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House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-65.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary. The former finance minister had our national interest at heart when he decided to reduce the national debt, completely eliminate the deficit and ensure a truly balanced budget. This has allowed us to ensure better economic conditions for the entire country. These conditions are good not only for individuals, but also the provinces and the municipalities, which can benefit from lower interest rates and controlled inflation. That is what the former finance minister did. That is what the Prime Minister of Canada is doing today.

Fisheries and Oceans CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, while the Department of Fisheries and Oceans rack up expenditures of $42 million on travel and hospitality, services to fishermen are being eroded.

Recently it took the search and rescue chopper more than two hours to get off the ground when a distress call was received from the fishing boat, Melina & Keith II , which had overturned and four lives were lost.

Could the minister tell us where his priorities lie: searching for fishermen in distress or for employees who have gone AWOL?

Fisheries and Oceans CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, let me first indicate my sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives in that incident. Obviously that is very disturbing.

I want to point out that this audit was initiated and done by our department. It was our audit and it is posted on our website. The audit shows that our department has reduced its expenditures in the areas of hospitality and travel by nearly 20% over the past two years. That is money that can be used for the priorities of the department, such as the priorities my friend talks about.

Fisheries and Oceans CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister is avoiding the real issue. The distress signal from the Melina & Keith II was received before the crew left its regular shift.

While DFO officials can spend over $5,000 above the regular fare on flights, the search and rescue crew could not be kept back for a few minutes of overtime until it determined the location of the tragedy.

Why was the search and rescue chopper not available immediately once the location was determined?

Fisheries and Oceans CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague knows full well that our staff with the Coast Guard and search and rescue do an excellent job, work very hard and are very dedicated.

He also knows my department has over 10,000 employees working in every province of this country, including remote coastal communities where they respond to these kinds of distress calls. In fact, 87% of our employees work outside the national capital region. We have scientists conducting world class field research. We have officers conducting fisheries patrols. We have engineers ensuring the safety of wharves and harbours. By their very nature, travel is required.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, in November last year the multiculturalism minister was the owner of a school in China. By April of this year he was not. In the interim, he went on a Team Canada mission to China, accompanied by the two people who had purchased the company. This could be construed as an effort to use an official trade mission to boost the value of the company, either before or after the sale, to ensure a higher sale value.

Yesterday the minister refused to answer my questions on this matter, so I ask him again: Is there an innocent explanation for his conduct, and if so, what is it?

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, this question was answered fully yesterday.

The minister, upon being invited by the Prime Minister to join cabinet, went to consult the Ethics Commissioner who recommended that he dispose of the shares. In December 2004 the minister did exactly as was suggested. Therefore, he is not in a conflict of interest situation.

I would invite the member, before casting aspersions on people in the House, to do better homework than he has done so far.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the question is not whether the minister divested. The question is whether he divested in a manner that represents a conflict of interest.

The question is whether, a month after selling the business, the minister took the current owners on a trade mission to sign a contract with Beijing University as a way of boosting the value of his school and thereby raising the price that they would have been willing to pay for the school. If so, he was enriching himself at the public expense.

Surely the minister can speak for himself and demonstrate to Canadians that this was not the case.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, this is verging on the despicable here. We have a minister who did exactly what the ethics adviser suggested he do, which is to divest himself of all interest. That was done in December 2004 before any trip that the member mentioned, so the minister was not in any conflict of interest.

To keep on asking questions when the member well knows the answer is not doing justice to the House.

I invite the member to do his homework and find out that indeed the minister divested himself of all shares before any such trip took place. Therefore, there is no conflict.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the official opposition and the members of the Conservative caucus have been saying for ages that they do not believe in Kyoto. Now we have the statement made yesterday by his new adviser and Quebec lieutenant that he agreed with the Kyoto objectives and there was no question of tearing up the agreement. He then backtracked by adding that the objectives were unrealistic.

Those of us on this side of the House feel no need to flip-flop on this issue. Can the Minister of the Environment explain to us what the government has done?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, it is simple. When the Conservatives are in Alberta and speaking English, they say they are opposed to Kyoto. When they are in Quebec and speaking French, they say they are all for it. That is their tactic.

