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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nation.

Topics

Victims of CrimeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is important to acknowledge the fifth annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. Our government has implemented a number of initiatives that put the rights of law-abiding citizens ahead of criminals' rights. Our work is not finished.

In fact, today we will be taking more measures to ensure that, from now on, murderers will actually serve their prison sentences for their heinous crimes. But just yesterday the leader of the Bloc Québécois said that his party has done a lot by adopting a constructive and rigorous attitude when it comes to justice.

We all know that the only thing the Bloc Québécois with its leftist ideology knows how to do is oppose our government's justice and crime initiatives. This is completely unacceptable. We believe that each victim counts. Our government is working to ensure that the rights of law-abiding citizens always come ahead of criminals' rights.

Victoria HarbourStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, for 20 years, Barry Hobbis has operated the Victoria Harbour Ferry. Few are better qualified than him to assess the threat to safety of a proposed mega-marina in Victoria's inner harbour. He sounded the alarm and he is not alone.

Seven thousand Victorians have signed a petition and many attended a harbourfront rally last Saturday, organized by the Save Victoria Harbour citizens group. At the rally, paddlers took to the water and physically mapped out the magnitude of a proposed marina, demonstrating how it would jut out into an already busy, small, active harbour. Adding a parking lot for luxury yachts to the mix invites disaster.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has the power to sink this mega-mistake and we are calling on him to do so.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Kerr Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize National Volunteer Week, a week in appreciation of the millions of Canadians from across the country who volunteer. In fact, 12.5 million Canadians give 2.1 billion hours of their time to volunteer each year. This is equivalent to over one million full-time jobs.

Our government fully recognizes the invaluable contributions volunteers make to our communities and to our country. That is why we are creating a new Prime Minister's award for volunteerism and why we added $10 million to the new horizons for seniors program to support projects that help seniors mentor the next generation.

I want to give a great big thanks to the local volunteers throughout my constituency of West Nova and to the volunteers across the country. I thank them for coaching our sports team, for collecting donations for important causes and for cleaning up our local parks. I thank them for making Canada a better place to live.

École secondaire Pierre-DupuyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we have with us 10 students from Pierre-Dupuy high school in my riding.

As part of a school activity, these young people have traded their books and backpacks for a journalist's pen. They will have an opportunity to visit Parliament Hill, to see the work of members and to gain a better understanding of how our democratic system works.

The 10 novice journalists will then share what they have learned in La plume étudiante, a student newspaper that will be read by their classmates, teachers and parents.

The younger generation has a hunger for knowledge and understanding, and clearly has a keen interest in politics. The student newspaper at Pierre-Dupuy high school is a perfect example of that. The Bloc Québécois would like to welcome these young people and commend them for their initiative.

Juno AwardsStatements By Members

April 20th, 2010 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I had the great opportunity to attend the Juno Awards this weekend in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. It was extraordinary.

I would like to congratulate the winners, the nominees and the artists who participated in this great event. We are all extremely proud of them.

The Juno Awards are a wonderful opportunity to reward the work of our artists, who make Canada so vibrant. That is the case of Michael Bublé, Bryan Adams, Andrea Lindsay, Metric, Alain Lefebvre, Bell Orchestre and many others. Thank you for giving us such a high calibre of music.

I assure the House that I will remember the great performances during the gala and the smiles on the faces of the winners. I will remember the energy at the Mile One Centre and on George Street and, yes, I will remember St. John's Airport which became a second home for a day, but it does not take away the beauty of the province and the warmth of its people.

St. John's is an amazing place to host the Junos. It is an amazing place for music. The Rock rocks.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal leader came out against an attempt to scrap one of the most notorious Liberal billion dollar boondoggles: the wasteful long gun registry. Here is hoping this attempt to control his caucus will not be any more successful than his recent failures.

Eight of his rural MPs voted for the private member's bill that would scrap the wasteful long gun registry. We know the Liberal leader has become accustomed to his caucus voting against him , but we have some advice for him on this one. He should support this bill.

The private member's bill before the House is a good bill, putting an end to the ineffective long gun registry, a legacy of Liberal waste and the criminalization of lawful gun owners. The Liberals can vote to either keep it or scrap it. There is no middle ground.

If the Liberal leader muzzles his MPs on this one, he will just prove once again that he is not in it for Canadians, he is just in it for himself.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the House that Mr. Jaffer was once the chair of the Conservative caucus. His wife was a minister. He was arrested by the police seven months ago, but the Prime Minister did not ask his minister for any explanations. We saw one warning sign after another for seven months, but he did nothing.

Can the Prime Minister explain his complete lapse in judgment for seven long months?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Jaffer is a private citizen. As soon as I received information regarding certain allegations, I forwarded them to the authorities as quickly as possible.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that explanation is not credible. He acted 10 days ago, when he could have done something seven months ago.

It just is not credible. The Prime Minister had seven months to investigate, seven months to take responsibility for his cabinet, seven months to ask the minister about her relations with the business affairs of her husband but he did nothing.

