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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cost.

Topics

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism had the nerve to accuse Radio-Canada journalists of lying all the time. Rather, it is the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the Minister of International Cooperation who are not telling the truth in the KAIROS file, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Justice in the file regarding freezing Ben Ali's assets, and the Minister of Industry in the census file.

Will the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism apologize for his comments regarding Radio-Canada journalists?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the reality. The member opposite asked about five or six questions.

The reality is when it comes to the fine work done by the Minister of International Cooperation she has always undertaken her responsibilities with grace and diligence. She has made a remarkable difference in Africa. She has made a remarkable difference in Haiti. She has made a remarkable difference in Afghanistan, where she has helped the cause of women and children.

She is going to continue to do great work for Canadians and great work around the world.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader's reply illustrates just how much this government scorns the entire journalism community.

The Conservative government should take a look in the mirror and stop denigrating the work of journalists, which is extremely important in a democracy.

I will ask the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism again. Will he immediately offer an official apology here in this House?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, perhaps he should ask his colleague, the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, the same question. Yesterday Radio-Canada reported that he had been named to head a new integrity commission in Quebec, but today Premier Charest said that Radio-Canada was mistaken and that it was not true.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have been reports of severe delays in aid support from Canada actually reaching earthquake victims in Haiti.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation update the House on the progress of the $250 million of matching funds the government has committed?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to report to Canadians on our work in Haiti. As we know, Canada has responded overwhelmingly, and of Canada's commitment, two-thirds of that commitment has been disbursed and we continue to work with the commission and the Haitian government on behalf of the Haitian people to improve their quality of life.

International Co-operationOral Questions

February 17th, 2011 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, now that the minister is finally answering questions, I have a few specific questions for her on KAIROS.

Did the minister originally sign the document that approved the funding for KAIROS before later rescinding it? Who ordered her to make the change? Who specifically added the handwritten word “not” to the document, and why did she not reveal all of this to the committee last December?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the minister has always been incredibly clear. The Minister of International Cooperation said last year at committee some 11 times that she was the one who made the decision not to give the $7 million grant to the non-governmental organization. She has been very clear that she thought that money could be spent better for those who need assistance in the developing world.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister, since she is now able to answer questions, can confirm that, in fact, it is the Prime Minister's Office that ordered the defunding of the wrong KAIROS, that the Prime Minister's Office ordered the cover-up in all of its answers for an entire year given by the minister and given by her parliamentary secretary, who admitted that in fact he had misled the House, and that the real reason for the refusal to fire the minister is that she was just following orders.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the former parliamentary secretary, on learning that he had misspoken, did the honourable thing and immediately got up and corrected the record voluntarily. That speaks to his integrity, to his honesty, and the great contribution that he has made not just to his constituency but to this entire House.

The reality is the minister has been very clear that she was the one who made the decision not to fund this organization, and her own deputy minister has said that her comment on the memo was just reflecting that decision.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the minister is the one who made the decision, then why is she not the one answering questions in the House? It is quite simple.

Why does the government's spokesperson have to answer all the questions today to defend the government's decision? It is clear: it was the Prime Minister's Office that ordered the decision not to fund KAIROS. It was the PMO that covered this up for over a year. The real reason the Prime Minister refuses to dismiss the minister is that she was simply following his orders.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member for Toronto Centre is just making it up as he goes along.

The Minister of International Cooperation has been very clear in the House of Commons. She said just this week, “ultimately the decision not to provide funding was mine...as minister of international co-operation”, and I accept that.

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians right across this country were stunned when David Chen, a store owner from Ontario, was prosecuted for defending his own store from theft. The Prime Minister indicated to the House that the government would be looking at reforms to ensure that this did not happen to other honest Canadians.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice please update the House on the legislation that was introduced this morning?

JusticeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to putting real criminals behind bars. Canadians who have been the victims of a crime should not be re-victimized by the criminal justice system. The legislation introduced today would clarify Canadians' rights when it comes to citizen's arrest.

Our government is also taking the opportunity to clarify the rights of citizens to protect themselves and their property while continuing to recognize that peace officers are the first line of defence against any crime.

