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House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has never been transparent over this issue of the transfer of detainees. For example, the number of detainees being transferred is not being updated. We have no way of knowing how many are being transferred. Proper monitoring is simply not being done when detainees are transferred. There are cases of torture, sexual abuse, corruption, and now we have seen an escape on a major scale.

The NDP has been pushing, along with Amnesty International and others, for the creation of a joint facility to keep Afghan detainees. Will the Prime Minister at least support this idea so that Canada can be sure to meet its obligations under international law?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will ask the NDP to explain the contradiction of wanting us out of Afghanistan but also to build permanent Canadian institutions there.

The reality is, as I just said, there was a very serious security incident at the Sarpoza prison. We are all aware of that. What that should remind everybody in this chamber of is how dangerous some of the prisoners in that prison are, indeed the danger of the Taliban that the local population and our Canadian Forces have to deal with every day. They should bring that appreciation to every member of the House and we should support our Canadian troops.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Taliban broke hundreds of Afghan prisoners out of Sarpoza prison in Kandahar. While the Minister of National Defence was quick to blame our Afghan allies for the setback, he ignored reports from his government by Correctional Service Canada over a year ago. The service clearly told the government that securing the perimeter of the prison itself had to be an urgent priority.

Will the minister confirm that the government knew about these reports and continued to do nothing?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Quite the contrary, Mr. Speaker. As the Prime Minister has just alluded to, the Canadian Forces continue to distinguish themselves each and every day that we are in Afghanistan.

This prison break was a very serious security breach, as everyone knows, as the member is aware. As soon as we heard of this break, Canadian Forces were deployed. They immediately arrived on the scene with efforts to cordon the area. We continue to make every diligent effort to provide security in Afghanistan so reconstruction and development can continue to take place in that war-torn country.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the accountability of our troops is not in question. It is the accountability of the government in knowing about this report.

When the House voted for the Afghan mission, we were promised more accountability, but again the government failed. Although the government knew about the problems facing Sarpoza prison, it did not do anything about it.

How many of these prisoners who broke out and are now at large threatening our troops were originally captured by Canadian Forces personnel in Afghanistan? What is the government doing in conjunction with our allies and with the Afghan authorities to ensure that they are rounded up?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, with regard to transparency, I would remind the member opposite that during our time in government we have now had 28 technical briefings. Under the Liberals' administration, there was one. We have answered questions here in the House of Commons. We have provided appearances by ministers before committees.

With respect to his question, we continue to work with the ISAF members of this mission. We continue to work diligently to train up, to provide the Afghan forces to build their capacity. That is our role. We are there to ensure that Afghans will eventually be able to provide security and sovereignty for their own country and rid the land of this insidious insurgency known as the Taliban.

VeteransOral Questions

June 16th, 2008 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, I asked the minister responsible for veterans when this government will take action on the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder which is affecting Canada's newest generation of veterans.

The current system is not working. When will the government actually put money toward treating PTSD?

VeteransOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

New Brunswick Southwest New Brunswick

Conservative

Greg Thompson ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our plan is working. When we took office a little over two years ago, we immediately put funding into that. We in fact are doubling the clinics the Liberals had on their shift. We have doubled what they were doing. We are getting the job done. We made those announcements across the country. The latest announcement was in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

VeteransOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, anyone who has actually talked to veterans in this country about this serious problem will tell you that we are simply not doing enough to help. Recent reports of our soldiers being told to ignore incidents of sexual assault in Afghanistan of civilians, some by Afghan soldiers, have only made matters worse. Already many of our soldiers come home with PTSD. Now we add this latest terrible twist.

When will the government do something to help our soldiers by taking these matters seriously?

VeteransOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we of course take these matters very seriously. These incidents are deeply disturbing. Just prior to coming to question period, I again spoke with leaders within the office of the head of the army. We want to ensure that all Canadian soldiers continue to follow Queen's regulations and orders, and that is to report any allegation of any unlawful act that they might see in the course of their duty. By all means we are looking into these allegations, just like those in the past. These are serious allegations and we will get to the bottom of them.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite all that was uncovered in recent weeks, the Prime Minister is continuing to trivialize the Couillard affair. Just this weekend, we learned that, out of the blue, Julie Couillard found a passion for security services and even managed to meet with the head of the transport security agency.

Does the Prime Minister not find it troubling that a security firm whose top man is heavily indebted to organized crime managed, with Julie Couillard, to get to the heart of Canada's airport security system?

