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 #133 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, all our allies, all NATO allies, including the group that met in Quebec City, know that our military commitment is to the end of February 2009.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that there is a serious shortage of troops in Afghanistan.

Did the Minister of National Defence bring up this important issue with his allies last week in Quebec City? Did he take advantage of that wonderful opportunity to get help for Canadian soldiers who are currently paying a very steep price in southern Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our soldiers are the best equipped in NATO. Other nations come to see our equipment and they admire the equipment we have. We have provided the very best equipment to our soldiers.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the handling of bilingual signage on the display panels at Vimy during the 90th anniversary celebrations speaks volumes about this government's concern for the French language.

How can the Minister of National Defence explain to this House that no one in the Canadian military is capable of writing the panels in proper French? Do we not all agree that this is an affront to the French fact within the Canadian military?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

New Brunswick Southwest New Brunswick

Conservative

Greg Thompson ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the member would know, when that was brought to our attention, we took action immediately to have those signs removed. We did that immediately, long before it was brought to the attention of that member. We did the right thing.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the previous federal government closed the only francophone military college, that of Saint-Jean. The Conservative government changed the army's bilingualism policy to reduce the position of the French language. At Vimy, the French on the panels was incomprehensible. The importance of the language school in Saint-Jean is diminishing because of the military's new language policy.

In light of those facts, does this not demonstrate that the Minister of National Defence views French as the least of his concerns?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our government supports the Official Languages Act. We are applying the Official Languages Act within the defence department. We have a new plan because the previous Liberal plan failed year after year.

The member may note that more money is going into our site at Saint-Jean, and more students are passing through on language training.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

April 16th, 2007 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, will the minister explain how a powerless investigator, who has no legal authorities, helps RCMP officers find out exactly what happened to their pension fund and their insurance fund? The minister's investigator is acting under no known statutory authority whatsoever.

When will the government call for a full judicial inquiry that would have the legal authority to call witnesses and records, as this official opposition has called for since day one?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we want answers quickly, the RCMP wants answers quickly and so do Canadians. A full public inquiry could take years. That is a possibility if we do not get the answers.

I appreciate the comments by the RCMP Chief Superintendent Fraser Macaulay who has said he is pleased that an independent investigator will look into these allegations. He is very involved in this and I appreciate his view on this.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the simple fact is the RCMP officers deserve better. They deserve the full support of Parliament, they deserve the full support of the minister and the minister is letting them down.

Why is the government only concerned about talking when it comes to supporting the police in Canada and not interested in walking the walk and calling a full public inquiry now? Do the job.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, any time improvements have to be made or any time questions are raised they should be looked into.

On the other side of the ledger, from time to time it would be nice to hear from the opposition the things the RCMP is doing. We did not get one positive comment about its recent cross-country crime operations against the Hells Angels, with 169 charges, 31 arrests, drugs, guns, vehicles and real estate.

When that member was the parliamentary secretary involved in legal matters and items related to policing, she did nothing to raise these questions.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this issue is not about blind partisanship.

Why is the government blocking efforts to expose the alleged fraud in the RCMP pension and insurance funds and to expose subsequent cover-ups?

This money belongs to front line officers. It belongs to the courageous RCMP personnel who protect our communities. They deserve our support and the Canadian public needs the cloud hanging over the RCMP to be addressed in a transparent and fulsome manner.

Why will the minister not scrap the idea of a powerless investigator and appoint a full judicial inquiry?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Again, Mr. Speaker, we want answers quickly. We do not want to have to wait for what could be two years or three years. If at the end of the next couple of months, it is deemed that there needs to be more powers to pursue this further, then we will take a look at that.

The commissioner has said and committed that every RCMP officer will be coming forward who is required to come forward. We are going to pursue this.

I am also glad the member raised the issue of the pension fund because at three o'clock I will be tabling the latest status of the pension fund. The dollars are safe and they are sound. We want to find out what the problems were in terms of the oversight of that.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives say that they want to deal with the issues quickly.

Last year whistleblowers raised shocking concerns with parliamentarians of all parties about fraud, nepotism and cover ups of criminality at the top echelons of the RCMP. Unfortunately, Conservative MPs on the committee blocked our calls to get to the bottom of the scandal for months.

