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House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was troops.

Topics

Rivière-Rouge—Mont-Tremblant International AirportOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, at all our airports, we constantly monitor the charges. We can assess them at any time to ensure that they are equitable across the country. That is the case in Rigaud. In addition, we are currently reviewing the situation at every airport across the country. Everything is equitable and will remain equitable.

AirbusOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it has been four months to the day since the Prime Minister promised Canadians a full public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair, and we are still waiting. It has been four long months since the Prime Minister finally yielded to pressure to examine what he himself called a very serious allegation of a former Conservative prime minister accepting cash-stuffed envelopes; four endless months later and nothing.

The Prime Minister is still covering up for Mulroney. He is hoping an election will be called, preventing him from actually appointing a commissioner.

Will this be another broken promise like the Atlantic accord, like income trusts, like veterans' widows--

AirbusOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. government House leader.

AirbusOral Questions

2:55 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 think it was the hon. member opposite hoping an election would not be called.

On the serious question that he asked, the question of a public inquiry, Professor Johnston was asked to develop terms of reference. He produced an interim report. We are awaiting the final report of the ethics committee, on which he has participated so that the final report of Professor Johnston can be based on the proceedings, the evidence that it gathered, and he can then set the terms of reference. We will be able at that point to move forward with the public inquiry that I know he eagerly awaits.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I have met recently concerning the plight of Brenda Martin, who remains in a Mexican jail awaiting the completion of her trial. I have spoken with Ms. Martin's mother. She is concerned, I am concerned, my constituents are concerned, as are many other Canadians. We want to see action and justice for Ms. Martin and that is what I believe this government is doing.

Can the minister give the House an update regarding the steps our Conservative government is taking on behalf of Ms. Martin to ensure a speedy completion of her legal situation and a return to the loving arms of her mother as soon as possible?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question and also for his hard work on this case.

We are working to help Canadians. We are working to help her to be sure that she will be back in Canada and that she will have a process.

An important point— yesterday, we sent a very clear diplomatic note. We asked for additional guarantees from the Government of Mexico to ensure that Ms. Martin's rights are being respected.

FisheriesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is in treaty negotiations with the United States over Pacific salmon rights. Reports that American pollock fishers accidentally caught 130,000 chinook, a full half of those fish from Canadian waters, is unacceptable. Canada's chinook catch is at an all-time low. Working families in fishing communities are struggling to make ends meet.

Does the minister intend to raise the issue of so-called accidental fishing during negotiations and will he start enforcing Canada's territorial waters and fine the American fishermen who illegally took our fish?

FisheriesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

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

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the member that we have already addressed the issue.

She is right. The amount of bycatch, 130,000 chinook, is unacceptable. We have made that quite clear to the Americans. There is a limit that we think is possible and practical to maintain. That is exactly what we have told them we expect them to adhere to.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, working families in Saskatchewan want to know why the agriculture minister thinks he is above the law. The minister appears to have violated the laws governing the Canadian Wheat Board.

The minister's parliamentary secretary implied that he was aware of the individual business relationship of one farmer, the head of the National Farmers Union no less, and the Wheat Board.

Will the minister confirm today that he requested specific information on individual farmers' business dealings with the Wheat Board and does he acknowledge that in doing so, he has violated the law?

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the issue that the member for Toronto—Danforth is talking about, and of course he is right up to speed on the Canadian Wheat Board, was a pilot project for organic farmers put on by the Canadian Wheat Board. I have asked for a rundown on that and how it worked out.

We know that it hoped to have several hundred organic farmers take part. It came down to 25 that actually did. I was asking for a rundown on what worked, what did not, who took part in it finally. When it had a target of several hundred farmers and only 25 took part, one has to ask what went wrong. I have not been able to get that information, so there is no illegality here at all.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

March 13th, 2008 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Vienna Convention states that diplomats have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of another state. Therefore, not only has Michael Wilson damaged our relations with the United States, he has violated one of the fundamental principles of diplomacy. Yet the Prime Minister refuses to remove the ambassador for leaking confidential information to the media.

With such serious allegations, why is the Prime Minister refusing to ask Ambassador Wilson, and the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Ian Brodie, to step aside? What is he hiding?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we are hiding nothing. An investigation is being conducted at present together with the PCO secretariat. This investigation will be thorough. No one has suggested that it will not be comprehensive and all-encompassing. It will be.

Ontario EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has a responsibility to ensure our economy continues to grow in the highly competitive global environment in which we live.

My province of Ontario is a major contributor to the national economy, but Ontario's business taxes are currently the highest in Canada. If nothing is done, Ontario's marginal effective tax rate, the overall tax rate on new business investment, will be nearly twice as high as Quebec's by 2012.

Premier McGuinty has a budget on March 25. I ask the finance minister, how can Ontario help make sure Canada remains an economic--

Ontario EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Finance.

Ontario EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member has asked a brilliant question.

Ontario has so much potential, but there is a golden opportunity now for Premier McGuinty in his budget on March 25. I am hopeful that he will go ahead with long term, broad-based business tax reductions, reducing the provincial corporate income tax rate, finally eliminating capital taxes in the province of Ontario and moving toward harmonizing of retail sales taxes and the GST.

I will be the first to stand up and applaud Premier McGuinty when he moves toward reducing these taxes in Ontario.

Ontario EconomyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst has informed me that he wishes to raise a question of privilege.

The hon. member has the floor.

