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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-12.

Topics

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the announcement made by the Minister of Finance today is precisely because many Canadians do not have a company pension plan. It is to allow changes at both the federal and provincial levels to make the creation of a wider variety of vehicles possible.

As for the Canada pension plan, I think all are agreed that while we will continue to look at improvements, now is not the time for CPP premium increases.

Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, it may be the last time in 2010, so let me take the opportunity to wish you and all members of the House a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Joyeuses fêtes et bonne année.

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, 720 days ago the Conservatives promised to reform pensions within 90 days. Some 365 days ago the finance minister told his provincial counterparts he would get right on it.

Today's announcement is that their plan is to encourage other people to get a plan.

How can the government find the money for over 9,000 signs, find $130 million for partisan advertising, find $12 million more for the cabinet and the PMO, but cannot find the resources to fix pensions?

PensionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, during our consultations with Canadians, and that is something I would like to stress, that we actually consulted with Canadians on what they needed, what they wanted and what their wishes were. Millions of Canadians may now, under this process, have access to a private sector pension plan that they did not have before.

The pooled registered pension plans would increase access to pension plans to many, many Canadians. The proposed plan would help self-employed, would allow small businesses to team up and pool their resources. That is what Canadians want.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the failure and incompetence of the Conservative government is becoming legendary. One of the worst is how it is failing our veterans. It skims money from surviving family members of Agent Orange victims. It fired the last veterans ombudsman for standing up for veterans' rights. Returning war heroes have to use food banks and charities. Yet the Minister of Finance can overspend his own budget by almost half a million dollars, and the Prime Minister's Office gets millions more.

When can Canada's military heroes, our veterans, expect to get some respect from the Conservatives?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am rather surprised by the hon. member's comments when we are the ones correcting their mistakes.

I want to remind the hon. member that when the new veterans charter came into effect, a number of people were not entitled to the permanent monthly allowance because of an error, a gap that they had introduced in their bill. This government is in the process of rectifying the situation. Soon, 3,500 people will benefit from that. It is this government that has just provided an additional $2 billion for veterans.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government loves to try to use victims to get votes, but underneath the rhetoric, there is nothing but cuts and efforts to recreate California's disastrous prison system.

The Conservatives slashed 41% from the victims of crime initiative, cut more than 70% from crime prevention efforts that stop victimization before it happens, and refuse to lift a finger to get answers on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Why do Conservatives have $1 billion for a weekend of G8 blowouts, but have nothing but cuts and empty speeches for victims?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I find it remarkable that that individual would stand in the House and pretend to talk about victims, pretend to express an interest in victims when his consistent pattern of protection has been in respect of criminals and how to ensure that criminals can get out on the street as quickly as possible.

That individual, as can all Canadians, should examine his voting record, compare it against the record of this government and they will see that it is our government that stands for victims.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Here is the difference, Mr. Speaker. I do not pretend; I actually base what I do on the facts.

I take a look at what people like the former ombudsman, Steve Sullivan, had to say about the government. Steve Sullivan said that its plan on crime did nothing for victims, “That it was unbalanced, that it would not work”.

Yet the government continues to pursue an agenda that has failed in California. It has failed in every jurisdiction in which it has been tried. It sucks money from health care, from education, from every priority.

Yet when the minister talks about things like pardons, something that he said the Conservatives would fix four years ago, something that they have been sitting on for four years, it is all talk and no action.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has had quite an agenda this fall. The Liberals started off by wanting a crackdown on people who do not fill out the census. The next week they wanted to decriminalize marijuana. Then they pleaded that they had an aversion to the short titles of bills. Finally, they said their solution to violent crime was to call a public inquiry.

How about this as a novel idea for them: How about putting violent criminals who victimize innocent Canadians behind bars for a change? How about that suggestion?

Access to InformationOral Questions

December 16th, 2010 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, after Sébastien Togneri, two other members of the Minister of Natural Resources' political staff when he was the Minister of Public Works tried to prevent the release of documents requested under the Access to Information Act.

Will the Minister of Natural Resources admit that the Togneri incident was not an isolated one and, in fact, this was an actual system that he put in place within his department to violate the Access to Information Act?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Access to Information Act is very clear. All ministerial aides and all public servants, no matter where they work, are expected to comply with the law. The case of the former minister is before an independent commissioner and we are waiting for the report.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the minister, the dismissal of Mr. Togneri resolved the issue of the obstruction of the Access to Information Act. However, such is not the case. The fact that his political staff made at least two other attempts to get around the act constitutes evidence that there was an actual system in place.

