The House

Sunny ways this was not. Why did tensions escalate in the House of Commons?

This week on The House, we discuss the aftermath of a tense week in the House of Commons with MPs Kevin Lamoureux, Tom Lukiwski, Peter Julian and Elizabeth May. Then, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson shares his concerns about the Kinder Morgan pipeline project. Finally, we connect with Finance Minister Bill Morneau at the G7 meeting in Japan.

Justin Trudeau's actions cause uproar in House

7 years ago
Duration 0:41
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau grabs Tory MP Gord Brown and also appears to bump NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the House of Commons Wednesday.

Sunny ways this was not.

Yet, despite the absence of sunshine, the political temperature still reached new highs.

The escalation was over the government's efforts to push through a motion to limit debate on its controversial medically assisted-dying legislation, Bill C-14, giving the government new powers to control House business for the next five weeks.

The explosion took place on the country's main stage of democracy, the floor of the House of Commons. The images have been viewed countless times already: the Prime Minister getting out of his seat, striding across the aisle, leading to him having to apologize for manhandling a fellow MP and elbowing another in the chest.

Trudeau apologizes for inappropriate conduct in HoC

7 years ago
Duration 2:21
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizes to Conservative Whip Gord Brown and to NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau for his actions in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening.

How did it come to this? And what will be the consequences?

Kevin Lamoureux, parliamentary secretary to the government's House Leader, admits there were "unfortunate" activities taking place in the House this week. 

"I think one might say it was a little uncomfortable at the beginning of the week... but I believe we're ending the week in a relatively positive fashion," he tells Chris Hall. "I'm anticipating the future will be good, it will be improved and better."

But he rejects the idea that the chaos in the Commons is a sign the government is losing control of the legislative agenda.

"Absolutely not," he said. "What we ideally want to see is the House leadership teams from all three political parties understand the importance of getting the government agenda through in a timely fashion. Sometimes it's just not possible for a variety of reasons, so the government has to look at the tools it has in order to pass through the legislation and commitments we've made to Canadians."

MPs Kevin Lamoureux, Tom Lukiwski, Peter Julian and Elizabeth May talk about how this week's events will affect parliamentary proceedings in the coming weeks and months.

While Lamoureux might believe a return to sunny skies is in the forecast, opposition MPs aren't so certain.

Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski says it's up to the Liberals to make the first move in repairing the strained relationship.

"So what if there was mischief [from the NDP and Conservatives]? So what if there were people trying to delay the vote? There's only a limited number of tools in the toolbox for Opposition parties to show their displeasure," he pointed out.

NDP House Leader Peter Julian agrees, calling the Liberals' controversial motion to stifle debate in the Commons "the most Draconian we've ever seen in parliamentary history."

But it's Green Party Leader Elizabeth May who attempts to be the voice of reason amidst the House chaos. 

"Everybody's going to have to try harder," she said. "It's hard to believe the Liberals, the NDP and the Conservatives all want to try harder when they all go back in their own corners and say, 'none of it was our fault.'"

"If we don't cooperate and show respect towards each other in Parliament, much more suffers than our political fortunes. We lose out on things that really matter."

Vancouver Mayor warns Justin Trudeau: on Kinder Morgan "the answer is no"

Pipeline construction. (Trans Mountain)

Vancouver's mayor Gregor Robertson says the National Energy Board's Trans Mountain pipeline review process is a "sham," and their recommendation to green light the major infrastructure project threatens tens of thousands of jobs in his city.

The federal energy regulator recommended — after a three-year-long investigation — the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project should be built as long as 157 conditions are met, including 49 environmental requirements.

"The NEB process was a sham, basically. It was advanced with gusto by the Harper government, who were obviously strong proponents of this pipeline process," Robertson said in an interview with The House.

But Robertson added he will fight tooth and nail to stop the project and he has a simple message for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his natural resources minister, Jim Carr: No.

"The answer is no. This pipeline proposal should not be approved. They've got the rest of this year, they've got this ministerial panel, but there is no business case for it when you put the economics on the table and when you put the Paris agreement and our climate commitments on the table and the sensitive environment we're dealing with here on the West Coast — it's an absolute no," he said.

We discuss the National Energy Board's approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline with 157 conditions with the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson.

Bill Morneau's message to the G7

Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks during question period in Ottawa on Thursday, March 24, 2016. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau is on a mission.

He's selling Canada's anti-austerity, deficit-spending fiscal plan to an international audience — his G7 counterparts during a weekend meeting in Japan ahead of the G7 leaders' summit May 26-27.

"What I'm hearing from other colleagues around the table is that they recognize Canada is in a strong financial situation, that our approach to growth is a positive one," Morneau told Chris.

"What we're seeing is that all countries in the G7 are focused on the need for growth. The different approaches in different countries are largely a reflection of the situation [in each country]."

Morneau doesn't think there's too much disagreement between countries favouring austerity over deficit spending, but he admits he doesn't think a collective approach to improving the global economy will come out of the meetings.

"I don't think we'll see a common strategy, but I think you'll see all of us recognize that a blend of monetary approaches to structural reform and fiscal measures is going to make sense for the global economy," he said.

"I think you'll see all of us embracing the necessity of all those measures, but taking the impact differently in our national economies based on our possibility for movement."

Bill Morneau joins us from Japan to talk about selling Canada's fiscal plan abroad to his G7 counterparts.

In House Panel: The escalation, the explosion, the apologies... now what?

We wrap up this strange week with In House panelists John Geddes, Ottawa bureau chief for Maclean's, and Laura Stone, parliamentary reporter for the Globe and Mail.

Independant Senator Pamela Wallin won't face criminal charges relating to questionable expense claims, the RCMP said Thursday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The panel also tackles the news that Senator Pamela Wallin would not face charges and that the charges against retired Senator Mac Harb were being dropped

We wrap up this strange week with In House panelists John Geddes, Ottawa bureau chief for Maclean's, and Laura Stone, parliamentary reporter for the Globe and Mail.


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