me immensely proud.
À Catherine, avec qui je partage ma vie depuis plus de 40 ans, un merci infini pour ton amour, ta gentillesse et ton soutien constant. Merci à nos fils, Matt et Greg et leur conjointe Jasmyne et Catherine et à nos petits-enfants Juliette et Raphael. Je ne pourrais jamais vous remercier assez pour votre appui et votre amour.
To New Democrats here tonight and in every community across this country, thank you for your hard work, your dedication to our cause and your steadfast hope and optimism. My friends, New Democrats have historic contributions to build this country, whether it’s Medicare or Old Age Security, and we will continue.
Ce soir, on a démontré qu’au Québec les racines du NPD continuent de se développer, et dorénavant, le NPD sera toujours pour les Québécois un choix réel.
As a party with established roots in all corners of this country and deep roots right here in Quebec, the next chapter begins in our effort to build a better Canada.
Merci. On continue.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 20, 2015
Source: macleans.ca, 10-19-15
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives a pair of thumbs up gestures as he gives his concession speech after Canada’s federal election in Calgary, Alberta, October 19, 2015. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives a pair of thumbs up gestures as he gives his concession speech after Canada’s federal election in Calgary, Alberta, October 19, 2015. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
For the record, a transcription of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s remarks Oct. 19 at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary:
Merci beaucoup, tout le monde. Thank you, everyone. Thanks for that tremendous welcome. I can tell you that for Laureen, Ben, Rachel and me, after 11 weeks, it feels very good to be with you here in our home, in our Calgary. And a special welcome to all of those who are here tonight from the great riding of Calgary Heritage. In a moment, friends, I’ll have a little bit more to say about that, but first, I wish to address all Canadians.
Laureen et moi avons embrassé la vie publique parce que nous croyons que les Canadiens et Canadiennes qui travaillent fort devraient conserver plus de l’argent qu’ils gagnent.
Laureen and I entered public life because we believe that hardworking Canadians should keep more of the money they earn, because we believe – because we believe that governments should manage the people’s money the way people manage their own, because – because, friends, we believe that in a dangerous world Canada must, without apology, advance our values, defend our interests and stand by our friends. We have championed those values all of our public lives.
Pendant les dernières neuf années et demi, j’ai eu l’honneur incroyable de servir comme votre Premier ministre.
During the past nine and a half years, it has been an unbelievable honour to serve as your Prime Minister, a great – and it has been a great experience to again meet Canadians from coast to coast to coast during the last two and a half months of this campaign.
Nous avons tout mis en jeu. Nous avons donné tout ce que nous avions à donner et nous ne regrettons absolument rien.
We put it all on the line. We gave everything we have to give, and we have no regrets whatsoever. Friends, how could we? We remain citizens of the best country on Earth.
Friends, our country is one of the most enduring democracies in the world today, and today, for the 42nd time in 148 years, Canadians have chosen a national Parliament. While tonight’s result is certainly not the one we had hoped for, the people are never wrong.
La population canadienne a élu un gouvernement libéral, un résultat que nous acceptons sans aucune hésitation.
Canadians have accepted a Liberal – have elected a Liberal government, a result we accept without hesitation. I have spoken, friends, to Mr. Trudeau and offered him my congratulations, all of our congratulations on his successful campaign. And I have assured him of my full co-operation during the process of transition in the coming days.
I also want to extend – I know we also want to extend all of our congratulations to Mr. Mulcair, Ms. May and Mr. Duceppe on their campaigns.
To all Canadians of every stripe in every corner of our country, victorious or not, I salute you. Your efforts help keep our democracy strong.
To the constituents of Calgary Heritage, thank you. Thank you for renewing your support for me once again. This is the seventh mandate you have given me, and it remains a true privilege to serve the people of this vibrant city in the Parliament of Canada.
Dear friends, there are so many people who deserve credit for the work that goes into a national campaign, and at the top of that list, of course, are my family — Laureen, Ben and Rachel. I love you more than you can imagine, and I have depended on you a great deal not just in these past 79 days, but for a long time before that. I hope you will always know that without you none of this would be possible, but with you everything is. Thank you.
Justin Trudeau: ‘We beat fear with hope’
Tom Mulcair: ‘The next chapter begins’
Elizabeth May: ‘I have a smile on my face’
Gilles Duceppe: ‘Le Québec que j’aime, c’est vous.’
Je remercie aussi mon équipe de campagne partout au pays.
I also want to thank our campaign team, all of those with us on the road, at our national headquarters in Ottawa and in Calgary Heritage and 337 other electoral district associations across this country. Our party, friends, is a grassroots organization, and it is only because of our devoted staff and the thousands upon thousands of loyal members and volunteers that our party has been able to spread its message.
Et ce soir on a fait élire une opposition officielle forte dans le Parlement du Canada.
And tonight, friends, we have been able to elect a strong Official Opposition to the Parliament of Canada.
For all of those who have, over the past decade and a half, built our party and contributed to our campaign, you have our deepest gratitude, and you should feel nothing but pride. Know also this as well: the disappointment you also feel is my responsibility and mine alone. But know this for certain: when the next time comes, this party will offer Canadians a strong and clear alternative based on our Conservative values.
Et nous allons offrir cette alternative comme un parti qui a établi une base solide et durable y compris au Québec.
Friends, never forget, never forget that due to your efforts our country stands tall today. We have built a Canada that is stronger than ever. Our economy is growing and new jobs are being created. The budget is balanced, and federal taxes are at their lowest in 50 years. We – we are poised to seize the opportunities that come with free trade access to Europe, to the Americas and now to the Asia-Pacific. Our men and women in uniform have the tools to do the jobs and the steadfast support of their fellow citizens.
Le Canada est en sécurité et plus uni que jamais.
And friends, in a dangerous world, we have stood consistently for freedom, democracy and justice. This is the Canada we Conservatives have been building since the time of Sir John A. Macdonald, and this is the Canada to which, for the countless generations to come, we will be dedicated.
Thank you again, friends, all of you for all your support, for all you have done for our country.
Please say a little prayer for our men and women in uniform. God bless all of you. God bless Canada.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 20, 2015
Source: macleans.ca, 10-19-15
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau waves to the crowd after his speech at Liberal election headquarters in Montreal, Que. on Monday, October 20, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau waves to the crowd after his speech at Liberal election headquarters in Montreal, Que. on Monday, October 20, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
After leading his Liberals to a majority government, Justin Trudeau gave the following speech in Montreal. French is in italics.
Merci. Merci. Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Merci. Merci, mes amis. Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Yes.
Il y a – il y a plus de 100 ans, un grand Premier ministre, Wilfrid Laurier, a parlé des voies ensoleillées. Il savait que la politique peut être une force positive, et c’est le message que les Canadiens ont envoyé aujourd’hui. Les Canadiens ont choisi le changement, un vrai changement.
Sunny ways, my friends, sunny ways. This is what positive politics can do. This is what a causative, hopeful – a hopeful vision and a platform and a team together can make happen. Canadians – Canadians from all across this great country sent a clear message tonight. It’s time for a change in this country, my friends, a real change.
Il y a tellement de gens à remercier ce soir et je vais passer beaucoup de temps dans les jours à venir à les remercier, mais je veux commencer par ma famille. J’aimerais, d’abord, remercier ma famille — Sophie, Xavier, Ella-Grace et Hadrien. Merci de m’avoir permis de servir. Merci, Sophie, pour ta force, pour ta compassion, pour ta grandeur d’âme et pour ta générosité profonde. Et à Xavier, Ella-Grace et Hadrien qui font dodo maintenant mais qui seront avec nous demain matin, mes enfants, on embarque dans une nouvelle aventure ensemble et je peux vous dire maintenant qu’il va avoir des moments difficiles pour vous en tant qu’enfants de Premier ministre, mais papa sera là pour vous, comme vous savez bien.
Je veux aussi remercier les gens qui me font confiance depuis 2008 — les gens de Papineau. Merci encore une fois de votre appui. Merci de votre confiance. Je serais, d’abord et avant tout, fier de vous représenter à la Chambre des communes. Vous, mes chers concitoyens de Papineau, vous m’aviez parlé des enjeux qui sont importants pour vous. Je vous ai entendus et cela m’a aidé à devenir un meilleur député, à devenir un meilleur chef, et cela va m’aider à devenir un meilleur Premier ministre. Merci.
I also want to specifically thank my good friends Katie Telford and Gerald Butts. Katie and Gerry are two of the smartest, toughest, hardest working people you will find anywhere. They share with me the conviction that politics doesn’t have to be negative and personal to be successful, that – that you can appeal to the better angels of our nature, and you can win while doing it.
Tonight, my very good friends, we proved that. I hope it is an inspiration to like-minded people to step up and pitch in, to get involved in the public life of this country and to know that a positive, optimistic, hopeful vision of public life isn’t a naive dream; it can be a powerful force for change.
And I also want to thank the incredible volunteers that made tonight happen. Over 80,000 Canadians got involved in the core of this campaign. They knocked on their neighbours’ doors. They made phone calls. They sent emails. Hundreds of thousands more supported us actively with their friends and online. They convinced their neighbours and their families. And all of these people had one thing in common: they care deeply about their families, their communities and their country. They believe that better is possible and that active citizens can play a real part in making it happen.
Now this movement we’ve built was fuelled by these amazing volunteers, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
Now I want to take a moment to speak about my colleagues across the aisle. Tonight, I received phone calls from all of them, including from Mr. Harper. Stephen Harper has served this country for a decade, and as with anyone who has devoted their life to this country, we thank him for his service.
Now over the course of this campaign, I had the opportunity to have a couple of brief personal conversations with him about our families. It reminded me of the extraordinary and unique sacrifices that are made by anybody who serves this country at the highest levels, and I want to remind everyone, as I’ve said many times over the course of this campaign: Conservatives are not our enemies, they’re our neighbours. Leadership is about bringing people of all different perspectives together.
Je veux aussi rendre hommage à Thomas Mulcair qui a mené une campagne vigoureuse. Il s’est battu jusqu’à la fin. Aux militants de son parti, je comprends votre déception ce soir. Notre parti a vécu des moments difficiles il y a pas si longtemps. Alors ne vous découragez pas. Notre pays a besoin de citoyens engagés comme vous. Notre pays en sera plus fort. Merci.
Now you’re all going to hear a lot tonight and tomorrow about me and about our campaign. Lots of people are going to have lots of opinions about why we were successful. Well, for three years, we had a very old-fashioned strategy. We met with and talked with as many Canadians as we could, and we listened. We won this election because we listened. We did the hard work of slogging it across the country. We met with hundreds of people in the dead of winter in the Arctic and with thousands of people in Brampton in the middle of this campaign.
You built this platform. You built this movement. You told us what you need to be successful. You told us what kind of government you want, and we built the plan to make it happen. In coffee shops and in town halls, in church basements and in gurdwaras you gathered. You spent time together with us, and you told us about the kind of country you want to build and leave to your children.
Vous nous avez fait part de vos défis dans votre vie de tous les jours. Vous nous avez dit que ça devenait de plus en plus difficile de joindre les deux bouts et de payer les factures à la fin du mois. Vous nous avez dit que vous étiez inquiets pour votre retraite. Vous nous avez dit que vos communautés avaient besoin d’investissement. Vous nous avez dit que les bons emplois se faisaient de plus en plus rares. Vous êtes l’inspiration derrière notre programme. Vous êtes la raison pour laquelle nous avons travaillé si fort pour nous rendre là où nous sommes ce soir. Et vous serez toujours au coeur du gouvernement que nous allons former.
Over the past three years, you told us what you’re going through. You told us that it’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet, let alone to get ahead. You told us you’re worried about whether you’ll be able to afford a dignified retirement. You told us that your communities need investment. You told us you need a fair shot at better jobs. You are the inspiration for our efforts. You are the reason why we worked so hard to be here tonight, and you will be at the heart of this new government.
So my message to you tonight, my fellow citizens, is simple: have faith in yourselves and in your country. Know that we can make anything happen if we set our minds to it and work hard.
Ce n’est pas moi qui a fait l’histoire ce soir, c’est vous. Ne laissez pas les gens vous dire le contraire. Je sais que je suis ici ce soir pour une seule raison : parce que vous m’avez choisi.
I didn’t make history tonight; you did. And don’t let anyone tell you any differently. I know that I am on stage tonight for one reason and one reason only: because you put me here. And you gave me clear marching orders. You want a government that works as hard as you do, one that is focussed every minute of every day on growing the economy, creating jobs and strengthening the middle class, one that is devoted to helping less fortunate Canadian families work their way into the middle class.
You want a Prime Minister who knows Canada is a country strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of them, a PM who never seeks to divide Canadians, but takes every single opportunity to bring us together. You want a Prime Minister who knows that if Canadians are to trust their government, their government needs to trust Canadians, a PM who understands that openness and transparency means better, smarter decisions. You want a Prime Minister that knows that a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples that respects rights and honours treaties must be the basis for how we work to close the gap and walk forward together.
À mes compatriotes québécois, ce soir, ensemble, nous avons choisi la voie de l’engagement. Nous avons choisi de se réengager dans une politique plus rassembleuse, plus positive. Nous avons choisi de se réengager dans la gouverne d’un pays pour qui reflète nos valeurs et nos ambitions. Nous avons choisi de faire confiance et d’investir ensemble dans notre avenir.
Au cours des trois dernières années, j’ai passé beaucoup de temps à aller à votre rencontre et à vous écouter. Vous m’aviez dit que vous vouliez un gouvernement ouvert et transparent, un gouvernement qui fait confiance en ses citoyens, un gouvernement au service de tous les Canadiens et les Canadiennes. Ce soir, c’est l’engagement que je prends devant vous : je serai le Premier ministre de tous les Canadiens. Nous formerons un gouvernement intègre qui respectera les institutions et qui fera de la collaboration avec les provinces le principe premier de ses actions.
Chers amis québécois, merci. Ce soir, le Canada retrouve un peu de lui-même. Ce soir, le Québec fait un véritable retour au gouvernement du Canada.
Canadians – Canadians have spoken. You want a government with a vision and an agenda for this country that is positive and ambitious and hopeful. Well, my friends, I promise you tonight that I will lead that government. I will make that vision a reality. I will be that Prime Minister.
In this election, 1,792 Canadians stepped up, put their names on ballots and on lawn signs and ran for office. Three hundred and thirty-eight of them were chosen by you to be their voices in Ottawa, and I pledge tonight that I will listen to all of them.
There are a thousand stories I could share with you about this remarkable campaign, but I want you to think about one in particular. Last week, I met a young mom in St. Catharines, Ontario. She practises the Muslim faith and was wearing a hijab. She made her way through the crowd and handed me her infant daughter, and as she leaned forward, she said something that I will never forget. She said she’s voting for us because she wants to make sure that her little girl has the right to make her own choices in life and that our government will protect those rights.
To her I say this: you and your fellow citizens have chosen a new government, a government that believes deeply in the diversity of our country. We know in our bones that Canada was built by people from all corners of the world who worship every faith, who belong to every culture, who speak every language.
We believe in our hearts that this country’s unique diversity is a blessing bestowed upon us by previous generations of Canadians, Canadians who stared down prejudice and fought discrimination in all its forms. We know that our enviable, inclusive society didn’t happen by accident and won’t continue without effort. I have always known this; Canadians know it too. If not, I might have spoken earlier this evening and given a very different speech.
Have faith in your fellow citizens, my friends. They are kind and generous. They are open-minded and optimistic. And they know in their heart of hearts that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.
Mes amis, nous avons battu la peur avec l’espoir. Nous avons battu le cynisme avec le travail acharné. Nous avons battu la politique négative avec une vision rassembleuse et positive.
My friends, we beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together. Most of all, we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less, that good enough is good enough and that better just isn’t possible. Well, my friends, this is Canada, and in Canada better is always possible.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Merci. Merci. Merci.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 20, 2015
Source: macleans.ca, 9-28-15
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left to right, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair take part in the Munk Debate. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
What did that the leaders leader say? Here’s where to find out. Read our transcript of the Munk Debate, Sept. 28 at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto moderated by Rudyard Griffiths. We’ll keep adding through the evening.
Justin Trudeau, Leader, Liberal Party
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Leader, Conservative Party
The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, Leader, New Democratic Party
Rudyard Griffiths: Mesdames et messieurs, bonsoir. And welcome to the Munk debate on Canada’s foreign policy. Je m’appelle Rudyard Griffiths. Je suis le directeur général de la Fondation Aurea and Chair of the Munk Debates. It’s my privilege to have the opportunity to host tonight’s historic proceedings, the first ever federal election debate devoted exclusively to foreign policy issues.
Tout d’abord, j’aimerais souhaiter la bienvenue à notre vaste auditoire. First, the national television audience tuning in to this debate in French and English nationwide on CPAC and CHCH Television and across North America on Syrius XM and C-SPAN. Also, a warm hello, bonsoir, to our online audience watching this debate right now in French and English on munkdebates.com and on the website of our official media partners, Facebook Canada and The Globe and Mail.
And finally, hello to you, the over 3,000 members of the Munk Debates who’ve filled Roy Thompson Hall to capacity for this special Munk Election Debate. Our ability tonight to host this debate for Canadians from coast to coast to coast would not be possible without your support and the generosity of the Aurea Foundation.
So commençons. Let’s get our debaters out here and our debate underway.
Mesdames et messieurs, j’ai le plaisir de recevoir M. Thomas Mulcair, chef du Nouveau parti démocratique du Canada. (Mr. Thomas Mulcair.
Next up is Mr. Stephen Harper, the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. M. Harper pour le Parti conservateur du Canada.
And finally, bienvenue à M. Justin Trudeau, chef du Parti libéral du Canada.
Well, gentlemen, we are glad to finally have the three of you here on stage. You’ve all agreed to the rules of this debate in advance, and I want to quote as a friendly reminder the rule that leaders will respect each other’s right to speak in order to make points uninterrupted.
So let’s get started. Right now, the world is witnessing the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War as the conflict in Syria and Northern Iraq rages on. Mr. Mulcair, you’ve pledged as Prime Minister to pull Canada’s military forces out of the international coalition fighting ISIS. The question for you is if the threat the Islamic State represents doesn’t justify a military response, when would an NDP government use military force? Vous avez vingt-dix (sic) secondes. Allons-y.
Canada versus ISIS
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader and Prime Minister Stephen Harper and New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Thomas Mulcair (L-R) talk before the Munk leaders’ debate on Canada’s foreign policy in Toronto, Canada September 28, 2015. Canadians go to the polls in a federal election on October 19, 2015. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Canada does have a role to play in fighting the horror that is ISIS. We can help stop the flow of arms, help stop the flow of funds and of course help stop the flow of foreign fighters. There are more than 60 countries involved in the coalition. Canada would remain a member with us, but only 12 are involved in a combat mission.
Pour moi, c’est important de se rappeler qu’ici ce soir on est sur la même scène, dans la même salle où on a dit notre dernier au revoir à Jack Layton. Moi, je veux continuer le travail de Jack et prôner les mêmes valeurs québécoises et canadiennes, des valeurs de paix, de démocratie, des valeurs de solidarité, développement économique durable.
Moi, je pense que la question est de savoir quel Canada on veut projeter sur la scène mondiale. Est-ce que ça va être un Canada fermé, guerrier, pollueur ou ça va être un Canada ouvert sur le monde qui respecte nos valeurs?
We all know that there are a certain number of things that a prime minister has to get right. This election is about change, and there’s no area where Canadians want change more than in that of our foreign affairs. A prime minister has to maintain a good relation with the U.S. Mr. Harper’s lost the respect of the White House. We have to make sure that we have a place on the world stage. We missed our turn on the Security Council. We have to take care of the defining issue of the age, which is climate change. We’re the only country to have withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol.
I’ll defend your values, Canadian values on the world stage. Where Mr. Harper’s failed, we’ll get it done.
Rudyard Griffiths: Let’s now bring Mr. Harper into the debate for a seven-minute one-on-one with Mr. Mulcair on the topic of intervention. M. Harper, quelle est votre opinion sur le sujet?
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Notre réponse à cette crise en Syrie et dans la région est une réponse généreuse, équilibrée, l’aide des réfugiés, l’aide humanitaire et aussi notre participation dans la mission militaire contre le soi-disant État islamique.
We have a balanced approach. We’re giving a generous but responsible refugee policy. We’re bringing additional humanitarian aid to the region, and we’re also obviously participating in the international military effort against ISIS.
Why are we doing that? Not simply because ISIS threatens to slaughter, literally, hundreds of thousands, create millions of additional refugees, but this is an organization that it wants to use parts of Syria and Iraq as an international base for terrorist operations, not just in the region, but also against this country. That’s why we’re there with our allies, and that’s why there is broad international support for this intervention that is necessary not just for the region, but to protect our own security interests.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, it’s important to remember that this is not a NATO mission. This is not a United Nations mission. And Rudyard, to get back to your initial question, of course when it was a question of going into Libya under the United Nations’ Duty to Protect, the NDP voted for those air strikes because it was a UN mission. When that started to morph into something completely different, we withdrew our support.
So the answer to your question is we understand that there will be times when we have to, either under the NATO Charter or under our international obligations with the UN, to use force, and we won’t shy away from that. But the real question here is that the only thing that we can do?
Now Mr. Harper always takes the same approach. And you know, when your only tool is a hammer, all problems resemble nails, but this is a complex situation. It’s one that has deep roots and many years of divisive conflict in the region, and there is one area where Canada is completely failing, and that is in dealing with the refugee crisis.
My own family, the Irish side of it at the least, came over during the Potato Famines of the 1840s, and you what? In Quebec City, people went down to the docks, even though a lot of them were getting sick, and took in the most miserable in the world. That’s Canada. That’s who we are. Catherine’s family, the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain, they were taken in the Muslim countries that are today Turkey and was then the Ottoman Empire. That’s the opening world that we can always aspire to.
Two million refugees living in our NATO ally Turkey. We’re not doing enough to help. There are requests from the United Nations to take in 10,000 by Christmas. Mr. Harper is not even going to get near that number. They want 46,000 between now and 2019. The NDP government will get it done.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: If I could just maybe correct a couple of facts here, first of all, none of our NATO allies — not all of them are involved in the coalition — but none of them are opposed to it. They’re all supportive of our mission against the Islamic state. The United Nations is not opposed. In fact, this intervention is happening at the invitation of the Government of Iraq under international law.
In terms of refugees, Canada’s response has been generous and responsible. We’ve admitted so far 15 percent of all the world refugees from the region. In terms of our response to this recent crisis, even before it was in the headlines, I announced our intention to accept additional refugees. I’ve since announced a number of changes to our system to expedite that number. And we’re doing so while at the same time making sure that we choose the refugees, that we choose those who are genuine refugees, the most vulnerable people and also maintain all standards of security and other screening. This is a generous and responsible approach that Canada is taking.
Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, I just – I want to step in here just to refocus the discussion. We’re going to have ample opportunity to talk about the refugee crisis later in this debate. Mr. Mulcair, just follow up more precisely on where an NDP government would intervene and why. What are the criteria that you’re looking for?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Sure. I mean it’s happened, you know, because we do talk, believe it or not. The Prime Minister consulted me when France was looking for heavy airlift capacity in a crisis in Mali. I agreed spontaneously. That’s the type of thing that Canada could. I gave you the Libyan example.
But with regard to ISIS, there are things that we can be doing. Canada is one of the only countries in the world and it is the only NATO country not to have signed the Arms Trade Treaty. Now we find ourselves in some particularly curious company here with countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Belarus. And those are not the types of countries we normally identify with, but they’re countries like Canada that have refused to sign that treaty. That treaty, when in force, can help stop the flow of arms to ISIS. We can get a lot more serious, as the United Nations Security Council has asked in successive resolutions — 2170 and 2199 both speak very specifically to stopping the flow of money. We can be involved in that.
And on the flow of foreign fighters, never forget that in Mr. Harper’s failed Bill C-51, which was backed by Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals, there was nothing on deradicalization here at home. The NDP has a clear plan to bring in 2,500 more police officers across the country. We know that we have to work with faith groups of all descriptions, but you know, Mr. Harper always has one group in mind, and he tends to finger-point and objectify one particular group. He doesn’t talk about houses of worship; he specifically refers to mosques. And Muslims across Canada know how to interpret that for exactly what it is.
Rudyard Griffiths: I want to bring the Prime Minister in again.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, let’s be clear that the Government of Canada is pursuing all levels of response to this particular problem, not just refugees and humanitarian aid that I mentioned earlier. We’re pursuing radical – anti-radicalization efforts in Canada in terms of financing of terrorist organizations. We’re involved with a range of coalition partners — the World Bank, the G-20 — working on all of those issues, but none of that explains why the other parties think we should also not take direct military action with our key allies against the Islamic State.
This is a group that not only left to its own devices would slaughter literally millions of people in its wake, but has an intention, a stated intention to attack – to launch terrorist attacks around the world, including against this country and has indicated that it has the capacity to engineer and inspire such attacks. We see that all around the world. There’s no – we have a very clear reason for being there, supported widely by our allies in the international community. Why we would abandon this mission is a question that goes begging. We have to be able to do all of these things: humanitarian support, stop the flow of foreign fighters and funds and also take on ISIS directly in the region, so we keep pressure on that organization so it cannot be using that as a base for terrorist operations.
Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau, à vous la parole.
Justin Trudeau: Merci beaucoup. D’abord, on est tous d’accord sur – sur cette estrade que l’engagement au Moyen-Orient va être un engagement long terme. There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to the situation in northern Iraq and Syria. And what we have here is three different perspectives on what we need to actually do.
Mr. Mulcair has said he doesn’t think we should be in this fight at all. Mr. Harper hasn’t seen a fight in the Middle East that he hasn’t wanted to send Canadian troops into, starting with 2003 in George W. Bush’s Iraq War.
The Liberal Party, as we have in the past, know that Canada has an important role to play on the world stage and should be a strong partner in this coalition, but we disagree with Mr. Harper about the best way to do it in terms of dropping bombs. We think that Canada, as we did very successfully in Afghanistan for many years, as we’ve done in many places around the globe, should be training up the local forces, so they can defeat ISIS on the ground because we know that sending in western troops isn’t always the best possible outcome, and indeed, often makes things worse.
We need to ensure that we’re equipping local people to be able to bring that right to ISIS, and Canada has a strong and real capacity to do that. And that actually ties to something that President Obama was talking about today, which is a call to once again re-engage and revitalize United Nations peacekeeping. The fact that Canada has nothing to contribute to that conversation today is disappointing because this is something that a Canadian Prime Minister started, and right now there is a need to revitalize and refocus and support peacekeeping operations across the country – around the world.
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, un instant. I’d like to bring Mr. Mulcair back in.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, as Sergeant Doiron’s tragic death on the front lines reminded us, this is not just a training mission. Canadian Special Forces have been painting the targets for our air strikes. We know that. They’ve been involved in live fire on the frontline. We know that.
The NDP’s taken a clear position on this since day one. We’ve said that we should not be involved in the combat mission. We have said that there are several things that Canada can and should be doing. There are more than 60 countries involved in this effort; only 12 of them are involved in the combat mission. And that’s why we think that we should be stopping the flow of arms, stopping the flow of funds, stopping the flow of foreign fighters. But no, we don’t think that our proper place is in that combat mission.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let’s be clear: Canada’s still involved in peacekeeping in areas like the Sinai. We still contribute peacekeepers around the world. Obviously, there is not a peacekeeping mission to be had right now in Iraq and Syria. And we’re not just involved in an aerial campaign, as has rightly been observed; we’re also involved in fact in training troops. In northern Iraq, we are working with Peshmerga forces who have been an effective fighting force, protecting themselves and other minorities against the onslaught of ISIS. I visited them there, and we’re extremely proud of the work that they are doing.
But the reason we’re also involved in the area campaign is through much of Iraq and Syria there is in fact no ground resistance to ISIS. And the only way to keep them back, to hold them back, keep them in their positions and keep them from simply being able to sit back and plan attacks against us is to keep the military pressure on them. That’s why President Obama and our other allies are involved in an aerial campaign.
Justin Trudeau: The challenge Canada faces in any time we engage the world is to support our national interests in a constructive and positive way, and there’s no question that it’s absolutely in our national interest to help defeat ISIS, to work with international partners on that. But how Canada can best help is by doing more of the kind of training of infantry troops on the ground that we developed tremendous capacities to do in Afghanistan and in other places. That is something that Canada has an advantage and an ability to do on top of the necessary humanitarian and much more refugee support that I know we’ll talk about later. But that kind of engagement around the world where Canada is focussed on the things that we can do differently and often better than anyone else is what we have to get back to.
That’s why this opportunity to re-engage with the 128,000 peacekeepers active around the world right now in 39 different country – or locations is something that, quite frankly, that the President be asking – the President of the U.S., our closest friend and neighbour, is asking for countries to get involved in something that was at its origin a Canadian initiative and that we not be engaged in a constructive way on saying, “Yes, let’s renew peacekeeping and be part of it for a more stable world for all.”
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, since Mr. Mulcair had the first word, we’re going to give him the last in this section.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: President Putin’s statements today are cause for concern for all of us. This is a cauldron. This is a time also for Canadian values to be projected into that situation, our strong desire for peace.
Mr. Harper just talked about peacekeeping. The last time the Liberals were in power we went from number one in peacekeeping in the world to number 32. And under Mr. Harper, we’re now at number 68. We know that Canadians want us to do a lot better, and we will.
The refugee crisis
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper takes part in the Munk Debate on foreign affairs, in Toronto, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (Nathan Denette/CP)
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. (Nathan Denette/CP)
Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, I want to thank you for a civil and substantive debate in this first topic. We’re now going to move on to our second item to discuss tonight, the refugee crisis. Needless to say, Canadians have been deeply moved during this election by the crisis, the devastating toll that it’s having on women, children and families. Mr. Harper, the question is to you. Can you please explain to Canadians how your latest change in policy reflects an adequate response given the enormity of this crisis? Allez-y. Vous avez 90 secondes pour répondre.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Merci beaucoup. J’ai déjà expliqué que nous avons une approche généreuse et équilibrée. Plus de réfugiés, plus de l’aide humanitaire et on continue la mission militaire contre le soi-disant État islamique.
In terms of the refugee situation, I’ll just outline once again what the government has done. Even before this was in the headlines, we’d announced our intention to accept an additional 10,000 refugees. That’s on top of additional numbers that were already coming and on top of the fact we already have resettled 15 percent of all the refugees from the region in the international community.
We’ve since announced our intention and in fact have implemented changes to expedite the process so we can move those additional numbers in much more quickly, and we’ve been doing so in a way to make sure we pick the most representative, the most vulnerable groups, genuine refugees and that we maintain all standards of security screening.
This is a responsible approach. It’s certainly in line with what most other countries are now doing. In addition to that, we’ve also announced during this campaign the establishment of additional funds for humanitarian assistance. Canada is one of the largest providers in absolute dollars of humanitarian assistance in the region — $800 million directly to the region, over a billion dollars to the wider region.
We’ve announced an additional fund. I know Canadians have responded with a need – with a desire to respond generously, and we encourage Canadians to contribute to that fund. We will match contributions, let us remember regardless of what the response is, to refugees.
The vast number of people will remain in the region and will continue to need our help for the foreseeable future.
Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau, entrez dans la discussion, s’il-vous-plaît.
Justin Trudeau: D’abord il faut comprendre l’échelle du désastre humanitaire qui existe à travers la planète. Il y a 60 millions de personnes déplacées, de réfugiés et nous devons, en tant que pays qui a toujours aussi bénéficié d’attirer ces gens-là ici au Canada et de faire croître notre économie et nos communautés d’une façon positive, nous devions faire notre part.
Plus que ça, nous devons savoir que dans les décennies à venir, il va y avoir encore plus de réfugiés à cause des changements climatiques, à cause d’autres conflits. Nous nous devons de prendre une place de leadership dans les instances multilatérales pour démontrer comment la planète entière peut répondre aux enjeux des réfugiés parce que nous avons, par exemple, un engagement que nous prenons à trois niveaux.
D’abord, il faut faire plus ici au Canada pour accueillir des gens. Nous, on avait proposé 25 000 Syriens il y a même six mois et on continue de dire que c’est ça qu’on devrait faire pour le début. Depuis des années, je vois M. Harper à la Chambre des communes dire oui, on va faire plus de choses et n’atteindre pas ses cibles.
Deuxièmement, nous devons travailler avec la communauté internationale, avec les pays en proximité que ce soit le Liban, que ce soit la Turquie, que ce soit la Jordanie qui sont en crise à cause des réfugiés syriens pour les aider mais aussi aider les pays d’Europe de s’adapter à cette vague d’immigrants.
Mais nous nous devons aussi de travailler dans les pays d’origine où on peut. Évidemment en Syrie il faut arrêter la guerre. D’abord, on a d’autre travail à faire.
Rudyard Griffiths: Un instant. Laissez M. Harper répondre.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Pendant les décennies passées, le Canada a admis un quart de million de réfugiés — par capita, le plus grand programme de rétablissement des réfugiés de la planète. Dans cette situation, selon les chiffres que j’ai, il y a 15 millions de personnes réfugiées déplacées, peut-être un plus grand nombre dans la grande région.
Évidemment, il n’y a pas une solution juste par la politique de réfugiés. C’est la raison pour laquelle nous avons une approche équilibrée avec beaucoup de l’aide humanitaire. La grande majorité qui reste là et aussi des actions militaires contre le soi-disant État islamique qui sont déterminés de créer plus de réfugiés et littéralement du meurtre des millions de personnes. On doit faire ces trois choses.
Justin Trudeau : Les gens sont unanimes à travers le – quasiment unanimes à travers le pays. On se doit d’en faire plus. Le Canada a toujours bénéficié d’avoir été un pays ouvert qui admet des gens en situation de crise, que ce soit les Ukrainiens au début du siècle, que ce fut les Hongrois qui fuyaient de derrière le Rideau soviétique, que ce soit au niveau des Vietnamiens ou des Ismailis qui fuyaient pour venir au Canada, on a accepté des dizaines de milliers de personnes, et M. Harper aime parler de la sécurité. Mais la sécurité a toujours été une préoccupation et on a toujours su s’en occuper, même dans des situations extrêmes et avec moins de ressources que ce qu’on a aujourd’hui.
Alors cette idée qu’on doit en faire plus, les gens sont en train de le dire, les Premiers ministres sont en train d’en parler à travers le pays, les maires de municipalités veulent en faire plus et ce gouvernement traîne de la patte pour ne pas en faire plus. Et vraiment, quand on regarde des gens comme Rick Hillier en train de dire on peut en faire 50 000 avant Noël, il faut savoir que c’est des voix crédibles qui disent que le Canada se doit d’être encore une fois ce pays que nous avions toujours été.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: On a déjà annonce plus. On a déjà annoncé un processus —
Justin Trudeau: (Diaphonie) d’annonces ce n’est pas d’action, M. Harper.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: — processus plus vite qui a déjà commencé. The reality is that Canadians expect us to act in a way that is generous and also responsible. We haven’t opened the floodgates. Some European countries just started letting everybody in, and now they’re trying to reverse those policies.
I’ve asked our officials what can we do to speed up the process, how can we – what kind of numbers can we get in and how quickly while maintaining our security and not literally spending tens of millions of additional dollars. And these are the numbers we’ve arrived at. We’re not chasing headlines. We’ve arrived at it through consulting officials and through proceeding on a program that is, by all standards, generous.
You know, we’ve said 10,000 more. The United States has said 10,000 more. It’s a country 10 times larger than us. I think we’re responding in a way that is responsible and also generous and that’s the responsibility of the government of Canada, not to chase headlines. It’s to make sure we act in a way that we can actually fulfill.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, we stand here tonight just a few blocks from Ireland Park. Ireland Park was where, in 1847, 38,000 Irish men, women and children, fleeing the famine, arrived on the shore of Toronto. They were 20,000 citizens of Toronto at that time and they accepted 38,000 refugees who proceeded to build and contribute to this country, to this city and to who we are today.
Canada has always done more. It’s not about politics. It’s about being the country that we have always been. C’est à ce niveau-là que vous êtes en train de ne pas seulement échouer à notre devoir en tant que Canadiens mais le monde entier est en train de nous regarder pour dire qu’est-ce qui se passe avec le Canada.
Vous étiez jadis un pays qui recueillait les gens, qui aidait, qui savait que cette diversité que nous aimons des gens en crise, en détresse qui ne veulent que bâtir un meilleur avenir pour leurs enfants et leur communauté. On leur donne cette opportunité-là. C’est ça qu’on a toujours été comme pays et maintenant M. Harper est en train de dire sécurité, il faut faire le minimum nécessaire.
Bien non, ce n’est pas ça parce qu’en plus M. Harper qui parle de résister contre les tyrans et les dictateurs, mais vous savez qui résiste contre les tyrans et les dictateurs M. Harper? Les familles qui fuient pour leur vie qui ont résisté contre la violence locale, qui viennent au Canada. Qu’est-ce qu’ils vont faire une fois qu’ils arrivent au Canada? Vous leur enlevez leurs soins de santé M. Harper. Ce n’est pas ça le pays généreux qu’on a toujours été.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: On a déjà admis 23 000 personnes de la région. We’ve already admitted 23,000. We’ve had a commitment to an additional 10,000 and on top of that, during this campaign, an additional 10,000 that we sped up the process on. We’re not living in a different era here. We’re living in an era where people are fleeing a terrorist war zone, and we obviously must have security screening.
In terms of the policy on health support for refugees, let’s be very clear here. We have health support of our refugees and immigrants. Where we stopped those benefits is when we have cases of refugee claims that have been turned down, rejected because they were bogus. In those cases we do not provide health care better than the average Canadian gets. That’s the responsible thing to do.
Rudyard Griffiths: Le temps est écoulé. Mr. Mulcair has been waiting patiently. Let’s bring you into the discussion
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair takes part in the Munk Debate on foreign affairs, in Toronto, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (Nathan Denette/CP)
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. (Nathan Denette/CP)
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Merci beaucoup, Rudyard. It’s important for Canadians to remember when we’ve gotten it wrong in the past and why we have to learn from those experiences. The Komagata Maru was pushed back from Vancouver. A lot of those people were killed when they made it back home. They weren’t allowed into Canada.
