House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Political Financing
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, he is talking about personal slurs. He apparently has not been watching television over the past couple of weeks.

I have no doubt that the administrative interpretations of Vincent Lacroix and Earl Jones were as interesting as those of the Conservatives. The problem is that the judges of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Chief Electoral Officer and the Director of Public Prosecutions are clearly stating that the Conservatives' actions were not legal. The Conservatives committed electoral fraud to the tune of $1 million.

What about that is “tough on crime”?

Political Financing
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's overheated rhetoric notwithstanding, what we are really talking about here is that Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising.

It is true that Conservative headquarters did transfer funds to local campaigns. The reason that Elections Canada knows that is precisely because we told it in open disclosures.

This dispute is ongoing. We will continue to press our case in court.

Cinar
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, following media disclosures in October 2009, we asked the Prime Minister whether political interference had prevented the RCMP from laying criminal charges in the Cinar case. Of course, this question went unanswered. Today, we have learned that the Sûreté du Québec has finally pressed charges in the Cinar case.

Why has the government still not taken action in the Cinar case, which it has known about since it was elected?

Cinar
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure exactly what the hon. member's problem is.

This matter is before the court. I do not know why the hon. member is worried about this matter. It is before the court. The hon. member should let it be there. That is the way the process works in this country and I hope that he is not hearing this for the first time.

Cinar
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was the Bloc that raised this issue in 2000 and, in the six years that the Conservatives were in the opposition, they did not ask a single question about it. They should wake up instead of just spouting rhetoric.

Under the voluntary disclosures program, the Liberal government at the time settled the dispute with Cinar behind closed doors without co-operating with the RCMP.

Now that the Sûreté du Québec has confirmed Cinar's fraud, does the government realize that the agreement reached with Cinar under the voluntary disclosures program is unacceptable and that immediate action must be taken?

Cinar
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government realizes that this matter is before the court as we speak.

The hon. member would be the first one, if we started pronouncing on these matters, to say we are interfering with the judicial process in this country. There is a decision within this matter and the matter should take its course.

Tax Havens
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is mistaken. This matter is not before the courts. The matter that should be before the courts is not, because the Liberals, like the Conservatives, never wanted to take care of the Cinar affair.

The federal government's complacency when it comes to tax havens allowed these white collar criminals to illegally transfer $120 million to the Bahamas. By signing a tax convention with the Bahamas, a known tax haven, in 2010, the Conservatives did nothing to prevent fraud from being committed against small investors in the future.

While the rest of the world is taking action against tax havens, why are the Conservatives protecting them?

Tax Havens
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the government have taken decisive action to give CRA the tools and resources it needs to aggressively pursue those Canadians who avoid paying their taxes.

This includes important measures contained in budget 2010 to close tax loopholes, and the inclusion of proceeds of crime legislation in the Criminal Code. We expect CRA to focus on aggressive audit efforts to find money that is hiding in offshore accounts.

Tax Havens
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, even though an international warrant has been issued for his arrest, former dictator Ben Ali's brother-in-law continues doing business in Montreal, as though nothing happened. Every hour that passes allows him to transfer millions of dollars to tax havens. Although we support Bill C-61, it is not necessary in order for the government to take immediate action under the UN convention against corruption and under Canada's Criminal Code. It can immediately freeze the assets of the entire Ben Ali family.

Why are the Conservatives continuing to protect them and refusing to take immediate action?

Tax Havens
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary. I would like to thank the opposition, and particularly the Bloc Québécois, for its support for the legislation we introduced in the House this morning. The sooner this legislation receives royal assent, the sooner we can act.

Political Financing
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, no one is above the law. No one can defend their actions by claiming ignorance of the law. The in and out scheme is illegal, and that is clear to everyone. The Conservative party cheated. The Prime Minister is keeping the people who organized that cheating on his team. The Prime Minister is ultimately accountable for that cheating.

When will the government admit that it cheated?

Political Financing
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the reason we will continue to press our case in court is that Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising. The national party, indeed, did transfer funds to local campaigns, which, of course, is a legal practice. Elections Canada became aware precisely because we told it.

We will continue in this spirit of transparency. We will vigorously defend our actions, which have been in accordance with the rules, the laws, and the highest standards of ethics from the very beginning.

Political Financing
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, they transferred Conservative funds to break the rules on election spending limits. That is what happened.

The irony, of course, is that the Conservatives let this scandal happen in an election in which they were running against a Liberal scandal, the infamous sponsorship scandal. Imagine that, moving money in and out to go after the Liberal government that was playing fast and loose with money. No wonder Canadians think something is broken up here.

Yet this Prime Minister is still standing behind his actions. He says they have done nothing wrong. Why are these senators still in their caucus?

Political Financing
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the reason that we continue to pursue our case in a court of law is that the Conservative Party followed all the rules. It is true that Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising. It is also true that the national party transferred funds to local campaigns.

The reason Elections Canada knows all of that, the reason it is aware of all of these transactions, is precisely because we made it aware by volunteering the information in a transparent manner many years ago. We will continue to press our case.

Political Financing
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is already on the ropes. We have asked the government to keep its cheating senators out of its caucus and then today we find out that the minister of immigration is using government resources to solicit money for Conservative ads on parliamentary letterhead.

When are the Conservatives going to learn their lesson? When are they going to clean up their act? Why is the immigration minister using parliamentary resources to raise money for the Conservative Party?