House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was interest.

Topics

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the groups responsible for organizing events and festivals in Quebec have been waiting for answers about funding from Canadian Heritage for months now. Just like last year, the summer season may end before they receive any assistance.

Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages understand that her inaction could have disastrous economic and cultural repercussions throughout Quebec?

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent
Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to talk about the immense popularity of the new program announced by the government to provide festivals with $30 million over two years. We received a record number of applications. The department's employees are working very hard to get the funding to the festivals that applied. This will be done in the coming days.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has denied visas to participants in conventions planned as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations in Quebec City, under false pretexts of security. The Conservatives, quite ridiculously, have denied visas to priests and laypersons for the Eucharistic Congress, even though Immigration Canada has had the list of participants for over two years.

Does the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration realize that she is threatening the convention industry in Quebec City, in the midst of the 400th anniversary celebrations, and that she is projecting a very negative image that could deprive all of Quebec, and Quebec City in particular, of major economic spinoffs?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, of course we want to ensure that the congresses are successful. I have asked my officials to work with organizers to make sure that all the applications are processed fairly and as quickly as possible.

If the hon. member has more specific details about particular cases, I invite him to meet with me after question period so that I may help him.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

June 5th, 2008 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, if a minister spends a weekend with his wife and children at his in-laws and he has an important meeting the following Monday, it is understandable that he would take with him the documents required to prepare for the meeting.

While studying the file, if he has the bad luck to be distracted and unfortunately does not notice that one of the classified documents has fallen to the ground, and he then leaves on Sunday without the document, will he have to resign for having left a classified document in an unsecured location?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 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, I feel like I am back in law school answering lengthy hypothetical questions, but with regard to the specific issue to which I think he is referring, the hon. member knows that the Department of Foreign Affairs is conducting a review of the matter and it will provide appropriate advice.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister is refusing to answer a clear and pertinent question. It is understandable that it would be unfair to punish a serious and conscientious minister for a small mistake that has no effect on security. However, the situation is quite different if a minister leaves a document with someone who has had close ties to members of organized crime.

Is that not the real reason why the member for Beauce was asked to resign? What the Prime Minister piously refers to as the private life of Ms. Couillard makes all the difference. Is that not the reason why this is a matter of public interest?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 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, that may be what was suggested by the member's hairstylist.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we read shocking reports from the foreign affairs department that it does not even know if it has all of the classified documents that the former minister had in his possession. We do not know if they have been recovered. Who knows what other information is floating around?

Yesterday, the Prime Minister told Canadians that he would answer substantive questions in the House about the security breach. How about this? Given that even now the Department of Foreign Affairs cannot account for all of the documents, on what basis did the Prime Minister, a week ago in Paris, assure Canadians that there were no security concerns?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister indicated that he had a very serious concern. That is why the then minister of foreign affairs tendered his resignation and that is why the Prime Minister accepted that resignation. Rules regarding confidential documents were not followed and those rules must be followed.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, weeks ago we asked questions about all of the documents that had ever been in the possession of the former minister of foreign affairs and we were told that they were indecent questions.

Today, foreign affairs admits that it has no idea if all the classified documents have been returned to the government. Canadians deserve serious answers from the Prime Minister about serious security concerns.

What proof does the government have that all of the classified documents have been recovered by the department?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, we take the matter seriously.

A minister resigned and foreign affairs is conducting a review to determine what the procedures were, whether they were adequate, and if there are any other lingering questions that need to be addressed. So yes, this matter is being taken quite seriously.

The government did act and it is something that we can say is in contrast with the way these things were often handled on the other side.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have not seen the terms of reference of this so-called review by the Department of Foreign Affairs. All we have is a background statement from an official saying, “They are not all traceable. Some of them are traceable”.

How could it be that the government is asking the very department, that is unable to account for the documents, to review the problem which is now before the House of Commons?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:40 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, when an incident like this occurs, we think it is important to have a review. It is very different than what the hon. member did when he was the NDP premier of Ontario, when his own director of communications, I believe, or principal communications adviser, tried to leak confidential documents to a journalist.

To the journalist's credit, he refused to accept those documents. That individual was actually allowed to come back to his office, take away boxes of documents before the police arrived with their investigation.

We are going to ensure that there is a full review in our case by foreign affairs and it will be able to assess this matter in the public interest.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, to get back to the subject matter in question, I wonder if the minister can account for the clear contradiction between the statements that are contained in today's Toronto Star from officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs, statements that are on the record, and the statements that are made by the Prime Minister.

Would he not agree that the only fair and public way to resolve this is to allow Parliament and a parliamentary committee to do its job and review the whole situation?