House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.


Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a former member of the Toronto Police Services Board, we often dealt with this issue. When we are dealing with large urban centres, especially, a lot of policing time goes into apprehending criminals and various items like houseboats, trailers, homes and so on. A lot of money is spent by our local police forces both in the investigative time and numerous other things they have to do to lay charges against individuals.

I have always felt that money from the sale of those individual items should go right into the local police services. It is a much more effective way of acknowledging they put out all this money. Currently they have to wait several years for any money spent as part of an investigation to come back to them.

Granted there would be an imbalance from our large urban centres to some of the smaller centres but, clearly, proceeds of crime, things that can be liquidated, should go back into the local police services so they can have more money to do additional investigations and ensure the safety of our community.

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure today to speak on Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Income Tax Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act.

At the outset, I will illustrate for a moment why this is so important. Let us look at a place half a world away where our troops our dying. When President Karzai was here, he said “if the poppy crop is not eradicated, then the poppy crop will destroy Afghanistan”. I believe all members remember that. If we do not eradicate the poppy crop in Afghanistan, it will eradicate Afghanistan.

Why is this important and how does this connect to the bill. The poppy crop is a substrate upon which narcotics are made, in particular heroin. That heroin is processed and sold. It goes on to cause untold hardship, pain, suffering and sometimes death within our country and with many other countries in the world. That heroin also enables organized crime gangs to make enormous amounts of mount.

We could put an advertisement on television, “Use heroin and support the terrorists”. If people use heroin, they are providing the money that enables our troops to be killed in Afghanistan.

Drugs are one of a number of products that are used by organized crime and terrorist organizations. They provide the funds that enable them to buy weapons and infrastructure to carry out terrorist activities against us and our allies, which cause untold instability in various parts of the world.

In fact, if we do not get a hold on the poppy crop in Afghanistan, the mission there will never be successful. That is why it is critically important, and we have heard this recently, that the west not change its approach to drugs. However, if we go in and wipe out vast poppy crops, it leaves farmers with absolutely nothing. That is why some of those people are joining what we call the neo-Taliban. This is not the same group of Taliban that was there in 2001-02. It is a new group. Part of that group is made up of farmers who have had their livelihood removed. As a result, they have joined the Taliban and taken up arms against us.

The failure to deal with the poppy crop not only is a failure to deal with the economic wherewithal to engage in actions against our troops and against our allies, but it also is a poison and does not enable Afghanistan to get on its feet. My personal view is that we need to call a regional meeting to deal with the poppy crop. I personally hope the crop is bought, destroyed and other alternative crops are given to those farmers.

Unless we can provide those farmers with an alternative form of living, when we go in there and wipe out their livelihood, then we have left them with nothing for themselves, their families and their communities. If we do not, they go from being a subsistence farmer to abject poverty. With the Taliban holding out its arms and also some money for these farmers, they take up arms against us.

This is the on the ground reality of why the bill is important and why it is important for us to deal with the poppy crop and the drug trade.

Let us look at South America and Colombia where cocoa is produced. Colombia is the primary cocaine producer in the world. The United States spends $800 million a year in its so-called war against drugs. It is a war that will never be won.

Organized crime gangs and terrorist groups are the ones that feed off the products of cocaine, the FARC, the ELN, the paramilitary. Those groups are not ideological groups. They are organized crime groups, organized militias, that make money from the drug trade. Interestingly enough, those groups in South American are also attached to al-Qaeda. They are all connected again to what we are talking about here, which is trade in money laundering, the trade in various products.

Another point I want to talk about is gems. If we look at west Africa and countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, where people live in abject poverty, diamonds can be found on the ground.

One will find in these areas organized crime gangs working with various local warlords, so to speak, in order to take those diamonds, pay a small amount of money and earn huge profits from them. The reason why diamonds are used is that they are very easy to move around. They are very difficult to track. It is very easy to sell them for very high amounts of money, with huge profit margins.

That is what these organized crime gangs rely on. They rely on huge profit margins on products that can be bought and sold very easily to make the large amounts of money that are used in their nefarious activities.