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 will remind the House that the meeting that took place and the incident being discussed occurred under the previous government. That being said, I understand there was no contract issued in that regard so there is very little to be concerned about.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister refused to take seriously any ties between Julie Couillard and organized crime. He has stubbornly refused to see Julie Couillard's efforts to infiltrate his party through members of his cabinet and their political staff. Now the Prime Minister is continuing to trivialize organized crime efforts to infiltrate airport security.

Will the Prime Minister recognize that he has done everything in his power over the past weeks to sweep the Couillard affair under the rug so as to hide his own incompetence, but was unsuccessful?

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, again this is something that took place under the Liberal government, but I will advise the member, for his information, that CATSA performs security checks on companies that are awarded contracts and have access to classified information. Of course, the companies in question here were never awarded any contracts, and as a result, there are no security concerns of any type.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is now backpedalling on eliminating the court challenges program. By proposing an out of court settlement, he is recognizing that the ideology-driven cuts made in 2006 were irresponsible. We are also hearing not only that the agreement could reduce the scope of the program, but also that the program would now apply only to official language minorities.

Can thePrime Minister confirm these rumours?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, an agreement has in fact between reached by the two parties, to their satisfaction. We have agreed to keep the terms and conditions of the agreement confidential. When it is possible, we will make them public.

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have gone half way by saying they made a mistake with this program, but they still have to acknowledge that it is not just French-Canadians and Acadians who have been affected by the budget slashing by Conservative ideologues; it has also had an impact on advocacy groups for women, gay men and lesbians, people with disabilities and other groups for whom the Conservatives have no sympathy.

What is the government waiting for to restore the program funding for all those groups?

Court Challenges ProgramOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the government has agreed to keep the terms and conditions of the agreement confidential. When it is possible, we will disclose the content.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, Stevan Pausak, one of Canada's top audio experts, said someone hired him to analyze the recording where the Prime Minister talks about financial considerations offered to Chuck Cadman in exchange for his vote. Mr. Pausak said he was approached a long time ago.

We know the Conservatives hired two audio experts and now possibly a third. Can the government clarify how many audio experts it had to retain until it received the answer it wanted?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.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 two audio experts that we hired are Tom Owen and Allan Gough.

My hon. colleague from Beauséjour can ignore the facts all he wants, but the facts are very clear about what these audio experts said. They said, “The tape has been edited and doctored” to misrepresent the event as it actually occurred. That is what the experts said.

The Liberals can continue to mislead on this issue, but the facts are very clear. If the Liberals want to ignore them, that is fine. They have been caught using a doctored tape. They have been caught misleading Canadians. They have been caught falsely accusing the Prime Minister of this country of a crime. We will see them in court.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is strange that the Conservatives have offered up their “expert audio analysis” months after the allegations were made.

One of Canada’s top audio experts, Stevan Pausak, says someone hired him a long time ago to analyze the recording where the Prime Minister talks about “financial considerations”.

How many experts did the Conservatives shop the recording around to until they got the answer they wanted?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.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 question is exactly the same in French and English. My colleague can look at the answer I have just given in English.

I would invite my colleague from Beauséjour to check his mail. He asked the RCMP to look into this. The Liberals gave the RCMP everything that they had on this. Here is what the RCMP said: There is “no evidence to support a charge under the Criminal Code or under the Parliament of Canada Act”. There is no evidence.

Do you know why there is no evidence, Mr. Speaker? This is as clear an example of Occam's razor as anybody has ever seen. There was no wrongdoing. The simplest explanation stands. There was no wrongdoing. The Liberals should listen to the RCMP, drop their false charge and apologize to the Prime Minister.

Election FinancingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the heart of the in and out scandal is Elections Canada's finding that Conservative candidates filed expense claims that they ought to have known were false and misleading. Not a single contract exists between any candidate and the company that handled the ad buys. Worse, it appears that invoices were forged after the fact to try to cover up the original crime.

When will the Conservatives simply come clean, admit they broke the law, and drop the frivolous court case against Elections Canada?

Election FinancingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, as I have mentioned before, Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative ads. They got financial assistance from the national party to do so. Elections Canada found out about this because we told it. Why would we not? After all, it is legal and all parties do it.

Elections Canada singled us out so we took it to court. One day before Elections Canada officials were to be questioned, they interrupted proceedings by barging into our office with Liberal cameras following soon behind. We find this very unusual and we will continue to press our case.

Election FinancingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, that member should follow the Ottawa Citizen's advice and step aside.

The Conservatives even tried to gouge their own candidates by telling them to bill for amounts above and beyond the actual costs. In a December 14, 2005 email, Michael Donison of the Conservative Party staff suggests billing candidates set amounts even though “the actual media buy for that region will be less”. That is fraud.

Why does the government insist on defending what is so clearly indefensible?