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House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2008Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives spent $1.1 million of taxpayer money on advertising the immigration changes. One would think that it would be mightily proud of the legislation in front of us but it is curious why they are not here to defend their immigration changes. When we were dealing with the clause by clause changes in the finance committee, there was no defence for these kinds of sweeping changes.

If this is such an incredibly welcomed change, one would think the Conservatives would be proud of them and stand in the House of Commons to debate why they made the changes. Why is there silence? Perhaps they are afraid of the responses they have been hearing from the immigrant communities that no amount of advertising in papers will change.

Does the hon. member think that is the reason for the huge silence in the House right now?

Budget Implementation Act, 2008Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, nothing about this matter makes any sense whatsoever. The government first chose to sneak in this initiative as part of the budget implementation bill without any mention in the budget. It then proceeded to spurn Parliament by ignoring the democratic process and the concerns of parliamentarians who were elected to serve their people right across this country from the wide diversity that we are as a nation.

Instead, it put all its money and time into advertisements to create this illusion of action and fairness, all the while clouding the issue at hand, rather than fixing the serious problems with the immigration system. It is serious when there is that kind of a backlog, when there were cutbacks by the Liberals back in 1995 that have never been restored, when we have an immigration bill that ignores all the fundamentals and when a country is dying for responsible decision making to ensure economic occupations and needs are addressed and to ensure that family reunification is at the heart of it.

None of this makes sense other than to believe, which is all we have left to believe, that the government is shrouding a real agenda of trying to close the door, restrict immigration, go back on humanitarian and compassionate traditions in this country and is prepared to advance its own agenda of playing on the fears of Canadians about where the jobs will be and how they will be able to provide for their families. Instead of being up front, honest and courageous about the problems at hand, the government is sneaky, subversive and not exactly transparent and open, although this was the great mantra that the government ran on in the last election.

It is time to overhaul the Immigration Act but we need to do it properly. We need to do it based on the fundamentals of ensuring economic skills are addressed, families are able to be reunited and humanitarian and compassionate values guide us every step of the way.

Budget Implementation Act, 2008Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for citing the historical framework of our immigration system and the fact that it has been built over many years. She was careful to say that we do not believe the system presently is good enough. That is important to underline.

One does not take the measures the government has taken to address the present system and the concerns we all have with it because it undermines all the good things in the system and does not deal with the concerns that have been raised. I note that the government mentioned the backlog of 900,000 people. It will also acknowledge, very quietly, that this bill would not address the backlog, while, on the other hand, saying that it has to bring in these measures to address the backlog.

I would like my colleague's comments and thoughts about the fact that, on the one hand, the government is saying that the changes will do one thing, but on the other hand they are saying that they cannot do it. What are we to make of this?

Budget Implementation Act, 2008Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Ottawa Centre is absolutely right. There is very little in this initiative to give hope to Canadians that the problems in our immigration and citizenship program will be fixed.

We knew we had a problem back in 2001 when the Liberals brought in their legislation, which was recognized by hundreds of presenters and witnesses right across this country as weak and flawed. We tried to convince the Liberals to change their minds. We introduced 81 amendments to fix Bill C-11, to make it a more understandable document and one that was grounded in principles that could withstand the test of time.

The Liberals chose to ignore every one of those amendments to the point where, today, we now have the Conservatives taking advantage of the negligence of the Liberals and, for example, denying families who have been accepted here under the Manitoba nominee program because one of their children has a disability.

That is the kind of legacy left by the Liberals, rather than a system based on fairness.

Budget Implementation Act, 2008Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Budget Implementation Act, 2008Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Independent Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few minutes to express my views on the amendments to Bill C-50 we are discussing.

First of all Bill C-50, in parliamentary terms, is intended to “implement” the budget, that is enact it, put into effect the announcements made, heard and clearly understood when the throne speech was delivered.

If that is the objective of this bill, then why has the Conservative government deliberately chosen to devote an entire part to immigration reform? And yet, a meagre $22 million over two years is allocated to this reform. Naturally, more monies are promised in future but they are not attached to anything at all.

There is something rather odd in the government's official documents. For example, on page 9 of the Budget in Brief, which discusses the reorganization—or modernization, to quote precisely—of the immigration system, one of the key phrases states that the goal is to make the immigration system more competitive.

When I read that, once again it made me think that it all part of the ideology espoused by the Conservative Party. Most of the time it considers the government to be a private corporation.

Why is this section on immigration included? I wonder.