Far more recently, a boat called the Sun Sea arrived also in B.C. Minister Vic Toews, one of Mr. Harper’s Ministers, said they were terrorists. A great number of them have already been admitted as legitimate refugees. Tout dépend de notre approche — si on est ouvert, si on veut vraiment aider les plus démunis de la terre ou si on veut trouver des prétextes pour ne pas agir.
L’ancien chef de l’état-major, Rick Hillier, a sommé le Premier ministre qu’il a servi d’arrêter d’utiliser à mauvais escient le prétexte de la sécurité pour refuser d’aider les réfugiés. Moi, je pense qu’il faut écouter Rick Hillier. Son expérience, sa voix est raisonnable et ça reflète les valeurs profondes que ressentent tous les Canadiens qui voient cette crise se dérouler.
Je veux ajouter une dernière petite chose, avec votre indulgence Rudyard. Je vais me permettre de rappeler qu’il y a un vrai hiver sur la frontière entre Syrie, Iraq et la Turquie. L’hiver dernier, il y a des enfants qui sont morts de froid. Je n’admets tout simplement pas qu’un enfant puisse mourir de froid, surtout quand dans un pays comme le Canada c’est une chose qu’on ne connaissait pas. On peut bien les aider un petit peu plus. Faisons plus, M. Harper. Il n’y a plus de prétextes possibles.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: M. Mulcair, on a déjà annoncé plus. On a déjà annoncé un système plus vite. We’ve already announced more, already are doing more, but this isn’t just a game of trying to up the numbers. We have to do things responsibly.
I have visited refugee camps in Jordan of Syrian refugees. I have visited refugees in Northern Iraq. I have visited with families we have accepted from these regions. I have met with leaders from those communities, not just in Canada, but from the region itself, and I can certainly tell you from my visits to the refugee camps in Jordan and debriefings there, we cannot pretend there are no security risks.
It is important that we do screening, and those countries in the world that responded to these headlines, as these others would have, by just opening the doors and doing no checking have rapidly regretted that and are now trying to put in place the very kind of system that Canada has been pursuing all along. It’s a generous response. It’s a responsible response. It is not based on the headlines. It is based on the right thing to do.
Justin Trudeau: M. Harper, ce qui manque clairement dans cet enjeu-là c’est tout simplement une question de volonté politique. Quand Joe Clark, Premier ministre, a décidé d’accepter des dizaines de milliers de Vietnamiens qui venaient au Canada qui fuyaient les communistes, qui fuyaient une guerre atroce, oui, ils étaient préoccupés de la sécurité, mais la volonté politique de dire nous devons faire plus, nous pouvons faire plus, a contribué pas seulement à la sécurité de bien de gens et la sécurité économique de bien de gens qui sont venus ici mais ça a contribué énormément au Canada.
Mon père, en ‘72, quand il a accepté les Ismailis venus de l’Ouganda qui quittaient un dictateur affreux, a eu beaucoup, beaucoup de misère à convaincre les Canadiens qu’il fallait accepter ces réfugiés islamiques de l’Afrique, mais les Canadiens ont compris rapidement par le succès extraordinaire de cette communauté-là, qui a contribué à l’essor de nos villes, à l’essor de notre pays, que d’amener des gens ici pour leur donner une chance de réussir c’est l’histoire même du Canada. C’est ce qu’on a toujours fait.
Et M. Harper peut dire toutes ces excuses administratives qu’il veut. Il faut pas en faire plus. Il faut faire attention. Oui, il faut faire attention. Il n’y a pas eu personne sur cette estrade qui est en train de dire qu’il faut pas faire attention. Mais il faut qu’on soit encore une fois le pays qu’on a toujours été pour comprendre que le Canada peut fournir des solutions dans le monde et peut partager nos solutions avec justement les pays d’Europe qui ont de la misère parce que pour nous —
Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau —
Justin Trudeau: — diversité c’est une sorte de force.
Rudyard Griffiths: I want to bring Mr. Mulcair back in for our remaining time.
L’hon. Tom Mulcair: C’est extrêmement difficile d’entendre le Premier ministre d’un pays qui a jadis été reconnu comme un des premiers au monde en termes d’aide aux réfugiés et aux plus démunis de la terre dire que tout ça se résume pour lui à une question que les autres sont en train de chercher avoir les titres de journaux.
I don’t accept to hear a Prime Minister of Canada to say that trying to help the most needy of the Earth, help people fleeing a tragedy on a scale not seen since the Second World War, anybody fighting to take more of them into Canada and to help them is somehow chasing headlines. I find that’s disrespectful, but not only for the people on this stage because I think that every one of us wants to ensure security. It’s disrespectful to Canadians and to Canadian values.
Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Mulcair. Le temps est écoulé. I’ll go on to our next topic now. It’s the global terrorist threat. We all know that it’s taken on new urgency with the large scale recruitment of foreign fighters. In response, Canada’s Parliament passed new antiterrorism legislation that critics have attacked as undermining civil liberties and for its lack of democratic oversight.
Expliquez-nous, M. Trudeau, as a self-professed champion of individual freedoms, why did you vote for Bill C-51?
Justin Trudeau: Canadians expect their government to do two things: protect our security and defend our rights and freedoms. That’s what the Liberal Party has always stood for. It’s what we did successfully in the years following the 9/11 attack. We brought forward responsible legislation that went through many amendments and many tweaks before we got that balance right, but we did get that balance right.
Canadians expect their governments to do that in a way that doesn’t foment fears or play up divisions. Now, Mr. Mulcair has had three different positions on C-51. His initial position was to change it. Then a few weeks later, it was to repeal parts of it. And then now, it’s to scrap it entirely. And the one thing he says is that we don’t need to do anything more to protect our security than we have right now, because he hasn’t put any options forward.
Mr. Harper doesn’t think we need to do anything more to protect our rights and freedoms, whereas in a free society, we know that we have to ensure that any time we give greater powers to our police, our investigative, our national security services, we are matching that with an increase of our protections.
That’s why the Liberal Party pushed for strong amendments during the committee process on C-51 and that’s why we’re committed to bringing in Parliament, oversight by parliamentarians, like our other Five Eyes allies, and sunset and review clauses that are going to meet what Canadians asked for, which is defend our rights and protect our safety.
Rudyard Griffiths: M. Mulcair, allez-y, entre dans la discussion avec M. Trudeau.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: When you have convictions, you have to have the courage of those convictions. The NDP took a very strong principled stand against C-51. We looked at it, we knew it was wrong. The same way the NDP was the only party to stand up in 1970 when Pierre Trudeau put hundreds of Canadians in jail without trial, without even any accusation. The only party to stand up against that was Tommy Douglas’s NDP. That’s the courage of your convictions.
When we started our fight against C-51, the vast majority of Canadians were in favour of it. Mr. Harper had done an excellent selling job. By the time it had finished in committee, Canadians understood two things: that it was more to do with the politics of fear and division than anything to do with security; and every single group that came and testified, every expert who came in there and four former Prime Ministers, including three Liberal Prime Ministers, all said it was wrong. The NDP stood up against C-51.
Justin Trudeau: Now I’ll – I’ll – I’ll get to C-51 in a moment, but throughout this campaign, in direct references and in indirect references, both of these gentlemen have at various points attacked my father. Let me say very clearly I am incredibly proud to be Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s son, and I am incredibly lucky (applause) to have been raised with those values.
And when we talk about the legacy that my father leaves behind, first and foremost is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which has defined Canada as a country that stands up for individual rights, even against governments who want to take those away, multiculturalism that has made Canada a country strong, not in spite of its diversity, but because of its diversity, and bilingualism which, as my father understood, Mr. Mulcair, means saying the same thing in French as you say in English. (Applause.)
And, and one last thing on my father, if you’ll please, Rudyard. It’s quite emotional for me right now to be able to talk about him because it was 15 years ago tonight that he passed away, on September 28th, 2000, and I know that he wouldn’t want us to be fighting the battles of the past. He’d want us squarely focused on the future and how we’re going to respond to Canadians’ needs and that’s what we’re doing tonight. (Applause.)
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: What we are talking about is Canadian values, the values that guide us when we make our choices. Sorry to hear that Mr. Trudeau thinks that we’re talking about his father in a negative way. I’m talking about historical fact, that the only party that stood up in 1970 and defended Canadians’ rights and freedoms was the NDP. The only party that stood on a question of principle against Bill C-51 was the NDP.
Mr. Trudeau went to the University of British Columbia and said that he was against it, but that he was afraid of Stephen Harper making political hay.
Justin Trudeau: That’s not true. Mr. Mulcair —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s not political courage.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You have to have the courage of your convictions. And with ––
Justin Trudeau: No, no. Mr. Mulcair —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– and with regard to Mr. Trudeau’s other ––
Justin Trudeau: Once again, ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Sorry, you said we were going to be able to speak individually. I don’t mind (laughter) being able to finish my sentence.
Justin Trudeau: Go ahead. (Applause.)
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: On Mr. Trudeau’s other complaint, which he throws out there very lightly at every occasion, Radio-Canada did a check of Mr. Trudeau’s complaint, that somehow he has cases where I’ve said one thing in French, one in English. You know what they said? That it was total malarkey. It’s not true.
I say the same thing whether I’m in Quebec City or in Calgary. I’m very proud to know and understand Quebec and have strong support there, but I also know that an NDP government will represent Canadian values right across this great country. (Applause.)
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair, Mr. Mulcair, it’s very clear, we saw it again earlier this week, or last week. In the French debate, you were happy to talk about your decision to – and make it so that separatists could break up this country on a single vote, even though the – the Supreme Court of Canada said no, unanis-, unanimously, but you won’t talk about it with Peter Mansbridge in English, you wouldn’t talk about it at the Maclean’s debate. The fact is you carry two different discussions at the same time, and that is not responsible.
The other thing, however, that Mr. Mulcair has done on C-51 is exactly what so many of us deplore that Mr. Harper has done, which is to play the politics of fear. Now, Mr. Harper, we all know, on C-51, wants us to be afraid that there’s a terrorist hiding behind any leaf and rock around us, (laughter) and we all need to be afraid and that’s why he’s there to protect us. (Laughter.)
Now – fortunately, the podiums are transparent. Mr. Har-, Mr. Mulcair is playing a similar politics of fear, trying to say that because of C-51, with which we have been very clear that we have reservations, but there are elements in that bill that protect Canadian security immediately, and we’re committed to bringing in the changes necessary to get that balance right. But Mr. Mulcair is also playing the politics of fear and division, fear for environmental groups and First Nations, fear that we’re suddenly in a police state, fear that we’ve suddenly ripped up the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
And we know that that’s not true. The Liberal Party has taken the responsible position of saying we need to do both, security and defend our rights and freedoms together and that is what my father and Liberal governments have always understood. (Applause.)
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Sharing information on peaceful protests? That’s fair? You want to stand up for that? You voted for that. Going against basic rights and freedoms? You voted for that, Mr. Trudeau. I stood on a question of principle. I’m not afraid of Stephen Harper. I voted against Bill C-51. (Applause.)
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair – Mr. Mulcair– Mr. Mulcair, in committee, there was a concern that people had around lawful protests and it is a concern that we had, and we heard many committee members point out the fact that this was something that needed to get changed. The Liberal Party put forward amendments. They were voted down. The Conservative Party put forward the same amendments and passed it.
But at every step of the way, every single proposal or amendment that was put forward to improve at committee C-51, the NDP voted against. The people playing politics here, striking up fear, talking about police states and taking away our rights are the NDP on this. And I am not apologetic in the least about taking a strong stance that understands yes, ––
Rudyard Griffiths: Okay, Mr. Trudeau, we’re just ––
Justin Trudeau: –– we have to protect Canadian security ––
Rudyard Griffiths: –– we’re down to the final ––
Justin Trudeau: –– and defend our rights.
Rudyard Griffiths: –– moments of this segment. I want to give the last word to Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: First of all, that is completely false. I have never, ever used the term police state.
With regard to our stance, I have confidence in Quebecers that the normal rules of a democracy apply there, and that’s what I said to Peter Mansbridge.
Et c’est précisément ce que j’ai dit au débat français la semaine dernière. Moi, je fais confiance aux Québécois de respecter les règles normales dans une démocratie. M. Trudeau ne le respecte pas.
Rudyard Griffiths: Thank you. Now, I’d like to hear Mr. Harper on this topic. Thank you.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: This government is – this government is fully committed to protecting both our freedoms and our security, both of which are under attack from the group ISIS. The threat we face today is not CSIS, it is ISIS. And if we look at, (laughter) – and if we look at (applause) the provisions, the provisions of the bill that Mr. Trudeau actually well defended, give our security agencies pottern-, powers that are similar across the western world.
For example, the ability of security agencies to share information on security threats, to intervene directly through a warrant if there’s a need to, if there’s a plot actually unfolding, the ability to take down websites that attempt to recruit people to terrorist organizations in Canada. These are all important matters overseen robustly by an independent organization headed by a retired judge.
These are not the only things we have done. There’s many other steps we’ve taken on anti-radicalization and, and some other things that have been in the news recently, including the fact that this government is clear we will and have revoked the citizenship of people who are convicted of terrorist offenses who do not need to remain to be our citizens. There’s no reason why we would not do that. (Applause.)
Justin Trudeau: First of all, first of all, Mr. Harper talks about oversight of our security agencies. He put Arthur Porter, who died in a Panamanian prison fighting extradition to Canada, in charge of overseeing our security agencies. (Laughter.) What our other Five Eyes allies do is ask elected parliamentarians to oversee the work of our national security agencies and police agencies.
Canada is the only one of those allies who does not – allies who does not do that. And it’s al-, it is about two things. It is about ensuring that, yes, those police powers aren’t overused and abused, that we’re making sure that – that we are upholding the Charter rights of every individual. But at the same time, it’s also about holding our national security agencies and police to account, to make sure that they are actually protecting us in every possible way. And we need to trust elected parliamentarians to do that job, not simply appointed officials answerable to the Prime Minister.
That’s what an honest and open and transparent government should do, and that’s what the Liberal Party is committed to bringing in. (Applause.)
L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Le – le projet de loi C-51 constitue une menace réelle à nos droits et libertés. Et encore une fois, il s’agit des faux choix de M. Harper. Est-ce que vous voulez la sécurité ou vous voulez vos droits et libertés? La même manière qu’il nous dit, par exemple, est-ce que vous voulez l’économie ou vous voulez qu’on s’occupe de l’environnement? C’est pas une question de l’un ou l’autre. Un Premier ministre a l’obligation de s’occuper des deux.
Tandis que M. Trudeau tente désespérément de trouver des manières de justifier le projet de loi C-51, le NPD a pris une position de principe contre ce projet de loi parce que ça entache grièvement, gravement nos droits et libertés de la personne. Ça fait longtemps, M. Trudeau, puis c’est dans l’hymne national, il faut protéger à la fois nos foyers et nos droits.
Ce projet de loi là, de la part de quiconque qui se prétend progressiste, aurait dû faire l’objet d’une analyse serrée pour conclure que ça compromettait nos droits et libertés. Fallait avoir le courage de voter contre C-51. Vous avez dit que vous aviez peur de M. Harper. C’est mot à mot ce que vous avez dit à l’Université de Colombie-Britannique. Essayez pas de changer l’histoire maintenant, M. Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau: M. Mulcair —
Rudyard Griffiths: Oh, non.
Justin Trudeau: — vous savez très bien que moi, ma crainte dans tout cet enjeu-là, c’est que on ait une – une – une élection ancrée dans le débat sur la sécurité. Les Canadiens sont préoccupés par leurs emplois, par nos besoins en infrastructure, par de l’aide pour la classe moyenne et c’est de ça qu’il faut parler dans cette élection. Et la réalité, c’est que nous avons pris la position équilibrée que le Parti Libéral a toujours pris, de comprendre qu’il faut défendre à la fois nos droits et nos libertés.
Now Mr. Harper talked about C-24. He talked about the fact that despite 10 years to do something about it, he just revoked someone’s citizenship today, these past days, convicted of terrorism. And he’s right that the Liberal Party had, takes issue with that because, quite frankly, it worries me when the first response is not this person needs to be in jail, but it’s this person should be given a two-tiered citizenship, that we recognize that someone can be judged differently by our system of laws and rights because their parents were born in a different country. That is not Canadian. And particularly from this Prime Minister who has made a habit of calling out First Nations groups, environmental groups as terrorists, we should be very worried that any Prime Minister would have the ability to revoke citizenship for people. It’s a slippery slope ––
Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau, il reste plus de temps ––
Justin Trudeau: –– that belies what Canada is.
Rudyard Griffiths: –– il reste plus de temps maintenant. Mr. Harper, please come in. We’re going to add a minute to the clock ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Actually, the —
Rudyard Griffiths: –– to give you the last word.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — the individual in question is already in prison and we will be able to remove him from the country under this law after he is released. That’s the difference. But are you seriously saying, Mr. Trudeau, we never be able to revoke citizenship from somebody?
Justin Trudeau: No.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Is that your position?
Justin Trudeau: No.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Because we revoked the citizenship already ––
Justin Trudeau: We can revoke citizen ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– of war criminals. And why would we ––
Justin Trudeau: Yes. Because, Mr. Harper ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — not revoke the citizenship of people convicted of terrorist offenses against this country? This was a bill —
Justin Trudeau: –– because ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — (applause) put forward – this was a bill put forward by a Member of Parliament who is himself an immigrant, Devinder Shory. This is not the standards we expect. Immigrants, Canadians, all of us who are here expect that we would have a minimum bar ––
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– that people would not – people who come here ––
Justin Trudeau: — a Canadian ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– would not be guilty of trying to plan terrorist —
Justin Trudeau: — Mr. Harper —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– attacks against this country.
Justin Trudeau: –– a Canadian is a Canadian ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: The individual in question, Mr. Tru- ––
Justin Trudeau: –– is a Canadian. And you devalue ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– the individual ––
Justin Trudeau: — you devalue the citizenship of every Canadian in this place and in this country when you break down and make it conditional for anyone.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: The individual ––
Justin Trudeau: We have a rule of law in this country and you can’t take away —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — the individual —
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, let’s give Mr. —
Justin Trudeau: –– (crosstalk) you don’t like what someone does. (Applause.)
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: The individual in question ––
Justin Trudeau: You can’t do that.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– the individual in question, Mr. Trudeau, ––
Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, one moment please. Gentlemen —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– was convicted of planning the most heinous ––
Justin Trudeau: And should be in jail —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– and (crosstalk) ever against this country.
Justin Trudeau: And that’s where (crosstalk) ––
Rudyard Griffiths: Un instant, s’il-vous-plaît. Un instant.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: A few blocks – a few blocks from here, he would have detonated bombs that would have been on a scale of 9/11.
Justin Trudeau: The politics of fear once again, Mr. Harper. ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: This country has every right to revoke the citizenship ––
Justin Trudeau: — we are not a country dominated by fear.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– of an individual like that.
Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen. c’est tout.
Justin Trudeau: This is a country of law and rights.
Rudyard Griffiths: C’est tout. We’re out of time for that segment. (Laughter.) As lively as it was, we appreciate it.
Merci pour ces débats très riches jusqu’à présent.
I now want to change gears and move to the first of our three rapid reaction sessions. I want to start with you, Mr. Mulcair. The NPD is a strong proponent of spending more on foreign aid. Many Canadians, though, I think want to know, Mr. Mulcair, why we should spend billions more when we have so many urgent problems here at home. Make that case to the country.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I think it is a fundamental Canadian value to do more to help the neediest in the world, to help on issues like international cases of poverty, help build democracy in the world, help defend women’s rights. Those are core Canadian values and don’t forget, we’ve dropped by about half the percentage of our gross national income that we’re dedicating now to foreign aid.
We’re down to under 0.25 percent, which is lamentable compared to other countries. I mean, David Cameron’s Conservative government has brought that country up to the 0.7 percent that will be the goal. We’ll set a timeline for that with an NDP government to get us to that important goal of 0.7 percent because Canadians understand that it’s only by investing that we can help democracy, that we can help alleviate poverty but importantly as well we can help build Canada’s standing in the world.
We’ve lost that. There was an important —
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair, I want to stop you there because this is a rapid reaction session. Gentlemen, let’s have a three-way debate on this topic. Qui commence?
Justin Trudeau: I want to start, je veux commencer par surprendre quelques-uns sur ce dernier échange. Je veux féliciter le Premier ministre pour ce qu’il a commencé au niveau de la santé maternelle. Le Canada a pris un engagement et est en train de faire une grosse différence en matière de santé maternelle à travers le monde.
Mais ça ne va pas vous surprendre que je déplore qu’il y a huit pour cent de la mortalité des mères reliée aux avortements non sécures et non faits comme il faut que nous nous devons d’aussi être engagés.
Le Premier ministre est pris un petit peu dans son idéologie de ne pas pouvoir faire au complet tout ce qu’on devrait faire pour aider les mères, pour aider les personnes les plus vulnérables à travers le monde de sortir de la pauvreté. C’est pour ça que le Canada doit se réengager à aider les plus vulnérables basé sur la science, basé sur les meilleures pratiques et pas juste basé sur l’idéologie comme malheureusement le fait trop souvent notre Premier ministre.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Pour déclarer le fait, pendant la période de ce gouvernement, depuis le dernier gouvernement l’aide humanitaire, l’aide étrangère du Canada a augmenté par 15 pour cent, mais nous sommes toujours préoccupés du fait que cette aide doit être utilisée de façon efficace et responsable et pour les vulnérables.
Of course one of the things that we have led on, we’re very proud of is our child, maternal and newborn health initiative. We have been able to assemble an international coalition of countries, of international organizations, of private foundations to – frankly, often with minimal investment, to dramatically reduce child and maternal mortality in the developing world.
This is something as Canadians – we are a very wealthy country, it’s something we can do. We know it’s effective and we’re very proud of doing it. I know we have lots of needs of our own but it is in our broader interest that we help people around the world when we can and when we know that that aid will actually be used responsibly and effectively and that’s what we’re always committed to.
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair, please join.
L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Dans les pays dont on est en train de parler il n’y a pas moins de 47 000 femmes qui vont mourir à défaut de pouvoir avoir accès à un avortement sécuritaire. On sait aujourd’hui que le viol est non seulement une arme de guerre, c’est devenu une stratégie de guerre.
Il faut être réaliste. Il faut arrêter avec cette approche doctrinaire qui exclut la gamme complète de droits pour les femmes qu’on est en train d’aider dans ces pays-là. M. Harper, pour des raisons idéologiques, refuse catégoriquement. Moi, je n’admets pas que le Canada ne fasse pas sa part. Ça doit faire partie de notre approche en traitant de ces questions fondamentales.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Ce gouvernement aide des services de santé très généreux mais évidemment nous sommes ici et notre plan est pour rallier le monde. And the reality is of course you can’t – you can’t go out in the world and unite the range of countries we have and independent and third party organizations, NGOs’s that we have and get into that kind of a debate. You need to concentrate on the things that unite people. Saving the lives of mothers and their newborns around the world is a cause that has united people, on which we have made real progress, and we need to keep going in that direction. It’s something we should be very proud of.
Rudyard Griffiths: The last word to Mr. Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau: En matière de développement international le Canada n’est pas en train de faire autant qu’on pourrait. Malheureusement, on n’a pas l’engagement qu’on avait jadis. Mais on a quand même, comme M. Harper l’a souligné, des ONG extraordinaires qui font du travail exceptionnel à travers le monde — des Canadiens impliqués dans Médecins sans frontières, dans Ingénieurs sans frontières, dans bien des enjeux. Nous nous devons de réengager au niveau de la planète parce que c’est dans notre intérêt et on a un apport constructif à amener. C’est ce qu’on va faire. C’est ce qu’on doit continuer de faire pour améliorer le sort des plus vulnérables partout dans le monde.
Rudyard Griffiths: Thank you, Mr. Trudeau. Merci. Let’s move on to our second topic, our second rapid reaction topic. And Mr. Harper, the question is to you. You’ve made the point of visiting the Arctic every summer as Prime Minister, but under your leadership not one new icebreaker or deep water port has been built, and this at a time when you know the Russians have 40 icebreakers and as many as another 14 planned. What will you do to reassert Canada’s interests in the north?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: In fact we’re actually – the work has begun on the deep water port at Nanisivik. We’ve created an army Arctic training centre at Resolute Bay. We’ve increased our ability through purchases in the Air Force to reach the entire North. We’re investing in the RADARSAT constellation system to make sure we have better coverage on that basis.
And of course we’ve expanded the Canadian Rangers who are our eyes and ears in the North. This helps local communities, and they patrol for us. But these are not – I should be clear, Rudyard, these are not the only investments we’re making. Obviously, we’re making sovereignty investments. We’re also making environmental investments, a hierarchy of research stations, the expansion of Nahanni National Park, economic investments like the building of the highway system to the Arctic coast, social investments in adult education and in housing and investments in governance.
We signed a historic devolution agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories to bring governance closest to the people. We are going to continue to make investments across a range of areas and of course we will continue to respond to the threat and to the risk that Russia in particular approaches of course in the Arctic, something we’ve warned about for a very long time.
Rudyard Griffiths: M. Harper, merci. Merci. M. Trudeau, à vous de parler sur le sujet.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, we’ve all seen the summer photo ops. In January the past year, I went up to the Arctic with my son Xavier, the way I had been able to do as a child, and one of the things in talking with communities and seeing how people are struggling through the winter with inadequate food security, with challenges around infrastructure.
The one thing they keep saying about you up there, Mr. Harper, is your big sled, no dogs. (Laughter.) The challenge that we need to have is to understand that to have sovereignty over the Arctic, we have to support the communities, the people who live there, who have lived there for millennia. That is not what you’re doing enough of. We need to work with multilateral partners.
Obama just convened the Arctic Council in Alaska last month and Canada was almost practically absent from that. We need to take real multilateral leadership on the Arctic and we need to start once again investing in science and research not to find ships but to actually detect what’s going on with the fragile Arctic ecosystems and make sure we’re serving the needs of our country.
Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Trudeau. Entrez dans la discussion, M. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Any Arctic strategy has to begin with the people of the North. Moi, je suis très fier de dire que demain je retourne à Iqaluit dans la terre de Baffin. C’est une occasion extraordinaire pour nous de se rappeler les échecs de M. Harper, notamment avec la nourriture dans le Nord. Il a démantelé le programme qui fonctionnait avant et on a vu les résultats.
When we brought cases to the House of Commons about people going into garbage cans to find food in the North, his Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, sat there in the House of Commons reading her newspaper.
I think we have to show a lot more concern for the people of the North and we’ve also got to understand that Canada’s Arctic is the frontline of the battle against climate change. As the permafrost melts, we’re letting go a lot of methane, which as a greenhouse gas, is 20 times more powerful than CO2. It’s a catastrophic climate driver, and we’re going to have to start dealing with this issue seriously.
Mr. Harper, of course, doesn’t agree. He doesn’t think there’s a problem. That’s why he’s made us the only country in the world to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. I know that it’s an urgent pressing issue that requires serious attention from a future Prime Minister.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, I have given already a very partial list of the range of the new investments we’ve made in the Arctic. These are, frankly, without precedent in Canadian history across environmental, economic, social, sovereignty, governance dimensions. That’s why Northerners have responded so positively and so supportive to our agenda. This kind of attention was simply never paid to this part of the country before.
If it now awakens the attention of the other parties, I’m happy about that. It’s about time the North defines our country. It’s about time it got support from all parties. I’m particularly proud that we have a remarkable Inuit woman who sits in the Cabinet of Canada. That is a real step forward in this country and a real sign that those people, that the Inuit and the North has really arrived in our country.
Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, we’ve got a minute left. I’m going to give 30 seconds to Mr. Trudeau and the last word to Mr. Mulcair.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper talks about icebreakers but the fact is we are underfunding even the military procurement for our Navy that we need to have right now, which is why I alone have made the decision, of these three gentlemen onstage, to cancel the expensive F35s, to plunge that money, any extra money, so we can still get quality planes at a better price and plunge the extra tens of billions of dollars into our Navy, so that we can once again protect the two-thirds of our coastline that ends up in the Arctic and the one-third of our landmass in the Arctic. Canada needs to re-engage and we need to actually fund it properly, and that’s what Mr. Harper hasn’t done.
Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Trudeau. Merci.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have record investments in shipbuilding right now, $35 billion.
Justin Trudeau: And you can’t build the ships you promised.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’re going on – we’re going down on – at all of our shipyards, and we do that, Mr. Trudeau, without promising to run deficits and without hiking people’s taxes.
Rudyard Griffiths: Il reste peu de temps. Il reste peu de temps. The last word to Mr. Mulcair please.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Rudyard. Dans le Nord canadien, comme on a pu voir de retour de Kuujjuaq récemment avec mon ami et collègue Roméo Saganash, il y a une crise particulière qui concerne le logement. J’ai vu les maisons avec 18 personnes dedans dans deux pièces. Quand est-ce qu’un enfant est censé pouvoir faire ses devoirs?
C’est une crise sociale et économique qui est en train de faire des ravages sur les prochaines générations. C’est une obligation d’État. Ça reflète nos valeurs profondes canadiennes et j’ai l’intention de m’y attaquer dès que je deviens le Premier ministre du Canada. Ça va être une première priorité de régler une fois pour toute la crise du logement pour nos Premières nations, Inuit et Métis.
Rudyard Griffiths: Merci. Thank you, gentlemen. Let’s move on to the last of our three rapid reaction discussions. You’re all aware, I’m sure you’ve thought a lot about this, that the biggest foreign policy challenge of the moment surely is the aggressive and unpredictable behaviour of Russia on the world stage. Mr. Trudeau, if you become Prime Minister how will you deal with Vladimir Putin?
Justin Trudeau: I think there’s no question we have to recognize that Russia has become, as you say, a destabilizing force around the world. He’s destabilizing Eastern Europe with his unacceptable incursions into Ukraine. He is pushing in blocking the achievement of cease-fires and stabilizing and stopping the bombings and war in Syria and he’s being a provocative agent in the Arctic, which requires Canada to stand firm with our multilateral partners to push back with strong sanctions and as a strong part of NATO against that.
Now Mr. Harper has made a big deal out of talking loudly and strongly at Mr. Putin, but the reality is Canada has such a diminished voice on the world stage that Mr. Harper hasn’t noticed that Vladimir Putin didn’t listen to him when he told him to get out of Ukraine, and that is, unfortunately, a reflection of where we are, where we don’t have the impact we used to have in multilateral organizations to push back effectively against bullies like Vladimir Putin.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, it’s fascinating to hear these other parties talk about their fears and their concerns about Mr. Putin. For years, they accused this government of being alarmist as we pointed out to the world the deterioration of democracy and human rights in Russia under his rule and his increasingly aggressive and destabilizing behaviour internationally.
I have met with Mr. Putin many times. Everybody knows of course when it came to Ukraine I’ve made it very clear to Mr. Putin that Canada, this country is never going to tolerate or accept under any circumstances his occupation of the Ukrainian territory. This was a position we took with the Baltic states annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939.
We held to this position with our allies for over 50 years, and when the time came, those countries became independent. I’ve said to President Poroshenko and others that this country will continue to work with our allies to make sure we never in any way recognize or accept Russian occupation of any square inch of Ukrainian territory.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: The NDP stands four square with the people of Ukraine against this Russian invasion and we will stay there for the long term, but it’s interesting to hear Mr. Trudeau say what he’s going to do with Mr. Putin. Mr. Trudeau, you can’t even stand up to Stephen Harper on C-51. How are you going to stand up to Putin?
Mr. Harper talks a good game with regards to dealing with Mr. Putin, but the fact is that there are two people, Yakunin and Sechin, who are on the list of some of our closest allies, including the Americans. Now Mr. – Mr. Harper has refused to put them on the list of sanctions for Canada. You know why? Because they’ve got important business dealings here in Canada.
He’s going to tell us he’s got a longer list than anybody else. That’s like saying that Paul Dewar is on Putin’s list, which he is, but not going to have much effect. The rest of the people on that list don’t matter much, but these two count. Yakunin and Sechin should be on Canada’s sanctions list. They’re not because Mr. Harper talks a good game about dealing with Putin, but two of his closest allies, two of his closest buddies are not being sanctioned because of their Canadian connections. Mr. Harper is protecting them instead of sanctioning them.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, in fact as was already admitted, Canada has by far the largest sanction list of Russian agents, not just in Russia, but in Crimea and in Ukraine. And the fact of the matter is if anybody is listed by all of our allies, they’re of course listed by Canada. Mr. Mulcair claimed in a previous debate these two individuals were listed by everybody. In fact, they’re not. They’re not listed by the Europeans. We want to make sure that our sanctions are effective, that they punish the Russians more than they punish Canadians. These individuals are not listed by anyone and so, obviously —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: They’re listed by the Americans, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — we continue to review – we continue to review —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: They’re listed by the Americans.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — that particular – those particular cases. But no one should doubt, and I think the world has recognized, the Ukrainians themselves have recognized it, no country has responded more comprehensively to Ukraine’s needs whether they be nonlethal military aid, training, humanitarian, financial assistance. I’ve been to Ukraine, met with President Poroshenko right during this crisis. No country, no government in the world has stood with the people of Ukraine any more than this government has.
Justin Trudeau: Canada will continue – and Canada will continue to stand with Ukraine. When I chatted with President Poroshenko in Ottawa along with Chrystia Freeland, who has done an extraordinary job representing Canada in a nonpolitical way to the people of Ukraine and on this issue, we have seen tremendous – tremendous impact locally, but at the same time, we are a country that used to have a lot more influence and when Canada said something we were listened to on the world stage, and that has been diminished over the past years because of our withdrawal from international consensus-building, from working with multilateral partners as a positive, constructive actor in our national interest. And that’s what we need to get back to, so we can make a difference in holding our ground against Putin and against bullies around the world.
Rudyard Griffiths: Great. Thank you, gentlemen, for three very good rapid reaction discussions. Let’s now return to our longer format exchanges. I want to begin by focussing on the topic of Canada- U.S. relations. Mr. Harper, you were unable to convince Barack Obama to build the Keystone pipeline. What does this failure tell you about how we should manage the Canada-U.S. relationship going forward?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Barack Obama and I have discussed this particular matter. He said to me there’s nothing he’s asking Canada to do. He’s going to make that decision based on his own assessment of American interests.
Look, this government has worked with two radically different administrations in the United States, and we have worked productively with both. Right now, if you look around the world at the things we have been working on with our partners in the United States, they include, obviously, the mission we talked about earlier against the so-called Islamic State.
We’re working closely with the United States in our response to the crisis in Ukraine and in reassurance to our allies, our Eastern European allies with NATO. We’ve worked together on the Ebola crisis. We have a clean energy and climate change dialogue that we’ve worked productively with the United States on joint regulations in that particular area.
We have a project of unprecedented scope called Beyond the Border in which we are doing more to better integrate our security and try and thin border processes between Canada and the United States, vitally important to our trade. We’re working together, sometimes not always agreeing on international trade negotiations.
Look, Canada has a good relationship with the United States. We work productively overall, but at the same time, the responsibility of the Prime Minster of Canada is to stand up for Canadian interests. Where it’s necessary to take a different position from the United States, we do that.
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair, please enter into a seven-minute one-on-one with Mr. Harper on this topic.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s very difficult to see how Canada’s superior interests were being served when Prime Minister Harper said to President Obama that it was a complete no-brainer that the Americans had — those were his exact words — that the Americans had to approve Keystone XL.
I know that Keystone XL represents the export of 40,000 Canadian jobs because Mr. Harper told the Americans so. That was the same number that his Finance Minister used. I want to create those jobs in Canada. I think that Mr. Harper takes a wrong approach when he does things like that.
He also informed the Americans that on Keystone XL — and this is another direct quote from him and his government — “I won’t take no for an answer.” Guess what? The answer was no, and you weren’t able to do anything about it.
Now every progressive in the United States is against Keystone XL. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper are in favour of Keystone XL the same way they’re both in favour of Bill C-51. Progressives in Canada are against C-51. Progressives in all of North America understand it’s time to start dealing with these issues seriously and both Mr. Harper and Mr. Trudeau have failed on Keystone.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: I look at the facts of the Keystone XL pipeline. I’m simply citing the report done by the U.S. State Department itself, which actually did an independent analysis of this. It creates jobs on both sides of the border, of course as exports always do. I understand the protectionists in the NDP don’t recognize that, but that’s a fact. It’s good for our energy security, displacing foreign oil from countries that are, quite frankly, security risks to North America. And compared to the alternatives, it is by far the best environmental solution in terms of moving our product to market. We have a strong case.
I would also point out the reason I say this will be adopted eventually is through the efforts of our Embassy and this government we have created overwhelming public support in the United States for this position on both sides of the aisle in Congress, in clear majorities in public opinion.
It is my view that when something – the logic of something is overwhelming on an environmental, economic and energy security sense, that its adoption is inevitable. We will continue to make the case and make the case aggressively. Look, as I say, we far more enough than not agree with our American friends but when we do not, we have to stand up for our interests and we have to be very aggressive and vocal in pushing for Canada’s best interests.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, that’s a wonderful idea, but when you actually need the approval of your colleague for something you’re pushing for, the last thing you should be doing is saying that it’s a complete no-brainer or that you won’t take no for an answer or your closer on this whole thing, which was to tell the American administration of President Obama that if you didn’t get it with this administration, you’ll get it with the next administration.
There’s an old saying, Mr. Harper, that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’ll keep fighting, Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I think you were pouring vinegar by the gallon on the Americans, and it’s not a surprise that they were saying no to you. You’re right, though, that there are times when our approach will be different from that of the Americans, and our job is to stand up for Canada. On issues like trade, like climate, like security, overall, we’re going to be in agreement with them. We do have to stand up for Canadian values, but what’s the Canadian value in exporting 40,000 Canadian jobs to the U.S.? It doesn’t make any sense.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You know, Mr. Mulcair, this is – it’s really fundamental. It is amazing that the NDP actually believes that because we export our products and that helps create jobs elsewhere, that’s somehow bad for Canada. The reason trade is so important is it creates economic opportunities on both sides of the border.
You know, I personally have people who – friends who work in this industry, ordinary families who depend on the revenue from this industry. The industry and labour organizations in both the United States and Canada are supportive of this. Labour unions in Alberta say the NDP’s position on this is wrong. You can’t – we cannot take, in the modern global economy of the 21st century, an ideological opposition to trade. Being able to sell our energy products, our other products around the world, is a good thing for Canada.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: This is a very old hat approach from the Conservatives. This is the same approach that’s failed in the past where we rip and ship our natural resources in as raw a state as possible and send them to another country.
