House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts.

Yesterday afternoon, members of Parliament from all four parties asked for some information. That information was in the possession of my department. What did we do? We did the open thing, the ethical thing, the transparent thing. We immediately released it all.

Let me underline the fact that at no time was this issue ever raised with me directly, and at the end of the day, no money was ever given to any of these proponents.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we still do not know why the Prime Minister threw the former status of women minister and wife of Rahim Jaffer out of the caucus. The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner stated that the Prime Minister's office simply suggested that she contact two people who might have compromising information about this matter. The commissioner decided not to investigate and we still do not know what the RCMP will do.

Whether or not charges are laid, the Prime Minister must reveal the allegations that made him throw the former status of women minister out of the caucus. What is he waiting for to do so?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said that I received information about the allegations from a third party. We acted responsibly. We forwarded the information to the authorities. It is up to the authorities to take action.

I am convinced that the RCMP will take the necessary action.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the RCMP decides not to lay charges, the former status of women minister will be able to return to the Conservative caucus. In short, a minister will have been thrown out of caucus and then taken back without a reason being given. This logic makes absolutely no sense and the Prime Minister is hiding behind this absurd logic.

When will he reveal the allegations? When will he explain his actions? We want to know.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is rather bizarre. The Bloc leader is basing his comments on hypothetical situations. These are serious allegations and they have been forwarded to the authorities, who will take the necessary action.

It is not our place to comment on the allegations of others. The authorities have the information and will investigate.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, unregistered Conservative lobbyist Rahim Jaffer tried to make us believe that he was not lobbying his Conservative buddies. His version of the facts is not credible, since last year alone, his business submitted projects totalling $850 million to the Conservative government. Furthermore, two businessmen claim that Rahim Jaffer introduced himself to them as a lobbyist who could give them access to substantial federal grants.

The Prime Minister has no choice; he must tell us which ministers agreed to meet with the unregistered lobbyist, Rahim Jaffer.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. A third party came forward with allegations to the Prime Minister. What did he do? He immediately referred them to the relevant authorities. He has referred them to the RCMP so that it can review the matter and take the appropriate action necessary.

What this demonstrates, in this instance, is that the Prime Minister did the right thing. And I should underline that none of the allegations that were made to the Prime Minister had anything to do with government business.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, Rahim Jaffer claims that he did not want to lobby in order to protect his wife. He is not credible because we know that the former status of women minister was doing some lobbying herself. The evidence shows that she wrote a letter to promote a business that asked for $100 million from the federal government with the help of the business partner of her husband, Rahim Jaffer.

When will the Prime Minister reveal the allegations that were forwarded to the RCMP?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear with the member opposite. Let me be very clear with the House. The member for Simcoe—Grey is no longer a member of the ministry.

We set up in this House, under the Prime Minister's leadership, with the Federal Accountability Act, an independent lobbyist commissioner. If any member has any information with respect to anyone, whether it be Mr. Jaffer or any Canadian, the member should refer it immediately to the lobbyist commissioner so that person can make an independent determination. That is a high ethical standard, and that was the right thing to do.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the summer theatre season is upon us and it would appear that the Prime Minister has decided to audition for the role of Lady Macbeth. He is going to have trouble washing his hands of this one, though.

Ten days ago in the House the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities said, “Mr. Jaffer never made any inquiries with respect to his business”.

I ask the Prime Minister, was that statement true?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, that does not hold water. He has been denying for the past two weeks that Mr. Jaffer was lobbying. Yesterday, he submitted documents that prove the exact opposite. He did not do that out of respect for the House but because he panicked about the truth coming out.

What else is he hiding?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear.

At no time did Mr. Jaffer ever speak to me about any commercial operation that he was involved with.

When allegations came forward to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister did the ethical thing. He did the right thing. He immediately referred them to the RCMP so that it could make a determination of whether to conduct an investigation.

None of the allegations that were brought forward to the Prime Minister, once again, had anything to do with government business, and not a single dollar was ever paid to these individuals.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, both cannot be true. The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities said there was no lobbying by Jaffer. The documents he placed in the House yesterday prove exactly the opposite and it went on for months and the minister knew.

The Minister of Transport knows too much, so he will not be cut loose. Who is going to take the fall this time for the government's sleaze?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I know that member. He is even then stretching that kind of language and he does not do himself or his party any service.

At no time did Mr. Jaffer ever speak with me about any commercial operations that he was involved with. At no time did my department give any--any--funds in any of the allegations that are before us.

Let me be very clear. Serious allegations were brought forward to the Prime Minister that had nothing to do with government business. The Prime Minister immediately did the right thing. He referred the whole matter to the RCMP. That demonstrates a high ethical standard, and that is why Canadians have re-elected this man as our Prime Minister.