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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentences.

Topics

The NetherlandsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, May 4, marks the 65th anniversary of the commemoration of the liberation of the Netherlands.

As a person born in Holland and all those of Dutch ancestry in the House of Commons and Senate, we personally want to thank the Canadian government and the Canadian people in the past for supporting our country in our hour of need.

There are 5,715 Canadians buried on Dutch soil who paid the ultimate sacrifice and tomorrow we will recognize that sacrifice in Halifax, Europe and around the world. Once again, we thank all of them for their sacrifice.

Also, tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of our Canadian Navy. In the town of Halifax, as my colleague from Halifax knows full well, over 1,000 sailors will be marching through the streets. We say to Admiral Madison of the MARLANT fleet, members and all of their families in the past, present and those who will serve our great navy in the future, Bravo Zulu to each and every one.

Firearms RegistryStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member for Nipissing—Timiskaming has a big decision to make when it comes to the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. He was once clear with his constituents when he called the long gun registry “disgusting”. At the second reading vote on Bill C-391, he declared, “I decided quite a while ago that I was going to support this bill”. Now he is being forced by the Liberal leader to vote for the long gun registry.

The member for Nipissing—Timiskaming says that he wants more changes to his own party's position. He has only two choices: he can vote to keep the long gun registry or he can do the right thing and scrap it. It is that simple.

The North Bay Nugget said in an editorial last week that “huge numbers of folk regard the registry as a multi-million dollar boondoggle”.

The member for Nipissing—Timiskaming should do the right thing and actually listen to his constituents and vote to scrap the Liberal long gun registry.

Conservative GovernmentStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's dark ages are back. Never keen on letting any more information out than necessary, this Conservative government prefers to keep the public in the dark and feed it scientific and environmental mistruths instead of the straight facts.

This desire to control scientific and environmental information takes many forms. They have cancelled funding for ambitious research projects, such as the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences. Environment Canada scientists are not allowed to answer media questions without approval from their boss. Climate change skeptics are being appointed to boards of directors of organizations that fund university research, such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Numerous federal infrastructure projects are exempt from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. They argue that global warming is due to solar magnetic cycles or other unexplained natural phenomena. I cannot believe the ignorance.

It is shameful that this government is trying to control the message to the point that it is deliberately distorting reality.

Youth Bowling CanadaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to salute the young people involved in Youth Bowling Canada, their coaches and parents and all of the volunteers who are participating in the 46th national fivepin championship in Ottawa-Gatineau. I would also like to thank everyone who came out to support these young Canadians and cheer them on.

This Youth Bowling Canada championship brings together young participants from Canada's 10 provinces, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. These 318 young competitors have the opportunity to demonstrate their talent, learn about fair play and, for some, to taste victory.

Congratulations to the organizers, particularly the host coordinators, Monique and Paul Godmaire. During the three-day competition, young Canadian bowlers will collect experiences and memories to look back on fondly for years to come.

I wish all an excellent stay in Gatineau and Ottawa and a memorable tournament.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is the anniversary of the Liberal leader's coronation. Yes, it has been one year since the Liberal leader blew kisses to a few Liberal faithful as he took his new title.

What a difference a year makes.

Over the past year, Canadians have seen the Liberal leader flip-flop, fumble and flip again. First he wanted an election and then he did not. He talked about helping Canadians but voted against our jobs budget. He allowed a free vote on the gun registry and now he is whipping his caucus.

Now the Liberal leader wants to wage a culture war. In order to gain power, the Liberal leader is willing to pit the west versus the east and rural versus urban.

On almost every issue, the Liberal leader has flip-flopped, except when it comes to raising taxes. More than a year ago, the Liberal leader said, “We will have to raise taxes”, and he has stayed true to his job-killing tax policy ever since.

Yes, what a year it has been. It has left Canadians wondering: Is the Liberal leader in it for Canadians or is he just in it for himself?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest Act specifically states that a public office holder is in a conflict of interest when he or she exercises an official power, duty or function that provides an opportunity to further the private interests of his or her friends.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his ministers contravened this act when they granted privileged access to their friend, Rahim Jaffer, allowing him to waltz from one ministry to the next where they expedited his applications and they simply called him Rahim?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker. The Liberal Party gets more and more ridiculous in the reaches it makes on this question. The fact is that Mr. Jaffer received no contracts from the government. The fact is that it has been ministers and the government who have revealed virtually all of the information available here because it has been turned over to the Lobbying Commissioner.

This government has acted absolutely correctly and, quite frankly, the Liberal Party could take some lessons.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, providing opportunities for buddies to further their private interests and giving preferential treatment to people based on the buddies who represent them, is illegal regardless of whether or not money changed hands.

The Minister of Transport , the Minister of Public Works , the Minister of the Environment and others shepherded government funding applications through privileged channels all for their buddy, Rahim Jaffer.

The question is simple. Why can the Prime Minister not admit that this is illegal?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Let me be very clear, Mr. Speaker. The Lobbyist Registration Act is an important piece of legislation. The Lobbyist Registration Act is a lot stronger and tougher because of the actions of this government and this Prime Minister. One of the first actions we took upon taking office was to strengthen that office. Everyone, all Canadians, is expected to follow the act.

