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House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was veterans.

Topics

Military Police Complaints CommissionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is another example of the Conservative culture of deceit. It makes no sense that the chair of the commission is not entitled to examine the same documents that are available to witnesses.

The government's witnesses and lawyers have access to the documents in question, but the commission chair does not. With this Conservative culture of deceit, the Military Police Complaints Commission cannot bring about justice.

Military Police Complaints CommissionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely ridiculous. They are under the mandate that was given to them by the former government. They are governed by the laws given to them by the former government. This mandate has been tested in court. Again, why does he not just let the commission do its work?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister made a surprising statement. When asked whether Rahim Jaffer, the husband of his former status of women minister, had lobbied members of his cabinet, he answered that Mr. Jaffer had never been awarded a contract. But it seems clear to me that the fact that Mr. Jaffer did not get a contract does not mean he did not lobby cabinet members.

The Prime Minister, who is a control freak, surely must have done some checking on Mr. Jaffer.

Did he check whether Mr. Jaffer lobbied members of his cabinet?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are laws governing lobbying. We expect lobbyists to comply with the laws that are in place. We expect that. But I repeat that there is no government contract involved in this matter.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no contract, but the fact that Mr. Jaffer broke the law does not excuse the Prime Minister, who is a control freak, from checking whether any of his ministers met with Mr. Jaffer as a lobbyist.

The Minister of State for Science and Technology confirmed that Mr. Jaffer's business partner had met with him about a number of projects. The minister himself said that.

Will the Prime Minister admit that Mr. Jaffer lobbied ministers? Surely Mr. Jaffer was not lobbying himself. He was meeting with ministers to lobby them.

Did he meet with one or more ministers, yes or no?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are rules in place governing lobbyists. If the Bloc leader thinks that someone broke those rules, he can pass his information on to the independent lobbying commissioner appointed by this government.

This matter has nothing to do with government affairs or a government contract.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives attacked the Liberals on ethics, they promised to ensure that ministers would register their contacts with lobbyists. They have never made good on their promise. Only the lobbyists are required to register such contacts. Therefore, it is impossible to compare the lists and determine who is telling the truth.

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that, had he kept his election promise, we would at least know how many ministers met with Rahim Jaffer, the Conservative lobbyist?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, this government passed a clear law with which lobbyists must comply. A commissioner is responsible for compliance with the act. The serious allegations that have been brought to the attention of the Prime Minister have been forwarded to the appropriate authorities who will draw their own conclusions. There is no connection to the business of government.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, who supports transparency, must shed light on the number of contacts his government had with the unregistered Conservative lobbyist, Rahim Jaffer.

Is the Prime Minister willing to provide the list of all meetings that he, his ministers, his parliamentary secretaries and their staff had with Rahim Jaffer?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it was this government that enacted legislation to monitor lobbyists' activities and they must comply with the law or be subject to the sanctions contained therein. A commissioner is responsible for enforcement of the act. If the opposition has allegations to make, it should address them to the appropriate authorities.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the industry minister said in this House that Georgia-Pacific had committed to maintaining employment levels. Now, how many times have we heard him say that before, only to watch companies that were approved throw people out of work. But here we have a new gall being demonstrated by the company. Georgia-Pacific already started firing staff before the government gave approval for the takeover. The Timmins mill is closed. The Calgary operation is shut down.

Could the Prime Minister tell us how this takeover could possibly be to the net benefit of Canada?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I spoke to the minister regarding this. I understand the Timmins mill has been closed for four years. It does not have anything to do with this transaction.

As members know, transactions have to go through a process to ensure they are for the net benefit of Canada. I gather that, in this case, there is a commitment to retain staffing levels. I am also told that, in fact, all unionized staff have received offers of employment.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, of course, it would be helpful if the entire agreement could simply be tabled here so we would know exactly what has been committed to. But instead, what we get is the rubber-stamping by the current government of foreign takeovers, one after the other.

