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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, an earthquake in China has killed thousands of people. An odious regime in Burma is stopping relief aid at its frontiers. Lebanon is on the brink of conflict. This is the kind of moment when we need a Minister of Foreign Affairs who is on top of his job, but he is not. He is distracted. He is sidelined and he is grounded by his own gaffs.

Given the crises calling for Canadian leadership, I want to know, how can the Prime Minister of Canada continue to have confidence in his Minister of Foreign Affairs?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this morning I spoke to the Chinese chargé d'affaires to once again, on behalf of all Canadians, express our condolences for the tragic event that took place in China. I also informed him that we will do what we can to provide the necessary assistance if needed. Canada will support China during this difficult time.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs a simple question. Either he did not know the answer or he was not authorized to answer. The question was about the responsibility to protect, which falls under his jurisdiction.

Does the government support the principle of responsibility to protect, yes or no? Further, does he agree that this principle must govern Canada's policy on the despicable regime in Burma?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Burma is an unbelievable disaster. I have spoken with my Chinese counterpart, my French counterpart and other members of the international community to ensure that international aid, including aid from Canada, can enter Burma. That is what is most important.

We have also asked our ambassador in New York to transmit this message to the UN Security Council, insisting that the Security Council have a debate on ensuring that aid will get through to the Burmese people.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in regard to the affair involving the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the government says that a security investigation is not necessary and this is just a matter of the minister’s private life. However, according to a government source quoted by the Canadian Press, ministers have an obligation to inform the Privy Council about any changes in their private lives, including changes to their marital status.

Does this not prove that the Minister of Foreign Affairs had a responsibility to inform the Prime Minister because he was aware of the shady past of his former partner?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again I want to remind the leader of the Bloc Québécois that the government is not putting national security at risk. I want to reassure him on this. I was also able to tell him again yesterday that this is a matter of our colleague’s private life.

I would have liked to see the Bloc Québécois ask questions about the economy or the increase in the price of gasoline, but everyone knows that the Bloc wants to shrink the Quebec economy through gas prices and thereby destabilize it.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, these remarks are of the same calibre as the foreign affairs minister. Getting back to the minister, he had a duty to inform the Prime Minister of his partner’s past and her connections with organized crime.

How can the Prime Minister tell us that he did not know about this, unless the Minister of Foreign Affairs showed a lack of good judgment, once again, and failed to reveal his former partner’s past?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the very words of our colleague drip with the typical arrogance of the leader of the Bloc Québécois.

He is probably shouting a little less loudly today, though, in view of the results of the byelections in Quebec last night, which showed that the federalist forces have grown phenomenally.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, I performed the same duties as the Minister of Public Safety in the Quebec government. I know from experience that in a case such as this the police would have been aware of Ms. Couillard's past. The RCMP would have been obliged to inform the Minister of Public Safety about such a relationship and a situation that could have compromised security and state secrets.

How could the minister allow such a risk?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, the government has not put national security at risk. Once again, we are speaking of the private life of a person and we continue to insist on that position.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only must the Minister of Foreign Affairs have been aware of his partner's past but the Minister of Public Safety must also have been informed by the RCMP. Moreover, in these circumstances, it is clear that the office of the Prime Minister was also made aware by the RCMP. Indeed, everyone lacked judgment in this matter; from the first person involved to the Prime Minister.

Instead of denying the obvious, why do they not tell the truth?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, for several days in this House, the Bloc Québécois has continued to harp on this theme. Obviously, it is a strategic tactic on the part of the Bloc Québécois; to change the subject; to avoid talking about other things.

Perhaps that party would like to tell us the reason why it decided to vote against the reduction of the GST at a time when Quebeckers are celebrating the fact that the GST has been cut from 6% to 5%. Will it explain to Quebeckers why the Bloc wants to increase the price of gas?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, workers' representative are at the Supreme Court today fighting against the government that looted the employment insurance fund. We are talking about $54 billion that belongs to workers but that the Liberal government happily siphoned off.

Things are no better now. While workers are losing jobs, like at GM yesterday, fewer and fewer people are qualifying for employment insurance.

