House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fednor.

Topics

Canada-U.S. Border
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, elected officials south of the border are becoming increasingly concerned about what was once a source of pride for Canadians.

It used to be said that Canada and the United States shared the longest undefended border in the world. It seemed like the friendship and trust that characterized our border relations with the United States were permanent and unchangeable. However, today, our neighbours seem to sometimes confuse their northern and southern borders.

Rather than devoting their energy to correcting perceptions and setting the record straight, the Conservatives are grovelling in Washington. They are negotiating a secret perimeter security deal that will put Canadian sovereignty at risk in areas such as privacy, immigration, and commercial and environmental standards, just to name a few.

At the same time, these same Conservatives are preparing, in secret, to close border crossings that serve small border communities. These closures will mean lost commercial development opportunities and longer wait times at other border crossings, and they will certainly not help to improve border surveillance.

Canada first!

Opposition Coalition
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the coalition continues its scheming. On Saturday, at its general council meeting, the Bloc added a phrase to its election platform stating, “The Bloc Québécois reserves the possibility to enter a coalition of parties” in the event of another minority government.

While our Conservative government is focused on jobs and the economy at this time of global economic uncertainty, the separatist Bloc is plotting to create a coalition with the Liberals and the NDP.

In 2008 the NDP was willing to make the Bloc the driving force in the coalition. The NDP did this in spite of the Bloc leader calling Canada “ruinous”.

The Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition plan is back out in the open.

In 2008 Canadians were overwhelmingly opposed to a reckless Liberal-led coalition. They still are, and we agree with them. Canadians do not want to hand a veto to the party that wants to break up the country.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House the Prime Minister basically said, “I don't care whether my minister doctored documents. I don't care whether she misled the House. I don't care whether she told the truth. I just don't care”. This kind of disrespect for democracy just has to stop.

When will the Prime Minister start showing respect for the House, respect for the people who put us here and fire that minister?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of that question. The minister took a decision. The minister made clear that the decision was contrary to recommendations she received from unelected officials. In a democracy it is the elected officials who make decisions on how to spend taxpayer money.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question has to do with respect for democracy. What part does the Prime Minister not understand? I will say it again. The Prime Minister's disrespect regarding this issue illustrates his values, his disrespect for democracy, his disrespect for this House and his disrespect for Canadians.

When will he call for the minister's resignation?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the reality is that the minister took a decision that was contrary to the recommendations of her officials. In a democracy, the elected ministers are the ones who make decisions. That is what democracy means.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they say a fish rots from the head and the rot has stopped at the top. We have a Prime Minister who lets a minister deceive the House of Commons, falsify a document and instead of reprimanding or dismissing her, gets up in the House and actually applauds her.

This is bad for Canadian democracy. When will he stand up, take his responsibilities and fire that minister?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, so much for raising the tone of debate around here.

The fact is the minister took a decision. She has been clear about that. It has been clear in the House. It was clear before committee.

In terms of the use of taxpayer money, we want to ensure that foreign aid dollars are used for foreign aid. They are not entitlements to Canadian organizations. They are not decisions made by officials. They are decisions made by elected ministers, and the minister has made the correct decision.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. What is worse: a minister who leaves some cabinet documents at his flavour-of-the-month girlfriend's house, or a minister who doctors and falsifies ministerial documents and who knowingly misleads the House? The Prime Minister did not hesitate to destroy the political career of the member for Simcoe—Grey based on false allegations. Now we are talking about facts.

Why is that minister still in cabinet? Is it because he asked her to do it?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about facts. The minister in question has always been very clear that she alone had made the decision not to fund the grant to this organization. She said that all along. She said it 10 times in committee and she said it in the House of Commons.

The minister made a courageous decision, she made the correct decision and should be applauded.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, even worse, it was this same Prime Minister who wrote a guide that gives specific instructions to his ministers. They are obligated to stand up—yet that minister will not stand up—not only to set the record straight but also to speak the truth when answering parliamentarians' questions. Yet he continues to defend the minister. As if that were not enough, now it is no longer her fault; it was done by a mechanical arm. We are not puppets here. The great filmmaker Claude Lelouch said “Lying is an option that anyone can choose, but we always pay for it one day.” That day has arrived.

When will he fire the minister?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, that was certainly a very colourful question from my colleague opposite.

The minister has been very clear that she made the decision not to provide a grant to this particular organization. The minister has been very clear that she is the one who is trying to put foreign aid to help the vulnerable in the developing world. She has done an amazing job of doing that.

Perhaps in some of the Liberal days Canadian NGOs felt that they were entitled to grants every year.

The minister has done an outstanding job as the Minister of International Cooperation.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government likes to hide behind half-truths. With regard to funding for the humanitarian agency, KAIROS, the Prime Minister told us the decision was made by the Minister of International Cooperation. The problem is that the minister told us that her decision was based on the advice of her officials and that is not true. CIDA officials recommended the grant to KAIROS and the minister reversed the decision.

How can the Prime Minister continue to stand behind a minister who does not tell the truth?

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister indicated here in the House and in committee that she was the one who made the decision. It was the right decision.

International Co-operation
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is also telling us the opposite of the truth. For a year, this minister told us that officials recommended that she take this decision. That is what she said in committee, that is what she said here, and that is what she said to journalists. What is more, this minister falsified documents and the Prime Minister condones that.

Is it worthy of a Prime Minister to act that way?