House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cmhc.

Topics

Office of the Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, another Liberal MP, who was reporting comments made by his constituents, said, “What people are telling me is that as long as the matter is not cleared up, everyone should step down”.

In light of such clear demands, not only from members, but also from the public, what is the Prime Minister waiting for to order the suspension of his chief of staff and his health minister?

Office of the Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I think there are way too many allegations being thrown around here. The RCMP, as I understand it, is reviewing the matter. I understand the Bloc itself made a complaint to the RCMP, at least that is what was reported in the media. The RCMP is reviewing the situation and it will decide what action in its opinion it believes to be appropriate.

We should all, as I say, let cooler heads prevail. Members should understand that with these unsubstantiated allegations in relation to people and the offices they hold, all we do is call into question the integrity of the House of Commons.

Office of the Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government has nothing to hide, as it claims, then why is it handling the situation with the health minister and the Prime Minister's chief of staff any differently than the situation in the past when the former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the chief of staff of the Minister of Canadian Heritage stepped down while investigations were ongoing?

What is the government waiting for to take action?

Office of the Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, there are way too many allegations being thrown around here. Based on a previous experience involving the member for York West, we saw that throwing these unsubstantiated allegations around can be very hurtful of innocent people's reputations. It can also be incredibly hurtful to the stature in which Canadians hold this House. Therefore, I would ask everyone to await the RCMP's review of this matter.

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence concerning his testimony this week before the Arar inquiry. I ask because the government needs to take some responsibility. The member for Halifax consistently raised Syria's record of torture in this House and elsewhere.

Presumably the minister knew of Syria's appalling record on human rights. He was, after all, the chair of the foreign affairs committee. How could he not know a Canadian citizen deported to Syria would be at risk for torture? How could he not have known that?

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as we have said before in the House, we do not comment on the daily testimony that is being put into evidence before a public inquiry. Regarding the Arar inquiry, Mr. Justice O'Connor was put in place to determine the facts around the conduct of Canadian officials in relation to Mr. Arar's deportation to Syria and his treatment while in Syria. That is his mandate. He is independent. We in the House do not comment on daily testimony.

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question was for the minister who gave his own testimony. Surely he is able to comment on what he said and take responsibility for it. The question is, how could he not have known about Syria's appalling record about torture? To fall back on the idea that somehow his staff did not tell him is a total cop-out.

I ask the minister again, how could he not have known what might happen to a Canadian citizen deported to Syria and that he would face the risk of torture? Surely the minister can account for and be responsible for and have the government be responsible for the travesty of this affair concerning Maher Arar.

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of commenting on the evidence before the Arar inquiry. However, I have to tell the members of the House that I resent very much the allegations regarding members of our civil service. They worked their hearts out to do their best for Mr. Arar. They work around the clock in very difficult circumstances, and are doing their best for the people of Canada. They gave me the best advice they could, and we worked as hard as we could to get Mr. Arar released.

Believe me, I think we can be proud of the actions of our civil servants. We can recognize that we might have done better and we can learn from our mistakes, and we will from the inquiry, but let us not denigrate the work that was done which successfully got Mr. Arar out--

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country.

Member for Newton--North Delta
Oral Question Period

June 3rd, 2005 / 11:30 a.m.

Conservative

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister claimed there was no intention on the part of the Prime Minister to offer anything to any member who would consider crossing the floor to join the government. Yet the words spoken by the Prime Minister's chief of staff and the health minister indicate the exact opposite. It was wink, wink, nudge, nudge, sort of like Monty Python's flying circus but far more sinister.

Is there anyone on that side of the House who can provide a single shred of evidence that contradicts the evidence on the audiotapes that Liberals are prepared to do anything to maintain power?

Member for Newton--North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I will simply say again that the Prime Minister was absolutely clear that no offer was to be made to anyone. But let me suggest that when talking about people who are willing to do anything, it does seem passing strange to me that we have this situation where yesterday the deputy leader of the official opposition was talking about pristine tapes, unaltered and so on, and then a few hours later the very same party said that the tapes were altered.

Member for Newton--North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know that the chief of staff and the health minister met and talked numerous times with the member for Newton—North Delta. There are two possible explanations: either the chief of staff and the health minister have too much time on their hands, or they are addicted to meetings. There is no other explanation for all those meetings between the Minister of Health and the chief of staff, especially after the Prime Minister ordered them not to make any offers.

How many meetings do Liberals have to have before they can say no?

Member for Newton--North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I think the problem here is that the member for Newton--North Delta would not take no for an answer.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Edmonton—Spruce Grove, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the 1996 Speech from the Throne, in response to the Quebec referendum, the Liberal government made the following commitment:

The Government will not use its spending power to create new shared-cost programs in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction without the consent of a majority of the provinces. Any new program will be designed so that non-participating provinces will be compensated, provided they establish equivalent or comparable initiatives.

Does the government continue to stand by its 1996 throne speech commitment on the right to opt out with full compensation?

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we went beyond that. We have now the social network agreements that give the government the obligation to work with the provinces and to have the support of the majority of them before coming out with new social initiatives in provincial jurisdictions.