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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Canada Transportation ActGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I will consider that matter concluded.

The hon. member for Alfred-Pellan has two or three minutes before 6:30 p.m.

Canada Transportation ActGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was talking about the final item to be amended by this bill. It is important to continue. The seventh aim is to ensure that the abandonment and transfer provisions apply to lines that are transferred to local lines under provincial jurisdiction and subsequently revert to a federal railway, including the obligation to honour contracts with public passenger service providers.

Those are the amendments proposed by the bill. Indeed, the main point of this bill has to do with the disagreements between the western grain transporters and the railway companies. Although this is happening outside Quebec, the Bloc Québécois is interested in playing a constructive role and always defending the interests of those who are not treated fairly.

Bill C-8 is an attempt to strike a better balance between the power of the railway companies and the people who produce and ship products, including grain producers, who do not own the rails and who have to get their hopper cars to destinations all over Canada. They feel oppressed by the railway companies. Thus, the purpose of this bill is to strike a balance.

The proposed amendments respond to the concerns of shippers—particularly western Canadian grain producers—about railway transportation prices and services, while also providing the railways with regulatory stability. It is time to improve the balance for grain producers, among others, who use their own railway cars. The Conservative government and the Liberals have often had the tendency of giving free reign to the market, with the result that some producers may have been exploited.

Various amendments also affect arbitration. The objectives of the Canada Transportation Act, prior to these amendments, required that the Canadian Transportation Agency take into account the matter of substantial commercial harm. Bill C-8 proposes to remove the reference to substantial commercial harm, because there was always substantial harm when the Canadian Transportation Agency had to hear the arguments of the railway companies.

In the end, those who do not own the rails lose every time. The railway companies always succeed in proving substantial commercial harm where there is none. That will now be subject to arbitration, which will be a means of settling disputes between shippers and the railways—

Canada Transportation ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. Unfortunately, I must interrupt the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan, as we must proceed with the orders of the day.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 6:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division at report stage of Bill C-28.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #23

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare Motion No. 1 lost.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #24

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

7 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the spring, the Ontario Provincial Police have been conducting an investigation into whether a senior Conservative member was involved in an alleged offer by Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien to appoint Terry Kilrea to the National Parole Board. Today, Mr. O'Brien was charged under two sections of the Criminal Code, namely sections 121 and 125. The two charges involve an offer of a federal appointment in exchange for Mr. Kilrea dropping out of the mayoral race.

The issue is not whether Mr. Kilrea accepted the offer. In fact, we know he has sworn that he turned down Mr. O'Brien's offer. The issue is whether an offer was negotiated. For the government, the issue is whether it knew about these negotiations and, if it knew, why it refused to step in to prevent them from continuing or to report these illicit discussions to the authorities.

Let me provide some contextual information. The Minister of the Environment is a friend and former political ally of Mr. Kilrea. Mr. Kilrea supported him in past federal and provincial election campaigns. In return, the Minister of the Environment, with his then parliamentary secretary, had even agreed to hold fundraisers to help Mr. Kilrea in his nomination for the office of mayor.

In an email that the minister received from Mr. Kilrea, which appears in court records, it is clear that the minister was aware that Mr. O'Brien had made such an offer. Nonetheless, what is not clear is why the minister did nothing to put a stop to those negotiations. The minister was close to both men and, once again, it seems nothing was done to put an end to the discussions.

Furthermore, it seems the provincial police have evidence that the minister may have met with Mr. O'Brien in an Ottawa restaurant during the period in which he met with Mr. Kilrea. Again, if this meeting did indeed take place, there is nothing to suggest that the minister tried to ensure that this illegal offer was dropped.

There is also evidence to suggest the Prime Minister's campaign chair from the last two elections may have played a role in these negotiations, and Mr. O'Brien has admitted to having discussions about this offer with him. We also know that Mr. O'Brien was a fundraiser for the Alliance. In fact, at one point he even offered to help raise half a million dollars to make sure that the Minister of Public Safety was not re-elected leader in 2002. We all know who was elected leader, thanks to people like Mr. O'Brien, do we not? That is right: the current Prime Minister.

