This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, they spent $300 million that could have been invested in veterans or the navy.

What is worse, all of our Afghanistan pullback operations have to be reviewed because of the Prime Minister's whim and his ministers' lack of backbone.

It is an irresponsible decision that was made on the backs of taxpayers and our military.

Why did the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence give in to the Prime Minister?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is absolute nonsense. We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in veterans and we will try to continue to do more. We have invested billions of dollars in the navy as part of the Canada first defence strategy. On this side of the House, we know how to take care of veterans. We know how to take care of the Canadian Forces.

The simple fact is that the most important thing is the mission on the ground in Afghanistan. That mission continues with the full support of this government, and I just wish the opposition would get onside with it.

Member for Calgary Centre-NorthOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, who promised to introduce the highest ethical standards, does not find it odd that one of his ministers negotiated his leap to the private sector while still in office. The problem is that a minister must put the public interest first, not the interests of the big banks.

Does the Prime Minister realize that it makes no sense for a minister to allow himself to be courted by CIBC between cabinet meetings and his various ministerial activities?

Member for Calgary Centre-NorthOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, all of us have had the opportunity to work with the member for Calgary Centre-North. We all know that he is an individual with incredibly high ethical standards and incredible competence and that he has contributed not just to his constituency but to all of Canada.

The member in question spoke yesterday that he had been in touch with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in September and indeed this week to get her guidance on conduct, her advice and counsel, which he followed.

Member for Calgary Centre-NorthOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, CIBC is constantly negotiating with the government. According to the registry of lobbyists, it is interested in fiscal policies, Labour Code reform, banking regulation and money laundering laws.

Does the government realize that CIBC, by laying its hands on the minister who was involved in all of these decisions because of his role on cabinet committees, is also laying its hands on government strategy, which puts the Conservative government in a vulnerable situation?

Member for Calgary Centre-NorthOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the minister at the time sought the advice and the counsel of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and followed that counsel.

It was our government, as a matter of first priority when we were elected four and a half years ago, that brought in the Federal Accountability Act, brought in the toughest ethics reforms in Canadian history, with a strict five-year ban on lobbying, which the member in question will follow to the letter.

Member for Calgary Centre-NorthOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have known for a long time that this government is under the influence of big business. There is a reason why CIBC, which has significant interests in the oil sands, did not hesitate to court an environment minister who was rather complacent about the industry.

Does the Prime Minister realize that when a business that invests in the oil sands rolls out the red carpet for an environment minister, it proves that his commitment to fighting climate change is not credible?

Member for Calgary Centre-NorthOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government has an unprecedented commitment towards the environment. The former minister of the environment and his predecessor accomplished a great deal for the environment, including a 30% increase in the amount of protected areas in our national parks system, also including the Haida Gwaii marine protected area and a whale sanctuary in northern Canada.

We have a strong environmental record of which we can be proud.

Member for Calgary Centre-NorthOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the comings and goings of government members between ministers' offices and the private sector prove that this government is controlled by private business. First, Onex generously lends the Prime Minister's Office a chief of staff for 18 months, and now CIBC has recruited a senior government minister just prior to the five-year review of the Bank Act.

How can the Conservative government say that it is not influenced by major private interests?

Member for Calgary Centre-NorthOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this government has consistently, over the past four and a half years, stood up for the best interests of Canada. We saw that this week with the actions taken by the Minister of Industry, a difficult decision that certainly, I am sure, was not welcomed in every corporate boardroom in the country, but this government will always be motivated by what is in the best interests of Canadians and the best interest of Canada.

TaxationOral Questions

November 5th, 2010 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, CBC and Globe and Mail revelations about the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board are astounding. Apparently, some of the Conservative government's own people have been carrying out suspicious transactions involving tax havens.

He approved transfers of funds from a Canadian account to a Swiss account for the purpose of tax evasion, pure and simple. As an experienced banker, he knew exactly what he was doing.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board step aside until the investigation is complete?

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I regret that the member would come to this place and ask that type of question. That type of question is worse than a drive-by smear. It is a hit and run.

This government has consistently worked to tackle tax evasion. The Prime Minister in the last few weeks was in Switzerland signing a new accord with Switzerland so that we could clamp down and ensure that every Canadian pays every single cent of tax that is required. That is the fair and right thing to do.

TaxationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, this helps explain why the Conservative government is so notoriously lax when dealing with tax havens. The Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board simply cannot continue in his role while this is under investigation. He has to step aside.

A federal affidavit reads that Credit Suisse, for whom he made these transfers, is believed to have “facilitated the movement of funds offshore” for clients wanting to “hide their investments and other income from the CRA”, the Canada Revenue Agency.

The parliamentary secretary authorized these transfers, and as an experienced banker, he knew exactly what he was doing and why.