The way to build for the future sustainable development of our resources includes basic principles like polluter pay, which Mr. Harper has never applied, which includes putting the cost to the environment, the climate, the greenhouse gasses into your evaluation. We don’t have a complete thorough credible environmental assessment process left in Canada.
And by the way, Mr. Harper has failed, not only in the United States with Keystone, but on his watch there’s not a single kilometre in 10 years of pipeline that’s been built in Canada, and there’s a reason for it. You can force the matter and gut environmental legislation like he did, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, Species at Risk, Fisheries, but unless the public’s onside, it’s not going to get built, and that’s what’s happened. Mr. Harper has only himself to blame. We’ve got to start adding value to our resources here in Canada.
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: (Crosstalk) jobs here.
Rudyard Griffiths: — we’ve gotten – we’ve gotten off topic here, so I’d like to now bring in Mr. Trudeau for his thoughts on the Canada-U.S. relationship. And, gentlemen, that’s what I want us to focus on in this section.
Justin Trudeau: Our relationship with the U.S. is the most important foreign relationship that Canada has. How the Prime Minister can work with the President is at the top of the list of what a Prime Minister needs to get right. They’re our most valuable and trusted ally. They’re our nearest neighbour, and they’re our most important trading partner.
How we engage to ensure that there are jobs for Canadians and economic growth is deeply wrapped in how we’re getting along. Unfortunately, Mr. Harper has narrowed the entire relationship with the United States to a single point around the Keystone XL pipeline, and he went to New York and criticized and harangued the President.
That is not the kind of relationship we need because not only does it not get the outcome that was desired of getting an approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, it also interferes with our capacity to deal with other issues because it’s, quite frankly, all Mr. Harper and his Ministers wanted to talk to the U.S. about.
Whether it’s Buy American, whether it’s the auto sector and the TPP negotiations going on, whether it’s just jobs and growth for Canadians, the fact is that Canadians are sitting around worried about their jobs because we have a Prime Minister that doesn’t like Barack Obama.
We need to do much better than that and that personal relationship that Mr. Harper has had difficulty creating, not just with the U.S. President, he doesn’t share his ideology but with Premiers across the country and municipalities and a wide range of people. It’s injuring these relationships that mean jobs and growth. How we build our industry depends on the U.S.
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, let’s – let’s bring in Mr. Harper to reply.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have a great relationship with the U.S. Administration. I have a great relationship with President Obama. (Laughter.) And by the way, the Americans have never said otherwise and neither have we. This is just an invention. In fact, what we have actually been able to do is stand up for our interests on things like Keystone while pursuing a broad range of initiatives with our American partners.
Now, I ask you to look at the alternative. Imagine first day of office that we would have a Prime Minister who would say to the United States, “We are pulling out of the joint military mission against the Islamic State. And why? Because you, Mr. Obama, are continuing the policies of George W. Bush.” Seriously, if you really want to poison the relationship, that would be the way to do it. We are acting with the Americans around the world, and we share interests.
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Trudeau, I want to – I want to ask Mr. Mulcair to respond to that because it goes right to the heart of his policies regarding the Islamic State and the international coalition, so please.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: And our relation with the United States.
Rudyard Griffiths: Exactly.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s interesting to hear the Prime Minister cite our allies only when it suits his purpose, and it’s not based on a question of values. So in the case of fighting the Islamic State, he’ll say, well, we have to do the same as the Americans, the British and the French because they’re involved in this combat mission.
When it comes to the deal that France, the United States and Great Britain helped ensure that Iran’s nuclear ambitions were peeled back, Mr. Harper attacks that as being wrongheaded. So it’s not a question of the fact that some of our allies agree and some of us don’t. We just said the same thing, Mr. Harper, that when it’s not in Canada’s interests, we’ll stand up for what Canada needs. And I know that Canada can get back to being a voice for reason.
I want to put Canada on track. I want us to be able to fight the flow of arms, fight the flow of money, fight the flow of foreign fighters, but I also know that an independent Canadian foreign policy means that fundamental Canadian values like fighting harder for peace than for war is what I will bring to my tenure as Prime Minister.
Rudyard Griffiths: We’ve got a minute left and I want to give you the last word on this topic because you came in first. Mr. Harper, please.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have congratulated our allies on working to get a deal with the Iranian regime, but the proof of that will obviously be in the implementation of that deal. We will believe Iran’s words and not its actions and I think our allies will take a very similar position.
I fully admit that we don’t always take the position of our allies. Sometimes, we take our positions based on what we believe are principles. Let me give you a clear example. This government has been perhaps the most unequivocal in the world on the fact that when it comes to the Middle East, we are not going to single out Israel. It is the one western democratic ally. Threats that are directed at that state is on the frontline of the threats directed at us. We are not going to single out the Jewish state for attack and criticism. We recognize unequivocally the right of Israel to be a Jewish state and to defend itself.
Rudyard Griffiths: Last word to Mr. Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau: The issue of Israel where we most disagree as Liberals with Mr. Harper is that he has made support for Israel a domestic political football when all three of us support Israel and any Canadian government will.
But on the question of the U.S. relationship, what we need to make sure is that we continue to engage as a robust member of the coalition fighting to defeat ISIS. There are many countries that don’t have a direct combat role and Canada has proven time and time again that we can contribute. And for our closest friend and allies in the U.S., to relaunch UN peacekeeping today and not have Canada stepping up to say yes, this is a Canadian thing that we can do well and we will support is yet another missed opportunity to have that positive relationship which ultimately means more jobs and more growth for Canadians.
Rudyard Griffiths: Thank you, gentlemen. We’re going to move on to our next topic. In a matter of weeks, we all know world leaders will gather in Paris to negotiate a new global climate change agreement. Mr. Trudeau, Liberal and Conservative governments alike have failed to meet their international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Why should Canadians believe that your government will be any different?
Justin Trudeau: Nous reconnaissons que le défi auquel les gens s’attendent qu’on adresse en tant que gouvernement, c’est de comprendre que l’environnement et l’économie vont ensemble. Nous ne pouvons plus les séparer, et d’ailleurs quand on n’a pas agit en matière de réduction de gaz à effet de serre pendant long-, de longues années, ça nuit à notre économie, ça nuit à nos relations avec les États-Unis. Ça nuit avec nos relations internationales.
Donc, ce que le Parti Libéral dit, ce que je dis maintenant, c’est on met de côté ce jeu politique d’annoncer des cibles optimistes et ambitieuses sans avoir aucun plan pour les livrer. Et nous, ce qu’on a fait le choix de faire c’est d’investir massivement de façon à réduire nos émissions. On parle de 20 milliards de dollars sur 10 ans à investir dans le transport collectif, ce qui va réduire nos émissions en matières de transport. On parle de 20 milliards de dollars sur 10 ans en infrastructure verte et durable pour qu’on puisse arriver à réduire notre impact en gaz à effet de serre.
Et aussi, nous allons investir des centaines de millions de dollars pour développer des technologies vertes de l’énergie propre. Et dans tout ça, nous allons travailler avec les provinces parce que la réalité, c’est que de – dans 10 ans de M. Harper, les provinces ont dû y aller seules. Et on a quatre provinces qui ont mis un prix sur le carbone de différentes façons, et nous nous devons d’avoir un gouvernement fédéral là pour les appuyer, là pour présenter un front uni à Paris dans quelques mois pour démontrer que le Canada est de retour sur la bonne voie.
Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Trudeau. M. Harper, allez-y, entre dans la discussion avec M. Trudeau.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: Je peux dire que pour la toute première fois de l’histoire, pendant la décennie passée, le Canada a eu une croissance économique avec une réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre.
And that’s the first time in history that has happened in the past decade. We’ve had economic growth, but we’ve also had a reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.
As pertains to the conference coming up in Paris, you know, when we came to office a decade ago, we took a position that was considered very radical, opposed by the other parties and by many in the international community. We said that an effective international protocol had to include targets for all major emitters. We now – the Chinese and the Americans who were not a part of the previous protocol are now committed to moving forward with that.
And I am very optimistic. We have established targets very, very similar to our major partners. We’re working with the United States and others, particularly the United States on – on regulatory systems on greenhouse gas emissions, and I am very optimistic we will reach a historical accord in Paris this year.
Justin Trudeau: Vous savez, il, il dit ça, il parle comme ça tout le temps, comme si le Canada est un leader en matières d’environnement. Je pense qu’il commence même à se croire (rires) là-dessus.
La réalité, c’est que tout le monde le sait que M. Harper n’a pas compris un élément de base fondamental: que l’environnement et l’économie, ça va ensemble. Si vous – nous allons, si nous allons créer les emplois de l’avenir, la prospérité économique durable pour nos enfants et nos petits-enfants, nous nous devons de faire nos devoirs au niveau de l’environnement, protéger notre terre, nos eaux, notre – notre air.
Malheureusement, M. Harper, parce qu’il a rien fait sur l’environnement depuis 10 ans, est en train de nuire à notre économie. On n’arrive pas à exporter nos ressources vers les marchés. On est en train de – de se faire traiter de – de – de lâches et de nuiseurs sur – à l’échelle internationale parce qu’on est obstructionniste dans les négociations au niveau des changements climatiques.
La réalité, c’est que tout le monde le sait. On n’est nulle part sur l’environnement. Les Canadiens sont frustrés, le monde entier est frustré envers le Canada. Il est temps que ça change. Il est temps qu’on ait un Premier ministre qui se tient debout, qui comprenne que l’environnement et l’économie, ça va ensemble.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: La chose incroyable, que nous avons pour la première fois une réduction de gaz à effet de serre et un vrai plan de réglementation. On a pris des actions. Comparez ça avec le bilan que défend M. Trudeau de l’ancien gouvernement qui a eu le pire bilan de – de – d’augmentation de gaz à effet de serre du monde.
Let’s, let’s talk about the Liberal record on this. Greenhouse gas emissions have actually gone down ––
Justin Trudeau: Talk about 10 years with you.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– under our government. Under the previous government, they established the toughest standards in the world, and then missed them by the most of any single country. They were 30 percent over their targets. And when we got to office, they didn’t have a single plan to achieve anything.
Justin Trudeau: That’s not true.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have moved forward ––
Justin Trudeau: You know that’s not true, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– we have moved forward on regulatory matters in the transportation sector and the electricity centre – sector, and we’re going to continue to move forward. We have a real plan. We’re taking actions. And by the way, we’re doing that without imposing carbon taxes on the Canadian population.
Justin Trudeau: Non. M. – M – M. Harper, ce que vous – vous reconnaissez pas, c’est que ils ont déjà 86 pour centre de notre économie a annoncé un prix sur le carbone parce que malgré votre inaction totale en matières de réduction de gaz à effet de serre – et vous aussi, vous avez mis de l’avant des cibles qui ne seront pas rencontrées et c’est pour ça que nous, nous mettons de l’argent devant, et pas des cibles devant.
Vous avez, dans votre – vos années d’inaction, vu quatre différentes provinces prendre le leadership nécessaire. La Colombie-Britannique a une taxe sur le carbone extrêmement bien réussie. Votre province de l’Alberta a fait la même chose de leur façon. L’Ontario et le Québec s’engagent dans une bourse du carbone. Nous avons un leadership réel des provinces qui n’attendent qu’un gouvernement à Ottawa les appuie et comprennent que nous avons du travail à faire ensemble aussi.
Mais vous, vous préféreriez vous, vous obstruc-, vous – vous asseoir pour ne pas regarder ce qui doit être fait et la réalité c’est qu’on est en train d’en perdre à tous les jours dans notre réputation internationale. En 2008, quand Barack Obama est venu à Ottawa pour la première fois, il a parlé justement de – d’un – d’une approche continentale intégrée, mais vous n’avez rien fait avec lui depuis ce temps-là et là, les États-Unis y vont tous seuls parce que le Canada ne fait pas partie de la solution.
Nous, nous voulons nous réengager avec les États-Unis, avec le Mexique pour avoir une approche réellement intégrée sur l’énergie, sur l’environnement, sur la croissance économique que nous pouvons faire ensemble. C’est ça le leadership que vous n’avez pas eu depuis 10 ans.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: On – on ne va jamais pris (sic) – on ne va jamais tirer des leçons du parti avec le pire bilan de l’histoire de la planète sur les émissions de gaz à effet de serre. C’est le Parti Libéral de Ca-, du Canada.
But let’s talk about what we actually have done. We talk about the meetings with Mr. Obama. We have embarked on a system, what we – what we are doing in our government is we are not – we are making sure we know exactly where we’re going to reduce emissions in a way that preserves jobs and doesn’t impose costs on consumers. We’re proceeding with a sector by sector regulatory approach. In the transportation and other sectors, methane and oil and gas, for example, we are proceeding in collaboration with the United States.
In the electricity sec-, sector, we’ve actually proceeded in collaboration not with the United States but with our provinces, on a position that is frankly going farther and faster than the United States. We will be the first country in the world to effectively shut down coal-fired – traditional coal-fired electricity. The biggest single source of emissions on the planet are being eliminated in Canada. We’re going to have the cleanest energy sector and we’re doing that without imposing taxes on ––
Justin Trudeau: Mr. – Mr. ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– Canadian consumers.
Justin Trudeau: –– Mr. Harper, you do see the irony of standing here in Toronto and trying to tell people in Ontario that you somehow supported and aided the closing down of the coal-fired plants here in Al-, in – in Ontario. (Applause.) You and your government fought tooth-and-nail against the Ontario government as it was demonstrating that it could reduce its emissions by the most significant degree of any jurisdiction in the country by making a simple policy decision that you were no part of and even blocking and ridiculing ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Ac-, actually ––
Justin Trudeau: –– from your – from your gang in Ottawa.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– Mr. Trudeau, actually, that’s, that’s just ––
Justin Trudeau: –– and then, at the same time, now taking credit for it.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– factually untrue. We have – we have ––
Justin Trudeau: Mr. – Mr. Harper, (applause) these people know better than what you’re trying to say.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– put in place at the national level, it’s a binding system of regulation in collaboration not just with the province of Ontario, but Nova Scotia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, all of the provinces that use coal-fired electricity. It’s an example of collaboration. We’re eliminating coal-fired electricity. And guess what? You talk about the United States. Emissions from their coal-fired electricity sector, from their electricity sector are bigger than emissions from the entire Canadian economy. We’re leading the world on this fa-, on this sector.
Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Harper. Allez-y, M. Mulcair, entres dans la discussion avec eux deux.
L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: En fait, ça risque de surprendre quelques-uns, mais M. Harper a totalement raison lorsqu’il dit que les Libéraux ont utilisé leur signature de Kyoto comme exercice de relations publiques. Il a aussi raison quand il dit que l’ancien gouvernement Libéral avait le pire bilan sauf Kazakhstan, sauf erreur de ma part. Sauf que c’est pas un prétexte de continuer de rien faire.
I have a track record that you can easily refer to. Those figures are published. Every year that I was the Minister of the Environment in Quebec, I actually was able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec. We had a clear plan to do it. The NDP has a clear plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. We’re going to be basing ourselves largely on the successful cap-and-trade model that we used in Canada and in the U.S. to reduce SO2 emissions that was causing a-, acid rain. It works.
But if provinces have been doing something else that also works, we’re not going to be imposing the detail of the means to get there. What we’re going to be talking about is the combined obligation of result. No more excuses possible. No more fake stuff from the Liberals, no more pretending ––
Justin Trudeau: Fourteen billion dollars in infrastructure isn’t fake, Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– to do things from the Conservatives. The NDP will get it done. I have that track record. We have that clear plan. These will be hard caps, there’ll be real limits and they will be enforced. (Applause.)
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair is yet again making the kinds of announcements that aren’t following up – aren’t followed up by any real plan to achieve this because Mr. Mulcair has taken the decision that what he has to do at all costs is balance Mr. Harper’s budget. He cannot make the kinds of investments that the Liberal Party is choosing to make in the kinds of things that Canada needs right now because yes, we have chosen to run three modest deficits to balance the budget by 2019 because the time to invest is now. The time to take action on climate change is now.
These are the choices that we’ve made that you, quite frankly, cannot make. And even as you approached, as you announced with tremendous strength and pomp your – your climate change plan ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I leave the pomp to you, Justin.
Justin Trudeau: –– we have (laughter and applause), we have your friend and – and ally, the NDP Premier of – of Alberta who said that you know what? She’s not so crazy about your approach on climate change reductions. When you can’t even get an NDP Premier to endorse your environmental plan, you know you’re in real trouble, Mr. Mulcair. (Applause.)
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Actually, Mr. Trudeau, Alberta is of one mind with us on the obligation of result. But this is about sustainable development. And when you say that your only way of governing is going to be dump a massive economic debt on the backs of future generations, you’re right. We strongly disagree with you because Mr. Harper has left a huge ecological debt on the backs of future generations. And the last time the Liberals were in power with their 24 percent cut to social and health transfers, that left a huge social debt on the backs of future generations.
The NDP has the best track record of any party in Canada for balanced budgets. When we took over Saskatchewan with Tommy Douglas, and for (laughter) when we took, oh you’re right, you’re right, I forgot I was in Toronto, there was one exception but it turned out that Bob Rae was a Liberal. (Laughter and applause.)
Tommy Douglas took over a Saskatchewan that the Liberals had left in bankruptcy, ran 17 consecutive balanced budgets in a row and brought in free universal public medical care.
Justin Trudeau: You know ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: When we bring in $15 a day quality child care, it won’t be on the backs of ––
Justin Trudeau: –– in years from now —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– future generations.
Rudyard Griffiths: Gentlemen, gentlemen, I’m going to have to jump in here. We ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It will be on your basis of a solid foundation ––
Rudyard Griffiths: –– have gone from climate change to balanced budgets.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– of balanced budgets.
Rudyard Griffiths: This is a foreign policy debate. We had an economics debate (laughter) the week before last. So let’s re-centre the discussion in our remaining moments. Mr. Harper, back to you on ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, just very briefly ––
Rudyard Griffiths: –– climate change and the Paris negotiations.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– both of these parties will never actually lay out precisely where it is they intend to reduce emissions. The advantage of proceeding sector by sector is you actually know what you’re going to do and you’re able to – able to make sure you minimize the cost on jobs and the Canadian economy. We’re also investing ov-, a billion a year, have been for 10 years on green energy and energy efficiency.
The only real policies ever proposed by either of these parties are effectively carbon taxes where we would hit consumers. And frankly, carbon taxes are not about reducing emissions. They’re about raising revenue for the government. The case of – Mr. Trudeau’s right, in the case of Mr. Mulcair’s plan, it’s already been rejected by an NDP government in Alberta.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s not true.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That tells you where it’s going.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Completely false.
Rudyard Griffiths: Okay, gentlemen, we’re going to wrap up that topic and move on to our final long form discussion.
Mr. Mulcair, I want to start with you. Your party is opposed publicly to making concessions on supply management and aspects of auto manufacturing in the context of the current Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Does this mean that under an NDP-led government Canada would be locked out of some of the world’s fastest-growing markets?
L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Merci beaucoup. Regardes, oui, plus tôt cette semaine, j’ai eu l’occasion de parler avec Marcel Groleau qui est le président de l’Union des producteurs agricoles. Et comme nous, il est très préoccupé parce que j’ai écrit au Premier ministre Harper, le sommant de s’engager clairement sans ambages à défendre intégralement notre système de gestion de l’offre, qui est un système dont on peut être fier.
Quand on se compare aux autres qui subventionnent à qui mieux mieux, on n’a pas d’excuses à donner pour notre système de gestion de l’offre. Alors les fermes avicoles, les fermes de production laitière à travers le Québec et dans le Sud de l’Ontario et ailleurs au Canada sont extrêmement préoccupées parce qu’ils savent qu’avec trois semaines avant l’élection tout est permis.
After we finished the last debate, Mr. Harper went public and he said if you’re in the auto sector, you should be worried about what he’s negotiating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On Mr. Harper’s watch, we’ve already lost 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs. There are 80,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs in the auto sector. What’s on the table?
When President Obama wanted to discuss this this week — this is how good the relationship is — he phoned the President of Mexico. We were frozen out. I’m quite concerned about what’s being left on the table by the Conservatives. And our dairy farmers have every right to be concerned; I think that supply management is on the table. And Mr. Harper doesn’t keep his word on these things. Ask anybody in Newfoundland and Labrador. When he got their approval for the European trade deal, it was on a promise to give them money to compensate what they were giving up in terms of processing a fish. And you know what? He broke his promise.
Rudyard Griffiths: M. Trudeau, quelle est votre opinion sur la question?
Justin Trudeau: Bien, c’est sûr que nous avons pu signer bien des accords à l’international sans mettre en danger notre – notre système agricole de gestion de l’offre. La réalité c’est que M. Harper, comme il a toujours fait, est en train de démontrer un manque complet de transparence, pas en train de dire ce qu’il est en train de faire, et comme M. Mulcair le souligne bien, M. Harper régulièrement est en train de briser sa parole sur – revenir sur sa parole sur bien des enjeux au niveau de promesses faites en matière de commerce international.
Nous avons besoin d’accords de commerce international. On sait que c’est bon pour les emplois. On a besoin d’attirer de l’investissement. C’est la réalité que nous devons, et on peut pas faire semblant non plus que le monde est un marché libre en termes d’agriculture. Nous – on a – on a un système qui fonctionne, et on a signé des accords très importants sans le mettre en péril. Mais nous avons besoin de ces accords-là. Nous avons besoin d’attirer de l’investissement étranger. Nous avons besoin pour créer des emplois ici au Canada.
Vous savez que des secteurs qui – manufacturiers et exportateurs paient 50 pour cent plus élevé en salaires aux Canadiens de la classe moyenne que les secteurs qui n’exportent pas. Le commerce international est essentiel pour le Canada. M. Harper aime bien parler de son appui et des accords qu’il a signés, mais notre – nos exportations ont eu le pire taux de croissance sous son gouvernement depuis la deuxième guerre mondiale. Il n’est pas en train de livrer à ce niveau-là.
L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Moi, je vais vous dire que lorsqu’on regarde le bilan des libéraux en la matière, rappelez-vous pour se faire élire Jean Chrétien avait promis dans son Livre rouge, le même Livre rouge où il avait promis d’abolir la TPS — vous vous souvenez du Livre rouge? Dans ce Livre rouge c’était écrit qu’il allait déchirer l’Accord du libre échange nord-américain dès qu’il format un gouvernement. Il a évidemment rien fait de la sorte.
C’est pour ça qu’il faut faire tellement attention avant de les signer parce qu’une fois que c’est mal trissé, une fois que ça rentre dans les moeurs, une fois que tout le monde dépend, c’est extrêmement difficile de toucher.
Il y a des aspects de l’ALÉNA, notamment en ce qui concerne la capacité de l’État de protéger la santé et l’environnement qui ont causé problème — le chapitre 11 était un vrai défi. M. Trudeau a dit qu’il appuyait l’entente avec l’Europe avant de l’avoir lu. Comment je sais qu’il l’avait pas lu? Parce que ça avait pas encore été publié. Il s’est levé à la Chambre des communes pour féliciter chaudement M. Harper pour son entente avec l’Europe. Il y a des aspects de cette entente-là, comme les dispositions sur l’État investisseur, qui nous préoccupent et qui préoccupent plusieurs pays de l’Europe. C’est pour ça que même s’il l’a déjà annoncé une demi-douzaine de fois, il y a pas encore d’entente avec l’Europe.
On va arrêter de faire semblant qu’on peut avancer juste à coup de slogans de la part des conservateurs ou sans les avoir lus. Moi, je n’accepterais jamais sur des questions cruciales d’environnement ou de santé ou autres que je laisse un panel non défini d’experts internationaux commencer à décider ce que je devrais avoir le droit de décider dans l’intérêt du public. Ça c’est une valeur fondamentale canadienne de maintenir l’autorité de l’État de prendre ces décisions-là dans l’intérêt du public.
Justin Trudeau: Vous savez, M. Mulcair on le sait est en train d’essayer de changer le NPD pour être plus à son image, mais la réalité c’est que il a encore énormément de difficulté à comprendre que nous avons besoin des accords de commerce international pour bâtir un avenir plus fort pour nos travailleurs, pour notre économie. Le Parti NPD n’appuie aucun accord de commerce international qu’on a signé dans les années récentes. Il est – ah, non, c’est vrai, il en a appuyé un avec la Jordanie. C’est le seul qu’il a accepté.
L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: C’est faux.
Justin Trudeau: La réalité c’est que c’est un gouverne-, c’est un parti qui a toujours – n’a pas compris à quel point c’est important d’attirer de l’investissement envers le Canada, d’avoir des marchés pour l’exportation, d’être engagé avec les économies grandissantes de l’Asie. Nous avons un besoin d’être engagés. Et oui, le Parti libéral est – croit fermement aux accords internationaux. Nous savons que c’est essentiel pour la croissance économique, pour créer des bons emplois pour les Canadiens. C’est pour ça que nous avons applaudi l’accord Canada-Europe. Mais effectivement, comme beaucoup d’autres accords, M. Harper n’a pas fini de livrer encore. On n’est nulle part avec la Chine, même si l’Australie vient juste de signer. On est en tout début avec l’Inde, malgré le rapprochement que M. Harper a essayé de faire récemment avec le Premier ministre. Et avec les États-Unis, on en souffre au niveau de l’échange du commerce international.
Mais la réalité c’est que je viens de penser, oui, il y a un enjeu que M. Mulcair veut entrer en échange avec les États-Unis et ça c’est l’exportation de l’eau en vrac.
Mr. Mulcair, 20 years ago, proposed that we export — as Minister of Environment in Quebec — proposed that we export bulk water —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s false, Justin, and you know it.
Justin Trudeau: — to the United States. You gave a speech on it.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s false.
Justin Trudeau: You compared it to forestry. Mr. Mulcair, you are —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s false, Justin.
Justin Trudeau: — you are willing to sell our water to the United States.
Rudyard Griffiths: Jump in.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Yeah.
Rudyard Griffiths: Please jump in, Mr. Mulcair. An accusation’s been made. We’d like you to respond.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Sure. First of all, with regard to trade deals, the – it was a trade deal with Korea that was backed by the NDP, so Mr. Trudeau is inventing facts once again. When I was the Minister, we had lots of debates, but the important thing to look at is what we decided, and I decided to shut the door because bulk water exports would have been a terrible idea, especially under the North America Free Trade Agreement and the Proportionality Clause, and we made sure that we shut the door and we locked it tight.
Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk, inaudible.)
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Trudeau doesn’t understand debates because he’s used to having people write his lines for him. (Laughter.) But with regard – with regard to Korea —
Justin Trudeau: We’ve had 10 years of (crosstalk). We don’t need it from you, Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — it is a representation – it is a representation of what the NDP knows how to do. We are looking for an even playing field. We are looking for trade agreements with countries that share our values, whether it’s the protection of the environment or the protection of workers’ rights. This is an even playing field. This can be about reciprocity. But what we won’t do is what Mr. Harper’s done is sign deals with countries like Honduras who, right after a coup, Mr. Harper ran to try to make a deal with Honduras. That’s a country that doesn’t respect workers’ rights. It doesn’t respect human rights, and we shouldn’t be putting them on an even playing field with us because we’re communicating that we find that’s okay.
Same thing with our trade deal with Colombia. There are times when you have to stand up and say Canadians expect their government to reflect their values when they’re putting their name on a trade agreement, and Mr. Harper has consistently failed to show any respect for those fundamental Canadian values.
Rudyard Griffiths: Mr. Mulcair, I need to go to Mr. Harper now.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: In the 21st century, the global economy, the creation and the retention of good-paying jobs are going to depend vitally on having privileged trade access to the major economies of the world. We’ve been able to achieve deals in this continent, with Europe and now with – with the Republic of Korea. We’re now working in the Asia-Pacific region. Every time, we have done so in making sure we also protect our vital interests, advance the interests of our automobile sector, protect the interests of supply management, advance the interests of Canadian agriculture.
Look, there is always a reason to walk away from the table. There is always a reason to be against agreements. These parties here opposed the original Canada-U.S. agreement. They opposed NAFTA. Some of them oppose Europe. But the reality is we have been able to do these agreements, advance the interests of the Canadian economy. We will only sign a deal if it is in the interests of the Canadian economy, but we are going to sit at the table, and we’re going to make sure we’re there and that we advance and defend Canadian interests.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper talks about how many deals he’s signed over the past years, what a great job he’s done reaching out around the world, but Canada has the worst rate of export growth – or sorry, the Prime Minister – this Prime Minister has the worst rate of export growth of any prime minister since World War II. So if this is your best efforts, Mr. Harper, we have to worry about what – what will happen if you get reelected because the fact of the matter is Canada needs to engage positively on the world stage, and our diplomacy, our cultural exchanges, our engagement in humanitarian efforts, our climate change responsibilities all feed into how we’re able to engage in the kinds of trade deals that are going to bring good jobs to Canadians, that are going to create a brighter future for people because we know that export intensive industries pay 50 percent higher wages than non-exporting industries.
Rudyard Griffiths: Thank you, Mr. Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau: This is something we need to do.
Rudyard Griffiths: I’m going to quickly go to Mr. Harper to reply and then to Mr. Mulcair.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, we’re in a sta–, in a decade of global economic instability, we’ve increased our exports 50 percent.
Justin Trudeau: All with someone else’s (crosstalk).
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’re not living in a different era. We’re living in an era that has been very difficult, where Canada’s performance in job creation growth is – is the best among the G-7. We need to continue that by taking forward-looking actions. That includes the historic steps we’ve taken to conclude trade deals in this continent, to conclude trade deals in Europe and also work to try and get trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region. And you don’t get those deals by coming up with a million reasons why you’re against them before you even get to the table and why you should walk away once you’re there.
We’re there. We’ve had a successful – we’ve had a successful record of making sure we defend the broad interests of the Canadian economy, open up our markets, and that is what we’re going to continue to do.
L’Hon. Thomas Mulcair: M. Harper, Marcel Groleau m’a demandé de vous poser la question. C’est le président de l’Union des producteurs agricoles. Lui veut savoir de votre part si vous allez défendre intégralement notre système de gestion de l’offre. Je vous laisse lui répondre.
Le très hon. Stephen Harper: M. – M. Mulcair, notre position est claire depuis le début. Dans toutes nos négociations internationales, nous avons toujours défendre le système de gestion de l’offre. Nous continu–, nous continuons ça dans ces négociations. Nous défendons aussi les agriculteurs s’ils sont hors de cet système, et nous défendons les intérêts de tous les secteurs. Et notre engagement est de – est de conclure un accord qui est dans l’intérêt supérieur de toute l’économie canadienne.
Rudyard Griffiths: Last word to you, Mr. Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau: This election is about how we actually build a stronger and brighter future for us all. Now the Liberal Party has put forward propositions, and you’ve heard about them, on deficits to invest in our communities and our infrastructure. But we also understand that trade and creating good jobs is at the heart of what every Canadian prime minister needs to do. We are too big a country with too few people to be able to do it all on our own. We need trade with the U.S., with countries around the world to actually grow our economy to create good jobs for Canadians. And the fact that Mr. Harper hasn’t been able to get it done on the big files and Mr. Mulcair continues to obstruct and deny the importance of trade means that the choice is clear in this election to pick the Liberal Party of Canada.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: In fact, Mr. Trudeau, 99 percent of the free trade access of this country has been created by Conservative governments. What we always get from the Liberal Party is platitudes on trade, but you don’t have the vision and you don’t have the determination to actually sit at the table, make the tough decisions and get the deal. That’s what we’re doing. (Applause.)
Rudyard Griffiths: Very brief final interjection by Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Rudyard. The question to ask is who do you want representing Canada at the Climate Change Conference in Paris in December? Who do you want sitting across from Angela Merkel as we do try to get a deal that suits all of our purposes? Who represents Canadian values on all of the issues we’re discussing tonight?
For 150 years, we’ve been told we have no choice but to alternate between the sponsorship scandal and the Liberals and the Senate scandal and the Conservatives. (Laughter.) This time around, there’s a real choice of an NDP government — a progressive, forward-looking choice for Canada and for Canadians’ values.
Rudyard Griffiths: Merci, M. Mulcair. Mesdames et messieurs, nous sommes arrivés à la fin de notre débat. Let’s give a big round of applause for all three party leaders for taking part. (Applause.)
All of us here hope that this debate has helped inform the vote that you, the viewing audience, everyone here in this auditorium will cast in three weeks’ time. Let’s be sure, all of us, regardless of our views, our party, to head to the polls to vote.
For those of you watching online right now – (applause) – our post-debate panel begins co-hosted by Facebook Canada and The Globe and Mail.
Merci de nous avoir suivis. Thank you for watching the Munk Debate on Canada’s foreign policy. Bonsoir. (Applaudissements.)
Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 29, 2015
Source: Macleans, 9-17-15
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SEGMENT ONE: ECONOMY PT. 1
SEGMENT ONE: TAXATION
SEGMENT TWO: ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
SEGMENT THREE: INFRASTRUCTURE
SEGMENT FOUR: IMMIGRATION
SEGMENT FIVE: QUESTIONS, AND OPEN DEBATE
David Walmsley: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Globe and Mail debate on the economy. We are coming to you live from Calgary with a studio audience, and they join you, our viewing audience, for the next 90 minutes as we discuss the key issues of this 2015 campaign. Let’s welcome the three party leaders here tonight. From the Conservative Party, Stephen Harper; from the New Democratic Party, Thomas Mulcair; and from the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau.
There is little doubt this election is about the economy. All parties, I think, can agree at least with that. With the country struggling to find its economic mojo, we have some tough questions for the leaders this evening. The first half deals with six topics: jobs; energy and the environment; infrastructure; immigration; housing; and taxation. Each area will begin with a question from me to one of the three leaders, with a follow-up question to that same leader. I’ll then push the question to a second leader for a quick answer before an open-floor debate. None of the three leaders has advance knowledge of the questions, only the broad themes. And the order of speaking and the positions on the stage were randomly drawn with party representatives. That’s the housekeeping. Let’s begin.
The reason we are here tonight is to come to grips with this country’s challenges. And the first question goes to you, Mr. Harper. And the question is on jobs. Canada is facing structural rather than cyclical change. Do you have a jobs plan for industry beyond taking things out of the ground?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Absolutely, David. But if you don’t mind, let me just begin by saying, because we’re in southern Alberta, I want to take a moment to give my condolences to the Blanchette and the Dunbar families on the terrible deaths of Hailey and Terry. These were obviously senseless acts, and I know that everybody here, across the country, our thoughts and prayers are with those families.
On jobs, David, our approach is multifaceted. There’s several things we’re doing. Obviously the centrepiece of our plan is to make sure we have – we are making practical investments that are affordable, that we can do while keeping our taxes down and keeping our budget balanced. But there’s a number of things we’re doing, including: for instance, particular interventions in the labour market to make sure we’re training people for the jobs that are available; orienting our immigration policy that way; encouraging innovation in our manufacturing sector; opening up trade markets. We’ve signed more trade agreements than ever before. There’s a whole series of things we’re doing, but the core to protecting our economy is making sure that our budgets remain balanced and our taxes remain down.
David Walmsley: Thank you. Your dream, though, of being an energy super power have not been realized. For those who are worried about jobs of the future, what comes next?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, I – you know, I think I just laid out exactly where we’re going. We are living in a very challenged global economy. We have enormous economic instability out there. Through it all, the Canadian economy has managed to create a large number of jobs, a better record than anyone in the G7, 1.3 million net new jobs since the end of the global financial crisis, most of them full time in the private sector in good-wage industries. Incomes have been rising.
Now, there are still challenges, and we can do more, but the essence of our plan is making sure that we make investments that we can afford. The other parties are trying to tell us they will deal with the challenges of our economy, of our labour market, of international markets, by raising taxes and running deficits to finance vastly increased amounts of spending. That is not the way to protect our economy in this environment. The way to protect our economy is make specific investments that will help build our labour force, build our infrastructure, build our manufacturing and other resource industries, while at the same time making sure we’re keeping our taxes down and our budget balanced.
David Walmsley: Thank you, Mr. Harper. That’s Mr. Harper’s answer.
To Mr. Mulcair we go. Jobs. You need to do more, surely, than support just the manufacturing sector. What is your jobs plan?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I listened carefully to your question to the Prime Minister, and I was disappointed that he wasn’t able to go beyond resource extraction. Mr. Harper put all of his eggs into one basket, and then he dropped the basket. Four hundred thousand well-paid manufacturing jobs lost on his watch. There are now 300,000 more Canadians without a job than when the recession hit in 2008. So we have a plan to kick-start the economy, to grow manufacturing jobs, work on innovation. We want to drop the taxes of Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses because they create 80 percent of new jobs in this country.
And we also want to help people get ahead and make their lives easier because making sure that you can balance your work life and your family life is important to the NDP. So that’s why one of our key planks in this platform is to make sure that we bring in quality, affordable child care across Canada, at most $15 a day. Once it’s fully ramped up, that’ll be one million quality, affordable child care spaces across the country. That’ll be good for the economy, but it’ll also be good for women because that’s almost always women who make tough sacrifices in their careers.
David Walmsley: OK. Thank you, Mr. Mulcair. Mr. Trudeau, can you please lead this open part of the debate?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Now – thank you, David. It’s great to be here in Calgary tonight. I want to start with a few questions, my friends. Are you better off now than you were ten years ago, when Stephen Harper became Prime Minister? Is our country better off? Do you have better job prospects? Do you have confidence that your kids have a brighter future? I’ve spent a long time talking with thousands of Canadians across this country. And Mr. Harper may not see what’s going on from 24 Sussex Drive, but I do. I know that Canadians are worried about their jobs, and that’s what this election is about, their jobs and the jobs that their kids are going to have.
David Walmsley: But Mr. Trudeau —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s why —
David Walmsley: What would your —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — we have a plan, a strong and clear plan to invest in the middle class, to grow the economy, give it a kick-start it needs, and put more money in Canadians’ pockets. It starts with actually raising taxes on the wealthiest one percent so we can lower them for the middle class. It starts with investing in Canada once again: in roads; in clean water; in transit; in jobs. And when we talk about that investment, we’re very clear. We’re going to run three modest deficits in order to pay for it.
