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 #99 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was food.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

I hear again that they do not want to hear the answer but I am not surprised.

I will not, however, discuss classified documents in the House.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has repeatedly denied knowing anything about Ms. Couillard's past and security issues that were raised. Yet Ms. Couillard said that she told the former minister of foreign affairs about her shady past early on in their relationship. Ms. Couillard also said that she was sure she had been investigated, but as she had not authorized it, the government was not within its rights to release the results of the investigation.

Why did the Prime Minister hide the fact that he had known since the beginning about Ms. Couillard's past and the security risk it represented?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 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, the member for Beauce's private life was not a factor in this decision. Citizens' private lives are their private lives. The member for Beauce made a mistake, he took responsibility for it, and he tendered his resignation.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ms. Couillard accompanied the former minister of foreign affairs to a meeting with George W. Bush, yet the government would have us believe that she was never subjected to a security screening. The Prime Minister, who is an expert at controlling information, would have us believe that he knew nothing about Ms. Couillard's past.

What did the Prime Minister have to hide, if not his lack of judgment?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 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 do not think that the things the President of the United States said about Ms. Couillard were matters of national security.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, also highly implausible is the fact that the Prime Minister told us that he only learned yesterday that the former foreign affairs minister left secret documents at Julie Couillard's home five weeks ago. Given the department's strict rules and the sensitive nature of some of these documents, it is impossible that the Prime Minister's Office was not informed prior to this.

Will the government admit that it was Julie Couillard's interview that forced it to make public the former minister's serious mistake?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 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, the mistake made by the member for Beauce was a mistake pertaining to classified documents. The Prime Minister took action as soon as he learned that cabinet rules were breached.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a serious matter. The government has taken it too lightly up until now.

I am therefore asking the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to solemnly swear, from his seat, that the Prime Minister's Office was never informed before yesterday that the former foreign affairs minister had lost these documents.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 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, that is correct. The Prime Minister's Office had no information about the documents prior to yesterday. After he was informed of the situation, the Prime Minister took action.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we welcome the departure of the former minister of foreign affairs but the fact is that there are deep ramifications that have been left for Canada, both here domestically and abroad.

When we talk about the international implications, they have to do with whether Canada can be trusted. When we talk about the domestic implications, they have to do with very serious security concerns.

There is no better opportunity now than with the changing of the guard to pose my question for the new Foreign Affairs Minister. Is he prepared to tell Canada and Canadians that we will seek a seat now on the Security Council of the United Nations?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 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, Canada has stood proud on the world stage and we continue to do so. The last time Canada sought a seat on the national stage several million dollars were spent under the Liberal government conducting a campaign, including handing out free tickets to special events to members of the United Nations.

That is not how we stand tall on the world stage. If we are going to have a seat on the Security Council, it will because of the integrity of Canada and its proud reputation on the world stage.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that Canada's reputation has been tarnished by the actions of this government. That is the problem.

We welcome the resignation of the member from Beauce from his position at Foreign Affairs. However, after the fiasco regarding the governor of Kandahar, the non-existent aircraft to carry aid to the Burmese and the member's refusal to take responsibility for the leak about NAFTA, the misplaced secret documents were the last straw.

What is the government going to do to mend fences and restore Canada's image on the international stage?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 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, Canada will continue to show leadership on the world stage, the kind of leadership that we have shown in Afghanistan where our forces have been carrying on some of the toughest work that has been required to advance the cause and the values that we believe in, and the kind of work that Canada has been undertaking in Haiti where we are helping some of the people in the most impoverished country in this hemisphere and doing what we can to help them build a stronger and safer country where they can all live and achieve their dreams.

Canada will continue to provide that kind of leadership, as we are right now with regard to aid to Burma and with regard to China.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the sequel to The American Trap, a film by Fabienne Larouche, could be called The Canadian Conservative Trap. That is what we have before us today.

The arrogance and lack of judgment of the Prime Minister and his cronies prove that if the government had answered our legitimate questions from the start, we would not be in this situation.

Now we learn that Ms. Couillard's home was bugged.

Can the Minister of Public Safety tell us that neither the RCMP nor the Canadian Security Intelligence Service planted a microphone and, if they did, can he tell us whether they were instructed to do so?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 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 have no information about what the member is referring to.

I can tell members that this government is not in the business of investigating the private lives of private citizens.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, a former foreign affairs minister leaves secret documents lying around and, until recently, had a partner with a shady past who set up a security firm to win contracts at airports and who was in possession of secret military documents for five weeks—five weeks—before she reacted.

My question is simple. What steps have been taken to ensure these documents were not photocopied and passed on to organized crime? Or is the Prime Minister reassured because he has seen the transcript of the conversations recorded using the microphone the government planted?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 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 repeat: the documents have been returned to the Government of Canada. The Department of Foreign Affairs has been asked to analyze the situation, and it could request the assistance of the appropriate agencies.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the only stage the Conservative government is standing on right now is the vaudeville stage. This is amateur hour on the Rideau.

The government did not know five weeks ago about this issue. Mrs. Couillard had to go on television to tell the government about it.

Why did the government not pose the question?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, as I indicated clearly, the issue is not, as many of the questions have been over the past several weeks, about the private lives of private citizens. We do not intend to deal with that.

The issue is the question of the documents that were left. This is something for which the government became aware of only yesterday and we took action immediately in that regard.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is precisely the question. Why did it take the government five weeks to discover that documents were missing and why did it take the government five weeks to ask a question either of the member for Beauce, the former minister, or of Ms. Couillard?

Why did you sit on your duff and do nothing for five weeks about--

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Toronto Centre is an experienced member and he knows that he has to address his questions to the Chair. To suggest that I have been sitting here for five weeks may be accurate or not, but I hope he will refrain from the use of the word “you” and stick with “Mr. Speaker” in his questions.

The hon. government House leader is rising to respond to this question?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, following your worthy intervention, Mr. Speaker, I think I have almost forgotten what the question was.

However, I can assure the hon. member that the government, as soon as we became aware--

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, either they want to hear answers or they want to make funny speeches. It is question period. I am here to answer.