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House of Commons Hansard #81 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.

Topics

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, a few months shy of their 18th anniversary, the Bloc members are hoping to dispel the unprecedented existential crisis they are experiencing as the perpetual opposition party, trying in every imaginable way to justify their presence in Ottawa and even disguising themselves as Liberal Party federalists.

The media reported recently that the Leader of the Bloc Québécois was among the first Canadians to sign a petition urging the Conservative government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25%, compared to 1990 levels, by the year 2020.

This is rather surprising, considering the fact that, according to the Bloc and its head office, that responsibility belongs to Quebec and that the federal government is using the environment as a Trojan horse to intrude on matters of Quebec jurisdiction. Why this hypocrisy? Why this about-face? Why is the leader of the Bloc Québécois not respecting Quebec's jurisdictions?

Fortunately, the Conservatives are in the Bloc's path in Quebec. Thanks to our policy of open federalism, Quebec's jurisdictions are protected from intrusions by the Bloc.

Montreal Association for the BlindStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in this House to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Association for the Blind.

One hundred years ago, the Montreal Association for the Blind opened its doors providing a library, a school and an early step toward full participation in the community for Montreal's blind population.

It started as the dream of my great-grandfather, Philip E. Layton, and his wife, Alice.

Blinded as a teenager, Philip was a successful businessman, but he was appalled that most blind people lived in poverty and had no opportunities for schooling or work. He was determined to improve their plight by organizing the blind community to fight for its rights, a fight that still continues.

Since its inception, the association has provided hope and opportunities to generations of blind people in Montreal. I join all members of the House in thanking and congratulating the staff, students and members of the Montreal Association for the Blind on its 100th anniversary.

Let us applaud the positive impact it continues to have today.

World Malaria DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, April 25 is World Malaria Day. This disease kills over one million children a year, most of whom are under the age of five.

Currently, roughly 40% of the world's population living in the poorest countries on the planet is exposed to malaria. Because of the Conservatives, Canada's development assistance is below average for OECD member countries, contrary to what they promised.

They promised they would improve Canada's access to medicines regime in order to ensure access to medicines for developing countries, namely for countries greatly affected by malaria. This is just another broken promise, as we are still waiting.

The government must take action. Canada must honour its development assistance commitments and must facilitate access to the necessary medicines to combat malaria. We have had enough empty promises. Let them show some compassion and take immediate action.

Minister of JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, what would people say about a Minister of Justice who tells lie after lie, misleads the House, distorts the facts and falsifies the truth? That is what the Minister of Justice and member for Niagara Falls did during question period when he said that the Bloc Québécois did not support him in cracking down on criminals and battling organized crime. I would like to remind him that the Bloc supported Bill C-2, which brought together the five justice bills from the previous Parliament.

The Bloc Québécois has voted in favour of every bill that did not include mandatory minimum sentences and that gave the police more investigative tools. The Bloc Québécois supports or is preparing to support bills on identity theft and auto theft.

I would ask the Minister of Justice to halt his disinformation campaign about the Bloc Québécois' stance on justice issues. Lies and deceit are the weapons of the weak, as our fellow citizens well know.

World Malaria DayStatements By Members

April 17th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the one minute I use to make this statement, two children will die of malaria. It is the leading killer of children in Africa. This mosquito-borne disease is also the leading cause of global poverty.

On World Malaria Day, we are calling attention to this devastating, but preventable, disease. Malaria lacks the profile of other global threats but it is more deadly. The sad thing is that malaria can be prevented.

The World Health Organization says the most effective measure to prevent malaria is as simple as a bed net that covers four family members.

I have fought malaria myself for the last 40 years. My three children have it and I have lost many good friends to it. I urge all of my colleagues in this House to just do a simple thing: buy a bed net for the people who suffer from malaria.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Wajid Khan Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, contrary to the Liberals, this Conservative government values immigration and the critical role newcomers play in making Canada a better place.

The Liberals imposed a $975 immigrant head tax, froze settlement funding and caused the backlog to skyrocket to over 800,000. The Liberals have no plan, no vision and no right to call themselves the party of immigrants. They are trying to divide ethnic communities with their misinformation and fear-mongering. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Unlike the Liberals, this government is taking real action to help immigrants and their families. In fact, last year we welcomed almost 430,000 newcomers, the largest number in almost 100 years. We cut the Liberal immigrant head tax in half and provided $1.4 billion in settlement funding. We want to bring families together faster and skilled workers sooner.

This government is helping immigrants succeed because the success of the immigrants is the success of Canada.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of transparency and accountability, will the Prime Minister, the leader of the Conservative Party, consent to unseal the warrant documents used in the RCMP raid?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:15 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 believe we have even seen them ourselves.

However, the issue at stake, in the contention and dispute between ourselves and Elections Canada, is a simple one. Elections Canada has an interpretation that says that Conservative Party candidates cannot talk about our national leader or our national policy in our advertising and in our promotion. It says that is not allowed but it also says that is only not allowed for Conservatives. We think that is unfair.

We think we can talk about our leader and our policies and we think we should have the same rules apply to us that apply to all other parties. That is why we took Elections Canada to court.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

The question was clear, Mr. Speaker. I will ask the question again because the RCMP raid on Conservative Party headquarters is a very serious matter and the Prime Minister owes Canadians the full truth.

Will the Prime Minister consent to unseal the warrant documents that convinced the court that the drastic gesture of an RCMP raid was necessary?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:15 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, that question would be better directed to the people at Elections Canada. They are the ones whose consent he is seeking.

