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House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was voters.

Topics

AirbusOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, in March the Prime Minister's Office received serious allegations about the Mulroney-Schreiber affair and now he blames the Privy Council Office for the cover-up.

Does it make sense that a few weeks later the Privy Council would send the Prime Minister to deliver a tribute at an embassy dinner to honour the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney? The PCO put out a media advisory, a press release and even published the speech on the government website.

Are Canadians supposed to believe the Privy Council would send the Prime Minister off to praise Brian Mulroney and not warn him about the serious allegations of abuse?

AirbusOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the office of the Prime Minister does not engage in letter writing campaigns with individuals who are facing a variety of charges.

I will say, and it is now a matter of public record, that immediately upon receiving a signed affidavit by Mr. Schreiber of certain allegations, the Prime Minister and this government took action. We will see a process in place, leading to a full public inquiry to explore all of the questions that need to be answered.

AirbusOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was not the only government member celebrating Mr. Mulroney. There were 14 cabinet ministers, including the Minister of Transport.

The current defence minister regaled all with a toast. The Prime Minister's speech that night said, “effective leaders in due time are recognized and rewarded. So it is with Mr. Mulroney”: $300,000 worth.

How are Canadians supposed to believe PCO would approve the speech, but not brief the Prime Minister or his staff about the very serious allegations?

AirbusOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, immediately upon receiving a signed affidavit from Mr. Schreiber about certain allegations, the Prime Minister and the government launched what will lead to a full public inquiry.

I think the member opposite should exercise some caution. I understand he may have received some letters already about certain things he has said, and he should be careful.

AirbusOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in February 1998, when Brian Mulroney met with Karlheinz Schreiber at a hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, who was with him? The Minister of Transport's chief of staff, Paul Terrien.

Now that we know that, can the government assure us that it will not limit the inquiry's mandate simply to protect the Minister of Transport's chief of staff from having to testify under oath as to what really happened that day?

AirbusOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, anybody who knows and has seen the record of Professor Johnston knows that he is not the type of individual who will be restricted, nor have restrictions been put on him.

What we will see is a very full and public inquiry along the guidelines that he will suggest. We fully expect that all the way along we will hear ridiculous and bizarre assertions from across the way. However, we will be looking for this full public inquiry and we will be looking for the answers it brings forward.

AirbusOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

What we hear are ridiculous answers, Mr. Speaker.

When Mr. Schreiber indicated to the Prime Minister's Office that he had made an agreement with Brian Mulroney before he left public life, this government tried to cover up the affair for months.

This begs the question. Did the chief of staff for the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Paul Terrien, play a role in this cover-up operation?

In fact, is the government trying as much as possible to limit the mandate of the public inquiry in order to cover up the role played by Mr. Terrien in this whole affair?

AirbusOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, it is clear that hon. members are disappointed because we are now proceeding with a public inquiry. And we will get answers.

It is very important to acknowledge that it was the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada that asked for a public inquiry. And that is exactly what we will have with the suggestion of Mr. Johnston.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said in this House, “We have no evidence of systematic torture of detainees”.

The minister is therefore admitting that there is torture in Afghan prisons, but since it is not systematic, it is not too serious.

I want to remind the minister, who should know this article, that article 12 of the Geneva convention clearly stipulates that prisoners may not be transferred to a country that engages in torture. Yet it continues, whether it is systemic or not.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his government is systematically violating the Geneva convention when it continues—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am sorry to have to interrupt the hon. member for Saint-Jean.

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I recently wrote to my counterpart in Afghanistan, the foreign minister, to formally ask that serious, formal, exhaustive investigations be launched into these allegations of abuse.

I want to inform the House that this morning, I had a telephone discussion with my counterpart, the Afghan foreign minister, and he assured me that an investigation was under way into these allegations in Afghanistan. I have the assurance that my government could take part in this investigation, if necessary.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government initially claimed that this was Taliban propaganda, that the Taliban were making up stories and that there were no problems in Afghan prisons. Recently, President Karzai said there was a problem, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs admitted as much yesterday.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for to act? What is needed is not investigations, but action by the Prime Minister to suspend prisoner transfers immediately. He can no longer deny the facts. There are seven alleged cases of torture. What is he waiting for to act? He must act now.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we never said there were no challenges. There are always challenges, and we are working with the Afghan government.

Having said that, I am surprised that my colleague from Saint-Jean is rising to ask a question, because he has said, “Certainly for us, it is a promotion to go to the National Assembly. The future is in the National Assembly, not in Ottawa”.

If there is no future here in Ottawa, I suggest that my colleague from Saint-Jean do what his colleague from Saint-Lambert did and go talk to the Parti Québécois about becoming a PQ candidate.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

This minister is such a jerk!

Manufacturing SectorOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the 1980s, the Bank of Canada's monetary policy, which was tailor-made to resolve Ontario's problems, had disastrous effects on Quebec's economy. Now the same thing is happening again, with the west reaping the benefits at the expense of the manufacturing sector.

