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House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was bills.

Topics

Elections CanadaOral Questions

October 26th, 2007 / 11:25 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve answers from the Conservatives concerning the taxpayer subsidized in-and-out scam, but all they get from the Conservatives are delaying tactics in committee, evasive non-answers in the House, a lawsuit against Elections Canada, and now threats to silence those who would dare to ask questions.

They are doing everything to prevent the House from getting to the bottom of this scam while it is in session. We will not allow the government to avoid scrutiny through intimidation.

Will the government finally end its wall of silence and come clean, really clean, with Canadians?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this party and this government are really clean. What is different is the Liberal Party. If it believes it—

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. There seems to be excessive yelling today. I would remind hon. members it is Friday and perhaps we could just quiet down and be thankful it is Friday.

The government House leader has the floor and we want to hear the answer. A question was asked and it has provoked an answer.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have in my hands a flyer for a Liberal Party riding event tonight in Mississauga—Streetsville. It is an event not to miss, and proceeds will go to support Bonnie Crombie and the Mississauga—Streetsville Federal Liberal Association.

We all know that corporate contributions to political parties and riding associations are now banned. The flyer says, “Thank you to our Sponsors”, which include Great Lakes Brewery, Pizza Pizza, Barakah Foods.

That is why they have no credibility on these issues.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave us a mandate to keep an eye on the Conservatives.

The Conservatives' tactics in committee and in this House clearly show that they are trying to sweep the election spending issue under the carpet before the next election. Canadians deserve better.

Why is the government doing all it can to keep the truth about Conservative Party election spending from coming out? What do they have to hide? What exactly is it they fear?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.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 did not hear any explanation from my friend about those corporate sponsorships. I thought one thing the Liberals would never do was go anywhere near the word sponsorship again.

Notwithstanding that, this flyer, authorized by the CFO for the Mississauga—Streetsville Liberals, is for the event called “Spooktacular Carnival”. It is sponsored by all these corporate folks who are banned from making contributions to the Liberal Party. The only thing scary about this event is it shows the Liberal Party has not changed.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, not only has the Conservative Party exceeded the election spending limit by more than $1 million, it also tried to claim rebates from taxpayers to which it was not entitled. Even worse, we are told that part of the rebate money has already been paid out to Conservative riding associations.

Will the government commit today to get this taxpayer money back from the Conservative Party?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we have to admire the chutzpah and lack of shame of the Liberal Party. Notwithstanding this clear evidence, Liberals are still in the same old business, which the law does not permit, and they keep coming back with these questions.

The fact is this party has not changed. The Liberal Party has not changed. It continues to practise the same kind of practices clearly against the law, corporate contributions when they are not permitted. I have yet to hear an explanation.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, truth seems to needle the House leader.

The government must represent the interests of all Canadians, not the Conservative Party. When Elections Canada has ruled that the Conservative Party has broken the law, that it has tried to bilk taxpayers for millions of dollars and that a substantial amount has already been paid out, Canadians are demanding action.

Will the government stand up for Canadian taxpayers and demand that the Conservative Party repay any money it has already received from its election financing scheme?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:30 a.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 do not know if the hon. member is going to be at the corporate sponsored Liberal spooktacular tonight, but it is clear to me the Liberals have not changed.

The Conservative Party has not changed. We have always followed the law. We continue to follow the law. If the Liberals believed anything different on Wednesday, they would have voted to have an election. They did not. That is because even they do not believe their crazy allegations.

Nuclear EnergyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Energy Alberta Corporation, which promotes the use of nuclear energy for oil sands extraction, submitted a request for a licence to build new plants. The Prime Minister said, in the Speech from the Throne, that he would provide a single window for major project approvals.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the creation of this single window seeks, among other things, to relax the regulations governing the construction of new nuclear plants in Alberta?

Nuclear EnergyOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I am new to this portfolio. I am just becoming aware of the issues with regard to this. I know the minister has been working on the issue and will be continuing to work on it. He will consult with industry and with government as we move forward on this file.

Nuclear EnergyOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary will have to do his homework. The government is aware that the physical and environmental safety of Quebeckers and Canadians must be guaranteed, before facilitating the construction of new nuclear plants in Canada. This is why obtaining a licence takes so many years.

