House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was employment.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:20 a.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 no news here. News reports and opposition questions have suggested that Canada had given no money to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

For example, an Ottawa Citizen article from March 19 reported: “Canada had earmarked just over $2,000 for the commission, but its report indicates that money was not disbursed”.

I felt obliged to reassure the House that this was simply not correct. The Canadian government had, as the member just pointed out, given the commission $1 million. That is a fact and that is what we told the House.

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

March 23rd, 2007 / 11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the public safety minister's job to ensure the integrity and independence of the RCMP.

Serious allegations have surfaced that when the minister was leader of the opposition his officials appeared to have designed an illegal buy-out to pave the way for the minister to run in a safe riding.

Because these allegations lead directly to the minister and suggest he may have known in advance of the scheme, will he do the prudent thing and step aside while the RCMP looks into this serious matter?

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I believe the RCMP dealt with that matter many years ago. It is an old matter.

Perhaps while the opposition is concerned about these kinds of issues I could read this to the House:

“Ontario Grits paid candidate to step aside: $25,000 deal set up by MP after McGuinty ousted contestant”

Ontario Liberals paid $25,000 in compensation to nomination contestant David Merner after Premier Dalton McGuinty anointed Madeleine Meilleur as the provincial party's candidate in Ottawa-Vanier in 2003. According to Mr. Merner, the man who brokered the deal was a federal Liberal cabinet minister, the MP for the federal riding of Ottawa-Vanier.

Perhaps the hon. member would like to ask for his resignation today.

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know why the minister is sensitive about this issue, but this is a serious matter and the minister must acknowledge its seriousness.

The only way to ensure that the RCMP is able to investigate this new evidence that has come forward is for its boss to step aside. If he believes in accountability, he must also practise it.

Will the minister step aside and remove any possible conflict of interest?

Minister of Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I notice that the hon. member did not give any response to our suggestion that if an apple is an apple perhaps he should ask the Liberal member for Ottawa—Vanier to resign. Apparently, they are two different tests, two different standards. That is the way it has always been for the Liberal Party.

We do not work that way. This is an old news story. It was investigated and dealt with by the RCMP. Perhaps he could talk to the member for Ottawa—Vanier about what he did.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the way Canadian soldiers treat detainees in Afghanistan is a problem. The Minister of National Defence tried in vain to hide the truth by referring to an alleged agreement with the Red Cross. The minister was out of luck when the Red Cross denied this agreement and he had to retract his comments. By all accounts, the minister's situation is not improving. In fact, things keep getting worse.

Does the minister not think that the only honourable solution is for him to step down?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister was clear. He clarified things. Access to detainees is the responsibility of the Afghan independent human rights commission. Nonetheless, I am concerned by the fact that the opposition seems only to be interested in the detainees. For example, the Bloc has asked questions about the detainees 17 times, but only asked once about the soldiers.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a highly important matter and that is why we ask so many questions. We have not received an answer from this government.

The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons came to the rescue of the Minister of National Defence by saying that a million dollars has been given to the Afghan independent human rights commission to supervise the transfer of detainees. What the leader did not say is that this million dollars was given five years ago, in 2002.

Does the leader realize he has to find another explanation to help out his colleague because this version is not very compelling?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of our Minister of National Defence because he reached an agreement with the Afghan independent human rights commission ensuring access to detainees in order to see that their civil and human rights are protected. We are very proud of his success.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the lack of an agreement allowing Canadian authorities to follow up on detainees transferred to the Afghan authorities is not without implications; it puts at stake not only Canada's international commitments but also the safety of Canadian military personnel.

Knowing that the Afghan human rights commission lacks resources, does the minister intend to enter into an agreement similar to the one the Netherlands signed with the Afghan authorities to follow up on the detainees?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said earlier, we have recently signed an agreement with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission which has undertaken to go into the Afghan prison system and monitor any detainees that we transfer to the Afghan authorities. If there is any abuse of those people, it is to report to us.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the government that the signing of international treaties carries obligations which, in this case, the Canadian military then has to fulfill.

Does the Minister of National Defence realize that, in the absence of proper mechanisms, he is putting our military personnel in a very vulnerable situation, exposing them to charges of violating international treaties?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our men and women in Afghanistan support the values of Canadians. They support the values of human rights. They do not abuse anyone. I reject any aspersion on our troops.

We have made an agreement with the Independent Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan. It has undertaken to monitor the treatment of detainees that we transfer to the Afghan authorities. I spoke to representatives at the Kandahar level and at the national level and they said that they could do the job.

The Budget
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, this week the message was loud and clear: the Conservative government does not care about New Brunswick's working families. It simply does not care at all.

Once more, the government has decided to leave the Atlantic provinces out of the federal budget. Meanwhile, 400 people participated in an information session to find work in western Canada.

When will the government care about the people of New Brunswick? When will it understand that economic and social development are crucial to the future of our province?

The Budget
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

New Brunswick Southwest
New Brunswick

Conservative

Greg Thompson Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am going to use the words of the finance minister and ask the member for Acadie—Bathurst to read the budget.

In fact, the New Brunswick government alone is getting over $203 million more than it received under the previous Liberal government. That is significant. In addition, New Brunswick is getting $110 million more than it received in our budget last year. That is being pretty generous to New Brunswickers.

I do not know how the member can come up with less when the province is getting more. That is poor arithmetic.