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House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was child.

Topics

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Prime Minister, this was the quickest and least expensive way to get rid of Christiane Ouimet; however, that does not explain why the government paid a fortune to someone whose poor quality work was criticized by the Auditor General.

Are we to understand that the determining factor in the government's decision was the fact that it wanted to buy the former commissioner's silence at all costs? Why is the Conservative government rewarding incompetence?

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner spent two hours before committee yesterday.

I understand that it may be disappointing to opposition members that they did not get to hear what they wanted to hear, but I would remind them that she answered all questions under oath. She can speak freely and so can we.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

March 11th, 2011 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the Minister of Immigration used government resources for partisan purposes. Conservative Party fundraising letters, certificates of excellence with a nice logo and an election communications plan targeting ethnic communities were sent from his office. And now, lo and behold, we find out that his political office budget has increased 35% over three years.

Will the government admit that the increased spending of the Minister of Immigration can be explained by the increase in partisan activities being carried out by his office?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, not at all. It is because the Minister of Immigration was also the minister responsible for multiculturalism.

Perhaps the member for Repentigny could answer my question. I have here a press release regarding a cocktail fundraiser for the Bloc Québécois in Chambly—Borduas. It says that if you want information, you can call the riding office of the member for Chambly—Borduas.

Could you explain why you are using public resources for your election campaign and—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I would remind hon. colleagues to address their comments through the Chair and not directly at other members.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, he seems to be confused about Quebec. Chambly is nowhere near Repentigny.

The government must stop trivializing the use of government resources for partisan purposes. Last year, the minister's budget went $500,000 over the Treasury Board's directives.

How is it acceptable for a minister to disregard Treasury Board rules? It must be because the Prime Minister himself is authorizing the diversion of public funds for Conservative Party purposes.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I already made it clear that this minister has two responsibilities. That is the reason for the change. He also returned over $300,000 to the Bank of Canada because he did not spend all of his money.

But I do wonder why the Bloc is using public resources for a Bloc Québécois cocktail fundraiser. Why did it use the riding office of the member for Chambly—Borduas? Will he return all of the public money that was used? I have not received an answer to my question.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are unable to figure out the distinction between their government activities and their partisan activities.

The Minister of Immigration is using his department to buy votes in “very ethnic” communities.

His staffing budget increased by half a million dollars in three years and he is using the money to produce and distribute partisan documents.

Is this really an appropriate use of taxpayers' money?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Immigration has two responsibilities, one as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and he has continued on with his good work as Minister of Multiculturalism in his new portfolio.

He has done an outstanding job at welcoming new Canadians, and doing more for immigration settlement, particularly in the province of Ontario where the member and I come from.

When my premier, Dalton McGuinty, had to come begging for a fair deal for immigration settlement funding, he did not get it from the previous government. This government is the only government that has delivered for immigrants in Ontario.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister's job is not to go out and get ethnic votes. The minister's job, as Minister of Multiculturalism, is to build up Canada. “Insidious” is a strong word but that is the word that is being used to describe this partisan vote getting activity.

In the Calgary Herald, it says that we are raising questions that lift “a curtain on an insidious overlap between government business and partisan politics.”

This is an abuse of tax dollars. The minister asks us to trust him but the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has demanded an independent review. Will we get one?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the member for Don Valley West is pretty happy to stand in the House today to talk about partisanship. Why do we not take a little look at his website. On his Don Valley West constituency website, he endorses, through a letter on his website, a candidate for municipal office.

The last time I looked, our jobs in Ottawa were to work for the people of our country, not determine who should sit on city council in the city of Toronto.

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative edict to have government departments assume the name of the “H” word government is nothing but an arrogant, command and control, purely partisan propaganda campaign.

The Conservatives say that it is common practice. It is not. Mel Cappe, the former head of the public services said, “It is not the [H] Government...It is the Government of Canada. It's my government and it's your government”.

