House of Commons Hansard #161 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was election.

Topics

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

May 31st, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, Justice Linden has laid the blame for the tragic and preventable events of Ipperwash at the feet of the federal and provincial governments. He said today that neglect by successive federal governments is at the heart of Ipperwash.

I am certain that the minister wants to tell first nations and Canadians how he is going to ensure Ipperwash will never happen again.

Will the minister act on the recommendations of the commissioner and immediately return the site to Kettle and Stony Point First Nation?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Canadian government I would thank Justice Linden for his fine work. The circumstances of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation are well known to me.

Justice Linden in his report has pointed out that more than 50 years have passed since the end of the war and since the expected return of this army camp land to this first nation. He has chronicled the long neglect by previous federal governments and I agree with his conclusions.

This land was appropriated in 1942 for military purposes. It has been decades since it should have been returned. I am indeed sorry that previous federal governments have not dealt with this. I intend to--

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is true that both the Liberals and the Conservatives have failed first nations communities, but that cannot be an excuse for inaction by the government. And it is no excuse for the stunt that the Conservatives tried to pull today with human rights legislation.

The commissioner says that the federal government lacks an effective and fair system for land claims. Today it is the minister's responsibility and Canadians demand an immediate solution.

As the Ipperwash inquiry states, the flashpoints are very likely as intense today as they were at Ipperwash. When can first nations expect respect? When will they get a fair and effective land claims system?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Justice Linden today made a number of recommendations. A number of those pertain to provincial aboriginal policy and the absolute necessity of having the provincial government present during land claim negotiations. We await the province's response with respect to those recommendations.

With respect to the recommendations relating to the resolution of claims generally, the report reflects many speeches which I have given personally, many discussions which have taken place in Parliament. I can assure the member that she can expect major land claim reforms soon, very soon.

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the past several days, whenever we have put questions to the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec about his expenditures, he has remained rather vague in his replies. It is as though he is hiding something from us. The minister said that the contract had been approved by the department's financial comptroller.

Can the minister confirm that the approval did not come, rather, from his chief of staff? Will the minister assume his responsibilities at last, admit that he did something wrong and pay back to Canadian taxpayers the $24,804 that he gave to his assistant?

Ministerial Expenditures
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, as the minister has advised and I have confirmed in this House as well, all the expenditures were disclosed and were in accordance with the approval of the comptroller of the department.

However, I am glad again to have the chance to discuss expenses, because it is great getting them from the Liberals. Today we are one year plus one day after Bill S-4 went to the Senate, where the Liberals do not like to work on the bill, they like to delay it, and we can figure out why. The leader of the government in the Senate under the Liberals spent 3,711% as much as the leader under the Conservatives in the past year. That is an amazing difference. I guess they like their perks in the Senate and that is where they like to spend their time spending the taxpayers' money.

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the minister is violating the rules of the Treasury Board and of this House by awarding a contract to someone who is already on his staff. Yet, he stubbornly insists in a totally irrational fashion that he did not do anything wrong, while everyone in this House, except him, knows otherwise.

For transparency and accountability's sake, will the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec admit that it is his chief of staff who approved the contract and related expenditures? Awarding a contract to his assistant is against the rules. Will he pledge to immediately pay back that money?

Ministerial Expenditures
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, everyone in this House has already heard that all Treasury Board guidelines were followed. The contract was approved by the department's financial comptroller. This contract of less than $25,000 is reported, as it should be, on the department's website, with the person's name and the relevant details, in compliance with all the transparency and accountability rules. We fully support transparency.

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism has failed to disclose any travel expenses since he took over the job in January.

On May 16 and again on Tuesday, we asked the minister where his travel expenses were posted. Both times he said he had asked the department officials to post the expenses on the website, despite the fact that officials are required to post them automatically. Surprise, the posting has still not been done.

What is it about proactive disclosure that the minister does not understand?

Ministerial Expenditures
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, I think we heard clearly from the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism that he has directed that those expenses be disclosed. He is quite prepared to do so. They have all been filed and he has directed that they be disclosed.

But I can tell the House that there is a difference in the lifestyle of Liberals living in government and the lifestyle of Conservatives living in government. We can see that the hospitality expenses of the former minister of heritage on the Liberal side in her last year were 321% higher than those of the Conservative minister in her first year.

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is the hold up and what are the Conservatives hiding? The secretary of state likes to justify laundering his expenses by saying that his friends are taking care of it.

If he has done all the extensive travelling he claims, are we to understand that he owes more than 100 favours to his friends?

Whether it was a charge to the government or a personal gift to the minister from friends, the minister has a legal obligation to disclose it. Which was it, a gift or a charge, and how much?

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:55 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, as I have indicated of course, everything is disclosed properly or has been directed to be disclosed.

As I indicated, in that first year, for Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, the total expenses under the Liberals were significantly higher than those under the Conservatives.

The bottom line is that when it comes to minding taxpayers' dollars, Conservatives put taxpayers first. Liberals put their own wining and dining first.

Wage Earner Protection Program Act
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to return to the Bankruptcy Act. I have discussed this briefly with the Prime Minister. I have discussed it with government ministers. I have discussed it with the labour federations in Quebec. I have discussed it with Quebec minister of intergovernmental affairs Pelletier, and he has proposed an amendment we have passed on to the government. Everyone agrees on acting quickly, while still respecting jurisdictions and the civil code of Quebec.

My question for the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Quebec political lieutenant, with whom I have had a constructive discussion, is this: are they prepared to take action that will respect the jurisdictions of Quebec and its Civil Code?

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, the various labour organizations and the workers have been asking us for this legislation for months and months now. They are asking all parliamentarians to respect the wishes of the previous Parliament. This legislation is ready. We have tabled a notice of motion, but the only problem is that the Bloc Québécois is anti-worker. It is doing everything possible to impede progress.

If we went to the Senate, there would be nothing to prevent it from proposing amendments. If there were anything in it they felt could be improved, it could be returned to the House. But the Bloc Québécois does not want this legislation. It is anti-worker.