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House of Commons Hansard #173 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post-secondary.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

June 18th, 2007 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the media obtained a Privy Council report from November 2006. It detailed the deteriorating security environment in Afghanistan.

Yet knowing all this, the government put out a report in the House that said the exact opposite.

Canadians are prepared for the truth about Afghanistan and they deserve nothing less. Why does the Prime Minister tolerate his ministers tabling happy fables in the House? Is it not time for some truth in this place?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, clearly there have been incidents that have been tragic, and the circumstances in Afghanistan remain volatile, but let us talk about the truth in Afghanistan.

There are millions of Afghan refugees returning to Afghanistan. There are millions of children now in school, including girls, who were never there before. There are millions of vaccinations taking place for children. Schools are being built. Medical clinics, roads, water: there are a lot of good things happening in Afghanistan that the member and members of his party like to overlook.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week in parliamentary committee, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the Red Cross was investigating allegations of abuse with Afghan authorities. The Red Cross immediately had to refute this false information.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs admit that he once again mislead the House on the treatment of detainees? Has the moment of truth finally arrived?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, that is false. That is not right.

I said the International Committee of the Red Cross has a right to visit the detainees, which is under existing international law. It is mentioned in the new enhanced arrangement, as it was in the previous arrangement. That is what I was referring to, and in fact, this supplementary arrangement in no way puts obligations on the part of ICRC.

It does, in fact, raise the expectations and put the onus on the government of Afghanistan to work not only with the Government of Canada but with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission as well as the Red Cross.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the National Assembly is bringing in its own legislation governing the possession of firearms, but still the Prime Minister refuses to meet with the parents of Anastasia De Sousa, the victim of the Dawson College tragedy. The government even had the gall to put its bill to eliminate the gun registry back on the agenda.

Will the Prime Minister drop his ideological goals and his plan to abolish the gun registry, as the De Sousa family has asked?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, all members of the government, like all members of Parliament, condemned what happened at Dawson College. We have all expressed our condolences to the families involved. Government ministers set up meetings with the families, college representatives and students, and we are ready to meet with them again anytime, if necessary.

This government also committed to taking all necessary measures to ensure the effectiveness of the firearms control system and to take action against gun crime.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a month ago, the government renewed the gun registry amnesty, which amounts to condemning the gun registry to certain death. For a year now, the Prime Minister has been depriving police forces and citizens of a very useful tool. As we have found out, the firearms control program costs the same whether it is working or not.

As such, why not fully reinstate it and drop plans to abolish it, as the National Assembly and the Bloc Québécois have asked?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has brought in several measures to make the gun control system more effective, including measures to make it more effective in the future, more effective than it was during these events.

At the same time, several of these measures were in the budget. We proposed funds to improve the gun control system and to crack down on gun crime. I would note that the Bloc supported this budget.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, commissioner Brown released his report, which describes the organizational and structural problems in the RCMP. In light of the report, the Minister of Public Safety is in favour of appointing a task force to restructure the RCMP.

After the pension plan frauds, the failed Air India investigation and the Maher Arar affair, does the minister not think that a full public inquiry is called for under the circumstances?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I have indicated today that we agree with all of Mr. Brown's recommendations. We need to act, and the time to act is now. It is not time for another inquiry, an eighth inquiry. We want a strong, open RCMP, and we are going to create one. That is why I agree with the recommendations that a task force be set up to give the RCMP a modern structure.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, we understand the commissioner's recommendation when we know that his mandate was limited to management of the RCMP pension and insurance fund. In fact, the commissioner acknowledges this himself on pages 37 and 48 of his report. The recommendation that a public inquiry not be held pertains only to the issue of fund administration. A more general inquiry should be held to examine the force's overall culture.

Would the Minister of Public Safety not prefer to hold a single public inquiry to restore the RCMP's transparency, instead of holding 10 partial inquiries as further RCMP mismanagement is discovered?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, there is no limit in the recommendations. In fact, the report also recommends that another criminal investigation be held. That is why the RCMP has asked the Ontario Provincial Police to review the previous criminal investigation. As well, as I have stated today, there are other recommendations. There is no limit. It is a good report, and we will follow the recommendations.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, last year, when the Prime Minister rammed through the softwood sellout, he said that it would end the uncertainty, the bickering and the fighting. It is sort of a familiar phrase.

