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House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, as the leader of the NDP well knows, those subsidies were phased out at the beginning of budget 2007, except that he actually voted to keep them.

The reality, of course, is that in the United States as well as in Canada oil prices are set in international markets. They are not set by governments, with the exception of the taxes that governments do impose.

I would just point out that the NDP and others have to stop contradicting themselves. They cannot demand cheap oil and at the same time demand that we get off oil. Our government is making sure that we put in place policies to make the transition to a non-oil economy in the future.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

June 10th, 2008 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is reneging on its federal obligation to support regional economic development in Quebec.

Why is he cutting funding to not-for-profit organizations that have contributed so much to Quebec's development?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, if the Liberal Party had managed economic development funds properly when it was in power, we would not be in this position today. That party allowed organizations to keep coming back to our department, thinking that all they had to do was ask the government, and they would receive.

We will continue to support the same organizations, but we will be supporting one-time projects with a beginning, a middle and an end. We will not be funding organizations indefinitely.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is so typical of a government that never accepts responsibility and always tries to offload it onto the previous government. That is not acceptable.

The Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec was at the helm when half his budget was cut. Is that not the real reason the Conservative cabinet cut economic partnerships that had proven their worth?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. I have about the same level of funding as I had last year to support economic development in the regions of Quebec.

What kind of projects do we plan to support in the future? We plan to support Refuge Pageau, in Abitibi—Témiscamingue, a specific project with a beginning, a middle and an end; the Véloroute des Bleuets in Saguenay; the Trois-Rivières airport; the Alma airport; the Baie-Comeau transshipment facility; and the acquisition of a submarine in Rimouski, which will attract tourists to the region. These are all specific projects that will create jobs and continue to support economic activity in the regions.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is fine with the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec if his budget is cut in half. As long as he can continue to hand out goodies in his own riding, nothing bothers him—and he sure does hand out a lot of goodies.

He has already spent 20% of his budget in his own riding even though it represents just 4% of all Quebeckers. He has cut funding to Montreal International, PÔLE Québec Chaudière-Appalaches and others. Why? Is it simply to pay for more roads in his riding?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if those watching think it is reasonable for this department to cover the costs of economic organizations forever, when our mission is to support the economic development of the regions. These economic organizations have taken all the room to manoeuvre out of our department.

I am freeing up money that will stay in the same regions but will support one-off projects, whether for small to medium sized businesses or for economic organizations. It will support one-off projects.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, when we ask him about these stupid ideological cuts, the minister tells us that it is not just him, but cabinet that made the decision. He caved. And where was the so-called political lieutenant for Quebec when the economic development of Quebec stopped being a priority for cabinet? Where was the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages when the interests of Quebec were being ignored?

And if the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec does not make any decisions in his own department, if he bends to the will of his colleagues and does not defend the regions, then what exactly are we paying him for?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, we gave $1.25 million to the Montreal Grand Prix for a one-off project to help set up a state of the art press centre meeting today's needs.

Our department will continue to support the economic development of the regions of Quebec. We will help small- and medium-sized businesses buy equipment and so forth and create jobs in the regions. We will also provide organizations—I am still talking about economic organizations here—with support for one-off projects, projects that have a start, a middle and an end.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, we just learned this morning that Julie Couillard spared no effort to get access to Conservative ministers. In just a few short days, she managed to meet two. Experts have told us that this is how criminal organizations infiltrate political circles.

Considering Julie Couillard's shady past, and also considering the fact that she was known to the RCMP, was there not a blatant disregard for public safety?

Public SafetyOral 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, I understand that members opposite have been back to the hairdresser to get new material.

The minister received no representations from Madam Couillard on behalf of Kevlar. However, I am sure that will not stop the other parties from continuing their exercise at the legislative committee.

We have chosen a different approach. We are having a responsible review of this matter. It will be dealt with by Foreign Affairs, which will be reporting back to us on its findings.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, Julie Couillard attended a very private fundraising cocktail for the Conservative association in the riding of Châteauguay—Saint-Constant. In order to gain access, she turned to André Turcot, the president of the association, who knew her very well. Her name had been floating around in September as a potential Conservative candidate.