Why will the government not return to the workers what is rightfully theirs? It is their money.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, in the 2008 budget, we took measures to correct the situation that has existed since the former Liberal regime. We improved the management and governance of employment insurance. In the future, a surplus will only be used by workers who lose their jobs. We have established a $2 billion surplus for this fund.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that $50 billion of past surpluses are being stolen by the government. That is why the workers are in court.

The Conservatives are shortchanging the fund by over $50 billion. The former chief actuary of Canada's employment insurance fund is raising the alarm. The Conservatives are going to force employers, and workers, in the future to pay higher premiums with wildly fluctuating rates. The fact is they are not likely to have enough to support working families when they are in need. That is the truth.

As compelling as it might be to blame the Liberals, the fact is the Prime Minister has to admit the fix is in.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP is completely wrong. It is true that the previous government took $50 billion out of the EI account a decade ago. That money has been spent. We want to make sure that does not get repeated in the future. That is why in the budget we took important steps to improve the management and governance of the EI account, including establishing a $2 billion surplus and ensuring that all future premiums are used for the benefit of workers.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we now know that the RCMP has questioned Dona Cadman and her daughter about the fact that Mr. Cadman told them that Conservative Party representatives had tried to buy his vote.

Which government or Privy Council representatives have also been questioned? Are John Reynolds and the Minister of Natural Resources among them?

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, as I said twice yesterday in the House, the RCMP operates entirely independently of the government. If the RCMP is conducting an investigation, it is up to it to decide what information will be made public. It is up to the RCMP to decide, not us.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not believe the Prime Minister when he claims that he is always happy to cooperate with the RCMP because, if that were true, he would publicly commit that all records, files and emails seized by the RCMP during its raid of Conservative headquarters in April can also be scrutinized for evidence of investigating attempts to bribe Mr. Cadman.

Will the Prime Minister make that commitment?

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, they have gone from a direct accusation of criminal activity to now this wild fishing expedition.

We have been very clear from the beginning that the only offer made to Chuck Cadman by our party was that we wanted him to rejoin the Conservative caucus, run as a candidate and get re-elected as a Conservative candidate. That is all that happened.

With regard to the RCMP, it operates entirely independent of the government. If my colleague has questions about the activities of the RCMP maybe she ought to direct her questions to the RCMP.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the RCMP is taking the Conservatives' attempts to bribe Chuck Cadman seriously. Tom Flanagan's book clearly shows that John Reynolds and the current Minister of Natural Resources played a key role in the attempts to convince Mr. Cadman to change his vote.

Has the RCMP questioned either of these two people?

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 see if the fourth time is the charm. The member asked this question twice yesterday and his colleague just asked it again.

This is not APEC in 1997, when it was the Liberals who were accused of interfering in an RCMP investigation. The RCMP operates independently of the government. Whoever it may be questioning is up to the RCMP. I think my colleague can understand that. He is a lawyer. I believe he passed the bar somewhere. He should know that if the RCMP is questioning people, it is probably a good idea to keep the list of people it is questioning private. If he has questions about who the RCMP is questioning he ought to direct them to the RCMP.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, nobody is asking the parliamentary secretary whether the RCMP should be interfered with. What we are asking is whether privy councillors and ministers have been questioned by the RCMP.

An appointment to the Privy Council used to be accompanied by a background check. When the Prime Minister decided to appoint John Reynolds to the Privy Council, did the government disclose to the RCMP his involvement in this sordid Cadman affair? Is John Reynolds cooperating with the RCMP now in its investigation into this Conservative corruption?

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

The central question here, Mr. Speaker, we have answered. As they say, “There is no there there”.

The accusations by the Liberals on this matter are entirely false. We have been very clear about what we offered to Chuck Cadman, which was his rejoining of the Conservative caucus to vote against the Liberals. They have asked about in and out: we wanted Chuck Cadman in so we could throw the corrupt Liberals out.

Manufacturing SectorOral Questions

May 13th, 2008 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is deluding himself if he thinks Canada's economy is not operating at two different speeds. He boasts that 19,000 jobs were created last month, but he claims not to know that during that same month 19,000 jobs were lost in Quebec, a province whose exports will decrease by 4.5% this year.

Instead of burying his head in the sand, will the minister immediately implement an assistance plan for the manufacturing sector, as the Bloc Québécois has been asking him to do for months now?