According to the police, the most effective way to deal with these issues and with organized crime gangs, which I would put at the forefront for us domestically, is to cut the money supply out from underneath them. That is what this bill does.

My colleague articulated a number of our party's concerns with the bill. It is not that we oppose the bill. We would like to strengthen it.

What the United States did was very bright. The Americans adopted something called the RICO amendments, the racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations charges. What they recognized is that the best and easiest way to undermine organized crime gangs is to go after the money. If we go after the money, we weaken them.

When the Liberals were in government we actually put together RICO-like amendments for our country. We have proceeds of crime legislation. I think it needs to be strengthened and I would encourage the government to look at it to ensure that we have the ability to take away those resources.

I will give members one example. There is one thing that can be done. If people have made vast sums of money and have been charged and convicted of organized criminal activity, then the onus should be upon their shoulders to prove that their large wealth was actually generated from honest, law-abiding means. If we actually make the change that the police have requested, then we will be able to go a long way in removing the resources that tend to continue to circulate through organized criminal activities.

Getting back to trafficking in gemstones, one of the things the Liberals put together, and which the government should look at, is the Kimberley process. Through the Kimberley process, it was the first time we were able to deal with blood diamonds. Not only diamonds are addressed, but other semi-precious gemstones that can be easily trafficked are as well. We have to do a better job of strengthening the Kimberley process so we are able to ensure that legal gemstones are traded, bought and sold but that we stop the illegal trade in so-called blood diamonds and other gemstones.

It is critically important that this is dealt with, because countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola will never be able to get on their feet unless those natural resources are actually used and bought and sold legally, with the moneys poured back into the countries that produce them. In that way, these countries can build up their primary infrastructure, health care and education for the benefit of the people. If that does not happen, the people of these countries will continue to live in abject poverty and will never be able get out of their current poverty cycle.

The other issue relates to oil and what is called bunkering. What is happening now in west Africa from Angola to Nigeria is that oil is extracted, but ships come alongside where the oil is produced and a certain percentage of the oil is put onto these ships and disappears. Oil is bought and sold illegally and those moneys can then be used to fund terrorist activities. It is a very lucrative area that is not explored, but unless we deal with this, it is going to be a major problem.

A lot of those moneys wind up in Swiss bank accounts and in other areas where the tax regimes are not as transparent as they are in countries such as ours. These regimes are very opaque even though they are those of western countries. I would encourage the government to work with other countries that currently have opaque tax regimes, to put together and establish agreement on a rules based mechanism and standard in which we could have more transparent tracking of these moneys as they wind themselves inexorably through our current international financial mechanisms.

Again I want to emphasize that a failure to do this will ensure that we will never ever get a handle on organized crime gangs, organized criminal activity, and terrorism, because these three areas rely on these transactions, on taking a product that is sometimes illegal, like narcotics and other illegal drugs, selling it for a vast profit and then laundering those moneys through legal means.

That is why Bill C-25 is so important. That is why my party is supporting it to go to committee so that we will be able to make amendments to strengthen those areas that we feel need to be strengthened.

It is important in dealing with this issue that we also listen very closely to the police. In my province of British Columbia, more than 60% of the illegal activity comes from organized criminal activity, and a large chunk of that comes from the trade in illegal drugs. I know that the government likes the approach of the so-called war against drugs, but I would submit that it is a so-called war that cannot, has not and will not be won. It simply cannot be won.

There are now only two countries in the world that officially support the so-called war on drugs approach: Canada and the United States. If we look south of the border and at the objective parameters on where this war has taken the Americans, what we see is very stark and very frightening. For example, the U.S. has a higher use of both hard and soft drugs. The Americans have higher incarceration rates, higher disease rates, higher death rates, higher sickness rates, higher HIV rates, and higher rates of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, both connected with intravenous drug use.

Why is that so? If the war on drugs was so successful, why has this approach, by any objective parameter, been an abysmal failure? Because it does not work.

So where does it work and how can it work? I think we have to take an approach that marries two groups together. The first is the provisions in this bill that could be strengthened to enable us to track, undermine and undercut the trafficking and money laundering associated with these substances. The other is a rational medical approach toward substance abuse. Where can we find that? We can find that in northern Europe. We can find that in Germany. Frankfurt has an outstanding model. The Swiss have some very good models, as do the Swedes and the Finns.

