House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Questions

April 26th, 2012 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Conservatives' version was that every expense was repaid. Today, it is that other expenses were repaid. I did not, however, hear the Conservatives condemn the minister's dubious choices.

International aid will drop to less than .25% of our GDP. That is in stark contrast to the minister's extravagant lifestyle. The minister's ethical choices are seriously out of sync with what she chooses to do when it comes to international aid.

Do the Conservatives believe that the minister's choices are appropriate, yes or no?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have answered those questions several times. Our government requires that travel on government business be at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer. That is why, under our government, travel expenses have dropped 15% compared to what they were under the former Liberal government. The minister repaid any inappropriate expenses.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, after days of questioning, the Conservatives are finally realizing that the “mimosa minister's” expenses are inappropriate. She has now had to pay for her lavish stay in London because it was inappropriate.

If that was inappropriate, what about the more than $21,000 it cost to travel by limousine? Make no mistake, the minister is not being asked to take a sleeping bag and her own finger sandwiches to international meetings; she is simply being asked to be vigilant and show some judgment.

Will the Conservatives issue clear guidelines on what they consider appropriate and inappropriate?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our expectations are very clear. Our government requires that travel on government business be at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

The only thing that is clear, Mr. Speaker, is that we have a minister who refuses to take responsibility for her abuse of the taxpayers.

If we asked the average Canadian taxpayers if it is appropriate for her to charge $1,000 a day to ferry her one mile to and from work, they would say absolutely not. The House leader yesterday said it was perfectly appropriate. The minister refuses to stand up and tell us whether she thinks getting caught was good or bad for her career. The question of appropriateness should not be about getting caught; it should be about doing the right thing.

Will the minister stand up, apologize to Canadians and tell us exactly what expenses she is going to pay back? Why is she—

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. government House leader.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I have said several times, our expectations as a government are very clear. We expect that ministers will conduct government business at a reasonable cost to the taxpayers. In practice, that has had very positive beneficial results to the bottom line. The fact is that government spending by ministers on travel is down 15% and on hospitality 33% lower than the government before us. That is what we are seeking to achieve. That is one of the reasons why the minister has repaid the inappropriate costs in this matter.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I like his discussion about their expectations. The expectations with the minister are pretty obvious. When she got caught racking up $16,000 in limos, she was sorry. When she got caught racking up $5,000 to joyride at the Junos, she was sorry. Now she has tried to stick taxpayers with $3,000 for one mile. Is she sorry? We have not heard that from her.

She almost got away with it. This is a woman who needs her own personal third party manager. I have not heard what steps the Conservatives are going to take to keep this woman in line.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I said, our expectations as a government are quite clear. All ministers are expected to conduct business at a reasonable cost to save taxpayers' dollars. In practice it has worked, and it has worked very well. That is why travel expenses overall for government ministers are down 15% compared with our predecessors and hospitality expenses are down by one-third.

The minister in this case has apologized. The member has not acknowledged that fact. She has repaid any inappropriate expenses. He seems to not want to acknowledge that fact. She has done the right thing, and I think we should thank her and accept her apology.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, using a limousine to go two kilometres seems appropriate for the Conservatives.

Eating foie gras and drinking champagne in their limousines have made the ministers in this government lose all contact with reality. Responsibility for this ethical decline rests entirely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister. When the example comes from the top, the others feel justified in doing whatever they like.

The information circulating at this time about the Old Port of Montreal Corporation is particularly disturbing.

Are the Conservatives going to agree to the NDP’s request to have a parliamentary committee summon the officers of the Old Port of Montreal Corporation, to fully explore the allegations of mismanagement?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, what the committee decides to do is its business. I am pleased to inform the House that I think we are all alarmed at the expenses or the reports of these expenses. My office has been in touch with the Old Port of Montreal board and chair and we have also been in touch with the Office of the Auditor General. We have asked the Office of the Auditor General to conduct an independent audit into these allegations.

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem with the Conservatives is that they promised to do a better job, but they have been caught in the same scandals as the Liberals before them.

We can see this in the election fraud case. We learned this morning in the Ottawa Citizen that the investigation is being expanded and the net is tightening on the people who committed the fraud. Once again, the reports refer to calls made to people who were not voting Conservative to send them to non-existent polling stations.

The Elections Canada investigators are so motivated and want so much to get to the bottom of the story that they are taking their own personal plane to go to northern Ontario to look into it.

When are the Conservatives going to co-operate fully with Elections Canada?

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, after being caught making false allegations about this, the New Democrats had to apologize for what they said. They had to apologize because they had their facts wrong. The member should stand up in the House and reiterate the apology his colleague from Winnipeg Centre had to make outside the House.

The New Democrats have absolutely no credibility after the false allegations they had to—

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely clear that only the Conservatives are under investigation for dirty tricks and the parliamentary secretary knows that.

The parliamentary secretary knows that the investigation into voter suppression is getting wider. Investigators were in northern Ontario to interview people who were victims of this voter suppression scheme. These people were called on election day and directed to polling stations 20 miles away. We have examples from coast to coast to coast.

Will the parliamentary secretary finally acknowledge that this scandal goes well beyond Guelph?