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House of Commons Hansard #2 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was economy.

Topics

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister shut down Parliament for one simple reason: to avoid difficult questions. He refuses to release uncensored documents and information.

The Conservatives are being underhanded and are hiding behind poor excuses in order keep the truth from Canadians. They refuse to respect the will of Parliament.

Will he deliver uncensored documents so that Canadians can get the truth they need and deserve?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, rules for the publication of documents have been established by law. Government lawyers are the ones who make these types of decisions. They have released tens of thousands of pages of documents.

It is clear that the Canadian Forces have conducted themselves extraordinarily in all circumstances.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, while this House was arbitrarily shut down by the Prime Minister, further information came to light to discredit the government's claims about detainee abuse.

In May 2007 the Judge Advocate General, the top legal adviser to our military, warned senior officials in the defence department that it was a crime to ignore claims of prisoner abuse and to not take necessary measures to prevent future abuse. The JAG clearly knew of the allegations of torture.

Why does the government continue to claim that it knew nothing about the abuse and torture of Afghan detainees?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will note, of course, that on the date in question there was a new transfer agreement in place. This government concluded a new transfer agreement three years ago. It is ironic that the Liberal Party, which was in Afghanistan for four years before we came to office, now questions the transfer arrangements that it had established.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are clearly cases that have come to light even after that new agreement the Prime Minister talked about.

The JAG's memo actually confirms Richard Colvin's evidence. In his letter of December 16, 2009, Colvin refuted the government's denials of knowledge of torture or of the warnings of their own officials. The JAG, Richard Colvin, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Canada's own human rights reports all acknowledge the existence of torture.

When will the government stop the obstruction, be open with Canadians, do right by our troops and call a public inquiry?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Again, Mr. Speaker, there has been a new transfer agreement in place for three years which addresses all of the issues that the member alludes to.

Not only am I not aware of any complaints about this transfer agreement, but in fact, this issue has already been to court and the government's position has been upheld.

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne made it obvious that the government did not recalibrate a thing during prorogation. It is clearer than ever that the Conservative vision is out of step with Quebeckers' values and priorities. The government used the speech to reiterate its plan to create a Canada-wide securities commission. It also indicated that it wants to eliminate the gun registry and reminded us that it intends to reduce Quebec's political weight in the House of Commons.

How can the Prime Minister have the gall to say that he is defending the interests of the Quebec nation when all of his political choices are bad for Quebec?

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Canadian securities commission, each province can decide whether it wants to participate.

I have personally talked to Quebeckers who want this commission because they want protection from white-collar criminals. Quebec investors were very clear about wanting this commission, but it is up to the province to decide whether to participate.

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just proved that he has not spoken to very many Quebeckers. Had he travelled around Quebec, that is not the message he would have heard.

In Copenhagen, the Conservative government spoke with a single voice on behalf of Canada, but not on behalf of Quebec. It did the same thing with the throne speech, in which it promised next to nothing for the fight against climate change.

In his speech, the Prime Minister claimed to be a leader when it comes to environmental issues. He certainly deserves an Oscar for creativity, but will he admit that, in reality, he answers to the oil companies and the nuclear industry?

Speech from the ThroneOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have talked to Quebec investors and I encourage the Bloc Québécois leader to do the same. Their perspective is not at all like the Bloc's.

But that is not all. The Bloc leader says that Canada's voice is not the same as Quebec's, but he is wrong. I was at the winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, where Canada competed and won a record number of gold medals.

Our country is united and proud. Quebeckers are proud of our performance too.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the throne speech confirms the government's interest in developing nuclear energy, something that raises a number of concerns but that will also help the oil industry develop the oil sands.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, by generously subsidizing nuclear energy with Quebeckers' taxes, he is actually subsidizing his oil friends, to the detriment of the environment?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc is aware that nothing could be further from the truth. This government is working across the country to unite Canadians and we will continue to do that in all of these areas.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was talking about nuclear energy, not Canadian unity.

Not only is the development of nuclear energy a poor choice that benefits oil companies, but the additional production of electricity may be exported to the United States and provide undue competition for Hydro-Québec, which has never received a federal subsidy.

