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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservative.

Topics

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in honour of the Genie Awards tonight, I imagine that a screenwriter could have presented a film entitled Approved or Not Approved, financed with public money, and, in the category of best supporting actress, we could have seen the Minister of International Cooperation, and in the categories of best director, best actor and best makeup, we could have seen the Prime Minister himself.

Will the government admit that it has utterly failed to deliver on its election promises of more transparency and ethics?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we respect the institution that you represent. You have given your rulings and we will do everything possible to comply with the decisions you have made.

One thing is clear: the Bloc is trying to do everything it can to create a distraction and trigger an opportunistic and needless election that would cost Canadians over $400 million.

What do Canadians want? They want us to remain focused on the economy, economic growth and job creation. That is what Canadians expect.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike the funding for the films that will be celebrated at tonight's Genie Awards, the $4 million the Conservatives plan to spend on budget propaganda will come out of taxpayers' pockets.

After the in and out scandal, the immigration minister's soliciting activities and Conservative Party organizers on the Senate payroll, now the government has found yet another way to pay for its election expenses out of public funds. It is obscene.

When will the Prime Minister learn to distinguish between government business and Conservative Party business?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Finance has routinely allocated money to inform Canadians about measures that may benefit them. This public information campaign was laid out at the start of the fiscal year in April 2010.

Given the time frame of March 22 for this year's budget, it is unlikely the entire amount will be spent and whatever remains will be returned to the consolidated general revenue fund.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the Liberals before them, the Conservatives have no problem diverting public resources for their partisan purposes. But instead of shamelessly stealing from the EI fund like the Liberals, they are passing their election expenses on to the people.

On the eve of a possible spring election, can the government at least promise to cancel its partisan budget ad campaign and pay back the $200,000 obtained from Elections Canada using false invoices?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Québec must answer to this: on July 15, 2004, the Bloc Québécois transferred $17,071.20 to the local election campaign of the member for Québec. The very next day, that same candidate transferred $17,071.20 to the Bloc Québécois. That is an example of the in and out system. How does she explain that?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, your ruling yesterday was very important, and I quote:

...there is no doubt that an order to produce documents is not being fully complied with, and this is a serious matter that goes to the heart of the House's undoubted role in holding the government to account.

The Prime Minister must put an end to this charade. Will he order the immediate tabling of all the documents on the costs of his bills?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me at the outset, on behalf of all members of the House, welcome back the leader of the New Democratic Party. We may spar on issues from time to time, but I have great respect for him and his values.

We also respect the Speaker's decision of yesterday. We have stated that we believed we had provided the information requested. We appreciate the ruling and we will be working very hard to comply with it in the days ahead.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank all my hon. colleagues for the welcome back. It makes it hard for me to ask some of these questions.

What we need to see is some leadership. The courts have ruled, Parliament has spoken and the Speaker has spoken. When will the Prime Minister respect the ruling of the Speaker and ensure that the real cost of his legislation is tabled before the House? It is a reasonable request being made by all Canadians. He has to take some responsibility for these—

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. government House leader.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

We respect your ruling, Mr. Speaker, and we will be working to comply with it in the days ahead. The Liberal member for Kings—Hants has presented a motion to the House about having a committee look into it and report back. We will be working very hard to comply with that measure.

We will not be pushed away from the fundamental priority of Canadians, which is jobs and the economy. We are working tremendously hard on the budget to provide more hope and more opportunity. We have seen the creation of some 460,000 net new jobs over the past 18 months because of solid economic leadership.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that Canadians are having an increasingly difficult time in being able to trust the Prime Minister, who routinely hides the truth. We increasingly are finding out about that here. We have seen a disregard for transparency. We even have the celebration of ministers who have doctored documents to hide the truth. This is bothering a lot of Canadians.

Canadians are having trouble trusting a government and a Prime Minister that would let his campaign team fake invoices and break election laws.

When is the Prime Minister going to step up, fess up and clean up his cabinet?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we have said that we will be working very hard to comply with your ruling.

We remain focused on the priorities of Canadians, jobs and the economy. In every part of my riding and every part of the country, these remain the priorities of Canadians.

We will be bringing down a budget in a few short weeks. The single priority in that budget is the creation of jobs, the creation of hope, the creation of opportunity. That is the priority of Canadians. They do not want an unnecessary election. They want us focused on creating jobs for them and not trying to get new jobs for ourselves.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have yet another example of wasteful spending by the government for Conservative propaganda. Treasury Board documents show it plans to spend $4 million in one week to advertise the 2011 budget. That is over $35,000 for every waking hour of the week.

The Conservatives will spend more in one hour on self-promotion than a person in my riding makes in an entire year. Four million dollars would buy 4,000 medical scans for waiting Canadians.

When will the government stop the abuse of power?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member opposite noticed, this question was just asked about five minutes ago.

The Department of Finance routinely has allocated to it some money to inform Canadians about benefits in the budget and other steps taken by the Department of Finance with respect to benefits for Canadians.

The budget this year is scheduled for March 22, so there will not be that much time left in the fiscal year. I anticipate that a good part of the money will not be spent and then it will be returned to the consolidated revenue fund.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is not a government, it is a propaganda machine. Just look at all the money being wasted to put up signs. A doorknob is changed and a sign goes up. A doorbell is repaired and a sign goes up. A sign has probably already gone up to announce the upcoming installation of another sign. The government is going to blow $4 million on an ad campaign on the budget.

How many hospital beds, how many nurses, how many people can we take care of for $4 million?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Liberal government in the mid-1990s, we will not balance the budget in our country by taking money away from hospitals and schools. That is what Liberals did. They did it dramatically. They did it unilaterally. They did it without consultation.

It resulted in fewer doctors in Canada, especially in rural Canada. It resulted in closed hospitals across the country. It resulted in teachers being laid off, all done by the Liberal government of the 1990s.

We will not repeat that mistake.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

March 10th, 2011 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the average worker in Madawaska—Restigouche earns just over $26,000 a year. The former so-called integrity commissioner received hundreds of complaints and resolved none. When she resigned, the Conservatives gave her just over half a million dollars. She resigned and stayed at home, yet she is getting more than the average worker will earn in 20 years.

How can the Conservatives show such disregard for Canadian workers and pensioners?

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our priority is to protect our workers. In this case, the government sought legal advice. We followed that advice. I believe that within the hour, the individual my colleague referred to will appear before the committee, and that is the appropriate place to discuss the situation.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, it would take 20 years for the average worker in my riding to earn as much as the former integrity commissioner received in a single day, that $500,000 she received for quitting, not working.

The minister claims he is trying to recover the $500,000 in hush money he gave her to cover up this obvious Conservative sham. Why did he give her the $500,000 in the first place? What is the Prime Minister trying to hide?

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

First, Mr. Speaker, I am really pleased to see the Information Commissioner's report today, talking about improvements in access to information, if that is what the member is talking about.

The government sought legal advice on the matter that my hon. colleague has mentioned. We have followed that advice. In less than an hour, the former commissioner will appear before the all party parliamentary committee that approved her hiring in the first place. That is the appropriate place for the discussion to be followed.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, either the former Treasury Board president is a bad negotiator, having signed an employment contract that would pay out half a million dollars to Christiane Ouimet even if she were fired, or the contract did not have such a clause and the Conservatives bought her silence with half a million dollars. At best, they are incompetent; at worst, they are irresponsible.

Will the President of the Treasury Board table the employment contract so that we can check whether he promised at the outset to pay $500,000 to Christiane Ouimet?

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, regarding the contract, we indicated that our position would be clear. We have nothing to hide. The former commissioner will appear before the committee in 40 or 45 minutes. I hope my colleague will listen to everything she has to say.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, he is the one we are asking. The royal treatment given to the former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner is completely outrageous, particularly in light of the fact that former employees were forced to retire and lost some of their benefits.

How can the government justify signing an agreement to pay $500,000 to someone who is incompetent, unless it is to buy that person's silence? This is reminiscent of a line from a song from The Godfather: “Speak softly...so no one hears us”.

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, our priority continues to be the protection of our public sector workers. As I said before, we are prepared to be very open about all aspects of this situation. We have now appointed a new commissioner who will continue to monitor and investigate all cases. The former commissioner will appear before the committee in 45 minutes.