House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was victims.

Topics

Ukraine
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Pickering—Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Dan McTeague Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member's question is a very important and serious issue.

We call on the Ukrainian authorities to fully investigate and promptly remedy these violations to ensure that there is, above all, transparency and that the election results truly represent the democratic will of all people in Ukraine.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

November 22nd, 2004 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member said that he would call on them but it does not sound like the government has actually made that call yet. It is important that it does so.

On a similar note, four years ago the Privy Council warned the government about organizations that were raising funds in Canada for Palestinian terrorist groups. One of those organizations was the Jerusalem fund, now called IRFAN, and that group still raises money for Palestinian terror groups today.

Even Saudi Arabia has announced that it will shut down those types of organizations within its country. When will our country at least rise to Saudi Arabia's standard and shut down these groups that are raising money for Palestinian terror groups?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Markham—Unionville
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, while I cannot comment on specific cases, I can say that it is extremely important that charitable giving gets to legitimate charities. That is why my department works with other agencies of government, solicits information from Canadians and conducts vigorous audits to root out and remove the charitable status of illegitimate charities in this country.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Saint-Lambert, QC

In September 1996, the finance minister who is now the Prime Minister replied to those who were asking for the elimination of GST on books:

That not taxing books would cost $140 million; he asked those who advocated such a measure to explain where the money would come from.

Is the Prime Minister prepared to admit that the $8.9 billion surplus this year could be the answer to his question? If so, and if he really wants to eliminate GST on books, why does he not go ahead and do it?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, with the fiscal update last week, we are now officially and formally in the prebudget cycle. I am sure in that cycle that I will receive representations on all sides of the House about future changes in fiscal policy, future changes in spending plans, plans with respect to the debt, and other matters that will go into budget preparations.

Let me say to the hon. gentleman that I understand the importance of his question and of the issue that he has raised. I will take it under advisement in the preparation of my budget and try to make everything balance at the end of the day.

Housing
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today is National Housing Day and housing and homelessness groups across Canada, including the community action on homelessness in my area, are making a concerted effort to raise awareness of the need for more affordable housing. This need is felt across Canada. In my area of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour we have specific needs.

I wonder if the Minister of Labour and Housing could inform the House of what is being done for affordable housing in our region.

Housing
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

London North Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana Minister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, first, let me thank the hon. member for his hard work with his community, in fact this past weekend at a rally in support of affordable housing for Dartmouth and the area.

I want to indicate that the federal government, with the Atlantic caucus as well as the provincial government, has made it possible to deliver something like 22,700 low income households in Nova Scotia with $70 million in support, an additional $985,000 for the creation of 47 new units of affordable housing, and a three-year allocation for the renovation program to make sure people can remain in their own homes in Nova Scotia.

Mirabel Airport
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport insists that long term leases for those whose lands was expropriated at Mirabel is an adequate solution. Still, the minister ought to know that a lease, even a long term lease, only encourages temporary types of agriculture and not investment in farming operations.

Can the Minister of Transport tell the House what is preventing him from returning this land to its former owners, when we know that, even if he reassigned these parcels of land, an area twice the size of Dorval would still be available for the operation of Mirabel?

Mirabel Airport
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the answer remains the same. The Government of Canada, represented by the Conservative minister at that time, Jean Corbeil, gave a 60-year lease to ADM, including all the land. That is why it is incomprehensible for the Leader of the Opposition to go to Mirabel and not recognize the signature of Jean Corbeil, a former Conservative minister.

Consequently, we are bound by that signature. That is why we are going to respect ADM's lease. That corporation has offered to lease the land to the farmers until 2023. The offer is still on the table until 2023.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Right Hon. Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Premier of the Northwest Territories, Mr. Joe Handley.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Before we begin routine proceedings, the Chair has notice of two questions of privilege today and I will hear them in the order in which the notices were received.

First, I will hear the hon. member for Central Nova.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 48 where, if it has been demonstrated and if in your wisdom, Mr. Speaker, you find that there has been deliberately misleading information put forward by a member of the House, you can rule accordingly.

