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House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ndp.

Topics

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

The Bloc has been stuck on the opposition benches for 18 years now, which gives Quebeckers of all political stripes good reason to ask themselves why the Bloc even exists.

Fortunately, for more than two years now, the 11 staunch Conservative members from Quebec have done more than just talk. They have been acting in the best interest of Quebec and Canadians.

2010 Winter OlympicsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, most Vancouverites are looking forward to the 2010 Winter Olympics as an opportunity to showcase, not only our own high performance athletes, but British Columbia's natural beauty, its aboriginal roots and multicultural society.

B.C. Liberal MPs, aware of the mistakes during Expo '86 when vulnerable groups became homeless to make room for tourists, ensured that legacy projects were built into 2010 planning to allow for aboriginal sport and low income housing infrastructure. There was pride in the 2010 Games.

However, the Conservative government has destroyed Canada's reputation in the world. The cancellation of Kyoto, the Bali conference, the reneging on the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples have made Canada the target of local and international protesters, who have labelled us human rights deniers.

Now the 2010 Games, like the Beijing Olympics, are in danger of becoming the stage for Canada's shame rather than its glory.

What will the Prime Minister do to mitigate his damage to Canada's once proud global reputation?

Unborn Victims of Crime ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we speak, a pro-choice demonstration is being held at the human rights monument on Elgin Street to counterbalance the March for Life, which was organized by pro-life groups and is taking place on Parliament Hill. These pro-life groups do not hesitate to recruit Catholic school children and bring them to the event.

Groups such as the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and Planned Parenthood of Ottawa invited members of Parliament to participate in the pro-choice demonstration in order to show their support for women's freedom of choice regarding abortion and their opposition to Bill C-484—the bill that would extend rights to the fetus and could set women back 20 years.

The women of Quebec are no fools. They see the Conservatives' ploy, which could re-criminalize abortion instead of tackling the problem of violence against women.

I urge everyone here to show their opposition to Bill C-484 and to sign the Bloc Québécois' petition.

Pharmaceutical IndustryStatements By Members

May 8th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the generic pharmaceutical industry provides important medicines at often half the price of brand name producers and invests in research and development at a rate almost double that of name brand pharmaceuticals.

Draft regulations, with no consultation, would allow brand name drug companies to get an automatic injunction preventing Health Canada's approval of lower cost genetics.

This unfair practice by the big pharmaceutical companies is called “evergreening” of drug patents, and the proposed new rules would override a 2006 Supreme Court decision, which called it a “draconian regime”.

As the average Canadian struggles to meet the costs of medications and our provincial health care systems are strapped for cash, the low cost medicines sold by generic producers play a very important role.

Does the Prime Minister care about making life more affordable for Canadians and helping our struggling health care system, or does he only care about the wish list of big pharma?

World Red Cross and Red Crescent DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

May 8 is the birthday of the founder of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant and the date on which the international community recognizes the contribution the Red Cross makes to humanity.

The development of the Red Cross shows how powerfully one person's idea can affect the course of events.

From Canada to Afghanistan, from tsunamis to cyclones, from disaster relief, to humanitarian work, the impact of the Red Cross can be seen and felt around the world.

The message at this year's international conference of the Red Cross Red Crescent movement will be that human dignity is something to which every human has a right and it must be protected.

On behalf of the Liberal Party, I salute the work of the Canadian Red Cross and the extraordinary volunteers who help those most in need. The world would be a very different place without the vast contributions of the Red Cross.

We all look forward to celebrating the 100th anniversary of this day next year.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it looks like the Liberal leader is in for a tough summer. We have learned he plans to tour the country, attempting to convince Canadians his new massive gas tax is a good idea. With gas prices estimated at being the highest they have ever been this summer, that is going to take a lot of explaining.

I hope he also tells Canadians why he supports raising the GST back to 7% and possibly even higher. Maybe he will also explain wanting to spend over $63 billion, bringing our country into a deficit.

Prudent decisions by our government have allowed Canada's economic fundamentals to remain strong. We have lowered taxes, reduced debt and carefully managed government spending. Disposable income has been rising steadily and net employment has increased by over three-quarters of a million new jobs.

As the Liberal leader tries to convince Canadians this summer that he should be in charge of their hard-earned money, I wish him luck. He is going to need it.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, questions about ministerial judgment and national security are not a private matter. They are everyone's business and we will raise them in the House.

