House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth
Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on another topic, the Auditor General has issued a damning report on the questionable use of the border infrastructure fund. The Prime Minister's defence does not hold up.

The Prime Minister is suggesting to Canadians that it is normal for a border improvement fund to be used for everything except improving borders. What planet is he living on?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we had to move expeditiously, as we did at the height of the economic downturn, to get infrastructure projects moving. These infrastructure projects had to move especially quickly.

At the end of the day, as Minister of Infrastructure, I signed off on the estimates. One of the things contained in there was a proposal recommended to me by the public service, a proposal that I accepted, to use that gateway fund to get the projects moving especially quickly to meet the tight timeframes.

The Auditor General has made some important recommendations on transparency and accountability to Parliament and this government completely agrees.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth
Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, maybe the government is not precisely sure what the money was spent on, but let us just remind folks here in the House that even under the disguise of the G8 legacy fund some of this just does not cut it.

There is $1.2 million for benches, bike racks and flagpoles 62 kilometres from the summit; $1.3 million on sidewalks 85 kilometres from the summit; and $2 million on a walkway, docking facilities, landscaping and lighting 131 kilometres away from the summit, nowhere near the border. How can the government justify these kinds of expenditures?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there were three objectives of the legacy fund. The second was to spruce up an already beautiful part of our country. There were literally 2,000 journalists from around the world in addition to thousands and thousands of delegates, some staying well in excess of 100 kilometres away from the summit site itself. These were all public infrastructure projects that came in on budget. Every single dollar was accounted for on these municipal public infrastructure projects.

Air India
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister is forgetting the fourth one: to re-elect the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka.

My question is for the Minister of Public Safety.

It has now been a year since the report of Judge Major on Air India. We are now coming up to June 23, which is always a moment of enormous sadness and memory for the families of the Air India bombing.

Why is it that the Government of Canada has made no decision yet with respect to ex gratia payments to these families who have been waiting for so long for justice, consideration and reconciliation?

Air India
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the bombing of Air India Flight 182 is a stark reminder that Canada is not immune from the threat of terrorism.

One of the first acts of our government was to commission an inquiry into the Air India bombing, something that had been left long neglected by the prior Liberal government. By commissioning the Major report to investigate the failings that led to the attack in 1985, our government listened to the families of victims when no other government would.

Air India
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, if one listens to what Judge Major has said recently about the conduct of the government since his report was published, it is very clear that the kind of pious sanctimony coming out of the mouth of the minister just does not match the situation we are facing.

I ask the minister, why no ex gratia payments and why no movement on the key recommendations of Judge Major with respect to the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service? Why have you not moved on these questions?

Air India
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I do not know why you have not moved on it, but what I can say is that we have delivered our response to that report with the Air India inquiry action plan. This action plan is a road map, a document that looks at where we were, where we are and where we need to go to help ensure that such a horrific attack does not occur again.

We thank the families of the victims who have worked and consulted on this action plan and we commit to their continued involvement and consultation through this ongoing process.

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

June 13th, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans now knows that what he wants to close in St. John's and Quebec City are rescue centres for people in marine distress, and not simply call centres. In Quebec City, the French language issue is also involved. Navigation in the St. Lawrence is very difficult. If a problem arises, precise, fast and efficient answers are needed in the appropriate language. There is no room for any misunderstanding.

Will the minister leave the rescue centres where they should be in order to save lives?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, the consolidation of the search and rescue dispatch centres into the joint rescue coordination centres will have no negative impact on the current levels of service provided by the Coast Guard. The maritime community across Canada will still receive services in both official languages by both the Coast Guard, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and Canadian Forces aircraft from their existing locations. Mariners in distress will continue to communicate with the Maritime and traffic communication centres and the same ships and aircraft will respond as they have always done.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, a legacy of deceit, pork and cynicism. It sounds like the old Liberal sponsorship scandal, but it is the editorial pages commenting on the behaviour of the new Treasury Board President.

The member has abused the public trust and he must come clean. Will he explain to the House how he managed to divert $50 million from border infrastructure payments and put it into a private slush fund? Can he explain why the Auditor General was unable to find any evidence of oversight or documentation to explain this outrageous spending spree?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where to begin with that question. Just about everything the member opposite said is not the case.

With respect to the G8 legacy fund, we supported 32 public infrastructure projects. Every single dollar is accounted for. To move expeditiously, the public service recommended using this fund so that we could use existing authorities to move quickly. I accepted that recommendation.

The Auditor General has suggested that we need greater transparency and greater accountability. There is no argument from me or from this government. We fully accept the great work that the Auditor General has done on this issue.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is not good enough that the member is hiding behind the verbosity as a member for Ottawa West—Nepean. If he cannot stand and explain this $50 million spending spree, then he has no business being at Treasury Board.

The government promised to do politics differently. Instead, we have the spectacle of three amigos divvying up pork barrel slush funds and he cannot stand in the House and produce any evidence or documentation that could have stopped this outrageous Muskoka gravy train.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I encourage the member opposite to read the report of the Auditor General. He speaks about a committee of three people making decisions with respect to public infrastructure. In fact, that is not the case. None of the decisions with respect to the 32 projects was approved by that committee or any of the three individuals who served on it.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, when the Conservatives promised to do things differently from the Liberals, the Conservative platform said that they would “oblige public officials to create the records necessary to document their actions and decisions”. That is precisely what the former industry minister seemed to be desperately lacking with regard to the G8 spending scandal.

What changed between the time when he called for sound management of public money and 2010, when a slush fund was created to please the minister's friends in his riding?