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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Elections CanadaStatements By Members

June 3rd, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the Liberal leader does not repay his loans by the end of the business day today, in three hours, those loans become illegal donations over the contribution limit. A number of questions follow from that.

First, if the Liberal leader is too weak to manage his own finances, how can he run the country?

Second, if he cannot repay these wealthy elites and powerful insiders, who is pulling the Liberal leader's strings?

Third, how much does he owe these wealthy elites?

Fourth, what have these wealthy elites asked for in return for their money?

Fifth, when will they be paid off?

Sixth, what penalty has Elections Canada applied to this breach?

I call on the Leader of the Opposition to stand now in the House and table the special arrangement that he is seeking with Elections Canada. He can do it right now.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, before it was made public, was the Prime Minister ever told about Madam Couillard's past by any security official, government official, member of his staff or anyone else?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said repeatedly, we do not conduct investigations into private citizens. As the Leader of the Opposition knows, the former minister of foreign affairs informed me about the problem with the documents on Monday and offered his resignation, and that is why I accepted it.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, since I did not get an answer I will try again.

Before this affair became public, was the Prime Minister made aware of Ms. Couillard's past—made aware by a member of security services, a member of the government, an official, a member of his staff or anyone else?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we do not conduct investigations into matters of private lives. The Liberal Party invented a story last week about public safety, CSIS and other agencies. All these rumours are false.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is being ambiguous. I am asking him to either give us a clear answer or tell us why he does not want to answer these questions. Let him answer, because this issue is very important to Canadians. It is a matter of national security.

Did he or did he not receive information on Ms. Couillard's past before the matter was made public?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I do not seek and I do not get security information on private Canadian citizens. The minister of foreign affairs offered his resignation because of his own actions and that is why I accepted it.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have already had an internal departmental investigation into the government's interference in the American election. Now we are getting a second internal investigation into the security breach by the member for Beauce that made us a laughingstock around the world.

The first investigation into NAFTA-gate was a whitewash. Why should we expect a different result from the Couillard affair investigation?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 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 review that was conducted by the Clerk of the Privy Council in the case of the NAFTA documents did turn up some very interesting information about inappropriate classification of documents and inappropriate circulation of documents to over 200 addresses. There were very strong recommendations made about processes that do need to be changed.

That demonstrates why a review of this type can be very positive and helpful in ensuring that government works better than it did under processes that were established under previous governments.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has asked officials at foreign affairs to investigate the Couillard affair. These are the very officials who did not inform the Prime Minister that the secret documents had gone missing.

How can the Prime Minister trust this investigation and how can he expect Canadians to trust it?

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, I have to correct the hon. deputy leader of the Liberal Party. There will not be any investigation into any Couillard affair. There will be a review of the processes and the issues of the documents that were left in an unsecured location. The issue is the documents left in an unsecured location, not anybody's affairs, in which I know the Liberal Party is very interested.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, new information about Ms. Couillard, the former girlfriend of the member from Beauce, were revealed this morning in the daily La Presse.

Not only did Ms. Couillard have three partners with ties to motorcycle gangs, but she also dated a member of the mafia.

In view of the evidence of the very shady past of the former foreign affairs minister's ex-girlfriend, does the Prime Minister still believe that this is strictly a private matter and that people are just gossiping?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, personal relationships are private matters. The former foreign affairs minister admitted that he left classified documents in unsecured premises. That is the reason why he tendered his resignation and I accepted it.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that the premises were truly unsecured is the least that can be said.

The RCMP was well aware of Ms. Couillard's past. It is impossible that the Prime Minister was never informed. The truth is that the Prime Minister showed a lack of judgment from the very beginning by seeking to downplay the matter when national security was at issue.