Now, those are the kinds of investments that Mr. Harper hasn’t made for ten years. And if you think this economy’s doing great, then Mr. Harper is your guy.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: But if you need a change —
David Walmsley: Would you care to respond?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — the Liberal Party has a plan.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look. I’ve never said things are great. What I’ve said is we’re leading – living in a very unstable global economic environment. The questions I would ask people at home are the following. In the last ten years, where would you rather have been in all this global economic instability? Where would you rather have been than Canada? Looking forward, where would you rather be than Canada? I think the are – these are the key questions.
Mr. Trudeau proposes permanent deficits. He proposes – he’s opposed, for example, to our cuts to small business. The rea—small business taxes. And the reason Mr. Trudeau said he was opposed to small business cuts is he said a large percentage of small businesses are just wealthy people avoiding taxes. Mr. Trudeau, small business —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — is the backbone of the middle class, and it’s the backbone of the Canadian economy.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That’s why among our investments —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — you know full well —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — we’re cutting taxes for small business (crosstalk) —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Mr. Harper, you know full well —
David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Trudeau.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — that the Liberal – Mr. Harper knows full well that the Liberal Party plan is to drop small business taxes from 11 to nine percent. He’s just playing politics. We have a plan not only to encourage small businesses but to invest in what small businesses need, like reliable transportation, like a growing economy. Mr. Harper has not only the worst growth record on jobs – the worst job creation record since World War II; he has the worst record on economic growth since the Great Depression.
David Walmsley: OK.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: We need to grow this economy —
David Walmsley: Let’s get to Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — and he has failed.
David Walmsley: You’re hearing a good ding-dong between these two. Where are you?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I’m going to try to ring their bell. While Mr. Harper thinks that everything is just fine the way it is, Mr. Trudeau is proposing to dump tens of billions of dollars in new debt on the backs of future generations. The Prime Minister wants to hit the snooze button, while Mr. Trudeau is hitting the panic button. Canadians deserve to know what they’re voting on in this election. The NDP has put its numbers out there. We put out a costed plan yesterday. It’s frankly reliable, and it’s sustainable. We’ve put out numbers, and neither of these will do the same. At least we should respect the voting public and let them have an informed decision in this election.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, Mr. Mulcair —
David Walmsley: — you grimaced with that.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look. Both of these parties talk about cutting taxes for small business, doing the small business tax cut that we are already moving forward with for the next four years. But what they also propose – and small businesses know this around the country. They propose hikes to payroll taxes, to CPP particularly and also employment insurance, that are ten times bigger than the tax cuts they are promising small business. That’s why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has come out against these plans. That’s why Canadian Federation of Independent Business and other experts today said that Mr. Mulcair’s tax increases will cost at least 250,000 jobs. You don’t protect our economy and you don’t move it forward and create jobs by (crosstalk).
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: If Mr. Harper —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper –
David Walmsley: (Crosstalk) Trudeau, please. Mr. Trudeau.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper has demonstrated once again that he’s missing the point. Canadians need support. The fact that he’s talking about pensions as taxes – why pensions aren’t taxes, Mr. Harper, is when people retire they get their pension money back. They don’t get taxes back. That’s where the difference is.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, Mr. Trudeau, that’s a decision —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: And Mr. Mulcair needs to hit —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — for people to make themselves.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Mr. Mulcair needs to hit the wake-up call. Mr. Mulcair has missed the opportunity to invest in Canadians the way we need to.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: If you were right —
David Walmsley: Let’s – let’s have Mr. Harper quickly respond in a sentence, then we’ll come to Mr. Mulcair.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, we have given all kinds of tax incentives for people to save, and they’re taking advantage of them. Eleven million people —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: No, they’re not, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — (crosstalk) tax-free savings accounts. Workers and employers, small employers, do not want these tax hikes. And when you say they’re not tax hikes, they’re coming right out of the paycheques, a thousand dollars for the Liberal Party proposal out of someone making $60,000 —
David Walmsley: OK. That’s —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — a year. It comes out of the mortgage (crosstalk) —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, you’re inventing (crosstalk) —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — comes out of planning for education —
David Walmsley: — a long answer, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: This comes out of putting food on the table.
David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Mulcair for the final word.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: It’s not just money that appears out of thin air.
David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That was a really long sentence, David. Look, the average Canadian knows that a pension plan is necessary. The Canada Pension Plan, as far as Mr. Harper is concerned, is a tax. We view it as an investment in the future. I’m tired of watching successive Liberal and Conservative governments dump these massive ecological, economic, and social debts on the backs of future generations.
David Walmsley: Thank you very much. And that brings us, with some relief, to the end of the first question.
ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
We move now to the second topic, energy and the environment. And this question goes to Mr. Mulcair. Mr. Mulcair, in the last campaign, the NDP put a cost of $21 billion on its carbon pricing policy. What is your current proposal, and what would the cost be for carbon emissions?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, thank you very much, David. And we know that a dynamic and innovative energy sector is crucial for Canada for the years to come. And we also know that Canada has international obligations that it has to follow through on. The Liberals signed Kyoto with no plan. They admitted they had no plan to respect it. That’s why they went on to have one of the worst records in the world for greenhouse gas production. Shamefully, Stephen Harper made Canada the only country in the world to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.
Now, when I talk about avoiding leaving a massive debt on the backs of future generations, this is exactly what we’re talking about. So yes, we’ve always believed that the best way to ensure a reduction in greenhouse gases is with what’s called a cap and trade system. Actually, Canada and the United States had a very successful model of that to reduce SO2 when it was causing acid rain on our forests. It’s worked before, and it can work again. But above that, everybody has to understand that there are tens of thousands of jobs across the country, and especially here in Alberta, that rely on that sector, and we need to understand that we have to develop our resources responsibly and sustainable, which is exactly what I did when I was the Minister.
David Walmsley: OK. Mr. Mulcair, I’m going to go back into that. Let’s get the costing. What is the costing for your carbon emission proposal? Is it cap and trade, similar to Ontario and Quebec? Is it a carbon tax like British Columbia? What would the cost be?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: No, I don’t think that you can guarantee a reduction with a carbon tax. A carbon tax is about the tax, although there is more and more information available. A cap and trade system can guarantee the reduction. These are basic principles of sustainable development. You have to make sure that you make the polluter pay for the creation that they’re creating. You can’t allow people to use the air, the soil and the water —
David Walmsley: But Mr. Mulcair, would that not create revenue hemorrhaging in Alberta, to tie with Ontario and Quebec?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: No, that’s not what happened when we brought in the cap and trade system to reduce the SO2 that was calling – causing acid rain. And you could of course make sure that you’re reinvesting in green energy technologies. Around the world there will be $5 trillion spent on green energy technologies in the next 15 years. Unfortunately, Canada is not even going to be part of it because we have a government that has taken a rip and ship approach to sending our resources as fast as they can to other places. We’ve got to take a different approach, add jobs here in Canada.
David Walmsley: But is the bill – is the bill going to be —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. —
David Walmsley: — more than 21 billion or less?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, of course, as you know, that was something that was proposed last time. And the cap and trade system that we’re proposing now has no such bill, and you know that, Mr. Walmsley.
David Walmsley: OK, thank you. Let’s move now to Mr. Trudeau. For your plan, it looks like a lot of it is left to the provinces. How do you lead the country, perhaps going to the UN climate conference later this year, without a Canadian policy?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Well, we have a Canadian policy, and it’s one that recognizes that for ten years under Mr. Harper, with no leadership on the environment, provinces have moved forward. And 86 percent of our economy, our four biggest provinces, have actually committed to putting a price on carbon, and they’ve done it in different ways, which makes Mr. Mulcair’s proposal so unrealistic. The idea of imposing a bureaucracy out of Ottawa, a cap and trade system, on provinces like British Columbia that have already moved forward with a world-renowned carbon tax that is actually working for them is actually a completely nonsensical plan.
We are committed to working with the provinces to reduce emissions, to encourage them to hit those – the targets needed so that we can contribute as a responsible country once again to reducing emissions. We will go to Paris for the climate change conference with all Premiers to talk about how we are going to meet that responsibility we collectively share on this planet, to prevent a two-degree increase in global temperatures.
David Walmsley: Thank you. I think we’re hearing a lot of skating. Let’s go to the Conservative Leader. Mr. Harper, you start off the open-floor portion.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, David, I would just point out this is the first government in Canadian history that has actually been able to see a reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time seeing the economy grow, and we’re very proud of that. We didn’t do that through carbon tax schemes, principally because carbon taxes are not about reducing emissions, carbon taxes are about raising revenue for the government. And in one form or another, that’s what the other parties are proposing. We’ve been moving forward with a regulatory approach, sector by sector, where we actually know the cause and effects of putting in new regulations and reducing emissions before we actually do it, so it’s not just left to chance.
But I do, David, want to address the other half of the debate, which is the energy sector. You know, it’s an important – it’s been a very important driver of the Canadian economy. It’s obviously having a significant downturn right now because of the fall of energy prices. And that sector needs a government that is on its side. We want to see this sector grow and develop. The other —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: The problem is, Mr. Walmsley —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You know – you know —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — under Stephen Harper’s stewardship we have not built one kilometre of pipeline to tidewater, and it’s easy to understand why. He’s gutted a whole series of environmental laws. We don’t have a credible, thorough, environmental assessment process left in this country. The public is not on side. He thought he was helping the energy companies by destroying that legislation; he’s actually made their lives tougher.
When I was the Minister in Quebec, Mr. Walmsley, I lowered greenhouse gas production in our province every year for the three years I was the Minister of the Environment. It can be done. We brought in overarching sustainable development legislation, the toughest in North America. We went so far as to change the Charter of Rights to include the right to live in a clean environment. It can be done. Mr. Harper sees the environment and the economy as polar opposites. Everybody in Canada knows you have to work on both at the same time.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Which is why we’ve done both. Mr. Mulcair, you actually are the only leader in Canadian history to have gone to another country, you and your colleagues, to the United States, to argue against Canadian jobs and against Canadian development projects.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s exactly the opposite, Mr. Harper.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s exactly the opposite.
David Walmsley: Hold on, Mr. (crosstalk) –
David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau and – Mr. Trudeau (crosstalk) —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: He just said something to me and I’m going to answer him. Forty thousand Canadian jobs would be exported to the United States with Keystone XL. That’s not our figure; that’s the Government of Canada’s figure under Mr. Harper’s Conservatives. I want to create those 40,000 jobs in Canada. Let’s add value to our natural resources here. That’s the way to sustainably develop our resources.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Mulcair, when you export your product –
David Walmsley: Hold on. Hold on.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That’s why trade’s a good thing.
David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Trudeau.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair talks about having Minister of the Environment in Quebec, but I was living in Quebec at that time and I remember he was proposing bulk water exports to the United States for Quebec, and that’s certainly not something we’re interested in.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s completely false (crosstalk).
Hon. Justin Trudeau: You gave a speech on it. You said it could be like forestry —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s completely false.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — in the – well, listen, look at your own record, Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You look at the record, and —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: The fact is Mr. Harper continues —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — (crosstalk) very strong (crosstalk) in place.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — to pretend that there is a —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: These are called debates, Mr. Trudeau. You don’t seem to understand that.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — choice between environment and economy. He chooses to say that you cannot build a strong economy if you’re still protect—if you’re protecting the environment. And that has been his failure, and that has been his failure felt right here in Calgary. He talks about being the best friend that Calgary has ever had, that Alberta has ever had, but he hasn’t gotten pipelines built. He has made the oil sands and international pariah, and with friends like Stephen Harper —
David Walmsley: OK, let’s – can we – let’s —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Alberta doesn’t need enemies.
David Walmsley: — get away from politics for a moment. Let’s bring it back to some costing. What is the costing of your plan? Mr. Mulcair first.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Our plan for sustainable development includes bringing in overarching legislation that will be rigorously enforced and provide action when a company is trying to pollute the environment. Mr. Harper talks a good game on international trade deals. He’s done everything in his power to stop the authorities that exist under the North American Free Trade Agreement from even measuring the pollution going into the environment in Canada. That’s his track record.
We’ll enforce overarching sustainable development legislation. We’ll apply it fairly and equally to everyone. And Canadians will know that we’re going to stop leaving this massive ecological debt to – on the backs of future generations.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Now, you asked about our costing. Not only will we move forward on pricing carbon with the provinces and ensuring that we’re reducing greenhouse gases in a responsible way; the Liberal Party is also committed to investing $20 billion over ten years in greener infrastructure. That’s floodplains mitigation here in Calgary and places across the country; it’s investing in clean jobs, in green tech, in making sure that we’re moving towards renewable energies. Yes, we need to get our resources to market. It’s one of the fundamental responsibilities of a Prime Minister. But in order to do that, we need to move in a responsible way that understands the future that we’re leaving to our kids.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, we’re investing heavily in green energy, about a billion dollars a year in green energy and energy efficiency technology. But what we’re not doing is imposing costs upon consumers. We’re in a fragile global economy. We don’t need additional costs. You know, we heard the same, old story from the NDP on this. They say we’re going to fix this somehow through raising taxes. In their platform yesterday, they put in a bunch of tax increases —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s false.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — for the energy and mining sector.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Completely false.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You know, this is the same story we had in Alberta when the NDP came to office. We’d somehow fix our problems through raising taxes. And now what have we seen? Now I know trades people who are now getting higher individual tax bills. We see people getting layoffs because their employers are paying higher taxes.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper’s solution to everything has been to —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Higher taxes are not the way you’re —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — drop the taxes to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — going to move the energy sector or the Canadian economy forward —
David Walmsley: OK.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — in a challenged global economy.
David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Crosstalk) low taxes and balanced budgets.
David Walmsley: — please. Mr. Mulcair, your final word.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper has dropped the taxes of Canada’s largest corporations by tens of billions of dollars. If that was such a good idea to create jobs, how come we lost 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs? How come we have 300,000 more unemployed today than when Mr. Harper’s first recession hit in 2008?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Jobs are up, and corporate tax revenues are up.
David Walmsley: OK, thank you. We now move to the third topic, which is infrastructure. And this goes to Mr. Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau, you’re committed to taking us into deficit in order to fund your infrastructure plan. Spending money is an easy promise. What does success look like?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Well, Canadians understand that, when you want to buy a new home or renovate your existing home because you’re adding to the family, you take out a bank loan. You know that you can invest in your future because that’s what confident, optimistic countries do. We invest in our future. And right now Mr. Harper thinks that the investments he’s made over the past ten years are enough; they’re not. Because he has the worst job creation rate since World War II, he has the worst growth rate of any Prime Minister since the Great Depression.
We need to create the transit that Canadians need, and we need to start doing it right now. Mr. Mulcair talks about putting things off for three, five, ten, 20 years. That’s not what we need. We’re the only party that’s said yes, we will run three modest deficits because it’s time to invest in Canada once again and give people the support they need. That’s why we’re going to work with municipalities and provinces to identify the necessary projects and get them built because we will invest in the future of our country.
David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau, you say that you would create a new infrastructure bank. That is dependent upon Canada’s pension funds investing. So far, they haven’t chosen to do that because the projects in Canada are too small. What if they don’t sign up?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, that’s not entirely – that’s not at all true, David. We are actually proposing a new infrastructure bank that will help provinces and municipalities borrow at the advantageous rate that the federal government actually has. Yes, we are, as a separate initiative, looking to encourage pension funds to invest here in Canada, but in order to do that, we have to have a much more robust partner in the federal government.
For a decade now, Mr. Harper has under-invested in our infrastructure, and, while he’s been running fiscal deficits, has also been increasing our infrastructure deficit. The fact is Canadians stuck in traffic on the Deerfoot or on the Gardiner or on – or elsewhere across the country know that we need a plan that’s going to tackle transit and roads right now, not a decade from now like Mr. Mulcair, and not – not at all like Mr. Harper has been doing. That’s what our plan is all about. That’s why I’m going to invest in the future of our country.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper, is Mr. Trudeau on to something?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Absolutely not.
You know, look, here are the facts. This year our government is putting more into infrastructure – 15 times more – than the last full year of the Liberal government. That is how much we’ve increased federal infrastructure investments. Over the decade to come, our Economic Action Plan to create jobs and growth has some $80 billion, an unprecedented amount of money that’s being put into federal, provincial, and municipal infrastructure across the country. Of course the easiest thing to do for anybody else is come along and say, you know, let’s just spend more. But we’ve managed to do this without raising your taxes and without borrowing anything as we move forward.
Mr. Trudeau comes along and says let’s spend more, let’s raise taxes, let’s run a deficit. Running a deficit is not the kind of protection our economy needs right now. We’re in an unstable global economy. We’ve managed to return to a balanced budget now for the second year when many other countries haven’t done so. That’s an asset we should continue to pursue, and we don’t need to spend more just for the sake of being able to say we spent more.
David Walmsley: Let’s move to the open-floor part of this question. Mr. Mulcair, you have the lead.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Mr. Walmsley. Mr. Trudeau’s plan is frankly reckless, and it’s uncosted. Municipalities across this country are asked to spend the cost to ha—assume the costs of 60 percent of the infrastructure with only eight percent of the tax base. Mathematically that’s impossible, and it’s not sustainable. But what’s also not sustainable is the old Liberal approach of leaving tens of billions of dollars in debt on the backs of future generation.
We are going to be a reliable, long-term partner for municipalities across the country. We don’t need the short-term thinking of the Liberals.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, let’s —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: We need money invested long term. Our plan is for constant spending over 20 years, 1.5 billion a year in infrastructure, 1.3 billion a year in transit. Those are important sums of money – reliable, long-term.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair – Mr. Mulcair likes to talk about long-term, but what he doesn’t realize is long-term actually starts right now, not five years from now, now 20 years from now, not after a few mandates of Mr. Mulcair in government. Canadians —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, thanks for acknowledging (crosstalk).
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — need help right now. And the fact of the matter is that we have a situation right now where interest rates are low, so borrowing has never been cheaper for the federal government; our debt-to-GDP ratio is low and getting lower; our economy has been flat for ten years. So my question is, now that there are thousands upon thousands of skilled Canadians looking for work in construction and in growth, if this isn’t the time to invest, what would be? Because the fact of the matter is I talked with Mr. – Mayor Nenshi just yesterday, and he was saying that costs for municipal investments are actually down 20 percent this year because – compared to last year because of the circumstance we’re in. This is the time to invest in the future of our country. Canadians know this. The only people who don’t seem to know this are those two gentlemen on the stage.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, not only are we pursuing a long-term, large-scale infrastructure plan under our Economic Action Plan this year; we’re proceeding with a $6 billion plan to eliminate the federal infrastructure deficit entirely going forward. That’s what we’re doing right now. And we’re doing that without borrowing money, without raising taxes. Mr. Trudeau says he will raise taxes. Mr. Mulcair’s plan is the same, old NDP playbook. We saw it in British Columbia, we saw it in Ontario, we’re seeing it in Alberta. A whole bunch more spending, and we can finance that just by raising taxes on a few big corporations and a few rich people. What happens? You start putting people out of work, slowing the economy, killing jobs. That’s the rea—that’s the reality of the NDP plan wherever it has been tried. And when we are in a fragile (crosstalk) —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Actually, Mr. Harper, you’re wrong about that. You’re wrong about that, Mr. Harper —
David Walmsley: Let’s go to (crosstalk).
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair is not going to —
David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians. He’s chosen to not raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians.
David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Mulcair, please. Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Only the Liberal Party will, to give a tax cut to the middle class.
David Walmsley: Please, Mr. Trudeau, let’s go to Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Mr. Walmsley. The NDP is categorical. We will not be raising taxes on individual Canadians. We are going to be asking Canadian large corporations to start paying their fair share. They’re the only Canadians who don’t right now. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper are of one mind. They thought that dropping their taxes by tens of billions of dollars, way below that of our close trading partners, was a good idea; it hasn’t been. But when we do raise it, it’ll be reasonably, and it’ll still be way below what it was under the Liberals, and it’ll even be below the average of what it’s been under the Conservatives.
We’re also going to make sure that we close some tax loopholes, like the stock option tax loophole brought in by the Liberals, which actually will ensure that people are effectively paying more, not a theoretical amount where they have all these loopholes that they can fall back on. With regard to the difference between the Liberals and us, it’s true the Liberals want to raise individuals’ personal income taxes. The NDP won’t do that. I don’t think it’s fair that someone looking at their pay stub is going to see that 58.75 percent is already gone in income tax. That will be the result of Mr. Trudeau’s plan.
David Walmsley: OK.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s not our plan.
David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair talks about corporations being the only people in this country who are not paying their fair share. So he thinks the wealthiest one percent are paying their fair share. But if you look at the past 30 years, incomes for the wealthiest 70 – wealthiest one percent of Canadians have increased by 70 percent while their federal tax share has decreased by 32 percent. Now, I don’t think that’s fair. We’re the only party that is asking that wealthiest one percent who has done well over the past years —
David Walmsley: Mr. —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — to pay a little more —
David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — so we can cut those taxes to the middle class.
David Walmsley: — this question is on infrastructure. Is the creation of another bank the answer?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: It’s an infrastructure bank that loans to municipalities and provinces so they can take advantage of the preferential rates that the federal government gets. It’s a way of – yet another way, on top of the $60 billion of investments we’re making in our municipalities that starts with doubling in the very first year for transit, for child care spaces, and for seniors’ residences. It is time to invest in the future of our country. It has never been more appropriate to invest in the future of our country.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: These two gentlemen can’t see that because they’re stuck in a political way, not an economic way.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Mulcair just claimed he’s going to raise hundreds of millions of dollars through closing treatment of stock options. There is simply not that kind of money in that, and this is the approach of the NDP, to exaggerate how much money they can raise through a few tax hikes. The reality is, when he says he’s not going to raise money on people, the payroll tax hikes of the NDP for CPP and EI amount to over $1500 a person who’s making just $60,000 a year. Those funds come right out of your paycheque. They come right out of the money you’re using to pay your mortgage, buy your clothes —
David Walmsley: OK.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — fund your kids’ education. Those are real costs.
David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: They just don’t go away because —
David Walmsley: You might want to finish off the last (crosstalk) —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — (crosstalk) something down the road.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: The stock option – the stock option tax loophole costs Canadian taxpayers $500 million a year, and it goes mostly to the wealthiest Canadians. We will —
David Walmsley: OK.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — get rid of it.
David Walmsley: We have to leave it there, and we now move to question four. This is on immigration and it goes to Mr. Harper. All parties agree that immigration is central to Canada’s long term economic strategy. What is the right balance between economic migrants and those seeking family reunification?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, every year we put out numbers and I think we’ve maintained a balance between those various categories. We have I think about two thirds of the people who come in are related to economic streams. Others are related to family reunification, refugees, other sorts of streams. What I’m most proud of, David, is this is the first government in Canadian history that, faced with a recession, did not cut our immigration.
The reason we didn’t cut our immigration is because we understand, given the demographic and economic pressures in front of us, that a long-term, large scale immigration program is in this country’s interest. That’s why we’re looking at the long term and I’m very pleased we’ve done that and moved forward on that.
We’re doing specific things to make sure particularly the economic sections of our immigration policy are more oriented to actually getting results. For example, we used to process applications in order. We now have what’s called Express Entry, where we’re targeting those applications that fill actual vacancies in the job market. This is a transformation I think will be very important to making the policy even more effective.
David Walmsley: Should we increase immigration numbers to counter the aging demographic of Canada?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’ve maintained our numbers at very high levels. They’re over 250,000 a year. I think there is room going forward to increased that but obviously we want to make sure we get the right mix because there are significant settlement funding costs that come along with some streams of immigration.
I think that’s a possibility going forward but I think the main thing is that we make sure that we’re maximizing the economic benefits of immigration. I talked about Express Entry.
I’ll give you another example of something we’re doing and that’s the foreign credentials loans program that we brought in as a pilot and we’re now expanding, where we’ve found that if we give through third party groups immigrants very small loans to upgrade their qualifications so they’re recognized in Canada, we can get them into the workforce much more quickly, and we have a payback rate on those loans of well over 90 percent. I think there’s lots of things we can do even within our existing very large levels to improve the system, but I do think we could look at expanding it going forward.
David Walmsley: Thank you very much. Mr. Trudeau, what role does immigration play in your economic plan?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: I think Canada has long known that immigration is essential to our growth. We have a country that has benefited from people coming here from faraway lands, building a better future for themselves and their children and their communities here than they could have anywhere else.
That’s been the strength of this country, the fact that we are a country strong not in spite of our differences but because of them. One of the things that Mr. Harper has continued to under-invest in and not create enough of is family reunification. You talked about it early on, David. This is something that is really important, to create strong communities because, yes, the economic benefits of immigrants are well known but there is more to them than just workers. They are community builders. They are creating stronger cities and a stronger future for future generations. That’s where the cuts he has made to integration programs, to helping Canadians actually succeed, are so disappointing because Canada has always given people a path to succeed here in this country. That’s what we need to get back to once again.
David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair?
Hon. Tom Mulcair: Canada is a country of immigrants. Unless you’re First Nations, Inuit or Metis your family immigrated to Canada, and it’s what built this great country, David. I couldn’t be prouder than to tell you that my wife Catherine immigrated to Canada. She’s one of the many people who has just contributed so much and I think we can be so proud of that tradition.
Under Mr. Harper’s Conservatives, we have been closing the door more and more on certain aspects of immigration. Mr. Trudeau just referenced it and he’s right. Family reunification is essential. It’s always been part of our immigration system. It’s been completely shut down under Mr. Harper’s Conservatives. I personally believe that the best social program is a united family, and you’ve got that strong family base there allowing people to come in. It shouldn’t be considered, as the Conservatives always call it, a burden for society. I think it’s something that contributes a great deal.
On temporary foreign workers, we know that they left that program a shambles. It was created to help in areas like agriculture but it went off in all different directions. Even Mr. Harper in a secret meeting with some media in Vancouver admitted that it was a total shambles.
There’s one final point. Mr. Harper referenced recognition of foreign diplomas and credentials. Unfortunately, it’s still the number one cause of unemployment amongst immigrants, failure to recognize diplomas and credentials. I used to be chair of the Quebec Professions Board. I’ve got a lot of experience on this. I know we could be doing a lot more to help that.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: I’m not sure how you have a secret meeting with the media.
David Walmsley: We wish.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: You’d manage it, Mr. Harper. I know you’d manage it.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let me just correct the facts. Under the first ten years of this government, we’ve seen family class and family reunifications rise by 25 percent. When it was under the previous Liberal government, it went down nearly 50 percent in their first few years in office as they cut back immigration levels. We haven’t done that.
I think people understand that – new Canadians particularly – the Liberal Party talked a good game but didn’t deliver. We have 2.5 million newcomers in this country who have overwhelmingly contributed positively to this country. They’re entrepreneurs. They’re family people. They’re growing our economy, working hard, and this is one of the most positive things about this country. That we are able, through controlled and legal immigration, to have the best record of immigration and success in immigration anywhere in the world is something I think we all should be very proud of.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper demonstrated over the past weeks that in the case of refugees Canada is not doing enough. This is something Mr. Harper has unfortunately done a number of times. He likes to talk about standing up against tyrants and dictators and against terrorists, but you know who stands up to dictators and terrorists? Families fighting to keep their family together, hoping for a better life for them. They cross the oceans and they make it to Canada, and what does Mr. Harper do? He takes away their health care. The fact is we need to once again be a country that is open and welcoming. Yes, we need to be concerned about security but we don’t take that as the excuse to close our doors. In years past, whether it was Joe Clark, the Conservative Prime Minister who brought in tens of thousands of Vietnamese boat people, whether it was other governments who welcomed in people who built, who contributed to this country.
We need to once again be the open generous country, not naïve, making sure we’re doing security right but not using it as an excuse to do less than we should, than the vast majority of Canadians including mayors and Premiers feel we should.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper, this time bring it back to the economy.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let me just correct the record on a couple of things.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Refugees are about the economy, David.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Inaudible) what you said about refugees. First of all, the fact of the matter we have not taken away health care from immigrants and refugees. On the contrary, the only time we’ve removed it if we had clearly bogus refugees who have been refused and turned down. We do not offer them a better health care plan than the ordinary Canadian can receive. That is not something that new and existing and old stock Canadians agree with. On the issue of refugees this remains one of the largest countries in the world in terms of refugee resettlement including –
Hon. Justin Trudeau: That is not true, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: I have said we will bring in more, but what I have said we will not do, these guys would have had in the last two weeks us throwing open our borders and literally hundreds of thousands of people coming without any kind of security check or documentation as some other countries have done.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not true Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That would have been an enormous mistake. We’re following a balanced approach. We’re bringing in more refugees.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper plays to fears all the time. Fears of others, fears of different (inaudible). We have a Prime Minister who prefers to pander to fears.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Crosstalk)
David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Mulcair on immigration and the economy.
Hon. Tom Mulcair: Canadians want a Prime Minister who understands the sense of urgency that we all feel when we see the current crisis in Syria. Mr. Harper unfortunately – and it’s undignified – is fear mongering. It’s completely false to affirm that any of the parties in Canada would want to throw open the doors to people without any regard to security.
But Rick Hillier, who is no less an authority than the former Chief of the Defence Staff, last week said we’ve got to stop using the security concerns as an excuse to do nothing. So Mr. Harper, why don’t you stop using the security excuse as a pretext to do nothing because nobody wants to let somebody in without a security check but you’re doing nothing.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’re announcing that we’re bringing in more refugees. We’re announcing we’re bringing them in more quickly. We’re providing a matching fund for humanitarian support because even under the most generous refugee policy the vast majority of these millions of people will remain in those countries and will need our assistance. Those are the things we’re doing (crosstalk).
Hon. Tom Mulcair: The UN has asked us to bring in 9,000 refugees before Christmas. You won’t do it. They’ve asked for 46,000 over the next four years. You won’t do it. That’s the United Nations asking that, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Crosstalk) Most Canadians don’t want that approach. It is not the kind of reckless approach that these two parties —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Canada has done more in the past. We need to do more right now. We will do more on October 20th.
David Walmsley: On to the next topic, and the next topic is housing. Mr. Trudeau, Canadians have been on a borrowing binge to buy ever more expensive homes. What would you do to guard against a housing bubble?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: The fact is for many Canadians their entire economic security is in their home. It’s their savings. It’s their retirement. We need to make sure that while housing prices rise, incomes are rising as well. The middle class Canadians believe that their jobs are giving them better and better salaries, that they can get raises.
In order to do that, we need to create economic growth. We need to reassure Canadians that the economy is going to grow at the same pace as their house values. That’s not what Mr. Harper has delivered. He has the worst record on growth since R.B. Bennett in the depths of the Great Depression.
There are many other Canadians who are facing challenges around housing because they can’t find rental housing. That’s why the Liberal Party has a plan to increase investment in home construction of rental units, to help seniors with the cost of their rents by increasing GIS and by making sure that we actually give people the support needed to be able to get their homes and have that economic security.
David Walmsley: Would you restrict foreign ownership of residential homes in Canada?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: I think one of the things that we’re seeing in a number of places around the country is concerns on that, but the fact is we don’t actually have enough accurate data to understand entirely what’s happening. One of the reasons for that is Mr. Harper has chosen to cut the long form census and it leaves us with less understanding of needs. The Liberal Party is committed to restoring the long form census to ensure that we have the kind of data so that we can respond to local challenges like you speak of.
What we need to be as a federal government is a much better partner to provinces and municipalities to be able to address challenges that are being faced in our major centres like Vancouver or Toronto, but also the challenges that are being felt right across the country for people who are struggling to buy their first home, people who are struggling to find rental housing and who need help to get that economic ladder to success that has always been there for Canadians but hasn’t been over the past ten years. That’s what the Liberal plan to invest in the future of our country is all about.
David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair, what would you do to help the squeezed middle class who have high mortgages and high property taxes?
Hon. Tom Mulcair: Thank you, David. The first thing I think that Canadians should recall is that the last time the Liberals were in power they cancelled Canada’s national housing strategy. It’s also worth knowing that there were 35,000 homeless in Canada right now.
What we would do, I gave an example earlier of our quality affordable child care at maximum $15 a day. You know here in Calgary, in Toronto and lots of other cities parents are paying well over $20,000 a year for child care for an infant. It’s simply unaffordable, and young people today have the largest student debt that there ever was.
As I went across the country I met lots of young people who were thinking of having a family but they look at the cost of the conciliation, balancing their life and their family and their work. It’s extremely difficult. We would make sure we would put more money in their pockets with quality, affordable child care. We would bring in as a model for others and with regard to the 100,000 people that it would give a raise to a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.
David Walmsley: Open floor, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: First of all, let me just say, while no doubt there are some people who are over extended, I think the housing story is a very positive story in this country. You know, you look around the world where there have been all of these financial and other crashes. A lot of them centred around the housing market. In Canada we have seen home ownership rise to record levels. We now have higher home ownership than the United States because people have been able to take advantage of lower interest rates when their job prospects have been solid and good and their incomes have been growing. That’s a positive Canadian story that we should celebrate.
How do we in this unstable global economy continue to protect that going forward? We believe in bringing in specific incentives to help home owners, for instance the home renovation tax credit we’re bringing forward, improvements to the home buyer’s plan, the doubling of contributions to tax free savings accounts, things that allow people to save and invest more in their homes.
What we do not need when our economy is threatened by developments in the global economy is tax increases on ordinary Canadian families who pay low taxes, or permanent deficits. These are risks we cannot afford and they’re not good for homeowners.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper talks about growth but he hasn’t been able to get it done for ten years. He has the worst growth record in 80 years of any Prime Minister. We know how to grow the economy. We invest in the economy once again. Interest rates are low, our debt-to-GDP is low, and economic growth has been flat. We need to kick-start our economy, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do so people can get better jobs and actually afford their homes. That’s where we help.
Mr. Mulcair, who’s talking about child care, the fact is that a young family with a two year old doesn’t need childcare eight years from now when their kid is in grade five. They need it right away. But Mr. Mulcair is not making a choice that’s going to allow to invest in his promises. They’re puffs of smoke. We need to invest right now —
Hon. Tom Mulcair: You know about that, don’t you, Justin?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: We know right now to invest in the future of this country. Mr. Mulcair, you can make jokes all you like. This is Canadians having trouble making ends meet and you’re offering a national minimum wage. It will not touch 99 percent.
David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau, thank you.
Hon. Tom Mulcair: What we’re offering, Mr. Trudeau, you had 13 years the last time you were in power to get to child care. It was in four successive Liberal Red Books, and you know how many spaces they created? Zero.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not true.
Hon. Tom Mulcair: The least we can say it that it wasn’t a priority for them. Quality, affordable child care is a top priority for the NDP.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Eight years from now, if the provinces kick in billions of dollars.
David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair, can I ask you, what message do you give to millennials today who are trying to get onto the property rung? What do you say to those?
Hon. Tom Mulcair: I say that we’ve got a Prime Minister who just said that he thinks it’s a good idea that a bungalow in a lot of our suburbs in places like Vancouver and Toronto is totally out of reach for them. Look at the cost of housing in some of our major cities. It is out of control.
At the same time, Mr. Harper says it’s OK, I’ve got a renovation tax credit. How do you renovate a house you can’t afford to buy in the first place? We’re going to start by putting more money in people’s pockets. Affordable, quality child care is one of them. We’ll give a raise to over 100,000 people earning the federal minimum wage or less. They’ll get more money. A $15 an hour federal minimum wage is not only good for them. It’s a good signal for the provinces to do the same thing, to bring up a living wage. You know why? Because I think that somebody who works full time shouldn’t be living in poverty.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair, I have spoken to an awful lot of Canadians earning the minimum wage. They work in coffee shops, they work in grocery checkout lines and you’re giving them false hope by talking about a national minimum wage. You are promising them a national minimum wage.
Hon. Tom Mulcair: We have people working in banks, in airports, in interprovincial transport. They’re earning less than $15 an hour. and over 100,000 of them are going to get a raise.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk) 99 percent of Canadians earning the minimum wage aren’t going to be affected.
Hon. Tom Mulcair: Mr. Trudeau voted for this on September 22nd. Now he’s campaigning against it. I think –
Hon. Justin Trudeau: I campaigned against the false promises, the false promises you are making. You pretend this national minimum wage is a significant thing. Well it’s not going to help 99 percent of people.
David Walmsley: Let’s go to Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Just to repeat, we’re not just bringing in a home renovation tax credit. We’re also enhancing the home buyer’s plan to help families reach their – and be able to build their first home, just as we enhanced the first time home buyer’s plan.
We’ve done a lot of things to encourage home ownership. In terms of rising costs due to speculative – a possibility of foreign speculation, we said we’re prepared to act on that if the data show that that is really a problem. Look, we’re doing more of these things to help Canadian families.
Mr. Mulcair talks about child care. We’ve delivered directly to Canadian families the universal child care benefit. Now we are enhancing it. We’re increasing deductions to income tax for your child care expenses.
Hon. Tom Mulcair: That’s not what you promised.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’re doubling the tax free savings account.
Hon. Tom Mulcair: Mr. Harper, you promised 125,000 child care spaces and you delivered the same amount as the Liberals, precisely zero.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Without raising taxes –
David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — and without running a deficit.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair agree on one thing. They want to continue to send Mr. Harper’s UCCB cheques to millionaires just because they have children. We don’t think that’s fair. We’re going to stop sending those cheques to the people who don’t need it so we can send larger cheques to the families who do need it and lift 315,000 kids out of poverty. That will make a significant difference in the lives of people who need it, and neither Mr. Harper nor Mr. Mulcair do that.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You don’t have enough money in the budget for your promises.
David Walmsley: We have to move on, wrestling alligators. We move to the final topic of the first half of this debate, taxation. Mr. Mulcair, let me address this to you first. You say you will raise corporate tax rates from the current 15 percent to 17 percent. What economic rather than political reason justifies your decision?
Hon. Tom Mulcair: Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper had a single minded approach. The Liberals and the Conservatives have agreed that tens of billions of dollars of tax reductions for Canada’s largest and most profitable corporations was the way to go, but as we’ve seen, David, that hasn’t worked out so well.
