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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was consultants.

Topics

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

September 22nd, 2010 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the Conservatives begin the process of selecting two shipyards to build ships for the government, they are still demanding that the Davie yard come to an agreement with its creditors before it can have a chance at its share of the $35 billion in contracts that have been announced. This is a chicken-and-egg dilemma: without an agreement, there will be no contracts, but without contracts, there will be no agreement.

Will the government and the member for Lévis—Bellechasse ensure that Davie can bid without requiring a prior agreement with creditors?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the reason this government announced a competitive process for the greatest shipbuilding contract since the second world war is that we want the competition.

Certainly it is up to each of the potential bidders to fulfill the terms in order to be validated for entry into that competition, and that includes shipyards in the west, shipyards in the east, and shipyards in Quebec.

CensusOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' ideological census cuts are harming vulnerable Canadians. Nurses say that the changes will compromise programs vital to pandemic planning, such as for H1N1. The United Way says that it will prevent it from adequately targeting help to our neediest Canadians.

Will the minister listen to the groups and restore the long form census instead of tossing aside the reliable information they need to make the best decisions to allow them to do their jobs?

CensusOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have said it before and I will say it again in this House: It is amazing how quickly members of that party are willing to cast aside citizens' rights and freedom from intrusive and coercive questions. They are quite happy to do that, quite quickly.

Speaking of principles, the hon. member promised his constituents that he would vote against the long gun registry. He has flip-flopped on that issue because of the pressure of the Liberal leader, and shame on him. He will answer to his constituents in due course.

CensusOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is not really an answer, but I will try again.

The Canadian Medical Association stated that scrapping the census would deprive health researchers of essential information.

The Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada stated that French-language services will be severely affected.

When will the minister stop ignoring the facts and reinstate the long-form census?

CensusOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we do not think it is appropriate to force Canadians to provide private, personal information under threat of sanctions.

Our approach is reasonable and fair for all Canadians. We have struck a balance between collecting necessary information and respecting Canadians' privacy.

Our position is reasonable and fair.

Foreign InvestmentsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the companies that make use of our natural resources are strategic businesses. We cannot give foreign interests carte blanche when they want to take over our companies, as was the case with Vale Inco and Xstrata. It is time for transparency concerning foreign investments.

Will the government work with us to ensure that the primary beneficiaries of the exploitation of our natural resources are first and foremost the people who live and work in these regions?

Foreign InvestmentsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there is a process that must be followed in order to carry out these studies in an independent fashion. There will be an answer in the future.

However, with this question coming from that member, it is very interesting what the NDP is doing today. They are trying to change the channel and switch the debate from the fact that they are breaking a covenant with their own constituents. They promised to vote down the long gun registry. They are doing the opposite. Their constituents will have their votes in their hands in due course.

Credit Card IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, what that minister has incorrect is that we are actually trying to turn the TV on so that they can see what is going on in northern Ontario.

The beginning of September marked back to school for kids across the country. With purchases of new clothes, binders, books, and other basics, the credit card bills are now coming due, and parents are struggling to pay. The Conservatives keep promising protection from credit card gouging, yet as the deadlines come and go, they keep siding with the banks. The people of Sudbury are tired of the government ignoring their day-to-day issues.

When will the Conservatives stop playing wedge politics and stand up for what really matters in northern Ontario?

Credit Card IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

I do not know where the hon. member has been, Mr. Speaker. If he would turn his TV on, he would see two things. First is that we developed a credit card code of conduct that is being honoured throughout the industry, with wide acceptance, including by the major consumer groups in Canada that have dealt with this issue. Second is that his constituents are very unhappy with his intention to flip-flop on his vote on the long gun registry.

National DefenceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government's investment in the F-35 is a win-win for the Canadian Forces and the Canadian economy. In fact, Canadian companies are already benefiting from this vital project, and these early benefits are only the beginning.

Can the Minister of National Defence please tell the House the importance of this investment, not just to the Canadian aerospace industry but to the entire Canadian economy?

National DefenceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member for Perth—Wellington knows that in addition to the Canadian Forces getting a spectacular fifth-generation aircraft in the F-35, the Canadian aerospace industry will receive huge benefits. Because of the $9 billion investment in our 65 aircraft, the Canadian industry will have the ability to compete for contracts on up to 5,000 aircraft. This means good paying jobs for Canadians right across the country, and the air force will be flying a plane for the next 40 years to ensure mission success.

Let us get behind the air force. Let us get behind Canadian industry and support this project.

