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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

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Toronto--Danforth

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised that things were going to be different, and yet even Justice Gomery has to point out the ethical shortcomings of the government.

On NAFTA-gate, his senior aide and his officials failed to live up to the ethical standards that Canadians expect from high office holders here.

Will the Prime Minister start running the government ethically? Will he either clear his chief of staff or fire him, clear the Canadian ambassador or remove him from office, or get his trade minister to straighten out his story or shuffle him?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again as I said, the recommendations of Justice Gomery that we rejected were rejected by a wide range of Canadians, including former NDP premiers Allan Blakeney and Bob Rae, who specifically wrote to me saying I should not adopt those recommendations.

In terms of the issue at hand, the Clerk of the Privy Council is leading a full internal investigation. We will accept whatever recommendations come out of that, but I can say that at the moment nobody is suggesting that there is any evidence that would suggest at this point that I should force anyone to resign.

Obviously, we are going to make sure we accumulate all the evidence before making any decisions, particularly decisions that would be unfair to any individuals.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, through all the Prime Minister's kind and deserved words about Mr. Cadman and his family, there is a problem.

The Prime Minister says there was no offer of a life insurance policy. However, if there was no offer then the Prime Minister is saying Mr. Cadman was lying because Mr. Cadman told his family there was an offer, or that his wife and family are lying because they said he told them there was.

No nice spin will hide it. The Prime Minister is saying they are lying.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why is he saying that the Cadmans are lying?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 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 will leave the name-calling to the Liberals.

All we have said in the House of Commons are the facts. There was in fact no offer of a million dollar life insurance policy made to Chuck Cadman. That attack is not credible. It is not believable because in fact it is not true.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are all looking to the Prime Minister to explain himself, to explain his own words, but he has chosen not to.

This is critical because if the Cadman family is right, this is about buying a vote to bring down the government. This is as serious as it gets.

I will give the Prime Minister another opportunity to explain. Two weeks ago he challenged me to say it outside this House and I did. Today I ask him, I challenge him, to explain it inside this House.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 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, the Prime Minister has explained it a number of times inside this House. I have explained it inside this House. We have also explained it outside this House and Chuck Cadman has explained it outside this House.

I think Canadians are getting sick and tired of the Liberal Party members consistently coming into the House, day in and day out, ignoring their obligations to vote on behalf of their constituents, and smearing people's reputations without any evidence whatsoever. The Liberal Party will be held accountable for its behaviour in a court of law.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker,

The opposition parties have a majority on parliamentary committees...The government will have no choice but to listen to these newly-empowered committees.

Who said that? It was the now Prime Minister back in 2004.

It looks like the Prime Minister does not stand for accountability when his own ethics are called into question. Why is the government now stopping the justice committee from carrying out any parliamentary examination of Conservatives trying to bribe Chuck Cadman?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 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, nothing of the sort is happening. The chair of the justice committee made a decision that he did not want his committee converted into a kangaroo court the way the ethics committee already was.

His ruling was exactly the same as the ruling made by the Liberal ethics committee chair on the exact same motion. I note that the Liberal vice chair of the justice committee also made the exact same decision as the Conservative chair: to not allow that motion to come to a vote.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Conservative committee chairs have been following orders from the geniuses in the Prime Minister's Office to ignore the rules of Parliament. They have regularly been leaving meetings they are responsible for chairing so that nobody can ask the Conservatives about the Cadman affair.

My question is for the Chair of the Standing Committee on Justice, not the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. Why did he decide to cancel his committee's meeting scheduled for this afternoon? Is he trying to prevent a democratic vote to study the Cadman affair and the Criminal Code?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Calgary Northeast.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, over the last few meetings the justice committee has come under substantial conflict due to one member presenting a motion. The motion actually comes in unison with the Liberals and the separatist Bloc to undermine the work of the committee. That is the full effort of their decision to put that motion forward.

I ruled the motion out of order because it was not the mandate of the committee to deal with it. The Liberals should be ashamed of themselves for bringing the motion forward.