We’ve lost 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs on Mr. Harper’s watch. There are 300,000 more people unemployed today than when his first recession hit so yes, the NDP is quite clear that Canada’s large corporations are going to go back to paying something resembling their fair share. It will still be less than the average that it was under Mr. Harper’s Conservatives and well below what it was under the Liberals. We’re asking all Canadians to pay their fair share, and that would include the largest corporations, but at the same time we’re going to start right away. We’re not going to wait like Mr. Harper would. We’re going to start right away to reduce the taxes on Canada’s job creators, our small and medium sized businesses create 80 percent of the new jobs in this country, and that we think is a good idea.
We’re also going to close stock loopholes because those are the types of loopholes that exist for the rich. We’ll make sure that they effectively pay more. That’s the right approach.
David Walmsley: If corporations move their money elsewhere, you lose both your balanced budget and your revenue.
Hon. Tom Mulcair: That’s why you’ve also got to work at the same time against tax havens. Mr. Harper has done nothing about that. We’ve had cases where other authorities in other countries have given full lists of Canadians who have been using illegal tax havens, and Mr. Harper has done nothing about that.
At the same time, the NDP will take an approach to make sure that the wealthiest start paying their fair share. When we made that announcement at the Broadbent Institute, we looked at the successive years of promises by the Liberals talking about millennial goals to help raise children out of poverty. I don’t accept as inevitable that, in a country as wealthy as Canada, hundreds of thousands of children go to school every morning without having eaten. We’re going to take that money, the $500 million that the stock option tax loophole gives to Canada’s wealthiest. We’re going to dedicate it dollar for dollar to help those children and their families out of poverty.
That’s direct action to act on a problem that the other parties have talked about for years but have done nothing about. Yes, Canada’s largest corporations are going to start paying something resembling their fair share, David, and it’s high time that they did. Their approach has failed and it doesn’t work and we will change it.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper, you won’t raise taxes. How do you raise the federal revenue?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Actually, as you know, we’ve cut business taxes, and our corporate tax revenues are actually rising because we have a competitive tax environment that attracts investment.
I go back once again to what Mr. Mulcair is saying. He’s claiming he’s going to cut taxes on small business. Then why is the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and other experts saying that his plan will cause job losses because in fact he raises taxes. We’ve seen this NDP playbook everywhere. They claim they’re going to balance the budget, bring in billions of new spending, balance the budget through tax increases. What happens? We end up with job losses. That’s what we had with the NDP in power in Ontario. That’s what we had with the NDP in power in British Columbia, and we’re seeing exactly the same story here in Alberta.
We had a round of layoffs because of low oil prices. Now we’re having a round of layoffs because of the business tax increases of the NDP. In an unstable global economy we have competitive tax rates. They’re not super low but they are competitive. This is something we need to protect our economy and keep creating jobs. High taxes, permanent deficits, do not create jobs.
QUESTIONS, AND OPEN DEBATE
David Walmsley: Now, while the leaders catch their breath, we’ll move to the second part of the evening. This part has a different pace to it.
It is said that in the old days, the electorate used to choose their representatives. But now, as data becomes more sophisticated, politicians are able to choose as well as ignore key demographics. It affects everything from policy to selection to who the politicians choose to talk to. It marks a profound and, some would say, uncomfortable shift.
Wish me luck as I try to push the leaders off their well-rehearsed speaking notes and give each of them the opportunity to explain themselves more thoroughly and hopefully with fewer interruptions from the others. I will ask each leader a specific question that will be followed by an exchange between myself and that leader before turning it to open debate. Again, the leaders have no prior knowledge of these questions.
And we’ll start with Mr. Mulcair. Mr. Mulcair, you lead a party that has never run the country. Why should the electorate hand the national economy to you?
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair makes a point during the Globe and Mail Leaders Debate in Calgary, Alberta September 17, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Sturk – RTS1NLH
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (Mike Sturk, Reuters)
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, thank you, David. And that is a key question in this campaign because, after 150 years of being told that we have no choice, that when we’re tired of the Liberal sponsorship scandal, we have to alternate back to the Conservatives, and when we get tired of the Conservative Senate scandal, then, hold on, for the first time in our history, there is another choice. The party that, according to Canada’s own Finance Department, has the best record for balanced budgets.
Tommy Douglas took over the province of Saskatchewan that was in bankruptcy after Liberal rule, ran 17 consecutive balanced budgets and brought in Medicare. I come from a family of ten kids. I’m the second oldest. We had to work hard. We lived within our means. We took care of each other. Those are the values that have guided me as a father, as a grandfather, and as a husband. I’m very proud of that. And those are the values that will guide me in the future.
We are a party that will make people our top priority. We brought in Medicare with Tommy Douglas. We’ll bring affordable quality child care across Canada.
David Walmsley: Your biography is entitled Strength of Conviction. But is your determination to avoid a federal deficit at all costs not simply opportunism and a defensive play?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s something that reflects exactly how I’ve been as a public administrator. I’ve been in public life for over 35 years. I practiced law as a, as a lawyer for ten years during that period, but I’ve always served the public. My wife Catherine is a psychologist who works in long-term care and palliative care. Our older son is a police officer for 17 years in the Quebec Provincial Police. Our youngest son is a college professor. We all serve the public.
I think that there’s no more noble calling. So I want to make sure that we do the right thing for people, going forward. I want to make sure that when my granddaughter goes to university, she doesn’t have to borrow at the level that young people are borrowing today. I want to make this a better society, and I don’t want to do like Mr. Trudeau, leave a massive debt on the backs of future generations.
David Walmsley: But this determination for a balanced budget, no deficit, is surely something that is a challenge to the NDP’s fabric.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Our fabric understands, as I just mentioned with the example of Tommy Douglas, but you can look at the Roy Romanows of this world. It’s in our DNA. We know that the only way to bring in something as important as quality, affordable child care across Canada is to build it on a solid foundation, and for us that means balanced budgets.
It doesn’t mean that there won’t be times when you have to spend. In 2008, we were in the worst recession since the 1930s. Of course everyone agreed that we had to spend at that time. But that’s not the case now. We don’t want to leave more billions on the backs of future generations. We’re al- already leaving them a massive ecological and social debt. They don’t need that economic debt as well.
David Walmsley: OK, I want to follow up – and this is a, a recurring issue as we, you know, enter the last part of the debate, and that is what all of your visions are for this great country. What, Mr. Mulcair, will you do to build a new economy?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, one of the things that we will do is make sure that it’s a knowledge-based economy because we know that that’s the way of the future. The only way to create new wealth is to create new knowledge. And Canada has to be playing a more active role.
But when you look, when I travel across the country on what we were calling a kitchen table tour, I was in Sault Ste Marie. The young couple that I met, I was in their home, they told me that between them, they had $130,000 in student debt. With a $24,000 a year child care fee and houses where they are, when’s that young couple supposed to start thinking of starting a family? That’s the reality today. And believe it or not, family, having children is a good thing for that couple, but it’s also a good thing for the economy.
So let’s get this right for the future. Let’s make sure that we get our priorities right. My priority’s always going to be doing like we did when we brought in Medicare. That helped my family, but it’s helped Canadian families for generations now, and that’s why we want to make sure that our social programs are on a solid footing, and that includes balanced budgets.
David Walmsley: Okay, let’s go to the open-floor part of this, and Mr. Trudeau. Yes, Mr. Trudeau.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair keeps talking about investing in our future. He keeps talking about doing the right things for families who need help, except you can’t put forward a plan for investment like my plan on Stephen Harper’s budget. It takes the optimism that we need to invest once again in our future, to know that Canadians are capable of building a stronger future, and after the low growth that we’ve had for many years, it’s time to kick start the economy.
That’s why the – what I’m worried about saddling my kids with is a lack of jobs, a lack of good infrastructure, a lack of a future because a government didn’t want to invest in our country. Now, this is what our plan is all about. Building a stronger future. Mr. Mulcair is putting it off. He’s made balancing Stephen Harper’s budget his priority, which means he can’t give Canadians the help they need the way we will.
That’s what our plan is about, and I’m being straight and honest. Mr. Mulcair’s plan is to actually do what we know politicians of all parties – including my own – have done in the past, which is to say we’re going to balance the books and then oops, the numbers are worse than we thought. We’re going to have to break our promises. That’s not what I’m going to do. I’m being honest with Canadians. We’re going to run three deficits and we’re going to invest in the future Canadians need right now.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, the, the whole essence of Mr. Mulcair’s plan is that he says he will balance the budget through tax hikes. That’s what the NDP’s tried everywhere. They left Ontario in a massive deficit, they left British Columbia —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Turns out it was the Liberals.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– in a massive deficit. Manitoba is in a massive deficit. Alberta’s deficit got larger since they took office. The former Saskatchewan Auditor General says they left Saskatchewan in a deficit because tax hikes do not, do not grow the economy. They do not create jobs. They kill jobs and they hurt revenues. And we don’t want to go down that path.
Now, Mr. Trudeau says we can, we will have greater optimism by spending more. I actually think this is what Canadians fear. We don’t measure our level of optimism through our level of spending. We make sure we’re making investments in the things we need to, as we are doing in, in infrastructure, in training, in innovation. But we do that in a way that we know we can continue to do and continue to afford without raising taxes by having a balanced budget. And I think in this unstable global economy, that is an important guarantee for people’s future and why they should be optimistic.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Now, Mr. Harper, what you don’t understand is what Canadians can’t afford is to continue to be stuck in traffic every morning because there’s no reliable transit because the federal government hasn’t stepped up as a partner. You’ve been stuck in a motorcade for the past 10 years, but most Canadians are actually very aware that the transit underinvestment is a drag in our economy.
I’ve talked with municipalities and provinces right across this country who need a reliable federal partner to step up and invest. And people, serious economists across this country have said that, that we have a plan that is exactly what we need. No less than the person you appointed to head up the Privy Council, Kevi- Kevin Lynch actually said yes, a plan for investment right now is what we need.
The former Chair of the Bank of Canada, the, a list of the former Parliamentary Budget Officers, there are many people who’ve said now is the time to invest and that’s exactly what the Liberals are going to do. Not because we’re cheery and optimistic, but because we know that countries that believe in their future are willing to invest in their future ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Trudeau —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– and that’s what we’re going to do.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — we have the largest infrastructure investments in history right now, including major public transit announcements going on all over the country, including right in this city ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Yeah, at election time, Mr. Harper, at election time.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– (crosstalk) and those are the facts and I ask ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: People see through your games.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– everybody to look at the numbers, to look at the numbers – they’re there – and we’re doing that without raising your taxes and without borrowing money.
Mr. Trudeau says he has former public servants and politicians who tell him it’s OK to spend more. I got to tell you something. Those people will tell you always to spend more. That’s what they will tell you. You got to be able ––
David Walmsley: OK.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– as a Prime Minister —
David Walmsley: I want to —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– to know when to safeguard the taxpayers’ money.
David Walmsley: I want to give Mr. Mulcair a chance to come back. So please. Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, David. Our plan is based on long-term vision. We know what has to be accomplished. We are not ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Long-term starts now ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — doing like the Liberals ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: — Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– with their short-term approach, leaving tens of billions of dollars on the backs of future generations. And you know, Mr. Trudeau, you were talking before about Stephen Harper’s budgets, but you have voted for Stephen Harper’s budgets. I can guarantee you I have never voted for one of his budgets, and your very first vote as a Member of Parliament was to vote for his tax give-away to Canada’s largest corporations. I can guarantee you that Jack Layton and I fought that every single step of the way.
David Walmsley: OK, thank you. It’s ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And voted against every tax break for middle class and working Canadians.
David Walmsley: –– I think what we’re seeing tonight is an extraordinary exchange of ideas between a now centrist NDP and a deficit favouring Liberal Party. So I want to turn this one to Mr. Trudeau. Taxing the richest and then spending it, why should Canadians who are already up to their eyes in debt be encouraged by your message?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, we are raising taxes on the wealthiest one percent so that we can lower them, so we can cut them, for the middle class. That is the shift that we feel we need. Mr. Mulcair talks about income inequality, you can hear the NDP talking about income inequality all the time, except they actually are not doing anything about it. Only the Liberal Party is going to ask people who’ve been very successful to do a little bit more so we can put money in the pockets of people who actually need it. That’s what our approach is, because we know that that’s what we have to do.
But on top of that and aside from that, we are also going to make historic investments in the future of our country because Canadians need transit, they need roads and bridges, we need clean water and wastewater treatment systems. We need things that are going to create good jobs for Canadians now as they build them and good jobs and prosperity going forward as our communities do better.
That’s what investing in our future is all about, and that’s not left or right, that’s ––
David Walmsley: So Mr. —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– what Canada needs.
From left to right, NDP Leader Tom Muclair, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper are seen at various points during the Globe and Mail leaders’ debate, in this photo illustration, on Thursday, September 17, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
Photo illustration (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau, we know that you propose what is really a fairly modest deficit against the $2 trillion national economy. What do you consider to be the biggest single challenge you face, because when I look for the cost of your platform, I can’t add it up.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: We have, we were the first party to put a fully costed framework that said that we indeed are going to run three modest deficits over the first three years so we can balance the books in 2019, because what Canada needs right now is growth. What we need – because Mr. Harper has been unable to deliver it, having the worst growth record of any Prime Minister since the depths of the Great Depression – is a plan to grow the economy. And you do that by investing in our communities, in transit, in green infrastructure, in the kinds of things that are going to contribute ––
David Walmsley: But let, let’s go back to the —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– to growing the economy.
David Walmsley: — to your idea of an infrastructure bank. Recreational centres, water facilities, are these areas that are part of the federal government’s role?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: The federal government’s role in a country like Canada is to be a partner serving citizens with communities, with municipalities and with – with provinces. We will respond to the needs that Canadians have on the ground to improve their quality of life, to build better opportunities in their cities. That is what the federal government should be. That’s not what the federal government has been over the past decade as Mr. Harper has refused to engage with the provinces, has not been a solid partner to municipalities in the transit and infrastructure investments that are needed, and that’s exactly what we’re going to turn around.
It’s not ––
David Walmsley: So we’re – we’re – we’re —
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– up to the federal government.
David Walmsley: — in Alberta, we’re in Alberta this evening.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Yes.
David Walmsley: There’s clear sense that structural change is happening to the economy. So again, for yourself, what will you do, what are your policies to build that new economy?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Well, one of the, one of the facts we’re looking at right now is, because of the challenges with low oil prices, we have construction and engineering multinational firms here in Calgary who are suddenly bidding on local contracts, that they’ve never had the bandwidth to do before. This is the time to invest in your hometown, Mr. Harper. You need to step up and we need to step up as a government and be there for municipalities like Calgary, who are trying to create new avenues of opportunity, given the cyclical nature of our commodities.
This is exactly a moment to invest, when interest rates are low, when our debt-to-GDP is low, and when the economy has been flat for ten years because Mr. Harper hasn’t stepped up for his hometown or for anywhere across the country.
David Walmsley: Let’s go to open floor. Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, if I could respond to that, as I said before, we are making record investments in our infrastructure right now, including a federal infrastructure program that is rolling out across the country. But, you know, let’s be frank about Mr. Trudeau’s plan.
The reason Mr. Trudeau is running deficits is not because he has some underlying economic philosophy. It’s because he went around the country and promised far more money than he actually had and found out that taxing a few wealthy people a little bit does not cover that. And so now he’s trying to run, saying deficits are a good thing.
We did a lot of work to make sure we came out of deficits after the great recession without cutting our social programs. That’s what we’ve done. This is a guarantee to people, to you ladies and gentlemen out there, that when we’ve lowered your taxes, they’re going to stay down, and the investments we make are sustainable.
And when Mr. Trudeau gets us off the anchor of a balanced budget for no apparent reason, we know where that’s, the Liberals have done federally and in Ontario, that goes on forever and it gets worse. And that is not a risk you or our, our economy in this fragile ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper,
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– economic environment can afford.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, you have run deficits in good years. You have run deficits in bad years. The only time you’ve said that deficits are not going to be run is in election years. The fact of the matter is you stood on stages like these, looked at Canadians three times and promised not to bring in deficits, and yet, that’s exactly what you’ve done.
The reason that we’ve struck in def- we’re stuck in deficits for so long is because you don’t understand that giving tax breaks and benefits to the wealthiest Canadians is not a way to grow the economy anymore. We have low growth, you have the worst job creation record since World War II of any Prime Minister, and that’s what Canadians are feeling. You are disconnected from people’s reality. We need once again to get this country investing in its own future ––
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper,
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– and that’s what you haven’t done in ten years.
David Walmsley: (Crosstalk).
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let me, let me correct the facts. We ran surpluses before we had the global financial crisis. When the global financial crisis came, everyone in the world ran deficits and we told Canadians we would run a massive stimulus program, get it out the door quickly, sustain our economy through that period, and that it would be temporary and the deficit would fall until it was eliminated. And we’ve done exactly that on exactly the schedule we said we would do it, and we’re now in our second year of a balanced budget.
David Walmsley: OK, Mr. Mulcair.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Why would we return to deficits now when we have an unstable global economy and we need to make sure we can assure people ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Because we need to (crosstalk)
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– of the benefits ––
David Walmsley: Mr.- Mr. Mulcair.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– of delivering (crosstalk). That’s why.
David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair, please. Mr. Trudeau. Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Back on July 19th, Mr. Trudeau gave a press conference at which he said he would balance the books, he would run balanced budgets nonstop.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Actually, not nonstop.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Just a few weeks after that, he announced that he would run $10 billion a year in deficits. Now you just heard him say the same thing. He was clearly criticizing the fact that Mr. Harper had run deficits. But that’s exactly what he’s planning to do. So I think, Justin, that it’s only fair to say that when your advisors tell you one thing and another, and they’re totally contradictory, pick one. You just can’t say them both.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: With regard to tax cuts ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– Mr. Mulcair —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– to the wealthiest, your first vote in Canadian Parliament was to vote for Mr. Harper’s tax cuts for the wealthiest.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair, I ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Now you’re against ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– I ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– what you did.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– am looking straight at Canadians and being honest the way I always have. We said we are committed to balanced budgets, and we are. We will balance that budget in 2019, because Canadians need investment and growth right now.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Walmsley, there’s another point ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: You are looking at ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– that has to be brought up, which ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– Canadians, you are looking at Canadians ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– is that Mr. Harper claims that he made no cuts to social programs. I’m sorry Mr. Harper, when you sat down with the provincial Ministers and announced that you were going to be cutting the funding formula by up to $36 billion for health care, that’s called cutting social programs.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, let’s, let’s be, let’s be, let’s be absolutely clear on what the facts are. Under this government, our transfers for health to the provinces have risen from $20 billion ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: It’s what you’re planning to do, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– to $34 billion.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Stop denying ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That’s a 70 percent increase.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– reality.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And that number will grow every single year into the future. We’ll hit over $40 billion ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper, you raised ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– by the end of the decade.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– the age for Old Age Security ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That is, that’s the record.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– from 65 to 67. You didn’t make that announcement ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Those, those, those ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– to a group of hard rock miners in Sudbury.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– changes, Mr. Mulcair ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You made that announcement ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– don’t come into effect ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– from (crosstalk) in the Swiss Alps.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– until the year ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Is that political courage?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– 2023. What we’re done in the main- meantime ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You’re cutting social programs ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– is we brought in ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — period.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– the biggest increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement for our most valuable seniors in a quarter century. And Mr. Mulcair, you like to talk about the fact you voted against business tax cuts, you voted against small business tax cuts ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper, you just ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– you voted against ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– made the statement.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– tax cuts for working people ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That statement will be (crosstalk) ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– for (crosstalk) ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You said you never cut social programs for the middle class.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– Mr. Mulcair, Mr. Mulcair ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– (crosstalk) having Medicare ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– (crosstalk) health care (crosstalk) ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– you’re raising the retirement age.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– (crosstalk)
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You know that that’s not true.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– both retirement and health care, and the Public Accounts ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, Mr. Mulcair has talked about health care transfers ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– and the financial (crosstalk) government to make (crosstalk).
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– but he just stepped back from that promise. He promised to increase health care transfers, and now has said oh no, balancing the books is more important.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: We are increasing ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: That’s not what Canadians need.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — investments, we are increasing them.
David Walmsley: Thank you very much. Thank you.
We now move to the final question of the debate, and it goes to Mr. Harper. Mr. Harper, you’re going to need some new ideas. The reality is the oil patch resources in general are going to be a smaller part of the Canadian economy. And it is clear that, under your watch, Canada is no longer an international champion on many different data points. We have record household debt, we have minimal growth, and in many cases, we have stagnant wages.
Why do you deserve more time ––
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (L), NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (C) and Conservative leader Stephen Harper walk on stage before photo opportunity prior to the beginning of the Globe and Mail Leaders Debate in Calgary, Alberta September 17, 2015. (MIKE STURK/Reuters)
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, let me ––
David Walmsley: –– to find a cure?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let me be clear on that. Those things are just – David, I just don’t accept what you just said. You look over the past ten years, whether it’s income growth, whether it’s job growth, we have done better than all the major developed economies. It hasn’t been great because we are living in a terribly unstable and risky global economy.
Right now, a portion of our economy is being hard hit by the fallen oil prices. That’s something that concerns me. I come from here. It affects people I know personally and personal friends and family for a long period of time. We’ll do something about that. But to suggest for a second that that has been all there is to our policy is just false.
Our policy’s based on what I call the three Ts, the three Is: taxes, getting them down, keeping them down, making them competitive; training, making sure we’re investing speci- particularly in things that we know there’s labour demand for in the future; trade, opening up markets. We now have, to the trade agreements this government’s signed, we’re going to have in the future access to over half of global GDP. Investing in innovation with our manufacturers and reforming our immigration system to make it even more effective for our economy and making record investments in infrastructure.
That’s why I believe that Canadians are optimistic when they look at the future.
David Walmsley: Well, let’s drill down on trade, for example.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Yeah.
David Walmsley: What do you say to the auto sector as you look at the Pacific Trade plan?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, we know the auto sector has concerns on that particular – as do others – but David, what I say is this: you know, we’re entering the final stages of a trade discussion in the Asia Pacific that I think, frankly, is going to conclude successfully, that is going to be the basis of the global trade network in the Asia Pacific for the generation to come.
And what I say to the auto sector in particular – I’m not suggesting they will necessarily like everything that is in that, but what I am saying is we simply cannot afford as a country to have our auto sector shut out of global supply chains. That would be a disaster. We’re going to make sure we get the best deal for that. And all of our sectors, but we are committed as a government, to making sure we do not fall behind in our access to a global trading economy which is so integrated. If we do that, that would be disastrous for this country.
David Walmsley: All right. You know better that most the challenges and the problems that come, that can’t be predicted.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Right.
David Walmsley: You’re facing an economy that is incredibly challenged, that demands new thinking.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Right.
David Walmsley: What are you thinking of for the new economy? How do we turn this from resources to knowledge and the sharing economy?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, David, I have come to work now for seven years in a row with nothing but economic crises around the world. You know, as a banking crisis, then it’s a sovereign debt crisis, a housing crisis. We now have market chaos in China. We have the fallen commodity prices. We do, we do have to do two things. We do have to respond to these crises, but we have to operate on a long-term plan, and that is what we have been doing.
And you know, that long-term plan is not only not just about resources, but it is also including resources. I don’t want to suggest for a second that we are not going to have a vibrant resource sector. The fact that we have an unparalleled resource endowment, we have one of the highly educated workforces in the world, and we have innovative and progressive manufacturers, that we cover the complete spectrum of the economy is one of the reasons Canada is able to weather these global economic storms better than most. And we are committed to making sure that all of these sectors move forward together.
David Walmsley: OK. Thank you very much, Mr. Harper. We’re going to now go to Mr. Mulcair and the open floor. Please. The, one of the questions that the Prime Minister responded to was with respect to his vision. What do you think that the NDP can do to transition our economy beyond the buffeting winds we have with oil prices, China, and the US Fed today saying we’re not going to raise rates again?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I believe it is possible, David, to build a Canada that is more generous and more prosperous. Mr. Harper tends to believe that everybody’s in it on their own. I think that we’re all in this together, and I think that we should try to work to raise everybody up. You know, I do come from a very large family and times sometimes were tough, but I’ve seen what it is when people work together and they hold together. They try to give each other that helping hand.
I also know that it’s high time that around the world people started looking at us differently. I want our democratic institutions respected here at home and our international reputation respected abroad. I want to make sure that every young person gets the opportunities that they need and, frankly, that our young peo- that our seniors get the, get the help that they deserve.
David Walmsley: Mr. ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: That’s why we propose to raise the Guaranteed Income Supplement to raise several hundred thousand of our poorest seniors ––
David Walmsley: Mr. ––
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: –– out of poverty.
David Walmsley: –– Trudeau, what do you say to Mr. Harper’s position that the Liberals will allow for a deficit, but then there will be slippage and that deficit gets out of control?
Hon. Justin Trudeau: On the contrary. The reason Mr. Harper hasn’t been able to get out of deficit is that he hasn’t created growth. His cuts to and underspending to veterans programs, to First Nations, who we haven’t talked about enough tonight, because – or at all – because they’re an important element in kil- building our economy and making sure that we’re creating proper partnerships and, and moving our resources, as well as creating educational opportunities for young people across this country by investing, for example, on the Liberal platform, $2.6 billion in First Nations education.
We have an awful lot we need to do to keep investing in growing this economy. Mr. Harper continues to think that giving tax cuts and benefits to the wealthiest Canadians will somehow create growth. Well, it hasn’t. And that’s why we need a change.
Mr. Mulcair talks about all the right things, but he’s not going to be able to actually act on them because, unfortunately, he has back-loaded his promises and he’s committed, he’s committed to balance when we don’t need balance. With low interest rates right now, with a declining debt-to-GDP ratio, and with a flat economy, we need to invest in our future. That’s what confident economies do, and that’s what the Liberal Party of Canada is proposing.
It’s the right plan to help Canadians now.
David Walmsley: Mr. Harper?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, when it came out the other day that it was confirmed by the Auditor General that we actually had a surplus last year, not just this year, but a surplus last year, Mr. Trudeau immediately came out and said well, that’s because they’ve cut veterans and they’ve cut seniors and they’ve cut infrastructure.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: You talk to seniors and you talk to veterans ––
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And of course, people look, people look ––
Hon. Justin Trudeau: –– and they agree.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — at what’s actually in the annual financial statements, and spending in all of those areas has actually gone up. And the way we balanced the budget was we actually did increase revenues. We did it by cutting taxes. And I guess what I say to people is the same thing I said before. We’re not saying in this fragile global economy everything is great. We have significant risks and significant challenges. What we’re saying we’re doing is we’re making sure we’re investing in the things that will cause long-term growth and we’re investing in things that help people in their pocketbooks to get education, to save ––
David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– to retire, and higher taxes and permanent deficits is a risk that buys nothing for our people.
David Walmsley: Thank you.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And as we ––
David Walmsley: Mr. —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: –– we’ve got to reject that kind of a plan.
David Walmsley: Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper was elected on a promise to make Ottawa better, to, to change Ottawa, but unfortunately, it’s Ottawa that changed Mr. Harper. Corruption has actually increased, and that’s part of his legacy, but also Ottawa has become a more divisive and a meaner place. Our relationships with the provinces are more divisive and meaner under Mr. Harper. He’s refused to attend any meetings of the Council of the Federation.
I come out of provincial politics. I know that it’s part of my job, if I become Prime Minister, to sit down regularly with the provincial Premiers to work with them on important issues facing them, and on things that we want to bring forward, like quality, affordable child care. It’s a different approach.
David Walmsley: Mr. Trudeau.
Hon. Justin Trudeau: Now, one of the things that I think is fairly clear is that I disagree with these two gentlemen on a number of things. But the main thing that I disagree with them on is their lack of ambition for our country.
Mr. Harper wants you to think that better just isn’t possible. Well, that’s not true. In this country, better is always possible. Mr. Mulcair talks about making things better, but isn’t going to act on it because he has no plan to build the economy we need.
David Walmsley: Thank you very much.
So ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. This much-anticipated Globe and Mail debate on the economy comes to an end. You’ve heard a wide range of different views. and in a month’s time, it will be voting day.
I would like to thank everyone who has joined us made this evening possible. To Mayor Nenshi for hosting us here in Calgary. We at the Globe and Mail believe in the national debate, and I am sure that you agree that we got one tonight.
A final word of thanks of course, to the three leaders, Mr. Harper, Mr. Mulcair, Mr. Trudeau. We wish you all well. We know that you have a common interest in doing the best for Canada. You just have a different way of doing it.
Stay with us. We’ll be carrying the post-debate scrums later. But first, Jane Taber of The Globe and Mail joins us now to begin the post-debate debate. I’m David Walmsley, the Editor-in-Chief of The Globe and Mail. Thank you, and have a good evening.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 18, 2015
Source: macleans.ca, August 6, 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SEGMENT ONE: ECONOMY PT. 1
SEGMENT ONE: ECONOMY PT. 2
SEGMENT TWO: ENVIRONMENT PT. 1
SEGMENT TWO: ENVIRONMENT PT. 2
SEGMENT THREE: DEMOCRACY PT. 1
SEGMENT THREE: DEMOCRACY PT. 2
SEGMENT FOUR: FOREIGN POLICY PT. 1
SEGMENT FOUR: FOREIGN POLICY PT. 2
SEGMENT ONE: ECONOMY PT. 1
Paul Wells: The longest election campaign in modern Canadian history has begun. Good evening. I’m Paul Wells, the Political Editor of Maclean’s Magazine, and I am as surprised by all of this as you are. We’ve got the leaders of four national political parties together in one room. We don’t know whether that will happen again before you vote. I don’t think they know. But while they’re here, let’s make them work.
The leaders are: Justin Trudeau, the Leader of the Liberal Party; Elizabeth May, the Leader of the Green Party; Tom Mulcair, the Leader of the New Democratic Party; and Stephen Harper, the Leader of the Conservative Party.
Tonight’s debate will cover four broad subjects at the top of voters’ minds: the economy; energy and the environment; the state of Canada’s democracy; and foreign policy and security.
Each segment will begin with questions from me to one of the leaders. Then another leader will respond to the first, followed by an extended discussion among all the leaders. We’ll go through that process twice for each of our four subjects.
We drew lots to determine the random speaking order. Everybody here knows that order, but nobody in any of the parties has seen or heard the questions I’ll be asking tonight. The parties have agreed that at any point I can intervene to direct the conversation.
So let’s begin with our first topic, the economy.
Video: Narrator: If there’s one topic on every voter’s mind as this election approaches, it’s the economy.
Male Speaker: We have dangerous economic winds blowing in Canada.
Narrator: The country’s economic health is shaken. We’re probably coming out of a mild recession. Oil prices have slumped. Exports are weak. How high should taxes be? What’s Ottawa’s proper role in the economy? Is Canada’s wealth fairly distributed? That’s the context for our discussion of economic choices.
Paul Wells: And as the luck of the draw would have it, the first question goes to the Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau: Evening, Paul.
Paul Wells: Canadians are feeling anxious about the economy. It shrank in May for the fifth month in a row. Manufacturing is hurting. The price of oil is down. Your economic plan is built around a middle class tax break. Is that really enough of a response, given the challenge that you say Canada faces right now?
Justin Trudeau: One of the things we’ve seen, Paul, is that for 10 years the approach that Mr. Harper has taken has simply not worked for Canadians. He has consistently chosen to give opportunities and tax breaks and benefits to the wealthiest Canadians in the hopes that that would create growth, but that’s not happening, and that actually goes to the heart of the question that’s being posed in this election campaign: Is Stephen Harper’s plan working for you?
He took a decade of surpluses and turned it into eight consecutive deficits. We’re the only country in the G-7 that’s in recession right now. He has no plan to get out of it. And we just found that wages are falling as well. He may not feel that from 24 Sussex, but I know that you feel that at home.
That’s why the Liberal Party has put forward a plan to invest in the middle class, to support the middle class, to create growth through strengthening the middle class and we’re the only party up on this stage tonight that is committed to lowering taxes for the middle class by asking the wealthiest to pay more tax. There’s a lot more elements to our plan and I’ll be glad to talk about them tonight, but we know that when you put money in the pockets of middle class Canadians, the economy grows.
Paul Wells: A lot of people are saying – a lot of economists have said that median incomes have actually been on the rise since about 1990. Do you have a solution to a problem that isn’t really there?
Justin Trudeau: Not at all. I think if you spend any time crossing the country, as I have, talking to people who are worried about saving for their own retirement, who are worried about having to make choices between their own opportunities and actually paying for their kids’ education, people are worried that perhaps for the first time we have a generation of young people who aren’t going to do better than the previous generation did. We need solutions for that, and it’s not to continue to give benefits to the wealthiest, it’s to actually bring a fresh approach, a new plan and a great team to actually change the course because the only risk right now would be sticking with what has been a failed plan for 10 years.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Mr. Trudeau. Again, as the luck of the draw has it, the first to respond is Stephen Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, Paul, let me just correct a few facts. The context is this. Over the past 10 years, in a period of unprecedented economic instability, we have seen since the great global financial crisis Canada has the strongest economic growth, the strongest job creation record and the strongest income growth for the middle class among any of the major developed economies.
What we face right now, let’s be clear on what the Bank of Canada said, over 80 percent of our economy is growing. In fact, our exports, non-energy exports are up 10 percent this year. Where we have weakness is obviously in the energy sector because of the fall in energy prices. But our view is, you know, we’re going to have growth this year, we’re going to have growth going forward. The way you deal with this is by sticking with a plan that is working, a low-tax, prudent plan that is working rather than go to a plan of high taxes and high debt and high deficits, which is failing – which is failing everywhere else.
Paul Wells: The vocabulary that you use to describe your opponents’ plans is sometimes fairly grave. You’ve compared Canada under the Liberals or the NDP to Greece. You have called the tax increases that Rachel Notley has introduced in Alberta a disaster. Will a few changes in tax rates at the margin actually have that kind of catastrophic effect?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, actually, I think, Paul, we need to be clear on what is being proposed. The other parties are proposing, literally, tens of billions of dollars of additional spending, permanent spending to be financed by permanently higher tax rates and permanent deficits.
Justin Trudeau: That’s not true, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And the fact is, Paul, we know where that leads you. Look around the world. Countries that are in that position have not recovered from the recession and are stagnating. This country has had the best performance of major developed economies, and we have some of the best prospects going forward, and that’s why we should stay on course.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Mr. Harper. We’re going to open it up to all the leaders now. Tom Mulcair, how do you – what do you think about these questions?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I know that Canadians work hard to make ends meet and to take care of their families. That’s how I was raised. On Mr. Harper’s watch, we’ve lost 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs. There are 200,000 more unemployed today than when the crisis hit in 2008. Honestly, Mr. Harper’s plan simply isn’t working. We know that. Incomes are flat-lining, household debt is skyrocketing.
We have a plan to invest in the middle class and to create new jobs. We want to invest in infrastructure. We want to give a break to small and medium-sized corporations. Mr. Harper and Mr. Trudeau agree that tens of billions to the wealthiest corporations is the way to go. We sincerely disagree, and we want to create one million $15.00-a-day quality child care spaces. That’s not just good for families. That’s good for the economy as well.
Elizabeth May: You know, I was in the 2008 leaders debates and of course, Mr. Harper, Mr. Prime Minister, we were the two who were there, and I recall very clearly that Mr. Harper was still talking about if there’s going to be a recession, we’d be in one already. I don’t really think that he’s got a good track record on spotting when this country is in a recession.
We’re in a recession now. We have a weak and shrinking economy, and it’s the wrong time for austerity measures. We need to build up Canada’s economy through investment and right now there’s no investment going on. There hasn’t been investment for the last two or three years, not from the private sector that’s sitting on $630 billion of what Mark Carney called “the dead money.” We need to make sure that this economy doesn’t sputter to a halt. And that – if we stay with Mr. Harper’s risky plans, that’s where we’re headed.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, let’s be clear – let’s be clear what the record is. We have 1.3 million net new jobs created since the global financial crisis — the best record by far in the G-7. That’s why incomes are rising across the board in this country and have been rising. That’s why we have manufacturing and other sectors outside of energy that are now expanding because – because we are able, because we have a balanced budget and are able to make investments in things like infrastructure, in health care, in benefits for families. Now is not the time to throw us back into deficit and to start to spend tens of billions of dollars we don’t have, paid for by tax hikes. That is the wrong policy.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, the reality is Canadians across this country know that times are tough, and the fact is you have completely become disconnected from the reality that people are facing right across the country. Your plan isn’t working, and we know that. And the risk would be sticking with your plan.
Now Mr. Mulcair is good in his criticisms and his questions, but is not necessarily good at answering the own questions to him because what we’ve seen is that he’s put forward plans for a $15.00 minimum wage. He’s talking about it across the country and what is actually the case is he’s misleading Canadians. He’s given Canadians who work in big box stores and behind checkout counters and in shops and coffee shops false hope because his minimum wage plan actually will only help less than one percent of every Canadian who earns minimum wage. And that kind of false advertising is simply irresponsible.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Under our plan to introduce a $15.00 an hour federal minimum wage, over 100,000 Canadians will get a raise. Under Mr. Trudeau’s plan, not a single Canadian will get a raise.
Justin Trudeau: Actually, under Mr. Trudeau’s plan, 315,000 kids will be lifted out of poverty.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper has seen 400,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs lost during his mandate, and the jobs that are being created are mostly part-time precarious jobs. And it’s not just the NDP that says that. One of Canada’s leading banks, the CIBC, says that the quality of jobs being created today is at the worst level in a full generation. That’s Mr. Harper’s record.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let me give you the fact. Let me give you the facts, Mr. Mulcair, from Statistics Canada. Ninety percent of the 1.3 million net new jobs created are full-time. Eighty percent of them are the private sector. Two-thirds of them are in high wage industries. That’s why incomes have been growing in this country when they have not been growing in other countries.
And I’ll tell you what won’t grow our economy, the kinds of plans these guys are presenting where they want to increase CPP taxes — a hit of a thousand dollars for every worker making $60,000 a year and another thousand dollars on the employer if he wants to keep them on the payroll. These are not the ways you handle economic turbulence of oil low prices.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, to talk about seniors and pensions —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You move forward on low – with low taxes and stable policies.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, you have chosen to raise the age of retirement from 65 to 67, which is taking tens of thousands of dollars out of the pockets of our most vulnerable seniors. You’ve categorically refused to actually engage with the kind of pension security that Ontario and other provinces are asking for. Canadians know that you’ve let them down because you’ve chosen to continue to give benefits and tax breaks to the wealthiest Canadians.
