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House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was burma.

Topics

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is simply wrong.

Canadians have indicated that they strongly support improvements to the environment, housing, post-secondary education and foreign aid. Indeed, I have letters from members of the opposition supporting those things. So, the hon. gentleman is just totally mistaken.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP tail is wagging the Liberal dog.

How incredible that Liberal cabinet ministers are now lobbying NDP members to get things included in the new budget. I guess that Liberal dog must be a lapdog.

The finance minister may be getting really good at retrieving the NDP leader's slippers, but he is irrelevant as a minister. When will he resign?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The minister has risen to answer a question, not to receive cheers. The Minister of Finance has the floor.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the short answer to the hon. gentleman's question is, no time soon.

When we have a budget that totally respects the principles of fiscal responsibility, that keeps the debt repayment clearly on track, and responds to principles and priorities that Canadians have said they want to see implemented, I will stand for that any day. And if I have to, I will run on it.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, he will run; he will run and fetch that stick.

The finance minister said his budget could not be touched. Then he let the NDP ravage it. Now his own colleagues are going to the NDP to get more budget changes. If his own colleagues do not think the finance minister has any credibility, then why should Canadians? When will he resign?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker,--

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I would remind hon. members that in question period it is one question and one response, not 100 questions at once. We are now going to hear a response to the last question before the other 99.

The Prime Minister has the floor to answer the member for Medicine Hat.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, there have been seven, eight, nine, and another projected one, ten surpluses in a row. There has been unprecedented job creation, low inflation, and money set aside for Kyoto and climate change. Money has been set aside for housing, a dynamic economy, foreign aid, research and development, and education.

I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, the finance minister can run on this budget and this government will run on this budget. I am proud to say as a Liberal that this is one of the--

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier--Sainte Marie.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Justice Michel Robert clearly crossed the line separating the judicial from the political by saying in no uncertain terms that sovereignists had no place on the bench.

In response to such partisan remarks, should a self-respecting justice minister and a government that claims to be responsible not bring a complaint before the Judicial Council to have Justice Robert removed? If the minister does so, an investigation follows automatically. Will he?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have already said it several times and I will say it again today. No appointments are made on the basis of political associations.

I repeat as well that complaints should be brought before the Canadian Judicial Council, which can look into it. That is all.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is also entitled to make a complaint, and the investigation follows automatically. On April 26, Justice Robert said in no uncertain terms that sovereignists should not serve as judges. The Minister of Justice could only remark that we should avoid making waves so as not to splatter the judiciary.

By refusing to reprimand a judge who contends that sovereignists do not have the same rights as everyone else, does the justice minister realize he is the one sullying the judiciary?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I will have no part of a process aimed at casting aspersions on the independence or the excellence of the judiciary. Appointments are based on merit. I have no interest in knowing candidates' political affiliations or views.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the recent past, the justice minister's predecessors, who were from the same party, did not hesitate to lodge complaints before the judicial council. That happened in 1996, when Justice Bienvenue made discriminatory comments against women and Jews, and again in 1999, when the current Deputy Prime Minister ordered an investigation into Justice Flahiff's behaviour.

How can the Minister of Justice conclude that Justice Robert should not be reprimanded for his comments, considering that his predecessors at the Department of Justice showed much more courage than him by taking steps to punish the behaviour of Justice Flahiff and the statements of Justice Bienvenue?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of principle that has to do with protecting the independence of the judiciary. If the member asks this kind of question again, I will repeat the same answer.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has a duty to protect, first, the independence of the judiciary and, second, the values of the charter, which include not discriminating against a person on the basis of his or her political beliefs.

How can the minister refuse to lodge a complaint against Justice Robert, if it is not because he is acting like a Liberal protecting a fellow Liberal?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am not only the Minister of Justice, I am also the Attorney General of Canada. As such, I respect the rule of law and the Constitution of Canada.

Air-IndiaOral Question Period

May 4th, 2005 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. He needs to know that we are going to continue to ask questions about the issues that people care about, whether he chooses to answer or not.

There were 30 days in which to file an appeal on the Air-India tragedy. Indeed, the 30 days have passed. This House instructed the government to call a public inquiry.

Will the Prime Minister respect this House and call the public inquiry now?

Air-IndiaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the bombing of Air-India flight 182 was one of the great terrorist actions and one of the worst tragedies in Canadian history. Our hearts continue to go out to the families even some 20 years later.

The British Columbia attorney general has decided not to appeal. The government's plan, in appointing Mr. Bob Rae to work with the families to seek the answers to the questions the families asked and to elaborate on how the government should approach this issue, continues. Mr. Rae is already actively doing this. We continue to support this initiative.

Democratic ReformOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the best testimony would be to respect the wishes of the families and this House, and call a public inquiry now.

The problem here is that there is not even any respect for the government's own promises. The member for Ottawa Centre has pointed out today that this government is foot dragging on voting reform.

I ask the Prime Minister, can he tell us why there has been virtually no progress on reforming democracy through voting reform, even though the Prime Minister ran on a platform of fixing the democratic deficit?

Democratic ReformOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government is following the wishes of the House in this matter.

In the Speech from the Throne, as amended, there was a call for a committee of the House to prepare suggestions for the government on the method of consulting widely with Canadians on the matter of democratic renewal, including electoral reform. The government is waiting for the report of that committee. It will certainly take it under advisement when it receives it.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the former director general of the Liberal Party has admitted that he was involved in the process of selecting judges by confirming candidates' allegiance to the Liberal Party. Yesterday, the Minister of Justice said he did not need to take any action because we already had the Gomery inquiry. The minister is well aware that Justice Gomery does not have the authority to investigate political interference in the process of appointing judges.

When is the Prime Minister going to take this scandal seriously and demand an inquiry?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me quote directly from Justice Gomery's mandate:

--to investigate and report on questions raised, directly or indirectly, by Chapters 3 and 4 of the November 2003 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons with regard to the sponsorship program and advertising activities of the Government of Canada...to make any recommendations...to prevent mismanagement of sponsorship programs or advertising activities in the future--

That is a very broad mandate. Justice Gomery has the mandate to get to the truth for Canadians. The only reason that Conservative Party members are questioning Justice Gomery's mandate recently is because they want to discredit Justice Gomery's work. They fear that his report will demonstrate to Canadians that our Prime Minister has acted honourably.