Will the Minister of Natural Resources abide by his own definition of ministerial responsibility and resign?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the aide tendered his resignation, which the minister accepted. Everyone, even public servants and political aides, is responsible for abiding by the act. That is the real position of this government.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been hiding the Deloitte and Touche report for months. This report has finally been turned over to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. The Bloc Québécois demands that it be officially made public to shed light on the Conservatives' ideological hijacking of Rights & Democracy.

If the Prime Minister has nothing to hide, will he demand that his members allow the Deloitte and Touche report on Rights & Democracy to be released?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, because Rights & Democracy is an arm's length organization, such decisions are made by the board and the president. At its most recent meeting, the board decided to make this information available. My parliamentary assistant has urged the committee leaders and members to release this report, and that will be done at the earliest opportunity.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is stubbornly refusing to commit to officially releasing the report on Rights & Democracy. That is probably why the Conservative chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development unilaterally cancelled the committee meeting scheduled for this afternoon, without giving any reason for his decision. The committee had decided to meet even though the House was to adjourn.

What is the government trying to hide?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I was approached this morning by members of the foreign affairs committee and consulted on future meetings. I asked what was the motion that governed those meetings. I was told the following. This is the motion:

That, in the event of an adjournment of the House prior to the meeting scheduled at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 16, 2010, officials from Rights & Democracy be asked to appear from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. instead, subject to their availability.

I was told they were not available. I further advised the members that the House is adjourning at 3 p.m. today and all committees will cease operations.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, in October, the Minister of Natural Resources avoided having to resign by passing the buck to Sébastien Togneri. We now know that his office had a system for obstructing access to information requests. There are two possibilities: either he was aware of it and he should resign immediately, or it was done behind his back and he is incompetent, and therefore he must be held responsible and resign immediately.

Did he know what was going on, yes or no?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Access to Information Act is very clear. Every official and political assistant is required to comply with the law. That is the government's policy. The minister has handed over the file to an independent commissioner, who works for the House of Commons. She will study the facts and we are waiting for her report.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, not one, not two, but three of the minister's top staffers took part in this illegal information suppression scheme. The minister pretended he had no idea what was going on. That is possible if only one staffer were involved, but there were three, if not more. This has the smell of a cover-up.

How bad does it have to get for the Prime Minister to act? Just what is it going to take for the Prime Minister to fire that minister?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister has been very clear. At no time was this assistant acting on instructions.

There is a policy. There is a law. The Access to Information Act is an important one. It was this government, as a matter of first priority, that sought to expand the access to information laws of this country.

We especially wanted to expand it to the Canadian Wheat Board. However, the Liberal Party fought the efforts to bring a little light where there was darkness every step of the way. Thank goodness Parliament did the right thing and expanded the access to information law.

Standing Committee on Procedure and House AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the hearings of the procedure and House affairs committee on the leak of the draft report, the chair has repeatedly ruled out of order all questions related to the business activities of Russell Ullyatt, the former staffer of the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, and there is a concern that Mr. Ullyatt was using House of Commons office space and resources to subsidize his private business interests.

Will the chair of the procedure and House affairs committee inform the House whether the upcoming agenda of the committee will allow for questions related to Mr. Ullyatt's business to be asked without interruption?

Standing Committee on Procedure and House AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is always special to get a question.

The procedure and House affairs committee has always worked in a very collegial manner and been able to study what has been given to it by the House. The Speaker has given us no option but to look at a breach of privilege, and that is exactly what we have been doing.

Certainly there have been a lot of fishing missions by some of the other members of the committee. What we need to look for is why there was a breach of privilege and how a secret document got out. That is what the committee has been looking at and it will continue to do so.

Standing Committee on Procedure and House AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, something is not adding up.

The Conservative chair of the committee is going to extraordinary lengths to shut down inquiries into whether or not Mr. Ullyatt was running a private business out of the office of the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar.

That member is now under the supervision and watchful eye of the government House leader who escorted her to the committee meeting today.

There is a serious allegation of potential fraud being conducted out of the member's office. Will the government be calling in the RCMP to investigate?

Standing Committee on Procedure and House AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite would like us to call in the RCMP whenever we have things we are concerned about, we are always prepared to look at that, let me assure the member of that.

If the member opposite has any information that might assist the Liberal chair of the Board of Internal Economy, I would encourage her to provide it.

As for the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, this member has acted in a highly ethical fashion. She acted decisively. She does a fantastic job for her riding, for Saskatchewan and for Canada, and we are very proud to have her as a member of this team.