I would like to ask a simple question. Does the Prime Minister still have confidence in his Minister of Foreign Affairs?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I never thought that I would be the victim of such a low, meanspirited attack by an opposition party. This is my private life people are talking about. This is about my ex-girlfriend's private life and her past, and a person's private life is nobody else's business.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is not just a private matter. There is a pattern of embarrassment in the conduct of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

He is the minister who confuses the name of the former president of Haiti. He undermined the sovereignty of Afghanistan within intemperate remarks about the governor of Kandahar. Now we learn that he failed to disclose potential security problems with a private relationship.

Based on this record of embarrassment, I ask again: How can the government have confidence in the Minister of Foreign Affairs?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:15 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 am sure you would agree that if the House of Commons lowered itself to spending its days inquiring into the private lives of the members, our country would be a much sadder place.

As for the national security concerns of member of the opposition, I could take those a little more seriously if they had not spent the entire leader's round yesterday asking the government to bring two suspected terrorists back to Canada.

Obviously they do not really care about security concerns for Canada. They are really just in the gutter.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the minister.

As the head of Canada's diplomatic corps, the minister has the highest security clearance, so can he explain why he thought that a relationship with a person with connections to organized crime would have no consequences? Can he explain why he thought that?

National SecurityOral 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, it was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who said, “The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation”. The deputy leader of the Liberal Party is clearly no Pierre Trudeau.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know the Minister of Foreign Affairs has access to some of the highest security clearances available to the cabinet members.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, would you ask the Minister of the Environment to settle down, please. This is an important matter.

To achieve the security clearance, the minister would have had to submit to a thorough background check. Did he list the woman he called his spouse, Julie Couillard, on his security clearance background check and were any concerns raised about his involvement with Ms. Couillard at that time? That is a simple question.

National SecurityOral 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, it is quite clear that these are politically motivated, personal attacks on someone's private life, which have no place in the House of Commons.

I notice it is not the foreign affairs critic asking questions of the foreign affairs minister. There is probably a reason for that. I think he may be the one guy over there who is a little too classy to do that.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government must acknowledge that this is a matter of public concern because it is a matter of national security. When his status and security clearance were upgraded, the Minister of Foreign Affairs should have informed his Prime Minister.

Was the Privy Council aware of this? Did it express concern or produce a report about the minister and the woman he called his spouse, who had connections to organized crime and biker gangs?

Also—and this is important—have foreign government services raised this issue with Canadian authorities?

National SecurityOral 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, there is a party leader who is normally in this House and who said just last year, “I would be very pleased to see less personal attacks, less low politics”. That was the leader of the Liberal Party. Clearly he is not leading his party today.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on August 14, 2007, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was seen entering Rideau Hall for his swearing in ceremony, with a woman on his arm. The image was so striking that a journalist from The Hill Times tried to find out the woman's identity and learned that the minister wanted to keep her name a secret.

Is this not proof that the Minister of Foreign Affairs knew about his partner's somewhat shady past at the time of his swearing in?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, all the members of this House have a public life and all members are also entitled to their private lives. Everyone has the right to privacy and a private life, be they ministers, journalists or dentists.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only was the Minister of Foreign Affairs aware of his spouse's past at the time of his swearing in, but so was the Privy Council, the Prime Minister's department. In fact, the journalist from The Hill Times contacted Foreign Affairs, Industry Canada and the Privy Council to establish the identity of the woman who accompanied the minister, but no one was talking.

Is this not further proof that, at the time of the swearing in, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister's Office were aware of his spouse's somewhat shady past?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is doing remarkable work in a very difficult job in our country. He deserves our encouragement and support. He definitely does not deserve this suspicion and these insinuations.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, it appears from this morning's newspapers that the former spouse of the Minister of Foreign Affairs has a shady past. She was so closely linked with organized crime that her life was allegedly threatened at one time.

Knowing that the underworld does not hesitate to put pressure on people and knowing his former spouse's shady past, should the Minister of Foreign Affairs not have disclosed this situation during his security screening as Minister of Foreign Affairs?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, can the leader of the Bloc Québécois assure this House that he never took part in a teleconference with reporters or threatened them if they did not go along with his story today?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Yes I can, Mr. Speaker. I never threatened any reporter. I am not a Conservative. I ask—