How does the Prime Minister expect us to believe that although the RCMP, a local Conservative Party organizer and the former minister of foreign affairs knew about this woman's shady past, he knew nothing?

Public SafetyOral 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 said, I am sure that at the legislative committee those members will spend a lot of time on the interesting backgrounds of individuals and their private lives. We are focused on the public policy issues. That is why the Department of Foreign Affairs will be dealing with any issues arising from this in its review.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, directors of organizations that work with young offenders oppose the federal law undermining the rehabilitation of young offenders. Daniel Côté, from Centre jeunesse de Québec, says that the law does not take into account young people's personal needs and particular circumstances. Linda Keating, from another youth centre, criticizes the changes in the law's criteria that will not allow the right action at the right time.

With the rate of youth crime now lower in Quebec than in the rest of Canada, does the Minister of Justice realize that the current law is undermining the rehabilitation of young offenders?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

In fact, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has kicked off a Youth Criminal Justice Act review by meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts. Their experience in the administration of the Youth Criminal Justice Act is invaluable. We will be working with all stakeholders to improve the act.

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court has struck down a provision of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and reiterated the importance of a justice system created specifically for young offenders. Yet the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice are simply ignoring the Supreme Court's reminder and wish to continue with the Conservative agenda of law and order.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his Bush-based approach of incarcerating youth who could have been rehabilitated will not have any better results here than in the United States?

JusticeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I can say that our government, unlike the opposition, is committed to responding to the problem of youth crime using fair and appropriate measures to hold young people accountable when they break the law.

That is why we have introduced legislative proposals to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act and to include deterrence and denunciation as principles of sentencing. I would urge all members to consider what they are hearing in their ridings about the need to improve our youth criminal justice system.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, a fundamental principle of Canadian justice is that an accused has a right to know all the evidence against him or her. This principle has clearly been violated by American martial law in the case of Omar Khadr.

I would like to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs another question. Why does the Canadian government prefer the martial law of the American justice system over the laws of the Canadian justice system?

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, Mr. Khadr faces very serious charges in relation to his capture in Afghanistan. Any questions regarding whether Canada plans to ask for the release of Mr. Omar Khadr are premature and speculative, as the legal process is ongoing.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the judge in the case was fired, Omar Khadr was 15 years old at the time that he was charged and arrested, and the interrogators have destroyed any records of the notes that were held.

The member has to tell us why this government, the Republican farm team, prefers American martial law to the Canadian system of justice under the Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court of Canada? Why does it prefer that?

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the member should be asking that question of his leader, because it was under his government, the official opposition leader's government, that Mr. Khadr was sent to Guantanamo Bay. The member should perhaps be asking that question of his leader, the leader of the official opposition.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are three possible scenarios in the firing of the foreign affairs minister.

First, the RCMP did not look into Ms. Couillard's background even though it had her home under surveillance a decade ago. Second, the RCMP looked into Ms. Couillard's background and found security concerns but did not pass them on to the government. Third, the RCMP looked into Ms. Couillard's background, found security concerns and reported them to the government, but the government turned a blind eye.

I would ask the government, which is it?

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, I choose door number four, actually, which is that Madam Couillard had nothing to do with the matter.

The issue on which the resignation was tendered was an issue of documents that were left in an unsecured location. What that unsecured location was did not matter. It could have been any unsecured location.

The minister of foreign affairs at the time offered his resignation. He took responsibility for the breach of the rules that he engaged in. As a result, his resignation was accepted.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader can try all he likes to repeat the scripted lines, but the fact is that this is a matter of a serious national security breach. It is unacceptable that the government continues to read those scripted lines about personal lives and other issues and does not address the issue at hand. Not addressing the issue shows total disregard for the national security of this country.

I have a question for the public safety minister. Did the RCMP or CSIS at any time talk to the government about concerns about Ms. Couillard?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, I believe it was a member of the Liberal Party who stood up in the House and authoritatively said, reading from one of those scripts, that a meeting had taken place with the Prime Minister.

We made it quite clear that no such briefing ever took place with the Prime Minister, yet Liberals continue to persist in asking these questions just a little bit differently since every time they get up and make accusations they tend to be wrong.