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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was athletes.

Topics

Security InformationOral Questions

11:20 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 am sure the hon. member knows well that this government does not control the media in this country, anything but, and the issue he is talking about was written by respected journalists.

However, yesterday the Prime Minister clearly invited the hon. member and members of the opposition, if there were anything in that article that they wished to deny, to do that.

The main issue here is the lives that have been lost to terrorism. Over 350 Canadians lost their lives in the Air-India incident, one of the worst terrorist incidents in the history of the world. We need the tools to investigate those threats. We need the Liberals to vote for the anti-terrorist measures that they brought in themselves five years ago. We need them to support that legislation.

Security InformationOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court of Canada has just ruled that security certificates are invalid because they violate fundamental rights.

As a result of this ruling, will the government abandon its George Bush tactics and amend the law as quickly as possible so that those charged under a security certificate may have access to the evidence in order to have a full and complete defence?

Security InformationOral Questions

11:20 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 thank my colleague for his question. The government intends to respond decisively and in due course to the Supreme Court of Canada ruling.

Security InformationOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the House that the Bloc Québécois voted against this type of measure in 2002.

The Supreme Court goes even further. It unanimously deplores the fact that judges do not have access to all the evidence since the suspect cannot provide a defence.

Does the government intend to amend the legislation to give judges the full capacity to rule on security certificates presented to them, thus enabling them to hand down informed rulings?

Security InformationOral Questions

11:20 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, there is no way the Bloc Québécois voted against the motion because the procedure for issuing security certificates has been around for several decades. The Bloc could not possibly have been here at that time.

The government intends to respond decisively and in due course to the Supreme Court of Canada ruling.

Security InformationOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us first recall that the Anti-Terrorism Act was passed in 2001.

The fears of those who have grasped how important it is to safeguard basic rights and freedoms have recently been confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada. The government has gone too far in its drift in security policy, with the security certificates.

Will the government finally realize that nothing can be more important to the security of our fellow citizens than respect for basic rights? Will it amend the Anti-Terrorism Act accordingly?

Security InformationOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, Canada's new government does thank the Supreme Court for its decision on security certificates. We have just received the decision and are reviewing it carefully. The security certificate process was put in place to protect Canadians against threats to their safety and security and the government does intend to respond in a timely and decisive fashion to address the court's decision.

Security InformationOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court has given the government a maximum of one year. Meanwhile, other people are remaining subject to draconian surveillance.

Out of respect for these men, will the government take swift action to address the security certificate deficiencies and allow these people to regain their rights as soon as possible?

Security InformationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we have just received the Supreme Court's decision. It will be reviewed very carefully and the government will respond in a timely and decisive fashion.

Security and Prosperity Partnership of North AmericaOral Questions

February 23rd, 2007 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, discussions on the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America affect ordinary people. However, this whole process, launched by the Liberals and pursued by the Conservatives, is very vague.

Secret talks are being held on security, transportation, the environment, health care and increasingly deeper integration, all without the mandate of Parliament and without any public input on integration.

Why does the minister refuse to reveal the agenda of these meetings?

Security and Prosperity Partnership of North AmericaOral Questions

11:25 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, the member for Toronto—Danforth is always imagining conspiracies, but the reality is that this is a very open and transparent process.

It is an agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico designed to facilitate as much as possible the movement of individuals and trade, and to ensure that we can protect our economic security in the process and ensure prosperity for all.

The hon. member will see from the result of the discussions and what happens today that it will be a good result for all Canadians, and that we should continue this process in a very positive way. He need not have such frightening conspiracies.

Security and Prosperity Partnership of North AmericaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

We are not doing the frightening, Mr. Speaker. Things got so bad yesterday that the government had to issue a press release claiming that it was not selling out Canadian sovereignty. When the Conservatives do that, it usually means they are. That is our experience.

The fact is, these discussions are worrisome to all Canadians. They have been incredibly secret from the get go and there has been no public input. The government has not sought out the opinion of parliamentarians or the public on it. Of course, the Conservatives think they know best.

The fact is that integration is marching on and Canadians are being left in the dark as our economy, our environment, and our social systems are all put up for deep integration.

Why will the government not just simply tell us the truth and tell us what--

Security and Prosperity Partnership of North AmericaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. government House leader.

