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House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

The BudgetOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is a secret. I cannot tell the hon. member what the--yes I can.

I would like to say that our government's third budget will be tabled on February 26 at 4 p.m.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the rules are clear. Contrary to what we were just told, bids are required for contracts over $25,000. The Minister of Finance has very clearly violated the rules. No need for an apology. What he has to do is leave. He is no longer qualified to sit here.

Last week, we learned that the Conservatives had spent nearly $1 million for a fence worth a mere $200,000. Once again, there is no accountability because the person responsible for spending taxpayers' money that way, Michael Fortier, is hiding in the Senate.

When will the government start following the rules put in place for the public?

Government ContractsOral 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 for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, we are applying the rules. The purchase of the fence was a decision of the RCMP. It expressed the need for this fence, and we provided it with what it needed.

Again in English for my colleague from Outremont, the RCMP set the standards of the fencing it required. We got it in a timely manner. We did our job, which is what Canadians expect.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no clause as an exception to the rules that we can give $122,000 to our buddies for a 20 page speech and call it value for money. There is no such exception. There is no exception in the rules to pay $1 million of taxpayer money for a $200,000 fence because the RCMP told us to do so.

The bidding process, the submissions are required to save taxpayer money. The Conservatives broke the rule. Mr. Ethics, our Prime Minister, where is the sanction?

Government ContractsOral 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 for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the rules were followed. The RCMP required this fence and it required it in a timely manner. It is our obligation to provide security for Canadians. We followed that obligation to the T.

We did our job. We provided the fence. We did it in a timely manner and the summit went ahead as planned.

AirbusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the story by the former Conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney, is becoming less believable by the day.

Executives from Thyssen are now denying that Mulroney got the bags of cash to represent them. They say:

He never worked for Thyssen.

I cannot imagine how he could expect to sell something like this to Russia or even to China. It's absolute nonsense.

Does the government still believe this nonsense? Will it start a full public inquiry into the scandal today, or is it waiting for the election to sweep all of this under the rug?

AirbusOral 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 Government of Canada engaged Professor Johnston to investigate the matter and make recommendations on how to move forward. His report details certain questions that merit investigation in a public inquiry. We will be proceeding with that public inquiry.

However, we are waiting, as Professor Johnston has suggested we wait, until the ethics committee finishes its work so there is no duplication of effort and we can have the most efficient inquiry that deals with all of the relevant questions that are raised in this matter.

AirbusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Mulroney has stated that he tried to sell armoured vehicles to China, but Canada's ambassador to China at the time does not believe that these activities ever took place. No one ever discussed this with the ambassador.

Such sales would have violated the international rules prohibiting arms sales to China, rules that Mr. Mulroney himself proposed.

How long is the government going to postpone holding a public inquiry into this scandal?

AirbusOral 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 government asked Professor Johnston to undertake a third-party review of the matter and to make recommendations concerning a public inquiry and its mandate. Professor Johnston suggested that a limited public inquiry be conducted based on witness statements made during sittings of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Therefore, it makes sense for the committee to finish its work before the public inquiry begins. We are following Professor Johnston's recommendation.

Election FinancingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the dishonest and corrupt government continues to stall and stonewall the procedure and House affairs committee's investigation of the in and out scam.

The Conservative Party broke election spending limits by one million bucks and pocketed $700,000 in illegal subsidies from taxpayers.

Is this hypocritical government so desperate for an election because it is afraid of being caught in more scandals, or does it plan to exceed spending limits again in the next election?

Election FinancingOral Questions

2:50 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, all our practices follow the election laws. We have been quite clear about that as a party. I know it is dramatically different from what the Liberal Party did with the sponsorship scandal and other matters.

In terms of the questions being studied by the procedure and House affairs committee, our position is quite simple. Let us examine all parties. All parties engage in identical practices so there is no reason to look at only one party and not the others.

We want to know why the other parties will not allow a full and complete study. What do they have to hide? Why does the Liberal Party want to keep its books closed?

Election FinancingOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, these are just more obstacles. These are not answers. The truth is that Elections Canada is saying that only the Conservatives broke the law. By blocking the committee, the Conservatives are passing the buck and shirking their responsibilities.

