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House of Commons Hansard #2 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was opposition.

Topics

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately Elections Canada takes a different view.

Today we have had more dodges and rhetoric and no answers.

Will the Prime Minister finally do the right thing and ask his staff, who are currently under independent investigation, to cooperate fully with the investigators and to step aside until this matter is cleared up?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, our party always cooperates fully. The question is, why does the Liberal Party not want to open its books?

When this issue arose at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, there was a question about opening books for investigations on how spending was done for the past four years. As I recall, one party voted against that, and that was the Liberal Party. Why? I guess it was because of the $40 million that is still stashed somewhere, or maybe it was spent on previous election campaigns.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the architects of this in and out money scam are people like Michael Donison, former executive director of the Conservative Party. Where is Mr. Donison now? He is a senior policy adviser for the Minister for Democratic Reform.

He is not the only one. Andrea Paine is also implicated in this scandal and she is the senior policy adviser for who? The same minister.

How can Canadians have any faith in the legislation the government brings forth when it is getting advice from people Elections Canada says broke the law?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, Elections Canada has said no such thing. No laws were broken. We complied fully with the law.

I can tell the House who did break the law. The party over there actually admitted it broke the law, returned moneys to the public coffer, but only a small fraction of the moneys that the Auditor General told us were actually stolen from Canadian taxpayers.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, at least eight candidates or official agents of the Conservative Party who were involved in this scheme are now on the payroll at taxpayers' expense. For instance, there is the chief of staff to the Minister of Public Safety, the special assistant to the Minister of the Environment, as well as his former press secretary.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for to drop his ridiculous case against Elections Canada?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, after a summer away, the best the Liberals can do is come up with stories that have no basis about corrections. However, it is not surprising, because the one thing the Liberal Party knows a lot about is correction.

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

October 17th, 2007 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in December 2005, the Prime Minister gave a speech in Quebec City in which he promised to put an end to domineering and paternalistic federalism by monitoring federal spending power. He even condemned some of the previous government's centralizing policies, such as the social union agreement.

When the Prime Minister stated in his Speech from the Throne that he wants to “place formal limits on the use of the federal spending power for new shared-cost programs”, is he not simply rehashing the social union agreement that was decried by the National Assembly?

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has kept its word. For the first time ever, the government will introduce legislation to place formal limits on the use of the federal spending power in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction.

Quebec's minister of intergovernmental affairs said that the federal government would try to pass a bill in Parliament to limit federal spending power. That is good news. That is a step in the right direction and it is worth celebrating.

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's minister of intergovernmental affairs also said that he would like to see the bill and that he wanted full financial compensation.

Here is an interesting quote: “Any new program will be designed so that non-participating provinces will be compensated, provided they establish equivalent or comparable initiatives.” That was part of Jean Chrétien's 1996 Speech from the Throne, and that is more or less what appears in the most recent Speech from the Throne.

Does the Prime Minister agree that this sounds strangely familiar?

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, none of the previous governments have introduced a bill, with the support of the government of Quebec, to meet the historic demands that the province has articulated over the past four decades.

I hope that the Bloc Québécois will support the Speech from the Throne and the measures described therein because we do not need the Bloc voting against Quebec's interests here.

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is true: we have the Conservatives.

In the Speech from the Throne, the government said that it would place limits on the use of the federal spending power for shared-cost programs. There is nothing stopping the government from continuing to encroach on Quebec's jurisdictions by launching programs that are not shared-cost, as it did with the Mental Health Commission.

Will the Prime Minister deny that that is exactly what the Speech from the Throne proposes?

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativePresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has already said this, and the Speech from the Throne stated it yesterday: we will table a bill. We are prepared to work with our Bloc colleague on an issue that is so important to the Bloc and to Quebeckers.

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister agree with the Quebec intergovernmental affairs minister that eliminating the federal spending power means that Quebec has an unconditional right to opt out with full financial compensation when the federal government encroaches on Quebec's exclusive jurisdictions?

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativePresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the Bloc is a separatist party but we are a federalist party and we will work together with the provinces, including Quebec, to ensure that when we do introduce new cost shared programs that we have the support of the majority of the provinces. If one province would like to opt out, as long as it delivers a comparable service to its citizens and we have comparable services across the country we will work with them.

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne continues to take this country in the wrong direction.

The Prime Minister has failed to bring back the entire clean air act. He has failed to change direction in the war on Afghanistan and he has failed to even acknowledge the growing prosperity gap that is making life tougher for Canadians, even middle class families.

The NDP will stand united against the Conservative agenda because we know where we stand.

Why has the Prime Minister abandoned fairness for ordinary Canadians?

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the House knows well, the throne speech addressed the very issues that the leader of the NDP just talked about: concerns about poverty, homelessness and some of the rising cost pressures on the middle class.

If the leader of the NDP had not decided several weeks before the throne speech was read that he would oppose it, he would have noticed these things in the throne speech.

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that in this speech there were no solutions to the problems facing families today. There is talk of the homeless, but no solutions were offered.

The government refuses to change directions when it comes to this war of aggression in Afghanistan. It refuses to propose an action plan for climate change.

The Prime Minister does not have the right or the mandate to do whatever he likes.

Why did he abandon today's families in this Speech from the Throne?

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, this government has acknowledged these problems, not only in the Speech from the Throne, but also in two budgets. As a matter of fact, we have helped Canadians by lowering taxes and investing in important programs to address poverty and help the middle class.

Once again, if the leader of the NDP had not decided several weeks ago to oppose this throne speech, he would have read it before commenting on it.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, to date, the government's Ministers of Public Safety, Foreign Affairs, Transport, Heritage, along with the Prime Minister's parliamentary secretary and 12 other Conservative MPs have been implicated in the in and out money scams.

Will the government inform the House now how much it will cost Canadian taxpayers for Elections Canada to defend itself from the frivolous, Conservative initiated court challenge?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I guess the Liberals have not yet decided what they will do on the throne speech and have nothing else to talk about.

Certainly I can tell the member this. What I do know--

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. I know it is the first question period in some time but I would ask hon. members to have some sympathy. My voice is weak today because of my cold. I cannot call for order at the normal tone and members may not be hearing me. We need to have some order so we can hear the answers and the questions.

The government House leader has the floor and we will have some order, please.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, the practices that our party is engaged in are the same as all other parties. In fact, we wanted to shine a light on that by inviting the procedure and House affairs committee to do a thorough study into the Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party and their use of transfers between national parties and riding associations dating back to 1997.

We were happy about a full investigation but they voted against it.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister respond to these questions?

Last year, the Conservatives admitted that they had violated the election financing laws and they had to resubmit their financial statements. They do not want to spend their money on lawyers who defend the rights of linguistic minorities in my province, yet they will pay lawyers to defend their partisan interests.

If the investigation finds that the Conservative Party is guilty, will the Prime Minister reimburse Canadians for his legal bills?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, of course we always comply with the law. We did in this particular case and we always will in the future.