Whistleblowers and investigators faced constructive dismissals, and now the minister is putting up a constructive roadblock.

Will the minister appoint a full judicial inquiry, or is Conservative law and order at the discretion of the minister?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are moving right ahead with this investigation.

I might appreciate my hon. friend's sincerity a little more if it had been shown that when he was in the party in government he would have raised these questions, but he did not. Instead his modus operandi is much like he did a little while ago. He went to the Middle East and all of a sudden broke out in a panic. He said that there was a problem in the Middle East and then he suggested how to fix the problem. He said, “Let's delist Hezbollah”.

I wish when he had been in government he would have raised these issues. Now I am asking him to help us get to the bottom of this.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, our government wants to help Quebec's regions.

In order to do that, we have to support the agricultural sector. We want to stop youth out-migration and rural depopulation.

Can the Secretary of State for Agriculture) tell us what the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and he are doing to help our farmers and our regions?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeSecretary of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, for his excellent question.

Since coming to power, we have allocated no less than $4.5 billion to Canada's agricultural sector. I repeat: $4.5 billion. We have also kept our promises by protecting supply management and replacing CAIS.

Last week, in Sherbrooke, we announced yet another $3.2 million investment in research funding for 50 projects in Quebec alone. These promising projects will help our farmers and our regions.

Unlike the Bloc Québécois—which thinks, but does not act—and the Liberals—who do not want to do anything—we, the Conservatives, are coming through for the agricultural sector in Quebec and Canada.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats are proud of our influence in shaping the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and especially proud of Canada's women who demanded to be included.

What should be a 25th anniversary celebration of the charter is instead a scramble to protect advances gained by ordinary Canadians under the charter. Why? Because the government has shut down the court challenges program. Only the wealthy can afford constitutional challenges.

Will the Prime Minister today take a stand for the charter and reintroduce funding for the court challenges program?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this party has an enviable record with respect to human rights in our country.

Just recently, for instance, to ensure that people's rights are heard, we have announced the federal victims' ombudsman so individuals who have concerns will have somebody advocating on their behalf. The budget just announced stable funding for legal aid. This provides people with access to the criminal justice system.

This party does not need to take any lessons from anybody in this Parliament on the subject of human rights.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the court challenges program was very important to Canada's francophone communities. Ordinary Canadians have to use their own money to defend their Charter rights.

Big corporations and wealthy people who want to circumvent the Charter have an advantage over ordinary Canadians.

Can the Minister of Justice tell us what he really thinks of the Charter?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am from a party that has a long tradition of supporting human rights in our country, going back to Mr. Diefenbaker and the Canadian Bill of Rights, the extension of the franchise for women in the country.

I find it more than passing interesting that when I was a boy, aboriginal Canadians did not have the right to vote. The Conservative Party extended those rights to aboriginal Canadians. We have a long, proud history of that.

The charter of rights is a part of that proud history, and I am very proud to be associated with it.

Minister of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is at it again. He knows the rules: public servants must “avoid or withdraw from activities or situations, including procurement actions, that would place the public servant in real, potential or apparent conflict of interest—”.

When a minister holds shares in a company described as a “strategic partner” of another company to which his own department is going to award a $400 million contract, that looks like a conflict of interest. Or is it a conflict of interest for any Canadian except Michael Fortier?

Minister of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services has not been involved either directly or indirectly in the selection process for this contract or for any other contracts since he became Minister of Public Works last February.

Minister of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, who does not report to this House, believes that his appointment to the Senate allows him to circumvent the rules.

It is clear now that the new Public Service Integrity Office must open an inquiry into this matter, without delay.

Will the government agree to a full, fair and transparent inquiry, or will it expedite the process in order to quickly award this $400 million contract to Michael Fortier's friends?

Minister of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Quite a change of attitude on that side of the House, Mr. Speaker. Those members want to have an inquiry into a contract that has not even been signed yet.

As I said in answer to the first question, the minister was not involved either directly or indirectly in the selection process for this contract or for any other contracts since he became Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

We have been clear about this. We want an open, transparent government, and that is exactly what we are providing to Canadians. In fact, the new leader of the Liberal Party says that she is for that. If he does not believe me, she is right there. Elizabeth May, say hi.