Canadians need help from their government. That’s why our plan is focussed on strengthening the middle class with a more generous child benefit that’ll lift 315,000 kids out of poverty and stop sending government cheques to millionaires, which is what you want to do, and actually, Mr. Mulcair agrees with you on that one.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Now let me be clear what we’ve actually done for seniors. Retirement age will not go up for over 10 – for 10 years, which is 2023.
Justin Trudeau: Oh, so it’s for our grandchildren to worry about that one?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: OAS is increasing. We have brought in the largest increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement for poor income seniors in 25 years. We brought in income-splitting for our pensioners — I know something the other parties oppose, but they appreciate it. We’ve made the rules for RRIFs more generous.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper – Mr. Harper, that is simply not true. Mr. Harper – Paul —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have —
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper has been putting that out —
Paul Wells: We’re not halfway done this segment on the economy —
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper has been putting that out in misleading attack ads and none of the other parties have talked about touching — including Mr. Mulcair on this one — touching income-splitting for seniors.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Trudeau, you voted against income-splitting for pensioners.
Justin Trudeau: You are fearmongering on that, Mr. Harper, and that’s irresponsible.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: You have spoken against income-splitting philosophically. You have promised to take it away from families who have a less generous income-splitting arrangement for pensioners. There is no reason pensioners should believe —
Paul Wells: Elizabeth May and then Tom Mulcair on this round.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — your change of – your change of story on this one.
Elizabeth May: With all due respect, Mr. Prime Minister, you are cherry-picking your data. Net new jobs as an indicator of the health of our economy isn’t relevant when comparing it to other G-7 nations unless you correct for population growth. And comparing us to Germany, for instance, where they don’t have new people joining the labour market constantly, compared to other economies in the G-7, we are doing very poorly indeed. We’re in a recession under your watch for the second time.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Ms. May, I think the fact that we are able to bring in immigrants and see immigrants join our economy, that is part of our Economic Action Plan — investments in infrastructure, in innovation and in immigration to help drive – to drive our economy. That’s why we have better results.
Paul Wells: Tom Mulcair —
Elizabeth May: We had a net loss in July.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Crosstalk, inaudible) in G-7 countries.
Paul Wells: — (crosstalk, inaudible) close out this segment.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Paul. What Mr. Harper fails to mention is that he’s run up eight deficits in a row. He’s added $150 billion to Canada’s debt in the last 10 years, and frankly, last week, as we headed into this campaign, in just one day he spent over a billion dollars. Honestly, Mr. Harper, we really can’t afford another four years of you.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We have – we have a budget that is balanced now when other countries don’t.
Paul Wells: And that wraps up very – very punctual of you all, I appreciate that. That wraps up the first round of questions on the economy, but we’re only half done on this subject alone.
Back to top
SEGMENT ONE: THE ECONOMY, PT. 2
The next question goes to Elizabeth May from the Green Party. Ms. May, the Green Party’s policies call for a transformation of the Canadian economy from resource exports to high value-added business, but that’s a long-term project and Canada is facing trouble right now. What can the federal government do now this year to reanimate the economy?
Elizabeth May: Excellent question. I think we have to also bear in mind and keep in context that the oil sands are about two percent of our GDP. We’ve got a lot of economic activity. The Prime Minister is right, we’re seeing other sectors begin to rebound and able to export. Our dollar shouldn’t keep declining — I think this is a source of worry — but we can’t just sit back and think that the current stagnant economy is going to fix itself. We need investment. We need investment from the public sector. We need to invest in a climate action plan. Frankly, we need an army of carpenters, electricians and contractors going out to plug leaky buildings. That’s 30 percent of carbon pollution comes from the energy we waste and the money we waste heating the outdoors in the winter and cooling it in the summer.
And we also need to invest in municipal infrastructure. That infrastructure deficit is $123 billion. We need to get at it as our bridges and roads are crumbling.
Paul Wells: Can you recruit your army of carpenters and without jeopardizing budget balance? How important is budget balance in the scheme of things?
Elizabeth May: In the scheme of things, not very. In a $2 trillion economy – and I would differ, with all due respect to the Prime Minister, we are not going to see a balanced budget this year. The Parliamentary Budget Office just put out its new figures, but I wouldn’t condemn them, and in my pre-budget advice to Finance Minister Joe Oliver, I said, really, this fixation on balancing the budget is being driven by the political imperative that the Conservatives created by saying in the last election we’ll give you all these goodies once we balance the budget.
This year, they monkeyed with the budget. They put it out on April 21st, not because they needed to know where oil was going but because they wanted to book the sale of the General Motors shares in the next fiscal year. So we sold 73 million shares in General Motors. Was that a good policy choice? I don’t know, but fiddling with the books, so that that showed in this year’s budget to help fake a balance and then the price of oil keeps dropping. We’re not going to see a balanced budget.
But I don’t condemn them for that. It’s far more serious that $150.00 – $150 billion of federal debt has been accumulated under this Prime Minister.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Ms. May. And once again, by the luck of the draw, the first leader to respond to Ms. May is Tom Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, Paul, I have a concrete plan to kick-start the economy and help the middle class. We’re going to invest in infrastructure. We ask our municipalities and local governments to assume 60 percent of the cost for infrastructure with only eight percent of the tax base. That’s not going to work.
We’re going to reduce small business taxes because they’re responsible for creating 80 percent of the new jobs. We’ll put our effort there instead of what Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper have done, giving tens of billions of tax cuts that they both agree on for our largest corporations.
We’re going to champion manufacturing and innovation, including green energy technologies, which will represent a $5 trillion investment over the next 15 years around the world. We’re not part of it because Mr. Harper doesn’t believe in a positive role for government in that.
And we will help the middle class, because it is good for families and it’s good for the economy, with one million $15.00-a-day quality child care spaces across Canada.
Justin Trudeau: Now the challenge that we’re facing right now in our economy is actually about creating growth. And one of the things that is so concerning with Mr. Mulcair’s corporate tax hike is that it’s a time in a recession where we need more growth. We need more investment. We need to create more jobs. So his plan to hike corporate taxes is simply pandering to the people who like to hate corporations, but we need that growth. We need that job creation.
But you’re right, the money has to come from somewhere if we’re going to invest in strengthening the middle class. And that’s why I can’t quite understand why Mr. Mulcair has ruled out doing what we’re doing, which is asking the wealthiest one percent in this country to pay more tax, so we can give a big tax break to the middle class.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, the real question is after those tens of billions of tax cuts for the richest corporations, where are the jobs if that’s such a good plan? On the question of personal income tax increases, we are firmly opposed to them. Look at a province like New Brunswick. They will have a tax rate of 58.75 percent. Now New Brunswick doesn’t have a medical faculty. How is New Brunswick going to be able to attract and retain top level medical doctors when they’re going to be told, “Oh, by the way, our tax rate is now going to be close to 60 percent?” We think that Canadians are paying their fair share. Canada’s largest corporations are not paying their fair share. And yes, the NDP will bring up their taxes slightly.
Elizabeth May: And absolutely right, Mr. Mulcair, because when Jim Flaherty, the late and lamented, but when he cut those corporate taxes, he said these corporations were, in his words, “the job creators.” Well, they’ve sat on that money. That’s why Mark Carney called it “the dead money.” $630 billion in cash, an astonishing 32 percent of Canada’s GDP, is sitting stagnant, not being used. It’s absolutely appropriate to raise the corporate tax rate to about where it was in 2009. We’d still be very competitive within OECD countries. And we should do it as quickly as possible, so we have money to invest in getting the economy moving again.
Paul Wells: Stephen Harper, why not?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let’s be very clear, Paul, on the tax record, first of all. Yes, we have created the lowest tax environment for business investment across the G-7. That’s one of the reasons we have the strongest employment growth in the G-7. We cut taxes, not just for big business, but we cut taxes many times for small business, and the NDP voted against that every single time. The reality is not only did these tax cuts help create jobs, but our tax revenues actually went up from the business sector.
We’ve done the same thing for people. We have cut taxes across the board with the vast bulk of those tax breaks for middle and low income Canadians.
What the other guys want to do is they want to impose both on workers and on employers big hikes to payroll taxes — CPP taxes, EI taxes. Those things would kill jobs, and they would hurt ordinary people.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper is once again eschewing the responsibilities that he has for the fact that he’s had eight successive deficits. We’re right now the only G-7 country in a recession, and wages are shrinking. He continues to try and tell people that we need to stay – stay the course, but people at home know that, know that we are not working, that this economy is not working for them.
We need a fresh approach. We need an approach that understands that the way to create growth in the Canadian economy is to strengthen the middle class, to make sure that people have jobs and confidence and a capacity to spend and be – be sure about the future that they’re building.
Mr. Harper has continued to give tax breaks to the wealthiest, and that’s not actually stimulated or helped our economy in anything. And that’s why Canada is growing less and less fair, and that’s what we need to focus on because Canadians right across the country are looking for a change. They’re looking for a better approach and a better plan for the economy, and that’s exactly what the Liberal Party is putting forward.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, let’s be clear. We have not only a balanced budget, we have the lowest debt levels in the G-7 by a country mile, by far. We have by far the best fiscal situation going forward. All analysts can see that.
Justin Trudeau: That’s because of the (crosstalk, inaudible) of surpluses.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We’re creating jobs and —
Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk, inaudible) deficits.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And middle class incomes, unlike in almost every other country, they are rising and they are rising in significant part because of the tax breaks we’ve given to middle and low income Canadians that the opposition parties have consistently voted against and that they want to reverse.
Elizabeth May: But in terms —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Here’s a fact, Paul, that Canadians know, that back in 2008 Mr. Harper was misleading. He said that we were not in a recession. In fact, it turned out we were in the worst recession since the 1920s. He’s trying to hide the fact that we are in a deficit again. Every outside analyst agrees with that. The Parliamentary Budget Officer is categorical about that. It is eight deficits in a row. It is $150 billion that he’s added to the debt. And Mr. Harper’s job creation record is the worst since the Second World War.
Elizabeth May: If I can just get to something —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Mulcair, just again clarification on the facts. The reality is that the figures out of the Department of Finance show that so far this year we are substantially in surplus, and in fact, well ahead of our budget —
Elizabeth May: But there’s —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — projections, and those are the real numbers. And our debt levels are way below other developed countries.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper, you’re trying to deny the fact that for the past five months those same statistics from the Canadian government have shown that for five months in a row the Canadian economy has shrunk. We are one month away from a technical definition of recession, but according to a lot of observers, we’re already in a recession.
Elizabeth May: If I could just —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Mulcair, I’m not denying that. What I am saying is that that contraction —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You’re not denying that we’re in a recession. That’s good.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — is exclusively —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: At least you’re denying —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — almost exclusively in the energy sector. The rest of the economy is growing. It’s projected to grow this year —
Elizabeth May: Well, that was my —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — and into future years. And the way to handle a fall in oil prices is not tens of billions of dollars of increased taxes, increased borrowing and increased spending. That’s how countries get themselves into serious long-term trouble.
Paul Wells: Elizabeth May has been trying to make a point.
Elizabeth May: Mr. Prime Minister, you made a promise in the Speech from the Throne in 2007 that you would tackle the barriers to trade and labour mobility within this country as an economic union, and it’s squarely your responsibility. You said you would go to the trade and commerce clause of the Constitution if needed to be. And now here we are as a country, we have more barriers to trade within Canada than the 28 nation states of the European Union. Why over this period of time – where is your plan to break down the trade barriers within Canada that (crosstalk, inaudible) our economy?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, the fact of the matter – the fact of the matter, Ms. May —
Justin Trudeau: The problem Mr. Harper has on that one – the problem Mr. Harper has on that one is he simply refused to sit down and talk with the premiers over the past 10 years. It’s just not showing leadership. We have a federation that needs people to sit down, talk about taxes, talk about barriers, talk about climate change, talk about how we’re going to help Canadians get ahead in an uncertain economy, and he has simply refused to engage with provincial leaders whether it’s on interprovincial trade barriers, whether it’s on climate change, whether it’s on training and job creation, and that’s, quite frankly, not the kind of leadership that a broad and diverse country like Canada actually needs from a Prime Minister. If Mr. Harper would meet with the premiers more often, that would be wonderful.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: (Crosstalk, inaudible) Ms. May and Mr. Trudeau on trade. We have – the premiers and the federal government are working together on breaking down trade barriers. We have the New West Partnership. We made significant progress in that area, but more importantly, under our government, we have increased the number of countries with which we’ve concluded trade deals from five to 44 — with the entire European Union, much of the hemisphere and now a foothold in Asia. No government has opened up trade opportunities for Canadian companies and Canadian workers like this government. That’s a record we should be very proud of.
Elizabeth May: But the Canada-Korea deal, which —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, you know, Stephen Harper is the only Prime Minister in Canadian history who, when asked about the recession during his mandate, gets to say, “Which one?” He’s just admitted that we’ve had five months of negative growth in a row, and yes, a lot of experts say we already are in a recession. Mr. Harper, we want to spend our time concentrating on creating jobs for Canadians. What we’re seeing here tonight is that you’re going to do everything you can to hang on to your job. I’m going to do everything I can to create jobs for average working class Canadians.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And I’m going to stop you from hiking taxes on those average workers.
Elizabeth May: And with all due respect, your foothold in Asia was to sell us down the river on national sovereignty. You’ve bound this country without a single set of hearings in Parliament to a trade – not a trade deal, an investment treaty with China that binds us until the year 2045, and we can’t get out of it. We need to insist on transparency because Beijing’s going to be looking over the shoulder of the next Prime Minister and telling us what laws we’re allowed to pass.
Paul Wells: With great regret, we’re going to have to leave the segment of the debate on the economy, although I’m sure economic questions will come up in the rest of the night too. This concludes our first round on the economy. We’ll continue after this break. Please stay with us.
Back to top
SEGMENT TWO: THE ENVIRONMENT, PART ONE
Paul Wells: Welcome back to the Maclean’s National Leaders Debate. Our second segment will be on energy and the environment.
Video: Narrator: Two years ago, Conservative cabinet minister Joe Oliver called oil exports an urgent matter of Canada’s national interest. But since then, the two biggest pipeline projects, Keystone XL and Northern Gateway, are stalled.
Unidentified Female: We’re glad that this pipeline is on delay.
Narrator: It’s almost four years since Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Accord.
Unidentified Male: The Kyoto Protocol is not where the solution lies.
Narrator: And now Environment Canada says we won’t meet our targets for carbon emissions for 2020. What’s the proper tradeoff in wealth-generating energy exports and the environment? Can Canada afford to clean up its act? Can it afford not to?
Paul Wells: My first question on this topic goes to Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper, you’ve been Prime Minister for a decade, and you want to be a different kind of Prime Minister on energy exports. You want Canada to be an energy superpower, but major export projects to the United States and China have stalled on your watch. What have you achieved in energy exports that beats the record of your predecessors? What do you have to show on this file for a decade’s effort?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, in fact, our energy exports have increased, not just our — until recently, obviously — not just our oil and gas exports to the United States, but we’ve also seen increasing uranium exports and coal exports and others to Asia. But I would say this, Paul: the federal government does not build pipelines. We obviously favour seeing a diversification of our exports, but we – we establish an environmental assessment process. Companies have to go through that, and they are going through that process.
In terms of the Keystone pipeline, as you know, that’s a – that’s a situation under control of the United States. I’ve had many conversations with President Obama. He’s not asking Canada to say anything. He’s saying he will simply make a decision that’s in the Americans’ best interests. But as you know, there’s overwhelming public support on both sides, so I’m very optimistic in the long run about the future of that project.
Paul Wells: Do you think we simply have to wait for a new President to get Keystone passed? And what if that President is a Democrat?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, that may be poss– that may be the case. But the reality is that there is overwhelming public support in the United States, including in Congress on both sides of the aisle. So I – I (sic) actually very confident, looking at the field, that whoever is the next President I think will appro– will approve that project very soon in their mandate.
Paul Wells: Have you found this to be frustrating? Joe Oliver, as we said in the intro, called the Northern Gateway project an urgent matter in Canada’s national interest. And three years after he said it, it – it remains unfulfilled.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, but look. The project went through a rigorous environmental assessment with a time limitation, as we established. The assessment recommended some 200 conditions on the project. We approved the project subject to those conditions. It’s now up to the – up to the proponent to fulfil those conditions. And that is how the system works in this country.
Paul Wells: Finally, if there had been a price on carbon, a nationally set price on carbon, four years ago, would Obama have – have approved Keystone XL by now?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Absolutely not. The President has never said that to me. On the contrary, the President’s said that he will – he’s told me what factors will influence his decision. It will be his own evaluation of the United States’ best interests. Let’s remember, the United States has not even agreed yet to – to have greenhouse gas emission regulations on their own oil and gas sector.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Mr. Harper. The first to respond to you on this is Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May: Well, with all due respect, Mr. Prime Minister, your record on climate is a legacy of – litany of broken promises, including one that’s directly relevant to the questions that Paul Wells was asking you about exports. You committed in 2008 not to export unprocessed oil, bitumen, to countries that have weaker emissions standards than Canada. That would obviously include China, the destination point for Enbridge and Kinder Morgan, which only the Green Party on this stage opposes. It makes no sense to export unprocessed oil to countries with poor environmental records.
You also committed to bring in a North America-wide cap-and-trade program working with partners. That was way back in another Speech from the Throne in 2008. Under John Baird as Environment Minister, you committed to oil and gas regs which we would see by 2010. And you also personally went to Copenhagen. It wasn’t a previous promise from Jean Chretien; you were in Copenhagen and committed to what was, I hate to say, a very weak target. But we are not going to come anywhere near it by 2020. And there’s just no credibility at this point. Canada needs to take action. We’re having a summer of extreme drought, raging wildfires, and really severe weather through our – all of our seasons. Canadians want action. Canada needs to take action so that we can defend ourselves from the changing global climate and from the impacts economically here at home.
Justin Trudeau: What Mr. Harper has consistently misunderstood about what happens in the 21st century is you cannot make a choice between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy. Mr. Harper continues to say oh, we can’t do anything on the environment because we’ll hurt the economy. And not only has he not helped our environment, but he’s actually slowed our economy. He cannot get our exports to market because there is no public trust anymore. People don’t trust this government to actually look out for our long-term interest. We – he hasn’t convinced communities of the rightness of his – his pipelines, of the proposals he supports. He hasn’t been working with First Nations on the kinds of partnerships that are needed if we’re going to continue to develop our natural resources.
Canada will always have an element of natural resources in our economy, but the job of the Prime Minister is to get those resources to market. And in the 21st century that means being smart and responsible about the environment. Mr. Harper’s inability to understand that is exactly why he’s so struggled to actually get our economy growing in a right way anymore.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, Mr. – Mr. Trudeau, let’s be clear on what the record actually is. Not only do we take both the economy and the environment seriously; we are the first government in history to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also growing our economy.
Elizabeth May: That’s not true.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And how have we done that? We do that through a sector-by-sector regulatory approach where we – where we regulate absolute reductions in emissions, and we do so in ways that we know will not kill jobs and will not burden taxpayers.
Tap for the latest from Maclean’s on the 2015 campaign
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: The alternative presented —
Justin Trudeau: Nobody believes you.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — by all of these other parties is a carbon tax.
Paul Wells: Mr. Mulcair hasn’t had a (crosstalk, inaudible) yet.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Ordinary workers and consumers —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper thought that by gutting our environmental laws, somehow he could get our energy resources to market better. How’s that working out, Mr. Harper? None of those projects has gotten off the drawing board, and it’s not hard to understand why. Canadians across the country want a clear, thorough, credible environmental assessment process. Canada can be a leader around the world. We can play a positive role. But with Mr. Harper, we’ve got the worst of all worlds.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, Mr. Mulcair —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Dirtier air and water, we’ve got more carbon pollution, and we’re a laggard on the world stage.
Elizabeth May: And it’s absolutely the only way that you can – with all due respect, Mr. Prime Minister, the only way you can take credit for the emissions drop, which only occurred in 2008 and ’09, is the global financial crisis. That’s the only thing that brought down our emissions. They would have gone up much more than they have now if not for the action of Ontario in shutting down coal-fired power plants, and British Columbia in bringing in a carbon tax. The cold, cruel reality is that, under your watch, greenhouse gases have been rising, carbon pollution has been rising. As soon as our economy began to recover in 2009, straight up line. Straight up.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, greenhouse gas emission have actually gone down, and the economy has actually grown. Those are the facts. Mr. Mulcair says the projects – various energy projects are going nowhere. No, they are all in an environmental process that is going forward. We make sure that we look at that process and make decisions. The problem is that the other parties have taken positions, depending on who they’re speaking to in Mr. Trudeau’s case, against every single one of these projects. By the way, not just oil projects but in British Columbia —
Justin Trudeau: That’s not true, Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — against natural gas projects. They have opposed the government’s tax incentives to the na– to liquefied natural gas that is supported not only by the Province of British Columbia and industry, by Aboriginal communities and a broad cross-section of the British Columbia population.
Justin Trudeau: We have done nothing of the sort.
Elizabeth May: But Mr. Prime Minister, in all —
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper – Mr. Harper is continuing to invent attacks, and quite frankly, Canadians are tired of that kind of leadership. You haven’t been able to get it done on the environment, Mr. Harper. You haven’t been able to get it done on the economy. You haven’t built the kind of balance that Canadians expect. If we’re going to build strong communities, if we’re going to create jobs for our children and grandchildren while protecting our air, our water, our land, we have to actually show leadership —
Elizabeth May: But – but —
Justin Trudeau: — and you have stepped back from any sort of —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Trudeau, under the government —
Justin Trudeau: — confidence building for government, for Canadians.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — emissions are down three percent.
Elizabeth May: No. No.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Under the Liberal government they were up —
Elizabeth May: No.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — 30 percent. That’s the difference.
Elizabeth May: Mr. – but Mr. Prime —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Our resources —
Paul Wells: I’ve got a couple of quick questions. Mr. Harper, will Canada meet the targets that you went to Copenhagen to set for 2020?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: As you know, what happens with the targets, I – I believe we will, but we now are focussing on a 2030 target. That’s what every country is doing. We’ve set a target in concert with our international partners, 30 percent over 20 – of 2005 levels by 2030. Look, we’re going to have to obviously do more regulation. We’re committed to doing that. We’ve announced some sectors. But there will also have to be technological transformation call. That’s why we’re investing over a billion dollars a year in energy tri– in energy technology projects, and —
Paul Wells: I covered the —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — and that’s what has to happen.
Paul Wells: I covered the 2008 campaign. Your Minister at the time was promising regulations for the oil and gas sectors. When – when are they coming?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, I’ve been very clear that this is an integrated North American sector, and we need integrated North American regulations. I’ve made that proposal to our partners, both the United States and Mexico. They haven’t yet accepted that, but we are ready to go, and we’re continuing to try and engage (crosstalk, inaudible).
Justin Trudeau: When Mr. Obama – when Obama first came to Ottawa, he actually was all about announcing a North American energy partnership. He was going to work with Canada. And that was eight years ago, and nothing has happened since. When Obama just announced recently landmark legislation moving forward on climate change action, Canada is nowhere to be found. That’s why the Liberal Party is proposing that we work again on a continental model, work with the United States and Mexico to address both energy and the environment —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well —
Justin Trudeau: — in a comprehensive way.
Paul Wells: Mr. Trudeau — and the question could also go to some of your colleagues — there’s a bit of a paradox here because it sometimes sounds like you say if we put the right price on carbon, if we have the right social license, we could have pipelines going hither and yon. And yet what I hear from U.S. environmental groups is no, thanks, we don’t want those pipelines, doesn’t matter which government is propounding them.
Elizabeth May: And Canadians —
Paul Wells: — them.
Elizabeth May: — and British Columbians —
Justin Trudeau: The reason environmental groups in Canada and across the United States are so concerned about Canadian oil is because Mr. Harper has turned the oil sands into the scapegoat around the world for climate change. He is – has put a big target on our oil sands, which are going to be an important part of our economy for a number of years to come, although we do have to get beyond them. And his lack of leadership on the environment is hurting Canadian jobs and Canadian relations with other countries.
Paul Wells: Tom Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Getting our resources to market is critical. But Mr. Harper’s gotten the balance wrong. He’s gutted our environmental legislation, and he knows that that’s hurting jobs in our resource sector, it’s hurting our economy, and frankly, it’s hurting Canada’s international reputation. Building on my experience as an Environment Minister, when I brought in overarching sustainable development legislation, I would enforce that type of legislation: make polluters pay for the pollution they create. And these projects would get looked at with a thorough and credible environmental assessment process.
Mr. Harper and Mr. Trudeau both agree with Keystone XL, which represents the export of 40,000 jobs. I want to create those 40,000 jobs here in Canada.
Elizabeth May: So Mr. Mulcair, will you stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Mulcair says – Mr. Mulcair says he supports energy exports.
Elizabeth May: Are you opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline as well?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Then he goes abroad, he and his party, to argue against Canadian energy exports. You know, a moment ago they talked about landmark decisions by the Obama administration in the United States. They’re pushing ahead with coal – with national regulations of coal-fired electricity. We did that in Canada three years ago across several provinces —
Justin Trudeau: No. Mr. Mulcair – Mr. Harper, you did not do that.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: We did that in concert with the provinces —
Justin Trudeau: It was the Ontario government that worked very hard to do that —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — in Ontario, in Alberta, in Saskatchewan —
Justin Trudeau: — and you were blocking them —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — in Nova Scotia —
Justin Trudeau: — at every turn.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — and that’s why – the reason we have the cleanest —
Unidentified Male: That might be —
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper, nobody believes you on the environment.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — electricity sector in the world (crosstalk, inaudible) coal-fired electricity before anyone.
Back to top
SEGMENT TWO: THE ENVIRONMENT PT. 2
Paul Wells: Now might be a good time to take – now might be a good time to take a brief pause because we’re – it’s time for the second round of questions on the same subject. So save your thoughts and you’ll get a chance to express them. But this question goes to Tom Mulcair. Mr. Mulcair, let’s talk about pipelines because it seems like that’s what we’re doing tonight. You’ve said you oppose Northern Gateway, Keystone XL, and, in its current formulation, Energy East. Should Canadians just assume that major energy export projects will be on hold for the duration of a Mulcair government’s term in office?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I believe that a clean environment and a strong economy do go hand in hand. What we especially said in the case of Northern Gateway — and I got a chance to visit the Douglas Channel — was there was no safe way to bring those large super tankers into that narrow channel. That just doesn’t make any sense. What I have said in the case of Keystone XL — you just heard me repeat it — part of sustainable development is creating those value-added jobs in your own country. You don’t export them to another country.
By the way, that 40,000 job figure is Mr. Harper’s own figure. Mr. Flaherty and him were boasting in the States that it would create 40,000 jobs there. I want to create those 40,000 jobs here in Canada.
With regard to Energy East, it could be a win-win-win: better price for the producers, more royalties for the producing province. It could also help create those jobs in Canada. And of course it could help with Canada’s own energy security. But here’s the rub. Mr. Harper has gotten the balance all wrong. He has scrapped a series of important environmental laws, starting with the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Species at Risk has been affected; fisheries. Instead of dealing with First Nations on a respectful, nation-to-nation basis, he spends a hundred million dollars a year fighting them in court. We’ll take a different approach. We’ll work with First Nations. It’ll be a new era in relations with First Nations because they are the resource rulers in a lot of these cases. Mr. Harper’s belligerent, butting – butting heads approach is not working, and that’s why not one of those projects has gotten off the table.
Paul Wells: In a – in an interview with our colleagues at l’Actualité, you also said that, for Energy East to make sense, you’ve got to internalize the price of carbon in the price of the project. That sounds like a carbon price. Would that be felt by consumers at the gas tank?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Internalizing the cost, as I just said before with regard to sustainable development, making the polluter pay, that’s a normal rule of sustainable development; otherwise, you’re making everybody in society bear it. User pay, polluter pay – basic rules of sustainable development. I brought in overarching legislation in Quebec. It went so far as to change the Charter of Rights to include the right to a clean environment.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Mr. Mulcair. The first leader to respond to you will be Justin Trudeau.
Tap for the latest from Maclean’s on the 2015 campaign
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair has been somewhat inconsistent on pipelines. In English he’ll say that he supports the Energy East pipeline; in French he said that it’s out of the question. And that kind of inconstancy, quite frankly, isn’t the kind of leadership we need for Canada. You can’t say one thing in English and its opposite in French. The fact is we need to restore public trust in our ability as a government to create a level playing field upon which proponents of a project can acquire social license, can gain the public trust from the communities it’ll touch, by working in concert with First Nations, Metis Nation, and Inuit peoples to make sure the right partnerships are in place, and also to make sure that the scientific oversight and rules and guidelines are actually protecting Canadians.
This is about not just doing right by our environment; it’s also about doing right by future generations. I have three kids, and I know I want my kids to grow up in a country as fresh and pure and clean as Canada was when – as we remember it to be and as it used to be. And for that to be – take hold, we have to have a government that’s actually demonstrating leadership, that understands that you cannot make a choice between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy. In the 21st century, they go together. Investing in clean tech, in jobs, investing in the kids of pollution reduction and emissions reductions that we need is what this country hasn’t done well enough under Stephen Harper.
Paul Wells: Mr. Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, Mr. Trudeau, you do exactly what you accuse Mr. Mulcair of doing. You go to one part of the country, Atlantic Canada, you’re for Energy East; you go to Quebec, and you’re against it.
Justin Trudeau: Actually, Mr. Harper, your – your friends in New Brunswick —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And the fact – the fact – the fact of the matter is —
Justin Trudeau: — attacked me mercilessly for —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — all of these – all of these – all of these parties have opposed all of these projects before we’ve even had environmental assessments. That’s not the responsible way you do things. The government has environmental assessments. You do – take your – you take the evaluation based on that and you move forward. And that’s – you know, that’s taking the jobs and the economy seriously along with the environment. The way you don’t deal with this problem is start imposing carbon taxes that will inevitably – they raise money for the government. They don’t reduce emissions. They hit consumers, and they hit consumers hard.
Elizabeth May: Can I —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: The price of gas goes up, home heating, groceries, you name it. That is not the way to deal with emissions.
Elizabeth May: Can —
Paul Wells: Mr. Harper, Alberta and British Columbia and Quebec have a price on carbon right now. Is there a problem with that?
Justin Trudeau: Eighty-six percent of the Canadian economy.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, look, I would – I – I say this. First of all, different provinces have different approaches. Some of them I prefer more than others. I think what’s important – Alberta have – previous government had a very limited carbon price that was about a tech fund within the industry, funding a tech fund. It was not about raising for – revenue for the government, it was not about taking money out of the pockets of consumers. The tax – the carbon price proposals proposed by the other parties would involve tens of billions of dollars of revenue for governments. And —
Elizabeth May: No.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — Paul, I’ll say what I’ve said to people across the country: a carbon tax is not about reducing emissions. It’s a front. It is about getting revenue for governments that cannot control (crosstalk, inaudible).
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I’ll tell you one thing that is about lowering emissions, Paul.
Elizabeth May: I have to – I have to try to explain that the reason —
Paul Wells: We’ll get —
Elizabeth May: — the Green Party opposes every single one of the pipelines that are proposed, risky pipeline schemes to get unprocessed oil out of this country — Mr. Mulcair’s right. Every single one of these raw bitumen, unprocessed oil pipeline schemes is about exporting Canadian jobs. That’s why the Green Party knows we can oppose every single one of them. And I would like to have Mr. Mulcair’s answer clearly. Will you join us and fight against the risky pipeline and tanker expansion tripling the transport of unprocessed oil from Vancouver? Will you help us defend our coastlines?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I share the same concerns as Miss May with regard to the Kinder Morgan pipeline that she just talked about. And in fact, that’s another example of what Mr. Harper’s done to our rules.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Against that one too.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Did you know that the groups that are involved in those processes, in those hearings for Kinder Morgan, are not even allowed to cross-examine the company’s witnesses? That’s a fundamental breach of the rules of natural justice, and that’s why the public doesn’t trust him anymore.
Elizabeth May: But do you oppose the pipeline? Do you oppose the pipeline and the tankers?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: See, here’s the difference. Opposing these pipelines systematically in advance is just as wrong as supporting them —
Elizabeth May: So you’re prepared —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — in advance because, in both cases, what you need is an objective study.
Elizabeth May: So you’ve just said that the process is flawed.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: In the case of Energy East, for example —
Elizabeth May: But we should wait for its result?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — where we would be replacing the super tankers that right now come down the St. Lawrence to Saint-Romuald across from Quebec City, we’d be replacing the extremely dangerous trains that are going through communities all across Canada. That’s the type of evaluation that we should do — it’s an objective evaluation — if we can get back to a credible system, which we’ve lost.
Unidentified Male: (Off microphone)
Elizabeth May: We have lost it, that’s for sure.
Justin Trudeau: Canadians know that we need an actual approach that gets it, that restores that public trust that we have simply lost over the past years. Mr. Harper has failed on the environment, and therefore he’s failed on the economy. Mr. Mulcair continues to – to say different things in both languages. But I will say that, on Energy East, I have consistently said that it needs to gain social license. And the Conservatives in New Brunswick, you know, criticized me roundly when they were in government. So I don’t know what Mr. Harper’s talking about in terms of that.
Elizabeth May: Energy East is still about export.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Actually, Mr. Trudeau, you said exactly the opposite in an interview with Radio Canada in Rimouski last fall, and it’s easy to find that quote on line.
Elizabeth May: I’m still not sure where you stand on Kinder Morgan, because it’s pretty straightforward. They plan to put three times as many tankers moving out Vancouver, loaded with diluted bitumen. It’s very hazardous, risky material. And we know, wheth– regardless of what kind of process it goes through, it should not go ahead. It must be stopped.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: This is part of my track record, that people are free to consult. When it was the Rabaska liquefied natural gas plant across from Quebec City, and I was the Minister of the Environment, I didn’t even want to look at it because of the danger of those tankers in the St. Lawrence, the same approach I took with regard to Northern Gateway and the tank— dangerous tankers in the Douglas Channel.
With regard to these other projects, we have to be able to look at them objectively with thorough, credible environmental assessment processes.
Elizabeth May: So you take no position.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I am taking the position that you can study these thing— these projects. Ms. May takes the position that you can say no to them, all of them, in advance. Mr. Harper is taking the position that you can say yes to all of them in advance. We want a clear, thorough, credible process that the public can have confidence in.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: No, the position of the government is that we have a scientific expert evaluation of every project before we decide to proceed. That’s how the government’s – that’s how the government has handled these projects. Mr. Mulcair, by his own admission, has already ruled out a number of projects before they even went through the process and is – and is positioning himself to be against others as well.
Elizabeth May: I’m an intervener.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: That – that is the record of the NDP. They’re always for projects till they actually face one, and then they’re against it. That’s why in British Columbia they oppose even liquefied natural gas.
Elizabeth May: Mr. —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper, I actually have a track record that people are free to look at. And when I was the Minister of the Environment, we sometimes had tough projects. There was a project involving the bridge of the 25 between Laval and Montreal, lots of opposition to it. We went through a thorough evaluation process, we put down 18 conditions in the Order-in-Council approving that project. The public that had been opposed to it was on side by the end of it because they knew they could have confidence in us respecting the environment.
Elizabeth May: But —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Respect for the environment and a strong economy are not opposites; they go hand-in-hand.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: And yet you oppose Northern Gateway before the evaluation —
Elizabeth May: But there’s been something the Prime Minister said —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — and you – and your party propo— opposes liquefied natural gas projects in British Columbia, widely supported, important to the energy diversity strategy (crosstalk, inaudible) —
Elizabeth May: Mr. – Mr. Prime Minister —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You’ll have to show me where I opposed that, Mr. Harper.
Elizabeth May: — Mr. Prime Minister, where was your commitment you made at – at the G20 in Pittsburgh that you would end fossil fuel subsidies? You’ve just criticized the other opposition parties here be – over new subsidies to fossil fuels. That’s what LNG is, it’s fossil fuels. So you made a commitment globally, you’ve not eliminated the subsidies that go to the oil sands, but now you’ve added new subsidies that go to liquefied natural gas, which is fracked gas, which over its lifetime has the same carbon pollution footprint as coal.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, actually, neither of those things is true. First of all, the government has in fact eliminated subsidies to the oil sands and to the oil sector. We are providing accelerated cast— capital cost allowance to provide clean, liquefied natural gas exports to help encourage that industry that is vital not just to British Columbia but to the energy – the energy sector in this country, and we’re doing so at a time when I have to remind people the energy sector has significant challenges. This is a good proj– these are good projects for the environment and for our economy.
Justin Trudeau: One of the things —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper’s plan is failing.
Justin Trudeau: — one of the things we’ve seen right across – right across the board from this government is a misunderstanding of the role of government around protecting our future and thinking long term. We have at the Liberal Party a very clear plan to reduce climate change emissions by – by – greenhouse gas emission and fight climate change by working with the provinces. As was pointed out, 86 percent of our economy have committed to put a price on carbon with the actions of four different provinces that have taken up the leadership that this government has simply not shown.
Unidentified Male: Mr. Trudeau —
Justin Trudeau: The Liberal Party is focussed on working with those provinces to make sure we do reduce emissions because that’s what actually Canadians expect in order to be good players in the global economy.
Paul Wells: Oh, I have so many questions, and I know so many of you have stuff to say, but we’re going to have to wrap up this segment on energy and the environment.
I want to remind our viewers who are watching on TV that, if you want to engage on social media and have your say on tonight’s debate, you can do so on our Facebook page. So you can talk to other voters about what’s going on here while you’re watching on TV. Well, as for this week, and we’ll talk about these issues all night, but it’s time for another break. Stay tuned.
Back to top
SEGMENT THREE: DEMOCRACY, PART ONE
Paul Wells: We’ve reached the halfway point of the Maclean’s National Leaders Debate. Our next topic of conversation is Canada’s democracy — how it works, why it doesn’t always work as well as we hoped.
Video: Narrator: It’s surprising how much time we’ve spent in recent years debating the institutions of Canadian democracy. The Senate is a mess. Can we clean it up? Should we shut it down? Is that even possible? There are serious questions about how closely our elections reflect the will of the voters. Is it time to replace our first-past-the-post electoral system? How can we fix decorum in the House of Commons and all the appointments a government makes in office? There’s a lot to discuss.
