House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ndp.

Topics

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the minister.

As the head of Canada's diplomatic corps, the minister has the highest security clearance, so can he explain why he thought that a relationship with a person with connections to organized crime would have no consequences? Can he explain why he thought that?

National Security
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, it was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who said, “The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation”. The deputy leader of the Liberal Party is clearly no Pierre Trudeau.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know the Minister of Foreign Affairs has access to some of the highest security clearances available to the cabinet members.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, would you ask the Minister of the Environment to settle down, please. This is an important matter.

To achieve the security clearance, the minister would have had to submit to a thorough background check. Did he list the woman he called his spouse, Julie Couillard, on his security clearance background check and were any concerns raised about his involvement with Ms. Couillard at that time? That is a simple question.

National Security
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, it is quite clear that these are politically motivated, personal attacks on someone's private life, which have no place in the House of Commons.

I notice it is not the foreign affairs critic asking questions of the foreign affairs minister. There is probably a reason for that. I think he may be the one guy over there who is a little too classy to do that.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government must acknowledge that this is a matter of public concern because it is a matter of national security. When his status and security clearance were upgraded, the Minister of Foreign Affairs should have informed his Prime Minister.

Was the Privy Council aware of this? Did it express concern or produce a report about the minister and the woman he called his spouse, who had connections to organized crime and biker gangs?

Also—and this is important—have foreign government services raised this issue with Canadian authorities?

National Security
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, there is a party leader who is normally in this House and who said just last year, “I would be very pleased to see less personal attacks, less low politics”. That was the leader of the Liberal Party. Clearly he is not leading his party today.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on August 14, 2007, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was seen entering Rideau Hall for his swearing in ceremony, with a woman on his arm. The image was so striking that a journalist from The Hill Times tried to find out the woman's identity and learned that the minister wanted to keep her name a secret.

Is this not proof that the Minister of Foreign Affairs knew about his partner's somewhat shady past at the time of his swearing in?

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, all the members of this House have a public life and all members are also entitled to their private lives. Everyone has the right to privacy and a private life, be they ministers, journalists or dentists.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only was the Minister of Foreign Affairs aware of his spouse's past at the time of his swearing in, but so was the Privy Council, the Prime Minister's department. In fact, the journalist from The Hill Times contacted Foreign Affairs, Industry Canada and the Privy Council to establish the identity of the woman who accompanied the minister, but no one was talking.

Is this not further proof that, at the time of the swearing in, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister's Office were aware of his spouse's somewhat shady past?

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is doing remarkable work in a very difficult job in our country. He deserves our encouragement and support. He definitely does not deserve this suspicion and these insinuations.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, it appears from this morning's newspapers that the former spouse of the Minister of Foreign Affairs has a shady past. She was so closely linked with organized crime that her life was allegedly threatened at one time.

Knowing that the underworld does not hesitate to put pressure on people and knowing his former spouse's shady past, should the Minister of Foreign Affairs not have disclosed this situation during his security screening as Minister of Foreign Affairs?

National Security
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, can the leader of the Bloc Québécois assure this House that he never took part in a teleconference with reporters or threatened them if they did not go along with his story today?

National Security
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Yes I can, Mr. Speaker. I never threatened any reporter. I am not a Conservative. I ask—