House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at a lunchtime press conference today, Mr. Zaccardelli was unable to clearly explain what part he had played in the Maher Arar affair. The same is true of the Minister of Public Safety, who testified this morning in committee. The more they talk, the more confused the situation becomes. The only way to get to the bottom of this story is to reveal the identity of the police officers who passed false information about Maher Arar to the American authorities.

Can the Prime Minister reveal the identity of the police officers who passed false information about Maher Arar to the Americans?

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Commissioner of the RCMP has tendered his resignation, and the government has accepted it. We thank the commissioner for his services to the country and to the RCMP.

With respect to the question by the leader of the Bloc Québécois, the current government obviously was not in power when these events took place. This government is interested in accountability, and we intend to implement accountability.

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, he should realize that he is the Prime Minister, that he is in power and that he has a duty to tell the truth. He should tell us the names of the police officers who passed false information to the Americans, so that the whole story can come out once and for all. Neither Mr. Zaccardelli nor the Minister of Public Safety can shed light on this affair. Both of them are trying to create confusion, keep us from understanding what happened and hide the truth. The Prime Minister should give us the names of the people who acted improperly so that they can testify before the committee.

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, Mr. Justice O'Connor held a public inquiry, and the government accepted his report.

The parliamentary committee is free to carry on with its work concerning these events if it so desires.

Unfortunately, the real problem for the Bloc is that Canada now has a federalist government that is no longer under police investigation. That is the real problem for the Bloc. It is a good thing for Canadian unity and for the nation of Quebec, but it poses a problem for the sovereignist camp.

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning in committee, the Minister of Public Safety was unequivocal: when an RCMP official learns that a subordinate has made a mistake, he must take immediate action to deal with the problem and inform his superiors. When he first appeared before the committee on September 28, Mr. Zaccardelli declared that he had known since 2002 that false information about Maher Arar had been forwarded to the American authorities. He took no action and did not inform his superiors.

How could the Minister of Public Safety reiterate his confidence in Mr. Zaccardelli after hearing his testimony of September 28, which revealed the errors in judgment of the RCMP commissioner?

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the commissioner has admitted to giving contradictory testimony. He has also resigned. That is clear and correct.

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, knowing that Mr. Zaccardelli was informed of serious errors made by his subordinates in the Maher Arar affair and that he advised no one, why did the Minister of Public Safety not promptly ask for the resignation of the RCMP commissioner? By keeping him, who did the minister wish or need to protect, and why?

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it is the government's responsibility to ensure the safety and security of our citizens from coast to coast, and of our communities, and of our streets. That is exactly what we will do.

Government Appointments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the resignation of Mr. Zaccardelli, there is a lot of speculation about who is going to be the next commissioner, but the government has an opportunity here to make this process truly transparent and accountable. The former member for Ottawa Centre, Ed Broadbent, proposed and tabled in this House a process whereby important appointments like this would be brought before a standing committee and would be vetted there.

Will the Prime Minister indicate clearly today that he will follow the precedent that he set with an appointment to the Supreme Court by bringing before a House of Commons committee for vetting the recommendation for the replacement of the commissioner?

Government Appointments
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting suggestion considering that the NDP actually was opposed to that process for the Supreme Court justice when I did it.

What I can say is this. The government obviously does not wish to politically hire and fire RCMP commissioners at will. We will establish a process that is objective and professional and of course we are interested in the input of any member of this House.

Maher Arar
Oral Questions

December 7th, 2006 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, just to be clear, our party supported the recommended process brought forward by the former member for Ottawa Centre, which was a superior process.

Now, with the affair behind us, in some ways Canadians are looking for the government to do the right thing. Mr. Zaccardelli has apologized. This House has apologized to the Arar family.

It remains for the Government of Canada to apologize to the Arar family, so I ask the Prime Minister this. Will he stand in his place and apologize to Monia Mazigh, to Maher Arar and to their children on behalf of the Government of Canada so that they can take the next step in their lives to put this terrible circumstance and--

Maher Arar
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Maher Arar
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, Parliament and all parties in Parliament supported the motion of apology. The government is working with Mr. Arar's attorneys who have sued the government. We are working on a full compensation and apology and we hope to make progress on that in short order.

Once again, on the comment in the previous question in terms of the process, I think we have to be very careful not to politicize this process, particularly when I open the paper today and read that the party opposite is saying that it should get involved and stop the RCMP from investigating wrongdoing by politicians. That is not the kind of input we want in the hiring of the RCMP commissioner.

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, just hours ago at his news conference, Commissioner Zaccardelli confirmed that he spoke with the Minister of Public Safety and expressed his desire to go back to the committee to explain the problems with his testimony. Additionally, he wrote to the deputy minister to explain the inconsistencies in his testimony, yet the minister had the gall to state in this House yesterday that he only found out about this issue on Monday.

Will the minister now admit that the commissioner told him a month ago about the problems in his testimony and that the minister indeed chose to ignore it?

RCMP Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the member is picking up his pointy habit from his colleague who sits next to him.

I said yesterday that we all learned about the extent of the contradiction on Monday. At that point, the Prime Minister, myself and others said we would look at what had been said and look at the extent of his contradiction. Shortly after that, just yesterday, as members know, the commissioner tendered his resignation.

I think the chain of events speaks for itself. We wish the commissioner well. We also are very confident in the ongoing work of the--