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

Topics

Indian AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the government has been doing in aboriginal affairs since it took office is making new investments and trying to make them in a way that is transformative and that lead to much better results than in the past. The former minister of Indian affairs made water a priority when he took office and considerable progress has been made in a very short time.

In terms of education, we signed a historic agreement for a transformative change with the Government of British Columbia and are working with other governments in that regard. There has been a long period of neglect of vital services but the government is acting to get results for future generations of aboriginal Canadians.

National SecurityOral Questions

June 12th, 2008 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has shown an appalling lack of judgment in the matter of Julie Couillard. Every day there are more questions. It is now clear that organized crime may have been trying to infiltrate the government. Late yesterday, the Privy Council Office denied that the RCMP ever told it about the risks she may have posed.

Will the Prime Minister tell Canadians, if it were not the RCMP, which government agency informed his office or the PCO about the risk she posed to national security?

National 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, I know the hon. member has a particular interest in the more interesting aspects of this matter. Yesterday he appeared on television talking about his concerns about the people who have been dating or who have been sleeping with Julie Couillard. He said that was what they needed to know, which is why they needed to have their legislative inquiry.

It is not the practice of this government to conduct inquiries into people's dating or sleeping practices. That is a Liberal policy.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, that answer is from the House leader of the party that wants Ms. Couillard's hairdresser to come and testify before the committee.

The RCMP testified at committee this week that it is standard practice for the RCMP to alert the PCO of all security concerns. Surely the RCMP knew that organized crime was trying to infiltrate the government but the PCO is now claiming that it did not get information from the RCMP about this.

If the system failed, will the Prime Minister tell Canadians where it broke down?

National 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, as I have already indicated, the RCMP did not advise the Prime Minister's Office or the Privy Council Office of any security concerns. However, we know that is not really what the member is asking. What he is really asking is what he said yesterday on television when he said, “Ms. Couillard has relationships in Mr. Fortier's office, with [the member for Beauce]. Who else does she have relationships with? I'd like to know”.

Apparently, it is all about sordid little inquiries into people's personal lives. That is where the Liberal Party has come to today.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the RCMP, it is not private life, it is public interest.

We now learn that Ms. Couillard's attempts to infiltrate the Conservative government targeted not one, not two but three different government departments. She had access to secret foreign affairs documents. She dined with the public safety minister. She tried to influence real estate contracts at Public Works.

How many more departments did she try to infiltrate? Does the Prime Minister not realize that nothing short of a full public inquiry will reassure Canadians about his government's integrity?

National 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, yesterday, the Liberal Party made it clear what it was looking for in this inquiry when it said, “Who did she have relationships with? I'd like to know”. This is all about finding sordid stories that make for good news for those who are into gossip and that sort of stuff. This is not about the important questions of public policy. The Liberals can dress it up however they want but that is not what they are after.

We are interested and concerned about those serious questions, which is why we have foreign affairs dealing with this matter in a professional and mature fashion.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Couillard affair remains a persistent grease spot. Every day, its stain spreads to the reputation of another department. Julie Couillard had access to secret Foreign Affairs documents, she had conversations with the Minister of Public Safety, and she tried to influence Public Works Canada's contracting process.

What more does the government need to launch a public inquiry into this affair? What more does the Prime Minister need to finally show proof of good judgment?

National 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, there was only one error in judgment in this matter and that was the error of the member for Beauce when he left classified documents in an unsecured location. He took responsibility for that error in judgment and tendered his resignation, which was accepted.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister offered an official apology to the victims of federal residential schools. This apology was necessary, but it is not enough. The next step is reconciliation with aboriginal peoples and, for that, tangible action is required. The Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Member for Nepean—Carleton may have offered an apology, but he failed to show respect for first nations.

Does the Prime Minister intend to act with respect towards the first nations and sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, on the issue of human rights, it is the same as the rest of the government's policies. We would like to see concrete progress here in Canada on things that really matter to first nations and aboriginal people. That is why we have moved ahead, for the first time in 30 years, to include first nations living on reserve under the Canadian Human Rights Act. That 30 year gap needed to be fixed.

More than that, we have also moved ahead with matrimonial real property rights. We are also moving ahead on specific claims, something for which first nations have been waiting for 60 years. It is time to get things right for aboriginal people.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will try again. Perhaps the interpretation was not complete. That was not my question.

