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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was commissioner.

Topics

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 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, Ms. Bellemare was appointed to the Board of Referees after having made an application. The eligibility criteria for the appointment of chairpersons reads:

(a) be available for two sessions a month;

(b) advise the Clerk of the Board in advance of any intended absence...;

(c) be able to communicate both orally and in writing in either of the official languages...;

(d) have lived or worked in the area serviced by the Board Centre for approximately one year, and be familiar with the labour market conditions prevalent in the area;

Ms. Bellemare went through the process and was ultimately recommended by Human Resources officials.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

That is pathetic, Mr. Speaker.

The government sees no evil to the possible infiltration by organized crime, biker gangs, access to secret documents and now a patronage appointment for the mother of the ex-minister's girlfriend.

What were the Prime Minister and his Quebec lieutenant thinking when they appointed Diane Bellemare as chairperson to the EI Board of Referees?

Mad Max has made mom Couillard very happy. Enough cover-up.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 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 yesterday, in order to be appointed, one has to undergo rigorous security checks, which was the case with Madame Bellemare.

The member is happy to stand there, as he has for many months on many files, and throw across unfounded allegations. If he has any, there is a process under the Employment Insurance Act regulations, section 78, section 4, where he can draw to the attention of people any of the concerns he has. If he has concerns with Madame Bellemare, they could be dealt with under that section.

I do not believe he has done that.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Mrs. Bloodworth, a security advisor in the Privy Council Office, gave some ridiculous testimony in committee. According to her, neither the RCMP nor CSIS advised the Privy Council of Julie Couillard's shady past. She even candidly admitted that the hon. member for Beauce went through a second series of security checks without any scrutiny of his ex-girlfriend. When Ms. Couillard's past made the headlines, the Privy Council did not feel the need to investigate further.

Is the Prime Minister not concerned to see how lax the Privy Council's security service is? Or is this is a massive cover-up?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as Mrs. Bloodworth said, security checks are done for ministers and not for others because it is the ministers who are responsible. The Prime Minister does not investigate private citizens.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada will be the laughingstock of every democracy. A person with ties to the mafia and Hells Angels dines at 24 Sussex Avenue and that does not bother the Prime Minister and there is no investigation. That is incredible.

I wonder whether the Privy Council security service, which sees nothing, hears nothing and knows nothing, advised the Prime Minister to use the private life excuse, unless it was the Prime Minister who asked the Privy Council to talk about private life to better cover up the affair.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, again, security checks are done for ministers. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs went through a series of checks.

In the meantime, the minister has admitted that he broke the rules on classified documents. That is why he stepped down.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Margaret Bloodworth, admitted that if a person with close ties to criminal organizations had access to secret documents, that would represent a danger. However, even after Julie Couillard's past was revealed, the RCMP was never asked to investigate. Is this a cover-up to hide incompetence, or incompetence that is causing a cover-up?

How can the Prime Minister explain the fact that the Privy Council did nothing, even after Julie Couillard's shady past became public?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 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, on the contrary, the government has taken action. We have launched an investigation within the Department of Foreign Affairs to determine the facts and make recommendations. It can ask for assistance from other government agencies. We are awaiting the results of that investigation.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the member understood the previous question, but I will risk asking another one anyway.

I asked a very simple question yesterday in this House and I did not get an answer. The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons seems to be in league with the hon. member for Beauce, who has found himself in a very serious conflict of interest, since, according to the media, he remained present at the meeting concerning the appointment of Julie Couillard's mother. Just one more cover-up.

I would like to ask the same question and I hope to get a clear answer. In one word, a simple yes or no, did the hon. member for Beauce remain present when that appointment was made?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:25 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, let us be clear. The recommendation of Madame Bellemare did not come from the member for Beauce. The individual, Madame Bellemare, made application through the process. It was reviewed by human resources staff. That recommendation is ultimately made to cabinet by the human resources minister.

That was the case for Madame Bellemare, following the application process, which she passed and demonstrated that she satisfied the criteria, to which I earlier was speaking. Cabinet made the decision to appoint her as she did have the qualifications it was seeking.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

June 18th, 2008 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the price of gas keeps going up, and 33% of families have been forced to change their vacation plans. Air Canada keeps bumping up fuel surcharges, and now it has cut flights and plans to lay off 2,000 people. Our whole economy is feeling the pinch because the government is unwilling to take action against oil company greed.

When will the Prime Minister do something about this?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, gasoline prices are determined by international markets. We understand that families are having a hard time dealing with this. That is why we reduced the GST, despite lack of support from opposition parties.

