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House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cmhc.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Gouk Conservative Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I previously asked a question in the House regarding the laundering of ad scam money through VIA Rail, where Lafleur Communications Marketing was paid $112,000 to carry a cheque from public works to VIA Rail. It then turned around and donated half the money back to the Liberal Party of Canada.

The question was answered by the then public works minister, now in charge of Canada's finances, who stated that he too was troubled by this file and had referred it to the RCMP. That was three years ago. What results do we have from this three year investigation that so troubled the present finance minister?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Gomery commission was appointed by this Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has said that we should let the Gomery commission do its work and it has done its work.

I know that there has been an ongoing parallel investigation here of no value at all, but the Gomery commission has done its work. Justice Gomery has concluded hearing witnesses and we look forward to the time when the Gomery commission reports to the House. I can assure members in this place and Canada as a whole that once Gomery reports, this government will take action.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Gouk Conservative Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, if after three years there are no results of such blatant money laundering it seems that it was only the bad publicity that troubled the minister. The Minister of Finance was at the time in charge of public works and is now in charge of the nation's finances. He should have been more concerned about the operation of public works then and about the theft of taxpayers' money now.

Given this incredible example of the ad scam at its worst, will the government commit to returning its proceeds from this theft of taxpayer money now, today?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is very obvious that the member and the opposition do not understand that there was an inquiry and that Justice Gomery has done his work. He finished the work with witnesses yesterday and is now moving on to his report.

He will report in the fall. He will tell us exactly what happened. He will name names and he will also tell us about responsibility. He will make sure that we understand what needs to be changed, and this government will take action and it will take action immediately.

International CooperationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Godbout Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have recently learned that new cases of polio have been reported in Yemen and in Indonesia.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation tell this House what steps Canada and its partners are taking to combat this terrible disease?

International CooperationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Barrie Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure this House that I will be monitoring very closely the development of new cases of polio. At a time when we were so close to eradicating this terrible disease, it is important that we continue moving in that direction.

Canada has invested nearly $200 million in this fight, and we will continue to support initiatives to eradicate polio from the face of the earth.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

June 3rd, 2005 / 11:45 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the security minister. An NDP access to information request just recently answered shows that 48 border badges, 65 border ID cards and 58 border uniforms are missing.

First it was airport security items gone missing and now we have 130 reports over the last five years of border security items also going missing. When is this minister going to protect our borders by fixing the basics instead of spending all her time writing sweeping security laws which we know simply do not work?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, of course I reject the fundamental premise underlying the member's question. Having said that, let me say that the Canada Border Services Agency takes it very seriously, as do I, when uniforms go missing or when any form of ID goes missing as it relates to individual officers. I can assure the hon. member that the CBSA and the management of the CBSA are following up on those concerns.

Clearly what we want to do is ensure that the collective safety and security of Canadians is always foremost, whether it is with the CBSA or other agencies in this country.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is typical of just no responsibility on the part of the government and the minister. She wrote the Draconian security law, which we know does not work. Her department helped deport Maher Arar. She says that the border is secure even though 48 badges, 65 ID cards and 58 uniforms have gone missing.

Then she stands in the House and gives some platitudinous answer. Can she say if she has done anything specific about dealing with these thefts and losses?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have made it absolutely plain that the CBSA and the management of the CBSA take these assertions very seriously and are following up on them. I take them very seriously. I do not know what the hon. member does not understand about the fact that we take this situation very seriously and it is being followed up on.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, twice in this House the minister implied that if the budget bill, Bill C-43, were not passed, the military would not get its money. This is false. The Department of Finance advises:

Legislation is not required for many of the spending measures proposed in Budget 2005, such as the funding for National Defence, as parliamentary approval can be achieved through the normal appropriation process.

Why did the minister grandstand and mislead the House with respect to funding for the military?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, surely all members of the House will agree that members of the House would not go through the appropriations process without first having adopted the budget on which those appropriations were based.

We know very well, and every member of this House knows, that the budget has to go through and the appropriations have to be voted before our men and women will get the money they need to transform themselves and make themselves into an effective force for this century to defend Canada and Canadians. That is what we are going to do on this side of the House. Let us try not to get into this sort of insane type of obscurity about how the process is going to work. It will work because we are going to get the budget through.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the other side that is giving us insane obscurity.

Recently, three of Canada's top military officers told our defence committee that they will soon be making recommendations to balance base infrastructure against the priorities detailed in the Liberal defence policy statement.

