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House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was loan.

Topics

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for the government. I would like to ask why the Minister of Public Works, Michael Fortier, demanded the resignation of his assistant, Bernard Côté?

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, questions were raised Tuesday with regard to Mr. Côté's actions. Minister Fortier himself immediately asked him to provide an explanation. Mr. Côté then submitted his resignation, which the minister accepted.

I would also like to add that the Liberal Leader in the Senate, Senator Hervieux-Payette, told the Senate on Wednesday: “I thank the minister for his diligence in this matter.”

We did our job.

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not really get an answer from the parliamentary secretary. He did not outline for us what happened to persuade Mr. Côté to take this decision.

I would like to ask the following question. Why are the activities of Mr. Côté a matter of public interest whereas those of the member for Beauce and Ms. Couillard are considered a private matter?

How does he explain this clear contradiction in the government's position?

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, there is no contradiction whatsoever.

Mr. Côté did not recuse himself from a conversation with somebody on a government file. Mr. Côté was confronted with questions about his behaviour by Minister Fortier. Mr. Côté offered his resignation. He immediately resigned. This government takes its responsibility on accountability very seriously. Mr. Côté no longer works for the federal government.

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is engaged in a systematic obfuscation of a series of issues that are clearly important. The answer it always gives us is that the Department of Foreign Affairs is reviewing the only matter that is of public interest.

Let me ask this of the parliamentary secretary or whoever else will answer the question. How can an administrative review by the Department of Foreign Affairs possibly include the following questions: the questions of conflict within the Department of Public Works and Government Services involving people on the minister's staff and Madam Couillard; Madam Couillard's application to the Department of Transport; and issues of security and organized crime and the Government of Canada?

How can a tiny little administrative review--

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. government House leader.

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.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 Liberal member for Vancouver South made it clear how the Liberals view this issue and why they are for holding a legislative inquiry when he said, speaking of Madam Couillard, “Who else does she have relationships with? I'd like to know”.

The member for Toronto Centre is right. That will not be covered by the foreign affairs inquiry because that is not really a matter of public interest.

We are worried about the issue that does matter in this regard. That is the question of documents that were left in an unsecured place. That is the one legitimate question of national security that is concerned.

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP refused to tell the public safety committee whether it advised the Privy Council Office about Julie Couillard, but the Privy Council felt no such compunction. Why the double standard?

The government's whole defence in this matter is a pure fabrication of convenience.

Why does the government continue to insist in the case of the ex-foreign affairs minister that it is a private matter while a similar private matter was sufficient for Mr. Côté to be unceremoniously fired by the unelected Mr. Fortier?

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.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 issue with regard to Mr. Côté was a question of having been lobbied on an issue, having a relationship with someone on that issue and not having recused himself. That is very different from any other issues that arise here and that is why his resignation was tendered and accepted.

We know the real issues that the opposition wants to pursue. The member for Vancouver South, the Liberal member who just spoke, said it quite clearly and he said it many times. He wants to know about Madam Couillard: “Who else does she have relationships with? I'd like to know”. Those are his words because that is how he defines this issue. That is why he thinks there should be a legislative inquiry.

With the greatest of respect, we do not think that is a proper subject for a legislative inquiry.

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, this has something to do with bikers and mobs and relationships with people with organized crime.

This all started with a security breach at the foreign affairs department and now has spread to the transport, public works and public safety departments. A top security expert, who is a former RCMP officer and CSIS agent, testified that a foreign affairs review is not enough to get to the bottom of this mess.

Why is the government refusing to call a full public inquiry, which is the only way to kill the bad odour rising from the Conservative scandals?

Department of Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.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 hon. member for Vancouver South said quite clearly why he wants to have a public inquiry, when he said about Madam Couillard, “who else does she have relationships with? I'd like to know”. I am sure he would like to know that, but I do not think we need to have a public inquiry to satisfy that prurient curiosity of his.

