House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nova.

Topics

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

March 22nd, 2007 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP was given new details last night of former MP Jim Hart's departure to make way for the Public Safety Minister.

In a just obtained fax dated August 22, 2000, Mr. Hart states:

—I took this step of resigning in good faith. I could have remained in office until the general election, finished my term and not experienced these losses [of pension, salary, et cetera]. My resignation was contingent upon this negotiation.

Such a buyout would be illegal and represents a serious violation of public trust.

My question is for the Public Safety Minister. Is this how he got his seat in the House of Commons?

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I see the Minister of Public Safety is rising to answer the question. I am not sure this question has to do with the administration of the Government of Canada, but if he wishes to say something in response, we will hear him.

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I was hoping you would rule that way. The last time the Liberals tried this drive-by smear, the RCMP concluded, and I quote from its conclusions, “No criminal offence had been committed”.

I sincerely feel badly for the member for Ajax—Pickering. His previous missteps, which have embarrassed his party, has obviously put him on the low rung of the totem pole with the Liberals. He is now in charge of drive-by smears.

The only problem with drive-by smears is that innocent people get hurt. Mr. Hart is being hurt in this process. In every conversation I had with Mr. Hart from the time I knew him, he has only been honourable about this. He deserves an apology.

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, this side of the House will not take lessons on drive-by smears. There are facts in this case--

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Ajax—Pickering has the floor. We cannot hear him.

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, these revelations are new and explicit. They detail not just potential criminal buy-out, but the source of those funds might well have come from the then leader's office and that a fraudulent contract was created, using public money, to illegally pave the way for the public safety minister to become a member of the House.

Given the gravity of these allegations and the clear nature of the documents presented, will the Minister of Public Safety, the minister responsible for Canada's national police force, do the prudent thing and step down until the RCMP is finished its investigation?

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely nothing new here. The RCMP investigated this matter. It looked into all the things, which the member for Ajax—Pickering has alleged, and concluded that there was no wrongdoing.

I do not know what other RCMP investigations he wants reopened, perhaps into the income trust scandal or perhaps into Shawinigate. Perhaps Nancy Drew over there could put himself to good work for the taxpayers of Canada and find out where that missing $40 million from the Liberal sponsorship scandal went.

Wage Earner Protection Program Act
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, over 15 months ago, Bill C-55 was passed by Parliament. The bill was supported by all parties, including the Conservatives. It would compensate employees in cases where employers went bankrupt.

The government has had over a year to make a small technical amendment and proclaim the bill into law, but all we get from the government is silence.

Why is the government stalling wage protection for hard-working families in Canada?

Wage Earner Protection Program Act
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, we actually wanted to bring this bill before the House shortly before Christmas. The opposition members of all parties had agreed in principle. However, when the time came to keep their word, the opposition members introduced an amendment. So long as that amendment has been there, it has been impossible to make progress with the bill. If the hon. members could arrive at a consensus, we could table it this afternoon and send it directly to the Senate.

Wage Earner Protection Program Act
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, frankly, the minister did not answer the question. What he said is not accurate. When Bill C-55 was passed last November, the Conservatives supported it. This bill ensured that employees would be compensated for wages not paid in the six months prior to the bankruptcy of their employer. It provided that employees who found themselves in this situation would receive up to $3,000.

Why has the government turned its back on this bill and, at the same time, on working people?

Wage Earner Protection Program Act
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member once again that Bill C-55, which really would protect employees’ wages in case of bankruptcy, still exists. We still intend to bring it before the House. If the opposition members can arrive at a consensus on this bill that reflects the unanimous will of the House during the previous Parliament, we will introduce it this very day.

Older workers
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is swimming in billions of dollars in surpluses, and the Minister of Finance is unable to find $75 million to implement an income support program for older workers who have been victims of mass layoffs. In a budget of several billion dollars, $75 million is a mere drop in the bucket.

Why is the government stubbornly refusing to provide financial assistance to these workers and their families?

Older workers
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, we presently have a targeted initiative for older workers program in place. We also have launched a older workers panel that is criss-crossing the country. It will be hearing from Canadians on this issue.

I look forward to hearing its conclusions. I invite the member to make his views known to that panel.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the March 18 edition of the Chicoutimi Progrès-Dimanche reported that the Minister of Labour was not happy to have lost his discretionary power to award subsidies under the new Canada summer jobs program, and deplores this new centralization.

Is the government going to face the facts, rethink its decision and bring back the program that existed before?