When will the government bring its members into line, put an end to their obstructionist tactics and allow the committee to study the allegations against the Conservatives?

Election FinancingOral Questions

2:50 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, it is quite clear that if there were any reason the Liberals had nothing to fear, they would be quite happy to support a full, balanced, fair examination of the practices of all parties.

We have nothing to hide. We just think everybody should be treated in the same way because, guess what? Everybody did the exact same thing. Everybody engages in the exact same approach to financing.

However, there is one area where the Liberal Party could have handled things very differently and that was the question of the sponsorship scandal where $40 million of Canadian taxpayer money went missing, a lot of it into Liberal Party coffers and cash-filled envelopes to run campaigns in restaurants in Quebec.

AirbusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, on February 3, Karlheinz Schreiber sent the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics a letter in which he contradicted the testimony Brian Mulroney gave in December on the nature of the services for which he received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the businessman.

Does this new revelation not prove the need for a public inquiry with a much broader mandate than the Prime Minister wanted and prove the urgency to appoint someone to head up the inquiry before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics finishes its work?

AirbusOral Questions

2:50 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, we are following Professor Johnston's recommendations. It only makes sense to finish this work before a public inquiry begins. I would encourage the opposition parties to wrap up the committee work quickly so that we can move on to a public inquiry.

AirbusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, having two overlapping investigations is not very likely. Last time, seven months went by between the appointment of Justice Gomery and the beginning of the public hearings. What is more, Mr. Mulroney said that the money paid by Mr. Schreiber was an honorarium for promoting Thyssen products. However, Thyssen is saying that is not true.

Is that not another good reason to begin the public inquiry immediately, with as broad a mandate as possible, before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics finishes its work?

AirbusOral Questions

2:50 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 repeat what I said.

We are doing exactly what Professor Johnston suggested, and that is proceeding. We are awaiting the outcome of the testimony from the ethics committee.

It would not make sense to have a multiplicity of processes. As we have seen from the evidence of that committee in the past week, we know why it would be dangerous to do that.

We wish to follow the recommendations of Professor Johnston who I think has provided very good advice. We will continue to do that as he moves forward to develop the ultimate terms of reference for the public inquiry as soon as the opposition parties are ready to proceed with it.

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is silent on wait times, one of the Conservatives' so-called priorities.

Canadians are still waiting for tests, waiting for care and three million are still waiting to find a family doctor.

The Canadian Medical Association says that we need more doctors. The Canadian Federation of Medical Students says that we need more doctors but the average medical student cannot afford the staggering $158,000 debt that he or she faces.

Will the government fix the student loan program so more Canadians can become doctors and ease the problem of wait times?

HealthOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, it is a delight to stand and talk a little about our wait time strategy.

As the hon. member might recall, last year we announced funding for wait times reductions through our patient wait time guarantee with the 10 provinces and 3 territories.

I would remind the hon. member, if she has not seen the media on this, that I was in Halifax this past Friday announcing additional wait times guarantee projects with the Government of Nova Scotia. That will roll out across the country as well.

TaxationOral Questions

February 11th, 2008 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader is fond of making promises and concocting schemes that make absolutely no sense to average Canadians but he is not fond of explaining how he plans to pay for all his schemes and promises.

Will the Liberal leader raise taxes, including the GST? Will he push our country back into deficit? He even said that the Liberals will take away the universal child care tax credit. There is not a tax they did not like and a tax they would not hike.

Could the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development please explain how raising the GST and taking away--

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Social Development. We will have a little order, please, so we can hear the answer.

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the Liberal plan to raise the GST will not help people who are struggling to get by. The GST is the only tax that many Canadians pay.

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

TaxationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think they are saying that I look very handsome today.

The Liberal leader has also promised to scrap the universal child care benefit, something that would plunge 24,000 families into poverty by his own definition. I fail to see how that would help Canadians.

We have stepped up to the plate by providing a universal child care benefit, the working income tax benefit, more investment on training than any government in history and more investment in affordable housing than any government in history. We are getting the job done.