House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party thinks it is perfectly acceptable to falsely and inaccurately smear individuals. The member from Markham should listen to one of his own constituents who wrote the government this: “I am pleased to lend our enthusiastic support to re-establish the Peterborough Rail Line which passes through the east end of Markham. This timely investment is crucial for the greater Toronto area”.

Who said that? Frank Scarpitti, the mayor of Markham.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Given the concerns, not of political partisans, but of national security experts, can the minister personally assure us that his particular situation is being reviewed independently and that it does not create any concerns or problems with respect to national security?

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 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 have assured the House that the government would not put national security at risk. Notwithstanding the approach used by the hon. member, the reality is that this is an issue that has nothing to do with anything except for the prurient interest in people's private and personal lives.

That is not what politics is about, but it is what we have seen throughout and we will continue to see throughout question period: a Liberal Party that prefers smear to policy. It is very different than what the Liberal leader once said he would do. He once said, “I would be very pleased to see less personal attacks, less low politics”. Guess what? He is not following that direction, nor is his competitor for the leadership.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it would appear there are more ventriloquists over on the other side than there are on Sesame Street. I put a question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I received an answer from the government House leader, and I will ask my supplementary to the same minister.

The question about policy is this. It is not just a question of political partisanship. I see that the Prime Minister is giving him an answer. I will let the Prime Minister finish his briefing of the minister.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. It appears that is now complete. The government House leader has the floor.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 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 would only say to the hon. member that I hope he would get his policy briefings from a more serious program on television.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, when Jean Chrétien formed his first cabinet in November 1993, Alfonso Gagliano was excluded because the RCMP had discovered that he was the accountant for a man who was linked to organized crime. The RCMP had alerted the Prime Minister's Office, which delayed Alfonso Gagliano's appointment until a more thorough investigation enabled him to join the cabinet.

Today, the government would have us believe that the RCMP and the Prime Minister's Office knew nothing about the questionable relationships of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Can the Prime Minister confirm, here in the House, that the RCMP did provide him with information about the shady past of the former partner of the Minister of Foreign Affairs?

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, an unprecedented human tragedy is taking place in Burma. China has been rocked by a deadly earthquake. Civil war could resume in Lebanon.

But the only thing the sovereignist gossips in this House have wanted to talk about for at least a week is the past relationships of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Bloc is an embarrassment to Quebeckers.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we have often found, question period is not necessarily answer period for this government.

If the answer were no, would the Minister of Public Safety launch an investigation to determine why the RCMP did not do its job? However, the likely answer is yes. At the time, the Reform Party called on the government to table the security reports about Alfonso Gagliano's friends and professional associates.

Now that the Conservatives are in power, can they ask themselves that question?

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago the Bloc was interested in having a national conversation. Now it is more interested in neighbourhood gossip.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is about to withdraw Canada's candidacy for a seat on the prestigious UN Security Council. There is every reason to believe that Canada would not be elected anyway, because of the Conservative government's alignment with George W. Bush's policies.

Is it not true that the Canadian government wants to quietly pull out in order to save face and avoid embarrassment?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that the election to the Council will take place in 2010. That being said, we are a proud partner and participant in the United Nations, and we will remain just that. For instance, we are implementing the United Nations' resolution regarding Afghanistan. We are proud to be working with NATO in Afghanistan. We are proud to be working with the UN in Darfur. We are proud of what we are doing and we will always be a UN partner.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, our traditional allies have noticed our departures from our traditional foreign policies, whether concerning the environment with the rejection of Kyoto, concerning the Middle East with Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or concerning human rights with the death penalty and the torture of prisoners of war. These policy shifts affect our alliances and undermine Canada's credibility on the international scene.

Does this come as any surprise, considering how much this Minister of Foreign Affairs lacks vision and influence?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question, since it allows me to explain to her what we are doing on the international scene.

Some $300 million has been earmarked for the Middle East peace process. We are among the top five major donors to the peace process. Some $275 million is earmarked for peace in Sudan. We have imposed the toughest sanctions in the world on the appalling Burmese regime. We are working with NATO on a number of international missions, including Afghanistan. This government has a good record. We are proud of our record on the international scene.