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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we know the Liberals like to badmouth Canada's economy. They like to talk it down but we do not do that.

What we did was we looked last fall at the slowdown that was to come in the economy. We provided a stimulus in the economy that amounted to 1.4% of the GDP. The result of that sort of thing, that sort of action in advance, was that last month there were 19,200 new jobs in Canada, despite the economic slowdown in the United States.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister keeps trying to make us think that the economy is running along perfectly well. But what does he have to say to the workers in Windsor today?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am going to say what I say to the people who live in my own constituency. I actually know a lot of auto workers, which I doubt the member opposite does. Of course we are concerned with job losses but the reality is that the auto industry is going through a significant restructuring in Canada.

What we can do is help that industry come out of its restructuring stronger and technologically sophisticated, which is why we have the automotive innovation fund in budget 2008 of $250 million and why we have the accelerated capital cost allowance. This government takes action, it does not just talk.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the matter involving the Minister of Foreign Affairs, everyone agrees that issues of security are of public interest. Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former intelligence officer, said that women “have been caught acting on behalf of organized crime, infiltrating various levels of government.”

According to Julian Sher, a journalist who has written a number of books on biker gangs, organized crime can wait up to 5 or 10 years before taking revenge on someone who has a price on their head.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his Minister of Foreign Affairs lacked judgment when he failed to inform the government of his girlfriend's murky past?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Leader of the Bloc Québécois asked a question about the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City. He asked about the Minister of Foreign Affairs's relationships. Who knows, maybe tomorrow he will turn to the tabloids for his information, but again, this is a strictly private matter involving the individual concerned and we have no further comment on this.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the Prime Minister explain to us why, on August 14, 2007, journalists were unable to find out the identity of the Minister of Foreign Affairs's girlfriend?

Did the Prime Minister know about her shady past and decide to turn a blind eye and support his minister at all cost?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Bloc Québécois can play the town gossip if he wants, but the issue remains the same: this is a private matter. As far as we are concerned, this is a private matter. I would like to remind the Leader of the Bloc Québécois that he was invited to join the Privy Council a few years ago, but he turned it down. That position would have allowed him to discuss matters of national security, but he refused.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety claims that there is no need to run security clearances on federal ministers' spouses. Yet in-depth security checks are done on spouses of senior public servants, of journalists who accompany ministers abroad, and even on people who work as kitchen help in tax centres.

Don't ministers—at least those who take their jobs seriously—regularly bring files home with them, some of which contain state secrets? How can it be that this kind of thing is not taken seriously for ministers, particularly for one like the Minister of Foreign Affairs?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thought that the Bloc Québécois would start things off today by asking questions about the economy and its extraordinary performance as it continues to create new jobs month after month.

However, the Bloc Québécois seems to think it best to ask yet more questions about a person's private life. We are well aware that the RCMP plays a role. The RCMP has a responsibility with respect to members of cabinet and national security. That is the RCMP's role.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party is developing quite a reputation for not investigating things. During one of their fundraising activities, the Minister of Foreign Affairs posed for a photo with Michael Chamas, who was arrested in Switzerland in 2007 with 2 million euros, and was then arrested at the end of March in connection with operation Cancun drug and arms raids. This individual was also the subject of a Canada Revenue Agency investigation for unpaid taxes. Yet this man was not just a guest at the fundraiser; he was one of the speakers the Conservatives had invited.

Is that not proof of their carelessness, which has placed ministers in dangerous situations and put them at the mercy of organized crime, which, I would note, has had far more victims in Canada and Quebec than terrorism?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I was photographed with that individual during a public event. There is nothing wrong with a politician being photographed with people when asked. As a matter of fact, former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien was also photographed with the individual in question.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Ottawa Citizen has reported that one in twenty pumps is not correctly calibrated and that consumers are paying the price. In addition to shortchanging people at the pumps, the big oil companies are not even giving people the gas they paid for. At $1.30 a litre, every cent counts.

When will this government create an ombudsman position to protect consumers from the big oil companies?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we will not be creating the position of ombudsman, but I did meet with the president of Measurement Canada this morning and I gave him instructions.

First, I have ordered increased enforcement over the course of the summer and additional inspections.

Second, I have instructed regulatory changes to be prepared. These will increase the onus on gas retailers. Fines will be increased from $1,000 per occurrence to $10,000 per occurrence.

