House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has still not acted on several key provisions of the federal accountability act, even though it received royal assent more than 60 days ago. We have seen no restriction on lobbying. We have seen no rules concerning conflict of interest. The Prime Minister delivers great speeches, but he does not deliver the goods.

When will the government honour its commitments in terms of accountability?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, passing the federal accountability act has been a major priority for this government. We are proud of our work.

It is the Liberal Party that was opposed to passing these measures, most of which will take effect beginning April 1. It has not happened sooner because the Liberal Party opposed this legislation for nine months. This is quite a change. Now the Liberals want to support accountability. We already do.

Justice
Oral Questions

February 19th, 2007 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, the Conservatives made ideological cuts to certain programs, such as the volunteer support program, the court challenges program and the literacy program. Now, the Prime Minister wants to once again impose his right wing ideology by appointing only judges who share his philosophy of social repression.

Could the Prime Minister tell us which of our rights judges will stop defending? Those of women, or those of minorities?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this is a bunch of nonsense. The change we made is to put police officers on the judicial advisory committee.

I want to know what the Liberals' problem is with police officers. They started off the beginning of last week wanting to take away the tools that police officers need and want under the Anti-terrorism Act. Then they spent the rest of the week complaining about police officers on the judicial advisory committee.

That is the difference between us: the Liberals keep going after police; we will keep going after criminals.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the decision to impose his ideology on the judicial appointment process goes far beyond criminal justice. The Conservatives are clearly opposed to the rights and freedoms protected by the Canadian Charter.

The Prime Minister feels that we are granting too many rights to victims of discrimination, to minorities and to women.

Is the Prime Minister prepared to rise in this House and say loud and clear that he supports equality for women and free choice?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals always get it wrong. They always go after the wrong target. When they hear there is a problem with guns, they want to go after duck hunters. If there is a problem with crime, they want to go after police officers. I have actually warned my colleague, the Minister of Health that when they start talking about health services in this country, my guess is they will want to crack down on nurses.

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is now abundantly clear that the Prime Minister wishes to meddle in the judicial appointment process in order to ensure that the judiciary is a reflection of himself and shares his values and ideas. This conduct threatens the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.

Will the Prime Minister finally listen to reason and suspend his decision to meddle in the judicial appointment process?

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government made one change to a judicial appointment advisory committee. This government ensured that, in future, there will be a more inclusive representation with the participation of groups such as the police and victims. We believe that it is important that these perspectives be included in the process.

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois moved a motion urging the Prime Minister to suspend his decision with regard to the composition of the judicial appointment committee so that the Standing Committee on Justice could hear witnesses and debate the issue.

Will the Prime Minister listen to the voice of the majority and allow the Standing Committee on Justice to make recommendations to him on the judicial appointment process?

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is responsible for having a judicial appointment process.

This government has taken action and assumed its responsibilities. We do not intend to have advisory committees that are less inclusive than at present.

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the statements by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Beverley McLachlin, against the government's decision to steer judicial appointments, we had the negative comments by former Chief Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé and former Chief Justice Antonio Lamer.

In light of these comments from great legal minds, would the Prime Minister not be better advised to defer his plan and hold consultations with the judiciary, the provincial bar associations and various experts on legal and institutional matters, instead of diving head first into a ridiculous plan to select judges in his own image?

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I read with interest the comments by the former chief justice of the Supreme Court. He is in favour of committees that have no representation from the non legal community. That was not the process, even in the former Liberal government. We believe there should be representatives from outside the legal community, in order to have more inclusive representation.

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, former Chief Justice Antonio Lamer said that the Prime Minister was going down the wrong path by wanting to change the appointment process, which affects judicial independence.

Should the Prime Minister not return to the path of common sense and not use judges to make up for his inability to get his right-wing legislative agenda through?

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is the responsibility of the government, the executive, to have a judicial appointment process. It makes a whole lot of sense for victims and the police to be represented. It is the Bloc ideology that opposes these measures.

Foreign Credentials
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, by not recognizing its own credentials of new Canadians, the government is treating new immigrants like second class citizens. It is failing the new Canadians in our country because it does not allow them to use the skills, the talents, the experience and the credentials that they have brought with them.

Last year the Conservatives said that they would come up with $18 million and they would create offices to help sort this out so people could use the skills they brought to the country to help build Canada, but that simply has not happened.

Why does the Prime Minister want to let that prosperity gap continue to grow, leaving more and more new Canadians, hard-working immigrants behind? Why will he not take action as he promised to do?