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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

Elections CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. Hon. members know that referring to other hon. members by name is out of order. The member for Nepean—Carleton will want to refrain from such conduct or face difficulties.

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

Redistribution of WealthStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Independent

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

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday I moved a motion in this House asking the government to establish an oil revenue redistribution fund.

Based on the principle of fairness to all citizens, it would levy a tax on the earnings of oil companies and other companies that emit greenhouse gases in order to counter the negative effects of the escalating price of petroleum products.

The Conservatives, as well as the Liberals, shot down this proposal.

Given that key sectors of regional economies such as forestry, agriculture and tourism are experiencing serious difficulties, it is imperative that the government focus its efforts on realistic solutions.

Even those sectors of our economy that attempt to diversify their practices and develop promising niches are in jeopardy, as is the well-being of our low- to middle-income citizens.

The Conservative government must listen to reason and put in place a real mechanism to redistribute wealth.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last Monday, shortly before the Prime Minister accepted his foreign affairs minister's resignation, he said that he did not believe the matter was serious. Since then, the matter has made headlines around the world, and his government has been ridiculed. Now everyone has seen the Prime Minister's appalling lack of judgment, competence and leadership.

Now will he take this matter seriously and call for a full, independent inquiry into whether national security was compromised as a result of what happened?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the rules governing classified documents are always serious. That is why, when the minister became aware of the situation, he told me and tendered his resignation, which I accepted.

In his letter of resignation, the minister called for a departmental review. That is what we are doing now.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, an internal review is clearly not enough. This shows, again, that the Prime Minister does not take this issue seriously, an issue that made the news on every continent and made his government a laughing stock. What an appalling lack of judgment, competence and leadership.

Canadians have the right to know whether or not national security was compromised.

Will the Prime Minister finally take this matter seriously and order a complete and independent inquiry?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the rules with regard to classified documents are extremely important, which is why the minister offered to resign and why I accepted his resignation. He also asked his ministry to look into the matter and review the facts. We are doing exactly that and we will ensure that is done in an independent and professional manner.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians no longer trust the government when it says that it is going to investigate itself. The people do not want the secrecy of another NAFTA-gate. They want an independent inquiry. That is what Canadians want. For example, it may be that a security screening was conducted on the former minister of foreign affairs' former girlfriend, but the government may have ignored it. The Prime Minister may have chosen to disregard it.

My question for the Prime Minister is this: was the former minister of foreign affairs' former girlfriend the subject of a security screening or not?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the NAFTA issue, the clerk of the Privy Council and the department conducted a thoroughly independent, professional review.

In the matter of the NAFTA document, that was thoroughly looked at through the office of the Clerk of the Privy Council, which came up with good recommendations that will obviously guide the department and others in the handling of documents in the future. We will ensure that this matter is, likewise, looked at in an independent and professional way.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has blamed the entire Couillard affair on the member for Beauce, which is hardly surprising because the Prime Minister takes credit for everything and responsibility for nothing.

It was the Prime Minister who chose the minister. It was the Prime Minister who watched him make mistake after mistake. It was the Prime Minister who took five weeks to fire him after he became a security breach.

At least the member for Beauce took responsibility for his actions. When will the Prime Minister take responsibility for his?

Foreign AffairsOral 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 the hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore quite rightly observed, the minister did take responsibility for his actions. He tendered his resignation, which, obviously, is a very serious consequence. In this case, we know the error was the leaving of the documents in an unsecured place. Those were classified documents and there are clear rules. Obviously, it was the minister's mistake and the minister took responsibility, quite properly, for that and resigned, and that resignation was accepted.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the Prime Minister is not taking responsibility for this issue, but he must take responsibility for what happened in Italy. Following his visit to Italy, the Prime Minister announced that the Italians planned to lift restrictions on their troops in Afghanistan. The problem is that Mr. Berlusconi never said that.

What has this government done to apologize to the Italian Prime Minister for our Prime Minister's blunder in Italy?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member is talking about an announcement made by the Italian government.

I had a very good meeting with Prime Minister Berlusconi. After that meeting it was the government of Italy that announced the fact that it was reviewing the caveats that it has in place on its forces in Afghanistan.

As we know, in the last few months the French have moved to step up their involvement in Afghanistan.

