MP Report: Holding Liberal Ministers to Account

Serving in the Official Opposition, one of my most important duties as a Member of Parliament is holding Liberal government Ministers accountable for both management and spending within their respective departments.

With the new federal budget recently released, Members of Parliament at the Human Resources Committee, on which I serve, were able to question several Ministers about issues such as foreign workers at a government-subsidized company, benefits to persons with disabilities, questions on following ethics laws, and an ever-increasing massive federal government IT project budget.

Conservatives questioned the Labour Minister about agreed-upon contracts with Stellantis N.V. to build the NextStar electric battery plant in Canada in exchange for $15 billion in federal tax incentives.

Canada's Building Trades Unions (CBTU) wrote to the government with their concerns that hundreds of foreign workers are displacing Canadian labourers at the construction site, calling it "a slap in the face."

We asked the Liberal Labour Minister why he hadn't demanded a memorandum as part of the deal to guarantee hiring Canadian contractors for the Stellantis plant.

The Minister said he did not view this as his role, and that this was a matter of provincial jurisdiction, even though potential foreign workers coming to Canada is a federal responsibility.

My questioning to the Liberal Minister for Persons with Disabilities was regarding recently revealed details on the proposed Canada Disability Benefit, which does not match the commitments made by the government. I heard from many local residents how this was a broken promise.

The proposed benefit will provide a maximum of $200 a month to recipients of the Disability Tax Credit starting in July 2025. This proposal has received widespread negative reaction from organizations such as the National Disability Network, which criticized its design for having "little impact on removing people with disabilities from poverty."

I asked the Minister three times whether she agreed that Canadians living with disabilities are facing a cost-of-living crisis. Unfortunately, she did not answer these direct questions.

I also asked if she had met with all her provincial counterparts, as the Canada Disability Benefit needs provincial buy-in to prevent clawbacks on provincial benefits.

Disappointingly, she stated she has not yet met with all of them, despite having been appointed Minister ten months ago.

Recently, Global News published two stories concerning the Liberal Employment Minister’s former businesses.

This Minister remained listed as a director of a medical supply company for more than a year while the company competed for $8.2 million in government contracts.

Additionally, Global News reported that this same Minister from Edmonton received payments from his former lobbying company at the same time it was lobbying for $110 million in federal grants for their client, the Edmonton International Airport.

Conservatives repeatedly asked the Minister to reveal how much he received in these payments, but he did not answer.      

I also pushed for answers from the Citizens’ Services Minister about missed service standards at Service Canada for essential benefits including Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, and the Canada Pension Plan. One service standard was only met 6% of the time as recorded in Service Canada’s last fiscal report.

Additionally, the IT platforms these benefits operate on are being upgraded under the government's Benefits Delivery Modernization Programme. This project has quickly gone massively overbudget by a staggering $2.6 billion. While the Minister insisted it was not overbudget, the Minister's self-admitted new $4.4 billion budget number is much higher than the programme's original $1.75 billion estimate.

At the time of writing, my Conservative colleagues and I are preparing to question the Minister of Housing and the Minister for Families. Parliament was founded to ensure accountability from the government, a task I faithfully pursue as I continue to serve you in my role within the Official Opposition.

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