House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the former foreign affairs minister will speak next week in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce. To be certain that he will not be questioned by the opposition, the hon. member for Beauce decided to wait until the House of Commons adjourned for the summer. How very brave of him.

Does the government not agree that the refusal of the hon. member for Beauce, following the example of the Prime Minister, to come and testify before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security shows a lack of ethics, transparency and respect for parliamentary institutions?

Ethics
Oral Questions

11:20 a.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, the member for Beauce, in this particular circumstance when he was found to have left documents in an unsecured place, tendered his resignation and took responsibility for that act. That resignation has been accepted.

That is the kind of ministerial accountability that I think Canadians want to see and want to expect from their representatives. That is the kind of responsibility that the member for Beauce took in this regard.

What is more, he recommended to the Prime Minister that the Department of Foreign Affairs conduct a full review of the matter. That is exactly what is happening.

Ethics
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is simply more empty rhetoric from the Government House leader. Furthermore, we are still waiting for answers in the Cadman affair, the Brodie affair, the Mulroney-Schreiber affair, the in and out scandal, and of course the affair concerning the former foreign affairs minister. In all those cases, there has been no end to the bad faith shown by the Conservatives and the Prime Minister, even to the point of obstructing parliamentary committees.

Does the government realize that it was elected under false pretences, promising transparency and ethics, but that those promises have been broken repeatedly?

Ethics
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, after listening to the Bloc member's question, it is now clear that the Bloc Québécois and the Liberals have decided to join forces. The new Bloc Québécois strategy seems to be to align itself with the Liberal Party and push for centralization.

Ethics
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to understand, hard to follow. Yesterday, the members of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics voted in favour of investigating the ethics of the Conservative Party's election financing practices during the 2006 election, their famous “in and out” scheme that caused the RCMP to raid their offices. The study will begin in the fall.

Even though they stormed out yesterday, and since this morning's point of order went nowhere, will the Conservatives accept the committee's decision and testify?

Ethics
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, in fact, it was the Conservatives who wanted a study of the election expenses of all the parties. It was the Bloc, the Liberals and the NDP who wanted to hide their own election financing practices. We already know that the Bloc leader is the father of in and out. The Conservatives followed all the rules during the election and that is why we are ready to defend our actions.

Ethics
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, only the Conservatives' expenses are being questioned, and only the Conservative Party offices were raided, not the other parties' offices.

When they were in opposition, the Conservatives supported the former information commissioner's bill that modernized and strengthened the Access to Information Act. Today, those same Conservatives are thrilled with a court ruling that makes documents from ministers' offices inaccessible.

If the Conservatives are serious about transparency, will they announce right now that they will amend the current act to make documents from ministers' offices and the Prime Minister's office accessible?

Ethics
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, that is a very interesting question, because the Bloc did not want to broaden the Access to Information Act when we discussed it in committee while studying the accountability act. Would my friend like to extend the application of the Access to Information Act to members' offices? I do not think so.

It was our government that brought in the accountability act, which opened up access to information more than ever before in this country's history.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, in four years the Liberals have come up with four different plans: in 2005, project green; in 2006, building a sustainable future; in 2007, balancing our carbon budget; and in 2008, the green shift. They have gone from “couldn't get the job done” to cannot get the job done.

This Parliament has adopted legislation to put in a firm ceiling on greenhouse gas production. When is the government going to get away from its intensity-based targets to a full carbon cap?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.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 is right. This House did endorse the government's policy on addressing the greenhouse gas challenges with our plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020. We did that when the whole House of Commons endorsed our throne speech laying out that plan.

It is a plan that is going to work and it is going to ensure that we see real reductions. It is a plan that is very different from the Liberal plan released yesterday, which talks an awful lot about how the Liberals are going to raise $15 billion in taxes but does not have one figure, not one ounce, of greenhouse gas reduction included.

That is why we have done something that delivers real results and takes real action.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is wrong on an important point. It was not the House that endorsed the Speech from the Throne, it was the weak Liberals who endorsed it and allowed our environment to continue to be devastated.

If the government wants to reflect on our obligations to future generations, it can at least listen to Alain Lemaire, president of Cascades, who yesterday yet again decried the intensity targets, which are as bad as the Liberals' plan, because in both cases, there is an unlimited increase in greenhouse gases. What is the government going to do to respect the rights of future generations?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.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, our plan is quite clear. It would result in an absolute reduction in greenhouse gases of 20% by the year 2020.

However, I will agree with the hon. member on one point. It is true that it was the Liberals who allowed that throne speech to pass, thereby endorsing our environmental plan. That is why they have not put forward a contrary environmental plan.

All the Liberals put forward yesterday is a tax plan. It has one objective, which is to find a way around all those tax cuts that we brought in, such as reductions in the GST, because the Liberals need a lot of tax revenue to pay for the billions of dollars in promises they have already made. That is why they have such an ambitious tax plan.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, before the Prime Minister makes ludicrous, angry statements on the environment, maybe he should listen to a pre-eminent Canadian environmentalist and a pre-eminent Canadian economist.

David Suzuki has said that to oppose a carbon tax is “just nonsense”. Chief economist Don Drummond said this morning that he carbon shift idea is sensible and average Canadians will be better off.

Is the Prime Minister seriously asking Canadians to believe that both David Suzuki and Don Drummond are crazy?

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, what is crazy is telling Canadians that the way we are going to solve the environment problem is with a plan that includes a raft of taxes that hits every single Canadian but proposes not one ounce of reduction in greenhouse gases.

That is crazy. That is not a green plan. That is not an environmental plan. That is a tax plan. And it might be the biggest tax plan Canadians have ever seen in their lives. That is why we are not fearmongering. Canadians are afraid of the fearmongering that is being spread by the Liberals with their tax plan.

The Environment
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, Aaron Freeman of Environmental Defence said, “--I can see this plan making a tangible difference to reduce greenhouse gases”. Dale Marshall of the Suzuki Foundation said, “This kind of a carbon tax is absolutely essential...”. Renowned economist Mark Jaccard said, “I've never met one [economist] who disagrees [with a carbon tax]”.

Could it be that the only economist who opposes this plan is the one who sits in the Prime Minister's Office, insults the experts, underestimates Canadians and refuses to address the biggest environmental challenge of our time? How crazy is that?