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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

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, this whole issue came about because of the Prime Minister's flagrant lack of judgment. It is clear that his colleague, the member for Beauce, possessed neither the stature nor the experience to lead Canada's diplomatic corps. He tried to make a rising star out of a member of his party, but the star went down in flames.

Will the Prime Minister humbly admit to his lack of judgment in selecting his former minister of foreign affairs?

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, the member for Beauce made a mistake. The member for Beauce realized that he made a serious mistake involving those documents, and his resignation was accepted.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former minister of foreign affairs has made a lot of mistakes, including contradicting his government on the softwood lumber file, handing out Jos Louis cakes in Afghanistan, referring to the President of Haiti as Aristide, bungling the Kandahar governor affair, messing up the C-17 cargo plane promise and selecting his former female companion carelessly.

But is the real problem not the Prime Minister's lack of judgment in appointing an incompetent minister, keeping him in the job and defending him for so long?

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, with respect to the Prime Minister's judgment, as soon as he heard about the documents, he took action and accepted the minister's resignation.

Airport SecurityOral Questions

May 27th, 2008 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government claims to be concerned about terrorism and security. But in the case of airports, this could not be further from the truth. Companies with ties to organized crime can bid on security contracts in strategic locations and have access to specifications without a security screening. Before revealing this information, the government should ensure that these companies do not pose a security risk.

Can the Minister of Public Safety assure us that companies are systematically screened when they submit a bid, yes or no?

Airport 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, this has nothing to do with the private life of the member for Beauce.

With respect to contracts between the government and security companies, there are always security screenings and questions.

Airport SecurityOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons should perhaps listen to question period. Whether this is about the Couillard affair or not, this is a very serious security issue. Experts say that there is a security step missing before specifications are given to bidders. We know that organized crime is trying to get into airports, particularly for the purposes of drug trafficking.

Are the Minister of Public Safety and the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons waiting for “Mom Boucher Security Inc.” to win a security contract at the Montreal airport before they will change the procedures?

Airport SecurityOral Questions

2:35 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, obviously, on contracts of that type security issues arise. I believe the reference being raised is to a news story that we heard about yesterday. It is a question of an application for a contract that occurred under the Liberal government.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is practising wilful ignorance. Despite a litany of missteps by the former minister and serious questions about his judgment, for weeks the government House leader has stood in the House and repeatedly told this House that questions about the former foreign affairs minister's judgment were not a national security issue.

When the minister resigned everyone then knew there were serious security concerns around his portfolio. Why did the House leader participate in this deception?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 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, no such thing occurred. We believe and continue to believe that the private lives of Canadian citizens are the private lives of Canadian citizens.

With regard to the issue of the documents, the private life of the minister and the private life of Madam Couillard had nothing to do with the events of yesterday. The events of yesterday were prompted entirely by the error of the minister. He knew the rules with regard to documents. We take those rules seriously. As soon as we were aware of the problem action was taken.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is not taking this issue seriously. It is simply dismissing these questions of national security and calling them silly. As a matter of fact, the only party in this House that is taking this issue less seriously than the government is the NDP.

While this strong, embarrassing saga is being played out in the media around the world on CNN, in the China Post, on BBC News and on USA Today, just to name a few, are we to believe the government did nothing?

Why did the minister only resign after a television station started asking the kind of serious questions the government should have dealt with weeks ago?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 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 previously, there are clear rules that apply to cabinet ministers and clear rules that apply to those documents. The ministers are aware of them and they must abide by them.

Unfortunately, we had a situation where the member for Beauce found himself making a grave error with regard to those rules. He paid the price for that by offering his resignation and that resignation was accepted. Action was taken.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, on May 8, I asked the public safety minister an important national security question about his discussions with the then foreign affairs minister and Madam Couillard. However, the response was the usual evasive nonsense and non-answer from the government House leader.

I will ask the question again. Did the minister know about Madam Couillard's background and did he discuss potential or actual breaches of national security with the then foreign affairs minister?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 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, what I hear from the hon. member is a suggestion that the personal lives of people are a matter that the government should be controlling and inquiring into.

The resignation that took place yesterday had nothing at all to do with the personal life of the member for Beauce or the personal life of Madam Couillard. We do not believe that she should be dragged through this in the fashion that members would like to do.

The resignation was a consequence of an error by the member for Beauce. It should be clear that it was his error with regard to the documents, which is why the resignation occurred and for no other reasons.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is absolute hogwash. The fact is that Canadians deserve answers about this serious question.

The Prime Minister has shown a total lack of judgment when it comes to ministerial accountability and national security.

In light of that utter disregard for national security, at any point during the relationship between the foreign affairs minister and Madam Couillard did the public safety minister do his job and consider the potential risk to national security? If not, why not?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 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, let us be clear. The issue that arose was one related to a document, not one related to the background of Madam Couillard nor to that personal relationship.

It mattered not if that document had been left in a restaurant, at a friend's home or at Madam Couillard's home. It was a grave error and for that the minister has resigned.

Arctic SovereigntyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, since taking office, our government has been a strong defender of Canada's Arctic sovereignty.

We continue to develop a northern agenda that focuses on sovereignty and environmental protection, promoting economic and social development, and devolving governance so that northerners can have more control over their own futures.

Today the Minister of Natural Resources is in Greenland defending Canada's interest at the Arctic Ocean Conference.

Could the parliamentary secretary tell this House how the government is protecting Canada's north and our Arctic sovereignty?

Arctic SovereigntyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. After a half an hour of question period we finally get a question with some content in it.

After 13 long, dark years, not just long, dark winters, we are finally acting. Canada has sovereign rights over our continental shelf and we are actively defending that claim.

Last month the minister visited our Arctic scientists in Nunavut. The work there is demonstrating our sovereignty to the nations around the world.

In Greenland today the minister is reaffirming Canada's Arctic commitment on the world stage.

Both of those things are critically important to the protection of our north and our sovereign control over the Arctic.

At home and abroad, our government is finally defending Canada's sovereignty.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the British chair and an American member of an international scientific group that is highly knowledgeable about chrysotile asbestos recently wrote to the Minister of Health to object to the fact that their scientific work is being undermined by this government and misrepresented by the Bloc Québécois. These international experts are adamant: there is no safe use of chrysotile asbestos, and it is a carcinogen.

Instead of hiding the truth, why will the minister not publish this important research in the interest of all those who work near asbestos?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the honourable member for his question.

Obviously we are seized with this issue. We have received a report and we will be studying it. The government will be making its decision in due course.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, he has had the report for over two months. The authors are appalled that the government is sitting on it. It is worth quoting what they had to say about the Bloc Québécois. They said that the Bloc had grossly misused and misrepresented the report. They said that it was scandalous. There is no safe use of asbestos, including chrysotile asbestos.

When will the government act to protect workers and put in place programs to compensate them?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, in the paroxysm of self-righteousness, which characterizes NDP policy, he has made a conclusion without having read the report.

Let us read the report, get all the scientific data and then we can make a reasonable conclusion.

Canada-United States RelationsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is embarrassing Canada on the international stage.

Last Friday the NAFTA-gate report glossed over but also confirmed the role of Ian Brodie and Michael Wilson in starting this diplomatic incident. However, one key question remained unanswered: Who leaked the confidential memo?

Today we learned that the PMO gave the memo to a son of a Republican congressman before it was leaked to the Associated Press.

What other secret government documents has the PMO leaked to the Republican Party?