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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentence.

Topics

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in other words, the minister has just told us that she is shunting the responsibility of her own mistakes off onto other people.

There is a double standard involved here. After much hesitation, the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of his former Minister of Foreign Affairs on the pretext that the latter had left secret documents in an inappropriate location. That pretext, for pretext it was, has become a rule in the code of ethics. Now we have the Minister of Natural Resources doing exactly the same thing, but this time the Prime Minister excuses her.

Are we to conclude that not only do ministers not respect the code of ethics, but the Prime Minister does not respect it either?

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as we have indicated, there are clear procedures in the minister's office with respect to the handling of these documents. It is a very serious matter when those procedures are not followed, which is what happened in this case. As a result, we took corrective action. I offered my resignation, as did the staffer involved with respect to the responsibility of handling the documents and I accepted her resignation.

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, at the time of the member for Beauce's problems with Julie Couillard, the Prime Minister had promised to make changes to the handling of ministerial documents. Yet it appears to have taken six days for the government to realize that the Minister of Natural Resources had misplaced some documents.

Does the Prime Minister realize that he must not only dismiss his minister, but must also share the blame with her because of his own inaction?

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as we have indicated, we treat this very seriously. There are clear procedures that are in place. They were not followed. The individual who was responsible for the handling of the documents offered her resignation and we accepted it.

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the minister considers this to be serious, but not the Prime Minister. Funny, that.

In the guide Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Secretaries of State , we can read the following:

Ministers and Ministers of State are required to notify the deputy minister immediately of any potential compromise of Cabinet confidences or other security incident.

How can the Prime Minister still be defending his Minister of Natural Resources, the person who took six days to realize that secret documents had been left at a television station ?

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as we indicated, there are clear procedures in place dealing with these documents and these matters. Unfortunately, in this case, those clear procedures in place were not followed, and the staff member who was responsible for the documents offered her resignation and we accepted it.

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Federal Court ruling today makes it clear that the government breached the charter rights of Canadian citizen Mr. Abdelrazik by forcing him to remain stranded in Sudan. The court declared:

There is no evidence in the record before this Court on which one could reasonably conclude that Mr. Abdelrazik has any connection to terrorism or terrorists...

The government does not get to choose to whom the charter applies. Will the Prime Minister finally do the right thing and bring Mr. Abdelrazik home?

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated, the decision just handed down by the court today is over 100 pages and it is being carefully studied by the Department of Justice. After we have had an opportunity to review the advice from the Department of Justice, we will take action.

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the government did everything it could to keep this innocent Canadian stranded in Sudan, and now we hear from the court that CSIS was involved in his detention.

The court has declared Mr. Abdelrazik an innocent victim and has ruled that he must be returned to Canada within 30 days, but with the record of the government, I would not put it past it to further trample his charter rights, waste taxpayers' money and appeal this decision.

We want to know, will the Prime Minister declare today that he will not appeal this decision?

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that this is a very foreign concept for the NDP, but we will actually read the document that has been handed down by the court before we make any decisions.

JusticeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the decision is very clear. This issue has been very clear. In fact, for two years New Democrats pressed the government to act through letters, questions and committee work, all urging the government to repatriate Mr. Abdelrazik. In fact, our research proved the depth of mishandling by the government of different stripes compelling the foreign affairs committee to pass our motion to bring Mr. Abdelrazik home.

All of that, and the government has still refused, choosing instead to breach his rights. This has become a national disgrace. The minister surely knows what the right decision is here, to end this embarrassment and to bring Mr. Abdelrazik home, and not to appeal this decision. Surely he knows that today.

JusticeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what is a national disgrace. About a month and a half ago, the New Democrats were telling voters in B.C. that they wanted to get tough on crime for a change, and what are they doing but filibustering our bill that cracks down on people who traffic in narcotics in this country. That is a national disgrace and they should apologize.

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

June 4th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, in 2005, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration resigned because of an assistant's actions. In 1996, Ontario's health minister resigned because of an assistant's actions. The Prime Minister himself signed a guide stipulating that ministers are to be held personally accountable.

How can Canadians trust a Prime Minister whose signature is meaningless?

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as indicated, this is a serious matter. Corrective action has been taken.

More important, the hon. member opposite oftentimes takes the opportunity in the House to ask me about the situation with respect to isotope supply and I think it is really important that we continue to focus on that.

