House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentences.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, my parliamentary secretary is the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca. I think everyone knows that. I think the member opposite knows that.

Let me be very clear. The ministers in our system of government are ultimately accountable at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. That is certainly the case with respect to infrastructure projects in my department.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister tried to protect himself by setting up his parliamentary secretary as the gatekeeper for a $1 billion fund. He did so in full knowledge that parliamentary secretaries are not bound by the same lobbying and post-employment rules as ministers and their staff.

Even with only a partial release of documents, we learned that the parliamentary secretary's office had extensive discussions with GPG and used an independent environmental consultant to review all green infrastructure fund proposals. Who is this consultant, who authorized their hiring and who paid for it?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of talk about the Lobbyists Registration Act. This government, as a matter of its first course of business, strengthened that act.

The government is receiving all kinds of advice. Some are suggesting we include all members of Parliament and senators in that act. Some people are even suggesting that we include the office of the Leader of the Opposition in that act.

Let me assure the House that we will be sure to keep all of those ideas in mind as we reflect on this.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the centre of the former Conservative caucus chair's unregistered lobbying for cash was the green fund and the Ministry of National Resources.

While the government has been finally forced to show its dealings with Mr. Jaffer and seven departments, we still have nothing but silence from the department and ministers most responsible.

Would the Minister of Natural Resources and his predecessor appear before committee as requested for two weeks to reveal their involvement in this affair, yes or no?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear for the member opposite.

Canadians can see the difference between this Conservative government and the unethical conduct of the previous Liberal government. When emails and the like came to the attention of this government, what did it do? It immediately forwarded them to the relevant independent authority.

When lobbyists contacted the previous Liberal government what did they get? Bags of cash.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, here are the facts.

The Prime Minister shields a minister that should have been fired for seven months. He hides serious, credible allegations that removed the minister from caucus. He said he referred the matter to the Ethics Commissioner. He did not. He claims Jaffer had no access. We now find that Jaffer had the run of seven departments, mingling with ministers whose offices helped push his schemes for government cash. This is what the Conservatives call doing the right thing, saying that we should be proud that Jaffer did not get his cash before scandal shut the whole thing down.

Will the ministers appear before committee, or do they have too much to hide?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are only having this type of detailed discussion on the floor of the House of Commons with respect to these types of contacts because this government did the honest, ethical and transparent thing and made all these documents public.

Let me tell the House something else we did. We also referred this matter to an independent authority. We have a lot of confidence that that authority will do its business and will ensure that the strong laws on lobbying that were adopted by this Parliament are fully implemented and that anyone who broke the law is held fully accountable.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

May 3rd, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the practice of constantly using “national security” as a pretext for keeping documents hidden from the public, particularly as we have seen in the case of torture of Afghan detainees, is being condemned by Canadian journalists.

Will the government admit that it has too often used the pretext of security to avoid accountability and avoid producing the documents demanded by the public?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, it is clear that there is plenty of information on the public record.

In fact, we heard last week from an important witness, arguably the most important witness from the Department of Foreign Affairs closest to the actual issue of detainees. He said on the issue of documents, “None of them contained specific information about facilities to which Canada was transferring detainees, and most importantly, in none of the messages did the embassy recommend substantive changes to the detainee policy”.

We act on the advice of individuals such as Mr. Gavin Buchan. Clearly, he had no such recommendation.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, a federal lawyer came before the Military Police Complaints Commission and stated that the Government of Canada is ultimately responsible for document retention concerning the torture of Afghan detainees. Barely 680 of the 4,000 pages of the requested document have been made public so far.

Instead of hiding behind false pretexts and putting the blame on civil servants, will the government recognize its responsibility to shed some light on this subject by producing all of the documents requested by the board of inquiry?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles
Québec

Conservative

Daniel Petit Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member who just asked the question as well as all other members that the government's lawyers are continuing to work with the Military Police Complaints Commission in order to provide all the necessary documents that are relevant to its mandate.

Oil Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, while 38 million litres of oil have already spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, and while several coastal species and the way of life of local residents are threatened because of the negligence of the oil giant BP, we have learned that here in Canada, oil companies are asking the National Energy Board for more lenient regulations regarding Arctic development.

Is it not time, rather, to impose stricter regulations on oil companies?

Oil Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. Our government, our country, has strict laws and regulations to protect the environment. What is happening in the United States is completely unacceptable. We will maintain strict laws to protect Canada's north. Our government has done a great deal in that region and will continue to do so.

Oil Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, although the National Energy Board is an arm's-length organization, nothing is stopping the government from imposing stricter regulations on oil and gas activities.

If the National Energy Board should exempt BP and Imperial Oil from drilling relief wells in the Arctic, would the government commit to taking every possible means to reverse such an irresponsible decision?

Oil Industry
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, drilling is not going to occur until and unless the National Energy Board is clear and satisfied that the drilling plans are safe and that they do protect the environment. The review is currently under way. We will put a safety regime in place that is going to protect Canadians and the Canadian environment. We will work with industry and Canadians across the country to do that.