Ottawa/Queen's Park




Madam Speaker, I appreciate the passionate speech of the member for Cariboo—Prince George. It is always hard to follow him in this House.

First, I want to thank my constituents. I can honestly say, for all MPs in the House, that in the last two weeks we have likely received more correspondence than in any other two-week period in the last number of years on a number of these issues, and it has been a trying two years. I want to thank my constituents because they have made it crystal clear that they do not support the invocation and the continued use of the Emergencies Act. There has been a balanced feedback on this one, but the majority have clearly indicated in my riding that they do not support the Liberal government's decision.

I want to make it crystal clear that I will always support the democratic right of Canadians to protest. I am on the record, before this convoy ever arrived here in Ottawa, saying that I will always support, no matter what the issue is on the political spectrum, the right of Canadians to democratically protest. However, I am on the record saying that I will never support people breaking the law. I do belong to the party of law and order, and I am on the record stating that I will never support anyone breaking the law. That includes blockades and anything else.

I am going to focus on my Liberal colleagues and the NDP for my speech, because I think I know how the majority of the Conservative and Bloc members are going to vote, based on the indication now that this is possibly a confidence vote. Maybe my words will be for nought, but I want to get into the crux of the issue that I think we are really voting on tonight, and that is the continuation of the invocation of the Emergencies Act: not the history or why the government did it, but why we still need it going forward.

There have been some great speeches in the House already that clearly outline why people on both sides think that the government was justified or not justified in bringing it forward, but I want to focus on the question of why we need it going forward and, lacking that, the question of trust.

I will just cover the justification briefly. I have read all the tabled documents that were provided to us as members of Parliament and the stuff that has been put out in the public sphere to read. I have tried to either read or listen to every speech given by a Liberal member, but specifically the Liberal cabinet, the members of the Liberal government, because they are the ones who should be speaking more than the rest of us in the House during this debate, trying to convince us why they are implementing arguably the most draconian, powerful piece of legislation that exists in our federal laws. I do not think there is anything more powerful than the Emergencies Act when it comes to putting it into place and actually curtailing some of the freedoms that exist in this great country.

What are the justifications that have been tabled so far? If members read through the proclamation, they will see that it really hits two key points: It talks about the freezing of financial assets, and it talks about tow trucks. I have been involved in dealing with national crises, not necessarily here in Canada but around the world. I understand, maybe more than most, what serious national security threats are, and I have never felt personally that anything that has occurred across Canada over the last three weeks, dealing with the blockades or the convoy here in Ottawa, has met that threshold. Members should not take my word for it. There have been experts out there. The member for Wellington—Halton Hills laid out in his speech, a few hours earlier, clear logic that the government has failed to meet the legal requirements to invoke the act, but it chose to do it anyway.

Let us make the assumption that the justification was valid for bringing in the invocation, that it did somehow meet the national emergency threshold. Was this because the cabinet, as has been hinted at, had access to additional intelligence or information that warranted this? How did the government communicate that to Canadians, but also to the rest of us here in the House of Commons, with this important vote coming? Did the government reach out and ask to share that information?

There are many of us in this House who have the appropriate security clearance, top secret security clearance, who are former members of the Privy Council. All that aside, we could quickly and quite easily read a number of members from all parties in the House into the necessary security classification and provide that intelligence or information, because lacking that, the Prime Minister is really just asking us to trust him. I will get back to the question of trust in a couple of minutes.

As the Liberal member for Beaches—East York laid out in his speech just a couple of hours ago, and as I have already hinted at, the vote tonight is really about why the Emergencies Act and all these restrictive measures are still required. I feel personally that a responsible government, even one that felt it was justified in using this very powerful piece of legislation, would have revoked these measures as soon as all the illegal blockades disappeared. Why has the Liberal government not done this?

I listened yesterday as the Minister of Emergency Preparedness was asked a direct question on national media as to why the Emergencies Act is still needed going forward when everything has been resolved. His response was that there is still work to be done. I stepped out of the chamber this morning to listen to the Prime Minister in his press conference. It was the first question he was asked, and then he was asked again by a reporter to give one specific example. His answer was about tow trucks.

We are in a national emergency because somehow we need tow trucks to move I do not know what. I have been driving in and out every day over the last two weeks here to Parliament. There were lots of vehicles illegally blockading the roads that needed to be towed out, and they are all gone. I had no issues coming in to Parliament Hill this morning.

What disturbed me and disappointed me as well during that press conference was that the Prime Minister was asked a couple of other very easy questions, such as what lessons he learned from the last few weeks, and his response was that the country is angry. I do not know if that is learning much of anything. He was asked if he has any regrets. A sign of a good leader is recognizing that one is not perfect. I know I have made plenty of mistakes throughout my military career, and I am sure even as a politician in the last couple of years. The key to learning from them is to actually recognize when we have made a mistake. That is when we learn the most, and we should have regrets if we did not do things to the best of our abilities.

What does it all mean going forward, when we still see the government continuing to support the emergency measures? Does this mean the Liberals just want to go after those Canadians who maybe happened to donate to their local neighbour, the truck driver, who might have even been fully vaccinated? I know I had constituents in my riding who came here for the protests fully vaccinated. One of my best friends, who I did not even realize had come, drove here with his wife and kids from British Columbia, protested completely legally and then went home. He drove all the way back. He did not blockade anything. He did not do anything. Because people made a $20 donation, are they at risk? Is that why we still need these measures going forward? I had constituents reaching out to me this morning saying they are pulling all their money out of the bank and putting it all in their mattress or whatever, because they do not trust the government.
If these risks still exist, I do encourage the government to take the necessary steps to reach out and share those, because I think it is safe to say the Prime Minister has broken the trust. Canadians no longer trust him, so regardless of where we are on this issue, let us work together to build that trust. I am asking the Liberal government to share that information and make it available. If the Liberals really feel there is a threat out there that still needs to be addressed, they should bring it forward.

In conclusion, as lawyers and Liberal MPs from Louis-Hébert and Beaches—East York just stated in their speeches in the last few hours, the threshold has not been met. The only reason they are voting tonight in favour of this is that the Prime Minister would rather have a federal election than accept that maybe he did not make the right decision.

Tonight I will be voting to revoke the Emergencies Act.




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