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House of Commons Hansard #23 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, a recent survey shows that 71% of Quebeckers feel duped by this addition of seats because the change offers nothing to ensure that Quebec's political weight will not be diminished.

How can a government that says it is listening to the concerns of the Quebec nation then move forward with a bill that aims to reduce the political weight of the Quebec nation in the federal parliament?

Democratic ReformOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, my colleague undoubtedly knows Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, the former speaker of the National Assembly, who fought for fair democratic reform. I would like to paraphrase his words.

Mr. Charbonneau said that, as a democrat, he could not oppose the fact that English Canada wants representation based on relative population sizes. His fight for democratic reform in Quebec was based on this principle, and if that principle was logical for Quebec, it is for English Canada as well.

What does the Bloc think? That comes from head office.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has announced that, no matter what the unemployment rate is, the transitional measures that apply to the regions in eastern Quebec will be gradually eliminated and will disappear altogether in April 2012, no matter what.

How can the government recognize that the current situation is problematic and that transitional measures need to be renewed, and on the other hand, announce the end of these measures, no matter what the state of the labour market in April 2012?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, a few days ago the Bloc members absolutely insisted that we renew the transitional measures. I replied to the Bloc Québécois that some government ministers are also from Quebec and we were analyzing this matter very carefully.

I am pleased to inform the House that we confirmed Friday that the transitional employment insurance measures, which will be good for the regions, will be available in Madawaska—Charlotte, as well as the Lower St. Lawrence and North Shore regions of Quebec.

FisheriesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced a 63% cut in snow crab quotas for area 12 for 2010. This decision jeopardizes hundreds of jobs in the Gaspé and Îles-de-la-Madeleine, and it creates serious uncertainty for many families who depend on this industry.

Will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans undertake to develop an emergency assistance plan to alleviate the stress these families are suffering?

FisheriesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, we certainly sympathize with those who were impacted by the reduction in the snow crab quota. I can assure the House that this decision was not arrived at easily. We took into consideration scientific advice and the information we received from the harvesters.

Ultimately, conservation must remain our top priority and we will work with the stakeholders on policy flexibility to help reduce the cost to them.

LobbyingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the former chair of the Conservative caucus, Rahim Jaffer, has been busy. This time it is lobbying. He advertised his connections and his ability to influence his former colleagues. But there is a thing called the Lobbying Act. It is a law. He broke that law. And he did so, all the while bragging about and peddling the influence he had with his Conservative friends and colleagues.

Why do our laws apply to everyone except Conservatives?

LobbyingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in Canada, we are all equal under the law. If the member opposite has any evidence that someone has broken the law, she should raise it with the relevant authorities.

LobbyingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, when one is advertising his lobbying efforts, it is suggested he should register under the Lobbying Act.

He was in fact the chair of the Conservative caucus. Contrary to other suggestions about non-influence, he was hand-picked for that position by none other than the Prime Minister himself. So much for no influence. And he used this influence to benefit his company, Green Power Generation Corporation, which in turn claimed the ability to influence government investment of over $3 billion.

How much does the Conservative government stand behind its own laws when its own are allowed to break them?

LobbyingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Liberals do not want to allow any independent authority to look at anything because they can make the allegations and then determine guilt or innocence.

If the member opposite has any concerns that anyone has broken the law, I would encourage her to raise them with the relevant authorities.

Government GrantsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, in January, the son-in-law of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans landed a lucrative government grant, up to $20 million. But the minister failed to publicly disclose the relationship to Canadian taxpayers.

The Conflict of Interest Act requires ministers to formally recuse themselves of any decision that would benefit their family. The minister did not.

Why did the minister knowingly violate the act?

Government GrantsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, upon being elected in 2008, I did disclose to the ethics commissioner my relationship with the CEO of the Wind Energy Institute of Canada, which is the organization that received the funding.

I have followed the advice of the commissioner. The allegations in the media are baseless and they are unfounded.

Government GrantsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker—

Government GrantsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member has the floor.

Government GrantsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister claims that she was not involved in her son-in-law's wind power generation project, but on January 15, the CBC reported that the minister was pressuring her cabinet colleagues, especially the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, to allocate funding for wind power generation projects in her province.