That is why I was pleased to announce earlier that we have been successful globally in increasing the amount of global isotopes available. Australia has agreed to go online faster than it had originally anticipated. We are working very diligently with our U.S. counterparts on coming up with a solution for this real issue.

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives cannot handle secure documents, how can we have any confidence they will handle isotopes properly?

The minister knows she is responsible. That is why she tendered her resignation. So, I have to ask, was it her idea to sacrifice her 26-year-old assistant, or was it the PMO operatives who made her shift the blame, or perhaps the Prime Minister himself?

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as we have indicated, this is a serious matter and indeed we have gone to great lengths to describe the actions that we have taken.

I would just like to go back to what has been indicated earlier, that both the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail indicated it is time to move on and talk about things Canadians truly do care about, not about who did what to whom at what point in time, but rather what is going on with medical isotopes, how we are restructuring the Canadian nuclear industry in order to make more jobs for people, and what this government is actually doing to help Canadians.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the secret documents left in the newsroom, we learned that there is $72 million designated to “maintain the option of isotope production”. There is no public mention of this at all.

Could the minister explain what is optional about maintaining isotope production for the thousands of worried Canadians waiting for their tests? Where did the money go and why are there still no isotopes?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, her hon. colleague has done good work in terms of asking questions in the past and, indeed, on February 10, he asked me a question with respect to the breakdown and the costing of medical isotopes. I gave full disclosure indicating exactly that it was $72 million for the total isotope package. Part of it was for the Maples, which was $25 million for decommissioning, the other part is $47 million, which has to go to pursuing the NRU licence extension past 2011.

The Liberals knew all about it. They are just choosing to take advantage of a very terrible situation.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Dutch reactor is going to go down for six months very soon. Australia imports 100% of its isotopes.

In 2007 the minister's government oversaw a life-threatening crisis in medical isotopes. Eighteen months later, the minister still has no plan. There is no plan for domestic supply and no secure plan for international supply.

Halifax, Ottawa, Saskatoon, the B.C. interior; what do these places all across this country have in common? Thousands of Canadians already are being told that they will not get the cancer tests or heart tests they need.

What is the minister going to do? Fire her policy adviser now?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I know the microphone got cut off, but I am sure we could all hear the yelling from the other side of the House. As I said yesterday, it is not making it a more compelling issue.

The reality is and the facts are that we are working with the world. It is going along very well. Canada has taken a leadership position. We are working very diligently around the clock on this matter. It is extremely important to all Canadians. That is where our efforts are with respect to the matter.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, failure to find a solution to the isotope issue is further proof of the Minister of Natural Resources' incompetence. This is the second crisis in two years, and she has done nothing to prevent it from happening, nor does she have any kind of plan to deal with the situation. The health of hundreds of people is at stake.

Will the Prime Minister accept her resignation and ensure that this issue is resolved immediately?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, in December of last year, we put out a five-point strategy with respect to dealing with medical isotopes.

Part of it had to do with increasing global supply. Indeed, we have delivered on that plan.

The second part had to do with looking at the longer term with respect to medical isotopes. We are going to name an expert review panel to take a look at those matters. It will be reviewing all of the proposals that we have been receiving. We will have a solution to this problem.

Nuclear WasteOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is refusing to listen to Quebec's National Assembly, which does not want nuclear waste from other jurisdictions to end up in Quebec. Once again yesterday, she said that she was trying to find a community that would agree to having a nuclear waste storage facility. She was not shy about admitting that she was bypassing the provincial government and negotiating directly with the municipalities. She does not have the credibility to handle these files, which she tends to leave lying around anyway.

Will the Prime Minister accept her resignation?

Nuclear WasteOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, it is constituted under the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act. It is undergoing a very lengthy and a very fulsome process with respect to choosing the appropriate willing and informed community that wishes to become the deep geological repository for waste in nuclear fuel. It is a very lengthy process. It is very well thought out.

The organization has a website in place. I would invite the member to take a look at the website, which shows that public consultations are what follows this summer and that communities should be encouraged to take part.

Forest IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to support their theory before the London tribunal, the American lawyers used several statements the Prime Minister made in question period and statements by other ministers who think that loan guarantees for the forest industry are illegal. In short, their statements are being used as ammunition to undermine the Canadian position in the softwood lumber dispute.

Does the Minister of International Trade realize that the statements his government makes are sabotaging the work its own lawyers are doing and are detrimental to the forest industry and to Quebec?