Does the government realize that relaxing the rules now, as suggested in the Speech from the Throne and as requested by Energy Alberta officials when they appeared before the parliamentary committee, while the issue of nuclear waste disposal remains unsolved, would be totally irresponsible?

Nuclear EnergyOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Let us be perfectly clear, Mr. Speaker. Whether it is in Alberta or in Ontario, this government has absolutely no intention whatsoever to water down any environmental or any nuclear safety regulation. This is something that is tremendously important for Canada.

The issue with respect to nuclear waste is a fair point, but it is better than pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. It is better than polluting our air and causing smog.

This government will work constructively with the Government of Alberta and with the province of Ontario to ensure that any provincially-led process will follow our environmental standards and nuclear safety standards to the fullest extent.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Lévis—Bellechasse tried to convince us that his government cares about our planet, and that it is acting accordingly. However, as regards the blue-green algae issue, this government refuses to act to prohibit the marketing of detergents containing phosphates, which are largely responsible for the growth of blue-green algae.

If this government truly cares about our environment, will it support the bill proposed by the Bloc Québécois to ban the use of phosphates in detergents?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. The government knows that the presence of blue-green algae in our lakes, rivers and reservoirs is a very serious issue. We are currently working in cooperation with the provinces, the industry and environmental leaders to find a solution to this major problem.

In fact, we have already taken action. In September, we made a major announcement to the effect that this government will be the first one in Canadian history to act.

We have acted and we have indicated very clearly that we will no longer allow the dumping of raw sewage into our lakes, rivers and oceans. This is real action to—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government really wants to show that it is determined to act, there is a very easy way to do so. It should simply amend the existing legislation, by adding phosphates to the list of banned products.

Will the government do that?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. Phosphates making their way into our rivers and lakes is a significant environmental concern. We believe that a more holistic approach is required. There is a definite issue with respect to consumer products. This only deals with 1% of the blue-green algae problem in our lakes and rivers.

That is why we are working with the provinces, with industry and with environmentalists on a comprehensive strategy, including the banning of dumping of raw sewage into our waterways. That is something that could have happened years ago but did not get done by previous governments.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, the former Conservative candidate in Bourassa, which is not in Mississauga—Streetsville, said he was asked to participate in the in-and-out scheme by Michael Fortier's lieutenant, Benoît Larocque. Mr. Larocque called this transaction just “in and out”.

Repeatedly, Conservatives have come forward explaining why Elections Canada has ruled that they exceeded their spending cap and claimed bogus rebates. Not once, not twice, but dozens of times.

Why will the minister responsible for Elections Canada not demand that the Conservative Party comply with the law? Why will he not answer the question just once?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:35 a.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 do not hear anybody from the Liberal Party answering the question on its “Spooktacular Carnival” with the corporate sponsorships, which the act does not permit, that is happening tonight. I do not know if the hon. member is going to this spooktacular.

But, seriously, we have responded clearly because our financing activities all conform with the law. They are consistent with the law, they have been in the past, and they will be in the future. They are consistent with the practices of other political parties.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, that is an answer disguised only as the truth.

The government claims this was local advertising but its own local candidates have said, “It's national advertising is what it is”. The House leader repeats the same answers that are no longer even tethered to reality or geography. They are not answers at all.

When will the government act responsibly, drop its wasteful lawsuit against Elections Canada and force the Conservative Party to comply with the law? No disguise.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, no disguise. The Liberals are going to be wearing disguises at the spooktacular, embarrassed about their corporate sponsorships.

That aside, we take these matters seriously within our party, even if the Liberal Party will not change. That is the party that took over $40 million of taxpayers money in the sponsorship scandal and never gave it back. We do not know where it is.

We did not do that, however. We just follow the law. All our activities conform with the law, and they will in the future. The accusations are false; he does not believe them himself.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was Conservative candidates who alerted Elections Canada to the fraud. These Conservative candidates told Elections Canada that the money was simply transferred in and out. That is all.

Furthermore, the Conservative candidate in Compton—Stanstead is even defending Elections Canada's decision. He said there was a reason behind what was done, but that it was illegal.

Will the Conservatives finally admit that they have been caught red-handed once again and that they did not have the right to do what they did?