In the meantime, we are implementing the plan on climate change. We are starting up a climate fund and a partnership fund. We will be hosting the entire world in Montreal for a major conference on climate change. This very day I have announced a world first, a new simulation tool for the wind energy atlas.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

October 18th, 2005 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

When the Liberals were elected in 1993, among 17 industrial nations when it came to concerns about corruption and transparency, Canada ranked fourth from the top. There has been steady decline since, until today's report where we are fourth from the bottom in 17 nations.

When is the Prime Minister going to stop the general phrases about clean government, democratic deficit and transparency? When is he going to do something about it?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, if the member would read a little further in the Transparency International press release, he would note that Canada remains at the head of the pack in the Americas and that--

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. Members do not want to waste time in question period. The President of the Treasury Board has the floor to give an answer to the hon. member for Ottawa Centre. There is a little disorder. It is impossible for the Chair to hear the answer, let alone the hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

The President of the Treasury Board has the floor. We will want to hear the answer.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, the press release stated:

Canada has again achieved the highest score in the Americas region. However, some of Canada's leading financial institutions have been implicated in scandals in recent years, and there have also been scandals related to governments in Quebec and the City of Toronto which have dominated the headlines and raised concern. The relatively quick government responses to corruption allegations, including the establishment of commissions of inquiry in the above cases, have been particularly important in minimizing the lasting effects of these incidents.

It is the actions of this Prime Minister—

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am amazed the government takes pride in being ahead of mostly developing nations in the Americas as opposed to the overwhelmingly industrial nations in Europe which we used to compare ourselves with.

The Minister of Industry said yesterday that when it came to lobbyists, he was going to aggressively “recover contingency fees paid illegally”.

My question for the Minister of Industry again is about action rather than just talk. Will he first acknowledge there is nothing in the act that prohibits anyone from taking a contingency fee, and second—

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Industry.

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, we do recover where there are events where companies have paid a contingency fee. The companies know and the lobbyists know that this is against Treasury Board policy. It is not against the act; it is against Treasury Board policy. This government has put in place rigorous policies to make sure that there are no contingency fees permitted and we have recovered every cent.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, this morning Ontario police chiefs identified the government's laws, including house arrest and early parole, as obstructing their fight against crime and strangling the justice system. The police chiefs told us the parole board has been giving weekend passes to convicted murderers and sex offenders so they can attend local theme parks.

Could the minister explain to wondering Canadians why convicted murderers and sex offenders should be given weekend passes to children's amusement parks?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, obviously the purpose of the parole system has to be to ensure the public safety. That is why I have asked the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to review both the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the parole system to determine whether we have the balance right.

The specific incidents which the hon. member referred to I am not aware of. I was made aware of the allegations by the Ontario Police Association just a few minutes ago. I will undertake to investigate whether or not any federal prisoners were sent to any amusement park anywhere.

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the Vancouver Board of Trade announced that crime is skyrocketing in Vancouver. The Vancouver crime rate is almost the worst in the country and is destroying the quality of life. The board says that the answer is stiffer sentences for repeat offenders involved in the drug trade and auto theft.

After 12 years of failed Liberal justice policies, Lower Mainland Liberal MPs still deny there is a problem. When will they get their heads out of the sand and institute mandatory minimum sentences that will keep violent criminals behind bars and citizens safe on our streets?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a number of occasions in this House, the protection of public safety and the safety of our citizens is a priority for the government.

In fact, if the member would check, he would see within the Criminal Code that other than murder, there are 10 offences where they are committed with a gun and carry a minimum mandatory penalty of four years. I think the member needs to pay attention. It is there. It just needs to be enforced.

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday a sexual offender with 42 prior convictions was set free to roam the streets and parks of Merritt, British Columbia. Authorities have also labelled him as a high risk to reoffend. They have also commented that he can legally have relations with children as young as 14 because the Liberals refused to raise the age of sexual consent between adults and minors from 14 to 16.

I do not believe that the Prime Minister in his heart really supports perverse laws that wind up protecting the predators. Why will he not announce that the laws are going to be changed and we are going to start protecting children?