Could it be an attempt to mislead parliamentarians? If not, could it be an attempt to humiliate the Liberals by introducing, in a confidence bill, a measure they would quite likely find unacceptable? The Liberals would find it unacceptable, but if they act as they have been acting for a number of weeks now, they will do anything but vote to bring down this government.

On the one hand, there are principles and convictions; on the other, there is the way these Liberals will choose to act in this House, because they are all legitimately elected members.

I see that my friend from Hull—Aylmer does not agree with what I am saying. He can ask me questions about it.

As members and representatives of their constituents, the 305 members currently in this House have an obligation to vote with integrity, on behalf of the people they represent. I would add that, as a general rule, we should avoid abstaining. This is just my opinion, but as I am entitled to it, I am sharing it.

The Liberals have said again that Canadians do not want an election. My friend said so earlier this morning in this House. Every time I hear that, I wonder when people ever do want an election. We are not talking about a national sport.

Often, when a crisis or scandal occurs, people's confidence in the government is so badly shaken that they call for an election. But it is not a question of waiting until the public calls for an election; it is a question of whether we in this House should pass bills that make sense and respect the people we represent.

Let us get to the heart of the matter: immigration. People who submit immigration or permanent residence applications often belong to the groups we call the most vulnerable—it saddens me to use that word, but this is true. Much of what we do, we do for these groups.

For the Conservatives to play “petty politics”—and I use the term “politics” loosely—at the expense of these people is truly disgraceful, especially when it seems to me that they are doing so specifically to humiliate the official opposition.

Looking at the provisions of the bill we are now discussing, I noticed the somewhat questionable direction the Conservative government wants to take in processing immigration applications.

The purpose of the change is to give as much latitude as possible to the minister—and therefore the government—in handling applications. This seems obvious to me and this has been said during the debate in this House. A number of my colleagues and I feel that that is the problem.

The goal is to bring in the workers needed most by industry, as quickly as possible, to the detriment of other types of workers. That is most likely why the government used that infamous expression I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, “a more competitive immigration system”, an expression typical of the private sector. Competition is fine, but should it drive our concerns as legislators? We have to wonder about that and debate the issue.

We know that the minister can give instructions on the following: the categories of applications to which the instructions apply; the order in which the applications are processed; the number of applications to be processed each year, by category; and what is done with the applications, including those that are re-submitted.

The instructions she gives will at least be published in the Canada Gazette. But how many MPs in this House, including myself, and how many of those watching us can say that they read the Canada Gazette at least once a year? It is not really a good tool for those affected or those targeted by this.

Obviously, during this time of labour shortage, applications need to be processed more quickly for those who want to come and work here. Nonetheless, the process can be sped up in different ways. More resources could be allocated to accelerate the process.

We all remember what happened at Passport Canada not so long ago, less than a year and a half ago. The number of applications made it impossible to issue passports efficiently, that is, in less than two months. The wait was more like two, three, even five months. The necessary resources were allocated and staff recruited, after which the government and officials were finally able to clear up the horrible backlog and process the applications.

Why has the government not looked into this possibility more closely?

The bill proposes making the rules arbitrary. When we hear the word “arbitrary”, alarm bells should go off, since making something arbitrary is always dangerous, regardless of who is in charge. The bill should have provided for changes to the rules, as I was saying earlier, to find the skilled workers we need, and to allocate money and the necessary resources.

I get the impression that this method could create a number of injustices—and when in doubt, we should be asking ourselves a lot of questions. Immigrants who submit an application for a resident permit on humanitarian grounds will find their claims have been added to the backlog. Furthermore, the bill explicitly gives the immigration officer the discretion to issue visas and other documents required to enter the country. In my opinion, this is a big setback for immigrants. Immigrants whose applications are not processed within the year or within the time set by the minister will probably have their applications returned.

I heard some Conservatives say that this was transparency, because this way people would know that their application had not been processed. But I think that if one of the members opposite were an immigrant, submitted an application and received similar treatment, he would be asking questions.

The Conservative government is choosing the solution that costs nothing, but, I believe, is an injustice, instead of choosing the logical solution, which would be to allocate the necessary funds to speed up the processing of applications, to make the process more predictable and to not restrict access for immigrants submitting an application for resident permits on humanitarian grounds.

These are the points I wanted to make. I am sure my colleagues in this House understand that I will vote in favour of the amendments proposed by the member for Jeanne-Le Ber.

Budget Implementation Act, 2008Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to provide some comment and to pose a question. Like us, the member is very concerned about the changes in Bill C-50, the budget implementation bill, particularly as it affects immigrants in our immigration system.

