House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Questions

September 21st, 2011 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of spending $90,000 a day on learning how to cut public services, the government should put more resources into investigating how the Canada Revenue Agency bureaucrats were able to help a convicted fraudster escape paying taxes.

Money laundering, $12 million in cash spent in casinos, and CRA private documents found in his safe in a building belonging to a mobster; after these troubling allegations, can the government explain what is going on at the Canada Revenue Agency?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to clarify that many of these allegations date back more than a decade. They are not new allegations. CRA officials are working with the RCMP, and the investigation is ongoing.

We do appreciate that this is a very serious issue and we will not tolerate these types of activities as they are alleged.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government is so determined to make cuts, then perhaps it could cut off fraudsters instead of cutting services to honest citizens.

Canadians work hard for their money. We cannot blame them for being worried when they see how badly public funds are being managed. We have to shed light on what is happening at the Canada Revenue Agency.

Can the government assure us that it will get to the bottom of things and investigate these serious allegations?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member and the House that the RCMP is investigating this matter. It is a very serious matter. CRA officials are working with the RCMP, and we will get to the bottom of the issue.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, while senior bureaucrats in the Summit Management Office, Infrastructure Canada and Industry Canada categorically told the Auditor General they had no direct involvement in the G8 legacy fund, we know that is not true. Either they were misrepresenting the facts, or perhaps they were simply moved beyond the reach of the Auditor General.

Here are simple questions for the President of the Treasury Board. Did the bureaucrats who participated in the secret meetings in Muskoka not have an obligation to come clean with the Auditor General? Were any of these key players later promoted, for example, Mr. Sanjeev Chowdhury, for keeping to this code of silence?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is not correct. As I said yesterday, the facts have not changed. The Auditor General has made some observations with respect to the administration of this program and has given us some pointers.

We must not forget about the good news coming out of this. The good news is that every dollar is accounted for. All 32 projects came in on or under budget. And guess what? The project itself was under $5 million.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, diverting $50 million from border infrastructure to build outhouses in Muskoka is not a simple thing to pull off. The President of the Treasury Board has been sitting down for weeks refusing to explain how he pulled it off. Again, I would like to ask him a couple of simple questions so we can get to the bottom of this.

Is it not true that he went to local mayors and said that he personally would set up the meeting with the Prime Minister to make the money flow? Would the minister also confirm that he told mayors that for other pet projects that were outside the Muskoka slush fund, he would guarantee they got the money?

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, again, that is incorrect, but let me talk about the good news on this infrastructure funding.

This infrastructure funding was recommended by the municipalities. It enhanced the municipalities' infrastructure program. I will tell members what infrastructure programs the money was spent on: rehabilitation of the airport in North Bay, fixing up the provincial highway, and building a community centre that was used during the summer. What is wrong with that picture?

G20 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, at last year's G20 meeting, my city was shut down. It was shaken. It was vandalized. A year later the government will still not pick up the tab. Gazebos, yes, but Toronto business owners with smashed windows is another story.

If it is not pork-barrelling, why will the government not reimburse Toronto businesses? When will it fix the deeply flawed summit management protocol so that the next time small businesses will not get hung out to dry?

G20 Summit
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the losses and damages to Toronto businesses are regrettable. The claims process is an independent process that has been in place since the previous government in 2001 and has been used successfully at previous summits. Following this review, Toronto businesses were treated the same as those affected at summits at Quebec City and Kananaskis.

This government is committed to providing a fair share to Toronto businesses.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians cannot put up with this Conservative government's waste and mismanagement. It is wasting $90,000 a day to have consultants tell it where to cut government spending.

Why can the cabinet ministers not make these decisions themselves? What exactly are Canadians paying these ministers to do?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we do not share the view that the member opposite clearly has that governments are the font of all wisdom and all knowledge and that governments should just examine themselves and come to their own conclusions without getting advice that is available in the private sector in Canada, very good advice. Therefore, yes, we are seeking that advice. For every $1 of spending on experts, we expect $200 of savings.

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, under the Conservatives, spending on consultants is up by $3 billion per year.

I served on the cabinet expenditure review committee led by the member for Markham—Unionville. As ministers, we took our jobs seriously. We went through every spending item line by line and we made the decisions.

Why do the Conservatives outsource their thinking? Is it because the Prime Minister trusts consultants more than his own ministers? What exactly are Canadians paying those ministers to do if not to make decisions about the expenditures of government?

Government Spending
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as if the leader of the Liberal Party then and the NDP did not do enough damage to Ontario between 1990 and 1995, now we have the member from the third party here saying that the Liberals did a good job on deficit reduction through their work. Sure, they did. They reduced funding for hospitals. They reduced funding for teachers, for education. They reduced funding for nurses in the province of Ontario. This is shameful.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the world looks to Canada when it comes to the vital research that is done by the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre. Despite the minister's denial, the Conservative government is once again turning its back on scientific research.

Will the minister admit that the person who is in charge of this program is losing his job and his government is effectively terminating this program?