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House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

National Liberal Women's CommissionStatements By Members

April 19th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the National Liberal Women's Commission is in Ottawa for a day on the Hill, meeting with Liberal MPs and senators. The Liberal Party believes it is absolutely critical to involve more women in the political process and encourage more women to run for elected office.

Its visit to Ottawa is timely as this past Saturday Canadians celebrated the 25th anniversary of the enactment of section 15 of the charter, which states:

Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

It was the women of Canada who fought to have their rights enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was not until the women of our country marched on Ottawa and demanded their inclusion that this section 15 became a reality. Since then, organizations like the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund have led the way in the fight for equality, though we have much more to do.

I welcome our Liberal Women's Commission to Ottawa and encourage it to be the next—

National Liberal Women's CommissionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Saint Boniface.

Victims of CrimeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I dedicate my statement today to the family of murder victim Paul William Cherewick, who was also once my neighbour.

Today the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice launched the fifth annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week symposium. Our government's commitment to ensuring that victims have a stronger voice in the criminal justice system remains a cornerstone of our justice agenda.

In 2007 our government created the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime to serve as an independent resource for victims in Canada. In that same year our government committed $52 million over four years for a package of programs, services and funding to help the federal government and the provinces and territories respond to a variety of needs of victims of crime.

Budget 2010 provided additional funding of $6.6 million over two years.

We are all encouraged to further explore new ways to reach out to victims of crime and, in the spirit of the theme of this week, to let them know that every victim matters.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak today about hunger and starvation in the developing world and how Canada could help.

Many say that the world grows more than enough food for everyone. Why then do almost one billion people still face hunger today?

Many of Canada's current aid and trade policies support replacing small scale local farming abroad for chemically dependent industrial agriculture centred on exports. We are adding to the problem. Especially bad is the conversion of food crops to agrofuels and the promotion of patented genetically modified crops that prevent poor farmers from saving their own seeds.

This leads to situations like 2008, when market speculation drove food prices up and when countries that could no longer afford to feed themselves suffered food riots and hunger.

Our development and trade policies need to support the food sovereignty and security of developing countries instead of dismantling local sustainable farming.

Victims of CrimeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, an opportunity to remember that every victim counts.

Our Conservative government has always made it a top priority to protect law-abiding Quebeckers and Canadians. We created the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims Of Crime, we passed the Tackling Violent Crime Act, we introduced a bill to get tough on violent and repeat young offenders and, as announced in the Speech from the Throne, we will introduce more bills to strengthen victims' rights.

That being said, I would be remiss if I did not mention a sad anniversary. Nearly a year ago, the Bloc Québécois voted against Bill C-268, a bill to end trafficking in children. That was completely unacceptable.

Despite the Bloc's opposition to our justice and crime initiatives, our government is making sure that victims' rights take precedence over those of criminals.

EqualizationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Beauce claims that Quebeckers are a bunch of spoiled children who are never satisfied and always ask for more. He also said they have built a system of economic dependence that has become more and more elaborate.

This is a clear demonstration of misunderstanding and contempt. Despite being shackled by Canada's chains, Quebec has successfully developed an economic and social model all its own, and with only half of the resources it should have available.

As a token Quebecker in Ottawa, the hon. member must realize that, if not for the fiscal imbalance, which the federal government like to maintain, there would be no economic dependence.

It is precisely this dependence—which the member for Beauce alluded to—that the Bloc Québécois wants to correct, not only through its bill to eliminate the so-called federal spending power, but ultimately by achieving Quebec's independence. That is the only way Quebec can achieve its social and economic goals.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week is Canada's National Volunteer Week and I wish to underline the importance of volunteers to our country.

The work of volunteers often goes unnoticed, but some of our most valued institutions run on volunteer work. Thousands of volunteers work every weekend without pay to ensure that things like hockey and soccer happen for our kids. Without volunteers, many children simply would not have access to community sports and activities.

Consider the Olympic Games: while our athletes proudly represented us in competition and in the media, it was the thousands of volunteers working behind the scenes who made this major sporting event possible. The Olympic Games could not have happened without them.

Volunteers work in more than just sports. They work in hospitals from coast to coast to coast, in schools, in political parties and in grassroots clubs.

This week gives us an opportunity to highlight the invaluable contributions these people make to their communities.

Volunteers make our communities—

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Portage—Lisgar.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, today, the Liberal leader has come out against an attempt to scrap the long gun registry by promising to whip the Liberal vote on Bill C-391. He has a problem, however, because eight of his rural MPs have already voted to support my bill, which would end this Liberal boondoggle. They include MPs like the Liberal member for Labrador, who said, “I will vote subsequently to scrap the long gun registry”.

The choice is clear for these Liberal MPs. They will either vote to end the long gun registry or vote to keep the long gun registry. It is that simple. Those eight Liberal MPs must tell the House and their constituents if they will bow to their leader and his hopes for political gain on the issue of the long gun registry or listen to their constituents and stand up for their interests and the interests of all law-abiding Canadians.

It is time to end the long gun registry. Last November, eight Liberal MPs agreed with me on that. I hope they have not changed their minds. Their voters deserve better.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Jaffer was arrested in September 2009, more than seven months ago. The Prime Minister did not call in his minister and ask her about her involvement in Mr. Jaffer's tangled affairs, nor of her possible involvement in some of the criminal charges. He defended her in public for seven months after she made mistake after mistake after mistake.