Hurricane IgorOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's hurricane Igor left a wide path of destruction throughout Newfoundland, destruction to highways, power lines, and personal property. Power is still off for many, even at this very hour.

There is devastation in many communities on the Eastport and Bonavista peninsulas, in Gambo, in Glovertown, and in Bonavista North, just to name a few. In particular, the small community of Terra Nova had its one access road washed out, and the community is completely isolated, with no power and no access to any services, including medical.

Can the minister please update us on what actions the government is taking at this desperate time of need?

Hurricane IgorOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we in fact extend our deep-felt sympathy to those affected by this tragedy.

Canadians expect that the federal government's response to an emergency will be seamless and that key decisions can be made quickly and effectively when disaster strikes. We work very closely with the provincial officials who are on the front lines along with the municipal officials, and we are there, in fact, to support them financially through the agreements that have been made.

Government SpendingOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 5, 2001, a press release was issued announcing funding for a number of projects to support Toronto's bid for the Olympic Games, which ultimately failed. The total cost of revitalizing the area was $1.5 billion, including $500 million from the federal government. Who signed this joint press release on behalf of the Government of Ontario? The current Minister of Finance.

Can he explain why what is good for Toronto is not good for Quebec City, which is still waiting for a commitment from the federal government on its multi-purpose amphitheatre?

Government SpendingOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I must correct the hon. member across the way. The Government of Canada gave $500 million to revitalize Toronto's waterfront, which is a separate matter from the Olympic Games portfolio. If Quebec City ever has the honour of representing Canada as an Olympic city, the government will be quite proud to support it strongly, as it did for Calgary and Vancouver.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I asked a question of the Minister of Human Resources, and in her response she referred to me by saying “the hon. member's hypocrisy”. The minister and I have been around here a few years. We were elected together in 2004. I am sure that she knows that this is unparliamentary language. In the spirit of co-operation, rather than make a big deal out of it, I wonder if she might want to withdraw that comment.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, if I did inadvertently offend anyone, I do apologize.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I consider that matter closed.

The Chair has notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar, and I will hear her now on her question of privilege.

Remarks Regarding Member for Portage--LisgarPrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of privilege resulting from the outrageous and disturbing remarks made by Mike O'Shaughnessy, a spokesman for the Leader of the Opposition. It was recorded in the National Post today that Mr. O'Shaughnessy wrote in an email distributed to reporters that I “think it is okay to get rid of the life-saving gun registry, because in her mind”, referring to me, “domestic violence committed with a firearm is not a criminal activity”.

There are two issues here, one relating to using House of Commons resources to transmit inaccurate information about a member, and one relating to a slur upon my reputation, so grave that I must raise this in the House as a question of privilege.

On March 16, 1983, Mr. Mackasey raised a question of privilege in order to denounce accusations made in a series of articles appearing in the Montreal Gazette. On March 22, 1983, on page 24027 of Hansard, the Speaker ruled that he had a prima facie question of privilege. The reasons given by the Speaker are on page 29 of Jeanne Sauvé's Selected Decisions which states:

Not only do defamatory allegations about Members place the entire institution of Parliament under a cloud, they also prevent Members from performing their duties as long as the matter remains unresolved, since, as one authority states, such allegations bring Members into "hatred, contempt or ridicule". Moreover, authorities and precedents agree that even though a Member can "seek a remedy in the courts, he cannot function effectively as a Member while this slur upon his reputation remains." Since there is no way of knowing how long litigation would take, the Member must be allowed to re-establish his reputation as speedily as possible by referring the matter to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections.

To suggest that I would somehow condone domestic violence is offensive and way beyond the standard even for political debate.

On page 214 of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, there is a reference to reflections on members. It says, “The House of Commons is prepared to find contempt in respect of utterances within the category of libel and slander and also in respect of utterances which do not meet that standard. As put by Bourinot, 'any scandalous and libellous reflection on the proceedings of the House is a breach of the privileges of Parliament...and libels upon members individually'”.

I would also refer you, Mr. Speaker, to a Speaker's ruling on October 29, 1980 at page 4213 of Hansard. The Speaker said:

...in the context of contempt, it seems that to amount of contempt, representations or statements about...members should not only be erroneous or incorrect, but, rather, should be purposely untrue and improper and import a ring of deceit.

The comments were made by the spokesman for the Leader of the Opposition who, according to the House of Commons database, is employed by the Liberal Party's research bureau and therefore his salary and his email account, from which he made this libellous comments, are provided through the House of Commons. They are not only incorrect, but his statement was politically motivated and was a deliberate attempt to tarnish my reputation in a way, as I stated earlier, that is way beyond the standard.

