House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nuclear.

Topics

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, still more secrets and cover-ups. This Prime Minister wants to censor communications between independent entities and the public. It is eliminating the Military Police Complaints Commission. It is handcuffing parliamentary committees and hiding scientific reports. Now it wants to prevent the public from finding out about access to information requests filed with the government.

Why is the Prime Minister acting this way? Is he obsessed with secrecy, afraid of transparency or both?

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is our party that increased access to information contrary to what the Liberal Party of Canada wanted to do.

I must say that this is a perfect example of the difference in philosophy.

When it came to crime, instead of fighting crime, the Liberals created a centralized gun registry, whose costs were running out of control, rather than creating a centralized access to information registry, whose costs also were running out of control.

This government instead just opened up access to information.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, no government that I can think of has done more to centralize and control information than the present one.

The present government blacks out its own human rights reports. It muzzles scientific experts. It withholds information on detainee transfers in Afghanistan and it tries to control independent officers of Parliament. Now it has shut a database used by Canadians to seek information about their government.

This is a consistent story of suppression and secrecy. Will the Prime Minister reverse--

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. President of the Treasury Board.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the House how the Liberal scam worked in respect of CAIRS.

If anyone made a request that was considered sensitive, the request was shipped to the appropriate Liberal minister. At that point, the Liberal minister would manage, control or delay the request. That was the purpose of the system.

The Liberals had a pretty convenient system but it is not one this government will continue with.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have been in office for two and a half hours--years. I wish--

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore has the floor and everyone wants to hear the question.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, either way, it feels like a lifetime.

Not only is the government refusing to give Canadians access to information but furthermore it is not consulting the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada.

Why did it refuse to consult the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada before deciding to eliminate the database?

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the member does not need to take my word for it but he should take Mitchell Sharp's word for it.

When the former minister, David Collenette, resigned in October after an access to information turned up a letter he had written that breached cabinet ethic guidelines, Mr. Sharp said:

With the CAIR system, any request involving a minister's conduct is shipped to the PM's desk.... [So Mr.] Chretien was able to consult...decide upon Collenette's fate and choose the successor--all before the request was filled and the media feeding frenzy began.

The Liberal system was all about controlling information.

International Aid
Oral Questions

May 6th, 2008 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the current death toll from the cyclone in Burma is now over 20,000 and 41,000 people are missing. A number of countries, including Canada, have offered their help. The Burmese military junta has said it is prepared to allow emergency aid to enter, but under certain conditions, including obtaining a visa. We suspect that this very junta has done nothing to prevent such a humanitarian disaster.

Under the circumstances, how does the Prime Minister intend to ensure that aid will get to the local population affected by the cyclone?

International Aid
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, the Government of Canada and the people of Canada wish to send their condolences to the families and friends of those who have died in Burma.

The minister responsible for CIDA has already announced significant Canadian aid. We will work through international organizations to ensure that this aid is delivered to the families and people affected in Burma.

International Aid
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is referring to the Minister of International Cooperation who said yesterday that the United Nations had obtained permission from the military junta to allow humanitarian workers to enter the country. Nothing could be further from the truth, since a number of UN agencies are still waiting for the military junta to allow them to enter the country.

How will the Prime Minister ensure that Canadian humanitarian aid will not end up in the hands of the Burmese military junta?

International Aid
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we will work through international organizations. Obviously, we are concerned by the reaction and position of the Burmese government. We will work with our international allies to encourage the Burmese government and to pressure that government to allow aid to get to its people.

International Aid
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, faced with a humanitarian crisis in which more than 20,000 people have died and over 40,000 have disappeared, the junta has postponed the referendum by two weeks in the worst hit areas, but the rest of the country is to go to the polls on Saturday. The opposition is calling for the referendum to be postponed everywhere.

Instead of accepting the junta's empty promises, does the Prime Minister not think that the humanitarian and political situation is serious enough for him to recommend that the UN Security Council get involved?