True reconciliation requires putting words into action and should start with the signing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as Beverley Jacobs, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada called for yesterday.

When will the government make up its mind to endorse this declaration, as all aboriginal peoples are asking it to do?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, in fact, what Ms. Jacobs said yesterday to the Prime Minister here on the floor of the House is:

We have given thanks to you for your apology. I have to also give you credit for standing up. I did not see any other governments before today come forward and apologize, so I do thank you for that.

That is because we are taking concrete steps to make things better for aboriginal people, first nations people across this country.

It is not enough to have aspirational documents, documents that sound good in flowery phrases, aboriginal people, first nations people deserve concrete steps that make a difference in their lives today.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec should realize that when he takes cheap shots at Quebec's Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, he is attacking the Quebec nation's approach to economic development. This economic model, which includes non-profit organizations, has proven its effectiveness and has the support of elected representatives and stakeholders throughout Quebec.

Does the minister understand that he is the only person who does not recognize that the change he is proposing is actually nothing but a mistake, and will he restore funding for these organizations, which are vital to regional development in Quebec?

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, the Bloc Québécois thinks that Ottawa should always say yes to every request, without ensuring that the budget allows it.

This same party wanted the federal government to get out of economic development and voted against the agency. Yet under the Constitution, regional economic development is an area of shared jurisdiction. The Bloc members should stop talking out of both sides of their mouths. I repeat, they should ask Quebec City to respect the federal government's jurisdiction.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is wrong when he criticizes Quebec's model as a defence of the status quo. This model is defended by the National Assembly of Quebec and the entire Quebec nation. The minister himself is defending the indefensible by advocating a return to the dark ages, the time of election goodies, at the expense of economic and regional development in Quebec.

Will the minister stop acting like a mini-Duplessis, wake up and restore funding for economic organizations?

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, our department has a budget envelope of approximately $200 million. I want to remind the Bloc Québécois that our government has given $1.6 billion more to the Government of Quebec in the past year. Out of this $1.6 billion, the economic development minister in Quebec City has received an additional $242 million, bringing his budget up to roughly $800 million.

If Quebec wants to fund various organizations and cover their operating expenses and salaries, it can do so. It has full jurisdiction.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the Couillard affair, there is an emergent and troubling pattern, a pattern of a government being infiltrated by people with connections to organized crime. First it was foreign affairs and now public works.

We also now know that the Minister of Public Safety had dinner with the ex-foreign affairs minister and Ms. Couillard.

My question is simple. Rather than just attacking to obfuscate, could the government answer as to whether there were any matters with respect to the Government of Canada discussed at that dinner?

National SecurityOral 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, that is the hon. member for Ajax—Pickering speaking who earlier was critical of the Ontario Provincial Police when he claimed that it had been involved in political wrongdoing, and the Police Complaints Commissioner had to condemn his political interference in the police process. Now he is trying to suggest that the RCMP is not doing its job.

We will wait to see if there is any police force in this country that he has any respect for.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is a minister who gets all the questions but knows how to do nothing but attack and denigrate.

A senior adviser for the Minister of Public Works was forced to resign--

National SecurityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National SecurityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Ajax--Pickering has the floor.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a government, maybe it can just try to answer a question.

A senior adviser to the Minister of Public Works was forced to resign because he was having a relationship with Ms. Couillard when negotiating a multi-million dollar land deal at the same time.

The government cannot hide behind a feeble defence of privacy. This involves someone with links to organized crime and national security.

Will the Prime Minister simply tell Canadians what sensitive information Ms. Couillard had access to in a critical land deal worth more than $30 million?

National SecurityOral 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 believe the hon. member misspoke himself in his first sentence. He used the word minister to refer to himself. I think he is merely a member of Parliament at this stage.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, like security expert Michel Juneau-Katsuya we believe the Julie Couillard affair was an attempt to infiltrate the government. In whose name? For whom? These are good questions. And to think that the Conservatives were ready to ask her to run in the next election.

After foreign affairs, she took a run at public works. No matter how well Michael Fortier can skate around the issue, no one believes his story that he did not meet Julie Couillard.

Infiltration? Cover up? Undue pressure? Perhaps blackmail? What is the Prime Minister waiting for to launch a public inquiry?