Oral QuestionPrivilegeOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday during oral question period, the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier asked the following question:

Mr. Speaker, five years ago today, the Liberal government unveiled its action plan for official languages. This plan ends in three weeks, at the end of March, and the budget did not include any money to renew it, even though the Conservative government had promised to renew it in the last throne speech. When the committee invited the minister to appear, she declined. When the committee invited her emissary, Bernard Lord, he also declined.

Considering the uncertainty her government is creating, why is the minister refusing to appear before the committee and explain her inaction? Why does she prefer to keep communities waiting?

The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages responded:

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. I did not refuse to appear before the Standing Committee on Official Languages. In fact, I appeared on December 6. I will be pleased to discuss the second phase of the action plan for official languages further as soon as it has been introduced by our government.

The minutes of the Standing Committee on Official Languages show that the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst, whom my colleagues know well, moved the following motion:

That the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages...be immediately called upon to appear before the Standing Committee on Official Languages as part of its study on the Action Plan for Official Languages.

In a letter addressed to the chair of the Standing Committee on Official Language a document I would like to table in the House, the minister said?

I must respectfully decline the committee's invitation.

I must say that the minister misled the House.

Mr. Speaker, if you were to look at page 69 of Erskine May under points of privilege, I will read this to support my point of privilege. It states:

Each House also claims the right to punish as contempts actions which, while not breaches of any specific privilege, obstruct or impede it in the performance of its functions, or are offences against its authority or dignity, such as disobedience to its legitimate commands or libels upon itself, its Members or its officers.

I just want--

Oral QuestionPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I know that the hon. member is citing reliable sources, but I want to do the same.

I have heard his arguments about the facts in this case, which by all accounts are the cause for disagreement. I refer the hon. member to Marleau and Montpetit, on page 433, where it says:

In most instances, when a point of order or a question of privilege has been raised in regard to a response to an oral question, the Speaker has ruled that the matter is a disagreement among Members over the facts surrounding the issue. As such, these matters are more a question of debate and do not constitute a breach of the rules or of privilege.

In my opinion, that is the end of the matter.

We have other points of order and I will hear some more now.

The hon. member for Gatineau has a question of privilege.

Oral QuestionPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to say something along the same lines.

I have here the letter from the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, in which she says that she must decline the invitation to appear before the Standing Committee on Official Languages. We were studying the official languages action plan. We invited the minister to appear, but contrary to what she said yesterday, she declined the invitation.

She misled the House. I am prepared to table the letter that proves it.

Oral QuestionPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The committee is responsible for its own procedures. I invite the member to raise the matter before the committee. If a committee decides to invite a minister to testify, that is the committee's business, not the House's. There may be various responses in the House about a given subject, but the Speaker is not required to rule on these things. This is for the committee to deal with.

Does the member for Acadie—Bathurst have something else to say now?

Oral QuestionPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, she did not mislead the committee. She misled the House of Commons. That is wrong. She misled this House.

Oral QuestionPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I already quoted from Marleau and Montpetit on this subject. I invite the members to read it for themselves. In my opinion, that addresses this question of privilege.

Decorum in the ChamberPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Betty Hinton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Yesterday in the House of Commons very unparliamentary language came from the opposition side of the House. There is a decline, shall we say, in the behaviour of this House. I would implore all members of this House to bear in mind what it is we are sent here to do.

If members cannot respect the people who sent them here, I would ask them to respect the Chair of this House and the very fine officers who sit at the Table. The behaviour that is going on in here is deplorable.

Normally I would not stand to make this comment but, as many know, I will not be running again in the next election and it hurts me to realize how badly you are being treated, Mr. Speaker.

Alleged Violation of Elections ActPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity said of me, “...the member opposite, who by the way pleaded guilty for violating the Elections Act in a recent campaign,...”. That statement is completely false. In fact, the only member of this House who has pleaded guilty to a violation of the Elections Act is the Conservative member for Mississauga—Streetsville.

The fact in this matter is that my CFO did miss adding the words “authorized by CFO” in three local ads. My CFO then printed a correction in the newspaper which brought him, my CFO, in full compliance with the Elections Act.

I have never violated the Elections Act in any way. The Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity stated something as fact that was completely false. I would simply ask that he fully retract his comments and apologize.

Alleged Violation of Elections ActPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeSecretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)

Mr. Speaker, I sincerely thank the member for Ajax—Pickering for the opportunity to further clarify the record in this respect.

At page 4048 of Hansard, dated yesterday, I did say, “...the member opposite, who by the way pleaded guilty for violating the Elections Act in a recent campaign,...”.

I have in my hand, and would be delighted to table, a compliance agreement dated November 2, 2004, signed by Raymond A. Landry, Commissioner of Canada Elections, which was issued pursuant to section 521 of the Canada Elections Act, Statutes of Canada 2000, in which it states:

In this agreement, Sylvain Trépanier, official agent for candidate [the member for Ajax--Pickering] in the electoral district of Ajax-Pickering, recognizes having breached paragraph 495(1)(a) of the Canada Elections Act...contrary to section 320 of the Act.

In this agreement, he further undertakes to admit the truthfulness of the facts and take responsibility for the acts that constitute the offence. I am not sure if the member opposite is a lawyer or not, but perhaps he does not understand that the official agent is his agent and his agency means that he is acting on the member's behalf.

When he agreed that he had committed a breach under the act and, further, an offence under the act, he was pleading guilty to a violation of the Canada Elections Act. He should apologize for that offence.