All of those countries have procedures and integrated approaches to substance abuse that are rooted not in a judicial approach but a medical approach. They involve the following components. They involve harm reduction and, yes, safe injection sites. They involve detox and psychiatric counselling. They involve training programs. They involve housing issues. They involve work.

If we take a look at all those components, we will be able to have an effect because, interestingly enough, many of the people who have substance abuse problems, particularly those we find on our streets, have what we call dual diagnoses. A lot of them also have psychiatric problems, so we cannot disconnect the people who have substance abuse problems from those who have psychiatric problems. They are connected.

To take a judicial approach against those people, I would submit, is not only factually incorrect and will be ineffective, but also it is inhumane. These people do not need to be thrown in jail. They need a medical approach that is going to help them and deal with some of the underlying problems they have, problems that can be dealt with.

I would encourage the government, which in my view has taken a very blunt and very ineffective approach against this problem, to open its eyes, deal with the statistics, look at the facts and adopt those solutions that will have an effect. All of us in all of our communities know that this is an issue that affects all of us, and none of us want to see people get into this death spiral with the use of illegal substances that can ruin lives. All of us have seen on the streets in our communities people whose lives have been destroyed, for many reasons, and it does not have to be so.

It is incumbent upon us to work with the provinces, the managers of health care, in order to be able to use and take that integrated approach. I personally would like to see that in my community, in Victoria on Vancouver Island. I would like us to be able to take on this integrated harm reduction strategy and work on the housing issues, the medical issues, the psychiatric issues, the counselling issues, the skills training issues and the work issues that are at the forefront of solutions to address this problem.

In my city of Victoria, this is a very big problem. The police are looking for help. The police recognize that this is the route to go. The police want help on this. Their hands are open, as are those of the community. I would encourage the government to listen to us and work with us to implement those solutions that will work.

In closing, for the sake of our troops in Afghanistan, for heaven's sake let us start to deal with the issue of the poppy crops in Afghanistan, in a rational approach. The poppy crop can be removed, but we have to replace it with alternative livelihoods. Afghanistan and the southern area used to be a very--

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order, please. The hon. member does have five minutes remaining in his 20 minutes, so he might want to pick up where he left off when we go back to orders of the day.

We have now reached the time for statements by members. The hon. member for Peace River.

JusticeStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been crying out for reforms in our criminal justice system for far too long. It took this new Conservative government to finally do the right thing and to act.

We have introduced legislation that would ensure that dangerous offenders will be kept behind bars until they can prove that they have reformed.

We are implementing mandatory minimum sentences for violent and sexual-based crimes. We are raising the age of consent from 14 to 16. We are creating tougher penalties for street racing. We have changed payday loan legislation to protect consumers. We are putting terrorists out of business by improving our ability to cut off their financing.

I am pleased to be part of a government that values safe and better communities. We are taking action to protect the country's citizens, while caring for victims of crime rather than just the perpetrators.

This government is about action. When we make a promise, we keep that promise, unlike our Liberal counterparts across the way.

I ask the opposition parties to get onside to give Canadians what they have been asking for, for much too long.

YouthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Shahina Sayani, a youth leader in my community of York South—Weston and outgoing executive director of For Youth Initiative.

For the last three years, Shahina was a leader and advocate for youth-led programming in the former cities of York, Etobicoke and the west Toronto community.

In her three years with the organization, she has spearheaded a number of initiatives, strengthened community relations, and initiated the creation of a much needed recreational centre in York South—Weston. She has played a major role in securing sustainable funding for youth initiatives in my community and across the province.

Shahina has set a high standard of excellence in her role as executive director and has shown that youth are capable of being strong and capable leaders. Her years of dedication in this position will be greatly missed by her co-workers and peers as she moves on to better the community ofYork South—Weston as program director for ArtReach Toronto.

I would like to send my sincerest thanks to Shahina and trust this House will join me in wishing her all the best in her future endeavours.