We also have the same question. Why was it necessary? Our party had offered to cooperate in providing every document Elections Canada asked for. In fact, we did provide every document Elections Canada asked for. It leaves a very serious question: Why was this necessary? We do not understand that.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the question to the government is very clear; everyone understands it and we can see that the government does not wish to reply.

Will the government agree to the disclosure of this information, that is, the information pertaining to the warrant and any information that could reveal, for example, that the Conservative Party did not cooperate with the investigation or that could indicate the extend to which the Conservative Parry violated the law in the last election? Will he agree to disclose this information, yes or no?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:15 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 say it again. I gather he is not listening or cannot understand what I am saying, but we have not seen the affidavit documents supporting the warrant. We do not know what they are. If he wants to see them, he will need to get the consent of Elections Canada.

We are interested in having the exact same questions answered because all our practices are perfectly legal. They follow the law. They are the same as other parties. We have offered every document to Elections Canada that it has sought.

All those matters concern us. We want to see the same treatment for our party that every other party gets.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, Elections Canada was forced to obtain a search and seizure warrant for access to information that the Conservatives were obviously desperate to hide.

The government has obstructed Elections Canada outside the House and has insulted Elections Canada inside the House, but the question is about the character of the person who leads the government. Why is he obstructing an institution charged with protecting the integrity of our political system? Who does he think he is?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 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 honestly thought the member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore was a better man than to assert as fact things that are simply untrue.

The fact is simple. We have provided to Elections Canada in our dispute every document it has asked for. Nothing has been hidden. He is right. It does pose the question: Why was this Elections Canada search necessary?

The essence of the real issue is why the Conservatives are not allowed to talk about their national leader and their national policies in an election. Why are we treated differently from every other party? That is why we took Elections Canada to court.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party is the only party to have violated election rules in this matter. Now it is refusing to cooperate with Elections Canada in its investigation, and that has resulted in the search of its offices by the RCMP. The real reason for this sad state of affairs is that the Prime Minister thinks he can thumb his nose at the law.

Is that why we have reached this point?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 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 have taken Elections Canada to court because we disagree with its interpretation of the law. We believe we should be able to talk about our national leader and our national policies during campaigns, even at the local level.

We are not the only people who have taken Elections Canada to court on its interpretations. The member for Toronto Centre, a Liberal leadership candidate, took Elections Canada to court because he disagreed with its interpretation. Guess what? He succeeded because Elections Canada was wrong in its interpretation.

We believe it is wrong once again.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is wondering why the Conservatives are treated differently than the other parties. It is really quite simple. It is because they acted differently than the other parties. It is as simple as that.

Having said that, we are asking that he produce the search warrant. He says that they do not even have it. They must be joking. Police forces are required to provide a copy of the search warrants by law. Therefore they have it. They should stop skirting the issue.

They have it. What is preventing them from making the search warrant public and producing it in this House? They have it and they should stop hiding it.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 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 essential question is something in which we are interested. We have not seen what was in the affidavit that justified it. If the member wants to know, he will have to ask Elections Canada, as we have.

The fundamental issue arises from a dispute with Elections Canada. We have taken Elections Canada to court because we believe it is an unfair and an unreasonable interpretation that our candidates cannot talk about their national leader and cannot talk about their party's policies in their local campaigns.

We cannot understand why that interpretation is reasonable. I think most Canadians would agree that we should be able to do that.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when he was president of the National Citizens Coalition, the Prime Minister said this about Elections Canada officials, “Those imbeciles at Elections Canada are out of control.”

What the government does have control over is the search warrant, which it refuses to produce in this House. Although they have it, the Conservatives want to hide it just like everything else.

Why are they so intent on not producing in this House that which they have in their possession? Are they trying to force another search just so we can have the right to see the warrant? This is completely ridiculous; we are being laughed at.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 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 have answered that question several times. We have not seen the affidavit. It will require the consent of Elections Canada to release it to us or to anybody else.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, by playing the victim, the Prime Minister is once again showing his contempt for democratic institutions and rules. His crusade against Elections Canada, which goes way back, and his desire to muzzle anyone who does not think like him are obvious evidence of this.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the RCMP conducted a police raid on the Conservative Party headquarters because he is unlawfully hiding documents?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Not at all, Mr. Speaker. We have made available to Elections Canada every document it has sought with regard to our dispute with the court case we have initiated on the interpretation of the elections law.

Elections Canada's position is as follows: Conservative candidates are not permitted to promote the policies of our party and of our leader. We feel that is absurd.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, must I remind the House that the search was related to a scheme that, according to Elections Canada, allowed the Conservative Party to spend $1.2 million during the last election in violation of current legislation?

How can the Prime Minister continue to talk about integrity and transparency when everyone sees that, according to Elections Canada, his party bought itself an apparently clean image through advertising, using dirty money?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 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 would simply like to reiterate that Elections Canada's position is as follows: Conservative candidates are not permitted to promote the policies of our party and of our leader. We feel that is absurd.

Furthermore, we believe that it is unfair that this interpretation applies only to Conservative candidates. This demonstrates that the parties are not treated equally. That is why we are taking Elections Canada to court, which is reasonable and straightforward.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, a Statistics Canada study shows that the price of gasoline increased by 8% last month—and by 17% in February. In Montreal, they are even paying $1.30 a litre. The big oil companies are getting major funding from the government, when they are already making huge profits. There is no excuse for the government's lack of action to protect consumers.

When will we see this government take some action at the pumps for the average Canadian?