House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is false. We know that when Canadian Forces have substantiated evidence, they act. They follow up these allegations.

What we heard yesterday was just that. It was allegations. When pressed, when asked specifically to present evidence that could be followed, the witness admitted that he had no specific evidence to offer. They were allegations that he could not substantiate. That is what we are dealing with here.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the allegations made yesterday were very serious. They were made by a former translator for the Canadian Forces. They are allegations about the chain of command and about ministers as well.

He said that it was common knowledge that prisoners transferred to the Afghan authorities were tortured. Everybody knew, everybody knows that this is what was happening and is happening.

It cannot be cleared up by the government investigating itself. Therefore, when are we going to get the action that is required, a full inquiry? Our troops deserve better than what we are getting here today.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our troops certainly deserve better than drive-by smears, allegations, non-specific references to their performance.

I want to be clear. When the Canadian Forces have specific information or allegations, they act, they follow all international obligations, they certainly follow the Geneva convention. They are doing an exceptional job in difficult circumstances. This is a very challenging mission for those members and their families.

I just wish the hon. member would show a little more support for what they do.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, everybody in this chamber supports our troops. That member should understand that and realize it.

When the Prime Minister was in opposition, here is what he used to say, and he said this with a certain energy, “There is no more important job than cleaning up government and bringing accountability back to Ottawa”. Those were the days.

The Conservatives are refusing to have an inquiry on the issue of torture in Afghanistan. They are refusing to tell us why they have called the RCMP on one of their own. And requests for information of the government take an eternity to get filled, if ever.

When will we get the accountability the Conservatives used to boast about?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this government's first order of business when the House convened was to bring in the Federal Accountability Act. We banned money from politics. We brought in the largest expansion of access to information.

When we tried to put a little light on the Canadian Wheat Board, the NDP stood up to put a cloak of darkness. Where there was darkness, we brought light. We overruled the NDP, and we have a lot to be proud of when it comes to accountability.

Ethics
Oral Questions

April 15th, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are getting caught up in their contradictions. The former minister's lawyer said that she was not informed of the allegations, but the Prime Minister's Office is saying the opposite.

The Prime Minister claims to have referred the allegations to the Ethics Commissioner, but the commissioner says that she learned about them from the newspapers. It seems that the minister and her husband abused departmental resources: BlackBerry, limousine, chauffeur, parliamentary office.

What is holding the Prime Minister back? Why not formally refer the situation to the Ethics Commissioner?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, serious allegations were brought to his attention. What did he do? He did the responsible thing. He did the ethical thing. He immediately referred these allegations to the relevant authorities so that they, on behalf of Canadians, could independently look into these situations.

That is the honourable thing. That is the ethical thing. The Prime Minister did the right thing.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the red flags should have gone up last September when Mr. Jaffer was charged with cocaine possession. One does not buy cocaine at one's local pharmacy. One has to have an illegal source. Did the government learn nothing from the Julie Couillard affair?

Why did the Prime Minister not order an enhanced security check of his minister months ago, at the first suggestion that her husband was in contact with people with criminal connections?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the allegations made by the member opposite are quite preposterous.

Let me be very clear. Last Thursday evening, serious allegations were brought to the attention of the Prime Minister. He acted immediately. He brought the issue to the RCMP. He also notified the Ethics Commissioner.

He acted responsibly. He acted ethically. He acted expeditiously. The Prime Minister did the right thing.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, in 2008, when the former status of women minister represented foreign affairs, she went on a government-funded trip to Belize. On the trip, she met with those at the highest levels of power. However, according to media reports, it is alleged by the Prime Minister's own informant that the minister and Mr. Jaffer also had questionable private business interests in Belize.

Will the government assist a police investigation and proactively release all details of everyone the minister met during her trip to Belize?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if we want to talk about proactive, the minute this information was brought to the Prime Minister's attention, he acted ethically. He acted responsibly. He did the right thing. He referred the entire matter to the RCMP. It is the competent authority to conduct this investigation, and this government will co-operate fully in that investigation should it choose to undertake one.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister was not the only familiar face on that Belize trip. Mr. Jaffer also accompanied her and participated in official ministerial events.

Given that he was still an MP and Conservative caucus chair at the time, did the government pay for Mr. Jaffer's travel and does it have detailed records of who he met with while in Belize?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the authorities in these matters is the RCMP. The Prime Minister has forwarded all the information that he learned last Thursday evening on to the RCMP so it can conduct an independent investigation.

The Prime Minister's ethical conduct in this matter has been beyond reproach. He acted ethically, he acted immediately and he did the right thing.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's version of events in the Afghan detainee scandal is falling apart. An Afghan-Canadian interpreter has confirmed that when Canadian soldiers thought detainees were lying, they would turn them over to the Afghan security service for Afghan-style questioning, which meant torture. In short, we contracted out torture.

How could the government claim that the 2007 protocol was working well when the incidents reported by this interpreter took place more than a year after that protocol was put in place?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, again, nothing was confirmed. It was alleged.

Let us be clear. Each and every time in these instances, Canadian Forces leadership can only transfer prisoners if they are satisfied on the ground that there is no real risk that a transferred prisoner would be subjected to torture or mistreatment. That is the standard they meet.

I just wish the hon. member would raise his standards a little in his questioning.