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House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.

Topics

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the groups responsible for organizing events and festivals in Quebec have been waiting for answers about funding from Canadian Heritage for months now. Just like last year, the summer season may end before they receive any assistance.

Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages understand that her inaction could have disastrous economic and cultural repercussions throughout Quebec?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to talk about the immense popularity of the new program announced by the government to provide festivals with $30 million over two years. We received a record number of applications. The department's employees are working very hard to get the funding to the festivals that applied. This will be done in the coming days.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has denied visas to participants in conventions planned as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations in Quebec City, under false pretexts of security. The Conservatives, quite ridiculously, have denied visas to priests and laypersons for the Eucharistic Congress, even though Immigration Canada has had the list of participants for over two years.

Does the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration realize that she is threatening the convention industry in Quebec City, in the midst of the 400th anniversary celebrations, and that she is projecting a very negative image that could deprive all of Quebec, and Quebec City in particular, of major economic spinoffs?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, of course we want to ensure that the congresses are successful. I have asked my officials to work with organizers to make sure that all the applications are processed fairly and as quickly as possible.

If the hon. member has more specific details about particular cases, I invite him to meet with me after question period so that I may help him.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, if a minister spends a weekend with his wife and children at his in-laws and he has an important meeting the following Monday, it is understandable that he would take with him the documents required to prepare for the meeting.

While studying the file, if he has the bad luck to be distracted and unfortunately does not notice that one of the classified documents has fallen to the ground, and he then leaves on Sunday without the document, will he have to resign for having left a classified document in an unsecured location?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 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 feel like I am back in law school answering lengthy hypothetical questions, but with regard to the specific issue to which I think he is referring, the hon. member knows that the Department of Foreign Affairs is conducting a review of the matter and it will provide appropriate advice.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister is refusing to answer a clear and pertinent question. It is understandable that it would be unfair to punish a serious and conscientious minister for a small mistake that has no effect on security. However, the situation is quite different if a minister leaves a document with someone who has had close ties to members of organized crime.

Is that not the real reason why the member for Beauce was asked to resign? What the Prime Minister piously refers to as the private life of Ms. Couillard makes all the difference. Is that not the reason why this is a matter of public interest?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 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, that may be what was suggested by the member's hairstylist.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we read shocking reports from the foreign affairs department that it does not even know if it has all of the classified documents that the former minister had in his possession. We do not know if they have been recovered. Who knows what other information is floating around?

Yesterday, the Prime Minister told Canadians that he would answer substantive questions in the House about the security breach. How about this? Given that even now the Department of Foreign Affairs cannot account for all of the documents, on what basis did the Prime Minister, a week ago in Paris, assure Canadians that there were no security concerns?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister indicated that he had a very serious concern. That is why the then minister of foreign affairs tendered his resignation and that is why the Prime Minister accepted that resignation. Rules regarding confidential documents were not followed and those rules must be followed.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, weeks ago we asked questions about all of the documents that had ever been in the possession of the former minister of foreign affairs and we were told that they were indecent questions.

Today, foreign affairs admits that it has no idea if all the classified documents have been returned to the government. Canadians deserve serious answers from the Prime Minister about serious security concerns.

What proof does the government have that all of the classified documents have been recovered by the department?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, we take the matter seriously.

A minister resigned and foreign affairs is conducting a review to determine what the procedures were, whether they were adequate, and if there are any other lingering questions that need to be addressed. So yes, this matter is being taken quite seriously.

The government did act and it is something that we can say is in contrast with the way these things were often handled on the other side.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have not seen the terms of reference of this so-called review by the Department of Foreign Affairs. All we have is a background statement from an official saying, “They are not all traceable. Some of them are traceable”.

How could it be that the government is asking the very department, that is unable to account for the documents, to review the problem which is now before the House of Commons?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 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, when an incident like this occurs, we think it is important to have a review. It is very different than what the hon. member did when he was the NDP premier of Ontario, when his own director of communications, I believe, or principal communications adviser, tried to leak confidential documents to a journalist.

To the journalist's credit, he refused to accept those documents. That individual was actually allowed to come back to his office, take away boxes of documents before the police arrived with their investigation.

