The opposition should not demand the P.M. repay security expenses

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I generally agree with the motion being put forward today that people should pay back expenses, but I want to confirm what the government House leader said.

I held eight town hall meetings during the January break period. The cumulative total of my constituents who showed up was about 1,000 people and I heard from everyone on questions on everything that concerned them, primarily toxic fish factories, pipelines, climate change, and pensions. I did not get a single question on the Prime Minister’s vacation. What I do not like about the motion is the suggestion that anyone in this situation should pay back the cost of security. Those are specific to the Prime Minister.

I had that experience myself when I attended COP 21 in Paris. Because it was two weeks after the terrorist attack, I was told by the RCMP officers that they were assigning two officers to me. I said, “I don’t need that. I’m fine.” They said it was not my choice and that they were assigning two officers. If I had to, for any reason, pay that back, two officers, two hotel rooms. They were wonderful, by the way, and I am grateful that the RCMP felt I was worth protecting. I disputed the point, but the reality of it is that I do not think those costs should be part of the motion and that is where I differ with my friends in the official opposition. I also think that there are more important issues to debate for a whole day in this place.

Bardish Chagger – Government House Leader

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge that the work the member does is important to this place and I would say that she is worth protecting. When it comes to our security agencies, we need to respect their recommendations. They are the experts in that field and when it comes to officers of Parliament, once again, on this side of the House we have the utmost respect for the work that they do.

I, too, agree that there are very important issues to be debated and discussed. We will continue to make ourselves available to ensure that we are hearing from Canadians. As the member has alluded, there are costs affiliated with the security of the Prime Minister whenever and wherever he travels. We take the recommendations of our security agencies and we always thank them for the good work that they do.