Security and Prosperity Partnership of North AmericaOral Questions

11:25 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, the member for Toronto—Danforth's conspiracy theory is usually concerned that we are taking too strong a role on the world's stage. Now he thinks it is the other way around.

However, he is in good company with his conspiracy theories because I read today in the Ottawa Citizen that in the U.S., right-wing commentators say any talk of further integration of North America will erode U.S. security and long term economic prosperity.

On the fringes of the far right, there are loud whispers among hardened conspiracy theorists that this is part of a secret plot to eventually overthrow the U.S. government.

Prime MinisterOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable that there are government leaks aimed at creating misunderstandings, fuelling fears and casting aspersions on someone. The Prime Minister's attempt to use protected information to cast aspersions on a member of this House is also unacceptable and offensive. The Prime Minister's Office distributed the article published in the Vancouver Sun to the media, before the Prime Minister even rose in the House.

Why did the Conservative Party go to so much trouble, without even verifying the facts?

Prime MinisterOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that if the hon. member has an issue with the The Vancouver Sun, he should take it up with the The Vancouver Sun.

Prime MinisterOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, after being shamed in the House, Conservative members still persist in continuing to cast aspersions, even outside the House.

The Conservative caucus chair, duly following his PMO's instructions, even concluded that the father-in-law of the member for Mississauga—Brampton South is a suspect. It is yet another example of the government's complete disregard for the truth.

Is the Prime Minister suggesting that the RCMP and CSIS got it wrong when the member for Mississauga—Brampton South was security cleared as a privy councillor in 2005?

Prime MinisterOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House that on October 5, the subcommittee turned over a report to the standing committee which brought it to the House on October 17. That committee included members for Ajax—Pickering, Richmond, Saint John and Mount Royal.

From that time until now, the only thing that happened in the middle was the Liberal leadership convention, and two weeks ago they changed their mind.

Prime MinisterOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, the Prime Minister not only tried to cast aspersions on an hon. member, but he also cast aspersions on the integrity of the executive branch of the Canadian government.

Members of the Privy Council have access to top secret documents. Their security clearances are among the highest in the world. They are subject to detailed investigations.

Why did the Prime Minister attack the integrity of the Privy Council and the executive branch of this government?

Prime MinisterOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals can flail about all they want to try to change the channel on the main issue. The issue today is why have they changed their position on protecting Canadians through the provisions of the Anti-terrorism Act that are about to sunset?

The House committee, the Senate committee, John Manley, Anne McLellan, and every right thinking person believe that these provisions should be extended to protect Canadians. Why do the Liberals flip-flop on this issue?

Air-India InquiryOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, no answer. No apology. No class.

Yesterday, the minister falsely claimed, and the government House leader did today as well, that allowing the two anti-terrorist provisions to sunset would impede the Air-India inquiry.

The terms of reference of that inquiry state that the inquiry may produce findings or recommendations, but the inquiry itself would never use those provisions. This means that the sunsetting has no effect on the inquiry.

Would the government like to take the opportunity to correct the minister's and the government House leader's misleading statements to the country and this House?

Air-India InquiryOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, prior to September 11, the Air-India terrorist act was the worst terrorist act in this country's history. For the families of the Air-India terrorist act to ever get to the truth these provisions have to continue to allow the RCMP to continue its investigation. What do the hon. members have against the RCMP finishing its investigation?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development probably got carried away when he contended that 83% of all people who find themselves unemployed are able to get employment insurance benefits. The minister is mistaken. The reality is such that over 40% of unemployed workers do not get any benefits, even though they paid premiums.

Given these numbers, the minister has no choice but to improve the program, so that it is not just over half of unemployed workers who get benefits, but all of them. What is the minister waiting for to take action?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to mention to the hon. member that 83% of the people who can access the EI account do in fact access it. The people he is speaking about are people who have not qualified and have not been entitled because they did not have enough weeks, they were self-employed, or did not pay into employment insurance. That is why his figures are absolutely incorrect.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a program for which only 40% of all unemployed workers qualify. This is totally unacceptable.

If the minister is short of ideas, he should read Bill C-269, presented by the Bloc Québécois, which proposes to increase the rate of weekly benefits, to reduce the qualifying period to a minimum of 360 hours of work, and to calculate benefits by using the best 12 weeks. All that is missing for this bill to become law is the will of the Conservative government.

What is the government waiting for to move forward with this legislation?