What are we seeing now? We are seeing the United States attacking our provinces that are simply trying to manage their natural resources. What does the government do? It starts looking at the idea of adding export taxes to this sector which would cost us even more than the tens of thousands of jobs that we have already lost.

How are the working families across the country supposed to trust a government that does such a thing? It delivers pink slips instead of paycheques to the forestry sector.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, any disputes that are now occurring between Canada and the United States are occurring within the framework of an agreement that gives Canada ongoing and secure access to the United States' market. That is why the industry across the country wants the agreement to remain in effect and why it would be a terrible thing for the industry if the Liberals and NDP got their way, ripped it up and threw us back into litigation.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, workers in this sector were being thrown out of their jobs this past weekend.

The announcement made by Commonwealth Plywood last week is the latest in a series of job losses that have affected workers in Quebec. Thanks to the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois, 2,400 more jobs have just been lost in the Outaouais, in Low, Denholm, Princeville, Shawinigan and Mont-Laurier, to name a few places.

Why does the government continue to make concessions after the negotiations have ended? How many more jobs must be lost?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the NDP voted against the softwood lumber agreement that was supported not only by all the companies in Quebec, but also by the unions. This industry is facing serious problems, which is why we included significant measures in the budget to help it. Furthermore, these measures have been welcomed by the industry. The NDP voted against it. The NDP does not represent the interests of Quebec.

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, Atlantic Canadians know all about the government's honesty, imbalance and its culture of deceit. It broke its promise that no province would lose out due to the government's equalization plan.

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council has proven independently that it is not just Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia but that it is P.E.I. and New Brunswick as well that will be out by $4 billion.

When will the Prime Minister admit that his pledge that no province would be adversely affected was a scam? Why can he not just admit the truth or is it simply that he just cannot handle the truth?

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question but let me point out a couple of things. If he looks at what others say, including other agencies, about the report put out by APEC, they say that the figures it used and the projections it made are certainly not accurate.

I would also let the hon. member know that the commitment has been made that no province will be disadvantaged by the government and we will stick to that.

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am relieved that the long era of bickering between the federal and provincial governments is over. How bad would it be if the federal and provincial governments were still bickering?

I have the latest in this saga. On June 4, the finance minister wrote the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and told them that there was an Alberta cap, which is in fact no cap at all, but now he says that was a mistake.

It seems the finance minister has the mind of a squid. He does not know if he is coming or going, or if he is punched or bored. It is time for the truth. Does he even know what that is?

Equalization FormulaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the hon. member of a couple of things. First, clear commitments were made to provinces. Second, if we talk about relations, it takes two to tango. We have been trying to do the dance but we are not getting much go ahead from our partners.

Let me also say that in relation to squid, squid is known mainly because it moves backward. This government is moving forward.

Gun RegistryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is about time this government told the truth about what it intends to do with the gun registry.

The government denies that it wants to abolish the registry, but the Conservative member for Yorkton—Melville has stated that he will stand for election again so that his government “finishes the job” and abolishes the gun registry.

When will this government admit that it wants to loosen gun control? When will it tell the truth?

Gun RegistryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we want to reduce the number of crimes committed with firearms.

That is why, when we proposed a bill for mandatory sentencing of individuals who commit crimes with guns, it was a big surprise to note that the majority of Liberals did not support that bill, which could reduce the rate of gun crime.

Gun RegistryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was the Liberals who established minimum sentences for gun crimes.

The De Sousa family, whose daughter tragically lost her life at Dawson College, understands the true intentions of the Prime Minister. Last week the family stated, “He is doing absolutely nothing...we have been forgotten. The door is closed”.

Instead of ignoring the victims, instead of ignoring the De Sousas, why are the Conservatives not accepting the clear will of Canadians who want tougher gun control?

Gun RegistryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it certainly was a tragic incident that took place at Dawson College. I met with family members and with another student who was injured in that tragic event and those were very emotional times. That is why we are committed to reducing the possibility of that ever happening again.

The member opposite is quite right when he said that it was the Liberals who introduced an ill-thought out plan to reduce firearm crimes. The Auditor General pointed to almost $1 billion spent and that it was not working.

Expenses of the Former Lieutenant-Governor of QuebecOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the request of the Bloc Québécois, the government agreed to ask the RCMP to investigate the actions of the former Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec. We now know that Ms. Thibault racked up more than $700,000 in unjustified expenses.

In light of this information, will the government agree to the Bloc Québécois' request to have Ms. Thibault appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to explain her unjustified expenses?