On Friday, November 19, in my absence, in response to a question from the House leader for the official opposition, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said the following:

The deputy leader of the Conservative Party requested a permit a couple of weeks after the election for a personal friend. I have since learned that the hon. member's personal friend was a former Conservative candidate and has been a big political contributor to the Conservative Party. I guess I should have asked, did he work on the campaign?

Mr. Speaker, that information is inaccurate. I was asked to intervene for a minister's permit, for the first time in seven years, I might add, for a visitor's visa for a student from India. That visa was granted. It lasted two weeks and that student then subsequently left the country. Information has been provided to the minister's office as such.

This original request had been made to a Liberal member at the time, in Mississauga, and because of the election the matter was not processed, so I was simply following a process that was initiated by a member of the government.

The person requesting the permit was the husband of a former Progressive Conservative candidate who ran in the 2000 election. I might add that although I met that individual through political circles on a few occasions, I would hardly deem that a personal friend, and I say that respectfully.

There was some negative implication, I would submit, that somehow this was an indiscretion or somehow this was an inappropriate intervention made on my part. The minister implied that this person then may have worked on my campaign. I am quick to add that the individual in question, coming from India, came to Ontario and never set foot in the province of Nova Scotia, nor did the individuals making the request ever leave the province of Ontario during the election.

Since there is no evidence that would lead to the minister's accusation that the fact that somehow I had acted inappropriately as a member of Parliament, this information that was provided was clearly false. I can only conclude that the accusation was made to deflect attention away from the current situation in which the minister finds herself, that it was done for a political purpose to deter the official opposition from asking questions in the House on this particular issue, which I find disturbing, and deflect away from the actual real issue, and that is one of her own inappropriate and preferential intervention.

It is my understanding, Mr. Speaker, that the Privacy Act itself prohibits personal information of this sort from being under the control of the government, again I add, from being released without the consent of the individual. I would suggest that the minister is treading dangerously close to the line of breaching the Privacy Act when she starts to disclose information about interventions made by members of the House with her department. It is reckless on her part and it is not supposed to be done without the consent of the individuals in question.

Page 111 of the 22nd edition of Erskine May states:

The Commons may treat the making of a deliberately misleading statement as a contempt.

Page 141 of the 19th edition of Erskine May states:

Conspiracy to deceive either House or any committees of either House will also be treated as a breach of privilege.

I would refer the Speaker as well to a ruling by the Chair on October 29, 1980, at page 4213 of Hansard , where the Speaker states that:

--in the context of contempt, it seems that to amount to contempt, representations or statements about...members should not only be erroneous or incorrect, but, rather, should be purposely untrue and improper and import a ring of deceit.

Mr. Speaker, these comments made by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration are not only inaccurate and incorrect, but her statement was politically motivated, and it was a deliberate attempt to tarnish my reputation for in some way making an intervention for a citizen of India visiting this country for two weeks on a visitor's visa as a student.

The minister also implies by referencing requests from members that representations from either party, any party in this House, are somehow inappropriate and that somehow an opposition member, or a backbench member of the government, for that matter, could actually be responsible for the issuing of the visa, which is clearly untrue.

She is also well aware that the only person who possesses that authority is herself as minister and therefore the only one who could use that authority is herself, which she has done clearly in some cases. Her referencing of members' requests in the context of the abuse of power is reckless and misleading, and I would suggest that there is an air of intimidation when a minister tries to reference these interventions from members of the opposition.

The real issue is the minister herself being the exclusive authority to benefit a campaign worker and in some way indirectly benefit herself and her campaign.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, as you yourself ruled on a similar case on Friday, February 1, 2002, you said:

The authorities are consistent about the need for clarity in our proceedings and about the need to ensure the integrity of the information provided by the government to the House. Furthermore, in this case, as hon. members have pointed out, integrity of information is of paramount importance...

Mr. Speaker, I therefore submit to you that there is a case before the House and before you where the minister has deliberately provided false information. Therefore, if the Chair so finds that there is a prima facie case of a breach of privilege, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.