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House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was product.

Topics

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are fed up with scandals. On one hand, as everyone knows, they punished the Liberal Party for the sponsorship scandal and the fraud committed.

On the other hand, they are now stuck with the Conservative Party, a party that scoffs at election laws. It is so serious that the RCMP had to raid their offices last week.

Why does the Prime Minister insist on blaming everyone else, when he is clearly responsible?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, once again, in his 1997 election report, the then chief electoral officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, indicated that national advertising spending restrictions in section 48 of the act did not apply to ads that had tag lines from local campaigns: “Since the time purchased was...used to run a national advertisement with a local tag line, this rendered the prohibition in section 48 somewhat ineffectual”. The then CEO of Elections Canada made it clear that the tag line, not the content, determines the nature of the ad expense.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is well known for being his own top strategist. Of course, instead of spending time strategizing on how to deal with higher gas prices or higher food prices, whether it is here or abroad, what he is strategizing on is how to get around election laws. That is not what Canadians want to see.

When did he authorize this scheme and when will he return the tainted rebate money? How does he explain that after multiple scandals and ethical breaches he has now become in government what he used to fight against as leader of the opposition?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member was asking when the Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada came up with this scheme. This was in a 1997 report on the election that occurred on June 3 of that year. He was writing about whether or not advertisements should be expensed locally or nationally. He says, “The content of the advertisements accepted was subject only to the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Charter”.

The fact that the advertisements run by local candidates for the Conservative Party had national content has no regard, because in fact we have freedom of expression in this country.

International AidOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2005 the Prime Minister promised to increase Canada's development assistance to 0.7% of the GDP, another broken promise.

In two years the government has done absolutely nothing, yet we now have a world food crisis. The world is asking for Canada's help and the government has spent the cupboard bare. Why has the Conservative government deliberately destroyed Canada's financial ability to help the world's hungry?

International AidOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that a member of the official opposition would be asking a question about food aid and commitments. In fact, the former Liberal government signed the food aid convention and in the first year after signing that convention, it failed to meet the commitment by over 113,000 tonnes. In the last six years of the former Liberal government being in office, it failed to meet Canada's commitment to international food four times.

International AidOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is untrue. The Liberals doubled the amount of assistance, and at the same time, set aside $3 billion for contingencies. However, because of the Conservatives, Canada is on the brink of a deficit. The government must help those in need. They must make a choice: help those in need or eliminate something else.

What exactly will they choose?

International AidOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, this government indicated it will double its international assistance, and we are on track. We committed to doubling our aid to Africa, and we will meet that commitment this year. I have attended international conferences where Canada has been commended for actually delivering on the commitments that it makes. Unlike the previous government that made large promises and commitments and never fulfilled them, this government makes meaningful commitments and ensures they are fulfilled.

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the last election the Prime Minister promised a minimum $3 billion cushion against deficits. The finance minister broke that promise by budgeting so close to the line that many are now forecasting a deficit. It is a page straight from former premier Mike Harris, and we all know how that play ended: massive hidden deficits and service cuts that endangered the health of Ontarians. Is that now the finance minister's plan for Canada?

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, sometimes I wonder why the member opposite is so negative about Canada and Canadians, but then I remember what the Liberals did when they were in government, on the backs of the provinces. On health care, on education, on social services, the Liberals dramatically cut transfers to the provinces, thereby hurting Canadians from coast to coast to coast. That was the Liberal government in Canada in the 1990s.

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are only negative toward the Conservative government because, unlike that finance minister, my Canada includes Ontario.

Here is a 2001 headline from The Globe and Mail, “Tory cuts contributed to Walkerton tragedy”. That minister helped to fire 37 water inspectors from the Ontario government's payroll.

Today, in the face of a possible deficit, are the Conservatives plotting another common sense tragedy?

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite actually cared about Ontario, he would speak to the Liberal Premier of Ontario and ask him where his economic stimulus is for the manufacturing heartland of Ontario. But he does not say that. He is not in favour of tax reductions. He thinks one helps businesses grow by taxing them more. He thinks one helps consumer confidence by increasing the GST; after all, he is the president of the raise the GST club.

TQSOral Questions

April 28th, 2008 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages is responsible for broadcasting and therefore must ensure that the regions receive a variety of quality information, just like larger centres.