Now that even the Bank of Canada is concerned about the devastating effects of the rising dollar on jobs in the manufacturing sector, will the Minister of Finance use his legal power to advise the governor to ensure that the latter's policies will not damage this key sector in Quebec?

Manufacturing SectorOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it would not be the habit of this government to interfere with the Bank of Canada. It is completely separate from this government and we would never suggest that we would do that.

We need to remember that jobs are very important to the economy in this country. We all understand the seriousness when people are losing jobs. There are many other factors, such as the value of the Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the American dollar. There are a lot of other factors involved besides Bank of Canada money rates.

Manufacturing SectorOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister says that he does not want to interfere in monetary policy. Yet, in the debate over a single currency for the Americas, he stated that we have to keep the Canadian dollar in order to retain control over our monetary policy. He cannot have it both ways. It is paradoxical, to say the least.

The Minister of Finance controls the tools that can help the manufacturing sector. When will he hurry up and implement the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology's fiscal recommendations, such as refundable tax credits for research and development and loan guarantees? The time for the government to act is now. Quebec's manufacturing sector is going downhill quickly.

Manufacturing SectorOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member had actually read the budget as well as the economic statement, there were a number of measures put in both of those pieces that will stimulate the economy, that will stimulate industry. We have reduced income tax rates for corporations. We have reduced personal income tax rates. We have put in an accelerated capital cost allowance for corporations to invest in machinery to help stimulate their business, to increase the job opportunities for Canadians.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister worked for Mr. Schreiber at Thyssen on the Bear Head project in Cape Breton. That is the project Mr. Mulroney allegedly offered to lobby to move to Quebec for a $300,000 stash of cash. Former Mulroney staffer, Fred Doucet, is also a key broker in this affair. He set up the Harrington Lake tea time and tried to create a paper trail to cover the tracks. The same Fred Doucet is now registered to lobby the defence minister on seven major procurement projects.

Can the minister tell us when and if his staff had contact with Mr. Schreiber's friend, Fred Doucet?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear what has happened here.

From the very first day when the Prime Minister announced the process of a full public inquiry and leading up to that, from that very first moment the Leader of the Opposition did not understand it, did not get it, did not even hear it.

Really what it comes down to is members opposite are very disappointed that they are about to see the unrolling of a full public inquiry and they are trying to take on the role themselves. We understand that politically, but Canadians are assured a full public inquiry is what is needed and Professor Johnston is looking at the rules that will govern that.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, Fred Doucet and the defence minister do go way back. They worked on the same contract at Schreiber's company. Mr. Doucet was even in the room when the minister signed his broken pact with David Orchard.

The government is considering a $45 million space project in Cape Breton. Who is the lobbyist on the file? Fred Doucet.

If the minister's bite is as good as his bark and if he truly believes in accountability, would the defence and ACOA minister please table all records related to lobbying Mr. Doucet has done at either of his ministries?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, a full public inquiry is going to answer the questions related to the situation with Mr. Mulroney. That is very clear. That is going to be unfolded.

I have to say we certainly understand the opposition raising questions on this. We have questions. The Prime Minister has questions. Canadians have questions.

But the credibility of the Liberals would be a little bit fortressed if while they are asking these questions, they would also help us in some other investigations that are going on, for instance, the $40 million that somebody over there or some of their friends are still hiding related to the Gomery inquiry. I wish they would help us with that.

AfghanistanOral Questions

November 15th, 2007 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, in paragraph 20 of the standard operating procedures that Canada uses for inspections, it says explicitly that Canadians may request the return of detainees if there is a danger to them. We know now that since June 2007 the Canadian Forces have transferred more than 83 detainees to the Afghan authorities.

Now that we know there is abuse and torture and that the Conservatives cannot hide it or cover it up any more, will the defence minister order to put an end to these transfers, request that the detainees be returned to Kandahar airfield and show a clear intention this time to respect the Geneva convention?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, we are very confident of the measures that have been put in place in the May agreement which was a supplementary agreement which improved upon the lacklustre agreement that was in place previous to that.

Clearly, the measures that are taken now do ensure that we have greater access. They do ensure that we have greater ability to track detainees, Taliban prisoners. I am sure that the hon. member opposite has more questions he will want to pose about the well-being of the Taliban prisoners.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have another question for Mr. Schreiber's friend.

What is disappointing here is that the Conservative government knew for a long time that there was torture and did nothing. While President Karzai was admitting there was torture, the Conservatives were talking about Taliban propaganda.

Prisoners are forced to remain standing for 10 days. They are attached to trees with chains. Some prisoners were even transferred to the Sarpoza prison, where the warden at the time was a known pedophile and child rapist. We know all this and continue the transfers. This is unacceptable.

Does the Prime Minister plan on putting an end to all this and respecting the Geneva Convention once and for all?