House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebeckers.


6:45 p.m.


Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 12, I rose in the House to get some clarification on the Jaffer affair, more specifically the subsidies from a certain green fund.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities avoided the question, which is what this Conservative government does when it has something to hide from Canadians. There is something fishy going on. Why else are we missing some of the documents?

Why did the former Minister for the Status of Women, the former Minister of Natural Resources and the current Minister of Natural Resources not testify before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates? This is a serious situation since a minister was stripped of her responsibilities and dismissed. The Prime Minister also kicked her out of the Conservative caucus. She is even being dropped as the candidate for her own riding.

This former minister maintains that she does not know the nature of the allegations that prompted the Prime Minister to call in the RCMP to investigate her conduct. All these actions suggest that some serious misdeeds were committed and the public has the right to know what happened.

Since the Conservatives took office, we have all noticed that their leader revels in a culture of secrecy. However, Canadians have a right to know what all these omissions and this sidestepping are hiding. Even the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is said to have used a large fund for green energy, of which a significant amount may have been given to a business of which her son-in-law is the vice-president.

What funds are we talking about? We are all referring to the green infrastructure fund, which is managed by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and which is a $1 billion program.

Rahim Jaffer, who is a former member of this honourable House and the husband of the expelled minister and political caucus orphan, is said to have told a group of business people that his company could help clients get public funds. He said, in the April 8 edition of the Toronto Star, that he could easily get money and that he also had access to a green fund.

Mr. Jaffer and Patrick Glémaud, his partner in Green Power Generation Corporation, are said to have met the parliamentary secretary responsible for approving projects for the green infrastructure fund. These two individuals seemingly presented three projects to the parliamentary secretary, who had the authority to approve or deny funding to the corporations that Mr. Jaffer was representing, no doubt as a lobbyist.

The Conservatives used a loophole in the Lobbying Act that allowed parliamentary secretaries to meet lobbyists in secret. The Liberals helped correct that flaw by supporting a motion putting an end to the powers that the Conservatives were using to help their friends.

The current Minister of Natural Resources and the former Minister of Natural Resources, who are the primary managers of the government's green energy fund, refuse to testify before the House of Commons regarding their involvement in the Jaffer case. Mr. Jaffer's partner, Patrick Glémaud, has cooperated fully with the Department of Natural Resources.

Did the Prime Minister tell his ministers not to testify? What do the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Natural Resources have to hide?

6:50 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan


Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, what we see here from my friend from Hull—Aylmer is a typical example of a Liberal approach to question period. That is where the Liberals try to create a scandal where no scandal exists. They have been on this tactic for the last several weeks, but I have to admit that it is getting a little wearisome to me and I am sure to most Canadians.

What we have done is exhibit quite clearly to both the member opposite and his Liberal colleagues, as well as all Canadians, that we did not give any funding whatsoever to Mr. Jaffer or his business partner for any of their initiatives. That is a far cry from the approach that the former Liberal government took when it was in power. During the sponsorship scandal, the approach that the Liberal Party took was simply to give money to Liberal supporters who did absolutely no work for that money, and then those supporters would transfer that money back into the Liberal Party coffers.

That, in essence, is the sponsorship scandal. It cost Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars. People went to jail for that. It was the biggest political scandal in Canadian parliamentary history. The most egregious thing about that is that there are still $39 million that cannot be accounted for.

We have asked consistently for the Liberals to explain where that money went. Second, are they willing to repay that money to Canadian taxpayers? They do not comment on that. They ignore the questions, and that exhibits the true difference between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party in this Parliament.

When we are accused by the Liberals of doing something untoward in terms of lobbying practices, we can point out quite correctly and quite clearly, we paid no money to any lobbyists, whether they be registered or unregistered. We gave no government funds to people that they accuse of being duplicitous.

The Liberals cannot make that same claim because when they were in government, they gave millions of dollars to their Liberal friends who then funnelled that money back into the Liberal Party. That was the largest scandal. That was fraud. It was despicable then. It is despicable now.

I ask the member opposite to please explain finally to all Canadians, what happened to that missing $39 million? Will they own up to it? Will they repay it to Canadian taxpayers?

6:50 p.m.


Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Jaffer admitted having access to a green fund. It is public knowledge that the administrator of the green infrastructure fund is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and that green energy is the responsibility of the Minister of Natural Resources.

Who did Mr. Jaffer and his partner meet with? Did he meet with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the former or the current natural resources minister, or all of them?

We know that Mr. Jaffer or his partner lobbied seven agencies and departments. We also know that Natural Resources Canada gave more than $342 million to TransAlta Keephills.

When will these ministers and parliamentary secretaries testify and be accountable to Canadians for the funds allocated from the green infrastructure fund?

6:55 p.m.


Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, anyone can make claims that they have access to government or government funds. The proof is in the results. Did Mr. Jaffer receive any government funding whatsoever? The answer is, no.

Contrast that again to how the Liberals operated when they were in government, illegally diverting money from the government, from taxpayers, into the Liberal Party coffers via their friends. That is a huge difference.

On one hand we have an ethical Conservative government and on the other hand we have a former government, which was anything but ethical.

6:55 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:56 p.m.)