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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Bloc Québécois joined the Conservatives to prevent groups fighting to keep the firearms registry from being heard at the hearings on that registry.

The Bloc has decided that it would be better to substitute pro-gun lobbyists for these groups. They would rather hear people like Tony Bernardo, who believes that by saving nine lives annually, gun control has an insignificant impact.

The Bloc wants to hear marginal groups who absolutely do not reflect the Quebec consensus in favour of keeping the registry.

And who are those groups that may have to sit on the sidelines because of the Bloc's totally irresponsible and unforgivable behaviour? It is groups like the Association des étudiants de Polytechnique, the Dawson Committee for Gun Control, the Government of Québec, the Association des directeurs de police du Québec, the Fédération des femmes du Québec, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, the Association québécoise de prévention du suicide, the Regroupement des maisons pour—

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

April 29th, 2010 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, as of today, it has been one month since the Liberal leader has bothered to pose a question on Canada's economy. The last time he asked a question, he proposed raising Canadians' taxes.

Since March 29, the Liberal leader has been more focused on whipping his MPs to support the long gun registry, supposed scandals, and his own book tour rather than the most important issue facing Canadians: the economy.

Avoiding mentioning the economy is a deliberate strategy for the Liberal leader, since Canadians know of his plan to raise taxes. Whether it is proposing a GST hike, promoting a carbon tax or proposing job-killing business taxes, raising taxes is the only policy the Liberal leader is consistent on.

Whereas the Liberal leader threatens our economy, our government is taking action to improve our economy through year two of Canada's economic action plan. We are securing economic recovery in Canada by building jobs and growth across the country.

The Liberal leader has no interest in our economy because he is not in it for Canadians, he is just in it for himself.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the documents prove that at least seven ministers had contact with unregistered lobbyist Rahim Jaffer.

In the case of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, it was clear that lobbying was going on. Proposals went all the way to the minister's office, but nobody said a thing.

How many other ministers or parliamentary secretaries were lobbied by Mr. Jaffer without our knowledge?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me very clear. We would not be having this debate about documents if it were not for the government, which made all these documents public. It was the government that put all these documents before a parliamentary committee. That is transparency.

This government brought in tough new laws on lobbying. Every Canadian lobbyist is expected to follow the act. If the member opposite has any evidence of anyone not obeying the law, he should follow the Prime Minister's lead and forward it to the lobbying commissioner.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is troubling that Mr. Jaffer knew he could get privileged access through the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport. Mr. Jaffer did so because he knew the member had been given authority over one billion dollars of government funds and therefore he and the Conservative government could get around their own accountability act.

What other ministers have delegated authority to their parliamentary secretaries in this irresponsible way as a designed way to get around the accountability act?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, parliamentary secretaries assist their ministers in the House, in committee and with departmental work, but all responsibilities remain with ministers. That cannot be delegated.

Let us contrast the actions of our government with the previous Liberal government. Mr. Jaffer got no grants, got no money as a result of any of his meetings. Compare this to the previous Liberal government when millions of dollars went missing and the Liberal Party found itself in a position where it had to return some of the kickbacks it had received from taxpayers. Shame on the Liberal Party. We got $1 million back from the Liberal Party. We want the extra $39 million.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, when a parliamentary secretary is lobbied directly, especially by a former Conservative MP and unregistered lobbyist, red flags should have gone up. However, none did because those Conservatives knew exactly what they were trying to get away with. They even had the audacity to keep dealing with Mr. Jaffer as recently as last month after he had been charged with possession of cocaine and drunk driving.

Will the Prime Minister, who deliberately created this loophole in his own law, now close it?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Lobbying Act is very important legislation. It is this government, it is the Prime Minister who strengthened that as our first order of business because of the huge transgressions and robbery that accused under the Liberal Party and kickbacks that made its way into the hands of Liberal insiders.

This government put in place an independent lobbying commissioner. If the member opposite has any information with respect to improper activities, he should follow the lead of the Prime Minister and forward that to the appropriate authority.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment confirmed that his director of regional affairs met with Rahim Jaffer to talk about a funding application for a specific project.

Can the Prime Minister confirm that the project in question was the TransAlta Keephills project near Edmonton? Can he also tell the House whether Mr. Jaffer or his partner lobbied Natural Resources Canada, the minister of the department or his parliamentary secretary?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is obviously on some sort of a fishing expedition. Let me say this. When serious allegations were brought to the attention of the Prime Minister some weeks ago, he did the right thing, he did the honourable thing, he did the ethical thing and he immediately referred all those matters to the relevant authorities. That is leadership. That is a high standard of ethics and that is in such stark contrast to the actions of the Liberal government.

