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House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was products.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, accountability is the Prime Minister's job. The Prime Minister claims he learned of serious allegations involving his troubled former status of women minister only recently, but much was obvious months, even years ago: Mr. Jaffer's inappropriate use of government resources going back to 2008, his use of the Conservative logo featured in a Macleans magazine article last October. And his company improperly lobbied the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities last summer.

Why did the Prime Minister take so long to act and be accountable?

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite really does stretch it.

When serious allegations were brought forward, the Prime Minister acted expeditiously. He acted ethically and he referred the matter to the relevant authorities. If the member opposite has any evidence or any concern going back to 2008, I do not know why she did not take any action back in 2008.

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister acted expeditiously to hide the truth.

The Prime Minister clearly ignored warnings that his minister's husband was involved with unsavoury characters when police found cocaine in a vehicle that she owned. Drug crimes are a serious criminal offence, punishable by years in prison and are linked to murky organized crime operations.

When it became apparent seven months ago that one of his ministers could be compromised by organized crime, did he or did he not order an enhanced security investigation?

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to dignify some of the outrageous comments made by the member for Don Valley East.

Here are the facts. Serious allegations were brought to the Prime Minister's attention. Within a matter of hours, he referred the matter to the relevant authorities, so that they could make a determination. He acted ethically. He acted expeditiously. The Prime Minister did the right thing.

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, Richard Colvin is a diplomat with 20 years of distinguished service to Canada. He remains a high level employee of the government in perhaps our most important foreign mission, the embassy in Washington.

When Mr. Colvin and others raised serious allegations, the government said he was not credible. However, when the Prime Minister got second-hand information from Mr. Gillani, known as Big Daddy G, the government fired the status of women minister, booted her from caucus and, called in the police.

Why the hypocritical double standard?

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Big Daddy G, Mr. Speaker? This coming from Big Daddy E? That is quite outrageous.

I suspect like most members of this place and the member for Malpeque, I had never heard of this individual until last week. Serious allegations were brought to the Prime Minister's attention and what did he do? He immediately referred the matter to the competent authorities. That demonstrates a high ethical standard. That is the right thing to do. The Prime Minister did the right thing.

AfghanistanOral Questions

April 16th, 2010 / 11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Let us look at this double standard a little further.

On the one hand, credible, distinguished public servants, of stellar service to Canada, who bring forward serious allegations against the government are dismissed as not credible. Yet, when evidence comes forward from anonymous sources, possibly connected to the underworld, the Prime Minister accepts their word as gospel and calls in the police.

Why does the government choose to believe Big Daddy G but calls Richard Colvin a liar? Why?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we all enjoy the member's rhetoric on a Friday morning in Ottawa, but the simple fact is when allegations are brought forward under any file, whether it is national defence or other files, when allegations are brought forward, they are investigated thoroughly, and they are forwarded to the appropriate authorities. Appropriate action is taken.

That is what a government that is grounded in ethics, is grounded in what is right for Canada, is grounded in what is right for Canadian soldiers, is grounded in what is right for Canadian citizen, does and that is why we are the Government of Canada.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to testimony at the Military Police Complaints Commission, the main concern of Canadian troops was avoiding another incident like the one in Somalia, where detainees had been mistreated by Canadian soldiers. That explains why the government was so quick to hand over the Afghan detainees.

Is that not the government's strategy, namely to hand over detainees as quickly as possible regardless of whether or not they will be tortured?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government and certainly the Canadian Forces take their international obligations under the law and the Geneva conventions extremely seriously. Whenever credible allegations have come forward, they have been investigated. They are currently being investigated by the Military Police Complaints Commission. Justice Iacobucci is looking at documentation. They have been reviewed by several levels of court. They have been reviewed by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service. They have been reviewed by the RCMP. They have been reviewed by Canadian Forces boards of inquiry.

Let us give credit for work previously done and let us let new work to be completed.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian troops have used the Afghan security services to get admissions from detainees. Canada does not practice torture; it contracts it out. That was confirmed by a military report from October 2007.

In this context, will the government acknowledge that Canadian troops are acting as the judge in their own case and that only a public, independent inquiry will help shed light on this affair?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, no such confirmation was ever made. The member opposite is making that up.

The Canadian soldiers, the Canadian military, the diplomats, and everybody involved with the mission in Afghanistan take their obligations under international law and the Geneva conventions extremely seriously.

We have put a lot of trust and a lot of faith in people like the Chief of the Defence Staff. We have put a lot of faith in every member of the Canadian Forces on down, unlike some of the members opposite who tend to agree and want to agree with people who bring forth outrageous allegations against those members, from private to four-star general.

We find that a little outrageous and we are going to stand behind our troops all the way.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the new president of Rights & Democracy confirmed that since the arrival of Jacques Gauthier, the government's henchman supposedly appointed to clean house, outside contracts rose to $400,000 and were not tendered.