How can the Prime Minister not understand that he is undermining the impartiality and independence of 450,000 public servants? They work for the people of Canada, not him.

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. This has been a long-standing practice across various governments. This terminology is widely used by journalists and the public alike.

In fact, Mel Cappe, who is quoted in these stories and mentioned by the hon. member, approved many of the releases, while he was clerk, using the terms “Chrétien government”.

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the late Jim Travers pointed out, democracy in Canada and Africa is currently going in different directions.

When we go abroad to teach democracy, we do not teach this.

Does the government think that naming governments after their leaders is a good idea for emerging democracies reeling from former dictatorships? When will this abuse of power stop?

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office has issued no directives to departments. There is no need for one, as this has been a long-standing practice across various governments.

A simple check of online archives shows that the terms “Chrétien government” and “Martin government” and similar variations appear in official government communications by various governments.

This terminology is widely used by journalists, the public and the Liberal Party itself. In fact, the official Liberal website has at least 109 references since January, 2009.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, while the Liberal leader is trying to plunge Canada into an opportunistic election, our Conservative government is focused on the number one priority for every day Canadians, jobs and the economy.

The Liberal-led coalition wants that unnecessary election to implement a $6 billion tax hike that will kill jobs. Canadians expect us to focus on Canadian jobs and growing the economy, not Liberal political gains.

Could the Minister of State for Finance please inform Parliament on today's job numbers?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Miramichi for pointing out today's good news.

February job numbers are increased by 15,000 net new jobs. That is more proof that our economic action plan continues to work. In fact, our economic action plan has helped create 480,000 net new jobs since July, 2009.

The economy is still fragile and we need to remain focused on our low tax plan. The last thing we need right now is an election forced on us by the opposition.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian shipbuilding industry was already nervous when it learned of secret talks being held with the U.K. over naval shipbuilding. Now we have learned that the government has gone to Germany and Spain for ship designs when our own navy has developed plans for replacement vessels.

We just cannot trust the Conservative government to protect Canadian industrial jobs. Will the minister commit to involving the industry in any talks with foreign governments and will he commit to keeping Canadian shipbuilding jobs in Canada?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, our National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy establishes a long-term relationship with the Canadian shipbuilding industry to renew Canada's federal fleet.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry might not be worried about the potential of further job losses in southern Ontario, but the people in my riding of Welland sure are.

The government likes to tell people that we are out of the recession because the banks on Bay Street are all doing well. However, the people who have lost their jobs in southern Ontario, due to job losses in the industrial sector, see it differently.

When will the industry minister take real and meaningful action to ensure our manufacturing jobs are protected?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question gives me the opportunity to again highlight the jobs that have been created in our country, nearly 500,000 new jobs since July 2009.

Our country is leading the way worldwide among industrialized countries as we come out of this global economic recession, thanks to the measures taken by this government, the industry minister and the entire cabinet.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, France and Great Britain have recognized the National Transition Council, which is made up of the main forces that are opposing Gadhafi. By recognizing this new political interlocutor, these countries are also giving crucial support to the Libyan people, who are fighting for their freedom.

Will the Conservative government sever all ties with the Gadhafi regime and begin discussions with the National Transition Council?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her question. States can recognize states. We are committed to contacting this interim council to engage in dialogue. We believe that the council is a valid interlocutor that can help put an end to the hostilities in Libya as well as the blood bath that the Gadhafi regime is inflicting on the Libyan people.

International TradeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Honduras, since the coup in 2009, human rights activists remain in prison, women continue to be raped and teachers are still being assassinated.

How can the Minister of International Trade ignore these human rights abuses and continue to support these unscrupulous leaders by negotiating a free trade agreement with them?

International TradeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada believes that engagement rather than isolationism is the best way of supporting change in Honduras. Canada works with like-minded countries, international organizations and governments worldwide to support improved respect for human rights and international humanitarian law and to lay the foundations for peace. Free trade between Canada and Honduras will benefit not just Canadians, but Hondurans alike.