Tomorrow is the day where Canadians have to pay their taxes. Tomorrow is also the day where Liberals should pay back taxpayers the $39 million of missing money.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, we now know that Mr. Jaffer or his partner made representations to seven departments and agencies. We know that Natural Resources Canada provided over $342 million to the Keephills project last October. The Prime Minister is aware of this because he personally announced the funding at the Keephills site on October 14.

In the interests of transparency, will the Prime Minister release all communications between Mr. Jaffer, Mr. Glémaud and any government official or elected official related to the Natural Resources Department?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this government has been very transparent. We have forwarded a significant amount of information to the relevant authorities, the independent agents of Parliament who are tasked with enforcing the law. Anyone who breaks the law should be fully held accountable.

Appointment of JudgesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government never stops boasting about being tough on crime. We have recently learned that Jacques Léger, a judge appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal by the Conservative government, represented the business interests of the Hells Angels for many years. Jacques Léger is a former president of the Conservative Party of Canada.

How can this government, which says it supports law and order, be so partisan as to appoint a judge who represented the Hells Angels to the Quebec Court of Appeal ?

Appointment of JudgesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that judicial appointments are based on merit. Our selection process is one of the most rigorous in the world. It is shameful that the member is attacking the credibility of a judge who was duly appointed according to the rules of the system.

Appointment of JudgesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the rules of the system are not the same as Quebec's. Here, the Minister of Justice can appoint whoever he wants, regardless of recommendations that are made.

Whether it is a sign of incompetence or lack of judgment, or both, Justice Léger did not find it appropriate to make his past relationship with the Hells Angels public and was preparing to preside in a case in which they are involved.

How can the Prime Minister accept that his justice minister did not make inquiries before appointing Judge Léger to the Quebec Court of Appeal? And if he did, how does the Prime Minister explain that his justice minister was so blinded by partisanship that he decided to ignore Justice Léger's past?

Appointment of JudgesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, that is nonsense. I hope my colleague is aware that there is a rigorous selection process. There is a list of candidates who are evaluated on merit. Our aim is excellence and the Minister of Justice chooses from this list. The public must not be misled any more. A transparent and rigorous process was followed in this case, just as it is with any other appointment.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Rahim Jaffer used the email and name of his wife, a former Conservative minister, enabling him to get preferential treatment. Emails also show that the office of the former public works and government services minister promoted the interests of Rahim Jaffer by putting pressure on public officials to give priority to his proposals.

Why did the Conservatives' Quebec lieutenant, who has told us many times that the government wants to clean house, not mention earlier that he was helping move Rahim Jaffer's files forward?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we provided all the appropriate documents to the committee clerk and to the Commissioner of Lobbying. Lobbyists must follow all the rules that regulate this activity. The documents related to the Jaffer affair are now public. The government released them in the name of transparency and accountability.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is more proof that the token Quebecker is once again playing the role of doormat.

Rahim Jaffer's lobbying of the former public works and government services minister was successful, since he got a meeting with her officials. The minister's political assistant, the same one who blocked the publication of incriminating documents, put so much pressure on the officials that they gave in.

Will the political lieutenant for Quebec lay the blame on his employee, who simply carried out the lieutenant's dirty work? Will the doormat take responsibility?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I must say that Mr. Jaffer did not receive any taxpayer money, and did not obtain any contracts or projects that were discussed in these meetings. That is something the government wants the public to know. We created the position of the independent lobbying commissioner. This issue is before the commissioner, and we believe that she will assure all members of Parliament and all Canadians that no one is above the law.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, La Presse revealed yesterday that a former lawyer for the Hells Angels, Jacques Léger, was named judge by the law and order Conservatives right after they were elected in 2006. His main client in the Hells Angels, Robert Bonomo, a founding member, was arrested last year and charged with 22 murders. Yesterday Quebec's chief justice had to remove Judge Léger from a case he was about to hear because it involved the Hells Angels. Judge Léger apparently did not see the problem.

Could the justice minister explain what qualifications led the Conservatives to name Jacques Léger a judge?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government has followed standard practices. We have a group of men and women that does reviews of candidates for the judiciary. This committee has representatives from a wide range of stakeholders.

Let me assure the member opposite that we look for high calibre, competent individuals who can administrate the public business and for our courts.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did the Conservatives appoint Mr. Léger to the Superior Court, but they recently promoted him to the highest court in Quebec. His real qualification in their eyes is that he is a former president of the Conservative Party.

Considering this notorious Conservative's ties to the Hells Angels, the ties a girlfriend of a former Conservative minister has to the Hells Angels, the alleged ties between Rahim Jaffer's business partner and the Hells Angels, are we to deduce that they are the Hells Angels farm team over there?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this government solicits advice from the judicial advisory committee, a group that is a multi-stakeholder body. Our bottom line is we want people who are qualified to serve on the bench. We want people who will be able to adjudicate in a fair and responsible manner. This has always been the approach that this government takes with respect to judicial appointments.