How can the government tolerate public money being used to fund attacks intended to discredit the previous administration and justify the Conservative government taking control of Rights & Democracy?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member that Rights & Democracy is an independent organization. The government has never been and is not involved in its day-to-day activities. The man responsible for its operations, Mr. Latulippe, appeared before the parliamentary committee yesterday. All questions that members wanted to ask or could have asked were put to him and he answered them. That is his job and part of his duties.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, reiterating the Minister of Foreign Affairs's statement, the new president of Rights & Democracy, Gérard Latulippe, claims that the organization is independent. However, at the same time, he confirmed that Rights & Democracy must align itself with the Conservative government's foreign policy.

How can they say, on the one hand, that it is an independent organization and, on the other hand, that the organization's mandate is subordinate to the pro-Israel policies of the Conservative government?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again, I invite my colleague to read, not just glance at, but read the act. He will discover that section 13(3) of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development Act states that the board must have knowledge of Canadian foreign policy. It is right in the act.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the ongoing hearings at the Military Police Complaints Commission defy the very principles of our justice system. Witnesses who testify have full knowledge of what is contained in documents but cannot disclose the censored portions to prove their testimony. The government and its lawyers, who have full access to uncensored documents, claim witnesses' testimony lacks proof. How convenient. Meanwhile, members of parliament, Canadians, and even the commission chair are barred from seeing the full documents.

How can the Conservatives justify this flagrant abuse of our justice system? How could such a process ever be a proper vetting of the facts?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the facts have been vetted many times by many different organizations. They are being vetted now by the Military Police Complaints Commission. They are being vetted by Justice Iacobucci. The Chief of the Defence Staff has said as recently as yesterday, I think, that obviously all new allegations will be examined carefully, just as they have been examined in the past. The CDS takes his responsibility seriously, the Canadian Forces as a whole take their responsibility seriously, and so do we.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the chair of the commission, the man who is to decide if there was neglect, if there were mistakes, if any Canadian officials may have been complicit in wrongdoing, has absolutely no access to uncensored documents. Have we ever heard of a court where the judge cannot see the evidence?

Meanwhile, government lawyers are free to review them and claim whatever is blacked out is simply unimportant. This is no way to get to the truth. But the truth, of course, is something the current government has proven unwilling to disclose.

When will the current government do what is right, do what is just, and call a public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that three years ago this government replaced a flawed transfer arrangement that was put into place by the previous government in 2005. It updated the procedures. We have been working very steadily with our allies in Afghanistan.

Are things perfect in Afghanistan? Clearly, they are not. That is why we are there. That is why we are working with the Afghan authorities to raise their level of competence, to raise everybody's level, so they can be confident that, in fact, justice has been done in the past and will be done in the future.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, new revelations about torture in Afghan prisons are all pointing in the same direction.

Richard Colvin, Cory Anderson, Nicholas Gosselin, military police officers and the interpreters who accompany our troops on the ground—all of these people, under oath, have clearly said that abuse was common, that the government was aware and that it willingly turned a blind eye.

The Prime Minister is responsible, but he would rather blame Canadian troops.

When will we see the public inquiry that Canadians are calling for?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what is loco here is the Liberals' continued blind acceptance of allegations as fact and, by extension, defaming the Canadian Forces.

The simple fact is the Canadian Forces, the CDS, at all levels, have taken into account all of the information available, including some of the information that the member refers to. That is what a competent authority does. It looks at all the evidence, analyzes all the facts, and takes the appropriate action. That is what the Canadian Forces have done to this date. I am sure that is what they are going to continue to do in the future.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, when Mr. Gillani, a fraudster and known criminal, made allegations against a minister, the Prime Minister called the police.

When Richard Colvin, a career diplomat who has served our country for over 20 years, brought forward evidence of torture in Afghan prisons and of the wilful blindness of the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister attacked him.

Why believe a criminal but attack the reputation of a distinguished Canadian diplomat?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, apparently the trial has already been conducted and people are being deemed guilty or innocent. I thought we had a judicial process for that. I thought we had an inquiry process, whether it is with the RCMP, the Ethics Commissioner, the Military Police Complaints Commission, the Supreme Court of Canada, or the board of inquiry from the Canadian Forces. There are any number of investigations that have gone on, that are currently ongoing. Let us let them run their course.

Credit and Debit Card IndustryOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, small businesses in my riding are concerned about the practices of credit card companies.

Small businesses, including those in London, are just looking for fairness. They want the freedom to choose which card networks they use so that they control their costs and pass the savings on to their customers. Having competitive businesses keeps and creates jobs.

My observation in this House is that the Conservatives are the only ones talking about what matters to those job creators in London and across Canada, and that is the economy.

Would the parliamentary secretary please inform the House about what the government is doing to help small business today?