We also understand that there have been job losses, but at the same time, the economy is creating new jobs to ensure that those families will have other opportunities for the future.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is incredible to hear the Prime Minister dismiss 2,000 jobs with a wave of the hand. A rapid increase of gas prices is happening and it is affecting families in the short, medium and long term. Airlines have fuel surcharges now of up to $220 on a one-way trip. Toronto cabs, like cabs elsewhere, have had to increase their fees. VIA Rail raised its ticket prices by 5% to offset fuel costs. BC Ferries has added a surcharge of up to 20%. Transit systems across the whole country are struggling.

When is the Prime Minister going to take his head out of the tar sands and start listening to working families?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, this government will not pretend that it can control the price of fuels and gasoline. We can do something to relieve families from the pressure they are under. That is why we have had a 2% reduction, for example, in the GST. What we will not do and what will clearly hurt Canadian families is go around imposing carbon taxes at this time on all kinds of fuel.

The Leader of the Opposition told his own party during the leadership race that he would never impose a carbon tax, that it was bad policy. It is not surprising that all those leadership rivals have left the country this week.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, when pressed about the retrieval of the missing secret documents left unsecured by the ex-minister, the Prime Minister's National Security Advisor seemed to have no idea about the paper trail.

Does the government expect us to actually believe that the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister does not have those details, or that she was too busy, or did the Prime Minister's Office direct Ms. Bloodworth not to look into this matter?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, the matter is being reviewed. I thought the hon. member had heard me say, even in this question period today, that the Department of Foreign Affairs was conducting a review and would determine what the course of actions were with the classified documents that were left in an unsecured place. It will make recommendations. It has the ability to draw on whatever resources in the government it needs and whatever other agencies in order to do that job fully and completely.

I am sure the hon. member would be satisfied that this is the appropriate way to deal with this.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

I am not satisfied, Mr. Speaker. I would really like to hear from the minister responsible for national security, not the House leader.

It is obvious that a cover up is taking place here. The ex-minister said that he informed the Prime Minister immediately when he found out about the missing documents, on Sunday, May 25. However, the Prime Minister said that he only learned about the documents missing on Monday, May 26.

Now which version is true? Is this contradiction why the Prime Minister will not let the member for Beauce testify before our standing committee?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, for a year now we have had the opposition members state things as fact that are simply false. They apparently have not quit that habit, even though we are coming to the end of this session. We have made clear very many times that the Prime Minister learned of this matter on the Monday afternoon. I will say it one more time slowly so it can sink in: on the Monday afternoon.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, perhaps he should tell that to the member for Beauce.

We now have two dates on which the government was informed of this security breach. The former minister claims that he found out about it on Sunday, May 25, and informed the Prime Minister immediately. The Prime Minister, his cabinet and his Leader of the Government in the House of Commons claim that they found out about it on Monday, May 26.

Does “immediately” mean “the next day”? The Conservatives are not taking any of these issues seriously—

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Foreign AffairsOral 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 have already answered the question several times. The Prime Minister found out about it on Monday afternoon. Once more: Monday afternoon. One more time for the hon. member: Monday afternoon. That should not be too hard to understand.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this whole sad story looks like an attempted cover-up involving Foreign Affairs, Public Works, Public Safety, Transport, the Privy Council, the Prime Minister's Office, CSIS and the RCMP. Why such a cover-up? To hide the Prime Minister's lack of judgment.

The Prime Minister is at the heart of this scandal, and now it is affecting his entire government. How many times did the Prime Minister himself personally meet with Julie Couillard, and under what circumstances?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, there are lengthy lists of departments, a lengthy list of federal responsibilities, a lengthy list of ministers of whom the Liberals have not asked any policy questions at all in the past year. They really only have one theme, which has nothing to do with good governance in our country.

We are a government that has spent the past year delivering results for Canadians on the things that matter to them, things like lowering their taxes to help them make ends meet, things like getting tough on crime, not things like destroying our economy with carbon taxes and making false and scurrilous accusations for a year because they do not have any other good ideas.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, two Canadian army chaplains have confirmed that Canadian soldiers were ordered to turn a blind eye to sexual assaults committed by the Afghan army against the public. Yet, yesterday, the Minister of National Defence, in response to my question, angrily shouted that this was absolutely untrue. In response to another question, however, he said that he had asked the chief of staff to, and I quote, “do a complete forensic examination of all evidence, to look into all these allegations and get to the bottom of it”. Talk about a contradiction.

Can the Minister of National Defence explain this contradiction?