I will now address the other point regarding the use of House of Commons resources to transmit inaccurate information about me.

There was a prima facie finding on November 19, 2009 regarding the use of House of Commons resources to present inaccurate information about a member of Parliament. In a mailing sent to some of the constituents of the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore, you concluded that the mailing contained information that was found to be factually wrong regarding his position on the long gun registry, as well as on his voting record on that matter. Of course, it turns out that today that mailing would have been correct, but at the time, it was viewed by the Speaker to be inaccurate.

I trust, Mr. Speaker, that you do not and will not view the statements made by the spokesman for the Leader of the Opposition to be accurate. In your ruling you stated:

The situation before us today is analogous to the 2005 in which a similar mailing was sent to the constituency of the hon. member for Windsor West. That mailing had the effect of distorting the member's voting record, again on the gun registry and thereby misinforming his constituents. In finding a prima facie case of privilege, on April 18, 2005, Debates, page 5215, I stated: “This may well have affected his ability to function and may have had the effect of unjustly damaging his reputation with voters in his riding”.

I ask, Mr. Speaker, that you find that there is a prima facie question of privilege on the matter of using House of Commons resources to transmit inaccurate information about a member and on the matter of the attack upon my reputation.

Remarks Regarding Member for Portage--LisgarPrivilegeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the concerns raised by the member for Portage—Lisgar. I think it is important for all of us to remember that the public discourse around the issue that is going to be voted on later this evening has been hot, it has been confrontational sometimes, and I think for many Canadians, unfortunate because they would rather see that discourse elevated to a higher level.

I would like to say, however, that if the member is going to read the second part of the press release put out by a member of the Liberal opposition staff, then it really is in the interest of full disclosure and the benefit of the House to read the first part as well.

What we have is a situation where I think the member is being merely argumentative. Without giving the full disclosure of the quote, I think to a certain extent, and perhaps not deliberately, it is misleading for the House in terms of what exactly has been said. Therefore, to clarify the record, Mr. Speaker, and for your consideration, I would like to read into the record two things.

First, I would like to read in the verbatim quotation from the member for Portage—Lisgar on CBC Radio yesterday morning. This is exactly what the member said, “When people uh, who are uh, using guns for illegal purposes, right now the defence of the registry has been reduced basically to a partial tool that some police use but say they can't depend on it and the only defence of it right now is in domestic violence and suicide cases. No one is even saying that it solves crime anymore. I mean, I am kind of watching with interest the pro argument that is made, it doesn't even have to do with stopping crime in the sense of, uh, you know, criminal activity. It has to do with domestic violence and suicide cases”.

I think it would be acceptable for a reasonable listener to interpret that the member is raising concerns about whether or not domestic violence and suicide cases actually constitute a form of criminal activity.

I would also like to read into the record the actual wording of the release put out to the Press Gallery this morning. This is exactly what the release says, again for the record and for your consideration, Mr. Speaker, and perhaps also for the member's consideration.

This morning, Conservative Party MP [for Portage—Lisgar] said on CBC radio:

“The only defence of [the gun registry] is domestic violence and suicide cases. Nobody is even saying it stops crime any more”.

Here in highlighted form the release goes on to say:

It doesn't have to do with [stopping criminal activity], it has to do with domestic violence.

That is the quote that was distributed that the member omitted to reference here today.

It goes on to say that the member for Portage—Lisgar thinks it is okay to get rid of the life-saving gun registry because in her mind domestic violence committed with a firearm is not a criminal activity. Even though--

Remarks Regarding Member for Portage--LisgarPrivilegeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

An hon. member

Nonsense.

Remarks Regarding Member for Portage--LisgarPrivilegeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Shame, shame.

Remarks Regarding Member for Portage--LisgarPrivilegeOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. House leader for the official opposition has the floor.

Remarks Regarding Member for Portage--LisgarPrivilegeOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Let me pick up where I left off, Mr. Speaker. “The member for Portage—Lisgar thinks it is okay to get rid of the life-saving gun registry because in her mind domestic violence committed with a firearm is not a criminal activity”.

The release goes on to say:

...even though long-guns are involved in 70% of gun related deaths, the victims of which are overwhelmingly women.

That is the end of the release, Mr. Speaker, which I would like to put for your consideration and the member's, having raised a question of privilege. However, from our perspective, this is not necessarily a question of privilege as much as it is a matter of public discourse and a matter of debate.