Paul Wells: Our first question on this to Elizabeth May. Ms. May, you’ve called the government we have now an elected dictatorship and you’ve called for electoral reform, but this election will be won and lost under the current electoral system. Do you worry that Green candidates will take support away from other parties that could defeat this government? Might the Green Party help reelect this government?
Elizabeth May: When I refer to the government as an elected dictatorship, it’s not personal in any way to the Prime Minister nor to his party. It’s a reference to what’s happened, a creeping growth, an unhealthy growth of power in the Prime Minister’s Office, which goes along with less of a role for individual members of parliament in doing their fundamental job. The only job description for a member of parliament is that found in the Constitution, which is to represent your constituencies.
So we need to actually revisit parliamentary democracy, understand that this election isn’t about electing a prime minister — we don’t do that in this country; we elect members of parliament. And their job is to find the government that will hold the confidence of the House, so we can work for Canadians.
As far as Greens being concerned about this, not at all. We have had success and we’ve now had election – my election in Saanich–Gulf Islands, but across provinces — in British Columbia Andrew Weaver, in New Brunswick David Coon, in Prince Edward Island Peter Bevan-Baker. All of us got elected by driving voter turnout.
So instead of fixating on this splitting the vote non-problem, vote-splitting, we need to focus on the real problem, which is 40 percent of Canadians in the last number of elections haven’t voted. And vote abandoning, in my view, is a much bigger problem than vote-splitting, and we’re going to do everything we can to reach out to young people, First Nations and those disadvantaged by the Conservative Fair Elections Act to get out a higher level of vote, so that Greens can win in the current system, but that so Canada wins with a healthier democracy.
Paul Wells: You’ve said we don’t elect a prime minister, and that’s true, but we saw quite a mess of a coalition crisis in 2008. Are we headed towards that sort of arbitrage among parties after the next election if there’s no majority?
Elizabeth May: I can’t tell you how committed Green MPs as a caucus will be to working with other parties, working across party lines to ensure that we go from a precarious, perhaps two-year minority parliament to a stable, productive, effective parliament, because you look at really great parliaments in this country, and I refer viewers back to Lester B. Pearson where the small group of NDPers under David Lewis and Diefenbaker in the Conservatives and Lester B. Pearson delivered our social safety net.
Paul Wells: Justin Trudeau, you get to respond.
Justin Trudeau: Elizabeth May makes a number of great points, but one of the ones is something I hear about all across the country when I’m talking to young people, when I’m talking to people who are simply disillusioned and disenchanted with our political system, whether it’s the negativity, the attack, the divisiveness that tends to be rewarded all too often with electoral success, that ends up making it more and more difficult to govern.
But one of the things that really frustrates a lot of people is when they see politicians pander, when they say one thing in one part of the country and a different thing in another part of the country. And one of the things that, unfortunately, Mr. Mulcair has been doing quite regularly is talking in French about his desire to repeal the Clarity Act, to make it easier for those who want to break up this country to actually do so, and in doing so, he’s actually disagreeing with a Supreme Court judgment that said that one vote is not enough to break up the country. And anyone who wants to become Prime Minister not only should not say different things in French and in English, but should make sure that they side with the Supreme Court when it comes to unity of our country.
Paul Wells: Mr. Mulcair, you get to answer that.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I’ve fought for Canada my whole life. I fought in the 1980 referendum. I fought in the 1995 referendum. I spent 13 years in the National Assembly in Quebec City, and I was always consistent fighting for Canada.
Now I can understand it’s a bit frustrating for the Liberals that for the first time in a full generation, Quebecers voted massively for a federalist party, and they wanted nothing to do with the Liberals, and it’s easy to understand why. You just heard it. The only two people I know in Canada who are anxious to start talking about separatism again are Justin Trudeau and Gilles Duceppe.
Mr. Trudeau has an obligation, if he wants to talk about this subject, to come clean with Canadians. What’s his number? What is your number, Mr. Trudeau?
Justin Trudeau: First of all, Mr. Mulcair —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You’re not answering.
Justin Trudeau: — I don’t question your patriotism.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: You haven’t answered.
Justin Trudeau: The question is —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: What’s the number, Justin?
Justin Trudeau: — why is your policy so reckless? You want a number, Mr. Mulcair?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Yeah, give us a number.
Justin Trudeau: I’ll give you a number. Nine. My number is nine. Nine Supreme Court justices said one vote is not enough to break up this country, and yet that is Mr. Mulcair’s position. He wants to be Prime Minister of this country, and he’s choosing to side with the separatist movement in Quebec and not with the Supreme Court of Canada.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: So.
Justin Trudeau: And he’s bringing this up. It’s his policy to repeal the Clarity Act. He quietly put forward a bill in the House of Commons on that. He announced it very loudly —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Yes, it’s really secret when you put it in the House of Commons.
Justin Trudeau: — in French. He very loudly announced it in French six weeks ago in – at the Saint-Jean-Baptiste parade —
Paul Wells: Okay, so one —
Justin Trudeau: — and he won’t talk about it in English.
Paul Wells: — one more chance, Mr. Trudeau, to name a margin above 50 percent that you think would be acceptable.
Justin Trudeau: The Supreme Court said very clearly that Mr. Mulcair’s number is not the right one.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: He won’t answer.
Justin Trudeau: What it also said is —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: He won’t give a number.
Justin Trudeau: — a number is to be set in the context of the next referendum.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: If you want to take part in this conversation, you have to have a number.
Justin Trudeau: It is in the next referendum.
Paul Wells: While I’m at it, could I —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: If I can, Paul, look, I’m not going to question Mr. Mulcair’s position as a longtime federalist — that is clear. What I think I do question, along with Mr. Trudeau, is why bring up a debate of the Clarity Act other than to satisfy the separatist elements within the NDP in Quebec? Nobody’s talking about that. You know, we just had Quebecers massively reject that agenda. Nobody wants to raise this. Why would we go down the route of talking about how we – how we can best break up the country when in fact Quebecers clearly do not want to do that? I just don’t understand it.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, if there’s one thing that Mr. Harper and I —
Paul Wells: Let me try my luck – let me try my luck —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — do agree on, Paul —
Paul Wells: Since – since there’s a debate among two of our leaders about the margin that would decide this question in sovereignty, let me put the question to the Prime Minister. As a Reform MP, you used to support a 50 percent margin in a referendum on sovereignty. I don’t believe I’ve heard you give a number or revisit that question as Prime Minister.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, you haven’t heard me revisit it, Paul, because I don’t think it should be revisited.
Justin Trudeau: Indeed.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Look, what happened – what happened in 1995 — and we don’t want that to happen again — where they tried to get 50 percent plus one by invalidating a whole bunch of federalist votes, so I do think we have to look very carefully at that if we ever have that problem again, but you know, I think Quebecers have firmly rejected that. They’ve gone through 40 years of a debate that has done nothing but damage to that province.
Justin Trudeau: Indeed, Quebec, and the irony —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Paul —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Why start promising that to separatists in Quebec?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — on that – on that, the Prime Minister and I agree that yes means yes. That’s what he put in his bill. And to say otherwise, as Mr. Trudeau’s doing while still refusing to give his number
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — is a dangerous political game, and I’ll tell you why.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: If yes doesn’t mean yes, then people could decide to vote yes as a way of sending a signal. That’s why it’s a dangerous political game, and that’s why it’s not a serious way to talk about a very serious subject.
But I’m so proud and I have confidence in Quebecers who have twice rejected separation, and I fought in both of those referendums.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Then why is Mr. Mulcair trying to throw gasoline on a fire that isn’t even burning?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: (Crosstalk, inaudible) and I have confidence in them. Mr. Trudeau has lost confidence and he thinks that it’s a winning situation for the Liberals to scratch that old wound. That’s what they want to get back to.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Mulcair, you are the one who announced that position —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: What’s your number, Justin?
Justin Trudeau: — on separation, on making it easier.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: What’s your number?
Justin Trudeau: My position is the Supreme Court’s position —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: What’s your number?
Justin Trudeau: — that says the number should be set in the context of the next referendum if that ever comes. And your play to try and stoke up that separatist vote for the NDP by announcing at Saint-Jean-Baptiste that this is continuing to be your policy is not worthy of a prime minister.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: This has been our policy —
Justin Trudeau: No prime minister should make it easier —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — for 10 years, but there is —
Justin Trudeau: — for Quebec to separate from Canada, Mr. Mulcair.
Paul Wells: Elizabeth May, and then I want to take this (crosstalk, inaudible)
Elizabeth May: I was just going to say isn’t it ironic that this segment was supposed to be our democratic institutions in this nation. We can as Canadians, it’s been our hallmark for generations that we can disagree without being disagreeable and I would like us to be able to talk about what we do about fixing Parliament because that’s an urgent crisis, and I don’t believe —
Paul Wells: Let’s —
Elizabeth May: — that we want to get ourselves mired into any threat of separatism.
Paul Wells: Let’s do that because the Liberal Party has a project of electoral reform that Mr. Trudeau has said he wants the next election to be last under first-past-the-post. He doesn’t want to have a referendum on any reform. Stephen Harper wants to insist that any change to the electoral system go through a referendum process. Why do you think that should – that should happen?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, I think it’s a very fundamental change to the way our political system would work in this country. We have a Westminster system. Voters are able to elect governments. They don’t elect coalitions that make up the government later. And you know, Canadians – Paul, this has come up before. It was subject of a referendum and plebiscite in Ontario and Prince Edward Island and British Columbia. I have not found Canadians who want to make this fundamental change. In fact, whenever Canadians are asked, they reject it. We know the rules. Let’s play under the rules that Canadians support.
Elizabeth May: That’s not actually the case.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: What’s interesting is to hear Mr. Harper say that today because when he brought in his Unfair Elections Act, he refused to even talk to Canadians about it. We stood up strong in the House of Commons and opposed it. We shut down travel by parliamentary committees. We used every tool in our parliamentary toolbox to stop him from trying to walk away with the next election by jigging the rules. He’s actually made it harder for whole classes of Canadians to vote, and that’s not just our opinion; all of the experts who have looked at this Unfair Elections Act have said the same thing. So Mr. Harper, if you’ve become such a keen fan of making sure that no single party can change the rules, why did you go ahead and do just that with your Unfair Elections Act.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, the Fair Elections Act, the principal change it makes that Mr. Mulcair and the other parties oppose is that voters have to show ID to demonstrate who they are. And there’s 40-some different pieces of ID that they can show. Canadians overwhelmingly support that. That’s an important reform.
Elizabeth May: That change was made in 2007.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Ninety percent of – 90 percent of Canadians —
Elizabeth May: It wasn’t made – it was already made before you introduced the Fair Elections Act.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — believe that you should be able to show – show identification and identify who you are before you vote. And frankly, I think voters should be worried about political parties who would not do that, who think it’s fine to have people who can’t identify themselves.
Elizabeth May: It’s a big disappointment —
Justin Trudeau: This is a perfect example – this is a perfect example of how Mr. Harper creates strawman arguments, creates fears of massive voter fraud. When his party was pressed on examples of people fraudulently voting, they weren’t able to prove anything. Indeed, some of his MPs mistakenly testified to things that they actually hadn’t seen.
The fact of the matter is the jobs of Elections Canada and what we should look at as a goal as a country is to try and encourage as many people as possible to vote and the changes Mr. Harper has made to the Elections Act actually make it more difficult for students, for Aboriginal and indigenous communities, for many seniors to actually vote —
Elizabeth May: Homeless people.
Justin Trudeau: (Crosstalk, inaudible)
Elizabeth May: Much harder.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Trudeau – Mr. Trudeau —
Justin Trudeau: The fact is that we need to make sure that those voices are being heard because those voices are not just marginalised in voting rights, but in so many aspects of society and Mr. Harper apparently wants to keep it that way.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Trudeau, how would we know – how would we be able to identify voter fraud if we can’t even identify who voters are? This is a —
Elizabeth May: Electoral —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — commonsense reform supported by 90 percent of Canadians, and we have made sure that there is ID that is applicable for every single category of Canadian, and it’s why that policy is strongly supported.
Paul Wells: Mr. Harper —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: This is an important reform.
Paul Wells: — the Fair Elections Act turns out to be full of surprises. One of the things it did was allow you to extend the election campaign to 11 weeks and prorate expenses to match. Did you have this kind of long election campaign in mind for two years?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Paul, we agreed – all of us here agreed to have an election debate this week months ago. Everybody knew an election would be on. The other parties were out campaigning. It’s very simple. If we are going to be in an election campaign, we should be under the rules of the Election Act, not using parliamentary resources —
Justin Trudeau: So why were you putting up 24/7 on your website, Mr. Harper?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — but using resources that our party raises.
Back to top
SEGMENT THREE: DEMOCRACY, PART TWO
Paul Wells: We’re going to continue this with a new round of questions, and by the luck of the draw, the first question goes to the Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Mr. Harper, you used to promise that you wouldn’t name senators if they hadn’t been elected. Now, you’re promising you won’t name senators at all. You blame the courts for blocking reform, and you’ve asked the provinces to come up with ideas for reform. But the courts and the provinces didn’t name the senators who are in trouble — you did. Do you owe Canadians an apology for putting Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau in the Senate?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, first of all, I certainly did not name all of the senators that are in trouble. You know, the Senate has been an institution that has these kinds of problems for 150 years. I’d say for the first time, we actually have a Senate that now has clear rules and is enforcing those rules.
What I will say is this, Paul. My role is not to apologize for the bad actions of others. When bad actions arise, the role of a leader is to take responsibility and hold people accountable, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Paul Wells: Your policy now is not to name senators, essentially indefinitely. There’s already a court case before a judge in British Columbia on the assertion that that simply won’t work, that you can’t empty out the Senate over time because it denatures the constitutional mandate of the Senate. Have you sought constitutional advice on whether you can go ahead with your new policy?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Oh, absolutely. Now you can’t empty the Senate entirely, but we have – I’ve left 22 seats vacant already. The Prime Minister has the power to name those or not name those in the Senate, and what we’ve been able to achieve with that is to begin bringing the costs of the Senate down. They’ve actually fallen by some $6 million. I think those Senate vacancies will force most provinces, who by the way, almost all of them who have opposed Senate elections and Senate reform to, you know, come clean with that and explain why those senators aren’t being elected — I gave them a chance; they won’t elect them — and why they won’t abolish. I think at time – I think over time public pressure will force this issue to be resolved. And frankly, I think the longer there are more vacancies, I think it will raise questions about why we continue with the Senate we do.
Paul Wells: Do you think one good way to come up with ideas with the provinces is to meet with the premiers to discuss this issue?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: No. I have talked to provinces individually over a long period of time. I know what the positions of the provinces are. They were also clear in court. There is nowhere near consensus on either reform or abolition, and I think opening up constitutional discussions is the wrong priority for the country. Our priorities are the economy and security. If the provinces really believe the Senate should be fixed, tell us how. They’ve opposed that. And if they don’t, abolish it.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Mr. Harper. And the first response goes to Tom Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, Paul, I guess you could say that there are broken promises and then there are broken promises. Mr. Harper promised solemnly to Canadians that he would never name an appointed senator. He’s gone on to break a record and name 59 of them, and the list of Conservative senators under RCMP investigation continues to grow.
I’m looking for a mandate on October 19th to put an end to this mess once and for all. Canadians deserve better.
We think that there are three main things we can do with regard to our institutions. The first is to make sure that every vote counts with a proportional representation system. Open up Parliament, for example. Get rid of the secrecy of the internal committee that looks at how taxpayers’ money is spent. We think taxpayers have a right to see how every single dollar is spent in that secret committee inside the House. And by the way, we do want to get rid of the Senate — abolition, pure and simple. Mr. Trudeau thinks we need better senators. I think we need only former senators.
Paul Wells: Mr. Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper has just said it, his plan on Senate reform is to tell the provinces stop me before I appoint again. The fact is he made a solemn promise never to appoint a senator and he broke that promise on his very first day as Prime Minister by appointing Michael Fortier to the senator – to the Senate. And then he broke that promise 58 more times. So I can understand why nobody would believe him when he says he’s not going to appoint any more senators right now.
Mr. Mulcair wants to open up the Constitution. The fact of the matter is when the Prime Minister – the next Prime Minister eventually sits down with the premiers to actually talk about things, I can tell you Canadians are going to want the Prime Minister and the premiers to talk about jobs, to talk about climate change, to talk about health care, not to talk about how to open up the Constitution to try and improve the Senate.
The fact is the Liberal Party actually took concrete action to remove senators from our caucus to make sure that any future appointments are done in a transparent, nonpartisan way —
Paul Wells: Eliz—
Elizabeth May: Yes.
Justin Trudeau: — to actually reform the Senate without diving into constitutional reform.
Paul Wells: Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May: Yeah. Well, with all due respect, Mr. Prime Minister, whoever gave you the advice that simply announcing you wouldn’t appoint senators is constitutional needs to go back to law school. What you’re doing is unconstitutional, but the single biggest scandal that has yet occurred in the Canadian Senate was not the misspending. It was the really illegitimate notion that the Prime Minister’s Office has the right to tell its Conservative senators how to vote. And for the first time in the history of this country, a bill passed in the House of Commons, a democratically elected House, passed Bruce Hyer’s Climate Accountability Act, and when it went to the Senate, the Conservative senators were instructed to kill it at their first opportunity. This is the first time in the history of this country that appointed senators have killed a bill without a single day of study in the Senate of Canada.
Paul Wells: Mr. Harper, did you ask the senators to stop that bill?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: What I – we always ask senators to do — we cannot force them to do anything — what we ask them to do, Paul, is we ask them to support the party’s position. The party didn’t support that particular bill.
But what I would say is this: look at the facts of the Parliament under this government. This is often not reported. We have backbenchers operating and voting more freely than we’ve had in decades. We have more private members’ legislation that has gone through Parliament under this government than multiple governments before us. That’s the reality of the situation.
Justin Trudeau: You’ve also invoked closure —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Paul, I was there —
Justin Trudeau: — more than all previous —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Paul —
Justin Trudeau: — prime ministers combined.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — I was there with Jack Layton in front of the Senate the days those senators had the temerity to block a bill that had been adopted by those people who had been elected by the Canadian voting public. Ms. May is right, that was the first time in 75 years and on what subject? The most important issue facing future generations. I don’t want my grandchildren to have to bear the burden for wrongheaded choices today.
Mr. Harper has just admitted that he asked the senators to vote to kill a bill adopted by the House of Commons. What greater proof of a lack of respect for our fundamental democracy than asking unelected people to defeat a bill voted upon and enacted by the elected Parliament?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let’s be very clear. We simply asked senators to stick to their principles and the fact of the matter is that private members’ legislation has been blocked very frequently in the past by the Senate.
Elizabeth May: Never.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: The last time was 75 years ago.
Elizabeth May: Never.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: What is unprecedented would be government legislation. The reason —
Paul Wells: I do have a question —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — I don’t have to name senators and we have 22 vacancies is we have a healthy government majority.
Paul Wells: I do have a question for Mr. Mulcair.
Justin Trudeau: You broke your promise 59 times.
Paul Wells: Mr. Mulcair —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, can I lay out the record on that? Can I lay out the record on that?
Paul Wells: Yes, sir.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: For nearly three years, we left some 20 vacancies in the Senate, invited the provinces to fill those through elections. Only one did. Finally, to get government legislation moving in the Senate, I said in 2008 that I would appoint senators. And we’ve done so, and now we’ve – now that we don’t need to, we have stopped.
But Mr. Trudeau, you talk about truth. You just said there are no Liberal senators.
Paul Wells: Mr. Mulcair —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Go on the parliamentary website. There are 29 Liberal senators there working for the Liberal Party of Canada.
Paul Wells: Mr. Mulcair, we’re talking about Senate abolition. Your Premier Philippe Couillard has told Maclean’s Magazine that no Quebec premier will ever support Senate abolition. Given that Quebec’s assent to a major constitutional reform is usually required, is that not a problem?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I was with Philippe Couillard just a few weeks ago, and it’s a longstanding position and one that I quite understand. But we would take a completely different approach to dealing with the provinces. This issue of Senate abolition begins with a mandate. It’s not because it’s been there for a long time that we can’t get rid of it. That would mean sitting down with the provinces and territories.
Now Mr. Harper has refused to attend a single meeting of the Council of the Federation since becoming Prime Minister. I’m going to hold two meetings a year — one in Ottawa and one in one or the other of the provinces on a rotating basis. I come out of provincial politics. I’m not afraid of sitting down with my provincial counterparts. On things like health care, we need a new accord, we need a modern accord. Of course I’m going to sit down with them instead of dictating a big cut like Mr. Harper did just a couple of years ago.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, health care – health care transfers have risen —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: On Senate reform, I would ask for mandate on October 19th, and I’d start the hard work that I’ve already started, in fact, in opposition of meeting with the premiers to try to get them onboard to get rid of this undemocratic, unaccountable institution that is a relic from our colonial past.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Mulcair, not only do you respect, as I do, the Government of Quebec’s position against Senate abolition, it was your position for all the years you were in the Government of Quebec. You should be clear about that.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: And Mr. Harper’s proving my point. It’s a longstanding position. Since the unilateral patriation of the Constitution in ‘82, every successive Quebec government has said that. That’s why I’m not at all hesitant to sit down again with my friend and former colleague Philippe Couillard and work on this very tough issue —
Paul Wells: Senate abolition —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — because I believe sincerely that the only way to deal with the Senate is to get rid of it. One billion dollars has been spent on the Senate on Mr. Harper’s watch. He’s done nothing about abolition. He’s done nothing about reform. Can you imagine how many child care spaces we could have created with $1 billion, Mr. Wells?
Paul Wells: I’m being reminded that Elizabeth May has not had much of a chance to address these questions.
Elizabeth May: I would appreciate that. The way that the Greens advocate that we change the way we make decisions in Canada to create a space where we could work together is to create a Council of Canadian Governments, which would include building on the Council of the Federation, but federal, provincial, territorial, representation from municipal and local governments as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit around the same table. We need to deal with the Senate. It’s not my top priority because it’s hard. It’s going to require opening up the Constitution. We think we should amend the amending formula, so that Canadians can change our Constitution by referendum instead of the antiquated formula we’re saddled with today.
Paul Wells: Mr. Trudeau, the Prime Minister called you out. He said there’s a lot of Liberal senators on the website. Is Larry Campbell in Vancouver a Liberal senator?
Justin Trudeau: Well, no. He is – he is not part of our caucus. We are – we have released the senators, so they can be independent. A number of them have chosen to be independent. Some have chosen to continue to call themselves Liberals, but unlike what Mr. Harper just said, which is that he directed those senators to vote along the party lines, I haven’t done that, and I no longer have the power to do that over the senators who are now – who were formerly in the Liberal caucus because we feel that the decisions that are taken in the upper house should be independent of the political manoeuvrings that Mr. Harper has excelled at —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Actually, Mr. Trudeau, in the Senate —
Justin Trudeau: — over the past years. He has imposed them.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — Liberal senators vote the Liberal party line every single time.
Justin Trudeau: That’s not true, Mr. Harper.
Paul Wells: Mr. Mulcair, about 20 seconds to (crosstalk, inaudible).
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: To listen to Mr. Trudeau, you’d somehow have to believe that the Liberal senators have somehow changed now that they’re Senate Liberals. Here’s the reality. During the most recent provincial election in Nova Scotia, the new Premier had all of the Senate Liberals up on stage to thank them for doing his fundraising. The bagmen of the Liberal Party are still in the Senate.
Elizabeth May: Here’s a surprise for you.
Paul Wells: Okay, I’m afraid we’ve —
Elizabeth May: Larry Campbell’s endorsed me in my riding. Just thought I’d throw that in.
Justin Trudeau: I don’t think that’s the answer.
Paul Wells: I’m afraid we’ve got to say bye-bye. Stay with us for the final round of the night and for closing remarks.
Back to top
SEGMENT FOUR: FOREIGN POLICY, PT. 1
Paul Wells: And welcome back once again to the Maclean’s National Leaders Debate. Our final topic for tonight’s debate is on foreign policy and security.
If there ever was a distinction between the choices Canada makes abroad and the way we live at home, it vanished last October, when loners inspired by international terrorist movements murdered Canadian Forces soldiers in Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Canadians’ security is being challenged in Iraq and Syria. Our commitments to our allies are tested in eastern Europe. Our relations with the United States and with the world’s rising powers are still another area of controversy. In our final segment, we’ll discuss Canada in the world.
Our first question on this goes to Tom Mulcair. Mr. Mulcair, Canadians are reluctant to send soldiers into combat, but they have also always been willing to defend Canadian values by force when necessary. The NDP’s historic reluctance about sending troops into combat has never been tested in power at the federal level. Would an NDP government ever send troops or jet fighters into combat? And if so, where?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Yes, we’ve shown that willingness in the past when it was based on a UN mandate, as in the case of Libya. We agreed with the first two parts of that, the two votes in the House, and then we withdrew that when they changed the nature of the mission that they were asking us to support. Prime Ministers consulted me on sending in Canadian airlift capability into Mali, and we agreed with that. So yes, there will be times when that will be appropriate.
But before I would ever send in our brave women and men in uniform and risk their lives, I will think about them, I’ll think about their families, and I’ll make sure that we have a clearly defined mission and a clear exit strategy. That’s why, when Mr. Harper started his most recent adventure in Iraq, we said no way, this is not something that Canada should be involved in. Now, every single person on this panel, Paul, agrees with the importance of fighting terrorism, but the question is when do we put Canadian troops in harm’s way. And we thought the – thought that, in that case, it was inappropriate.
Paul Wells: All of Canada’s traditional allies — the United States under a Democratic President, the United Kingdom, and France — support the – the mission against ISIS in Iraq, and to some extent in the – in Syria. Is that not a broad enough consensus for (crosstalk, inaudible)?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Multilateralism has always been a Canadian approach. But don’t forget, you’ve just named a few NATO allies, but this is not a NATO mission. This is an American-led mission. This is not a United Nations mission, unlike the mission I just referred to in Libya a couple of years ago. So we think that we are taking a wrongheaded approach here, and we know that a lot of the horrors that we are seeing are the direct result of the last misguided war. And I think that, frankly, Canada got it right when we said that we would stay out of the 2003 war, and we are seeing the results of that wrongheaded decision now.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Mr. Mulcair. And the first response to you goes to Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May: Thank you. Mr. Mulcair, with all due respect, that second vote, where every single New Democratic Party member voted for the continued – continued bombardment of Libya, took place after the mission had changed. The UN sanction and approval was for responsibility to protect, to protect civilians in Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya from Muammar Gaddafi. At the moment that we as a country, Canada, said oh, the rebel forces, they’re the legitimate new government of Libya, we did that knowing full well those rebel forces included al-Qaeda. I was the only Member of Parliament who voted against continued bombardment because it seemed pretty clear to me that, with a peace offer on the table, we should take that cease-fire and see if it would work. The warehouses full of armaments that belonged to Gaddafi in Tripoli and throughout Libya ended up being emptied out by hoodlums and terrorists, and ended up destabilizing Mali. And some of those very weapons ended up – ended up in the hands of ISIS.
So the question is how could we, as a country that has always stood for peacekeeping and cease-fires, why did every NDP member vote to continue bombardment when everything I just said was already clear?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, I guess, Paul, that the answer to that is that we’re always going to evaluate it based on whether or not it is a United Nations mission. And indeed, when it had become clear that it had morphed into a mission for regime change, the NDP did not vote for it. So that shows the subtlety of our approach. Ms. May is opposed to every single possible use of our military. Mr. Harper is in favour —
Elizabeth May: That’s not true.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — of every single possible use of our military. We’re going to take a balanced approach that will take into account traditional Canadian values and multilateralism.
Paul Wells: Justin Trudeau, while I’m doing this tour of parties that aren’t in government and asking about when they would use force, do you think that we need a United Nations mandate before we send Canadian troops abroad?
Justin Trudeau: No, I think it’s certainly a clear indicator that we should be involved, but there are other situations in which we shouldn’t. I mean, I’ve supported our engagement in Afghanistan. I certainly supported our engagement in Kosovo. And the fact is that I’m proud to actually have among us, in our great team of candidates, the former Commander of the Army, who was on the ground in Afghanistan. So the Liberal Party knows that Canada has an important role to play around the world in promoting peace and security.
Where I disagree with the Prime Minister on this current mission is not that Canada shouldn’t have a role against ISIL. I absolutely believe we should. I just disagree on the approach that he’s had. Unfortunately, Mr. Harper, as we’ve well seen, hasn’t seen a war he hasn’t wanted to get involved in, and that was very clear when he supported the – the – George W. Bush’s war into Iraq, where he said in 2003 that Canada should be involved. The fact is Canada should have a role to play, but it needs to be the right one that’s actually going to help the local forces fight and win the war for themselves. And that’s why I’ve consistently supported training —
Paul Wells: Mr. Trudeau – Mr. Harper.
Justin Trudeau: — not combat missions.
Paul Wells: Mr. Harper, two of your opponents have said you – you haven’t seen a war that you don’t like. What do you – what do you make of that?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, I – I don’t think this government’s actually got involved in very many military actions, but we are certainly involved in one now against the – against ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria. And it’s not true what Mr. Mulcair says. It’s not a few NATO allies; all of our NATO allies support this. And not only our NATO allies. Virtually all of the countries of the region, a Muslim region, support this. The reason they support this is this organization has become the global nerve centre of a violent, jihadist movement that is not only threatening, literally slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Syria before we intervened, but is a threat to the entire region and a threat to the entire globe. It has singled out Canada and Canadians by name, and has demonstrated the ability to carry out attacks in countries like ours. It would be absolutely foolish for us not – not to go after this group before they come after us. And look, I’m very proud of the – of the job that the men and women are doing, taking this on in concert with our allies, and – and I think it is very widely supported by Canadians because they – they understand that it’s common sense.
Paul Wells: Mr. Trudeau —
Justin Trudeau: The Liberal Party —
Paul Wells: — this sounds like something one of my colleagues – a question one of my colleagues put to you. If not ISIL, then who? You know, when —
Justin Trudeau: The Liberal Party has been very clear. We support being part of the coalition against ISIL. We simply disagree that a bombing mission is the right way to go about it. When a Prime Minister chooses to send men and women of the Canadian Forces into harm’s way, there has to be a clear plan, there has to be a clear expectation of success, and there has to be a reasonable justification of the specific action Canada’s taking, not just these people are bad, therefore we need to do something, it doesn’t really matter what. It means that we have to be thoughtful because our allies, and quite frankly, Canadians expect us to be thoughtful about our approach when we engage in international (crosstalk, inaudible).
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: But Mr. Trudeau —
Justin Trudeau: The other thing is, if we are going to send our troops overseas, we need to make sure we are properly taking care of them when they come home. And Mr. Harper has failed our veterans by nickel-and-diming them, by not giving them the service, the help that they need. And it’s something that we should all be ashamed of, that this government, that likes to wrap itself in the flag, is actually not caring for those people who have fought, injured themselves, and —
Paul Wells: Mr. Harper.
Justin Trudeau: — in many cases, died—
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well—
Justin Trudeau: — under that flag (crosstalk, inaudible).
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — this government has – this government has made record investments in veterans. We’re spending 35 percent more on the average veteran today directly than we were when we came to office.
But let me go back to the central question of the ISIS mission. What we are doing in ISIS is precisely the mission that the inter– our international allies think we should be doing. These are the pro– these are the priorities: hit them in the air, and help to train people, particularly the Kurds, on the ground. Mr. – Mr. Trudeau has provided no rational reason for why he is against that, other than to simply slag the military when asked why they shouldn’t go there. This is a mission supported by Canadians and our allies, and it is in the vital security of – interests of this country. And if you’re Prime Minister, you have to be able to make these kinds of decisions.
Elizabeth May: But it’s a tricky area. It’s murky, and the question of who’s our enemy and who’s our friend. We’re bombing in Syria. We don’t have permission from Bashar al-Assad, although, when you first said, Mr. Prime Minister, we’d wait for his permission, that was pretty strange because he’s a butcher. The civil war that’s been waging in Syria has caused massive humanitarian crisis, loss of life, four million Syrians who’ve taken refuge in other neighbouring countries. We ste– we stood back and didn’t do anything while that was going on. That wasn’t ISIS murdering people; that was a civil war where the Sunni and the Shiite and the factions within the Muslim world are slaughtering each other, and ISIS is taking advantage of that. Are we on the side of Bashar al-Assad now? Are we going to help bomb ISIS, which we used to – frankly, there were some people who said ISIS was probably a helpful force because they were against Bashar al-Assad.
Paul Wells: Okay, but isn’t it one of the awful tricks of history that most of the world’s crisis areas are in tricky parts of the world? I mean —
Elizabeth May: It’s very tricky, but that’s why we have to look at what ISIS is doing. Why does this group of despicable thugs put their horrific acts on YouTube? Because they want to draw us into the region. They are following a very ancient and not official text of the – of their – which they claim is essentially a Muslim Book of Revelations that will lead them to certain results, but only if infidels are in the right place at the right time for them to attack. So we are actually doing what they want when we go in with bombing missions.
Paul Wells: One more question to Mr. Mulcair, in fact —
Elizabeth May: It helps them recruit.
Paul Wells: — my first question about a different part of the world, Ukraine and – and eastern Europe. Canada’s part of a – of a NATO mission there. NATO’s Article 5 says that, if our – if a NATO nation is attacked, all NATO nations must respond. Would an NDP government uphold NATO’s Article 5 in eastern Europe against Putin?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Of course Ukraine, not being a member of NATO, I’m not sure the – that the question would pertain. I guess what you’re saying is if a NATO —
Paul Wells: Ukraine’s neighbours.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Well, if – again, we will of course support NATO. We are proud members of NATO, and that’s why I made reference earlier to the fact that that should be one of our multilateral cornerstones, is whether or not a mission is a NATO mission. And despite what Mr. Harper just said, the mission in Iraq is not a NATO mission, period. Full stop.
With regard to Ukraine, yes, Putin is a danger. We stand firmly with Ukraine against the aggression by Russia. But there are things that Canada can and should be doing. Now, our allies, again, have a rather complete list of people who are being sanctioned. There are two key players. One is Vladimir Yakunin; the other is Igor Sechin. Mr. Harper is sheltering them. They are not on Canada’s list. So my question to you, Mr. Harper, is why are these two individuals being blocked by all of our allies and you’re giving them a free pass.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, let me be very clear about how we have handled sanctions. And we have sanctioned a record number not just of Russian officials but of Ukrainian officials connected with the previous government, and Russian officials who are involved in Ukrainian territory. We have – all the allies have slightly different lists because the objective in all of these things is to make sure we do maximum damage to Vladimir Putin and to the Russian economy while trying to minimize damages to our own. Where all of our allies list people, we follow invariably with those lists, and they do the same thing.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Paul, these two individuals are on the lists of all of our closest allies. Mr. Harper is refusing them – to put them on the – on Canada’s list, and now he’s refusing to tell Canadians why.
Paul Wells: On that note, we’re going to wrap up this part of this segment on foreign policy and security, but we’re heading into one final round of questions, and that question goes to Justin Trudeau from the Liberal Party.
Back to top
SEGMENT FOUR: FOREIGN POLICY, PT. 2
Paul Wells: Mr. Trudeau, you’ve had to make difficult decisions on issues of war abroad and security at home: opposing the government’s decision to take part in the international action against ISIL in Iraq and Syria; supporting the anti-terrorism legislation, Bill C-51, in Parliament, even though you say you would change it later. Why do these issues raise the most persistent questions about your judgment?
Justin Trudeau: The fact is the Government of Canada and the Prime Minister is expected to do – to do two things by Canadians. The first one is to keep us safe; the second is to uphold and defend our rights and freedoms. Now, Mr. Harper doesn’t think we need to do anything more to protect our rights and freedoms, and Mr. Mulcair, with his position on counterterrorism laws, doesn’t think we need to do anything more on security. The Liberal Party has been very clear. We need to do both of them together. We supported that legislation because there were specific elements in there that immediately and concretely protect Canadian security, and we’re committed to repealing the problematic elements that have been highlighted and actually bringing in the proper oversight that our Five Eyes allies all have by elected legislators over our national security agencies to make sure that we are protecting; also, bringing in sunset and review clause, and making sure that we are narrowing and specifying the definitions.
We managed at committee to encourage the government to bring in significant amendments that removed a number of very problematic elements in it, and we will continue to be productive and constructive in not pretending that there’s a political choice to be made. Perhaps it was naive. Perhaps there was something that I put forward and said, you know what, we can take a responsible position at a time of politics of attack and division, because Mr. Harper wants to be – everyone to be scared that there are terrorists hiding behind every leaf and rock; Mr. Mulcair wants us to be scared for our Charter and our basic rights and freedoms. The fact is any Canadian government needs to do them both together. And that is what the Liberal Party has demonstrated in the years following 9/11. That’s what we continue to demonstrate in terms of getting that balance right.
Paul Wells: Mr. Harper, what do you make of Mr. Trudeau’s responses on these key questions?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, I – look, I’ll let Mr. Trudeau explain his own position. He’s been both for and against the legislation at the same time. What I say is this, Paul. Our – our view is very clear, that security and freedom go hand-in-hand. We know that the international jihadist movement that we face is a very serious menace to this planet, including to this country. What we did in developing our legislation is we looked at what modern powers police and security agencies have across our allies, and we’ve made sure that we are up to those standards. We’ve also provided – Mr. Trudeau talks about oversight. We have moved our oversight in a very different direction, not having politicians do oversight. We have poli— we have oversight done by independent experts, by people who are experts in the field, an independent committee, and they are chaired. And – and those – chair – chaired by prominent former judges. I think that’s – I think that is a robust system of oversight.
Justin Trudeau: When you look —
Paul Wells: When you support Parliamentary oversight —
Justin Trudeau: Exactly.
Paul Wells: — and processes like these —
Justin Trudeau: When you look to the core of Reform Party —
Paul Wells: — why did you change your mind? Is it because you don’t like these politicians?
Justin Trudeau: — that was what it was all about.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: No, I’ve – I don’t support this kind of oversight. I – I support parliamentarians’ oversight on legislation. That is our – that is our role, to draft laws, to make laws. When it comes to the operations of government, the operations of security agencies, I don’t think those things should be politicized or done by politicians. I think they should be done by experts and by judges —
Elizabeth May: There is no —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — who (crosstalk, inaudible) —
Elizabeth May: — expert oversight —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — and that’s what’s being done.