Will the prime minister—who wants us to believe that he is infallible—admit his mistake and stop putting on a show of righteous indignation? Will he finally assume his responsibilities?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, no matter what their personal circumstances, ministers must follow the rules concerning documents. The rules were breached in this situation and that is why the minister resigned.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the investigations concerning criminal biker gangs and the mafia were conducted jointly by various police forces including the Montreal police, the Sûreté du Québec and the RCMP. Julie Couillard had three partners closely linked to the Hells Angels and another who was an influential mafioso. And the Prime Minister, who likes to control everything, would have us believe that he had no idea. That is impossible.

Will the Prime Minister stop denying this, claiming it is a matter of privacy, and admit that he concealed this information for partisan purposes?

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, I fail to see the relevance of the question being asked to the issue of documents that were left in an unsecured location. These ancient relationships may be of interest to some, I know they are. But it is interesting that the Bloc Québécois, which always resisted any of our tackling violent crime measures, seems suddenly very interested in them today.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the Couillard affair began, the Prime Minister has been stubbornly denying the facts and hiding behind false pretexts to avoid answering legitimate questions from the opposition and the public.

Will the Prime Minister finally assume his responsibilities, show the transparency that he promised when he was in opposition and appear before the public safety committee?

The best way to dispel any rumours is to come and tell the whole truth.

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, we are not in the rumour business as the other parties are. We are in the business of running this country and managing this country well. That is why foreign affairs will be conducting a review of the aspect of this that actually does touch public policy, that does touch the processes of governance, and that is the fact that documents were left in a non-secure place. Foreign affairs will ensure that this issue is addressed satisfactorily.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, GM is the latest auto manufacturer to lay off workers in Canada. Another thousand jobs have been lost. The government must have an industrial strategy for the auto sector. The government needs to invest in green technologies, create transition funds for people and communities and make Canada a world leader in the manufacture of hybrid cars.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for? Thousands more lost jobs and thousands more after that?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, today's announcement by General Motors is extremely unfortunate, but at the same time, it is because of its problems with trucks that General Motors decided to close plants not only in Canada, but also in Mexico and the United States. The minister has a strategy. Today, he met with Ford representatives in Oakville, where he and the company announced the creation of new jobs.

There will be changes in employment from time to time. We want to ensure that employment continues to rise in Canada.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, that answer shows that the Prime Minister is not paying attention to what is going on in this industry. Those workers were promised a hybrid plant in Oshawa. Where are those trucks going to be built now? In Mexico. When we look, it is a betrayal by GM and a betrayal by the government as well.

Of course, it should not be surprising anybody. We had a finance minister who stood up and recommended to companies like GM that they not invest in Ontario. It looks like they took his advice. The fact is these workers are losing their jobs because the government has no vision, no plan, no strategy for green cars, and no strategy for the jobs that are needed. When is it going to get one?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, as unfortunate as the General Motors announcement is today, it is due to problems in the sales of its trucks. It is closing plants on this not just in Canada but in the United States and Mexico. There will be a period before this is actually taken into effect. We will work with the company and others to ensure that we have jobs for the future. The minister was in Oakville today with Ford where it was announcing the creation of employment.

We have a strategy. It was in the budget and the opposition should not have voted against those funds for the auto sector.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ms. Couillard not only had ties to biker gangs, but also to the mafia. In the 1990s, Ms. Couillard was associated with Tony Volpato, a mafia leader and close friend of Frank Cotroni. When Ms. Couillard was dating Mr. Volpato, the mafia boss was under electronic surveillance by the RCMP. We already knew that Ms. Couillard had been questioned about the Giguère affair for 15 hours at the Parthenais prison by the Carcajou squad, a joint-force operation between the RCMP and the Sûreté du Québec.

Is the Prime Minister still going to maintain that no one told him about Julie Couillard? What does he have to hide?

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, the hon. member has an extensive summary and biography of somebody's dating history, which is truly impressive, but I can assure the House that the Prime Minister was interested in the very important public policy concern of the security of documents. That is what led to the actual issue in this matter. The resignation that occurred was one that related to documents that were left in an unsecured place. That was something that was done actually by the member for Beauce, not by anybody else.