House of Commons Hansard #97 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rights.

Topics

National Security
Oral Questions

11:15 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, what I continue to think is what most Canadians think, which is that private lives should be private lives.

There was a fellow who once said that the definition of a Liberal is clearly someone who does not even know how to blush because he has lost the capacity to be embarrassed. I know the member for Toronto Centre has been working hard to try to appear like a Liberal, but that is something he actually said in a debate once.

National Security
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely devastated. I am wounded.

Now that we are talking about blushing, I wonder about the minister's travel bill to Laos. He he spent over $22,000 on a return trip from that country to Canada when everyone else was paying far less than that and when a staff member was paying one-tenth of that cost to travel. I wonder if that makes the government House leader blush, just for once.

National Security
Oral Questions

11:15 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, it is interesting that the member's party is the same party that has been saying for the last week or so that it is concerned and wants to see Canada stand tall on the world stage, and now it is being critical of the concept of the foreign affairs minister actually representing Canada at international forums such as the Francophonie conference in question.

We have every intention of continuing to stand up for Canada on the world stage, being there at the important meetings and being there at the Francophonie conference, which we consider to be important to Canada.

National Security
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the continuing saga of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, we learned this morning that, contrary to what the government would have us believe, Ms. Couillard had links with the underworld not a decade ago, but until just recently, in 2005. This confirms what security experts say: people who get into organized crime do not get out.

My question is simple: if investigative reporters were able to uncover Ms. Couillard's shady past, how are we supposed to believe that the offices of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety did not?

National Security
Oral Questions

11:15 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 happen to believe that the private lives of people are their private lives.

However, the hon. member belongs to a party where for one of its lead organizers in Quebec we know we saw some organized crime when it was engaging in the sponsorship scandal, ripping off taxpayers and lining its pockets. People have been charged by the RCMP. The Liberal Party had to give back money. He says that once people are involved in crime, they cannot get out of it. I guess he is speaking for himself.

National Security
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, when someone's private life threatens to undermine the security of Canadians, it is not a personal question, but a matter of public concern.

Is it not true that the main reason the government refused to allow Ms. Couillard to attend certain confidential meetings and certain interviews given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs was that the Conservatives knew about Ms. Couillard's past?

National Security
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, this member may be fond of gossiping, but the fact is that this is not a national security issue.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, security is the Conservatives' excuse for everything. Security is a catch-all concept to justify their blatant lack of transparency. The strategy is simple: give as little information as possible and control any information released to the public. We had a very fine example of that this week when the government announced first $30 billion, then $50 billion and finally $96 billion for military spending. This is one of the more recent examples of the Conservatives' manipulation.

Do the Conservatives not realize that in a democracy the government has to be transparent and accountable for its actions?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is obviously referring to the action plan on national defence the government presented quite openly this week to the general public. As hon. members know, this is an extremely important initiative.

In other matters, I would point out to the hon. member that Ms. Marois has just presented an action plan on sovereignty. I have not read it yet, but I am quite certain I will not agree with it. At least some thought was put into it. The leader of the Bloc and the Bloc Québécois prefer to just gossip.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, no plan has ever been tabled setting out the Conservatives' military strategy, so they can quit trying to sell us that one.

Manipulation of public opinion has gone so far that the Conservatives are even paying think tanks that are in favour of a military mission in Afghanistan and requiring them to publish op-ed articles and analyses in the media. Alain Pellerin, president of the Conference of Defence Associations, who is paid through Conservative funding, federal funding, acknowledges that the publication quotas that are part of the contract conditions do not make sense.

While this money is openly being used to sell the Conservatives' military vision of the mission in Afghanistan, does the government recognize that it is trying to manipulate the opinion—

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

National Defence
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, the question is about the Conference of Defence Associations of Canada. I want to quote Alain Pellerin, executive director of CDA, who said:

--his organization has received money from National Defence for decades and the media quotas have been part of the agreement with the military since 2002, when a consulting firm told the department it should draw up more performance-based grant contracts.

That is something that took place under the Liberal government.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

May 16th, 2008 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the government attempts to minimize the Minister of Foreign Affairs' negligence, it has come to light that his former girlfriend had ties with criminal elements until 2005 at least. In addition to her having been the girlfriend of two people with business connections to the Hells Angels, her father was sentenced in 2001 for growing marijuana for bikers and a third boyfriend was jailed for possession of stolen goods and had ties to organized crime.

How could the Minister of Foreign Affairs disregard his former girlfriend's shady past when the country's security could have been at risk?

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again, we have stated in this House that the government is not compromising national security. It is not at risk. I will only say that the true and the greatest threat to Canada's security is the separation proposed by the Bloc Québécois.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have also learned that Ms. Couillard and her former partner, Robert Pépin, approached a federal organization in 2004 to offer security screening services.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs recognize that these troubling revelations demonstrate that his links to such people constitute a significant security risk for the nation and that he is acting irresponsibly?