House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugee.

Topics

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

October 28th, 2010 / 3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, during question period, my colleague from Winnipeg South Centre asked a question of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. I understand that the minister wants his place in the sun and wants to leave a legacy, but he said something completely wrong. He said that the Liberal government at the time did absolutely nothing for Manitoba, and he tried to take credit for the skilled worker program between the governments of Canada and Manitoba.

Not only did the Liberal government initiate that program, but yours truly signed it, Mr. Speaker.

I would like the minister to make amends, acknowledge that he made a mistake, and apologize.

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3:10 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I think that is a matter of debate. It is not a point of order.

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3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. The minister knows he has to speak from his seat in the House.

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3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Sorry, Mr. Speaker.

I think that is a matter of debate. It is not a point of order. That said, the member does not know what he is talking about. We were not talking about the skilled immigrant worker program; we were talking about the provincial nominee program. This government has increased the size of the program tenfold. Manitoba in particular is grateful for the great strides that have been made in immigration as a result of the leadership of this government, and particularly the leadership of my predecessor, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

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3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is what I was talking about, provincial nominees. We started with 10,000, and that was done by a Liberal government. So we will do our homework together.

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3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to express my disappointment to you. When the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons was appointed by the Prime Minister, he told us he was mandated to restore a certain decorum to this House. For the past two days he has been doing exactly the opposite. He is the troublemaker causing all this disorder. I think he is being totally irresponsible. He is causing trouble by making misrepresentations about associations that do not exist.

For the past two days, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has been suggesting that the hon. member for Sherbrooke attended a meeting of the RRQ, the Réseau de Résistance du Québécois, which is absolutely not true. Today—this is extremely offensive—he tried to make a connection between a statement about the FLQ by this network, to which the hon. member for Sherbrooke does not belong, and that we agreed and that we condone what the FLQ did during the October crisis, which is false. I have taken the opportunity, in this House, to make a statement to reiterate the importance of the letter signed by René Lévesque in the Journal de Montréal, expressing the sadness felt by all Quebeckers.

I find this outrageous, especially since the only video he made reference to was filmed during a march to honour the memory of the Patriotes of 1837-38. That is a statutory holiday in Quebec. A motion was moved in this House to recognize the importance of this event in the history of Canada and Quebec. Activities are organized in a number of Quebec's cities to celebrate this holiday. I am calling on the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to apologize and I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that this does not happen again.

I can understand that yesterday perhaps the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons slipped back into his former role as minister of transport, but now that he has greater responsibilities, he should understand, once he is reined in, that what he is suggesting is not true, that the association between the hon. member for Sherbrooke and the Réseau de Résistance du Québécois is false. He should behave himself.

I am calling on the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to apologize and I am asking you, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that this does not happen again.

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3:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me say at the outset that I have great respect for the hon. member for Joliette and his impressive work on behalf of his party. I would like to go over the issue as he has raised it because I think it is an important one.

I will say at the outset that the Bloc Québécois repeatedly, over the past two and a half weeks, has tried to imply a criminal association, with organized crime, with criminal activity, with the Mafia, with the Hell's Angels, to a number of members of the public, including one member of the House, a minister of the government. If the hon. member wants to talk about associations and connections, I think it is only fair that, as we say in English, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

I will state what I said. I quoted a newspaper article, and I have it here. I raised questions yesterday and quoted a newspaper article by the well-respected journalist Denis Lessard, which appeared in La Presse on October 19. He spoke of how the hon. member for Sherbrooke, whom I believe to be an honourable person, attended an event that was organized by members of the FLQ.

I did not say organized by the FLQ or on behalf of the FLQ. As a matter of fact, there are a number of members of the RRQ, which is really the neo-FLQ. The RRQ's constitution, its manifesto, states that it aims to rehabilitate the combatants of the Front de libération du Québec.

I would be pleased to table this in the House. The hon. member opposite is advertised as a speaker at an event put on by the RRQ. I am happy to table that in the House. He has participated in events organized by the RRQ in the past. I am pleased to table a photo and a link to YouTube where he is addressing.