“Québec, carrefour international” SymposiumStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, after the symposiums on Quebec's identity and on globalization, over 300 people gathered in Quebec City yesterday to participate in a symposium organized by the Bloc Québécois and entitled “Québec, carrefour international”. The purpose of this event was to identify future projects to promote the dynamic development of Quebec's national capital region.

The establishment of a UNESCO convention on cultural diversity secretariat, the promotion of the St. Lawrence River as a gateway to the Atlantic and the building of a high speed train between Quebec City and New York are some of the topics that were thoroughly debated by the participants.

These projects are designed to ensure a thriving future for our communities, but they require a direct involvement on the part of the federal government. However, the government is slow in following up on its financial commitments to these collective initiatives, which make us envision the future of Quebec City, and that of the greater Quebec City region, with optimism.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, after 13 years in government, the Liberals left Canada with emissions 34% higher than 1990 levels when they should be 10% below to respect our Kyoto commitments.

Last week the Conservatives tabled legislation which even they concede will not reduce greenhouse gases or pollution for 15 to 20 years.

The communities I represent have been waiting for years and years for investment in public transit and infrastructure to address traffic congestion and improve air quality.

Front Street in New Westminster has some of the worst air quality readings in the country. Coquitlam and Port Moody have been promised rapid transit over and over again. Empty promises never fulfilled.

My constituents cannot wait. We need investment now from all levels of government to make our communities breathable and livable. Sadly, this Conservative bill is just more talk, hot air, no action.

Haying in the '30sStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give recognition to an exceptional annual heritage event that takes place in Mallaig, Alberta.

The eighth annual Haying in the '30s is a volunteer and donation driven fundraiser that raised over $100,000 this year in the fight against cancer.

Haying in the '30s takes participants on a trip back in time, before tractors and swathers replaced the horse teams.

It brings people from all walks of life together to respect and relive a time when the community and its members supported each other through good times and bad.

The Haying in the '30s support society used the money that it raised this year to send cheques to over 900 cancer victims to help deal with and bear some of the burden of this unpredictable and indiscriminate disease that touches all our families.

I ask my colleagues to join me in endorsing Haying in the '30s as the 2006 recipient of the Alberta tourism award in the sustainable tourism category. This event enriches the Lakeland community and the lives of all its participants.

Portuguese CommunityStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a Canadian MP of Portuguese heritage, it is my great honour to pay tribute to the community of Portuguese language countries: the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa. It is a multilateral forum for Lusophone nations across the globe.

This year marks the CPLP's 10th anniversary. On this occasion I would like to congratulate the CPLP in the name of all Canadians. As chair of the Canada-Portugal and Canada-Brazil Parliamentary Friendship Groups, I am proud of the strong friendship which Canada has with the Lusophone nations which this auspicious anniversary highlights.

Furthermore, I would like to thank His Excellency Valdemar Carneiro Leão, the Ambassador of Brazil and João Pedro Da Silveira Carvalho, the Ambassador of Portugal, and indeed all the embassies of CPLP countries who have worked diligently to build a relationship between Canada and the Lusophone countries.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the tabling last week of Canada's clean air act is just one of the Conservative government's long list of achievements, after just nine months in office.

Canadians get results on the environment when they have a Conservative government. It was a Conservative government that brought in Canada's first Environmental Protection Act. It was a Conservative government that signed the acid rain treaty with the United States. It was a Conservative who was honoured as Canada's most green Prime Minister.

Now Canada's new Conservative government has introduced the first comprehensive and integrated approach to tackle air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the previous Liberal government, air quality got worse and greenhouse gas emissions increased 30%.

This new government is getting things done for a cleaner, healthier environment, something that all Canadians want and something that the government will deliver.

Fiscal imbalanceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 19, 2005, the Prime Minister solemnly declared in Quebec City that he would eliminate the fiscal imbalance in Canada. The summer was barely over and Parliament was not yet back in session when his first move was to cancel a scheduled meeting on this very issue with the premiers of Quebec and the provinces.

The Prime Minister has kept backing out of commitments ever since.

