This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was immigration.

Topics

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 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, the member for Ajax—Pickering is taking his role as Nancy Drew in the House very seriously. Every player in this saga has indicated that the Minister of the Environment had no involvement whatsoever. The OPP has publicly cleared the Minister of the Environment, yet he persists in repeatedly making these accusations.

He should follow the lead of his whip. He should acknowledge his questions have been misplaced. He should show one iota of class and graciously apologize to the minister.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister misrepresents the facts. I would ask the minister to listen carefully and answer honestly. I am talking about OPP evidence, evidence that links the Minister of the Environment and other top Conservatives to a federal bribe, evidence that the director of police anti-rackets unit wanted to share with the RCMP, but was muzzled.

My question is clear. Did any members of the government have any communication with the RCMP or the OPP in the 24 hours prior to yesterday's flip-flop, yes or no?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 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, let us take this opportunity to examine the actions of the member for Ajax—Pickering. He repeatedly accuses the Minister of the Environment of a criminal act. The police cleared the minister of that criminal act completely and absolutely.

Does the member for Ajax—Pickering apologize? No. He turns around and then suggests that the police have been involved in a criminal cover-up.

It is an embarrassment to Parliament. He is not a rat pack; he is just a sad hack.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, for two days, participants in the forestry summit taking place in Quebec City have been looking for solutions to help the forestry industry, which is going through an unprecedented crisis. During the prebudget tour I just did in all the regions of Quebec, all the stakeholders in Shawinigan, Gatineau, Cabano and Saguenay told us that the $1 billion the Bloc Québécois is suggesting that the government invest in forestry is absolutely necessary and is one of those solutions.

Does the Minister of Finance, who has the resources, plan to take advantage of his meeting with his counterparts today to announce that he will commit the $1 billion needed to help the forestry sector, which is in dire need?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sure members opposite know the investment is well over $1 billion. It is $1.3 billion in accelerated capital cost allowance, which was announced in the budget in March. In addition, about $12 billion for Quebec industry was announced on October 30 in long term business tax reductions that are permanent for manufacturers in Canada.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, clearly, this is not working. In no way has this money produced the expected results.

Following on the heels of the unions and the forest producers' associations, the Union des municipalités du Québec is saying the government must help the forestry sector. Everyone is saying that it is irresponsible to use the entire surplus to pay down the debt. If the minister is short of ideas, I invite him to adopt the Bloc Québécois' proposals to help the forestry sector, such as the refundable tax credit for research and development and loan guarantees for machinery purchases.

Will he do so? Will he shoulder his responsibilities and give a chance to the forestry sector, which truly deserves one?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to listening to my colleagues from the provinces and the territories later today when we meet about what ideas they may have.

However, for the member opposite, in terms of a surplus, yes, we have an operating surplus, but we have a public debt in Canada, built up in the seventies, eighties and nineties, of well in excess of $400 billion. It is like saying, “I have a big mortgage on the house, but I got a raise at work and therefore I shouldn't be paying down the mortgage”.

This is just an operating surplus. We have a large public debt and we are committed to paying it down.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are hiding behind the Constitution to avoid acknowledging the primacy of the French language in the Canada Labour Code even though a legal scholar, Henri Brun, has stated that the constitutional element is not a problem. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages says that the government respects Quebec's areas of jurisdiction, but that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about the Canada Labour Code, which falls under federal jurisdiction and is her government's responsibility.

Speaking of responsibility, will the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages accept her responsibilities? Why is her government opposed to the fact that the Canada Labour Code recognizes the right of workers to work in French everywhere in Quebec?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Québécois have raised this issue many times here in the House, and many times, we have pointed out that our government will shoulder its responsibilities, which means that it will promote our two official languages at the federal level. I invite the Bloc to heed Mr. Landry's sage advice. The former Parti Québécois premier of Quebec asked the troops to cease provoking pointless confrontations.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, statistics indicate that the French language is losing ground in Canada and even in Quebec. Even so, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages and her government are opposing the Bloc Québécois' bill, as we saw at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. More outrageous still is the fact that this minister, a Quebecker, who is also responsible for Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations, is saying that protecting the French language is a pointless confrontation.

Does the minister think that protecting the French language is pointless?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our government has made a firm commitment to promoting both of our country's official languages, including French. The Bloc could have supported us when we announced consultations. We made a firm commitment to developing the next phase of the action plan for official languages. I invite the members of the Bloc to work with us on that.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

December 12th, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, one might think that the government would want the RCMP to examine this issue, since it says it has nothing to hide. On Monday, Superintendent Truax confirmed that the OPP would hand over its files to the RCMP and said that his representatives would meet with RCMP officials this week to discuss the matter. This reversal is absolutely shocking.