This is a situation that calls for a thorough investigation to ensure the integrity of public office holders and Conservative Party staffers who may have been implicated in this investigation. It seems that the best place to do so is before the courts.

We have been asking questions on this for months and all we have received are denials on the part of the government. With criminal charges now laid against Mayor O'Brien, denials will no longer do. I might add that the last time we heard similar denials coming from the Conservative Party was in the case of Alan Riddell being offered cash to step aside for Allan Cutler in the last election.

As my colleague from Ajax—Pickering pointed out today, the Prime Minister's denials concerning this offer at the time seem to have been proven contrary in the courts. Now we have this issue of a potential bribery offence before the courts.

My question is the following: why does the Prime Minister simply not ensure the integrity of this government by calling for his minister to step down until the issue has been resolved before the courts?

7:05 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, let me say at the outset that I am both ashamed and disappointed to have to stand in this House tonight and respond to a scurrilous attack on the reputation of one of our members, the Minister of the Environment. The Minister of the Environment has consistently and vehemently denied any involvement in the case to which the hon. member refers. This case, as the member opposite suggests, is before the courts and it would probably be inappropriate to comment any further, except to say that this pattern of smear and innuendo is nothing new to the member's party opposite.

In fact, last week there was one of the most disgusting displays of smear and partisan attacks on a member's reputation that I have ever seen in this place. Last week the member for London—Fanshawe and the member for Kitchener Centre went out of their way to attack the good reputation of one of my colleagues, the member for Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam by implying that my colleague was watching soft pornography on his laptop in this House. What happened? Both of those members had to apologize afterward.

It seems that members opposite, whether they be in the NDP or the Liberal Party, continuously are trying to create scandals where no scandal exists, but they cannot do any damage to this government and its reputation. We have created a government in which there are no scandals and no untoward activities, and the member knows it, and he knows they are not making any headway in trying to criticize government policy, so the only thing left to the member and his party in a desperate attempt to curry favour with the general electorate is to try and smear the reputations of members on this side of the House in some sordid attempt to bring this government's reputation down, down to the level of that member.

Let me say that attacks such as that, personal attacks on any member of this side are beneath the dignity of that member, beneath the dignity of this House and frankly, beneath contempt.

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, both Mr. Kilrea and Mr. Baird have said they met in Mr. Baird's parliamentary office on Wednesday, July 19, 2006—

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Having held the office I hold, the hon. member has a great deal of experience in this House and should know that we never name another member.

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, you are quite right. I apologize.

Both Mr. Kilrea and the Minister of the Environment have said they met in the parliamentary office of the Minister of the Environment on Wednesday, July 19, 2006. Mr. Kilrea says in his sworn statement that neither he nor the Minister of the Environment ever talked about the appointment to the National Parole Board. But when the minister was questioned by police on May 4, 2007, he said that he had talked about the appointment at that meeting and that he had told Mr. Kilrea that he could not, in all honesty, recommend him for that appointment.

The problem for the Minister of the Environment is that Mr. Kilrea has passed a lie detector test about his sworn statement and the minister has not.

The Minister of the Environment knew that an offer had been discussed—

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my original comments, it is a sad day for me to stand in this House and try to respond to these scurrilous attacks by the member opposite on the reputation of one of my colleagues, the Minister of the Environment.

It is no wonder that most Canadians these days are concerned about the reputation of parliamentarians when they hear such vicious, unfounded, unwarranted attacks.

If the member had any dignity whatsoever, and if other members in the House who continue to engage in the same unwarranted, scurrilous attacks had any dignity, they would apologize in this place and apologize now. Unfortunately, I do not think we will see an apology from the member or any of his colleagues any time in the near future, and that is truly something to be ashamed of.