If the member opposite has any allegations to make, he should follow the example of the Prime Minister and make those allegations to the office of the independent Ethics Commissioner that this government established.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, Rahim Jaffer was friends with ministers and parliamentary secretaries who intervened to expedite funding applications, thereby clearly violating the Conflict of Interest Act.

Can the Prime Minister tell us what the consequences will be for the individuals who violated the act and why he is refusing to comment on the illegal activities of those parliamentary secretaries and ministers?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let us contrast the actions of this government with the previous Liberal government.

Mr. Jaffer got no government grants, no money, as a result of any of the meetings in question.

Let us compare that to the Liberals when literally millions of dollars went missing in the sponsorship scandal. We have only got $1 million back. Canadians want the extra $39 million that is still missing.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the Conflict of Interest Act, the Prime Minister's own 2008 guide for ministers gives the rules by which members of cabinet must adhere, including ensuring the integrity of those with whom they are dealing. Ministers' offices clearly flouted those rules when they conducted business with Mr. Jaffer.

Given that compliance with the guidelines are a condition of appointment, will the Prime Minister explain the consequences for the members of cabinet, up to seven and counting, who were in violation of those rules?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear for the member opposite.

All lobbyists, all Canadians who lobby, are expected to follow the Lobbyist Registration Act.

This government, as a matter of its first point of business when the House reconvened after the 2006 election, brought in an independent commissioner of lobbying, someone who does not report to a minister, someone who does not report to government, but rather reports to the House.

If the member opposite has any allegations or any evidence, she should follow the example of the Prime Minister and forward it on to the relevant authority. That is what she should do.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, he should know the criteria as well as the guide for ministers.

The guidelines stress the seriousness of ministers interacting with a person of questionable integrity. The director of security operations in the Privy Council office is to be contacted.

Did anyone question the use of a cabinet minister's resources for Mr. Jaffer's private business or question whether it was right to prioritize his projects?

Over the last 12 months was there not one Conservative cabinet member of the known seven who consulted with the director of security operations at PCO? Or, in the Conservative culture of deceit, is being accountable not important?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite does stretch it to its limits.

Let me be very clear. This government established a tough Lobbying Act. We established a tough regime for lobbying. We did so because of the sorry and poor ethics that lobbyists exercised under the previous Liberal government.

We have an independent commissioner of lobbying. If the member opposite has any evidence or any allegations, she should follow the high ethical standard personally demonstrated by the Prime Minister and forward those on to the independent authority.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this World Press Freedom Day, it is important to remember just how secretive the Conservative government is. It was elected on a promise of greater transparency, but the fact is that that was just smoke and mirrors. The Conservative government puts more energy into blocking access to information requests from the media than answering them.

Will the Prime Minister admit that in an attempt to control everything, he has made opaqueness, not transparency, his hallmark?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, the fact is that more agencies have access to information than ever before and more documents are available. In a recent report, we noted that responses to access to information requests sometimes took too long, and we are prepared to improve that situation.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is why the government just got an “F” in this subject.

For example, the affair involving the former status of women minister and her husband, Rahim Jaffer, is a prime example of lack of transparency. It has been weeks since the former minister was fired and kicked out of the Conservative caucus, yet we still do not know what was behind the Prime Minister's decision. If the Prime Minister is serious about wanting to silence rumours about this affair, why does he not make the reasons for his decision public?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that this has nothing to do with government business. All the information has been passed on to the authorities. That was the transparent thing to do, the right thing to do, and that is what the government did.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's determination to circumvent the Access to Information Act has earned it an “F” from the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. There is a general lack of transparency in the Conservative government. Throughout the Jaffer affair, ministers have waited for their names to appear in the papers before making public the documents reporting their contacts with this unregistered Conservative lobbyist.

Once and for all, can we have the names of all ministers and parliamentary secretaries who were lobbied by Rahim Jaffer?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the reason we are having this debate in the House of Commons is that this government has handed over all information to the lobbying commissioner and the parliamentary committee. That is true transparency.

We received allegations about the former minister and the Prime Minister did his part by providing the information to independent authorities. If the Bloc member has information, she should follow the government's good example.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised to be more honest and transparent than the Liberal government. He has failed. He promised to give teeth to the Access to Information Act. He has not done so. He promised to require ministers to disclose their contacts with lobbyists. He has not done this either.

Why is the government acting as though it were under siege? What does it have to hide?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, according to the report on access to information, it is clear that we respond to most requests within 30 days. However, in almost 12% of cases, it takes more than 120 days. In our opinion, this is not acceptable and we will improve that.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

May 3rd, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we look on with horror as the oil spill slowly but surely makes it way towards the Louisiana coast, and Canadians are wondering whether this catastrophe could happen here, in Canada. Millions of litres of oil are pouring into the ocean, killing animals, ravaging plant life, destroying the fishing industry and devastating entire communities.

What assurances can the Prime Minister give us that this cannot happen here, in Canada?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I agree; it truly is horrific, an environmental nightmare. The behaviour of the companies involved was completely unacceptable. Fortunately, we have much stricter rules in Canada to prevent such a disaster.