House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is stubbornly refusing to commit to officially releasing the report on Rights & Democracy. That is probably why the Conservative chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development unilaterally cancelled the committee meeting scheduled for this afternoon, without giving any reason for his decision. The committee had decided to meet even though the House was to adjourn.

What is the government trying to hide?

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I was approached this morning by members of the foreign affairs committee and consulted on future meetings. I asked what was the motion that governed those meetings. I was told the following. This is the motion:

That, in the event of an adjournment of the House prior to the meeting scheduled at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 16, 2010, officials from Rights & Democracy be asked to appear from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. instead, subject to their availability.

I was told they were not available. I further advised the members that the House is adjourning at 3 p.m. today and all committees will cease operations.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

December 16th, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, in October, the Minister of Natural Resources avoided having to resign by passing the buck to Sébastien Togneri. We now know that his office had a system for obstructing access to information requests. There are two possibilities: either he was aware of it and he should resign immediately, or it was done behind his back and he is incompetent, and therefore he must be held responsible and resign immediately.

Did he know what was going on, yes or no?

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Access to Information Act is very clear. Every official and political assistant is required to comply with the law. That is the government's policy. The minister has handed over the file to an independent commissioner, who works for the House of Commons. She will study the facts and we are waiting for her report.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, not one, not two, but three of the minister's top staffers took part in this illegal information suppression scheme. The minister pretended he had no idea what was going on. That is possible if only one staffer were involved, but there were three, if not more. This has the smell of a cover-up.

How bad does it have to get for the Prime Minister to act? Just what is it going to take for the Prime Minister to fire that minister?

Access to Information
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister has been very clear. At no time was this assistant acting on instructions.

There is a policy. There is a law. The Access to Information Act is an important one. It was this government, as a matter of first priority, that sought to expand the access to information laws of this country.

We especially wanted to expand it to the Canadian Wheat Board. However, the Liberal Party fought the efforts to bring a little light where there was darkness every step of the way. Thank goodness Parliament did the right thing and expanded the access to information law.

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the hearings of the procedure and House affairs committee on the leak of the draft report, the chair has repeatedly ruled out of order all questions related to the business activities of Russell Ullyatt, the former staffer of the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, and there is a concern that Mr. Ullyatt was using House of Commons office space and resources to subsidize his private business interests.

Will the chair of the procedure and House affairs committee inform the House whether the upcoming agenda of the committee will allow for questions related to Mr. Ullyatt's business to be asked without interruption?

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is always special to get a question.

The procedure and House affairs committee has always worked in a very collegial manner and been able to study what has been given to it by the House. The Speaker has given us no option but to look at a breach of privilege, and that is exactly what we have been doing.

Certainly there have been a lot of fishing missions by some of the other members of the committee. What we need to look for is why there was a breach of privilege and how a secret document got out. That is what the committee has been looking at and it will continue to do so.

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, something is not adding up.

The Conservative chair of the committee is going to extraordinary lengths to shut down inquiries into whether or not Mr. Ullyatt was running a private business out of the office of the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar.

That member is now under the supervision and watchful eye of the government House leader who escorted her to the committee meeting today.

There is a serious allegation of potential fraud being conducted out of the member's office. Will the government be calling in the RCMP to investigate?

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite would like us to call in the RCMP whenever we have things we are concerned about, we are always prepared to look at that, let me assure the member of that.

If the member opposite has any information that might assist the Liberal chair of the Board of Internal Economy, I would encourage her to provide it.

As for the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, this member has acted in a highly ethical fashion. She acted decisively. She does a fantastic job for her riding, for Saskatchewan and for Canada, and we are very proud to have her as a member of this team.

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Bloc suggested that the consensus in Quebec was to maintain the long gun registry. Nothing could be further from the truth. It may be the consensus in Plateau-Mont-Royal, in the Bloc leader's riding, but a few kilometres away from the Champlain Bridge, the consensus is hardly that we should be treating law-abiding hunters and farmers as criminals.

Can the Minister of Natural Resources tell us what the government has done to defend Quebeckers in the regions?

Firearms Registry
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, during this last parliamentary session, we have seen that the Bloc has disregarded the values and interests of Quebeckers in the regions. The Bloc voted against jobs in our regions. The Bloc voted against farmers and hunters in our regions. The Bloc voted against victims of crime in our regions and voted against consumers in our regions. When the time comes to defend Plateau-Mont-Royal, the Bloc is there, but there is more than that. That is why the Conservative Party, under the leadership of this Prime Minister, is the only option to defend Quebeckers in the regions.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, according to the International Red Cross in Afghanistan, despite the American troop surge, the war is spreading and there is no end in sight. Civilian casualties are once again on the rise and increasing numbers of Afghans are fleeing the violence. United States intelligence reports an inability to defeat the Taliban as long as it enjoys sanctuary in Pakistan. This is not the time to commit our troops to three more years.

When will the government, along with its Liberal allies, come up with a real plan to work toward peace and nation-building in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, after Canada ends its combat role in July of 2011, as has been widely publicized, we have announced we will continue to provide trainers in the future in the Kabul area.

Clearly even the member opposite would have to acknowledge that security is the vital element for all the development, all the progress we are seeing in Afghanistan in a very difficult situation.

However, we certainly send our best wishes and our hearts and thoughts are with the members of the Canadian Forces and all the civilians who are working to achieve these goals in 2011.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the mayor of Kandahar is accusing Canada of handing out contracts to companies that are corrupt, and he is right. The security company that we have hired to protect the Dahla Dam is linked to drug trafficking. Last February, the contractors turned their guns on Canadian security personnel.

The Conservatives talk tough against corruption, but, in fact, the government is paying the protection racket. Afghans are desperate to get rid of corruption. Why are the Conservatives allowing aid money to land in the pockets of corrupt officials? Why do they not crack down on that crime?