In fairness to the hon. member for Joliette, it is, as he said, la marche des patriotes le 24 mai, which is organized by the RRQ, I am told. I am very happy to table these two documents in the House.

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3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have before me the comments made by Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. I would first like to point out that the march to commemorate the 1837-1838 Patriot uprising takes place on National Patriots Day, a statutory holiday in Quebec. I do not see anything subversive in that. Our member for Sherbrooke attended the march, which is completely legitimate. That has nothing to do with the statements made by the Leader of the Government yesterday and today. The office of the member for Sherbrooke tried to correct the error in Denis Lessard's article.

I would remind the members that the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons asked the following question: “Mr. Speaker, the question is clear: did the Bloc leader approve of one of his Bloc members attending a cocktail party organized by the FLQ? Yes or no?” That has nothing to do with what we are discussing. That is completely false. I would like him to apologize to the hon. member for Sherbrooke and the leader of the Bloc Québécois.

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3:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am fully pleased to correct the record that it was not on October 2 that the hon. member for Sherbrooke attended an event organized by the RRQ. It was in fact on May 24.

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3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, May 24 is National Patriots Day, which is celebrated everywhere. There are even people here in Ottawa who celebrate it. Frankly, it is completely ridiculous and, I believe, a false association.

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3:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I say with great respect to the hon. member for Joliette, and I do have regard for him as a parliamentarian, that he talks about association. I am talking about an association.

I seek to remind the Bloc members that they have talked about associations, that somehow someone had dinner or had a drink at a restaurant owned by so-and-so, who once met so-and-so or sat beside so-and-so on a bus once. He has said that about association.

I would like to say very clearly that I make no suggestion that the marche des patriotes is somehow subversive or anything of the kind. What I did say are the facts. I am told that march was organized by the RRQ. This is a quote. The RRQ's aim is “to rehabilitate the combatants of the Front de libération du Québec”. I think that is regrettable.

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3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is just sad and pathetic. Perhaps the minister is feeling cornered and is trying to create a distraction because he feels trapped by the detailed and provable questions asked by the member for Terrebonne—Blainville and the Bloc Québécois leader.

I responded to his question clearly yesterday, No, I did not go to the meeting he referred to. I was not there. And I found out that Denis Lessard was not there either.

How can he say that I was there when I was not? I could swear on the Bible.

The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is being intellectually dishonest. He is doing the work of the RCMP, which hunts for terrorists in a patriots' march.

It is unacceptable to say such things in the House, things which are not proven and that he is unable to prove. Earlier, I watched a video that someone filmed of the May 24 Marche des Patriotes on YouTube. No subversive speeches were made.

The leader needs to apologize and check his sources. This shows a total lack of responsibility, professionalism and even honesty on his part.

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3:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I chose my words very carefully. I have stood in the House and corrected the date, October 2, with the date of May 24.

The member opposite says it is pathetic. He says the government obviously must be very uncomfortable. I suggest, in all fairness to the member for Sherbrooke, who I know to be an hon. person, that if he does not like some unfair associations, perhaps they should look at the strategy and the really regrettable and deplorable attacks made against the Minister of Natural Resources.

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3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that fingers should be pointed at me just because I am asking questions. I would ask you to call the member to order. I will not stand for this.

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3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I did not see or hear anything. The problem here is that there is obviously a disagreement over the response given by the minister to a question asked during question period.

As all of the hon. members know, the Speaker has no authority over the content of answers given by a minister or parliamentary secretary in response to a question asked during question period.

I note that there is a motion currently under study before the committee on procedure and House affairs dealing with question period. If members wish to have a discussion in the committee about the content of questions or answers and giving the Speaker some authority in respect of either, they can have that discussion in the committee and come back with recommendations to the House.

The disagreement in the House today centres on facts, which are not within the jurisdiction of the speaker. They arose out of question period, where it was suggested the answer was inappropriate, but over which the Speaker has no authority.

Accordingly, I think the matter is not one I am able to deal with as a procedural matter in this House at this time. I suggest we leave the issue.

The hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans wants to raise a point of order about this.