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House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not hand out $140,000 contracts. My question is clear. Since yesterday the Prime Minister has been saying that no members of the government are part of the RCMP inquiry. Since when does a Prime Minister get involved in RCMP matters?

Since the minister responsible for Quebec attended, as a political minister, a cocktail fundraiser hosted by Paul Sauvé, who is under investigation by the RCMP, there are two possibilities. Did the Prime Minister mislead the House or is he getting involved in RCMP matters?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member for Bourassa says that he does not give out large contracts, but there was a time when he held a very powerful position in the Government of Canada, not only being a senior minister in the Chrétien government, but in the Martin government he was the president of the Privy Council. Of course the Privy Council is the central operating agency of the government. I wonder when that cheque was dated. Was it when this government was in power or was it when he was sitting around the cabinet table?

Public SafetyOral Questions

October 7th, 2010 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government plans on spending $2 billion over the next five years to expand the prison system. The Minister of Public Safety believes that Quebec and the provinces should deal with the additional costs incurred as a result of its repressive approach.

Does the minister not find it irresponsible to inflict the negative consequences of his approach to crime on others?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I do apologize but there was so much noise in the House that I could not hear the question.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government plans on spending $2 billion over the next five years to expand the prison system. The Minister of Public Safety believes that Quebec and the provinces should deal with the additional costs incurred as a result of its repressive approach.

Does the minister not find it irresponsible to inflict the negative consequences of his approach to crime on others?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the government will invest in the prison system of Canada. As a matter of fact, many of the changes that are occurring were as a result of the provincial ministers asking for those changes, and as we go forward, we expect they will support them.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the brief filed by Quebec in the Court of Appeal clearly shows that not only would a federal securities commission be a violation of provincial jurisdictions, but it would also give banks and major issuers the upper hand to the detriment of the public investor.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that his plans to establish a single regulator show that he has meekly bowed to the pressure of his Bay Street buddies?

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we sought the court's approval to ensure that it was federal jurisdiction, but we put in place a process that is voluntary, that all provinces can join a common Canadian securities regulator, and most provinces have accepted that. Most provinces are working proactively to protect their investors in their provinces. I would encourage him to go back to his province and encourage them to do that same thing to protect their investors.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, in view of the decisions of the Chambers of Commerce in Quebec and western Canada, such as the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce decided, at its general annual meeting, to withdraw its support for the creation of a single securities regulator.

This is more proof that the minister's predatory project is harmful for investors, the economy as a whole and small and medium-sized businesses.

The Chambers of Commerce are no longer behind them. If they look back they will see that there is no one left supporting them.

SecuritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have a whole list of people who are supportive of this.

As for the main people we are trying to protect, let me quote someone who is very passionate about this. Joey Davis is a victim of the Earl Jones scam and supports the idea of a national regulatory body overseeing financial organizations. He said that they definitely support the Canadian securities regulator initiative and that Ottawa has been far more responsive to their plight.

Apparently, he considers the Bloc to have been less responsive.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, incoming chief of staff Nigel Wright currently sits on the boards of two aerospace companies, and we know that in 18 to 24 months, he will be returning to business.

The conflict of interest code dictates that he would not be able to participate in any aerospace meetings, because of a business involvement.

Here is a conflict. The Prime Minister is meeting with two aerospace companies today. How will the Conservatives work around this glaring conflict of interest? Will they have the chief of staff sit in the hallway?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, that is quite the question.

We think it is tremendous that someone who has been incredibly successful outside politics and government has agreed to take a leave from his career and come to Ottawa, our nation's capital, to make a contribution to public life.

Thank goodness that in the past successful business people like Paul Martin and Belinda Stronach were prepared to make that same sacrifice in support of our country.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, this is not about Nigel Wright; this is about the Prime Minister's judgment. We are raising legitimate concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest as a result of Mr. Wright's business relationships.

Even Brian Mulroney's former chief of staff said how common the conflicts of interest would be and expressed skepticism that the rules would be able to deal with such a complex situation.

