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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

BurmaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. envoy to Burma suggests the death toll from the cyclone could reach 100,000 and 20,000 have died already. Canada needs high level representation to deal with Burmese authorities to ensure that Canadian aid and Canadian relief workers to administer it can get into Burma. A Canadian envoy could play a vital role here, but for now Canada's staff is located in Thailand.

Will the government appoint an envoy to gain access for Canadian relief and relief workers so that Canada's contribution is maximized?

BurmaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

What the Burmese need, Mr. Speaker, is not an envoy. It is Canadian aid right now, as fast as possible. It is why this morning I spoke with the UN Secretary-General to ensure that we will have his help so that our aid will be able to enter the country. Right now, nobody can enter the country. This is the urgency of the situation. We will be ready when we get a request from the Burmese government or when we get a request from the UN.

BurmaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, United Nations humanitarian flights are arriving in Rangoon today. Relief from India, Indonesia and Bangladesh is now getting into Burma, but without experienced disaster relief personnel on the ground, there is no assurance that aid will reach the people in greatest need.

Financial aid is starting to flow but international relief staff are being blocked. What has the government done to ensure that Burmese authorities cannot siphon-off Canadian aid and ensure that the sanctions regime does not restrict humanitarian organizations in their relief operations?

BurmaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, we can assure Canadians that their assistance will be there as soon as possible. The countries that are being allowed in are being allowed in by the Burmese government. There are four UN flights that have been allowed in. We are asking the UN and all our partners to ensure that Canadian NGOs can get in there as well.

Today, I announced $500,000 to the Red Cross in Burma that has been working there. We are working with organizations that have been working there. We, of course, need to get more organizations, more countries to be allowed to address this international disaster.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, last year we caught the Minister of International Cooperation trying to hide her limo expenses. Having been caught, she was forced to repay taxpayers for her extravagance. Now she admits that she has done it again, with a limo bill of $17,000 that she had tried to hide in her department. I can understand why she is embarrassed about these bills, but why is she taking the limos in the first place?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 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 question might be better asked of her own leader, who, for the period between July 2004 and November 2005 when he was minister of the environment, billed $14,225 in 98 separate expenses for trips between Gatineau and Montreal in his limousine. Apparently, he likes limousine rides an awful lot more than the Minister of International Cooperation.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, Conservative expense disclosures are not real for the very reason that these ministers systematically hide their expenses. This was not an error. This was a scheme to hide her expenses. Why should Canadians pay for a limo ride from her house to a Conservative Party event? If the minister says it was an error, could she tell us, was it an error taking the limo or was it getting caught?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 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, of course, the Liberals think, when they look at our expenses, that we were hiding them because they cannot conceive that we are not living high off the hog the way they always did.

I can assure them that when the minister's expenses are all corrected, and they are fairly minor corrections, her expenses and those in both heritage and international development will have expenses far below those Liberal counterparts for their last year in government because they think that the public coffer is theirs to wine, dine and travel on.

Municipal AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, one day last December, the environment minister's chief of staff called the OPP four times to try to stop it from transferring the O'Brien file to the RCMP. The minister himself was in Bali at the time and abandoned his Canadian delegation so he could attend to this crisis. Since the minister is not talking about this, will the Prime Minister confirm it was the PMO that pressured the environment minister to have the calls made to the OPP?

Municipal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 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 who has made this accusation likes to engage in the practice of public fiction. This is yet another example. No such call ever occurred in the sense that nobody told the minister what he could put in his own pleadings.

None of that ever occurred, but it did not stop them from putting it down in black and white as if they believed it. That is why they ended up in court in the first place because they were quite happy to go out there and make stuff up regardless of the truth and now they are bearing the consequences for it.

Municipal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, what part of this is fiction? We know that the minister's chief of staff admits to making four calls to OPP officers handling this file. We know that Mr. O'Brien is charged with negotiating an appointment that would have involved the minister. We know that what the minister told police contradicts an affidavit backed up by a polygraph test. Why does the government believe that intervening with the OPP in a court matter is appropriate?

Municipal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 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, she left out one relevant fact. The OPP said there was no wrongdoing whatsoever on the part of the Minister of the Environment and it cleared him entirely. That has not stopped members opposite, though, from casting aspersions.

