This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was bank.

Topics

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the commissioner has admitted to giving contradictory testimony. He has also resigned. That is clear and correct.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, knowing that Mr. Zaccardelli was informed of serious errors made by his subordinates in the Maher Arar affair and that he advised no one, why did the Minister of Public Safety not promptly ask for the resignation of the RCMP commissioner? By keeping him, who did the minister wish or need to protect, and why?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it is the government's responsibility to ensure the safety and security of our citizens from coast to coast, and of our communities, and of our streets. That is exactly what we will do.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the resignation of Mr. Zaccardelli, there is a lot of speculation about who is going to be the next commissioner, but the government has an opportunity here to make this process truly transparent and accountable. The former member for Ottawa Centre, Ed Broadbent, proposed and tabled in this House a process whereby important appointments like this would be brought before a standing committee and would be vetted there.

Will the Prime Minister indicate clearly today that he will follow the precedent that he set with an appointment to the Supreme Court by bringing before a House of Commons committee for vetting the recommendation for the replacement of the commissioner?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting suggestion considering that the NDP actually was opposed to that process for the Supreme Court justice when I did it.

What I can say is this. The government obviously does not wish to politically hire and fire RCMP commissioners at will. We will establish a process that is objective and professional and of course we are interested in the input of any member of this House.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, just to be clear, our party supported the recommended process brought forward by the former member for Ottawa Centre, which was a superior process.

Now, with the affair behind us, in some ways Canadians are looking for the government to do the right thing. Mr. Zaccardelli has apologized. This House has apologized to the Arar family.

It remains for the Government of Canada to apologize to the Arar family, so I ask the Prime Minister this. Will he stand in his place and apologize to Monia Mazigh, to Maher Arar and to their children on behalf of the Government of Canada so that they can take the next step in their lives to put this terrible circumstance and--

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, Parliament and all parties in Parliament supported the motion of apology. The government is working with Mr. Arar's attorneys who have sued the government. We are working on a full compensation and apology and we hope to make progress on that in short order.

Once again, on the comment in the previous question in terms of the process, I think we have to be very careful not to politicize this process, particularly when I open the paper today and read that the party opposite is saying that it should get involved and stop the RCMP from investigating wrongdoing by politicians. That is not the kind of input we want in the hiring of the RCMP commissioner.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, just hours ago at his news conference, Commissioner Zaccardelli confirmed that he spoke with the Minister of Public Safety and expressed his desire to go back to the committee to explain the problems with his testimony. Additionally, he wrote to the deputy minister to explain the inconsistencies in his testimony, yet the minister had the gall to state in this House yesterday that he only found out about this issue on Monday.

Will the minister now admit that the commissioner told him a month ago about the problems in his testimony and that the minister indeed chose to ignore it?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the member is picking up his pointy habit from his colleague who sits next to him.

I said yesterday that we all learned about the extent of the contradiction on Monday. At that point, the Prime Minister, myself and others said we would look at what had been said and look at the extent of his contradiction. Shortly after that, just yesterday, as members know, the commissioner tendered his resignation.

I think the chain of events speaks for itself. We wish the commissioner well. We also are very confident in the ongoing work of the--

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Pickering--Scarborough East.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, let the record show that this party, in its wisdom, chose to bring forth an inquiry to help Mr. Arar while that party accused him of being a terrorist.

The minister was directly informed a month ago about the inconsistencies in the commissioner's testimony. His deputy minister was informed in writing at the same time, and the Minister of Public Safety knew the truth. He knew it a month ago. Did he pass this information along to the Prime Minister or anyone at the PMO? If not, why not?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I would like to imagine the look of shock, horror and awe on the faces of members opposite if, when the commissioner said to me that he wanted to go back and talk to the committee, I had interfered in that in any way. We can imagine the howls of faux protest that we would have heard from members opposite.

Let the record show, if it is the record that the hon. member is interested in, that the former government did nothing while this whole awful affair took place. Those members are trying to drown out the reality of that.

We are the ones who took action. We are putting the recommendations in place. We are fixing it. They broke it.

Maher ArarOral Questions

December 7th, 2006 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety continues to deny, deny deny, regardless of how clearly the facts are established. On November 19, 2002, the minister, who was then in the opposition, spoke about Mr. Arar and “his possible terrorist ties”. That is what this government, this Conservative Party, thought of Mr. Arar and his release in 2002.

Will the minister finally stop denying and start acknowledging that those were his words—

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Public Safety.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member opposite has even read the report. I wonder if any of them have read it, especially the section that talks about the former minister of foreign affairs. There is a page in there where Justice O'Connor laments the fact that the minister of foreign affairs even questioned whether Mr. Arar had been tortured or not and put in the minds of the public the whole question of whether he had been tortured.

If they want to go back and quote the O'Connor report, I will do that with them page for page. I doubt they have read it, though.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister simply cannot take responsibility for his own actions. Does he not think that his words when he was in opposition, suggesting links between Mr. Arar and al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, were not heard by the Syrians?

The Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance made repeated statements in the House in 2002 and onward claiming that Mr. Arar was a terrorist. Does the minister believe that the statements he made influenced the people who were torturing Mr. Arar?

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the record is clear. While that member and her colleagues were in power, Mr. Arar was in a prison in Syria. The party opposite did not lift a finger and did not raise a voice to do anything about it.

Today, when we have Mr. Celil, a Canadian citizen, in China in the same situation, they have exactly the same position. They never learn.

We will stand up for Canadian citizens.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, every time someone asks the Minister of Public Safety about the firearms registry, he says he wants a more effective registry than the one we have now.

How can the minister say that 742 small firearms registries kept by 742 different retailers all across Canada would be a more efficient and effective tool than the current registry, which is centralized and computerized?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we will be proposing measures to make the firearms registry more effective. We have consulted with nearly 105 groups across the country, as well as individuals, including the people who were at Dawson College. We will strengthen the system. I am open to any suggestions the Bloc has to offer.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's position does not hold water. Seven hundred and forty-two manual registries that keep track only of new firearms, not used ones, is a terrible idea.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts tabled a report today. It reviewed the issue and the minister's proposal. It is recommending a moratorium, telling the minister not to dismantle the current registry, telling him to wait and reconsider his own proposal, which does not hold water.

Will the minister follow those recommendations and propose a moratorium?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, that is not exactly right, because we will be maintaining the registry. If an individual wants to possess or purchase a firearm, he or she must register it. We will maintain the registry; we will even strengthen it. We will make it more effective.

Canada Labour CodeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the Minister of Labour voiced his opposition to the anti-scab bill, stating that it could threaten Canada's economy and even paralyze the country.

If the minister is right, how does he explain the fact that the economies of Quebec and British Columbia have not crumbled even though both provinces have had anti-scab legislation for many years, 30 years in Quebec's case?

Canada Labour CodeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I want to explain again to this House that the federal government has responsibility for sectors that are vital to the smooth running of the country: rail, marine and air transportation and telecommunications.

We also have other services, and hon. members should know that Bill C-257 would no longer allow the use of replacement workers. Any subgroup within any one of these sectors could completely paralyze the country's economy.

Canada Labour CodeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, would medical specialists in Quebec not be in a key sector?

The minister went on to say, “As soon as you can no longer use replacement workers, if there is a strike, everything can stop”.

Are we to understand from what the minister said that his way of making the economy run smoothly is to systematically replace all strikers with scabs? Is that his solution?