Infrastructure has been underfunded by the Liberals for years. This puts the military in a precarious situation where it must choose between base infrastructure and operational capability. Without a doubt it will choose operational capability. As a consequence, is the minister prepared to close any military bases?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I certainly would agree with the hon. member, who is knowledgeable about the matter of the forces, that the proportion of base infrastructure spending must be looked at. I have discussed this with my officials. We are making sure this is done in proportion to keep our bases in good shape.

We will always look at our bases to make sure that the footprint we have in this country is that which is necessary for us to do our job and provide security for Canadians. That is how we do it. We will continue to do that job.

Border CrossingsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is a new state of the art facility at the Lacolle-Champlain crossing, along the border between Quebec and New York State, but on the American side only. Canada is spending nothing on the Quebec side of the border.

Why is the government not contributing to this important gateway between Montreal and the United States?

Border CrossingsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Scarborough—Agincourt Ontario

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we live in a just in time economy. Jobs and growth depend on the efficiency of transportation corridors.

Last February, the Minister of Transport met with U.S. transportation secretary Norm Mineta. They discussed ways to improve security and efficiency of gateways, including the need for additional infrastructure to improve traffic flows, new border capacity for the long term and expansion of border processing initiatives to help expedite cross-border traffic. We are looking into it. We are doing due diligence.

Border CrossingsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the president of the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce and the president of the Quebec-New York Corridor Coalition testified before the industry committee this week. They stated that the Canadian border facility is clearly inadequate and understaffed.

The new U.S. border facility is in danger of becoming a wall rather than a passageway unless there is Canadian reciprocity. Why is the government being so short-sighted?

Border CrossingsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Scarborough—Agincourt Ontario

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the only short-sightedness here is not on our part but on the part of the opposition. The government strongly believes that it is important to take a strategic approach to transportation infrastructure investment. Over the last decade, the federal government has committed over $12 billion to infrastructure in Canada.

I am very pleased to say that budget 2005 confirmed the renewal and extension of our strategic municipal, rural and border infrastructure programs to continue our strong support for Canada's cities and communities.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, last year, Mohamed Cherfi was deported from Canada after officials with Citizenship and Immigration asked the police to violate a religious sanctuary in Quebec City where Cherfi had taken refuge. The United States granted him exile, recognizing that he was in danger and entitled to protection.

In light of the American decision to grant refugee status to Mohamed Cherfi, will the minister admit that there are serious flaws with the Canadian refugee protection division, which decided not to grant Mr. Cherfi similar protection?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we are still in the process of changing all our procedures in order to determine which individuals truly qualify as refugees. I am not prepared to discuss individual cases. Obviously, if the authorities of another country have taken decisions that suited them, all the better for them. Our decisions are always based on the interests of Canadians.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, this is in the interests of Canadians and Quebeckers alike.

Cherfi was granted refugee status in the United States thanks to a decision by the United States board of immigration appeals.

When will the minister admit that Canada needs to establish a refugee appeal division and that this need is urgent?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, perhaps we should point out that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has already ranked Canada first in the world for its refugee status determination and integration system. We have nothing to apologize for. We have the best system in the world for refugees.

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is the day. Judge Gomery has completed nine months of listening to countless witnesses testify. He will be reviewing thousands of pages of documents.

Coincidentally, it has also been nine months since supposedly Revenue Canada began investigating the former chairman of Canada Post who still has not accounted for his $2 million in self-approved receipts. It has been nine months and any other Canadian would have been called to account in nine days.

When will the minister admit that he is covering up for his Liberal crony, or will he announce the date the audit will be made public?

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Ouellet provided some documents in December to Canada Post, but they did not cover all the expenses set out in the original Deloitte Touche report. Canada Post has given all the documentation to the Canada Revenue Agency and will continue to collaborate with the agency fully with the audit that is under way. The board of directors of Canada Post will take all necessary action at the conclusion of the Canada Revenue Agency audit.

Canada PostOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is a stalling tactic and it is a marathon audit.

The Prime Minister told party faithful last night at a speech in Montreal that “those who abuse the system will all be held accountable”. Video will show very likely that he was winking at the time.

If there were any other Canadian involved in a case like this, Revenue Canada would have completed that audit, penalties would have been levied and possible jail terms would have been provided to those wrongdoers.

The revenue minister has failed the people of Canada. He has not upheld the responsibilities of his office. It is time for the government to admit that if it were interested in cleaning up anything, it would clean up the revenue minister and--