House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Censorship
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, my Bloc Québécois colleagues and I are very concerned about the reasons for the dismissal of the assistant to the Conservative member for Cambridge. We are also concerned by the fact that Ms. Van Eyk provided an explanation not to justify the purchase of tickets for her personal use but to protect her boss's reputation. Talk about déjà vu.

The MP's assistant was actually fired for reserving tickets to attend the screening of a movie that the Conservatives do not seem to like because it is considered to be risqué. They believe that it is contrary to the public good. This incident confirms our fears regarding the thinly veiled censorship in Bill C-10.

The Bloc Québécois considers Ms. Van Eyk's firing as a confirmation of its members' fears regarding the Conservative government's desire for censorship in order to impose its bigoted moral view. Tartuffe, Molière's religious hypocrite, said, “Cover up that bosom, which I can't endure to look on.”

National Day of Action
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, today's national day of protest is no surprise. It is a direct result of the actions, and inactions, of that Conservative government.

The action was to break its promise to put the wheels on Kelowna. The inaction was to do nothing to replace the accord that it killed.

The absence of the Kelowna accord has left aboriginal people with few alternatives to address the issues of health, education and infrastructure in their communities.

In fact, conditions have worsened since last year's day of national protest; a shameful condemnation of the Conservative government. The Conservatives did not get the message. Aboriginal people in this country are frustrated; frustrated about needs unmet and frustrated about Conservative promises broken.

The minister has chucked aside their voices, chucked aside their hopes, and chucked aside their dreams of a better life. One would say that the minister has done sweet chuck-all.

The Conservative government promised to do more. Aboriginal people deserve better.

Leadership Campaign Financing
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are wondering if Elections Canada will give special treatment to the Liberal Party by extending their deadline for paying back their leadership race loans.

Millions of dollars in loans were given to the Liberal leader and other Liberal candidates by rich, powerful elites for the campaigns during the Liberal leadership race over a year ago.

The Canada Elections Act states that candidates who receive loans during a leadership race must pay the loan back within 18 months. If the loan is not paid back by that deadline, it constitutes an illegal donation.

Today marks five days until June 3, the 18-month deadline. The former Liberal leadership candidates now have less than a week to pay back all their loans.

Elections Canada will have to decide very soon if it will give the Liberal Party special treatment by extending their repayment deadline.

Two questions: Will the Liberal leadership contestants break the law by ignoring the loan payback deadline, or will Elections Canada give special treatment to the Liberal Party and its leader?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, for at least five weeks, classified documents about our forces in Afghanistan and our allies at NATO lay open in a private house. The government has failed to explain how such a security breach was allowed to happen and then go undetected for five weeks at least. Its explanations are impossible to believe.

The government is either incompetent or it is covering up the truth. Which is it?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 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, on the contrary, such a security breach was not allowed. It was not permitted. That is why the minister of foreign affairs, when he took responsibility for the breach that occurred, tendered his resignation. That is why the Prime Minister accepted it.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is not just about the minister, or the former minister.

At noon on Monday, standing next to the President of Ukraine, the Prime Minister claimed that the Couillard affair was not a security issue. However, the night before, on Sunday, the misplaced documents had been returned. The Prime Minister's Office should have been aware of that on Sunday evening.

When the Prime Minister denied the sad reality on Monday, was he being incompetent or was he hiding the truth from Canadians?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Again, Mr. Speaker, we have said quite clearly what took place. The Prime Minister became aware of the fact that the documents had been placed in an unsecured area and had been left in that unsecured place on Monday afternoon. At that time, action was taken immediately. The minister of foreign affairs tendered his resignation and that resignation was accepted by the Prime Minister.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, again, telling the House that a gross security breach was discovered on a Sunday night and there was no action until five o'clock the next day is just not credible.

The government is either guilty of incompetence or a cover-up. There is no other alternative. The confidence of Canadians in our security procedures has been damaged. We need some honest answers in order to rebuild their confidence.

How can the government possibly fail to create an open, public inquiry to get to the bottom of this mess?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 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 stated many time in the House, and it is not going to be news to anybody now, that the Department of Foreign Affairs is conducting a review of the matter. It will examine what has taken place with the documents and whether there were any security issues related to that.

Obviously it was a breach of the rules. The rules are important and that is why the minister paid for that with his resignation.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, federal officials retrieved the documents from Madame Couillard's house on Sunday afternoon. Yesterday the ex-foreign affairs minister issued a statement that said:

I informed the prime minister of my resignation...as soon as I became aware of a security breach...

Yet, the government House leader insists the Prime Minister only found out for the first time on Monday at 5 p.m.

How can anyone believe that the all-controlling Prime Minister was not briefed about something this explosive between Sunday afternoon when they got the documents and Monday at 5 p.m.?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 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, the sequence of events is quite clear. The Prime Minister became aware of the documents having been left in an unsecured area on Monday afternoon. Action was taken immediately. The foreign affairs minister tendered his resignation and the resignation was accepted.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's version of this story is as full of holes as Swiss cheese.

The secret documents left behind at Ms. Couillard's home were returned on Sunday, 24 hours before the Prime Minister says he became aware of the situation. These documents went missing some five weeks earlier, but no one mentioned that to the Prime Minister.

Will he stop taking us—and the Canadian public—for a bunch of fools?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 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, not at all. The facts are quite clear. The Prime Minister became aware of the problem with the documents left in an unsecured place. That was a clear violation of the rules. He became aware of that on Monday afternoon, and action was taken immediately.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is a very strict procedure for handling secret government documents. First, such documents are numbered and kept in safes at the government department and at the minister's home, when the minister takes such documents home. What is more, such documents are transported in a locked briefcase. The department ensures that the documents are returned to the safe daily.

Is that the procedure the Department of Foreign Affairs follows for all departmental documents?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 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 believe the leader of the Bloc Québécois is somewhat confused about the difference between departmental documents and cabinet documents.