This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #87 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was income.

Topics

Communications Vetting PolicyStatements By Members

May 2nd, 2008 / 11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a disturbing trend about the Prime Minister and his Kremlinesque practice of producing enemies lists. The Prime Minister quite simply does not tolerate people who disagree with him: MPs who oppose him, kicked out; non-partisan organizations he does not like, funding cut; hard-working loyal public servants fired; parliamentary committees investigating him, shut down; anyone who challenges him, sued. Just ask Bernard Shapiro, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Arthur Carty, Linda Keen, and Adrian Measner, to name just a few.

As of this week, the muzzle list now includes Elections Canada and the Auditor General. A directive was issued by the Prime Minister's Privy Council to the Auditor General and all hereto independent officers of Parliament that their communications are to be vetted by his office. No wonder even backbench Conservatives have taken to calling the Prime Minister's Office the Kremlin.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, thanks to our government, aboriginal Canadians are starting to see real results and measurable improvements in their quality of life.

For the first time ever, there is an Indian residential schools settlement agreement. For the first time ever, the Prime Minister will apologize to former students of residential schools. For the first time ever, there are tripartite agreements with provinces to improve education. For the first time ever, a government is moving to protect women and children on reserve when a relationship goes bad. For the first time ever, our government is moving to deliver real human rights on reserve. We are not into aspirational documents. We want the real thing. For the first time ever, specific claims are going to be resolved fairly and quickly for aboriginal people and all Canadians. For the first time ever, there is real action to clean up the drinking water.

Thanks to our Conservative government, we are making real improvements in the lives of aboriginal people. No more promises in a news release. This is the real deal.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the scandal involving the in and out scheme just keeps getting worse for the government. Now we learn the data crime unit of the RCMP is analyzing computer records seized during the raid on Conservative Party headquarters.

The latest Conservative attempt is to dodge investigators and this time they are claiming solicitor-client privilege. That will not wash. The Conservative lawyer, Paul Lepsoe, was himself a key designer of the in and out scheme and may be subject to prosecution.

If the government still thinks the scheme is legal, why does it refuse to cooperate with the RCMP and Elections Canada?

Elections CanadaOral 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, the hon. member has what we call no shame. He has spent an entire term in Parliament so far inventing imaginary scandals. He continues with that pattern today and has the nerve to write, which appeared in the newspapers today on his blog, sad words about the lack of decorum in Parliament and how members do not talk about policy anymore. He said:

A new policy isn't half as good as a scandal or the whiff of one...I am worried that politics is being boiled down to irrelevance--to splashy conflicts and salacious juice.

He is the father of that trend.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, this was not an imaginary raid. It is time for answers from the government.

It is one thing to cite solicitor-client privilege when the Conservatives are under police investigation for fraud and then hire a lawyer, but when the lawyer is actually one of the kingpins that helps structure the fraud, privilege goes out the window.

First they tried to threaten Elections Canada, then they sued it. When that did not work, they smeared it. Now, since the courts have ruled their arguments irrelevant, they try this new ploy.

No more excuses. No more stonewalling. When will the government cooperate with the RCMP and Elections Canada? How many more police raids will it take before we get some answers?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative ads. They got financial assistance from the national party to do so. Elections Canada found out about it. How? Because we told them, and why would we not? After all, it is legal and all parties do it.

It singled us out, so we took it to court. One day before it was to face questioning, it interrupted the court case, breaking its own rules, barging into our office and bringing Liberal cameramen along.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me quote a December 15, 2005, email released with the search warrant, written by Michael Donison, national executive director and the House leader's top adviser:

I have been speaking with Paul Lepsoe...there are contiguous ridings that we could include on the list...None of those campaigns can or will spend very much, and could make their caps available.

Use space in ridings, overspend nationally, break the rules, try to steal an election; that is this lawyer's advice. Before the next police raid, will the government simply stop the lame spin and cooperate?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the member would target his former Liberal deputy prime minister with those kinds of smears. After the 2004 election, the director-general of the Liberal Party, a candidate in Alberta, wrote to local Liberal campaigns saying:

During the past election campaign, the Liberal Party of Canada in Alberta transferred funds and/or paid for services in kind directly to the candidate--

This was for an ad that ran in the Edmonton Journal for which the local campaigns had no approval. Perhaps there is no evidence that they even had advance knowledge of the ad running. Why does the member, the doctor-detective of the House of Commons, not find answers to that?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government refused to provide Elections Canada with the documents required for its investigation of the in and out scheme. This forced Elections Canada to ask the RCMP to search the Conservative Party offices. And that is not all. We have learned that the RCMP's integrated technological crime unit is reviewing the files on the Conservatives' computers.

Can the government assure us that there will be absolutely no interference with the RCMP investigation?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, it should not be forgotten that Elections Canada is aware of our practices precisely because we informed them of the transfers, which are completely legal.

We will continue to co-operate with everyone because all our procedures and all our actions have been completely legal and ethical.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, those with a clear conscience have nothing to hide, but that is not the case for them. The Conservatives' lawyer, Paul Lepsoe, is one of the architects of the in and out scheme. In an email dated December 15, 2005, the national director of the Conservative Party said that it was Mr. Lepsoe who had the idea of inflating expenses in certain ridings by using the in and out scheme.

