House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was companies.

Topics

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

March 29th, 2007 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the RCMP, it is absolutely vital that we restore trust in our national police force as soon as possible. The half measures announced today could make the situation even worse. It is crucial that the RCMP's honour be restored quickly.

We have heard reports not only of mismanagement and incompetence, but also of corruption, cover-ups and favouritism. This truly is a crisis. The government's attitude, however, gives no indication that this is a crisis.

Can the Prime Minister tell us that he will respond exactly as he should to resolve the situation as quickly as possible? This is vital.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is why we chose an independent and complete process. At the same time, this process can provide us with a report very quickly. It is essential that we receive all the details as soon as possible.

This government is interested in the truth, obviously, the truth concerning what happened when the former Liberal government was in power.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is an extremely serious situation. I would call on the Prime Minister not to step into partisan accusations, but instead to focus on re-establishing the public trust in the RCMP and the honour of our national police force as quickly as possible. After the sordid Maher Arar affair and now the attacks on the pension system, we have a serious problem here.

My question for the Prime Minister is, will he ensure that this inquiry produces all of the evidence that has to be brought forward? Will it be entirely brought forward into the public, so the public can re-establish confidence in our treasured RCMP?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, as the hon. member knows, this government dealt with the Maher Arar affair that had not been dealt with before.

At the same time, we obviously want to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible. That is why we have structured a full independent investigation. I can assure the hon. member that will reach a report rapidly. I can also assure the hon. member, as the Minister of Public Safety just did, that if in any way that investigation is not heeded, its powers will be increased.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the investigation announced by the public safety minister today falls far short of a full independent public inquiry.

In light of the shocking revelations made at the public accounts committee yesterday, more now than ever Canadians need to be assured of the integrity of our national police force.

Given that the public safety minister is overseeing the probe he just announced, how can Canadians be assured of the independence of this very serious investigation?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, there is a question that comes to my mind. We have put in place a process to get answers quickly, to demand answers and also send the message that anybody who will resist giving those answers will be called upon with even further authority. The question that crosses my mind is, why do the Liberals not want to get these answers right away?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that the minister listen to this question.

The public safety minister is now in an uncomfortable ethical quandary. The testimony at the committee yesterday has impacted and will impact on his ability to properly perform his duties as public safety minister for Canadians, considering the RCMP review is involving the minister himself.

Is it not imperative for the integrity of this investigation and the institution of the RCMP to have the minister step aside at this time? Perception is as important as reality.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, to the member and the nine people that stood to applaud her, I would like to say that questions do come to mind on this. I will say that I have no ethical quandary in demanding the truth on this particular issue.

When we have on record here previous federal Liberal ministers saying there is no problem, and I have that here, my predecessor saying there is no problem with this particular situation, it gives us great concern.

I guess the other question is, when are all these Liberal cover-ups going to end? When are we going to see an end to this?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday at the public accounts committee we heard senior RCMP officers describe in detail critical problems at the top echelons of the RCMP. We heard of intimidation and revenge, nepotism, wrongdoers rewarded, whistleblowers punished, fraud, perjury and criminal investigations shut down. Some officers were nearly in tears.

Why did Conservative committee members for months block all attempts to bring this information before the committee? Was that just a mistake?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it is getting pretty rich when we have the people who oversaw this entire mess trying to pass and duck the blame. I will say that the previous Liberal minister of public safety said the following when asked a question by a Conservative member:

--let me reassure everyone in the House that there is no conduct on the part of the commissioner that needs to be investigated.

There is some conduct that needs to be investigated and we are going after it. We will get to the truth.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP is a national icon, the red tunic an international symbol of integrity and respect. The 25,000 rank and file RCMP officers deserve an RCMP they can trust and be proud of, not one that steals their pension funds.

The minister stated that committees are creatures of their own will and that he will not interfere. However, the voting record will show that for months the Conservatives have blocked all attempts to bring this sordid matter forward and they have had the information for months.

Will the government members of public accounts stop blocking the committee from calling witnesses, along with a public inquiry, guarantee full--

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Public Safety.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the member opposite has done the math, but as much as we would like to have a majority on that committee so we could get to the truth on a lot of matters, we do not even have a majority there. There has been no blocking this. It is Conservative MPs who have raised this issue with me. It is Conservative MPs who have been talking on this issue.

There is something else that came out yesterday. I do agree with the member on one area. This is a very large force of people when we talk about the RCMP. One of the people testifying yesterday even said that there were a very small few who he felt had done wrong and that the majority of the force are fine, upstanding individuals upholding the law.

Aerospace Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government refuses to budge, hundreds of good jobs in the aerospace sector will not materialize.

Given the importance for the entire south shore of Montreal to maintain and develop its expertise in the aerospace sector, could the government not show us that it intends to take action and do so quickly?

Aerospace Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we have already taken action in the aerospace sector. I would like to remind my colleague that we have committed to billions of dollars in military procurement that will benefit Canada's entire aerospace industry. The Bloc Québécois could never have done as much because it is destined to remain an opposition party forever.