House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was leader.

Topics

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, concerned front line RCMP officers, in direct contradiction of the commissioner of the RCMP, insist that the closure of these detachments will result in more criminals crossing the border into Canada illegally.

Will the minister prevent the closure of the nine RCMP detachments along the U.S. border in Quebec as recommended by the justice committee and front line officers and allow the RCMP to simply do its job?

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke North
Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite must have been at a different committee meeting than I was yesterday. The commissioner of the RCMP, Commissioner Zaccardelli, said very clearly that this consolidation of RCMP resources in the province of Quebec is going to increase the security and safety of Canadians and Quebeckers.

I should point out that the commissioner is obliged under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act for the effective and efficient enforcement of the laws and the administration of the force. This is an operational decision of the RCMP that will enhance the security of Quebeckers and Canadians.

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is rather ironic to learn that the Canadian border has become a real sieve, as the Prime Minister is this very day meeting with presidents Bush and Fox and this matter will be at the heart of their discussions.

How will the Prime Minister be able to justify to his counterparts that the best decision to ensure a safe border is to cut manpower by closing down nine RCMP detachments?

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke North
Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I have already said this on a number of occasions in this House.

This is not a reduction of the capability of the RCMP in Quebec. In fact, there is no reduction in the head count whatsoever. To put it in context, 71 million people were processed by the Canada Border Services Agency at land border ports of entry last year.

Since 9/11 this government has invested $9 billion for the security and safety of Canadians. As I said earlier, in budget 2005 close to half a billion dollars has been invested in the Canada Border Services Agency.

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only have they closed down nine detachments, but the customs officers themselves are saying that they lack the resources to do their job and as a result thousands of cars cross the border illegally and unquestioned.

How will the Prime Minister justify to his counterparts the contribution these decisions have made to turning the border into a veritable sieve?

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke North
Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, a thorough examination of RCMP resources in Quebec has revealed a need to restructure and redeploy RCMP personnel in order to more effectively fulfill the RCMP's mandate as the federal law enforcement agency in that province. Resource allocation is an operational matter, and the commissioner needs to be able to deploy his available resources so as to fulfil the RCMP's mandate as effectively as possible.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of the softwood lumber dispute, the Americans have collected $4 billion in countervailing duties from the lumber industry. The courts have ruled that these duties violated WTO and NAFTA provisions.

Does the Prime Minister, who is currently in Texas, intend to bring to the fore, in his discussions with President Bush, the return with interest of the $4 billion which was unfairly exacted from the softwood lumber industry in Canada and Quebec and which the American industry wants to keep for itself?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Minister of International Trade

Of course, Mr. Speaker.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the industry is justifiably concerned that the government might be attempting to buy peace with the Americans and be prepared to settle for a bargain deal.

As Canada is on the verge of winning across the board before the trade panels, could the Minister of International Trade clearly set out the bottom line conditions that have to be met for Canada to enter into an agreement with the Americans?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I will never settle for anything that is not in the best interests of all Canadians.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

March 23rd, 2005 / 2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are watching closely how this government is handling confessions of cronyism and corruption in the sponsorship program. They see the government now talking tough about going after ad agencies for improper billing. That is something that it allowed and encouraged, but the government becomes evasive when it comes to going after ill-gotten gains from its own Liberal Party.

Why is the government so eager to go after ad firms that did some of the dirty work instead of its own Liberal Party that got some of the dirty money?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again I will bring to the hon. member's attention today's National Post editorial, which says that in terms of any inappropriate funds, retrieving these funds from the Liberal Party “may not require a separate lawsuit, as the opposition called for this week, if the party willingly returns however much money it obtained inappropriately”.

The fact is that the party has voluntarily said that it will return any funds that were inappropriately gained once we have all the facts and Justice Gomery has presented his report.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Justice Gomery now has a growing list of confessions about money kicked back to the Liberal Party. Just days before the 2000 election, thousands flowed to the Liberal Party from one agency alone. The political minister for Quebec over there pledged that the Liberal Party would never campaign with tainted money, but that is exactly what it did.

Now, facing public outrage, the government's weak response is that the party will pay the money back if Gomery tells it to. Why would Canadians trust an IOU from a morally bankrupt Liberal Party?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would also draw her attention to the National Post editorial today which stated:

It is to [the Prime Minister's] credit not only that he called the sponsorship inquiry, but that he has stuck with it....We trust that, once its work is finished, he will show the same integrity in acting upon its findings.

That is a promise made. That will be a promise kept by a Prime Minister who keeps his promises to Canadians.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, in its handling of the sponsorship racket, the Liberal government is applying a double standard: it rushes to lay criminal charges to retrieve the sponsorship money, but, curiously, exonerates the Liberal Party.

Has it got a licence to print money? Is the Minister of Transport going to tell us that the Liberal Party is vaccinated against prosecution or will he simply agree to clean out the Liberal stables?