One of the concerns we have had is that there is a real shift taking place. Instead of focusing on family reunification and bringing people to Canada as permanent residents, there is an increase in the foreign worker program. We see this in the agricultural sector. We see it in large construction projects in British Columbia. We see it certainly in Alberta. There are now more foreign workers being processed than there are new permanent residents going to Alberta. There is a huge shift taking place.

When people come here as temporary workers, they virtually have no labour rights. They are very subservient to their employer because their permit comes from their employer.

I wonder if the member could comment on how the immigration system under this bill has dramatically shifted to this new class of workers and how it paves the way to exploitation. In fact already there are many documented cases of exploitation, of abuse, of people not getting even the minimum wage.

Budget Implementation Act, 2008Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Independent Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her comments and question.

First of all, with regard to Quebec, I want to remind my colleague of one thing, even though I am sure that she is well aware of it. I made this speech as a federal member, and I spoke on behalf of all the people I represent. We know that Quebec has its own program. Now back to the matter at hand.

There is cause for concern about the shift that our colleague just spoke of. This shift is a result of a deliberate decision by the Conservative government. I can interpret this only one way—and I tried to stay away from rhetoric in my comments because I never want to use that approach. I believe that behind these changes and supposed modernization hides the desire to eliminate an entire segment of our settlement program.

The focus is now solely on jobs, with no regard for the risks that exist for these workers whose rights are not enshrined or protected. Family reunification and humanitarian considerations no longer seem to be important.

What is important now is being able to respond quickly to the needs of private enterprise. There is a mad rush to respond, at the expense of another whole group of newcomers who have benefited from our hospitality and integration.

And I think that is something very serious. That is also the reason that I will vote in favour of these amendments.

Long Service AwardsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, next Monday, June 9, you will be hosting a long service award reception celebrating the achievements of the many people who have dedicated much of their working careers to the service of Canadians. I want to offer my sincere congratulations to all those receiving awards.

Since 2004, I have had the privilege to work beside one of those dedicated individuals being recognized next Monday. In October of this year, Lise Saulnier will have worked in the public service for 27 years. Lise has worked with six MPs, dating back to 1981. That alone must be a testament to her dedication.

Lise is a peer, a mentor and a friend to me and many others on the Hill. I often say that if someone does not know the answer to call Lise. If I could sum up in two words the career of Lise Saulnier, I would say, ultimate professional.

Again, to Lise Saulnier and all others receiving these long service awards, I say congratulations and thanks.

Canadian Institute of Forestry Silver RingsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Mattawa Jewellery on having recently been awarded the contract for producing the rings distributed in the Canadian Institute of Forestry's silver ring program.

The Canadian Institute of Forestry, whose headquarters are in the region, has been administering the ring program for graduates of university programs since 1967. The silver ring has a significance for students as it symbolizes a commitment to the practice of sound forestry, continual educational development and professional growth.

In addition to producing the two already existing silver ring designs, Mattawa Jewellery will also be developing the prototype for a third silver ring which will recognize CIF members who have made important contributions to forests through their work and their dedication to the institute itself.

Again, I would like to congratulate Mattawa Jewellery on this impressive achievement and wish it continued success in the future.

Magog CircusStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, Magog's Cirque des Étoiles celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. This project's objective is to encourage and motivate youth to be physically active.

The “school success” component has made it possible to offer introductory courses in the circus arts as well as periods of educational enrichment. In 2007, the first group of students was hired to do street performances.

This organization has 500 enrolments per year, 28 summer student employees, 3 permanent staff, 10 qualified monitors, 250 volunteers and 2 artists accepted at the National Circus School. Kudos and thank you to the leaders of the group, Johanne Gaudreau, Michèle Lapointe and Guy Rompré.

However, the first show is set for June 12 and this organization has still not yet received the necessary support from Canadian Heritage.

Former Deputy Chief of Ottawa PoliceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the service of Larry Hill, the former deputy chief of the Ottawa Police Service.

Larry is a community builder and an advocate of diversity in Ottawa. In his more than 30 years of service to our city, former deputy chief Hill has left a legacy of mutual understanding and respect between Ottawa's communities and the police.

He embodied the principles of Sir Robert Peel, that “the police are the public and the public are the police”. His deep roots in the community, along with the hundreds of off duty hours he spent volunteering in the community quietly building alliances and enhancing the relationships with the police will always be remembered.

As Imam Solaiman of the Ottawa Mosque explained, “Larry Hill proved to be a man of wisdom and a man of outreach”.

