House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was product.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, when this government came to power, it inherited a $12 billion surplus. Despite that, it eliminated the court challenges program, made cuts to status of women, killed the national child care program, and killed the Kelowna accord.

Now that the government is on the verge of a deficit, which programs do the Conservatives intend to cut?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know that members opposite like big spending. They like big taxes. We reduced the GST by 2 percentage points and they talk about raising the GST. We reduced personal income taxes and now they are talking about raising gasoline taxes for Canadians.

As a matter of fact, they are talking about spending another $62 billion. All this means is higher taxes for Canadians, with more spending and bigger government. Canadians know better, and that party opposite voted against every measure to reduce taxes for Canadians.

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

April 28th, 2008 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, documents made public last week would seem to indicate that this government, which boasted of being squeaky clean, falsified and, in some cases, even forged invoices for advertising during the most recent election campaign. Ms. Dixon, a representative of Retail Media, an advertising agency the Conservative Party did business with, says that the invoices attributed to her firm are forged or were falsified.

Does the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities deny Ms. Dixon's allegations? Can he confirm, from his seat, that these invoices are not forged or were not falsified in any way?

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, Conservative candidates spent Conservative money on Conservative advertising. That is completely legal. All parties do it. That is why we are taking legal action against Elections Canada. One day, before Elections Canada had to face questions about that lawsuit, Elections Canada officials interrupted the proceedings with that visit with a Liberal camera. We find that extremely strange.

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is giving us the same sort of answers the Liberals did when we asked them about the sponsorship scandal. Yet high-ranking Conservative Party officials are involved.

I therefore ask the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities whether he can confirm, from his seat, that his party did not forge or falsify advertising invoices during the most recent election campaign.

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the documents in question that the member refers to are merely bundled invoices, which were separated and sent out to the ridings that were asked to pay for them. The GST was added. That is the only change that was made in the documents.

Today I will be tabling in the House of Commons a judgment that was made by the then chief electoral officer, wherein he indicated that advertisements considered local are done so not based on their content but based on their tag line. We had the tag line right. We followed the rules. We did it right.

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government can say it obeyed the law all it wants, that it is merely a matter of different interpretations, but nothing could be less certain. In an email from December 8, 2005, an advertising director with the Conservative Party of Canada Fund states that the party will most likely exceed the limit and that doubts had already been raised concerning the legality of transferring spending to the ridings.

Is that not sufficient proof that the Conservatives knew from the beginning that their scheme violated the law, as alleged by Elections Canada?

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, in the 1997 document tabled by the then chief electoral officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, he indicates that the law determines an advertisement to be local based on the tag line and not on the content. In fact, he says that the content is left only within the confines of charter rights of freedom of expression.

So we have legal backing from the former chief electoral officer. He may have changed his mind since then, and so may have Elections Canada, but that is not the fault of the Conservative Party.

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did the Conservatives know it was dubious, but they also tried to cover it up. Thus, when a Retail Media employee raised some doubts of his own regarding the transfers to Conservative Party candidates and requested permission to confirm it with Elections Canada, he was told to wait, because the party might not want to discuss it with Elections Canada.

Is that not the reaction one might expect from someone who knows full well that he has something to hide?

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I just described the rules as they were explained by Elections Canada. It is now clear that the Conservative candidates spent Conservative Party funds for Conservative Party advertising. It is completely legal, and all the parties do it. That is why we are taking Elections Canada to court.

One day, before being questioned on this, Elections Canada decided to interrupt the proceedings and visit our office with Liberal Party cameras. I imagine the Bloc Québécois also finds this very, very strange.

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are fed up with scandals. On one hand, as everyone knows, they punished the Liberal Party for the sponsorship scandal and the fraud committed.

On the other hand, they are now stuck with the Conservative Party, a party that scoffs at election laws. It is so serious that the RCMP had to raid their offices last week.

Why does the Prime Minister insist on blaming everyone else, when he is clearly responsible?

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, once again, in his 1997 election report, the then chief electoral officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, indicated that national advertising spending restrictions in section 48 of the act did not apply to ads that had tag lines from local campaigns: “Since the time purchased was...used to run a national advertisement with a local tag line, this rendered the prohibition in section 48 somewhat ineffectual”. The then CEO of Elections Canada made it clear that the tag line, not the content, determines the nature of the ad expense.

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is well known for being his own top strategist. Of course, instead of spending time strategizing on how to deal with higher gas prices or higher food prices, whether it is here or abroad, what he is strategizing on is how to get around election laws. That is not what Canadians want to see.

When did he authorize this scheme and when will he return the tainted rebate money? How does he explain that after multiple scandals and ethical breaches he has now become in government what he used to fight against as leader of the opposition?

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member was asking when the Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada came up with this scheme. This was in a 1997 report on the election that occurred on June 3 of that year. He was writing about whether or not advertisements should be expensed locally or nationally. He says, “The content of the advertisements accepted was subject only to the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Charter”.

The fact that the advertisements run by local candidates for the Conservative Party had national content has no regard, because in fact we have freedom of expression in this country.

International Aid
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2005 the Prime Minister promised to increase Canada's development assistance to 0.7% of the GDP, another broken promise.

In two years the government has done absolutely nothing, yet we now have a world food crisis. The world is asking for Canada's help and the government has spent the cupboard bare. Why has the Conservative government deliberately destroyed Canada's financial ability to help the world's hungry?