In addition, there will be even higher fines for aggravated circumstances.

Finally, I will be writing to all Canadian gas retailers asking them for their cooperation. We will get the job done.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, why did it take freedom of information to get this information out to the newspapers? The government has known about this for months.

The fact is that the government stands on the side of the big oil and gas companies and gives them subsidies and tax cuts. It will never stand up for the consumer until it is forced to do it by the front pages of the newspapers. It is trying to prevent those very newspapers and members of Parliament from finding out what is going on here.

It is not just at the pump that people are being ripped off. It is also when they pay for their flights to go on family trips, when they pay for groceries and when they heat their homes.

The government does not stand with the middle class. Why will it not create an ombudsman, really get tough on enforcement and start doing its job?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I had a sense there for a moment that in a roundabout sort of way my hon. friend was trying to compliment us on a good job. I do not know if he ever got to that.

Surely the NDP is in favour of increasing the enforcement over the course of the summer to protect consumers. Surely the NDP is in favour of increasing the fine from $1,000 per occurrence to a modern standard of $10,000 per occurrence. Surely the NDP would favour additional fines for aggravated circumstances.

What is the problem that my friend has with this policy?

National SecurityOral Questions

May 12th, 2008 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government could end questions about the foreign affairs minister's situation simply by assuring Canadians that proper steps were taken to ensure his involvement with his ex-partner did not pose a security risk.

Instead, the government responds with belligerence, ignoring legitimate security concerns.

Is the government certain that the relationship the foreign affairs minister had did not pose a security risk? Would he please answer the question?

National SecurityOral 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, we have made it quite clear that this government would not put our national security at risk. However, it also should not provide an excuse for the kind of prurient, silly questions we have been hearing from the opposition.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a security expert who worked with the RCMP and CSIS, warns that an infiltration of government by organized crime is a real concern. He and many others say that if we want to be on the safe side there should be an examination of this matter.

Since the government cannot or will not assure Canadians there was no security breach, will it simply agree now to give this matter appropriate scrutiny?

National SecurityOral 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, it was not long ago that the leader of the Liberal Party said that he wanted to raise the level of discourse in the House of Commons. I thought that meant respecting people's private lives.

I expect that later this week we will be able to see the Liberal leader on eTalk daily with Ben Mulroney discussing the latest developments with Tom and Katie or with Brad and Angelina.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if all of the necessary checks were done in terms of the Minister of Foreign Affairs' situation, the government could simply reassure this House and all Canadians by explaining the nature of these checks. If the government truly was diligent, it has no reason to avoid the questions.

Did the government conclude that national security has never been compromised?

National SecurityOral 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, I recall that tone from the leader of the Liberal Party, which seems to have been lost by all his members who seem to want to continue to persist in these day after day personal questions.

On April 5, 2007, he said, “I would be very pleased to see less personal attacks, less low politics”. Apparently he is not the leader of that party.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons should speak with his own colleague, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. Michael Fortier himself admits that if he were part of the opposition, he would ask question about this matter. Consequently, I give the minister another chance to reassure Canadians, this House and his own colleague.

Were checks made, and was national security compromised? A simple answer could put this debate to rest.

National SecurityOral 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, Canadians, overwhelmingly, believe that people's private lives should be their private lives. There was a time when there were people in the Liberal Party who thought that. There was a time when people in the Liberal Party thought they would appeal to higher sentiment.

For example, their current leader said that he would not be playing this smear game. In a quote from March 5, 2007, he said, “I will be playing the high road”. Apparently, there is nobody else in the party who is willing to follow him on that high road.

400th Anniversary of Quebec CityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) sent all members and senators two documents worthy of the good old days of propaganda from Sheila Copps and Jean Chrétien. One of them, entitled “The Canadian Crown”, indicates that Canada was ruled by two kings at once, one French and one English, and that they fought around the world for Canadian unity. Imagine that.

Can the minister explain this surreal rewriting of history, all in the name of Canadian unity?

400th Anniversary of Quebec CityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeSecretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)

Mr. Speaker, frankly, I do not understand the question. Obviously, it the federal government's duty to promote Canadian history, an understanding of our federal institutions, our constitutional institutions and our bilingual system, that is, the two official languages we hold dear.