For his work, Larry Hill was awarded the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by the Governor General. To quote from the ceremony, “Deputy Chief Hill has been at the forefront of community policing in Canada for the past decade. His work with diverse communities embodies the Canadian virtues of acceptance and openness”.

We thank Larry Hill.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently returned from Afghanistan where I met with our young men and women who daily risk their lives.

As a veteran who has served for 20 years, I rise today to recognize Canadian Forces Day.

Every day, the valiant men and women of our armed forces are ready to defend Canada and to protect Canadians. Today, we honour the members of the armed forces for their courage, their sense of duty and their personal sacrifices.

Today there are Canadian Forces personnel operating search and rescue centres across the country, patrolling our territory on the land, in the air and at sea, working with the Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP helping to enforce our laws, and deployed abroad contributing to international peace and security.

These men and women are dedicated, take their commitments seriously and have an unrivalled sense of duty. Our brave Canadian Forces members deserve the admiration, respect and support of all Canadians.

IranStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran's nuclear ambitions is both cause for alarm and a call to action.

In particular, the report concluded that Iran is continuing its enrichment activities in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions; that it is working on nuclear programs with a clear military dimension, including the underground testing of a missile delivery system; and inspectors discovered an actual blueprint for a nuclear weapon.

Iran refuses to provide details on its civilian energy program and also refuses to answer inspectors' questions.

The threat to international peace and security posed by Iran's nuclear capability cannot be underestimated.

I join the IAEA in calling upon Iran to cooperate with the United Nations agency, to implement Security Council resolutions, and to cease and desist both from its combustible program of genocidal incitement and that of nuclear armament.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodStatements By Members

June 2nd, 2008 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to remind the House that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board is a man of the people.

I have been hosting agriculture forums for nine years in my riding. It has become traditional for agriculture ministers to attend.

The minister attended Agriculture Forum 2008 this spring, with farmers and agrifood workers in my region of Saskatchewan anxious to discuss relevant issues. As usual, the room was full. This kind of face to face consultation is important to this government.

The farmers in my area made it clear that they want to see crop insurance improved and more marketing choice in the future. High input costs such as fertilizer, chemicals and fuel remain a concern.

Agriculture Forum 2008 provided the platform for farmers to approach the minister directly with their concerns. His actions give them ample reason to believe he is listening.

The forum is televised across Canada and continues to communicate the challenges facing the agricultural sector.

Farmers tell me that there has not been this much support for agriculture since the days of John Diefenbaker.

Promotion of Quebec ProductsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, true to its word, the Fédération de l'UPA de Saint-Hyacinthe recently launched a plan to promote food sovereignty in Quebec. A nation practises food sovereignty when its agricultural products are used to feed its population first. This principle reflects a long-term vision in terms of both food security and the environment.

The producers of the Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot region therefore launched a campaign to promote Quebec products. They will be in several area grocery stores from now until the end of June to meet consumers and hand out reusable grocery bags with the campaign logo. The campaign has also been announced on local radio stations.

I would like to congratulate the Saint-Hyacinthe UPA on this initiative, which demonstrates its responsible commitment.

Orangeville Blues and Jazz FestivalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be standing in the House today to announce that the town of Orangeville will be proudly hosting the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival from June 5 to 8. This annual event is the largest music festival of its kind northwest of Toronto and is known for outstanding performers and fantastic entertainment.

New to the festival this year are street performers on Broadway and a kickoff concert that took place on May 31. Furthermore, the festival is partnering with the Orangeville Food Bank to help spread food and to support the needy in Orangeville and the surrounding area.

On behalf of my constituents, I would like to thank the festival sponsors and organizers, and Larry Kurtz in particular, for their hard work and dedication and for making Orangeville the place to be on the first weekend of June.

I wish the Blues and Jazz Festival great success in its sixth season.

Chief of the Defence StaffStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour and pay tribute to a great Newfoundlander and Canadian. He grew up in my riding, is from the great town of Campbellton and at a very young age wanted nothing more than to be a soldier.

He graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1975 and then trained as an officer. Quickly he advanced to commanding troops from the platoon to the division levels.

He then took his leadership abilities throughout Canada and the world, serving twice in Europe and the United States and in the former Yugoslavia.

In October 2003 he was selected as the commander of the multinational NATO-led force in Kabul, Afghanistan.

For the past three years he has served with honour as the Chief of the Defence Staff. Although he was the top soldier in Canada, he always considered himself a soldier first and foremost. He is best known for being honest, direct and passionate.

On behalf of the constituents of Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, I stand in this House to salute one of our own: the pride of Campbellton and the pride of Newfoundland and Labrador, General Rick Hillier.