Look at what happened with Xstrata and Vale Inco. Thousands of jobs were lost on that approval. Yet, Vale Inco made twice the profit in two years that Inco made in the previous ten. It has doubled the salaries of its executives over there at that company. Why? Probably because it is taking a hard line against the workers, who have now been out 10 months on a strike to get fairness.

When will the Prime Minister learn a lesson and stop rubber-stamping--

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The right hon. Prime Minister.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no rubber stamp. There is a process. Often there are conditions attached to a foreign takeover. In this case, as I have said to the Leader of the Opposition, my understanding is that it has committed to not only retain staffing levels but, in fact, has already sent out offers to unionized staff to that effect.

So, the issue is not the government providing more information to the NDP. The issue is the NDP having the facts right before it poses the questions.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the stamp may not be rubber, but there is a stamp, we can be sure of that. Because it has been used thousands of times to sell out our resources and companies without getting guarantees.

The reality is that the workers were fired by Georgia-Pacific even before the government gave its approval. Furthermore, employees who worked there for decades now have no guarantee of receiving what they are owed.

Since the government has failed to protect them, what guarantee do these workers have of receiving the benefits to which they are entitled?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP asked me a question about a specific company. According to my information, this company has said that it will maintain staffing levels. Furthermore, this company has already sent work schedules to its unionized employees.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, here are the facts. Two past Conservative candidates start a business that they proudly proclaim offers access to government grants and loans. MP business cards are handed out, the Conservative Party logo is used, and they meet with ministers, parliamentary secretaries and ministerial staff.

Does the Prime Minister actually think that it is acceptable for his cabinet, his caucus, and Conservative staffers to provide privileged access to unregistered Conservative lobbyists?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, every Canadian is equal under the law.

Let me be very clear. The allegations that the Prime Minister referred to the relevant authorities had nothing to do with government business. In fact, no government money was given under the green fund for the projects that she speaks about.

If she has any evidence of a contravention of the Lobbyists Registration Act, I encourage her to bring those forward to the independent authorities that this government established.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, only within a Conservative culture of deceit can a government think that is acceptable.

A former Conservative MP sends emails across government, including to the industry minister's office, but the government will not release the emails. He meets with the minister of infrastructure, the man in charge of the billion dollar fund he is trying to access, but the government will not say what they discussed.

How long does the government really think that it can get away with stonewalling Canadians about the truth?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, just because the member opposite says it, does not mean it is true.

We have been very clear. When serious allegations were brought forward, they were immediately referred to the relevant authorities for an independent review. That is what ethics is all about. That is what accountability is all about. The Prime Minister did the right thing.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, two former Conservative candidates met with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. They submitted three proposals without ever registering as lobbyists, and the government is refusing to either disclose the contents of those submissions or confirm that one of them involved a company promoted by the dismissed minister. Such a situation would clearly be unacceptable except in the Conservative culture of deceit.

How can the Prime Minister let that kind of thing happen?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the allegations brought forward some two weeks ago had nothing to do with government business. They were immediately referred to the relevant authority for independent review.

If the member opposite has any allegations that he would like to make, I would encourage him to have the guts to make them outside this place. If he has specific evidence of any wrongdoing, he should follow the example of the Prime Minister and refer it to the relevant independent authorities.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, let us try another example. A former Conservative candidate meets with the office of the minister for southern Ontario. He submits three client proposals to another former candidate, who works for the minister. None of this lobbying is registered until it is made public and then the minister tells the lobbying commissioner secretly. What happened to the second staffer? He received a promotion to chief of staff to the Minister of Public Safety.

How can these events be acceptable anywhere other than in a Conservative culture of deceit?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. The allegations that were referred to the government some two weeks ago involved no government business.

Let me be very clear. Any application or interest of funding that was brought forward to my department or to FedDev Ontario received no grant. No money was awarded to these individuals.

If the member has any specific allegations to make with respect to the Lobbyists Registration Act, he should follow the lead of the Prime Minister and immediately refer all of the facts that he claims to have to that independent officer so that they can be fully reviewed independently.