House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Gasoline Prices
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the citizens in my riding are exasperated by the rising price of gas. The people of Haut-Saint-Maurice have taken action to make the government aware of this.

Jacques Bouchard from La Tuque is circulating a petition. More than 1,900 names have been collected, and I salute this initiative.

People in the so-called remote regions do not all have access to public transit. They sometimes use more than 30% of their net income to buy gas to get to work. People who are planning their summer vacations are worried. The tourist season may be jeopardized in a number of regions, such as Haut-Saint-Maurice.

In order to support this civic action, I also launched a petition in my riding, calling on the government, among other things, to quickly adopt Bill C-454 introduced by the Bloc Québécois. I will be presenting this petition shortly.

The Economy
Statements By Members

June 16th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, since the budget, Canadian economic growth forecasts have been lowered by the Bank of Canada, the IMF and the OECD. In fact, the IMF is about to lower its forecast again, yet the finance minister refuses to even acknowledge the downward trend.

Why would a finance minister choose to remain deliberately ignorant of an economic downturn? Why will he not revise his growth forecasts?

The reason is simple. According to page 214 of the budget, if GDP growth slows to 1.2%, he will be running a deficit next year.

The shame of being the Conservative finance minister who ended a decade of Liberal balanced budgets is too much for him to bear. Instead, he will do everything in his power to hide these facts, just like he did in 2003 when he sat at the Ontario government's cabinet table as its members conspired to hide a massive $5.6 billion deficit from voters.

He will not revise his numbers and now Canadians know why.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week I tabled a motion at the finance committee which asked the committee to endorse the position of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, calling on the government to reject any notion of a carbon tax, which has been causing great nervousness among Canada's many entrepreneurs.

Sadly, the Liberal and Bloc members combined to endorse a new carbon tax hike on everything small businesses purchase by defeating my motion.

It should be noted that the member for Scarborough—Guildwood called the motion “stupid” and the member for Markham—Unionville remarked that he would not say that no Canadian would be unharmed by the Liberal leader's tax on everything.

Tax Freedom Day came early this year; 11 days earlier than under the previous Liberal government.

I can say with certainty to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, as well as their many members from across Canada, that this government and this finance minister will not be introducing a punitive, job killing carbon tax.

We know the Liberal leader simply will not provide the same assurance to Canadians. Shame on him.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, every day there are more questions about the extent to which Julie Couillard had infiltrated the Conservative government.

The government claims that foreign affairs is doing a review, but how can the foreign affairs department possibly have the capacity to look into Ms. Couillard's dealings with the Departments of Transport, Public Works and Public Safety?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the hon. member is carried away with speculation. We all understand, in this incident, that the former minister of foreign affairs improperly left documents in an unclassified area. Those documents were returned. The department will undertake a full and professional review of the matter.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government can no longer hide behind the usual explanations that it has given so far. Michael Fortier and security experts have clearly shown that it is no longer about private lives or something minor.

Can the government tell Canadians who at foreign affairs is doing the review, what is the mandate of the review, and what is the scope of the review?

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, the hon. member just said it could not be maintained that this was only about personal issues, but he is the one who said himself that the reason why the Liberals want to have a public inquiry is because they want to know, “Who else--”, and I will quote him talking about Ms. Couillard, “--does she have relationships with? I'd like to know”.

That is why he wants to have a public inquiry. We believe the foreign affairs inquiry can look into the one legitimate question here which is the question of the documents that were left in an unsecured place, and all the rules and practices surrounding those documents.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, here is why we want to have a public inquiry. There are at least four government departments plus the RCMP and CSIS that ought to be the subject of a public inquiry in this matter. Experts have publicly stated that foreign affairs does not have the capacity nor the expertise to conduct this kind of investigation.

This is a matter of national security and the integrity of government contracts. Canadians deserve to know and to have confidence that all these matters are being protected appropriately.

When will the government do the right thing and call a public inquiry?

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, foreign affairs has the ability to draw on whatever agencies or resources there are available in the government that, of course, do have the ability to get to the bottom of the questions that are of genuine public interest, not the kinds of questions that are of interest to the Liberal member for Vancouver South who set out on CBC's The National why he thinks a public inquiry is needed.

Speaking of Ms. Couillard, he said he wants to know, “Who else does she have relationships with? I'd like to know”. That may be very interesting to him. He may want to know that. We do not think it is a good enough reason to hold a public inquiry though.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, more and more questions are arising regarding the extent to which Julie Couillard infiltrated the Conservative government. The government claims that the Department of Foreign Affairs is conducting a review.

How can that department investigate the affairs of Julie Couillard within Transport Canada, Public Works and Government Services, and Public Safety, and within the RCMP and CSIS? How?

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 legitimate public policy concern that arose was one relating to the secure treatment of documents of a classified nature. That is an issue that actually led of course, as we know, to the resignation of the foreign affairs minister who took responsibility in a very proper way for his error in breaching the rules.

Foreign affairs is of course the most appropriate department to investigate that because we are talking about documents that were foreign affairs documents.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I noticed that he failed to mention the contracts with Public Works and Transport Canada, and the fact that the RCMP and CSIS should have been investigating. He left that out completely.

The government can no longer claim that this is a private matter. Security experts and even Conservative cabinet colleague Michael Fortier, the unelected minister, disagree.

Will the government finally tell Canadians who in the Department of Foreign Affairs is responsible for this investigation, and what are the investigation's mandate and mission?

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, we have indicated a great many times, and I know they like to continue to talk about the issue, but foreign affairs will be looking into the question of the secure treatment of documents, what the rules are that apply to them now, what the practices are that apply to those documents, and determine if there are any other--

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Oh, oh!

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

The hon. member asked a question. She does not appear to want to hear the answer. I will do my best to continue.

She would want to know I think that foreign affairs will be able to draw on the resources of what other agencies there are in government to make recommendations on any rules that may need to be changed and any practices that may need to be changed.