Elizabeth May: — there is no expert oversight —
Justin Trudeau: They – they need—
Elizabeth May: — of C-51. There’s no oversight at all. And if you listen to security experts — and I urge anyone watching to go on line and find the evidence of Joe Fogarty, who is an MI5 agent from the UK doing liaison intelligence work with Canada — this C-51 Anti-terrorism Act makes us less safe. It is not confronting terrorism. It is very likely to make us less able to disrupt plots while, at the same time, eroding our freedoms. And under – Joe Fogarty’s evidence under oath was that this legislation is dangerous, and that when asked by contacts and colleagues in the UK, is there anything Canada is doing that the UK should emulate, he said absolutely not, they’re sitting on a tragedy waiting to happen.
Paul Wells: Tom Mulcair, I suspect you have something to say about all this.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: We all agree, Paul, that we have to, whoever forms government, make sure that we protect Canadians from terrorism. There’s no disagreement on this panel about that. But we strongly believe that you have to do that without trampling on the rights and freedoms of Canadians. Now, when a series of former Prime Ministers, Supreme Court Justices, the top legal experts in the country all concur that Bill C-51 represents a real threat to our rights and freedoms with nothing in return, because there’s nothing in there that wasn’t already captured by existing legislation, then we have one clear answer to the Canadian voting public. The NDP will repeal Bill C-51.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, this is – this is an N–
Paul Wells: And not introduce any legislation to give any new tools to police or to CSIS?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: If there is evidence that something’s missing. For example, the Conservatives left completely silent the question of domestic radicalization. And the problem is of course some of the code words used by the Conservatives has been very worrisome. For example, President Obama will talk about working with houses of worship and religions leaders; Mr. Harper points out and singles out mosques. He knows why he’s using that language. He has a backbencher who said that Muslim women should get the hell back where they came from, and he’s about to sign that person’s nomination papers. I find that reprehensible and beneath the dignity of a Canadian Prime Minister.
Paul Wells: Mr. Harper, are you using code words against Muslim —
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Absolutely not. Look, Mr. Mulcair’s mantra, the NDP’s mantra, is the same on this every single time. Every – every piece of security legislation ever presented to Parliament the NDP has opposed. What we have done in the latest security legislation are things like: allowing security organizations to share information on terrorist threats; allowing them to intervene before plots develop to prevent the very kind of thing that happened in St-Jean in October. It is important – I believe it is important that we call the international jihadist threat exactly what it is. And anyone who thinks that is somehow labelling Islam, the vast – Muslims are the vast majority of victims of this movement. Muslim minorities are a particular focus of our international efforts to make sure we protect people, not just – not just in this country but around the world. If you’re not prepared to call the threat we face by the name it is, you are not prepared to confront it, and we need to confront it as a country.
Paul Wells: Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May: C-51 does not do the things the Prime Minister just said. This legislation fails, as Mr. Mulcair said, to bring in any efforts, which the UK have brought in in their legislation, to confront the risk of radicalization. We can abort terrorist plots without C-51. We got the – the air —
Paul Wells: Scarborough 18.
Elizabeth May: — the CA — the 18 in Toronto. We – we arrested young people who were about to leave Montreal. That was all before C-51 was passed. C-51 creates a secret police under CSIS with no reporting requirements to the RCMP. None. And it will create separate security espionage groups not knowing what the other is doing. This legislation must be repealed, and then we should go back, look at the recommendations to anyone here — and I – and I hope to be playing a key role in the next Parliament. We must look at the – at the recommendations from the Air India inquiry, from former Justice John Major, we must look at the recommendations from the Maher Arar inquiry, and use those recommendations as the basis for drawing up legislation that could work. This is a disaster.
Paul Wells: Justin Trudeau, I want to come back on C-51. Are you surprised by the reaction to your stance — Liberal members cutting up their party cards, Liberal members leaving your party to support the NDP — over this issue?
Justin Trudeau: No. I – I think this is an issue that people are – are quite rightly worked up about. There’s an awful lot of fear and division going on in politics these days, and one of the things that the Liberal Party is focussed on is taking responsible decisions. And that means there will be people disagreeing on the left and on the right with our positions. And I’m fairly – I’m fairly confident — I am confident — that we have the right position here. We need to talk a lot more about attacking – addressing radicalization, working with various communities to make sure that we are engaging in the kind of counter-radicalization that other countries have done successfully —
Paul Wells: Well – well, let me —
Justin Trudeau: — and that a country like Canada, particularly a country that is so strong, not in spite of our differences but because of those differences, we need to reduce the kind of politics of fear and division and actually work together to make sure that we’re keeping Canadians safe. And that’s certainly something that the Liberal Party knows we need to do a lot more of.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Let – let’s – let’s talk about —
Paul Wells: Mr. Mulcair.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — the issue of preventing and countering radicalization. There are important measures in C-51 to stop the advocacy and promotion of terrorism. But the fact of the matter is the reason we have had such success in this country in breaking up plots before they have occurred — and we know what some of those are — is because our law enforcement and security agencies are working more closely with communities that are vulnerable than anywhere in the world, and they get great support. And that is because we have strong policies that promote multicultural and cultural integration in this country. And that’s why we don’t have the kinds of problems in Britain and elsewhere. And these are the ki– exactly the kinds of policies the Government of Canada and its agencies are doing today.
Paul Wells: Mr. Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Harper’s approach has left us weaker and less respected on the world stage. For the first time since the United Nations was created, Canada missed its turn on the Security Council. And by the way, Mr. Harper, we weren’t thrown out by dictatorships. We were thrown out by long-time allies like Portugal and Germany, who simply don’t recognize the Canada that you’re projecting onto the world stage. We can get back to a Canada that’s respected on issues of international aid and development. We’ll put back the international aid budgets that Mr. Harper has cut. We’ll protect, defend, and promote those Canadian values on the international stage. We also will start to respect our international obligations, stop working against the world, start working for the planet. I would love nothing more than, as Prime Minister next December, to go to the International Conference on Climate Change in Paris and to do just that —
Paul Wells: Mr. Harper —
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — get us on track to deal with the very real issue of climate change.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Mulcair —
Paul Wells: — is Canada weaker and less respected on the world stage?
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Quite the contrary. Mr. Mulcair, according to the Reputation Institute, a recently published study — it’s a widely regarded organization — Canada is the most admired – most admired country in the world because we take strong stands, we do what we believe is right.
Now, let’s talk about the Security Council of the United Nations. There is a movement at the United Nations to isolate and denigrate the state of Israel. This government has taken a very clear position. We will not – we will not support that. It is wrong. This is the only country in the world whose existence is under threat. It is a friend and ally, one of the best friends and ally– the best friend and ally this country has —
Paul Wells: We’ve got 30 seconds and we cannot go over.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — in a very dangerous region, and we will never go —
Paul Wells: Tom Mulcair, very briefly. Justin Trudeau very briefly.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: — along with that anti-Israel position.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: I’ll take no lessons from anyone on defending the right of Israel to defend itself. But we also take a very balanced approach. We want a safe state for Palestinians, and a safe state for Israelis. That’s a balanced approach. That’s the type of approach Canada has always taken on the world stage —
Paul Wells: Justin Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau: And all —
Paul Wells: Thirty seconds.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: — that’s the approach that we would take.
Justin Trudeau: — all parties are in agreement on this. We’ve been talking about international relations. We have the worst relationship with the United States that we’ve had in a long time. That’s what we need to fix as well.
Back to top
Paul Wells: We have covered so much ground over the last two hours. And now it’s time to wrap things up with some closing remarks. Each leader will have two minutes, and we begin with Stephen Harper.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Thank you, Paul. Ladies and gentlemen, this election is about who has the proven experience to keep Canada safe and our economy strong. We know that, beyond our shores, the global economy remains in a state of turmoil and uncertainty. We have falling oil prices, we have market turmoil in China, we have yet another debt crisis in Europe. But through it all, since the end of the global financial crisis, we have the best economic growth, the best job creation, and the best growth in middle class incomes among any of the advanced, developed nations. While other countries are descending into spirals of debt and deficit, with tax hikes and cuts to their programs and services and economic stagnation, in this country we have a balanced budget with lower taxes, increased money for the things that matter, transfers for health care, education, for infrastructure, and for benefits for families like yours.
The other parties want a different course. They would replace our low-tax, balanced budget plan. They want to spend tens of billions of dollars additional in permanent spending to be financed by high taxes, permanently high ta– higher taxes, and permanent deficits. They would take away, in whole or in part, your Universal Child Care Benefit, income splitting for families and seniors, and tax-free savings accounts. They would hike taxes on business and on workers through increases – tax increases on the Canada Pension Plan, tax increases to employment insurance, and a carbon tax. Countries that have gone down the road of higher taxes and permanent deficits are failing around the world. You know. You know that today there is no – there has been and there is no better place and no better prospects for your family than this country, Canada. On October the 19th I ask for your support so together we can continue to build the best country in the world.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Stephen Harper. The next closing statement is Tom Mulcair.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Thank you, Paul. I’d like to begin by thanking Maclean’s and Rogers for organizing tonight’s debate, and thank all of you at home for joining us in the middle of the summer.
In this election, there is a clear choice: four more years of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, or my plan for positive change. Under Mr. Harper’s plan, incomes are stagnant, household debt is skyrocketing. Mr. Harper has the worst job record since the Second World War. He’s run up eight deficits in a row, and added $150 billion to Canada’s debt. Our – and these values – sorry. Mr. Harper’s plan clearly isn’t working. The list of Conservative operatives under RCMP investigation is continuing to grow. Some have even been sent to jail. The biggest risk for Canada is four more years of Mr. Harper’s government.
It is time for a change – change that’s built on hard work, living within your means, and accountability. These are the values that have guided by 35 years of public service, and these are the values that will continue to guide me. My number one priority is to kick-start the economy and get Canadians working. We will invest in local infrastructure and help small businesses to create jobs. And we understand that good jobs and a clean environment go hand-in-hand. I have fought for Canada my whole life. I know that Canada is the greatest country in the world. But a lot has been lost under the Conservatives. I have the experience to replace Mr. Harper, and the plan to repair the damage that he has done. Canadians are ready for change. We’re ready too. I invite you to join us. Thank you.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Tom Mulcair. And the next round of closing remarks go to Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May: Thank you, and I also want to thank Maclean’s and Rogers. This May, as we currently stand here on August 6th, be the only debate that involves all of us in an English language debate, and maybe we won’t get a French language debate. So I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to Canadians.
I want to say that it will be a shame if we don’t have more debates, because as – as comprehensive as the questions were, we have not discussed social policy, we have not discussed how we respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we’ve not discussed how we must expand our Medicare system to include pharmacare, what we should do for young people who are facing crushing levels of student debts, and their families. We have a lot of issues to discuss. Inequality. Everyone’s talking about the middle class, and I support the concern, but the 86 wealthiest families in this country have the same combined wealth as the 11.4 million dol– million Canadians at the bottom. One-third of Canadians have the combined wealth as the top 86 families. We have to address this.
So I ask you to consider the Green Party. I ask you to get to know us. We are not what you think. We’re not a one-issue party, we’re certainly not a one-person party. I’m enormously proud to be joined by Deputy Leader, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North Bruce Hyer, by Deputy Leader Daniel Green in Quebec. We have exemplary candidates from coast to coast to coast: people like Claire Martin in North Vancouver; people like Gord Miller, former Environment Commissioner for Ontario, in Guelph. We’re running strong candidates to be strong MPs because we want to work for you. We want to go to work for you in a more collaborative Parliament, one with greater respect, with civility in our discourse. We’re willing to work across party lines to deliver what Canadians want. We believe in a Canada that works. We believe in a Canada that works together for all of us. Help us now. This is the election where we will get our country back.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Elizabeth May. I’ve almost never seen a bunch of politicians stick to their time as well as these ones are doing, and I very much appreciate it. Justin Trudeau, you get the last word.
Justin Trudeau: Mr. Harper has spent millions of dollars on attack ads trying to convince you that I’m not ready for this job. As silly as they are, they do pose an important question. How can you decide whether someone is ready to be your Prime Minister? Here’s what I think. In order to know if someone is ready for this job, ask them what they want to do with this job, and why they want it in the first place.
I’m a 43-year-old father of three kids, and I love them deeply, and I want them to grow up in the best country in the world, one that we can all be proud of. What I learned from my father is that, to lead this country, you need to love this country, love it more than you crave power. It needs to run through your veins. You need to feel it in your bones. Mr. Harper and I part ways on many issues, but our differences go deeper than just policy. Mr. Harper is dead wrong about one thing. He wants you to believe that better just isn’t possible. Well, I think that’s wrong. We are who we are, and Canada is what it is, because in our hearts we’ve always known that better is always possible. An economy that works for the middle class means a country that works for everyone, a country that is strong not in spite of our differences but because of them. The world needs more of both those things. And after ten years of Mr. Harper, so do we.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Mr.—
Justin Trudeau: That’s why I’m in this. That’s why I want to be your Prime Minister.
Paul Wells: Thank you, Mr. Trudeau. This concludes the first debate of this campaign. This whole experiment was a bit of a new experience for everybody concerned, and I want to thank the leaders for the leap of faith that they showed when they agreed to participate. Good luck on the campaign trail to all of you.
On behalf of Maclean’s, City and OMNI, I want to thank the viewers at home and on line for tuning in tonight. Be sure to visit the Maclean’s website for complete coverage of this campaign. Please stay tuned on OMNI. I’m heading over there right now for the City News special, Your Vote, Your Future. I’m Paul Wells. Good night from Toronto.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 6, 2015
Source: PM.gc.ca, 11-26-14
26 November 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the occasion of Dr. Noël A. Kinsella’s last day as Speaker of the Senate of Canada and to announce the appointment of the Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin as the new Speaker:
“Over the last eight years, Senator Noël Kinsella has served with distinction as Speaker of the Senate of Canada. He has presided over the Upper Chamber with aplomb and dignity, respecting the decorum of this institution and setting a tone that brought out the very best in his colleagues from all political parties.
“During his time as Speaker of the Senate, Senator Kinsella distinguished himself around the world as a human rights advocate and an academic. As an Honorary Captain in the Royal Canadian Navy’s Naval Reserve, he continued in his unfailing support of the men and women who serve, visiting the Pacific and Atlantic coast Canadian naval installations and boarding many of the ships of the Canadian fleet, including HMCS Charlottetown on patrol in the Persian Gulf.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to Senator Kinsella for his remarkable work, and for the compassion and intellect which he used to raise his office. I thank him as well for his tireless parliamentary service to Canadians and for representing New Brunswickers and Acadians so well. He will be remembered and honoured and I wish him every success in all his future endeavours.
“I am also pleased today to announce that Senator Pierre Claude Nolin has accepted to become the next Speaker of the Senate.
“Senator Nolin has represented Quebecers and Canadians in the Upper Chamber with honour for over 21 years. The wealth of experience he has gained on numerous committees, including the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence, and the Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, as well as his experience as Speaker pro tempore of the Senate will no doubt allow him to excel as Speaker of the Senate of Canada. I am confident he will succeed in his new role and work to make this institution more transparent, democratic and accountable.”
– See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/11/26/statement-prime-minister-canada-announcing-new-speaker-senate-canada#sthash.gulRH1bU.dpuf
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 26, 2014
Source: PM.gc.ca, 12-25-14
25 December 2014
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the Christmas season:
“This Christmas, we Canadians have many reasons to celebrate.
“We live in a beautiful country, a compassionate country, a prosperous country.
“Despite the difficulties elsewhere in the world, Canada’s economy is getting ever stronger, and more Canadians have more opportunities and better jobs than ever before.
“Importantly, around the world our country is also known for doing what is good and right, and for protecting the vulnerable, promoting peace, and defending the freedom of all people.
“Amid all the festivities, please say a prayer of thanks for the brave men and women in uniform, who serve this Christmas in harm’s way, especially those fighting the terrorists of the so-called Islamic State.
“In our abundance, and in the spirit of Christmas, I’d also ask you to show kindness to the less fortunate.
“And as you gather with friends and family, may you be filled with love, joy, peace and most of all, hope for the future.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada and from my family to yours, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Season’s Greetings.”
– See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/12/25/statement-prime-minister-canada-christmas-season#sthash.FGybkQSy.dpuf
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 25, 2014
Source: PM.gc.ca, 12-17-14
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his wife Laureen and Rabbi Shriki light the first candle of the chanukiah during a special ceremony marking the beginning of Chanukah.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his wife Laureen and Rabbi Shriki light the first candle of the chanukiah during a special ceremony marking the beginning of Chanukah.
16 December 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the beginning of Chanukah:
“This evening at sundown marks the first night of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.
“Chanukah is a meaningful eight-day celebration of the victory of the Maccabees, which liberated the ancient Israelites from oppression and their rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is also a celebration of the ‘great miracle,’ when one day’s worth of oil burned for a full eight days, symbolizing the power of faith to bring light to a world often filled with darkness and despair.
“Tonight, Jews across Canada and around the world will gather with their family and friends to light the first candle of the chanukiah, an important tradition which people of the Jewish faith have upheld for over 2,000 years.
“Chanukah is an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect on the meaning of faith, freedom and the triumph of good over evil, and to pay tribute to the tremendous contributions of Canada’s Jewish community in all areas of endeavour.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish everyone celebrating Chanukah both in Canada and around the world a happy and peaceful holiday.
“Chag Chanukah Sameach!”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 17, 2014
Source: PM.gc.ca, 12-10-14
10 December 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement following Jean Béliveau’s funeral service in Montréal:
“On behalf of the Government of Canada and on behalf of all Canadians, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Jean Béliveau.
“His wife Élise, his daughter Hélène, and his two granddaughters, Mylène and Magalie, have lost an extraordinary husband, father, and grandfather.
“And Canada has lost one of the most respected and admired citizens of his generation.
“No one played our national sport so skillfully, elegantly and successfully as Jean Béliveau.
“He inspired generations of young Canadian men and women, from coast to coast to coast.
“The greatest dream of hundreds of thousands of those youngsters was to score a goal ‘like Jean Béliveau.’
“Indeed, ever since the early 1950s there has been, and still is today, a special sort of goal in Canadian hockey: the ‘Jean Béliveau goal.’
“But Mr. Béliveau was greater than the sport to which he devoted his whole life.
“In Quebec, he was one of a handful of individuals, of popular heroes, who nourished the pride of our fellow citizens.
“During our first year in office, our Government had a resolution passed in the Parliament of Canada recognizing that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada.
“Among those great cultural values and institutions that are specific to Quebec – the French language and culture, the civil law – I think we can also very clearly recognize a red, white and blue jersey.
“A number nine could already be seen on the back of that jersey.
“Now we can see a jersey bearing the number four.
“Like so many generations of young Canadians since hockey has been played in Canada, Jean Béliveau took his first steps on skates on a small rink that his father set up in the back yard of the family home.
“Starting in his first years as a junior in Victoriaville and then in Québec City, there was something magical to be seen in how Jean Béliveau skated.
“For 18 years, thanks to his talent and team spirit, he made his mark as the natural leader of the Habs, who already had other stars in their roster.
“His charisma and influence transcended team lines.
“I remember attending a gala in honour of Mr. Béliveau’s 75th anniversary, here in Montréal.
“There, the great Gordie Howe, as fierce a competitor as the National Hockey League has ever seen, who played against Jean Béliveau for 18 years, said about him: ‘If you think he’s a good hockey player, as a gentleman he’s even better.’
“After hanging up his skates, he remained a beloved and respected figure of Quebec society, as a hockey executive and philanthropist.
“Above all, he was a family man, devoted to his wife, his daughter and his grandchildren.
“To remain close to them during a difficult period in their life, he declined two of the highest functions in the country, offered by two successive prime ministers – of different political stripes.
“Jean Béliveau also leaves the legacy and the example of a discreet, generous philanthropist, deeply committed to his community.
“Throughout and after his sports career, he had a special place in his heart for children with disabilities.
“Jean Béliveau was already a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, inducted immediately after he retired from the game.
“He is now a part of Canadian history.”
– See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/12/10/statement-prime-minister-canada-following-funeral-service-jean-beliveau#sthash.FZqOkDAe.dpuf
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 10, 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today commented on the additional deaths in France as a result of the terrorist attacks, and commended French authorities for ending the immediate terrorist threat in and around Paris, France.
“The thoughts and prayers of all Canadians are with the family and friends of those who were killed during today’s hostage takings in France. We are also relieved that French authorities were able to neutralize three of those directly involved in these cowardly terrorist acts that killed many innocent people in several locations in France.
“I would like to commend French authorities for tracking down those responsible for these heinous crimes. It is my hope any other individuals responsible for planning and carrying out these depraved acts will be brought to justice and face the full force of the law.
“We stand with our allies in defiance of those who commit such barbaric acts and whose only aim is to usurp the rights of freedom-loving people everywhere, including the fundamental right of freedom of expression.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 9, 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the shooting that occurred in Paris, France:
“I am angered and saddened to hear of the terrorist attack today in the offices of the Parisian news magazine “Charlie Hebdo,” which has killed at least 12 individuals, including two police officers.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives during this heinous crime and wish a speedy recovery to those injured. The perpetrators of this attack must be apprehended and brought to justice.
“This barbaric act, along with recent attacks in Sydney, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and Ottawa, is a grim reminder that no country is immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.
“Canada and its allies will not be intimidated and will continue to stand firmly together against terrorists who would threaten the peace, freedom and democracy our countries so dearly value. Canadians stand with France on this dark day.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 7, 2014
Source: PM.gc.ca, 12-3-14
3 December 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement after learning of the death of hockey legend Jean Béliveau:
“On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and many fans of Jean Béliveau, who passed away at the age of 83.
“Known affectionately as ‘Le Gros Bill,’ Mr. Béliveau was quite simply one of the most talented and gracious players to ever play the game. His renowned skills as a centre – including his skating ability and expert stick handling – were perhaps only eclipsed by his unfailing sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct both on and off the ice.
“A pillar of the Montreal Canadiens for decades, he contributed enormously as both a player and later an executive to the Habs, earning 17 Stanley cups. He still ranks second on the team’s all-time regular season scoring list with 1,219 points and holds the Canadiens’ record with 176 career playoff points in 162 contests. He made the All-Star Team numerous times, and won many of the leagues’ most prestigious honours, including the Art Ross Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy. Le Gros Bill was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
“Mr. Béliveau was also a philanthropist contributing to the Alzheimer Society and Big Brothers and Big Sisters, as well as to a multitude of activities for children with disabilities, including through the Jean Béliveau Foundation.
“Jean Béliveau was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1998 and a Grand officier de l’Ordre national du Québec in 2010. He was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2001 and into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. He was also the recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
“Mr. Béliveau will be remembered as a hockey giant who inspired a nation with his outstanding skill, humility and pure love of the game. His legacy lives on in the records he set, the legions of hockey players that he inspired, and the deep love he shared with his home province of Quebec.”
– See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/12/03/statement-prime-minister-canada-death-jean-beliveau#sthash.vVv5Wlpz.dpuf
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 3, 2014
Source: PM.gc.ca, 11-30-14
30 November 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement congratulating the Calgary Stampeders on winning the 102nd Grey Cup game, which was played in Vancouver, British Columbia:
“On behalf of all Canadians, I congratulate the Calgary Stampeders on their 2014 Grey Cup victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.
“For generations the Grey Cup championship has captivated the hearts and attention of Canadians from coast to coast to coast and this year’s contest was no different, providing football fans from across the country with memorable moments in sport.
“I would like to commend both teams – including coaches and trainers – on their remarkable seasons and thank them and the organizers of this year’s Grey Cup championship for another successful chapter in Canadian football history.”
– See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/11/30/statement-prime-minister-canada-102nd-grey-cup-championship#sthash.30unjjpc.dpuf
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 30, 2014
Source: PM.gc.ca, 12-11-14
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen pay their respects during the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the National War Memorial
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen pay their respects during the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the National War Memorial.
11 November 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Remembrance Day:
“Today we remember the courage and dedication of the Canadian men and women who have fought valiantly over the years to defend our freedom and rights, making it possible for us to live in a peaceful, democratic country where we enjoy one of the best qualities of life in the world.
“For the past two centuries, hundreds of thousands of Canadians have earned enormous respect – at home and abroad – by answering the call to fight against tyranny and evil around the world in engagements such as the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, Afghanistan and many other international military operations. Those who fought so valiantly in these battlefields are still honoured and remembered in places such as Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Normandy, Sicily, Hill 355 in Korea, and Kandahar to name a few. Many made the ultimate sacrifice.
“It is our duty to remember the Canadians who so selflessly defended our freedom. That is why the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War are two of the major milestones on the Road to 2017. As we recall our proud history, let us also remember how early Canadians, First Nations and Métis people fought together like never before in the War of 1812 to repel an American invasion, laying the foundation for an independent Canada.
“Remembrance Day also provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the daunting sacrifices made by Canadian families who were forced to endure their loved ones being away at war and dangerous missions abroad. Let us recall the unfailing support they provided to those on the front lines, the thousands of letters and care packages, and the dedication of those who worked in support of the effort back at home.
“On this solemn occasion, let us celebrate the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces carrying on today in the proud tradition of their forebears, defending freedom in places such as Iraq, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.
“Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have the honour to wear a uniform that is recognized across the world as a symbol of courage and democracy. The recent deadly attacks on Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who were targeted simply because they proudly wore this uniform, only strengthens Canada’s resolve to keep fighting against those who would deny our liberties and freedoms, and who have a complete disregard for human lives.
“We can never repay the debt we owe to the intrepid men and women who paid for our freedom with their lives, but we can remember their enormous sacrifices and pay tribute to their bravery and patriotism.
“Lest we forget.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 11, 2014
Source: Toronto Star, 10-28-14
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was among those to speak at the funeral of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. Here is a transcript of Harper’s English remarks:
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re gathered here today to give thanks for the life of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, struck down last week in the service of his country. His country, our country, our Canada. Ever desiring peace, Canada has been built upon the noblest ideals: freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. And for as long as these ideals have been the foundation of our country, it has been the men and women in uniform who have been, in the end, their ultimate guardians. Sometimes, they have given their lives in that service . . . And last Wednesday, Crp. Cirillo became the latest to do so.
Cpl. Cirillo was a member of one of Canada’s great regiments, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s). In more than a century of service, with honours earned from the Somme to Afghanistan, this regiment’s record of courage under fire is as distinctive as their kilt . . . To quote Captain Sam Chapman, who served with the regiment during the Second World War, it is a history written in blood. Now sadly, Cpl. Cirillo has added another page to that great narrative of devotion unto death.
In a bitter and truly heart-wrenching irony, he did so as he guarded Canada’s national place of solemn, sacred remembrance. Canadians come together at our National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beside to honour those who have given their lives for our country.
As Canadians we stand there humbled, and grateful . . . These monuments remind us that freedom is never free. It has been earned by the soldier and then donated to all of us. most of us can never truly the understand the significance to a soldier of the simple act of standing reverently on guard at that place.
But those chosen for this sought-after assignment, this vigil of the National War Memorial and over the unknown soldier’s grave, they understand. Cpl. Cirillo, who felt the calling of a soldier when he was just a 13-year-old cadet, he understood. He knew what he was protecting and what he was preserving. He died protecting and preserving. And I’m pleased to know that only after a brief interruption, on Friday past, the honour guard at that sacred place officially resumed its duties. For Canadians, the memory of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo will now be forever linked to that place. Just as the crowds that gathered there to honour the returning . . . mirrored those who gathered along the Highway of Heroes later that same day to bear witness to Cpl. Cirillo’s final journey home.
He has now joined the ranks of so many Canadians who have gone before him, having given all in the service of their country. Our hearts are broken at his loss. But our spirits are grateful for his memory. Cpl. Cirillo knew what all those men and women before him also knew . . . The only values really worth living for are those worth dying for. So may God bless Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. We are better for his life, and we are diminished by his loss. And I know Canadians everywhere join me in praying for Cpl. Cirillo’s family. His mother Katherine, his father Victor, his sisters Nicole and Natasha, their partners Richard and Jonathan, his nephew Cameron, as they shoulder this terrible burden of grief. May time ease the searing pain of today. And may his son, young Marcus Daniel Cirillo, someday find comfort in the fact that our entire country looks up to his dad with pride, with gratitude, with deep abiding respect.
As Canadians, we will persevere, taking strength from the legacy of service of Crp. Cirillo, and giving thanks all the more for the courage and dedication of all the women of the Canadian Armed Forces. May God bless them all, and may God keep our land glorious and free.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 28, 2014
Source: PM.gc.ca, 10-23-14
23 October 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today delivered the following remarks in the House of Commons addressing the attacks in the Nation’s Capital:
“Thank you, colleagues.
“Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin today by recognizing and thanking the Leader of the Opposition and the Honourable Member for Papineau for their kind remarks and words of encouragement yesterday evening.
“Mr. Speaker, in our system, in our country, we are opponents but we are never enemies.
“We are Canadians, one and all.
“We may be across the aisle from one another, but when faced with attacks on the country we all love and the things we all stand for, I know we will always stand together.
“Mr. Speaker, today more than ever before, I’m quite pleased to see all of my colleagues from all parties in good health and good form.
“Let me just maybe use that Mr. Speaker, through you, to provide a little bit of advice to my colleagues.
“I think my position and a growing number of grey hairs entitles me to do this once in a while, and that is just to say, we all here are engaged in extremely demanding and stressful jobs.
“But the stress that many of you faced yesterday was really beyond and above anything that any of us are really expecting to face.
“I would just say while we resume our duties, and I’ll talk about that in a moment, I would encourage everybody here to take care of their health.
“Be sure that you find some time to relax in the next little while, and also if any of you – because we are not all in perfect health – if any of you are experiencing any undue physical stress as a result of what occurred yesterday, please take the time to see a physician and get that checked out.
“I also just want to say to Canadians – we heard a lot of feedback from Canadians yesterday.
“We are all used to the feedback we get very regularly from Canadians.
“Much of it in the form of brick bats, and some of it deserved.
“But in this case, Mr. Speaker, I think we all experienced the tremendous outpouring of warmth and affection and good wishes from people across the country and we thank them, all of us here.
“I just also want to convey all the good wishes that I heard personally, not just from Canadians but from our friends outside the country.
“I heard from President Obama, from Prime Minister Abbott, from Prime Minister Netanyahu, through a statement from Prime Minister Cameron.
“We’ve heard these expressions across the world.
“I think we were all, as Canadians, touched by the wonderful gesture shown last night at the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game.
“So thank you to our friends in the United States and around the world.
“Of course, Mr. Speaker, we know all too well this is not a happy day for everybody.
“In particular, a terribly sad day for all of the family, loved ones, friends, colleagues of both Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent.
“We have seen photos of these lovely men.
“We’ve all seen the pictures of these beautiful guys, as Don Cherry would say, and our hearts really are with all of them.
“We are so fortunate to have people like this.
“The past couple of decades has, you know, we see across the world, increasing places where the planet is descending into savagery and there are people who every day of their lives stand on guard for this country and for all of us, and we obviously want to convey our gratitude to these two servicemen and their families, but also to all the people who undertake this extremely dangerous work.
“Mr. Speaker, I spoke of the state of much of the world and I think for all of us who are blessed to live in a country like this, it is hard to appreciate, understand, fathom how we can have people who so despise, are involved in a movement who so want violence, who so despise modernity, who so hate progress, that they can desire to drive out medical workers from their community, harm them, how they can enslave women, torture children.
“How they can kill, want to kill anyone who looks or thinks different than them.
“It is in a sense, Mr. Speaker, beyond our comprehension but it is very real and in this struggle in which we are engaged, in which not only our finest values must be put to work, so must be and will be the highest unity and resolve.
“They are our ultimate and indispensible weapons and that’s what these people will face.
“Mr. Speaker, with regard to the events of yesterday and in recent days, a number of questions remain and will all be answered over the course of the police security investigations.
“But I can tell the House this today: the objective of both of those attacks was to spread fear and panic in our country and to interrupt the business of government.
“Well, Honourable Members, as I said yesterday, Canadians will never be intimidated.
“We will be vigilant but we will not run scared.
“We will be prudent but we will not panic.
“And as for the business of government, well, here we are, in our seats, in our chamber in the very heart of our democracy and our work.
“Mr. Speaker, in all its diversity of peoples and opinions, this House personifies the spirit of Canada.
“Canada will never yield to terrorism and neither will this House of Commons.
“We carry on.
“We will attend to the country’s affairs and we will be faithful to the trust that people have placed in us.
“Now, Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier and I have been saying for a long time, we live in dangerous world.
“Terrorism has been here with us for a while and dangerously close on a number of occasions.
“I speak for example, I draw our members’ attention back to incidents such as the Toronto 18, the Via Rail conspiracy in 2013, and I could point to a number of others as well as many that most will never know about.
“For that reason and with the belief and security that Canada is the government’s primary responsibility, we have over the years passed such legislation as the Combating Terrorism Act and the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to better protect Canadians and secure institutions.
“Last week, our Government proposed amendments to the legislation under which the Canadian Security Intelligence Service operates.
“And as you know, Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks I’ve been saying that our laws and police powers need to be strengthened in the area of surveillance, attention and arrest.
“They need to be much strengthened and I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that work which is already underway will be expedited.
“In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we’re all aware and deeply troubled that both of this week’s terrorist attacks were carried out by Canadian citizens, by young men born and raised in this peaceful country.
“I share this concern, and I have to ask myself what sort of feeble-mindedness could lead a person to reject a nationality that so many people in so many countries would do anything to earn for their children.
“That is a question for another day.
“For now, make no mistake, even as the brave men and women of our Armed Forces are taking this fight to the terrorists on their own territory, we are equally revolved to fight it here.
“We live in dangerous times, yes, but the mission of our country and the work of this Parliament goes on.
“And so does the work throughout this city.
“Let me just say one final word, in recognizing all of the heroics of yesterday.
“First of all, I know so many – I could certainly speak personally to my staff at 24 Sussex – Mr. Roger Charbonneau, the chefs, Tim and Tina, who were up all night.
“But I know people who for all of us across the country and here in Ottawa were working day and night to make things as easy as possible.
“Officials who were busy at work trying to respond to the situation, first responders and citizens who put themselves in harm’s way when this incident began to unfold.
“But obviously, Mr. Speaker, and in conclusion most particularly the men and women of our security services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Armed Forces, the City of Ottawa Police and most particularly, of course, Mr. Speaker, I would be very remiss if I did not conclude in acknowledging specifically the work of the security forces here on Parliament and the great work of our Sergeant-at-Arms.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 23, 2014
Source: CBC News, 10-23-14
“I am very touched by the attention directed at me following yesterday’s events. However, I have the support of a remarkable security team that is committed to ensuring the safety of Members, employees and visitors to the Hill. Yesterday, during extraordinary circumstances, security personnel demonstrated professionalism and courage. I am grateful and proud to be part of this team.
“House of Commons Security Services also maintains a close working relationship with its security partners, including Senate Security, the RCMP and the Ottawa Police. This close collaboration made it possible to pull together and quickly restore order in the Parliamentary Precinct and throughout the downtown core.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Speaker, the Hon. Andrew Scheer, for his leadership and calm demeanour throughout.
“On behalf of all members of the House of Commons Security Services team, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. Our prayers are with you. Our thoughts are also with Constable Samearn Son, who has been with the House of Commons Security Services for 10 years. Constable Son suffered a gun shot wound to the leg. He is in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.
“As this is an ongoing investigation, I unfortunately cannot comment any further at this time, nor can any member of my Security Services team.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 23, 2014
Source: Canadian Press, 10-22-14
Federal Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau made this statement on Wednesday evening, following the shootings in Ottawa:
“My fellow Canadians: I’m speaking to you from a Parliament Hill just coming out of lockdown. I am deeply saddened by today’s events here in Ottawa and unreservedly condemn these brutal and heartless acts of violence. This attack in unforgivable, should any other perpetrators or co-conspirators exist, they must be caught and be punished to the full force of our laws.
I’ve extended an offer of full support to the government along with assistance members of our party can provide at this time. My thought and prayers, along with those of my colleagues, go out to the family and friends of the victims of today’s horrific shooting, including Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo, who was standing dutifully, guarding one of our nation’s most sacred monuments.
It was a cowardly act — an unarmed man was murdered in cold blood at close range. Words cannot express the steep sadness we feel over his loss. To the brave women and men who rushed to the scene to confront the shooter and help keep us safe, I can say only thank you. Thank you for your selfless courage and your professionalism in this time of crisis.
In the days that follow there will be questions, anger and perhaps confusion. This is natural, but we cannot let this get the better of us. Losing ourselves to fear and speculation is the intention of those that commit these heinous acts. They mean to shake us. We will remain resolved. They want us to forget ourselves. Instead, we will remember. We will remember who we are.
We are a proud democracy, a welcoming and peaceful nation and a country of open arms and open hearts. We are a nation of fairness, of justice and the rule of law. We will not be intimidated into changing that. If anything, these are the values and principles to which we must hold on even tighter.
Our dedication to democracy and to the institutions we have built is the foundation of our society and a continued belief in both will guide us correctly into the future. Staying true to our values in a time of crisis will make us an example to the world.
Criminals cannot and will not dictate to us how we act as a nation, how we govern ourselves, or how we treat each other. They cannot and will not dictate our values and they do not get to decide how we use our shared public spaces.
Today, some speak of the loss of innocence in Canada. This is inaccurate. Canada is not and has never been innocent to the threats we face. And we know, as we have always known, that we are not immune. What is true is that we have never let those threats shape us and we have never bowed to those that mean to undermine our values and our way of life. We have remained Canadians and this is how we will carry on.
We will get answers to how and why this happened. They will be vital in preventing any future attack. And to our friends and fellow citizens in the Muslim community, Canadians know acts such as these committed in the name of Islam are an aberration of your faith. Mutual respect and admiration will help to prevent the influence of distorted ideological propaganda posing as religion.
We will walk forward together, not apart.
In the coming days we will be inundated with pictures and videos showing what happened today. But there is one that we should all remember: the picture in our minds of Canadians helping Canadians. That is who we truly are, and that is who we continue to be.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 22, 2014