We are going to ensure that there is a full review in our case by foreign affairs and it will be able to assess this matter in the public interest.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, to get back to the subject matter in question, I wonder if the minister can account for the clear contradiction between the statements that are contained in today's Toronto Star from officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs, statements that are on the record, and the statements that are made by the Prime Minister.

Would he not agree that the only fair and public way to resolve this is to allow Parliament and a parliamentary committee to do its job and review the whole situation?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:45 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 clear contradiction is between what he just asked and what he did when he was actually the NDP premier of Ontario.

In the case I just referred to, there were serious matters, confidential documents disappearing, attempted illegal leaks, violations of the law, and resignation of his staff. He said there was no inquiry, not even a legislative inquiry, required.

We are conducting a review of this. Foreign affairs is looking into this matter. It is very different than how he dealt with this kind of problem when he was once in charge of a government. God forbid that happens again.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the chair of the Canadian Wheat Board, Larry Hill, admitted this morning to the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry that an overwhelming majority of farmers are asking for marketing freedom for barley. This is absolutely in line with what farmers in my riding are telling me.

The minister himself witnessed the overwhelming support for marketing freedom when he attended my agricultural forum 2008 earlier this year in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

My question for the minister is this. Can he tell the House where these numbers are coming from?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to do that and I would also thank the member for Yorkton—Melville for his tireless work on this file. Amazingly, Mr. Hill, the chair of the Wheat Board, is quoting from the board's own survey that was conducted by, and wait for it, Mr. Speaker, Liberal insider David Herle. Is that not remarkable?

The Liberals cannot even spin their own numbers into a success for their ideological crusade against western grain producers. How many ways do western farmers need to tell the member for Wascana and his clones over there that they want marketing freedom before he will listen? When will the Liberals get out of the producers' way and give them marketing freedom? They should support Bill C-46 today.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

June 5th, 2008 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, reports from Washington today describe environmental groups warning U.S. Congress and American consumers that the Canadian tar sands sector is “an environmental disaster that is poisoning U.S. refineries”. Despite both domestic and international pressure, the government is barrelling full steam ahead.

On World Environment Day, this so-called environment minister's gift to the planet is one of the greatest and largest polluting projects in Canadian history. Why will he not even put a few environmental conditions on the Kearl oil sands project? Why is he giving Imperial Oil an unlimited licence to pollute?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, first, I want everyone to know that for every environmental process, every regulation being followed, the toughest standards are being set. Our Minister of the Environment has set some of the toughest standards for oil sands projects. In our “Turning the Corner” plan, he has committed to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020.

I reassure the House that they will have to meet all of these standards, every one of them. Our government is committed to protecting the environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister wanted to reassure Canadians and the world that he was serious about this issue, he would support and not delay the environmental legislation proposed by the leader of the New Democrats and passed in Parliament last night in this place.

The Kearl oil sands project will put the equivalent of 800,000 cars on the road in pollution every year for the next 50 years. The government has the power to put some conditions on it. It has the power to protect the rights of first nations.

Will he, for once, stand in his place and stand up to the big polluters, put some real environmental conditions on this project and do his job?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I will state this again. We will protect the environment, and that is exactly what our government is doing.

We have imposed the toughest standards. Our government has brought in standards for all new oil sands projects. After 2012, they have to achieve a carbon capture and storage standard. Nowhere else in the world is this being done.

Our government eliminated the tax breaks for oil sands companies, which were brought in by the Liberals. Our government is taking real action to reduce greenhouse gases, unlike all the hot air from the—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, given the importance of the statement of apology for future relations between aboriginal peoples and the Government of Canada, it is crucial that the statement be done right.

To date, the details of the apology have trickled down like a slow leak. This is disrespectful to first nations people, who should have been consulted every step along the way. Aboriginal organizations are concerned about timing, format, substance and access to the apology.

Why has the government been so fundamentally disrespectful?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to fundamental disrespect, I ask the member to consider what her party did regarding apologies during 13 years. It did absolutely nothing. That was disrespectful.

We have moved ahead, as promised in the throne speech, with a meaningful and respectful apology. There have been ongoing consultations. It continued this week, with the Prime Minister and I meeting with more survivors. I will be meeting with more again this afternoon. I have talked to all of the churches this week. I will be meeting with more first nations organizations and survivors.

We want this to be a meaningful and respectful occasion, and I ask the member to consider that as she poses her questions.