House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was women.

Topics

Quebec National Holiday
Statements By Members

June 18th, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 24 Quebeckers will celebrate their national holiday with a “four centuries” theme: four centuries since the founding of Quebec City, birthplace of the Quebec nation, and four centuries of francophone presence in North America.

This historical thread will be enhanced by a variety of events throughout Quebec featuring the songs and poetry that define us. As the spokespeople for the national holiday, Chloé Sainte-Marie et Jacques Lacoursière, said, “Let's use this celebration to commemorate the great moments of our collective past. From that past emerged a nation with common values and its own identity and culture.”

Chantale Trottier, president of the Mouvement national des Québécoises et Québécois, invites us to raise our flag in honour of those who forged the distinctive French culture within North America.

Happy national holiday.

Conservative Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, as MPs return to their ridings this summer, Conservatives have a lot of questions to answer.

On the Couillard affair, why did the government say that it was not putting security at risk during an ongoing security breach? Why do Conservatives treat questions of national security as gossip?

On the Cadman affair, why did they try to take advantage of a dying man's love for his family by offering him a bribe in exchange for his vote?

On Mulroney-Schreiber, why did the Conservatives go out of their way to protect their political idol and favourite lobbyist, Brian Mulroney?

On the in and out scandal, why did they cheat taxpayers with their advertising money laundering scheme? How could Elections Canada, the government body that certified that Conservatives won the last election, be biased against them?

On Omar Khadr, why does Canada's government want its citizens to continue to be abused by the internationally discredited American military justice system?

The Conservatives attack anyone who asks questions in this House of Commons. Let them try that at home with their constituents this summer.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

A lot of questions will be asked this summer, Mr. Speaker, but they will be for the Liberal Party to answer. I will explain.

There is an old saying that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness, but if the Leader of the Opposition formed government and he imposed a carbon tax, our country would face a wall of darkness.

Canadians would be lighting candles, turning on light switches and cursing the Liberals. If the Liberals were to pass their permanent tax on everything, Canadians would be paying more every time they turned on the lights, and they would know exactly who to thank.

However, there is good news. The Liberals are not government.There is still one party that has always said no to higher taxes for Canadians. There is still one party that will not make seniors and Canadians on fixed incomes pay more for their heat and hydro. That is this party and this government, and that is what leadership is all about.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP testified that Julie Couillard was known to it and that it would alert the PCO if a minister was involved with someone with ties to organized crime.

The PCO testified that a background review was done for the member just this past April. The PCO also testified that the RCMP did not raise red flags about the ex-minister and Ms. Couillard. This just does not add up.

Is the government at all concerned about our national security or is it just happy to cover up the facts?

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately for the member for Vancouver South and the entire Liberal Party, the facts are actually clear, which is no security flags were raised in this particular matter.

We know the reason the former minister of foreign affairs offered me his resignation was because of his own actions. He left classified documents in an inappropriate and unsecured location. He offered to resign and I accepted his resignation.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP could not say whether it had alerted the PCO about security concerns because it could jeopardize current, past or future investigations. However, the PCO went right ahead and issued a press release stating that the RCMP had not raised any concerns. It said that it did this to clear up media speculation.

Does clearing up media speculation matter more to the government than actually looking after the national security of this country?

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party wanted to know if in fact any security flags were raised. The answer it got was no.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is an alarming answer. It is actually alarming that the government continues to ignore questions about national security. It is equally alarming that it did not even occur to the PCO, which takes its orders from the Prime Minister, that it should examine the possibility of organized crime infiltrating the government.

Will the government stop the cover-up, call a public inquiry to get to the bottom of these national security concerns and do so now?

National Security
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the only alarm are these alarming questions with ridiculous and unfounded speculation.

The fact is that when the former minister of foreign affairs brought this to my attention, I accepted his resignation and I have obviously required officials to conduct an independent and professional investigation into the facts surrounding this so we know what the facts are, and those facts will be made very clear in due course.

Government Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives can try to run away from their responsibilities, but they will not be able to hide forever. People need not worry—just because we are heading into the summer break does not mean that the Couillard affair will be forgotten. Far from it.

Despite attempts at infiltration and allegations of influence peddling, the Prime Minister and his cabinet, with the blessing of his Quebec lieutenant and in the presence of the former minister—if you please—appointed Julie Couillard's mother to chair the Saint-Jérome board of referees. That is what we call a “conflict of interest”.

It turns out that the Prime Minister was party to the member for Beauce's schemes. Why?

Government Appointments
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, Ms. Bellemare was appointed to the Board of Referees after having made an application. The eligibility criteria for the appointment of chairpersons reads:

(a) be available for two sessions a month;

(b) advise the Clerk of the Board in advance of any intended absence...;

(c) be able to communicate both orally and in writing in either of the official languages...;

(d) have lived or worked in the area serviced by the Board Centre for approximately one year, and be familiar with the labour market conditions prevalent in the area;

Ms. Bellemare went through the process and was ultimately recommended by Human Resources officials.

Government Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

That is pathetic, Mr. Speaker.

The government sees no evil to the possible infiltration by organized crime, biker gangs, access to secret documents and now a patronage appointment for the mother of the ex-minister's girlfriend.

What were the Prime Minister and his Quebec lieutenant thinking when they appointed Diane Bellemare as chairperson to the EI Board of Referees?

Mad Max has made mom Couillard very happy. Enough cover-up.

Government Appointments
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, as I said yesterday, in order to be appointed, one has to undergo rigorous security checks, which was the case with Madame Bellemare.

The member is happy to stand there, as he has for many months on many files, and throw across unfounded allegations. If he has any, there is a process under the Employment Insurance Act regulations, section 78, section 4, where he can draw to the attention of people any of the concerns he has. If he has concerns with Madame Bellemare, they could be dealt with under that section.

I do not believe he has done that.

National Security
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Mrs. Bloodworth, a security advisor in the Privy Council Office, gave some ridiculous testimony in committee. According to her, neither the RCMP nor CSIS advised the Privy Council of Julie Couillard's shady past. She even candidly admitted that the hon. member for Beauce went through a second series of security checks without any scrutiny of his ex-girlfriend. When Ms. Couillard's past made the headlines, the Privy Council did not feel the need to investigate further.

Is the Prime Minister not concerned to see how lax the Privy Council's security service is? Or is this is a massive cover-up?

National Security
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as Mrs. Bloodworth said, security checks are done for ministers and not for others because it is the ministers who are responsible. The Prime Minister does not investigate private citizens.