Why the blind faith? Did the Prime Minister prorogue his own judgment?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, once I received some information related to the minister, that information was appropriately given to the authorities. We took the appropriate action and the authorities will fulfill their responsibilities.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the affair remains covered in a smokescreen of secrecy.

The Prime Minister did not ask the minister any questions for seven months and did not explain why. He acted on second-hand information from some gumshoe and will not say why. He forced his own minister's resignation and will not say why. Each time he is asked a question in the House he will not say why.

When with the Prime Minister stand in this House and tell Canadians the truth?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, it is not appropriate to comment on these things. When we received the serious information with some serious allegations, those were given to the RCMP, to the authorities, and it is up to them, obviously, to do with it what they will. We will await the outcomes of their actions.

TransportationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of Canadians have been stranded in Europe for a number of days because flights have been cancelled.

Other countries have provided consular assistance to their citizens. However, our Minister of Foreign Affairs has only provided a web site.

Why is the minister not helping Canadians stranded in Europe? Why is he letting them fend for themselves? What about our emergency plan?

TransportationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, naturally we empathize with all those in these circumstances because of this natural phenomenon.

As I mentioned yesterday, we are monitoring the situation very closely. As we speak, our embassies are on alert to provide assistance to those who truly need it. However, I am encouraged by signs that are emerging throughout Europe. At this time, about eight aircraft are bringing Canadians home.

TransportationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, stranded Canadians are not simply growing short on patience. They are growing short on money. Some require medical care. Families are coping with children, while others are having business concerns.

Hotels and rail companies are raising their prices. Flights need constant rebooking, with some requiring additional and costly charges. Seniors who may not be able to navigate through such circumstances are facing tough decisions.

Does the government have any contingency plan whatsoever to assist these Canadians in difficult times or are they just supposed to, as it were, fend for themselves?

TransportationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, clearly we sympathize with all the travellers who have been inconvenienced by this volcanic eruption but, as members know, it is a natural phenomenon that nobody could have predicted.

Canadian officials are closely monitoring the ash cloud and I have directed officials at Canada's embassies overseas to help Canadians in practical ways. We are encouraged by signs that the situation might be improving. As we speak, eight aircraft are flying Canadians home from Europe.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of his business partners said that Rahim Jaffer acted as a lobbyist. Yet, the Prime Minister stubbornly insists that this matter is no concern of the government. However, the fact is that, if Mr. Jaffer did act as a lobbyist, he had to lobby a minister or a secretary of State, which makes sense to me.

Could the Prime Minister tell this House whether Mr. Jaffer acted lobbied a minister or a secretary of State in his government?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have no information about any contract having been awarded to Mr. Jaffer. Naturally, there are rules in place governing lobbyists, and we expect lobbyists to adhere to these rules.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, lobbying does not mean one will automatically get a contract. One can act as a lobbyist without getting a contract. When the Prime Minister says that he expects people to adhere to the rules, I imagine that he expected his former status of women minister to adhere to the rules. It would appear, on the face of things, that she did not, given that she was fired.

Instead of merely stating generalities, could the Prime Minister stand up and tell me whether Mr. Jaffer lobbied one of his ministers or secretaries of State? That he should know.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, ordinary citizens have to adhere to the lobbying rules. As for the government, it is responsible for making contract decisions. In this instance, I have no evidence of the existence of a contract, and certainly not of an improperly awarded one.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the private investigator who alerted the Prime Minister seems to indicate that the Conservative couple are involved in a scheme to artificially inflate the value of a company with promises of government contracts and grants. Rahim Jaffer was supposed to get federal grants, and the former Conservative minister was contributing to the operation by encouraging a municipality to acquire the technology offered by her spouse's business partner.

Can the Prime Minister confirm that these are the allegations that he referred to the RCMP?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, about ten days ago, the Prime Minister was informed of disturbing allegations that he referred to the proper authorities. The RCMP is now investigating and will draw its own conclusions.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the same private investigator showed the CBC a list of businesses established overseas to launder money. According to this list, two companies registered in Panama, a notorious tax haven, carried the initials “RJ”, the same as Rahim Jaffer. Meanwhile, the Conservative government wishes to implement a free trade agreement with Panama.

Why does the government want to implement an agreement that will be to the benefit of those who want to avoid the tax man?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, allegations were referred to the proper authorities. The RCMP is investigating and will draw its own conclusions. However, one thing is clear: these allegations do not concern government affairs, nor do they have anything to do with ministers, other members or senators. I want to emphasize that this is this party, on this side of the House, that set the toughest legislation on political party financing.

Grant Forest ProductsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a company named Georgia-Pacific announced that it had taken control and that the government had approved its control of Grant Forest Products.

Even before it took over control, the new owner was already firing staff. People with up to 30 years of experience in one of our key industries were being told they would not be needed anymore.

Georgia-Pacific clearly had heard loud and clear the message sent out by the government when it approved the takeovers of Xstrata and Vale Inco, which is buy Canadian, fire the workers, no strings attached.

When will the Prime Minister protect Canadian jobs?