AfghanistanOral Questions

March 13th, 2008 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is known for its unhealthy culture of secrecy. The most recent victim was the Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada, in the transfer of Afghan detainees. The Department of Foreign Affairs refused to give the commission access to relevant documents.

If the minister really is cooperating fully, as he claims to be, then why did the chair of the commission have to launch a public inquiry to do his work?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her question. The government continues to cooperate with the commission.

I have a letter that was sent from the Department of Justice in response to the Military Police Complaints Commission. It states:

To facilitate the Commission's investigations to the fullest extent possible consistent with its mandate, I have been instructed to disclose to the Commission all Government records that it would be entitled to receive if the Commission was conducting a hearing into the complaints and had in fact issued a subpoena.

We will table it.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is good because I, too, would like to talk about a letter.

How can the minister claim to be cooperating fully when a spokesperson for the commission, Stan Blythe, said that he received a letter from the government announcing that it would oppose requests for that public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the member to table that letter too.

All I can tell her is what I have said already. We are in compliance. We will continue to cooperate with the commission. We fully intend to. I know the member opposite will continue to rattle on as she always does throughout question period, but this letter is self-explanatory. It is on the table and the member can access it and see for herself.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, in committee today, Justice Gomery criticized the concentration of power in the Prime Minister's office. He stated that it is very difficult, if not impossible, for a public servant to refuse to act on a request by someone from the Prime Minister's Office.

Is this not confirmation that, in the Rosdev affair, the actions of the Prime Minister's press secretary, Dimitri Soudas, constituted political interference?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:35 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 do not know about the involvement of Justice Gomery on it, but I think it is quite clear that there was no interference in the case in question. There was no interference in a contract. The only thing I saw come out of that was the need for the Liberal leader to apologize for the accusations he made about the gentleman.

AirbusOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the future public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair, Justice Gomery believes that it is important for the government to appoint the commissioner before setting the terms of reference, as was the case with the sponsorship scandal, in order for the future commissioner to have full latitude of action.

Does the Prime Minister intend to follow Justice Gomery's recommendation and quickly appoint the commissioner so that he or she may establish as broad a mandate as necessary to carry out the task?

AirbusOral Questions

2:40 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 would like the public inquiry to start soon but we are awaiting the committee's final report.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the House approved a Liberal motion calling on the government to oppose the death penalty around the world. This vote cancels and contradicts the policy of the Prime Minister, who wanted to decide on a case-by-case basis when he would seek clemency for Canadians sentenced to death in foreign countries.

Will the Prime Minister abide by the decision of the House and do what is just and right? Will he commit to defending all Canadians facing the death penalty anywhere in the world, without exception?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government has been very clear on this matter. There is no death penalty in Canada and there are no plans to change the laws with respect to the issue of clemency. We will deal with each case on a case by case basis.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's so-called “case by case” cherry-picking approach undermines the government's effectiveness in protecting Canadians on the international stage.

To be committed and effective in Saudi Arabia, we have to be equally committed in Montana. Will the Prime Minister admit that for Canada to be as effective as possible we must be consistent and oppose the death penalty everywhere, in every case?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

It has already been said, Mr. Speaker, that there is no change in the government's position, but I can tell the House what is part of the government's position. It is our crime fighting agenda. I would like to welcome the Liberal Party back to that.

I would like to know this. We have a bill before Parliament that has mandatory jail terms for people who commit drug offences. I would like to know what the position of the Liberal Party is on it. Nobody has heard it. Canadians deserve to know.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, in response to a previous question about the Military Police Complaints Commission, the Minister of National Defence assured the House of the government's cooperation on this matter.

Can he explain, then, why it is that the commission is talking about this: “Despite persistent efforts by Commission staff, responses were slow, censored, and in some cases ignored” and “the government's refusal to provide the Commission with full access to...documents”?

We cannot have a Canadian approach to the Afghan mission, on which we are going to vote later this afternoon, unless we have accountability for the government--