How often did he set up these money transfers to Switzerland and to other tax havens?

TaxationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this government has been very clear. If Canadians are using Swiss bank accounts to avoid paying income taxes, we will use the full force of Canadian law and the new agreement that the Prime Minister successfully negotiated with the Swiss authorities in the last few weeks.

Every Canadian should be paying his or her fair share of taxes. Last year our government collected over $1 billion in uncovered and unpaid tax from hidden international accounts and assets. That shows we are not just talking, we are actually acting on ensuring that the Canadian tax system is fair.

TaxationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mark Carney names one of his cronies from Goldman Sachs to rewrite the rules on derivatives and the Prime Minister sees no problem, even though there is no cooling-off period before the guy can go back to Bay Street.

The Prime Minister's new chief of staff will be free to return to Onex once he has learned everything there is to learn about the government's plans. No problem there either.

The chairman of the government operations committee negotiates a sweetheart deal for himself with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce while still in office. So what?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board is a fixer for tax havens. Who cares?

Those are the Conservatives' ethical standards. Canadians deserve more.

TaxationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite is demonstrating his ethical standards by the content of that question.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, General Deschamps stated last night in an interview that the statement of requirements to replace the CF-18 was only finalized in the spring of 2010. General Deschamps even contradicted the defence minister, saying that the MOU in 2008 with Lockheed Martin was not an open competition or even a commitment.

Who is telling the truth, the minister or the general?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member once again is forgetting that while he and his colleagues were in government, they did the competitive process. There was a winner and it was Lockheed Martin. We are motivated to give the very best equipment to the members of our Canadian military so that they can do their job for Canada and Canadians.

The only question I have for the hon. member is, when is he going to stand up for Montreal's interest in the aerospace sector? When is he going to tell his own leader to get off the pot when it comes to this and realize that jobs and opportunities are going to be lost if the Liberals cancel the contract? That is if the Liberals ever get into power. Let us hope that never happens.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about Montreal. It is becoming clearer and clearer that the Minister of National Defence did not do his homework to find out whether another kind of plane would meet National Defence's needs. They wanted one particular plane, period. Yet, not only did companies like Boeing and Dassault have products with comparable specifications, but Dassault was also prepared to make a full technology transfer. That would better serve the aerospace industry in Quebec and Montreal. That would be better for the entire aerospace industry.

When will the Conservative government issue a true call for tenders, a real competitive process for those of us in Montreal, now that there is no longer any reason not to?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what we would like to know on this side of the House is, what does the hon. member have against Pratt & Whitney? Why does he not want that great company in the Mirabel area and Saint-Laurent to be more successful?

It is part of the consortium. It is delivering its part of the JSF, the F-35. Why does he not care about Pratt & Whitney? Why does he not care about Montreal workers? Why does he not do his job for Montreal instead of doing his job for the Liberal caucus and the ideas of the Liberal leader, which are out of sync with Canada and Canadians?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, expert Alan Wiliams said that a competitive process would maximize economic spinoffs.

Competitors are telling anyone who will listen that they will guarantee more economic spinoffs for Canada.

This is not complicated. A competitive process means more jobs. The Conservative plan means fewer jobs, fewer spinoffs for our economy and planes that cost almost 20% more.

Why are they stubbornly refusing to launch a competitive process?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is not true at all.

What the Liberal leader and the Liberal caucus, including the Montreal MPs are advocating is that we scrap the deal and start again with a process when we already had a competitive process. That would mean lost jobs for Montreal companies because they will be in abeyance with their contracts until they get around to ordering planes. That is not good enough. It is not good enough for the Canadian military and it is certainly not good enough for the aerospace industry and the workers of Canada.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it sounds as though he is reading a script that he no longer believes in.

Even the Pentagon has balked at the production costs for this plane.

Yesterday, we discovered that their selection process was bungled. They did not even take the time to study other options. Their choice is irresponsible, an insult to taxpayers and our soldiers.

Why are they so afraid to launch a competitive bidding process?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have no script. The hon. member is reading a script from the office of the Leader of the Opposition, but we do not have a script. We have passion: passion for Canada, passion for jobs and passion for the aerospace industry.

They laugh on the other side of the House but I can tell them the Pratt & Whitney worker is not laughing. The worker in Winnipeg in the aerospace sector is not laughing. The worker in Delta, B.C. is not laughing. They know they only have one choice on who is going to defend the interests of aerospace workers and the interests of the Canadian military and that is this government, the members on this side of the House.

TaxationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, while he worked for Crédit Suisse, the member for North Vancouver approved the transfer of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Switzerland for a couple that was allegedly trying to hide money from Revenue Canada. This very serious information can be found in documents submitted to the Federal Court.

Will the Prime Minister relieve the member of his responsibilities as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board until the proceedings are completed?