Has the Prime Minister read the OPP files? Can he tell us what pieces of evidence concerning his friends are clearly false?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 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, the statement from the Ontario Provincial Police could not be more clear. It was as follows: “Our investigation has not caused us to believe any further investigation should be conducted.”

The minister has been completely and absolutely clear. In a circumstance like this, one would hope that the Liberal Party would realize the error of its ways and apologize.

The following are members who have been complicit in dragging this smear on for months and they should apologize: the members for Ajax—Pickering, Hull—Aylmer, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Mississauga—Erindale, Halifax West, Vancouver Centre, York West, Beauséjour, and Saint Boniface.

They should all apologize to this House and they should be--

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no guarantee that we will have any apologies and we have no intention of issuing any apologies.

We are simply raising questions about the OPP evidence. This evidence suggests that John Reynolds, the Minister of the Environment and other Conservatives played a role in a criminal offence involving a bribe in the form of a federal appointment.

Can the government confirm that it has conducted its own internal investigation of the matter? Will it make its findings public, yes or no?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:45 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 will read again the statement from the superintendent of the Ontario Provincial Police, not an agency of the federal government. The statement is clear and it states: “Unless they were advised by us that wrongdoing on the part of a federal official was found and reported by us, no further action would be taken. Our investigation has not caused us to believe any further investigation should be conducted”.

The OPP has cleared the minister entirely and completely. Opposition members should apologize to the minister and to this House, and if they wish to persist in these smears, in the context of being cleared by the police, they should do it outside and face the consequences.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday at the ethics committee, Karlheinz Schreiber testified that he had numerous meetings and discussions with Brian Mulroney and his ministers concerning the Bear Head project, including at 24 Sussex, Harrington Lake and the Prime Minister's Office.

Has the government provided all its documents on the Mulroney government's Bear Head project to Dr. Johnston, so that he is able to set proper terms of reference for the public inquiry?

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there is a process in place that is now at the ethics committee. In addition, the government took very quick action when allegations were made in an affidavit. We have tasked Professor Johnston with setting the terms of a public inquiry.

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister received all the details concerning Brian Mulroney's involvement in the Bear Head affair months ago, but we are told that no one read those letters. This excuse is almost as unbelievable as that of the Minister of National Defence, who said that all the letters he received from Mr. Schreiber were shredded before they were read. It is a little like receiving cash, so no one can find out.

Will the Prime Minister intervene and stop the shredders?

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is incredible, the questions that come from the Liberal Party of Canada today. We have tasked Professor Johnston to fairly set the parameters for a public inquiry and we should let Professor Johnston do his work.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government has introduced the toughest plan in Canadian history to reduce greenhouse gases and protect our environment. Under the previous Liberal government, greenhouse gases skyrocketed.

We are acting. For the first time ever, Canadian industry will be forced to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution.

I have a question for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment. Can he tell us what action our government is taking to turn the corner on the disastrous environmental record of the previous Liberal government?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, with our government's turning the corner plan, Canada is taking real action on climate change.

This morning the Minister of the Environment put industries in Canada on notice that they will have to submit their air emissions information within the next six months.

We have one of the toughest targets in the world and we are going to enforce those targets. The previous Liberal government talked about protecting the environment and did absolutely nothing.

This is the government that is getting it done on the environment.

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to cleaning up Canadian politics, the government did not get the job done.

It has been exactly 12 months since the Federal Accountability Act passed. There is still no public appointments commission to put an end to patronage. There is still no parliamentary budget officer to end the budget fraud engaged in by the government. There is still no lobbyist registration act to tie a bell around the necks of lobbyists and the government broke its promise completely on reforming the Access to Information Act.

When it comes to transparency, why does it not come clean with the Canadian people and admit it did not get the job done?

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has its facts wrong again. The Federal Accountability Act is the toughest anti-corruption legislation in Canadian history.

We have created ironclad protection for whistleblowers with the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. For the first time ever, secret donations to political candidates have been banned.

We have strengthened the power of the Ethics Commissioner by creating a new agent of Parliament and bringing into force a new Conflict of Interest Act. We will be announcing new Lobbying Act regulations in a few short weeks. We have a five-year ban on public office holders from lobbying.

Federal Accountability ActOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the first anniversary of the Federal Accountability Act, we have backwoods Tories lining up at the trough for their piece of the public action. The reason why is because the PM has kiboshed a key element of the act which is the public appointments commission.

Now we have had almost a thousand appointments in place and it is beginning to look like a rogues gallery of old style Conservative cronies.

My question is simple. Why is the government engaged in old style, pork-barrel, rum bottle politics that is without any accountability or transparency?