How can the government possibly justify the Prime Minister's error of judgment in this matter?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, some 10 days ago serious allegations were brought to the Prime Minister's attention, and I should be very clear that these allegations had nothing to do with government business. He did the right thing. He referred the matter to the relevant authorities and we will leave it in their capable hands.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the allegations did not surface 10 days ago. They were perfectly available seven months ago. That is the issue.

When the Prime Minister gets information he likes, he calls it credible. When he gets information he does not like, he attacks the witness. When he gets information from a private detective, he listens. When he gets credible information from Richard Colvin, a reputable diplomat, he attacks the witness.

How can we trust the Prime Minister's judgment when he puts his political interests ahead of the public interest in every--

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Transport.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we can look at the Prime Minister's judgment. Look at what he did upon first taking office. He immediately brought in the Federal Accountability Act, the toughest anti-corruption legislation in Canadian history.

Time and time and time again, the Liberal Party violated the public trust. It had to write cheques back to the taxpayers for millions of dollars because it was stolen money.

The Prime Minister has banned big money in politics. The Prime Minister has brought a significant increase in ethical standards to Parliament, and 10 days ago, the Prime Minister did the right thing once again.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the issue is whether the government conforms to its own legislation. That is the issue.

The Prime Minister has said that the information he received from some shady detective is believable, yet he has rejected testimony from Mr. Colvin, who is an eminently credible witness.

How can Canadians trust the Prime Minister's judgment when he allows himself to be guided by partisanship rather than respect for the facts?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, when serious allegations arose about a former member of his ministry, did the ethical thing. He did the right thing. He did not accept the information. He referred the entire matter to an independent authority so that it could make a determination of what to do with it.

That showed a high ethical standard. The Prime Minister did the right thing.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister has not even disclosed what those allegations are. We are still under a veil of secrecy here.

The parliamentary secretary for infrastructure received three proposals from Rahim Jaffer at a meeting he failed to disclose with the former Conservative caucus chair turned unregistered lobbyist. The first involved biomass technology, the technology Mr. Jaffer represented and his wife, then a cabinet minister, was pushing. Another proposal was for solar power, a technology we now learn that Mr. Jaffer's business partner, Mr. Gillani, is linked to through Solterra Corporation.

Will the government turn over these proposals and disclose any other illicit lobbying?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite has any allegations he would like to make and any evidence he would like to put forward with respect to the Lobbyists Registration Act, and the very first thing that this government did upon taking office was bring in an independent Commissioner of Lobbying, he should forward the matter to the independent commissioner, who works for this House, not this government.

That is the high ethical standard that this Prime Minister has always followed.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, a high ethical standard is not leaving it to the opposition to look into this matter. It is the role and responsibility of the government to do exactly that.

Allegations that the immediate past Conservative caucus chair was using government resources, including the office of a minister, his wife, to promote personal business interests for profit must be cleared.

Could the Minister of Industry confirm that his staff also received emails sent from Mr. Jaffer using an email account that belonged to the member for Simcoe—Grey?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again, our colleague in the Liberal Party is undertaking a fishing expedition.

If he has any allegations with respect to any inappropriate contact, he should forward them to the relevant authority, to the independent lobbying commissioner that this House established, that this Prime Minister established.

If he has allegations about the misappropriation or misuse of funds in a member of Parliament's office, he should speak to the chairman of the Board of Internal Economy, and in fact, Mr. Speaker, that would be you.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the matter involving the former status of women minister and her husband, Rahim Jaffer, new allegations surface daily. First came rumours of prostitutes and cocaine use, influence peddling and tax havens. Now there are new revelations from the private detective who provided the information in the first place. This government wants everyone to think it is so tough on crime, but in fact, it is criminally incompetent.

Is it not time for the Prime Minister to disclose what he knows?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, a week and a half ago, the Prime Minister was made aware of serious allegations that he promptly referred to the appropriate authorities. The RCMP is working on the matter and will come to its own conclusions. Let me make it very clear that these allegations in no way affect the business of government.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, no, they only affect a former minister. How does that make sense?

The Prime Minister is refusing to do anything about the Afghan detainees issue because he claims that it boils down to allegations made by a couple of diplomats. In the matter involving the former minister for the status of women, the Prime Minister acted quickly in response to allegations from a private detective who collects tanks and bazookas. That is very serious.

Will the Prime Minister finally disclose the substance of the allegations that prompted him to act so quickly, as he did not do in the Afghan detainees file?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, a week and a half ago, the Prime Minister was made aware of serious allegations that he promptly referred to the appropriate authorities. The RCMP is working on the matter. The allegations have nothing to do with any other member, senator or government employee.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former status of women minister allegedly met with Nazim Gillani, the business partner of her husband, Rahim Jaffer. Mr. Gillani has a shady past and runs an escort agency in Toronto. The simple act of socializing with the owner of an escort agency shows a lack of judgment on the part of the former minister, who had responsibilities for the status of women, I must add, and this justifies her dismissal.

Now the question remains: what were the other reasons that pushed the Prime Minister to call the RCMP?