House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jobs.

Topics

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Not at all, Mr. Speaker. I am unaware of Elections Canada claiming that it does not have the authority or resources to investigate this matter as it should.

In fact, we have said repeatedly, from the very beginning of this particular matter, that we are sharing all information with Elections Canada, in particular to try to ascertain precisely who did what in Guelph.

I would encourage the Liberal Party to be as transparent with its information.

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can hardly believe the Prime Minister was not aware that the Chief Electoral Officer asked for additional powers. He did so in a submission to the committee. The Conservative Party refused to grant him those powers. The Conservatives called the people at Elections Canada “jackasses”. They said that they fought against limits on private spending in elections.

Does not this same ideological approach on the part of the Prime Minister explain his reaction to the Chief Electoral Officer's specific request of Parliament?

Elections Canada
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, the committee selected an option proposed by Elections Canada. Since the beginning of this matter, we have made all of our information available to Elections Canada so that it can find out what happened in Guelph. This is a very serious matter, and we want to know who was behind it.

At the same time, the Liberal Party, which made both allegations and problematic phone calls, must turn its information over to Elections Canada.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the same ideological rigidity that the government is taking with respect to the work of the Chief Electoral Officer that perhaps explains the extraordinary answers that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans gave yesterday to the real attack that is under way now on the inshore fishery in eastern Canada.

This is an issue that speaks directly to the well-being of literally thousands of people whose livelihoods have been maintained by having an effective regulation of their ability to own licences and to keep off the corporate forces.

Why are you abandoning the inshore fishery, the way of life and the communities—

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will once again remind hon. members to direct their comments through the Chair and not directly at ministers.

The hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, of course we are interested in the words of Canadians and the thoughts of Canadians with regard to the modernization of the fishery and we will proceed in that manner.

I would like to read something that came out this week. It states, “I congratulate the minister for holding that type of discussion. We must always be willing to evaluate our policies and see whether we are meeting the needs of today and tomorrow”.

Do members know who said that? It was said by the former minister of fisheries, Robert Thibault.

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Conservatives finally decided to drop their appeal to the Supreme Court in the famous in and out scandal.

They are guilty of spending $1.3 million over the maximum allowed under the Canada Elections Act, yet they still tried to hit up taxpayers for $800,000. The upshot? They now have to pay back $230,000.

The timing on this is very interesting. They were suspected of committing the in and out fraud with their friends from RMG, so now they are trying to sweep this embarrassing matter under the rug.

In light of their guilty plea, will they finally co-operate with Elections Canada to shed some light on what happened in Quebec last spring?

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this is a question of a long-standing administrative dispute with Elections Canada regarding the issue of whether certain expenses should be counted as local expenses or national expenses. The Conservative Party of Canada obeys the same rules as everyone else. We acted in accordance with the interpretation of the law at that time. In that regard, Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising.

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this was not an administrative dispute. The Conservatives have to pay $230,000 because they are guilty of breaking the Elections Act and of having filed false reports in order to get more money out of Canadian taxpayers' pockets.

The in and out system used in that election is strangely similar to what happened in the province of Quebec last spring with another in and out scheme.

Thousands of dollars in mysterious payments were made to RMG in several ridings in Quebec. What was that money for? Where did it come from? Where did it go? Why? The defeated Conservative candidates do not know. Neither do we. Will the Conservatives' Quebec lieutenant finally enlighten us and tell us what happened?

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the article to which the hon. member referred is wrong regarding this particular issue. Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising. We followed all the rules based on the interpretation of the day and this administrative dispute has now been resolved.

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is only one party in this House that has been busted for electoral fraud. The Conservatives tried to bilk the taxpayers out of $800,000 with their dodgy election filings in 2006. They were busted and forced to cop a plea and after years of stalling justice, they have had to pay the taxpayers $230,000.

Canadians are looking for a bit of contrition, just like in this robo fraud scandal. Now that the investigation is widening, will the Conservatives stop playing games and come clean about their role in interfering with the rights of Canadians to vote?

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, before continuing these baseless smears, those members should prove that their own callers are not behind these reports. These exaggerated allegations by the member demean millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election. The opposition, in fact, paid millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls. We believe they are the source of these reports.

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary sure is a trooper. He will read whatever lines the PMO gives him. However, when it comes to robo fraud, his attacks are about as effective as the black knight from the Monty Python sketch. This would be funny if it were not so serious. We are talking about an investigation into electoral fraud in Nipissing—Timiskaming, Kingston, Guelph, and Thunder Bay.

Does he not understand that his exaggerated prevarications demean the millions of Canadian people who cast legitimate votes in the last election?

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is not a joke. The member is making exaggerated allegations for which he has absolutely no evidence. These are unsubstantiated smears being made by the member, and these exaggerated allegations do, in fact, demean millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election.

Before continuing these baseless smears, the opposition should prove that its own callers are not behind these reports.

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are the only ones under investigation. They are the only ones who have pleaded guilty to electoral fraud. The in and out scheme is further proof that Elections Canada needs to be given the authority to demand all the documents it needs for its investigations.

If Elections Canada had had such authority in 2006, the Conservatives would have been forced to admit their guilt in the in and out scandal much sooner. The Conservatives were indeed guilty.

Are they going to support our motion to give more power to Elections Canada in order to start restoring a bit a confidence in our democratic system?