I call on all parties to put their support behind this bill.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, a meeting between a minister and a lobbyist should never start with the words, “Here's a bag full of cash”, but that is the net effect of lobbyist Michael McSweeney holding a ritzy fundraiser for the very minister he was lobbying, “Here is a sack full of cash, minister. Now how about that clean energy fund grant I needed?” It is enough to make Karlheinz Schreiber blush, and he does not blush easily.

The Minister of Labour has been busted by the Ethics Commissioner and the Lobbying Commissioner. My question is simple. Why is she still in the front row after the shakedown stunt, trying to shake down well-connected Conservative lobbyists?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member is still in cabinet because she is an outstanding minister with high levels of integrity and we are proud of her.

The Ethics Commissioner said in her report that the minister “did not contravene the Conflict of Interest Act or the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons...”. She went on to say that the minister “was not involved in the recruitment of these volunteers or the organization of the fundraiser and therefore did not accept these services or contributions".

She has followed all the rules. We are proud of the good work that she is doing.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives said they would clean up the revolving door between their government and lobbying firms. Yet Alanna Heath went directly from the finance minister's office to Barrick Gold as the director of government relations. Guess what her first job was? It was to kill Bill C-300, the corporate social responsibility bill for the mining industry. Then Rodney MacDonald left the Minister of Industry's office to become the director of government relations for Visa, the very file that his former boss was directly involved in.

What happened to those promises, what happened to the cooling-off period for connected political staff and what happened to the integrity of the government?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is this government that brought in the Federal Accountability Act. It is this government that brought in the former position of Lobbying Commissioner. It is this government that established the reporting rules. It is this government that made sure some very nervous MPs on the other side of the House were also covered by those lobbying rules.

The legislation is very clear. If people have complaints related to the Lobbying Act, they go to the Lobbying Commissioner. That is what the person is there for.

Further to that, members of Parliament and the committee itself can review the legislation at any time. It is the best legislation among most western democracies and we are going to keep it that way.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development insists on imposing the nutrition north Canada program, which has triggered a draconian increase in the cost of nutritious food. The price of lettuce is already up to $6.75. The northern communities are not getting the federal help to which they are entitled.

Will the minister put the nutrition north Canada program on hold until the socio-economic repercussions of this program have been assessed, as the Bloc Québécois and the Kativik regional government have been calling for?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the nutrition north Canada program is well designed. We have renovated a very inefficient program. We have broad-based support from the retail community, and from the northern communities, which we consulted widely with.

It is going to take effect on April 1, and we are looking forward to a successful launch.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development claim that the change in program is not to blame for the higher prices since the program has not been implemented yet. That is not true. The first phase of nutrition north has been in place since October and its effects have been catastrophic.

Will the government put nutrition north on hold in order to assess the socio-economic impact?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we have had conversations with the retailers involved in this story in the media about some high prices. Those were not items covered under the old food mail program. They are not covered under the new program that will come into effect, either.

The retailer has stated that it was a mistake. It is an error, and they will correct their ways.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only are they constantly undermining our international relations, but the Conservatives are also making Canadians poorer each time they talk to our neighbours. Yes, we have learned that the American administration plans to introduce a $5.50 entry fee for all Canadians entering the United States on an airplane or boat. This government has a hard time protecting our interests. First, it was $1 billion for softwood lumber, and now it is another $100 million that the Americans want to take out of our pockets.

How did this happen?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, at a time when the worldwide economic recovery is still fragile, we believe that it is in the best interests of both countries to find solutions that increase the movement of people, goods and services. That is exactly what the President and the Prime Minister decided two weeks ago. Our prosperity depends on it. The idea of eliminating the exemption is only at the initial stage, and we do not believe that it is a good idea.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike citizens from other countries, Canadians have always been exempt from paying entry fees when visiting our neighbours to the south. This exemption was based on our excellent relationship with the United States, which is our closest ally and primary trading partner. The idea of eliminating the entry-fee exemption reflects the deterioration of our relationship with our neighbours and it is the first bad news to come out of the Prime Minister's visit.

Why is this government not protecting our interests?