Instead, they say the OPP must be lying and breaking the law. If they cannot have it their way, they are willing to smear everybody. That is all they have done today. That is what they do when they do not have any policies and do not have any ideas.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Omar Khadr is the first child soldier to be tried by a western country. He was 15 years old at the time of the events. According to international human rights experts, his trial will violate international conventions signed by Canada that are intended to protect child soldiers.

Will the government honour its signature and act immediately in favour of a Canadian child soldier?

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Omar Khadr is facing serious charges related to his capture in Afghanistan, charges such as murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and spying.

That being said, we have been assured by the American government that Mr. Khadr has been treated humanely.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, as Canadian Bar Association president Bernard Amyot said, whether Mr. Khadr is guilty or not is what must be decided during the trial.

Has it become so difficult for the Canadian government to simply demand that the United States respect such fundamental principles as those of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to defend its own citizens against the arbitrary decisions of the Bush administration?

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague knows very well that all these questions are premature. Given that Mr. Khadr is facing these charges, legal proceedings are underway and the appeal process will follow.

Ferry ServiceOral Questions

May 8th, 2008 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Digby-Saint John ferry is a long established maritime highway linking western Nova Scotia to the rest of North America. This ferry contributes well over $40 million to the net economic benefits of western Nova Scotia and much more to the rest of Canada. This federally regulated and financed maritime interprovincial highway is fundamental to the social and economic future of western Nova Scotia.

Will the Minister of Transport assure this House and the people of Atlantic Canada that there will always be a ferry between Digby and Saint John, and that it will be financially supported--

Ferry ServiceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

Ferry ServiceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite would know that I have been in his riding a number of times and have met with officials at the municipal level and with those who will be most affected by this ferry were it to close.

We have met with the owners of Bay Ferries Limited and with the industry in the area. I thank my colleague, the Minister of Transport, for his cooperation in the past to keep this particular ferry running.

I do note that it was that member, during his time in government, who devolved this particular ferry, left it in the dire straits in which we found it and we have been able to keep it functioning since.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, since 2006, we have seen a major turnaround at NAFO. Most recently, there was an intersessional meeting held in Montreal.

We understand that the United Nations General Assembly resolution on sustainable fisheries, which calls on high seas fishing nations and regional fisheries management organizations to identify and protect vulnerable species and habitats by December 31, 2008, was on the table for discussion.

Would the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans please provide the House with an update on this issue?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right, as he always is.

First let me say that within the last two years the first thing we did was reform NAFO in relation to enforcement and then we modernized the convention.

Working with the NGOs and the fishing industry, we have enabled NAFO to go in and protect marine sensitive ecosystems, not on the high seas where we have no control or cannot do anything about it, except to pay lip service, which we were asked to do in the past, but within the NAFO regulated zone where we can do something. We are getting the job done.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the former heritage minister has admitted that she did wrong when she carried out an elaborate spending spree with taxpayer money and then tried to hide that spending from the public.

I appreciate the fact that she has risen in the House and spoken about it, but this is not, as she said, an administrative error. This is a breach of the basic rules of accountability by which we hold cabinet ministers accountable. If an average Canadian tried to hide financial spending, there would be tough consequences.

The minister broke the rules. She billed the taxpayers $1,300 for a limo to a partisan rally.

What steps will the government take to get the money back?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:55 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 minister is correcting all the disclosures and I can assure the member that no improper charges will be or have been charged to taxpayers.

I can also assure the member that, under this government, Conservative ministers have a serious regard for taxpayer money, which is why, under almost every department, expenses for travel and hospitality are far lower under the Conservatives than they were under the previous Liberals.

The government House leader, for example, 204% higher under the Liberals. The government leader in the Senate, 3,711% higher under--

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the record shows otherwise. The finance minister broke the rules. The transportation minister broke the rules. The labour minister broke the rules. The former heritage minister broke the rules. When they were caught, the Prime Minister said that there would be absolutely no consequences.

We are talking about hiding elaborate spending from the taxpayers.

That is a cabinet that is living high off the fat of the land, while telling everybody else that the cupboard is bare. What makes the Conservatives think they are so much more superior to average Canadians who play by the rules and who pay their bills?