Elections CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the Conservative Party asked Elections Canada and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency to investigate a Liberal fundraiser held last week in support of Gerard Kennedy.

The invitations for the event were co-branded with the logos of both the Liberal Party of Canada and the SHAMBA foundation and posted on the Liberal Party of Canada's website.

Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, registered charities such as SHAMBA are forbidden from being directly or indirectly involved in partisan political activity. Mr. Kennedy and the foundation must provide full disclosure on the matter to clear the air.

Either the Liberals violated the copyright of the SHAMBA foundation or the SHAMBA foundation has political involvement. Whether it is one or the other, it needs to be cleared up. This fundraiser continues to raise serious ethical questions about the fundraising practices of the Liberal Party and its friends and must be investigated.

Once again, the same Liberal Party that brought us the sponsorship scandal and just recently attempted to bypass election financing rules by holding a sky is the limit fundraiser for its rich friends and Liberal insiders is showing that it simply cannot be trusted with the rules.

Luc BourdonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the funeral for a young hockey player from Shippagan, Luc Bourdon, was held today. He was taken from us at 21 years of age in a tragic motorcycle accident last week, and Canadians are in mourning.

The Vancouver Canucks defenceman was on the cusp of a brilliant career. Twice, he won gold at the world junior hockey championship, and he played 27 NHL games last season.

Luc was an exceptional athlete, and his peers described him as a model. Let us not forget his generosity and his commitment to helping the less fortunate.

Luc was an inspiration to us all and the pride of Shippagan, his hometown. We will remember him as a champion.

On behalf of the NDP and all parliamentarians, and as the member for Acadie—Bathurst, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family, his girlfriend, Charlene, his teammates and everyone affected by this loss.

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, a long awaited meeting of government, industry, labour and research groups recently discussed solutions to the crisis in the forestry industry.

Regrettably, the minister neglected to include environmental, aboriginal, transportation or community representatives on his invite list, and only two labour unions were asked to attend.

Was this a deliberate slight against these groups or just a further indication of the incompetence of the government on the forestry file?

It took five days of discussions and two direct questions in the House to pry the secret invite list out of the minister's office. Perhaps the minister did not want us to know that he had excluded so many important representatives from this meeting.

As the natural resources committee finalizes its report to Parliament on “The Unique Opportunities and Challenges Facing the Forest Products Industry”, I urge the government to heed the wishes of the industry by hosting a national summit on forestry that includes all stakeholders, not just a hand-picked few.

Henri-Paul RousseauStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Henri-Paul Rousseau, who has announced he is leaving the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec after more than five years of service.

Mr. Rousseau has been president and CEO of the Caisse since September 2002 and will step down next August. Under his presidency, the Caisse has changed a number of its governance rules and has achieved excellent financial results. Representatives of Quebec's political, financial and economic sectors have all commended Mr. Rousseau's service to the public, and say that his departure will leave a void difficult to fill.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Mr. Rousseau during the 1980 referendum when he was president of the Comité des économistes pour le oui. Whether as an economist, a financier or a professor, this secretary general of the Bélanger-Campeau Commission has always worked hard for Quebec's development and interests.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I would like to thank him for his contribution and we hope that he will continue to promote Quebec's economic and social development.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister certainly has brought Canada back--to international headlines.

In Germany, the headline is “Canada's foreign minister must go”. In Italy, it is “--minister loses his head and his documents”. French newspapers read, “The red hot affair of the Canadian foreign affairs minister”. In England, the headlines read, “The minister, the classified papers and a lover linked to Hells Angels”.

As well, the Conservatives promised to improve our relationship with the United States. The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times are helping out with headlines like this: “A lover, lowlifes and strange bedfellows”.

They even get it in China, where the headlines read: “Ex-Foreign Minister['s]...gaffe could harm Canada's reputation”.

When editorialists in China understand how serious this issue is, why does the Prime Minister not?

Elections CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is deadline day. The Liberal leader is said to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding leadership debts owed to the wealthy elites that control him.

If he does not repay these debts by the June 3 deadline, they become illegal donations, over the contribution limit. The only escape is if Elections Canada protects the Liberal leader with preferential treatment and an extension.

However, questions remain. If the Liberal leader is too weak to manage his own finances, how can he run the country's? Will the Liberal leader break the law by accepting illegal donations? Will Elections Canada protect the Liberal leader with preferential treatment?

Finally, if he cannot repay these wealthy elites, who owns Stéphane Dion?

Elections CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!