Public SafetyOral Questions

June 13th, 2008 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Privy Council spokesperson and the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons read from the same script, almost word for word. They said that the Privy Council was not advised of any security concerns about Julie Couillard by the RCMP. We are witnessing another attempted cover-up because this in no way proves that the Prime Minister was not informed of Ms. Couillard's shady past by the RCMP, the Department of Foreign Affairs or through other channels.

Instead of getting tangled up in unlikely explanations, will the Prime Minister admit that he knew of Julie Couillard's shady past long before this affair hit the news?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, there is no camouflage here. We did not just say that the Privy Council Office was not advised by the RCMP. We also said the Prime Minister's Office was not advised by the RCMP of any security concerns; both of them, clear, front and transparent.

It is only when the opposition members suggest that something else has happened that we felt it necessary to say that, but those are the facts. If they think there is something wrong with the RCMP, then I think that is consistent with their attitude toward the police at all levels in this country.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is still reading from the script, and in that same script the Privy Council spokesperson and the House leader speak about security. But, once again, that in no way rules out the fact that the Prime Minister was informed of risks in terms of other concerns such as undue pressure or influence peddling.

Does the Prime Minister understand that he has not managed to sweep the Julie Couillard affair under the rug, and that he has no choice but to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:25 a.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 we have said many times, the Prime Minister and this government are not in the business of conducting investigations into people's private and personal lives. We are not going to change that approach.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Quebec City, all the socio-economic stakeholders agreed that Estimauville was the best site for a building to house public servants, but Minister Michael Fortier sent his advisor, Bernard Côté, to tell them that that plan would never materialize. In fact, the minister and Mr. Côté had only one location in mind: the Kevlar site downtown—the same Kevlar Julie Couillard was associated with.

Does this not prove that there was conflict of interest and influence peddling involving Michael Fortier's office?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

No, Mr. Speaker, for two reasons: first, no decision has been made in this matter yet and, second, the process is administered by departmental officials in an independent and transparent manner.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, every stakeholder in Quebec City prefers one site and we have a public works minister who decides to march to his own drum by choosing another location in order to give the contract to Kevlar and help out his political advisor's girlfriend.

Is this not further proof that they were listening more to Kevlar than to those concerned and, if such is the case, that this is influence peddling?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no on many levels, but primarily and quite simply because no contract has yet been awarded.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, an apology without action is just empty words. All five aboriginal leaders spoke to us from this floor on Wednesday and they want to know that the government heard their call for action.

There are more aboriginal children in foster care now than at the height of the residential school era. The Prime Minister said that never again would Canada let racist policies sever the ties between children and parents.

What action will he take today to honour those words, and keep these children out of foster care and with their families?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I am very appreciative of this member's support for the apology that occurred on Wednesday of this week. It was a historic moment in Canada. I know that everyone in this country will look to that moment as a key beginning in our relationship with first nations people, aboriginal people, Métis and Inuit who lived the residential school experience.

She references more recent issues that our country faces in relation to students and children that are in child and family services. Our government is working on that issue diligently.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bev Jacobs said on this floor, “Women have taken the brunt of it all”.

I know she spoke from the heart because Bev Jacobs recently lost a cousin, Tashina General, to violence.

Wednesday she asked:

What is it that this government is going to do in the future to help our people? Because we are dealing with major human rights violations that have occurred to many generations: my language, my culture and my spirituality.

What will the government do to end violence against aboriginal women?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, our government's plan in this area is quite strong. We brought in changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act which extend the benefits of individual rights protection to first nations people on reserve.

Should a woman feel that her human rights have been violated, she will now have the option of pursuing that at the human rights tribunal. We have also brought forward legislation to extend matrimonial real property rights to first nations women. Few people in Canada know that this does not currently exist on reserve.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, in committee this week, Michel Juneau-Katsuya described Ms. Couillard's attempts to influence and infiltrate four different departments as a “classic recruitment operation” for organized crime groups. This former senior CSIS intelligence officer unequivocally stated that this was a major public safety issue.

We are simply asking the government to give us a single good reason why a public inquiry should not be ordered.