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House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

UNESCOOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec also has voting privileges at the summit of the Francophonie, but that is not possible at UNESCO.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs intend, following his discussions with Ms. Gagnon-Tremblay, to at least partially honour his leader's election promise by declaring that, in view of Quebec's jurisdictions, the Government of Canada would abstain in any vote in which there was disagreement between it and the Government of Quebec?

UNESCOOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are negotiating Quebec's role in UNESCO. There are clearly three concurrent philosophies in this Parliament. The Liberal Party does not want Quebec to have a role at UNESCO. The Bloc Québécois does not want Canada to be able to vote at UNESCO. The Conservative Party favours a special role for Quebec, within the Canadian federation.

Economic Development Agency of CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec took office he took away the power to authorize small Canada Economic Development grants in the regions from all regional public servants.

How can the Prime Minister hold himself out as promoting accountability on the part of public servants and agree to his own minister taking away all decision-making power from them and taking it over himself?

Economic Development Agency of CanadaOral Questions

2:35 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, as the minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, I am responsible to Parliament and to this House for managing that department properly. As well, out of a desire to be more aware of what the department is doing in each of the regions of Quebec, I thought it appropriate to take responsibility for overseeing every case in order to ascertain where the money was going in each of the regions of Quebec.

By being more current on what we are in a position to do, I get a better reading of what we will be able to do in future.

Economic Development Agency of CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, under the pretext of sound management and efficiency, the minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec is taking us all several years backward by politicizing the smallest regional development grant.

How can the Prime Minister hold himself out as promoting accountability on the part of public servants and agree to his own minister taking away all decision-making power from them and taking it over himself?

Economic Development Agency of CanadaOral Questions

2:35 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, when we talk about abuses committed in the past, we have only to look at the way the previous government managed things and the sponsorship scandal, and we can see a lot of things.

That being said, I would tell this House that 76% of projects are for about $100,000 or less and that 16% of projects are for between $100,000 and $200,000. That means that about 90% of the projects at Canada Economic Development were never seen by the previous minister. Is that the way to practise sound management and know what is going on in your department?

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, David Salvatore, now a registered lobbyist, worked until the month of March for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, one full month after that minister was sworn into cabinet. That is a revolving door that would make the trade minister's head spin.

Will the Prime Minister put forward an amendment to close this blatant loophole or is he willing to let his selective accountability act stand silent on this important issue?

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, this morning the government tabled the most comprehensive measures in Canadian history to restore public confidence. For the first time, if one works in the executive branch of government or if one works in government, there will be a five year cooling off period.

If the member opposite would like to propose an amendment in committee to require all assistants to MPs, both in government and in opposition, and their staffs, I would be most interested to see it.

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would be afraid to because there would be nobody left to lobby the Conservative government.

That is a distinction that is not in the ethics code. The relationship is not how one is paid but what influence or relationship one has. Mr. Salvatore not only worked for the minister but he worked for the Prime Minister when the Prime Minister was in opposition. That is a close link.

How can the Prime Minister square this circle when it comes to real accountability?

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, it seems we have a new policy from our friends in the Liberal Party. It seems that they now want to have a five year cooling off period for people who now do not work in government.

The reality is that there was a revolving door between lobbyists in the previous government and ministers. That is why the public trust was so egregiously violated. That is why such extreme measures are necessary to rebuild the public trust that was so fundamentally violated by the corruption, scandals and mismanagement of the previous government.

Child CareOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Conservative member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke said that the Quebec model of child care, adopted by the former government, was a Soviet style child care.

Is that the position of the government or will the Prime Minister apologize for those remarks?

Child CareOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear about our plan. It is to be a universal benefit of $1,200 a year delivered directly to parents, not to politicians, for each child under the age of six.

Despite the promises by the members across the floor to do this for 13 years, we will create 125,000 new day care spaces, 125,000 more than the previous government.

Child CareOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, clearly there is something in common between myself and the minister. We both have not come to grips with the fact that her party is in government.

The government now proposes to download the responsibility of creating quality child care spaces to businesses. The head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said that the Conservative proposal to lure businesses into child care would fail. The minister herself has even acknowledged that previous tax credits have failed to stimulate the expansion of day care spaces. Clearly the government does not have a plan.

Why is the government abandoning millions of children?

Child CareOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his maiden question.

He did talk about Soviet style child care. I would observe that after 13 years in office the Liberals did not create any child care spaces and did not give any money to parents. I would say that their plan crumbled just like the old Soviet Union.

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, we have witnessed 13 years of Liberals rewarding their friends, funnelling taxpayer money to Liberal campaigns, waste and corruption.

Public trust needs to be restored. It started today with the introduction of the government's federal accountability act.

Could the President of the Treasury Board tell us why he felt it necessary to bring in a bill with over 250 sections?

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, restoring integrity to government is certainly a big job after the experience of the last 13 years of the party opposite.

The federal accountability act is indeed a big document and a comprehensive document. It is the first honest, meaningful step to begin to re-earn the public trust, the public trust that was so shattered from what we learned at the Gomery inquiry. We heard stories of kickbacks, of corruption and of envelopes with thousands of dollars in cash trading hands.

The reason the act is so big is that it requires--

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Sackville--Eastern Shore.

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a great day in the country when the leadership of Premier Gary Doer of Manitoba brings a real accountability package to members of Parliament, in their case, members of the legislature, when it comes to responsibility to their constituents.

This little blue package contains nothing about floor crossing by members of Parliament going from one party to another during their term in office.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why was this very important aspect of democracy left out of his accountability package?

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, that was left out of the accountability package because it is not part of the plans of the government. We do not agree with that particular policy. I understand the hon. member's party does. The members of that party can always bring forward that measure in a private member's bill and the House can vote on it, but in the meantime the President of the Treasury Board has seen fit not to limit what his own colleague terms “my powers of seduction”.

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it took the Liberals 12 years to develop that form of arrogance. It took the Prime Minister and his government 12 days to do that.

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. It would be helpful if we had a little order in the House and I know the hon. member for Sackville—Eastern Shore is keen to contribute to the order with the rest of his question.

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is quite simple. The people of Vancouver Kingsway, of Kings—Hants, of Newmarket—Aurora and many others, who have been betrayed by their members of Parliament who crossed the floor during their term of office, do not believe the government is serious when it comes to accountability. How can we have accountability when members are not responsible to the people who elect us?

Will the Prime Minister include the aspect of floor crossing legislation in this accountability package?

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is certainly allowed to bring forward that position. I think his party did it twice in the last Parliament, unsuccessfully, but it certainly has the opportunity to do that again.

I have to say that I am awfully glad to have crossed from that side of the floor to this side of the floor after the election.

International TradeOral Questions

April 11th, 2006 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Trade finally admitted the appearance of a conflict of interest surrounding his ongoing financial relationship with Canfor.

Last week, he stated:

If we ever get to the point where a critical decision would mean too much or too little for Canfor, I would recuse myself.

The negotiations concerning softwood lumber and the reimbursement of billions of dollars cannot be separated.

When will the minister recuse himself?