What is the plan to ensure there are no conflicts of interest, and when will the Conservatives share it with Canadians? Even the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is asking them to do so.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wright has consulted and sought the counsel of the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, and he will follow all of the counsel she gives him.

This individual will be required to establish a blind trust. In respect of that blind trust, he will not be regularly briefed on the success or failures of his financial holdings. That happened under a previous Liberal government, and it was known as a “Venetian blind trust”.

CensusOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the census, the Commissioner of Official Languages believes that their decision will be detrimental to the vitality of French outside Quebec.

The CSQ says this is an utter waste of the taxpayers' money. The Minister of Education says that it will hurt the education network. Even the National Assembly is unanimously opposed to the Conservative decision.

The only explanation for the Prime Minister's stubbornness is that he wants to hide his mediocre socio-economic record.

Is that not the truth?

CensusOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what the federal government is doing is standing up for Canadians' freedom, for their rights.

We have said that the information surely is important, but that in gathering that information we will no longer threaten Canadians with fines and jail time because they do not want to tell the government what their religion is.

CensusOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we also learned of the fervent opposition by several groups, including the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, to the Conservatives' ideologically based decision, taken without consultation.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the CJC has demanded a policy reversal. They believe that without a long form census the cultural, social, health care, educational, housing, recreational, and spiritual needs of their community will be ignored. They know that if we are not counted, we do not count.

When will the government count these people in and restore the long form census?

CensusOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has introduced a private member's bill that would threaten Canadians with fines of $500 because they do not want to answer questions like what their religion is, how much yardwork they did last week, or how much time they spend with their kids.

We believe that Canadians should be treated like adults, and that we can work with the experts at Statistics Canada to find a way to get the information we need without threatening people.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, veterans across Canada are concerned that the Department of Veterans Affairs has mishandled their confidential files. One veteran approached the Privacy Commissioner to investigate how his file was handled. Today, the Privacy Commissioner tabled her report.

Can the Minister of Veterans Affairs please inform the House of the steps that he will take to ensure that the recommendations contained in that report will be implemented, so that our nation's greatest heroes will have their private information properly protected?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that we must respect the privacy and dignity of our veterans.

I can tell the House that all of the recommendations in the commissioner's report will be implemented. All of them. Beyond that, we have already started to review our discipline procedures, and people who commit serious violations, for example, releasing private information, will certainly be disciplined, or even dismissed.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Natural Resources must have gone to the Karlheinz Schreiber school of government relations. People should not have to grease the palm of a Conservative lobbyist to bid for a government contract. It is not okay for a minister of public works to shake down contractors at a so-called fundraiser. Nobody should have to tell a minister that.

We now know that renovation slush-fund money found its way into the coffers of the Conservative Party. Are the Conservatives going to give that money back? Are they going to make room in the hall of shame over there and fire that minister?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, no members of this government are part of this inquiry. There are rules, laws, policies, and guidelines that govern the Government of Canada's contracting policies. If it is found that anyone broke those rules, the person will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and taxpayer money will be recovered.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives think they have a good defence in saying that they are not so bad, because the Liberals were just as corrupt as they are. That is pathetic.

But this time, the Conservatives' Quebec lieutenant must be held personally accountable. Does he not understand the ethical problem with the Varin case? His wilful blindness in letting a notoriously crooked bagman organize his fundraising shows that either he has no ethics or he does not care.

When will he be ready to resign?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, no members of this government, including the Minister of Natural Resources, are part of this inquiry. As I have said repeatedly, there are rules, there are guidelines, and there are laws that govern the Government of Canada's contracting policies.

If it is found that any individuals or contractors have broken any rules or guidelines, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and we will recover taxpayer money.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has signed agreements with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia on the St. Lawrence seabed. Quebec is trying to get a similar agreement, but nothing is happening. The Government of Quebec would like to have an agreement in place this fall.

How can the Minister of Natural Resources account for the fact that it was so easy to reach agreement with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia 25 years ago and it is so difficult to do justice to Quebec?