Will the minister acknowledge that a general interest television network such as TQS must have a newsroom and a news service if it wants to deliver appropriately on such a mandate in larger centres as well as in the regions?

TQSOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, of course, the member is referring to the announcement last week that TQS is cutting jobs. We share the sadness of the 270 employees affected by that restructuring.

I want to remind the member that TQS has chosen Remstar as the potential buyer and that all this has been approved by the court. Remstar will have to appear before the CRTC. I have written to the chairman of the CRTC to ask him to keep me informed about how he plans to proceed.

TQSOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the minister said, the announcement of potential closures of newsrooms across Quebec by the new owner of TQS represents a threat to the diversity of information. The minister is remaining silent, indicating that this is just a business transaction.

Will she take steps to protect the diversity of the news media throughout Quebec, or will she remain unmoved and simply stand on the sidelines with her arms folded?

TQSOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I totally disagree with the member. On the very afternoon the job cuts were announced, I met with unionized workers at TQS—something her colleague from Quebec City did not do until two days later.

I have written to the chairman of the CRTC. I have made sure I will be kept informed of the process that is put in place. The CRTC will do its job. Interested groups can make submissions until May 15. Hearings will be held in Montreal and Quebec City on June 2.

Unborn Victims of Crime ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the National Assembly of Quebec, women's groups and the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec are speaking out against Bill C-484. More than 25,000 people have signed the petition on the specialists' web site calling for the rejection of this bill that could reopen the debate on the recriminalization of abortion.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages prevail upon her colleagues and convince them not to vote for such a bill?

Unborn Victims of Crime ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there is a private member's bill that deals with unsolicited violence against women. That being said, it is up to each individual member to decide how he or she wants to vote on that particular bill.

Unborn Victims of Crime ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages emphasizes that she voted against Bill C-484.

She should tell us today the real reasons why she voted against this bill. She should tell us what fears led her to oppose the bill.

Unborn Victims of Crime ActOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, again, I indicated that there is a private member's bill and that each individual member can decide how he or she wants to vote on it.

What I would be interested in knowing is whether they are going to give us a hand on changing the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Are they going to become born again crime fighters for a change and give us a hand with some of our fighting crime legislation? That is what I would like to know.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, according to documents contained in the warrant application used to raid the Conservative Party headquarters, the Prime Minister's Quebec lieutenant, the Minister of Transport, his deputy chief of staff, Patrick Muttart, and Michael Donison, the senior adviser to the government House leader, appear to have been involved in setting up the in and out scam.

Since charges could be pending, will the Prime Minister do the responsible thing and ask these people to step aside until the election commissioner's investigation is finished?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I will quote prominent author Andrew Coyne, who stated on April 23 in Maclean's magazine:

...the Liberals transferred $1.7 million from the party to the ridings, which in turn purchased $1.3 million in goods and services from the party, without provoking Election Canada's wrath.

I have a very concrete example. Right here in the city of Ottawa, five Liberal candidates pooled their fundraising funds, invoices were given to the national party and all ads were purchased from the centre. Why does he not ask his Ottawa MP to resign while the investigation goes on?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities was working at his leader's office, Mr. Donison sent him an e-mail dealing with problems with their scams. It was even decided that ads should be bought in a riding in which no Conservative candidate was running. Obviously, that is contrary to the Elections Act.

Who among those around the Prime Minister is not currently under investigation? Could any of these individuals step in and take over from those who are too busy protecting their reputations?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we had candidates in every riding in Canada because we are a national party. There was, however, an instance involving Liberal candidates right here, in Ottawa, as I said. Not to mention the fact that the Liberal Party transferred money directly to the Liberal candidate in Ottawa Centre to fund this Liberal in-and-out scam. I wonder if the member will stand up now and demand that the member for Ottawa—Vanier, who got involved, step aside until his name is cleared.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there has been a clearly established pattern with the minority Conservative government that all the power is centralized in the Prime Minister's Office.

I ask the Prime Minister, will he throw away his book of dirty tricks, allow the procedure and House affairs committee to meet without government members filibustering as they have for the past seven months, and allow us to hear witnesses on this scandal of the ad scheme of in and out? What is the government trying to hide from Canadians?