In his 2002 report on fiscal imbalance, Yves Séguin clearly identified three causes: the balance between expenditures and revenues is too precarious in Quebec and the provinces, while Ottawa is swimming in surpluses; transfers from the federal government are inadequate and insufficient; and the federal spending power is trampling on Quebec's jurisdictions.

The Bloc Québécois denounces the attitude of the Prime Minister, who is being obstinate and continuing to renege on election promises made to the people of Quebec.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Gerry Ritz Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is not the season to be jolly yet, but it is the silly season on Parliament Hill.

Our friends at the National Farmers Union have tried stuffing our fax machines with best wishes from people all over Canada. Why do they think writers from P.E.I. or Montreal would impress us with their lack of knowledge about the Wheat Board, I will never know. However, I will gladly match them letter for letter with the hundreds I have received in phone messages and emails from western Canadian farmers asking for marketing choice.

On the Prairies we are busy trying to get our grain to market to take advantage of the spike in pricing the world has to offer for our quality grain. Meanwhile, we are working hard to develop new markets and opportunities, including biofuels. It would be nice if the Wheat Board helped out rather than spending western farmers' money on propaganda to defend its 60 year old monopoly.

Members on this side of the House realize that times have changed and old business models need revision if our farmers are going to spend this Christmas with stockings stuffed with goodies rather than grain bins stuffed with more unsold wheat.

Animal CrueltyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is nearly nine years since the first introduction of a bill to modernize Canada's laws on animal cruelty. That bill has been known by seven different names. It has been reintroduced in Parliament every year since 1999.

After countless hours of debate, today we are no further ahead. Today there is no effective bill on animal cruelty before this current Parliament and we should all be embarrassed by that failure.

This week I intend to change that. I will be introducing a bill that builds upon the nine years of consultation, debate and compromise that protects animals, but also recognizes their uses in agriculture, hunting and fishing.

The realities of private members' business are such that I cannot pass this bill without multi-party consensus. The time is long overdue to move forward. I am calling on all members of the House to work together with me in a non-partisan spirit to finally pass effective animal cruelty legislation.

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

October 23rd, 2006 / 2:05 p.m.


Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, since becoming the Parliamentary Secretary for la Francophonie and Official Languages, I have seen how vital official language minority communities are.

I am very proud to have taken part in the opening of the 16th annual congress of the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones du Canada, which was held last week.

I wish to thank all the superintendents of school boards, managers, representatives from national and community organizations and all federation members, who are playing an important role in education.

For the government of which I am a member, the education system is the beating heart of official language minority communities. In fact, the Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages has signed with each province and territory enhanced education agreements for a total of $1 billion over four years.

We sincerely believe that these achievements speak volumes about this new government's commitment—

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek.

Road Race to Kenyan ReliefStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a result of a chance meeting between Joseph, an elite Kenyan runner and a Hamilton school teacher, John Smith, a year and a half ago, the Road Race to Kenyan Relief was founded.

On Friday morning I hosted a breakfast for a unique group of students and their teachers from Glen Brae Middle School in my riding.

I met Carissa and Zarwa who, as grade 8 students, organized a one hour walk/run-a-thon in April 2005 that raised $3,125. I met teacher John Smith who, with his students this past year, organized a similar walk/run-a-thon and raised a total of $7,000.

Since the beginning, the students and teachers of Glen Brae have adopted three schools in the Kenyan central plateau, Kirima, Kirima-Ngai and Madaraka primary schools. These students of Glen Brae have raised $10,000 to help improve the sanitary conditions of over 1,200 rural school children.

I hope all members of the House will join me in saluting John, Carissa, Zarwa, and all the educators and students at Glen Brae for their outstanding work.

Government ProgramsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is sadly ironic that the government has chosen October to announce some of the cruelest cuts to social spending programs in recent memory.

October is Women's History Month, and while the Conservatives should be celebrating the ongoing fight for women's equality throughout Canada, the government has cut advocacy funding to Status of Women, meaning that women's groups across Canada will be silenced. The cuts have elicited the condemnation of women's groups in my riding and across the country.

This is only one of the many ways in which the recent cuts by the government are having a devastating effect on the most vulnerable people and regions of this country.

