House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Committees of the House
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is official. The Conservative government has stopped pretending that it is open and transparent, and the Prime Minister's Office is bent more than ever on silencing anyone who dares to oppose it.

They have muzzled the backbenchers in the House.

The government would now like to hold committee meetings in camera.

I would like to remind members that, in 1995, this Prime Minister spoke out against in camera sessions when he stated, “In my opinion it is in the best interests of the public for the information to be readily available. It will affect who is elected. That will affect the quality of government.”

He was right. It does affect the quality of government.

Illicit lobbying, a $50 million slush fund, the use of military resources as a personal taxi—Canadians have seen it all, but the ministers remain unscathed.

In 1995, this Prime Minister came to Ottawa to change things, but Ottawa has changed him.

Syria
Statements By Members

December 15th, 2011 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. Since October, we have been encouraging Canadians to leave Syria while commercial means are still available. However, with additional sanctions imposed by the Arab League, reducing flights out of Damascus taking effect today, there may soon be fewer options to leave safety.

For this reason, today our government announced a voluntary evacuation for all Canadians from Syria. Over the next month, we will provide specialized consular assistance and an open express lane across government departments to help Canadians obtain the documentation they need to leave.

This is a difficult time for the people of Syria, as they face incredible hardship in their struggle for a brighter future. We urge Canadian citizens, their spouses and dependent children to apply for travel documents and ask that people with loved ones in Syria help us spread the message to loved ones back home. The time to leave Syria is now.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy new year.

The Conservative Government
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives will have a lot of explaining to do over the holidays. They will have to explain why they are forcing committees to sit in camera, why they spent $50 million without Parliament's approval and why their Minister of National Defence is taking trips in search and rescue helicopters and staying in luxury hotels in Europe. Can the Prime Minister tell us whether he is going to make good resolutions and change this behaviour in 2012 or whether he feels that the Conservatives are above these laws?

The Conservative Government
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, at this time of year in particular, we appreciate how lucky we are to be Canadian. One reason is that our government and our country have a very good track record in terms of job creation and growth, as compared to the other large, developed countries. These are our government's goals and we intend to continue to focus on the economy, growth and job creation.

The Conservative Government
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in fact, at this time of year, the government also has the responsibility to answer questions, and its track record is not very good in that regard.

The Conservative Government
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. We are experiencing technical difficulties with the simultaneous interpretation.

Is it working now?

The Conservative Government
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yes.

The Conservative Government
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Conservative Government
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was saying that this time of year is also the time to look back and reflect, that it is important for the government to answer questions, and that the government's track record is not very good in that regard.

The Prime Minister's Minister of National Defence charged taxpayers $3,000 for just two nights in a hotel. His MPs hide their dirty tricks by forcing committees to meet in secret. His choice to run Treasury Board misdirected $50 million into a slush fund.

Again, will the Prime Minister make a New Year's resolution to clean up his act in 2012?

The Conservative Government
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the assertions in that question at all.

What I have said is that at this time of year, in particular, we understand we are very lucky to be Canadian when we look around the world. This government is focused on the economy, on jobs, on economic growth. That is one of the reasons our country has one of the best records on those issues that matter to Canadians.

Those things will continue to be the focus of this government. That is why we were elected in 2011. They will continue to be the focus of this government in 2012.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this government recently signed a border agreement that it had secretly negotiated with the United States. The Conservatives claim that this agreement will improve the flow of goods, but what they hid is that it will make travel more difficult. Eight border crossings across the country could disappear, and the opening hours of other crossings could be reduced. As usual, people in small communities will be forced to take long detours, and the local economies will certainly suffer. Could the Prime Minister explain the logic behind this decision?

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, no such decision has been made. On the contrary, in this border plan with the United States, this government plans on investing more in our borders to improve the flow of goods and people.

While I am on my feet, if I do not happen to have this chance again, let me use this occasion to wish you, Mr. Speaker, and, through you, members of Parliament on all sides, a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, and all the best for the holiday season.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, closing border crossings just makes matters worse. These crossings are the lifeblood of communities across the country. Why do the Conservatives not understand?

Details of the border deal negotiated behind closed doors are just leaking out now and it is not good news for border communities and their families. It turns out that part of the secret negotiations was looking at closing eight border crossings and reducing service at many more.

Why is the government shutting these crossings down? Why did it keep this secret for an entire year?

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar
Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, no decisions have been made regarding the draft report to which the member refers.

Our government is focused on ensuring that the shared border we have with the U.S. is secure, while also easing the flow of legitimate trade and travel. We are investing in our borders and we will continue to do so.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we all want smoother border crossings, but the government is not helping when it is shutting down crossings completely.

The Prime Minister had a year to come clean on his plan to close border crossings and he did not. He had a year to be honest with Canadians and he was not. Instead, he chose silence in Parliament and a fancy photo op at the White House.

We see yet again, every time the Conservatives negotiate with Americans, Canadian families lose. Why are they selling out border communities yet again?