When will the minister comply with the Conflict of Interest Act and recuse herself from this file?

Government GrantsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should get his facts straight and go and watch that story again. That was the story about a cable to bring energy to Prince Edward Island, and it is something that the Prince Edward Island government was requesting.

HaitiOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were among the most generous in the world when it came to donating to Haiti. Social groups, school children, churches and individual Canadians from coast to coast to coast all worked to raise money for Haiti.

The minister announced the government would match the donations of Canadians, and our government has committed $220 million to do just that.

I know the minister was in Haiti last week to witness the devastation and to meet with Haitian leaders on the next steps to recovery.

Would the minister update this House on what is being done?

HaitiOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, indeed, the generosity of Canadians has been unparalleled. As he said, I witnessed first-hand the difference we are making in Haiti after the earthquake. I saw work being done by organizations with the original support from the government plus $220 million received directly by these organizations.

Last week, I announced $65 million for that support, the first tranche of the matching funds to go forward to support Haiti.

AfghanistanOral Questions

April 12th, 2010 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday The Globe and Mail reported that the government was aware of the activities of the former governor of Kandahar, Asadullah Khalid, and his gang of torturers called brigade 888, regarded as trusted allies. Brigade 888 reportedly received $12,000 a month from Canada's Joint Provincial Co-ordination Centre and it is alleged that Canadian Forces were even asked to hand out the money.

These allegations come as close to complicity as it gets. Can the Minister of National Defence tell us who made the decision that Canada would act as paymasters for torturers in Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member likes to believe every single solitary word he reads in The Globe and Mail, but let me quote from that same article. It says:

However, Canadian soldiers who served at the JPCC said they were unaware of any payments...

It goes on to quote a Canadian officer who says, “We never paid those guys”. Why would he not take the word of a Canadian soldier on this matter instead of a journalist?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, of course, another officer said that they were handing out guns and money. Warnings about Mr. Khalid have been around for some time.

Richard Colvin testified that Mr. Khalid had a criminal gang and a dungeon where he tortured people. When the President of Afghanistan raised concerns about the governor, Canada defended him. The government knew he was trouble. Even the Minister of Foreign Affairs wanted him gone, yet we had military leaders supporting him.

What was going on? Can the Minister of National Defence explain why this should not be the subject of a public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, again, there are so many inaccuracies in that question that I do not know where to begin. What I can tell him is that I just returned from Afghanistan. There I saw the incredible work of dedicated men and women in uniform as well as officials from CIDA and the Department of Foreign Affairs doing incredible things to help the people of Afghanistan.

Are we handing out money? No, we are paying Afghans to do important work to improve the infrastructure of their own country. I saw it first-hand. Why does the hon. member not dig a little deeper into these facts before he comes into this chamber and starts disparaging the good work of the Canadian Forces?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to two soldiers who testified before the Military Police Complaints Commission, military police in Afghanistan are not given specific training on the provisions of the Geneva convention applicable to the treatment of prisoners.

How can the government claim that it respects the Geneva convention when it is not even able to ensure that military police have adequate knowledge of the convention's obligations?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, this is another allegation that is completely false. I have here a quote from Brigadier General Denis Thompson.

This is what Mr. Thompson had to say about this subject matter:

...what we train on is the third Geneva convention. We make sure we handle all detainees in accordance with the regulations that are laid out there...

This is from a senior member of the Canadian Forces, a commander leading the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan during the period in question. Why will the hon. member not take the word of the hard-working, dedicated, professional leadership of the Canadian Forces instead of a journalist?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about what journalists are saying, we are referring to the testimony of soldiers before the commission. The minister must understand this. He told my colleague that we must believe them. We listened and are reporting their concerns in this place.

In addition to inadequate training, the military police do not even have sufficient resources to investigate the allegations of torture of Afghan detainees. Consequently, when investigations are initiated, they take months and it becomes increasingly difficult to substantiate the allegations of torture.

Does the lack of resources and training not prove that, once again, at the political level, every effort is made, as the minister just did—