To name just a few in my riding, most literacy programs will be cancelled if the cuts are not reversed. Our tourism sector faces declining numbers because of the elimination of the GST rebate program. In addition, because of the cuts to the youth employment strategy, there will be fewer meaningful opportunities for the riding's youth.

The Conservative government is attacking the social fabric of this country by ignoring its responsibilities to entire sections of its population and to all regions of the country. I encourage all Canadians to voice their strong opposition to this--

Government ProgramsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec was recently ranting about the negative effects of the Coulombe report on the forestry industry, a forestry company back home complied with the report and even guaranteed sustainable forest management.

Cédrico, a company located in the municipality of Price, obtained Standards Council of Canada certification on sustainable forest management. To do so, Cédrico held a number of consultation meetings with the sector and trained 400 workers to meet this standard.

Guy Chevrette, president of the Quebec Forest Industry Council, recently said this is all the more extraordinary because this initiative comes from a region that experienced 50% cuts in supply.

Will the minister stop demonizing the Coulombe report and start doing his job by providing a real assistance plan for the industry?

Hungarian RevolutionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we mark the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

It was 50 years ago today that crowds of students and workers in Budapest challenged the authority of the Soviet dictatorship. Soviet tanks crushed the Hungarian Revolution and thousands were killed, hundreds later executed, and over 200,000 fled the country.

Canada opened its doors and provided a home for nearly 40,000 Hungarian refugees. Canada's acceptance of this large number of Hungarian refugees began our proud tradition of accepting displaced and persecuted persons.

Today we stand with over 250,000 Canadians of Hungarian descent to commemorate the sacrifice made by brave individuals in 1956 in the name of democracy and liberty.

In my own riding of St. Paul's, Attila Anselmo has painted a work of art entitled Canada, the Shining Beacon for Humanity in gratitude of all immigrants to Canada from 1956 to 2006 to be presented to the Parliament of Canada.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the weekend, the powerless party dreamed up—as always—a number of grandiose plans for a utopian sovereign Quebec.

The Bloc's strength may be in floating ideas, as the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie was saying, but Quebeckers want real and concrete results from their federal representatives.

The Bloc Québécois is in a constant state of powerlessness and in 13 years it has not made any decision with any real impact on Quebec and it never will be able to do so because it will always be an opposition party.

Fortunately Canada's new government is taking concrete action daily to serve the interests of Quebeckers, their regions and the region of Quebec City, by achieving real results such as a $7.1 million investment to redevelop the Brown Basin and $19.3 million for the Baie de Beauport project.

Quebeckers will keep in mind that the Bloc will never be able to achieve concrete results for Quebec.

DecorumOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario


Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has now had four days to reflect on the statement made by his Minister of Foreign Affairs. This matter has to do with respect for women, acceptance of responsibility for one's actions, integrity, accountability for the truth and the dignity of the House of Commons.

In view of the silence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is the Prime Minister now prepared to apologize for the totally inappropriate remarks of the minister in this House?

DecorumOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I understand that you have already ruled on this matter and did not necessarily accept the preamble of the Leader of the Opposition.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is conducting Canada's international relations with great effort, with dignity and with confidence, and we support him.

In terms of the comportment inside this House generally, I think we all recognize that all members in all parties could do a lot better job of conducting ourselves in the House as the public of Canada is watching.

DecorumOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario


Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we could qualify that as a bit of a stonewall.

The Prime Minister cannot escape the fact that he ran an election campaign promising honesty and accountability. He is allowing his Minister of Foreign Affairs to ignore his obligation for openness, responsibility and integrity.

Since the Prime Minister will not personally apologize, will he at least insist that the Minister of Foreign Affairs do the right thing, address this matter directly and issue an appropriate apology in the House?

DecorumOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario


Helena Guergis ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, first let me say that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in my opinion and that of many across the country, is that he is a gentleman in every sense of the word. He has always treated me with the utmost respect.

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House respect your ruling where you clearly said last Friday that there was no indication in the recordings or in Hansard that any of this has been said. We on this side of the House actually respect the integrity of the Speaker's chair, unlike the members opposite.