Those are very good developments for NATO, for the United Nations, for Afghanistan and for Canada.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, initially, the Prime Minister called the Couillard affair a matter of privacy. However, the facts have revealed that it is a matter of public concern. Then the Prime Minister, who likes to control everything, said that he knew nothing about Ms. Couillard's past.

Would the Prime Minister have us believe that neither CSIS nor the RCMP did its job? Will he admit that he knew about it and failed to assume his responsibilities despite the obvious risk to security?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is not a privacy issue. Ministers are always responsible for the protection of classified documents.

The minister admitted his mistake in this matter and resigned his post. That is why I accepted his resignation. The former minister did the honourable thing by resigning.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to various experts, anyone who is close to people involved in organized crime, and particularly spouses, are automatically on file with the police.

How could the Prime Minister show such a lack of judgment to the point of trivializing the Couillard affair, while CSIS and the RCMP were able to assess the danger and he himself must have been aware of Ms. Couillard's shady past?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, ministers have responsibilities under any circumstances, even in their private lives.

In this case, the minister admitted that he failed to protect classified documents. That is why he offered his resignation and why I accepted it.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Carcajou squad investigated biker gangs from 1995 to 1999, at the same time Julie Couillard was associating with two criminals linked to the Hells Angels. She was even arrested and held for interrogation by squad officers. So the SQ and the RCMP knew about her troubled past. It is impossible that the Prime Minister did not know about it.

If the Prime Minister knew, why did he hide this information at the expense of the public good?

Foreign AffairsOral 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 issue over which the member for Beauce tendered his resignation as Minister of foreign Affairs was the leaving of documents in an unsecured location. It mattered not that it was Madam Couillard's house. The same would have been the case had they been left in a restaurant booth or on the front steps of Parliament Hill. The minister accepted responsibility for that and his resignation was accepted on that basis.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, if I understand correctly, having had relationships with members of organized crime a few years earlier is not considered a security concern.

The Prime Minister maintains that he only learned about the disappearance of the classified documents on the Monday when the member for Beauce resigned. Given the strict rules about such documents, it is completely impossible that the Prime Minister would not have questioned the former foreign affairs minister about this.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he showed a lack of judgment and transparency by hiding the truth for partisan purposes?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, it is clear that the Prime Minister found out on Monday afternoon that the documents had been left at Ms. Couillard's home.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

June 2nd, 2008 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Montreal Climate Exchange recently opened and the Ontario and Quebec cabinets are meeting to discuss the price of carbon and to establish pollution targets in order to deal with the greenhouse gas crisis. Canadians want to be leaders in this field.

Will the Prime Minister explain why the Minister of the Environment is blocking the creation of a true cap and trade system in Canada?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, it is because of the efforts of the Minister of the Environment that the Montreal Exchange has been able to create such a market. It is interesting to see this meeting between the governments of Quebec and Ontario and I can say that the national targets established by this government are mandatory targets and that the provinces cannot disregard them.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like the Prime Minister is now disagreeing with his Minister of the Environment who said, just yesterday, that the system being proposed by Ontario and Quebec was somehow going to be a problem. In fact, he called it a rogue initiative.

Is the Prime Minister associating himself with those remarks?

The fact is that what Quebec and Ontario are doing is filling a vacuum of leadership that we have had in this country on this issue for far too long by previous governments and the current government as well.

Is the Prime Minister's real motivation here that he is afraid that this system might actually succeed and hurt his friends in certain key sectors or does he believe that it might not work and show that his system is no better?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, for such a system to work to control greenhouse gas emissions, there are only a limited number of options. The option undertaken by the Minister of the Environment is to establish a regulatory mechanism. The provinces of Ontario and Quebec to date have not done that. The Minister of the Environment has, which is why we are having a carbon exchange in Montreal.

The other option, of course, which Ontario and Quebec do not seem to like, is to impose carbon taxes. I can assure everyone that when I was in Europe last week nobody wanted that either.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, why does this government always have to go on the attack? Why did the Prime Minister allow his Minister of the Environment to attack the premiers of Quebec and Ontario when they were assuming their responsibilities and simply trying to fill the leadership void left by this government?

Will the Prime Minister admit that his climate change plan is so weak that no one wants to work with him?