Does the Prime Minister realize that not only are his energy choices ill-advised, they go directly against the interests of the Quebec people and the Quebec nation?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, at every point the Bloc members are trying to destroy this country. We need to point out that there is a nuclear industry in their province as well as everywhere else across this country.

This government is working with the Government of Quebec, it is working with governments across this country, it is working with the energy industry and it is working with the nuclear industry to make this country a better country.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite the cynicism of certain politicians, Canadians believe in their democracy, and a few weeks ago hundreds of thousands of them took to the streets to protest because the doors of this House were bolted shut.

Since the throne speech has not really changed the government's direction, does the Prime Minister realize that prorogation was an unnecessary mistake?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I too am happy to see the NDP leader in good health.

It is clear that we consulted the people of Canada. Their priorities are clear. They want to focus on the economy, on the creation of jobs and economic growth, now and for the future. The detailed program in the throne speech reflects these priorities.

I encourage all parliamentarians to support it.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank all the members for their kind expression of support, and all the guys out there should make sure they are getting tested.

Canadians really believe in their democracy. They came out en masse in surprising numbers to oppose the prorogation, a word people could barely pronounce at one time. The government said it needed time to recalibrate. We have seen the Speech from the Throne and there really is no change in direction. It is pretty much the same as what we have seen in the past.

Was the real reason the Prime Minister prorogued to escape the tough questions about torture? Was that the real reason?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, this government consulted widely with Canadians. Their number one priority has been and obviously continues to be the economy, the creation of jobs and economic growth not just now but into the future.

Obviously, Canadians want us to continue our stimulus measures. At the same time they want to see a long-term plan for job creation. They know that has to be done in an era where we will have to reduce the deficit.

The detailed throne speech yesterday respects all of these priorities which we think are the priorities of Canadians. I encourage all parliamentarians to support them.

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Prime Minister's powers of prorogation are old fashioned and out of date. People believe that a prime minister should not have the exclusive power to shut down the House of Commons, especially not to avoid talking about torture. Locking down Parliament is not consistent with Canadian democracy.

Is the Prime Minister ready to change the prorogation rules so that no future government can shirk its responsibilities?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have already answered that question. The power to prorogue exists. For 140 years, it has been used every year by governments for very clear reasons. Last year, the opposition—the NDP leader, the Bloc and the Liberals—tried to change the government without holding an election. That is completely undemocratic, and we will not change a government's power to stand up against such a situation.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

March 4th, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Foreign Affairs concerning Rights & Democracy.

The minister has failed to protect the rights of that organization's employees. At the same time, he profoundly rejected the democratic consensus of this House, expressed by the leaders of the three opposition parties, with respect to the leadership of that organization.

Where are the rights and the democracy within the Conservative Party?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, allow me to first extend my deep condolences to Mr. Beauregard's family. His death is obviously a great loss.

The Government of Canada continues to support Rights & Democracy. The projects they run in countries like Afghanistan and Haiti further Canada's objectives with respect to foreign affairs and policy.

I have met the organization's president, and officials from my department have met with representatives of Rights & Democracy. I want to say that, in appointing Gérard Latulipe, the government has selected a person who meets the job requirements.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that when Mr. Beauregard's reputation was being attacked by members of the board, that minister and the government were silent in his defence. It was a shameful moment. When he asked and begged for assistance, they refused to give it to him.

Those are the facts with respect to the conduct of the Government of Canada and the organization Rights & Democracy. When employees were fired for something called “insubordination”, which means they simply expressed their opinion, the government was silent and allowed it to happen.

Where are rights and democracy for Rights & Democracy?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Rights & Democracy, as we all know, is an arm's length organization that is run by a board of directors and its staff is not part of the public service. I have spoken with the chair and made it clear that returning to governance and stability is the priority that this government, as well as this House, is looking for.

I will meet with the chairman of the board as well as the new president, who, as I mentioned before, possesses all of the competency, skills and toolset to be able to do a good job.

International CooperationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, after 35 years of government support, KAIROS had its funding cut off by the Conservative government. First, the Minister of International Cooperation said KAIROS' programs did not “fit” with Conservative priorities. Then the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism falsely slandered KAIROS as anti-Semitic and said that this was the real reason for its de-funding.

Will the CIDA minister offer a clear explanation for these crippling cuts and will she unequivocally repudiate the remarks of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism?