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House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was americans.

Topics

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, around the world people are craving democracy, they are craving transparency, and they are craving accountability. Canadians are no different. They have the same expectations and demands of their government.

I would like to ask the minister if she will simply answer a simple question. What happened in that two-month period between the decision by the two officials at CIDA to make the decision and her decision to put the “not” in? What happened in that two-month period, minister? Give us--

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. government House leader.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Let us look at the facts, Mr. Speaker.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. government House leader has the floor.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts. The officials made a recommendation. The minister has been very clear that in this government, elected officials, ministers, make decisions. The minister, after considering the advice of her department, made a decision not to provide support to this organization, as is her right.

I personally believe and those of us on this side of the House honestly believe that it was the right decision. It was a courageous decision. It was the best decision for Canadian taxpayers.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a true democracy, ministers responsible for making decisions are able to provide the reasons for their decisions and tell the truth to the House of Commons.

Why this shameful silence from the minister when we ask serious questions in the House of Commons?

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, the minister has made a great contribution in providing assistance and doubling our aid to vulnerable people in Africa. Under the Prime Minister's leadership, she has provided a great amount of work with respect to the maternal and newborn health initiative and with respect to the cause of women in Afghanistan.

Let us look at what her own deputy minister said before committee:

The inclusion of the word “not” is just a simple reflection of what her decision was, and she has been clear. So that's quite normal.

That was said by her own deputy minister.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Cooperation has come up with many contradictory versions to try to justify the ideological cut her government imposed on KAIROS. The minister should know that if she wants to deny a grant request then she simply does not have to sign it. She does not need to falsify documents.

Now that the minister has had a week to think about her actions, will she explain to us why she falsified a document and tried to blame her officials?

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, the minister has been very clear. Last year, she spoke before a committee of this House. She said 11 times that, as the minister, she was the one who made the decision not to provide funding to this non-governmental organization. We think it was the right decision. She has made a big difference in the lives of poor people around the world. She made a good decision for Canadian taxpayers.

International Co-operationOral Questions

February 28th, 2011 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is all well and good for the Prime Minister to condone the actions of the Minister of International Cooperation, but the fact remains that she has lost the confidence of the House. Instead of holding on to her position, the minister should do the honourable thing and resign.

Will the minister have the decency to step down for trying to mislead the House?

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, not at all. The minister decided not to follow the advice of her department. From time to time, ministers have to ignore advice and make decisions themselves. The minister made a decision and she was very clear. Last year—11 times before a committee of the House—she said the same thing that she said this year in the House. The minister made the right decision.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the charges laid by Elections Canada against four of the Prime Minister's key organizers prove that the Conservatives were prepared to go to any lengths to take power in 2006. With no regard for the Canada Elections Act and with the Prime Minister's blessing, they developed a strategy that made it possible for them to spend $1 million more than the allowable limit.

Rather than undermining the authority of the Chief Electoral Officer, will the Prime Minister not admit that he himself approved this strategy designed to break the law, the Canada Elections Act?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question.

This dispute between the Conservative Party and Elections Canada has been going on for five years. Fortunately, the Federal Court has already ruled in favour of the Conservative Party and against Elections Canada on this issue.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives took power in 2006 by trampling on the Canada Elections Act. It seems they will go to any lengths to stay in power. Friday, they participated in 80 simultaneous propaganda events to announce a total of $250 million in funding.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his attempts to buy voters with their own money are reminiscent of Jean Chrétien's sponsorship program?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, allegations are made in the House from time to time but comparing our party to the Liberals is going too far.

I would like to remind the honourable member that this dispute with Elections Canada has been going on for five years. Fortunately, the Federal Court has already ruled in favour of the Conservative Party and against Elections Canada.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the government was still hiding the price tag of its legislation from this Parliament. He said that this cost information was “required for parliamentarians to fulfill fiduciary obligations under the Constitution”.

Why are the Conservatives stonewalling Parliament and taxpayers? Why will they not tell Canadians the true cost of their U.S.-style crime agenda? Why the secrecy?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety has been very clear on the costing of the various programs.

First of all, we think that when it comes to serious repeat violent crime, those offenders should be kept off the streets. The Liberals and the NDP disagree, but we think most Canadians agree with us on that.

As the Minister of Public Safety has consistently maintained, changes to the programs to allow for safer streets will be about $2 billion over the next five years. That is far less than some of the wild numbers that we are hearing thrown around opposite.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I guess the Conservatives need the new prisons to put the Conservative fundraisers in, but beyond that, why are the Conservatives soft on Conservative crime?

The reality is, the Conservatives are fudging the numbers and hiding the true cost of their U.S.-style crime agenda. Back before the Prime Minister began his full frontal attacks on democracy, he said, “Without adequate access to key information...incompetent or corrupt governments can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy”.

What incompetence or corruption is the Prime Minister trying to hide today under his cloak of secrecy?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that my friend opposite raised the issue about access to information.

In fact, a record number of access to information requests have come in this year. There are over 75,000. The majority of those are responded to within the first 30 days. We have also increased the number of organizations that are subject to access to information, which the Liberals opposed.

The majority of complaints related to access to information are actually toward the CBC and there are other organizations as well. We have also expanded the budget related to access to information. We are improving all the time.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Integrity Commissioner's office, $11 million was spent, 228 cases reported, but none pursued. There was a scathing report by the Auditor General and the Conservatives washed their hands of the commissioner. She is an independent agent who reports to Parliament they say.

However, email traffic between the Prime Minister's department and Madam Ouimet's office show detailed communication on cases. In one such exchange, the deputy clerk of the PCO asks whether it was true that a whistleblower had been told that Ouimet “did not have the resources to investigate the disclosure”.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he never intended to have an independent commissioner's office?

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about intention, we hear often from the Liberals that after 13 years the reason for their never doing anything on this was the fact that they were just sort of getting around to it.

We are the ones who put these officers in place. We are the ones who came up with the legislation. This officer reports to the committee and reports to all parliamentarians. We expect that the non-partisan committee would look at ways to improve the legislation. We have an interim commissioner in place who is aggressively pursuing the files. That is what we are pleased to see.

It is up to Parliament to deal with these and we encourage it to do that.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the pattern of interference did not end with the resignation of Madam Ouimet. Email traffic indicates that even the new interim commissioner is taking orders. Last month, in an email to the Prime Minister's department, he said, “There is one issue that your office is currently not privy to and that the clerk must be briefed on. I will be pleased to provide details to ensure Wayne is not blindsided”.

So much for whistleblower protection. How many more issues have been discussed with the Prime Minister's department and the Integrity Commissioner? Is not that office nothing but a sham?

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral 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, by my colleague's own admission many of these issues are entirely in the office and in the hands of that particular independent officer.

If this email is accurate, then what that officer is saying is he is informing others about things of which he knows. He is also pursuing virtually all of the cases, as he should be, of employees who did not have their concerns addressed. I have met with many of the people in various departments, because every department has its own pursuit channel for whistleblower protection, and in many cases employees are finding satisfaction there.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is focused on building a stronger economy for Londoners and all Canadian families with low taxes. That is called Canada's economic action plan and it is getting results.

Since July 2009, over 460,000 jobs have been created. This is by far the strongest job creation growth in the G7 and it matters. It matters for Canadians' sake. The world is taking notice. In fact, The Economist magazine has labelled Canada an economic star.

Would the Minister of State for Finance update Parliament on the latest economic news?