House of Commons Hansard #63 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Prime Minister a very simple question about responsibility.

Is the Prime Minister at least prepared to accept some degree of responsibility on behalf of the Conservative government for the fact that there are untendered contracts, for the fact that the conference venue has changed and for the fact that the guest list is still changing? There must be some reason why the costs are so high in Canada, but not in Italy or Great Britain or even the United States, which is very concerned about security.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member's statements are totally false. For example, it is standard practice to invite developing countries, African countries. They have been invited to every G8 summit I have attended. I noted yesterday that the Liberal Party was opposed to inviting African countries to the G8 summit. That is a historic flip-flop.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will return the favour to the Prime Minister and say that those comments are also totally false.

However, the real question is why we have an extraordinary number of contracts being let without tender and without competition, single source contracts, and we need to recognize the degree of the problem.

Is the Prime Minister prepared to accept any degree of responsibility on his part and on the part of his government for all the changes that took place and all the shifting of ground that took place for the change of venue? Where is the responsibility--

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again the statements by the individual are completely false. I will take, for example, his statement about untendered contracts. All contracting processes have been followed. I suppose what the member for Toronto Centre is referring to is the fact that we do not tender contracts for police services. We use police officers for those services.

All of these costs were budgeted for and approved in the budgets approved by the House of Commons, including the Liberal Party, so I accept its share of responsibility.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the eyes of the world are on South Africa as it hosts the World Cup of soccer. It is hosting nearly 400,000 people, including world leaders, for a full month at a security cost that is $700 million cheaper than 72 hours of private fake lake summit meetings.

At 500% more than the last summit Canada hosted in 2002, everyone knows these costs are crazy. How can the Conservatives say that they do not have money for real priorities, priorities like prison farms or EI for cancer patients, when they have a billion dollars for this kind of waste?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, a large part of the costs will be associated with security. We have consulted the experts in that field. Our costs are in line with comparable events that have taken place elsewhere. In that case, of course, we are very proud of what we have done.

I will remind colleagues that the auditor will review the costs after the event.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives should not be so proud of running up more than a billion dollar tab for 72 hours of meetings. It does not happen because of one mistake. It takes countless acts of incompetence: shoving a summit into a cabinet minister's riding where it would not fit; doubling costs over two venues; putting half the summit in the security nightmare of downtown Toronto; and blowing millions on gazebos, fiddlers, a fake lake and a sunken boat.

However, a huge driver of costs is untendered, sole source, no competition contracts. More than 85% of the contracts the government has doled out were sole sourced.

Why? Who is getting these contracts and what connections do they have?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the planning process the G8 and G20 has been managed by professional public servants and they work to ensure that all contracts are tendered in an open, fair and transparent fashion.

Any contract entered into by the Government of Canada must adhere to the Government of Canada's contracting regulations. For example, over 90% of the value of contracts procured by my department for the G8 and G20 were done in an open, fair and competitive process.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to pressure from the international community, the opposition and environmental groups, the Prime Minister has finally listened to reason and has put climate change on the agenda for the G8 and G20 summits. We have known for a while that maternal health would be a very important subject discussed at these summits.

If the Prime Minister was able to change course with climate change, why does he not do the same with abortion and include it in the maternal health program that will be discussed at these summits?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated at the start, we will be discussing all topics at the G8 and G20 summits. Obviously, the G20 summit is the world's principal economic forum. From time to time, the leaders will discuss subjects like climate change as they relate to the economy, but we cannot override the UN process when it comes to very important discussions.

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that was not my question. He has decided to put climate change on the agenda.

My question is this: when the topic of maternal health comes up, why will abortion not be part of that discussion?

Will the Prime Minister take a firm stance on abortion and include this option in discussions on maternal health?

G8 and G20 Summits
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our priority is discussions on maternal and child health. I am very confident that all G8 members will agree on this priority. Countries are free to choose their priority within this broad issue. Our objective is to save the lives of mothers and children all around the world.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

June 15th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, non-governmental organizations that offer services promoting maternal health in other countries fear that their budgets will be slashed by the Conservative government if they continue to offer abortion-related services.

Will the government set aside its backwards ideology and commit to not slashing funding to NGOs that offer abortion-related services and information in developing countries?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as we have made clear, the ongoing practices of CIDA's ongoing programming will not change.

However, we are very proud that at our G8 we will be championing saving the lives of mothers and children and, in fact, as Melinda Gates said, “Canada is proposing a bold but achievable plan that can save countless lives”.

The international community is supporting us, as are our G8 colleagues, so we can save the lives of mothers and children.