House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

Lobbying
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives promised to require that ministers register their dealings with lobbyists. Once they came to power, they backed down. Only the lobbyists are required to register such contacts. It is impossible to know for sure which minister met with which lobbyist. If they had respected their election promise, Rahim Jaffer's kind of lobbying, secret lobbying, would be illegal.

Will this government, which preached transparency, amend the Lobbying Act to force ministers and their staff to disclose their dealings with lobbyists as they promised in 2006?

Lobbying
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, that is entirely untrue. When we came to power, we introduced the Federal Accountability Act in the House. It was passed and it toughens the consequences for lobbyists who do not respect the conditions that are set out in the act. Lobbyists must be registered and they must respect the act. They must also report their activities each month. This is set out in the act, thanks to this government's leadership.

Lobbying
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Lobbying Act is still full of holes. It still allows stealth lobbying and does not keep former Conservative members from lobbying the government. One huge hole in the act is the 20% rule, which means that lobbyists does not have to register unless their direct lobbying activities constitute more than 20% of their time.

Will the government amend the Lobbying Act to ensure that all lobbying activities are covered in the act?

Lobbying
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I said, all lobbyists must report their activities each month and this includes communication with public office holders. They must be registered. The current Conservative government also took steps to give the lobbying commissioner tools, rules and, most importantly, the independence needed to fulfill the role.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Canada Border Services Agency decided that British MP George Galloway was not going to be allowed into Canada, the immigration minister denied that he was involved at all, but it turns out that the whole thing started from his office. In fact, the minister's right-hand man sent instructions by email on March 16 declaring that Galloway was inadmissible and within two hours he was barred. It was clearly a political decision.

Why did the minister deny that his office had anything to do with barring the British member of Parliament from coming to Canada?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the question is entirely inaccurate. Decisions on inadmissibility under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are made by delegated officials at the Canada Border Services Agency, as was the case in this instance.

My understanding is that the CBSA made such a preliminary assessment of inadmissibility for the person in question perhaps because he admitted publicly to handing over tens of thousands of dollars to the leadership of a banned illegal terrorist organization called Hamas that uses money to buy explosives to attack innocent civilians.

Ethics
Oral Questions

April 26th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister was behind the decision to ban British MP George Galloway from Canada. No matter how much they work on their culture of secrecy or how much they deny, it will not change the facts. We want the truth and we will get it.

We see the Conservatives taking the same approach with the Jaffer case. The Prime Minister fired a minister, dropped her from the Conservative caucus and called the police. Why? What does he have to hide?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. Serious allegations were brought to the Prime Minister's attention. He did the honourable thing; he did the ethical thing and immediately forwarded the matter on to a competent authority, who will independently make this determination.

Let me tell the member opposite, none of the allegations that were brought to the Prime Minister's attention had anything to do with the government, and Mr. Jaffer received no government funding from the green infrastructure program.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, he did the expeditious thing.

Pardon us for not believing these stories, especially considering that lobbying has been taking place, even though officials and representatives of the government are denying it. There was lobbying involving the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, his parliamentary secretary and the Minister of the Environment, who finally got around to informing the House about it 10 months later.

Why do we not save ourselves a whole bunch of time and just ask all of those Conservative ministers who were lobbied by Mr. Jaffer and his friends to just stand up now so we can see what is really going on?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, order. The hon. Minister of Transport has the floor.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister acted expeditiously. He immediately referred serious allegations on to the relevant authorities so that they could make an independent determination. There were no funds with respect to the lobbying in question from my department.

Let me be very clear. All Canadians are required to follow the Lobbyists Registration Act. If someone is lobbying, he or she should register.

If the member opposite has any specific allegations he would like to make, he should take them to the independent commissioner of lobbying that this government established.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, in his election platform the Prime Minister promised, “A Conservative government will require ministers and senior government officials to record their contacts with lobbyists”. Guidelines by the commissioner of lobbying say public office holders should maintain a list of all meetings with lobbyists.

We know Mr. Jaffer was in contact with the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Industry, parliamentary secretaries and staff. Will the government table a comprehensive list of all contacts with Mr. Jaffer, or will it continue its culture of deceit?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is this government which made major reforms to the Lobbyists Registration Act and when we brought those reforms to Parliament, the Liberal Party tried to stop them dead in their tracks. Day after day, week after week, month after month the Liberal Party tried to slow down these important reforms.

Every Canadian is expected to follow the Lobbyists Registration Act. It applies to all Canadians. If the member opposite has any allegations, she should take them to the independent officer of Parliament that this government established.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

So the minister is not going to table a list, Mr. Speaker?

Investment Executive magazine reported that last September Mr. Jaffer organized a daylong meeting in Toronto between a group of banking executives and the Conservative financial services caucus, including the chair of the Commons finance committee. Transparency does not mean one tells only when one is caught. We know this meeting took place.

How many other such meetings did Mr. Jaffer organize for Conservative members of Parliament and what was promised or discussed?