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House of Commons Hansard #97 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was treaty.

Topics

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. government House leader.

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.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 am surprised that after anxiously awaiting his first opportunity to ask the first question, the member has instead chosen to ask about people's private and personal lives.

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Stop insulting people.

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

The hon. member opposite says I should stop insulting people, but that is the line of questioning we are receiving from the Liberal Party right now, which is not just insulting people but inquiring into their private and personal lives.

We have made it clear that this government would not put national security at risk.

However, wrapping questions around some false pretense of that nature does not justify the kind of gossip mongering we get from across the way.

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, many national security experts do not share the minister's views, since the partner of the Minister of Foreign Affairs played not only a private role, but a public role as well. That must be recognized.

I am frankly astounded that the minister and the government are continuing to defend the position that this has nothing to do with the public interest. Do they still believe that?

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, what I continue to think is what most Canadians think, which is that private lives should be private lives.

There was a fellow who once said that the definition of a Liberal is clearly someone who does not even know how to blush because he has lost the capacity to be embarrassed. I know the member for Toronto Centre has been working hard to try to appear like a Liberal, but that is something he actually said in a debate once.

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely devastated. I am wounded.

Now that we are talking about blushing, I wonder about the minister's travel bill to Laos. He he spent over $22,000 on a return trip from that country to Canada when everyone else was paying far less than that and when a staff member was paying one-tenth of that cost to travel. I wonder if that makes the government House leader blush, just for once.

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.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 is interesting that the member's party is the same party that has been saying for the last week or so that it is concerned and wants to see Canada stand tall on the world stage, and now it is being critical of the concept of the foreign affairs minister actually representing Canada at international forums such as the Francophonie conference in question.

We have every intention of continuing to stand up for Canada on the world stage, being there at the important meetings and being there at the Francophonie conference, which we consider to be important to Canada.

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the continuing saga of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, we learned this morning that, contrary to what the government would have us believe, Ms. Couillard had links with the underworld not a decade ago, but until just recently, in 2005. This confirms what security experts say: people who get into organized crime do not get out.

My question is simple: if investigative reporters were able to uncover Ms. Couillard's shady past, how are we supposed to believe that the offices of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety did not?

National SecurityOral Questions

11:15 a.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 happen to believe that the private lives of people are their private lives.

However, the hon. member belongs to a party where for one of its lead organizers in Quebec we know we saw some organized crime when it was engaging in the sponsorship scandal, ripping off taxpayers and lining its pockets. People have been charged by the RCMP. The Liberal Party had to give back money. He says that once people are involved in crime, they cannot get out of it. I guess he is speaking for himself.

National SecurityOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, when someone's private life threatens to undermine the security of Canadians, it is not a personal question, but a matter of public concern.

Is it not true that the main reason the government refused to allow Ms. Couillard to attend certain confidential meetings and certain interviews given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs was that the Conservatives knew about Ms. Couillard's past?

National SecurityOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this member may be fond of gossiping, but the fact is that this is not a national security issue.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, security is the Conservatives' excuse for everything. Security is a catch-all concept to justify their blatant lack of transparency. The strategy is simple: give as little information as possible and control any information released to the public. We had a very fine example of that this week when the government announced first $30 billion, then $50 billion and finally $96 billion for military spending. This is one of the more recent examples of the Conservatives' manipulation.

Do the Conservatives not realize that in a democracy the government has to be transparent and accountable for its actions?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is obviously referring to the action plan on national defence the government presented quite openly this week to the general public. As hon. members know, this is an extremely important initiative.

In other matters, I would point out to the hon. member that Ms. Marois has just presented an action plan on sovereignty. I have not read it yet, but I am quite certain I will not agree with it. At least some thought was put into it. The leader of the Bloc and the Bloc Québécois prefer to just gossip.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, no plan has ever been tabled setting out the Conservatives' military strategy, so they can quit trying to sell us that one.

Manipulation of public opinion has gone so far that the Conservatives are even paying think tanks that are in favour of a military mission in Afghanistan and requiring them to publish op-ed articles and analyses in the media. Alain Pellerin, president of the Conference of Defence Associations, who is paid through Conservative funding, federal funding, acknowledges that the publication quotas that are part of the contract conditions do not make sense.

While this money is openly being used to sell the Conservatives' military vision of the mission in Afghanistan, does the government recognize that it is trying to manipulate the opinion—

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.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 question is about the Conference of Defence Associations of Canada. I want to quote Alain Pellerin, executive director of CDA, who said:

--his organization has received money from National Defence for decades and the media quotas have been part of the agreement with the military since 2002, when a consulting firm told the department it should draw up more performance-based grant contracts.

That is something that took place under the Liberal government.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

May 16th, 2008 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the government attempts to minimize the Minister of Foreign Affairs' negligence, it has come to light that his former girlfriend had ties with criminal elements until 2005 at least. In addition to her having been the girlfriend of two people with business connections to the Hells Angels, her father was sentenced in 2001 for growing marijuana for bikers and a third boyfriend was jailed for possession of stolen goods and had ties to organized crime.

How could the Minister of Foreign Affairs disregard his former girlfriend's shady past when the country's security could have been at risk?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again, we have stated in this House that the government is not compromising national security. It is not at risk. I will only say that the true and the greatest threat to Canada's security is the separation proposed by the Bloc Québécois.

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have also learned that Ms. Couillard and her former partner, Robert Pépin, approached a federal organization in 2004 to offer security screening services.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs recognize that these troubling revelations demonstrate that his links to such people constitute a significant security risk for the nation and that he is acting irresponsibly?

Minister of Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in the past, we would read the daily Le Jour to find out about the sovereignist ideology. Under this leader of the Bloc Québécois, we can now read Allô Police and other supermarket tabloids.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a forestry industry in crisis and a Conservative government that does not respond. The mill closure in Mackenzie, B.C. is just the latest example.

The government is allowing countless companies and communities to flounder and fail without planning for future market cycles. Without targeted help, forestry jobs will disappear, never to return.

Why is the Conservative government handing billions of dollars to oil companies while letting these forest families struggle with an impact that is devastating in local communities?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely wrong. It is our government that has ended the tax subsidy for the oil sands projects in future. We are phasing that out.

In fact, we are providing billions of dollars to help those affected workers. Our Prime Minister announced a billion dollars in the community development trust, which was handed over to the provinces to deliver help to these communities directly. We are working with the industry on innovation, new market opportunities and opportunities for technology. The industry is very pleased with our efforts.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I challenge the minister to go to Mackenzie, B.C. and just see what the impact is on families and that community as a result of all of the jobs that are being lost there.

It is the same with the pine beetle. Climate change has allowed the mountain pine beetle to ravage the forests of B.C. The result of the red tide of destruction across B.C.'s interior is being felt in many communities and homes. This season will yet again see major fire risk because of the deadwood and climate conditions.

I would like to know what steps the Conservative government is taking to address the safety and security of communities at risk. Or will it be just another story of too little, too late?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe the nerve of the NDP members who stand up and raise the pine beetle issue in the House.

When the infestation broke out, it was an NDP government in British Columbia that refused to act. It refused to control this. In fact, there are members of the NDP caucus who were sitting at the cabinet table. Everyone knows that this broke out in the mid-1990s when there was an NDP government that refused to deal with it because it was in a provincial park.

Our government has taken responsible action. We committed a billion dollars over 10 years. We are delivering. We are making a difference. The NDP members should be ashamed of themselves for not acting when they had a chance.