Does the Conservative government believe that being a member of the bar is a licence to commit fraud?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, Conservative candidates spent Conservative money on Conservative advertising with the help of transfers from the national party.

Elections Canada found out about all of this because we told it. Why would we not? After all, these practices are legal and normally undertaken by all parties. Elections Canada singled us out so we took it to court. One day before it was to be questioned, it barged into our office with media and a Liberal camera in hand.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party is claiming to be the victim of arbitrary treatment by the Chief Electoral Officer, and it has even gone so far as to question his credibility and impartiality. But it is not just the Chief Electoral Officer who has doubts about the Conservative Party's integrity. The Commissioner of Canada Elections and the judge who issued the search warrant were convinced that there were enough disturbing facts to warrant an RCMP raid on the party's headquarters.

Does the government realize that it is not the credibility of Elections Canada that is at stake, but the integrity of the Conservative Party?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, allow me to quote from the April 4, 2003 issue of La Presse:

Considered legal but not in keeping with the spirit of the Elections Act, the technique known as in and out has been used by the Bloc Québécois, as has recently come to light. The leader of the PQ, Bernard Landry, admitted yesterday that his party had also used this technique.

That is why the leader of the Bloc is the father of in and out.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, all the Bloc members and candidates have been reimbursed; the Conservatives cannot say the same. The RCMP has never raided the Bloc Québécois headquarters; the Conservatives cannot say the same.

The parliamentary secretary does not seem to realize the seriousness of the accusations being made against the Conservative Party. A sworn statement filed in court alleges that his party forged documents, pressured its own candidates to break the law, obstructed the work of investigators, gagged its candidates and devised a scheme to circumvent the law.

He should be much less arrogant in the face of such accusations.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the invoice the hon. member refers to was an invoice originally and mistakenly bundled by the advertising firm. As a result, the Conservative office simply divided it up, and gave it to the candidates who owed the amounts in question and added the GST. That is very clear. The changes to add the GST were made in handwriting. I cannot imagine why anyone trying to cover up changes would make them in handwriting.

The Bloc invented the in and out scheme. That is why the Bloc leader is the father of in and out.

HydroelectricityOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the Conservative government is considering financing hydroelectric development in Newfoundland and Ontario, to help set up an electricity distribution line that would even have to cross Quebec.

Does the Prime Minister promise that he will not interfere in this issue, and that Quebec would have final say over whether this distribution line crosses its territory?

HydroelectricityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. The Government of Canada is very diligent about respecting the provinces' areas of jurisdiction. I can assure the member; the Government of Canada will continue to work with the provinces when necessary.

HydroelectricityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec developed its vast hydroelectricity network on its own, without financial assistance from Ottawa. Quebec taxpayers financed this network.

Can the Prime Minister guarantee that he does not plan on holding talks about federal financing for an east-west electricity distribution network, and that he will never prevent the Government of Quebec from selling its electricity as it sees fit?

HydroelectricityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to see that the Bloc Québécois recognizes the extraordinary work of Robert Bourassa—a great Canadian federalist—who made such a significant contribution to developing energy in the north.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, La Presse is reporting today that the overall cost of the war in Afghanistan will be at least $5 billion, already half a billion more than budgeted.

As the situation in Afghanistan becomes more volatile and more equipment, munitions and troops are needed, we cannot trust the government to balance the books. The costs of this war are spiralling out of control. The air force and navy are already in a budget crunch.

What will the Conservatives cut to keep the fighting going in this unbalanced war in Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 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 NDP has never believed in supporting our armed forces, but we on this side of the House view things very differently. We want to ensure that our fighting men and women in the field in Afghanistan, who are doing great work in assisting the Afghan people, have the resources they need.

This House of Commons authorized a resolution, supported by the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. It put in place conditions for certain equipment that we need to provide to our troops in order for them to continue their activity to support the democratically elected Afghan government. We will continue to provide them with the resources they need.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the middle class earns only one dollar more a week than the last generation. Despite strong growth in the past 20 years, it is harder and harder for families to manage. Women, youth and immigrants are affected the most because of unstable and minimum-wage jobs. They simply cannot make ends meet.

Knowing that a recession is on its way, will the government finally choose the real world over big companies?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:25 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 have provided considerable assistance to people living on limited means and all Canadians. We reduced the GST, benefiting all Canadians, particularly those who do not pay income tax, which is one-third of the population. We reduced the personal income tax rate for the lowest earners. We added new tax credits, such as the Canada employment credit and the child tax credit. We have done plenty to help Canadian taxpayers and their families get ahead.

Canada Post CorporationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is conducting a strategic review of Canada Post's services. What that really means is that the government basically wants to deregulate and privatize. We have reason to be concerned because the Conservatives are launching a direct attack on the universality of this crown corporation.

Can the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, who is responsible for Canada Post, explain to Canadians why he could not care less about them?