House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ms. Couillard, in whose apartment the former Conservative minister forgot his briefs, had well-documented links to the Hells Angels.

Though he denies the report, Nazim Gillani has been linked to the Hells Angels by a newspaper as respected as the Toronto Star. His associate, Rahim Jaffer, was carrying on business from the office of another Conservative minister. The Prime Minister fired both from cabinet and even threw her out of caucus, but still will not say why.

Let us see. The case involves cocaine, possible links to organized crime, influence peddling and now it is six, seven ministers. Are we getting warmer?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I guess the deputy leader of the New Democratic Party would have us get rid of the judiciary and he could provide judicial judgments on the floor of the House of Commons.

Here is what the Prime Minister did. Serious allegations were brought to this attention. He immediately referred those to the relevant authorities so appropriate action could be taken.

I want to underline, once again, that Mr. Jaffer, in connection with his any of his meetings, received no government money. That is a big difference from the previous Liberal government.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have been told for a month that Rahim Jaffer did not have any privileged access to cabinet. And yet, one minister after another is coming forward.

A new series of documents clearly shows that the office of the former minister of public works pushed to have Mr. Jaffer's files given priority. I repeat: priority.

Staff were strongly encouraged to fast-track Mr. Jaffer's files.

I want the Minister of Natural Resources to tell us why.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are having a conversation on the floor of the House of Commons about documents. Why are we having that conversation? Because this government released all of the documents. This government has acted in a very transparent fashion and that is tremendously important.

Let us contrast our actions to those of the previous Liberal government. Mr. Jaffer got no money, no grants in connection with any of his meetings, so unlike the previous government, where literally millions of dollars went to Liberal insiders, and criminal investigations and criminal convictions have resulted. Shame on them.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, listen to this.

“Hello Sébastien, thanks again! I just spoke to [the minister] and we are going to try to get together for a beer next week”.

That is my translation of an email from Rahim Jaffer to Sébastien Togneri, who was the minister's director of parliamentary affairs at the time. The message was about funding for solar panels.

We now know what the meetings between Rahim Jaffer and his former buddies were about.

Do the Conservatives have the nerve to continue denying that Mr. Jaffer not only had privileged access, but received privileged treatment as well?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, one thing is very clear. As a result of any of these meetings or any of these actions undertaken by Mr. Jaffer, no government money was involved. That is in sharp contrast to the previous Liberal government when $40 million went missing.

For my friend in the Liberal Party, tomorrow is the day when Canadians have to pay up for their tax bills. Tomorrow should also be the day that the Liberal Party pays up for their $39 million of missing money.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's communications director assured Canadians that the government's doors were locked to Rahim Jaffer and then we learned of one Conservative minister, then a second Conservative minister, a seventh Conservative minister who granted privileged access to Mr. Jaffer.

Curiously silent is the former minister of natural resources, the now Minister of Labour. She was the minister actually responsible for the green funds. Do the Conservatives really expect us to believe that neither she nor her parliamentary secretary had any dealings with Mr. Jaffer or Mr. Glémaud?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in fact, I am the minister responsible for the green infrastructure fund and Mr. Jaffer got no money. Let me repeat that. Mr. Jaffer got no money from the green infrastructure fund.

I would tell my friend from Newfoundland that tomorrow is taxation day. Every Canadian has to pay up. It is time the Liberal Party paid up too.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Yes, Mr. Speaker, but he did get privileged access.

After weeks of the government's stonewalling and denying the privileged access bestowed upon Mr. Jaffer, late last night more details were released showing that the former minister of public work's staff placed one of Mr. Jaffer's projects on the fast track. When the file apparently stalled a month later, the minister's office staff even asked public servants to accelerate their review of the project.

Why did it take so long to make this information public? What are the Conservatives trying to hide?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is this government that made all of this information public. It is this government that has been transparent. The fact that we are debating the documents in question is because the government made it public.

If the member from Newfoundland and Labrador wants to suggest that that privileged access got him the fast track, the fact is that the fast track was really going in the ditch because he did not get any money.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' decision to cut off funding for organizations that give women in developing countries access to abortion is indicative of what they dare not do here in Canada. Because they are a minority government, they are using private members' bills to reopen the abortion debate.

Why will the government not just say that, when it comes to abortion, its backward Conservative ideology supersedes women's rights?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent
Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. The government has absolutely no intention of reopening the abortion debate.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government promised to do more for maternal and child health, but it froze the international aid envelope. Many NGOs, including Oxfam, are worried that the government will eliminate other equally important projects in order to fund these new initiatives.

Does the government realize that, unless they increase the overall envelope for international aid, it is the poorest people on the planet who will pay for this freeze?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Kootenay—Columbia
B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, if the member were to read the budget, she would realize that our aid envelope is larger than it has ever been in the history of Canada. It is now $5 billion, thanks to the foresight of this government.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the États généraux du bois, a forest industry conference, took place in Quebec City on Wednesday. Robert Beauregard, dean of the faculty of forestry, geography and geomatics at Université Laval and president of Coalition BOIS Québec, again called for loan guarantees for the forestry industry. Speaking in the morning, Claude Perron, chair of the board of directors of the Quebec Forest Industry Council, did the same.

When will the minister put in place loan guarantees, as Quebec's forestry industry is calling for?