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House of Commons Hansard #63 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the eyes of the world are on South Africa as it hosts the World Cup of soccer. It is hosting nearly 400,000 people, including world leaders, for a full month at a security cost that is $700 million cheaper than 72 hours of private fake lake summit meetings.

At 500% more than the last summit Canada hosted in 2002, everyone knows these costs are crazy. How can the Conservatives say that they do not have money for real priorities, priorities like prison farms or EI for cancer patients, when they have a billion dollars for this kind of waste?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, a large part of the costs will be associated with security. We have consulted the experts in that field. Our costs are in line with comparable events that have taken place elsewhere. In that case, of course, we are very proud of what we have done.

I will remind colleagues that the auditor will review the costs after the event.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives should not be so proud of running up more than a billion dollar tab for 72 hours of meetings. It does not happen because of one mistake. It takes countless acts of incompetence: shoving a summit into a cabinet minister's riding where it would not fit; doubling costs over two venues; putting half the summit in the security nightmare of downtown Toronto; and blowing millions on gazebos, fiddlers, a fake lake and a sunken boat.

However, a huge driver of costs is untendered, sole source, no competition contracts. More than 85% of the contracts the government has doled out were sole sourced.

Why? Who is getting these contracts and what connections do they have?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the planning process the G8 and G20 has been managed by professional public servants and they work to ensure that all contracts are tendered in an open, fair and transparent fashion.

Any contract entered into by the Government of Canada must adhere to the Government of Canada's contracting regulations. For example, over 90% of the value of contracts procured by my department for the G8 and G20 were done in an open, fair and competitive process.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to pressure from the international community, the opposition and environmental groups, the Prime Minister has finally listened to reason and has put climate change on the agenda for the G8 and G20 summits. We have known for a while that maternal health would be a very important subject discussed at these summits.

If the Prime Minister was able to change course with climate change, why does he not do the same with abortion and include it in the maternal health program that will be discussed at these summits?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated at the start, we will be discussing all topics at the G8 and G20 summits. Obviously, the G20 summit is the world's principal economic forum. From time to time, the leaders will discuss subjects like climate change as they relate to the economy, but we cannot override the UN process when it comes to very important discussions.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that was not my question. He has decided to put climate change on the agenda.

My question is this: when the topic of maternal health comes up, why will abortion not be part of that discussion?

Will the Prime Minister take a firm stance on abortion and include this option in discussions on maternal health?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our priority is discussions on maternal and child health. I am very confident that all G8 members will agree on this priority. Countries are free to choose their priority within this broad issue. Our objective is to save the lives of mothers and children all around the world.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, non-governmental organizations that offer services promoting maternal health in other countries fear that their budgets will be slashed by the Conservative government if they continue to offer abortion-related services.

Will the government set aside its backwards ideology and commit to not slashing funding to NGOs that offer abortion-related services and information in developing countries?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as we have made clear, the ongoing practices of CIDA's ongoing programming will not change.

However, we are very proud that at our G8 we will be championing saving the lives of mothers and children and, in fact, as Melinda Gates said, “Canada is proposing a bold but achievable plan that can save countless lives”.

The international community is supporting us, as are our G8 colleagues, so we can save the lives of mothers and children.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, women's groups such as KAIROS, Match International and CCIC have all been victims of ideological and retaliatory cuts after having spoken out against Conservative policies. Community groups are so worried about facing the government's wrath that they are refusing to take part in public consultations.

Why is the Conservative government using public money to reward friends of the regime and silence groups that do not share its ideology?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not correct. In fact, this government is proud that we are ensuring that our international assistance is actually going toward helping those who are living in poverty. We will ensure that we get value for our international assistance dollars, which means more health for our aid dollars, more education for our aid dollars, more medicine for our aid dollars and more mothers and children whose lives will be saved because of Canada's G8.

AfghanistanOral Questions

June 15th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the coalition of the unwilling is on the march: unwilling to let members of Parliament do their jobs, unwilling to give them access to all of the documents that are necessary to be revealed, as per your ruling; and unwilling to get to the bottom of the role that was played by both Liberals and Conservatives in covering up what they knew about torture in Afghanistan.

Is the Prime Minister not ashamed about having put together this coalition of the unwilling to prevent the truth from becoming known to all Canadians?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the hard work of the Minister of Justice, the government House leader and their counterparts in the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois, an agreement was reached to deal with what has been a very difficult parliamentary question.

My compliments go out to all three of those parties and, obviously, my regrets that the NDP has taken an extreme and irresponsible position on this matter.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this agreement between the Conservatives, the sovereignists and their Liberal partner is shameful. They are excluding important documents and muzzling committee members. The government has a veto that will paralyze the entire process. As a result, Canadians will not know the truth, the whole truth, about the torture in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister must be happy.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the members of our party, the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois have worked hard for many weeks to come to an agreement. The NDP has taken an extreme and irresponsible position.

However, this, unfortunately, is not the only kind of extremist and irresponsible position taken by the NDP. I am looking forward to seeing the leader of the NDP get up and unequivocally distance himself from the comments of his House leader and his deputy leader who have called Israel's existence an occupation.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me give an example of how the government and this whole--

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Toronto--Danforth has the floor. We will have some order.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, our party has never denied and no one in our party has ever denied the right of Israel to exist. Let that stand on the record.

Let me give an example of how the government is breaking your ruling, Mr. Speaker, with the coalition of the unwilling. The Toronto Star obtained a legal opinion produced by the JAG in 2007. This document is the smoking gun about this whole affair. However, this document and documents of its type will now be excluded from this process, never to be seen by any member of Parliament. It is a major flaw and we cannot agree with it.

Why is the Prime Minister keeping the truth from Canadians?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the only person hiding the truth here is the leader of the NDP, who has a deputy leader and House leader who says that Israel's existence inside its pre-1967 boundaries is an occupation.

This is a fundamental denial of Israel's right to exist. It repeats the kinds of comments that were made by Helen Thomas on which she was forced to resign. The member of the NDP who said that should be forced to resign as well.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the G8 and G20 summits were supposed to give Canada an opportunity to put its best face forward. Unfortunately, the Conservatives missed the boat with their billion-dollar muck-up, their partisan spending and their $2 million fake lake. The worst part is that most of the contracts were awarded without a tendering process. In other words, it is payback time for the party's pals.

Why is the Prime Minister using these summits to promote his party instead of his country?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, everyone has to comply with Canada's Government Contracts Regulations. For example, over 90% of the value of the public works contracts for the G8 and G20 was awarded through an open, fair and competitive process.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives manipulated Canada's foreign policy for partisan purposes. The G8 and the G20 represent yet another missed opportunity, another step backward for Canada. Leading up to the summits, the Prime Minister has done everything in his power to avoid environmental issues and chip away at women's right to choose. The only economic proposal we can expect will have to do with saying no. Their fake agenda is as scandalous as their $2 million fake lake.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his partisan blindness is compromising Canada's future?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to my colleague that contrary to what he said, Canada is a great country. The Liberal Party of Canada and its leader are constantly trying to play down Canada's role abroad. We are leaders, we are shouldering our responsibilities. People are watching and they are proud of Canada.