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House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was libya.

Topics

Harriet TubmanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, after meeting with stakeholders from the Salem Chapel in St. Catharines, one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad, over the disputed date of Harriet Tubman's date of birth, the issue has been resolved. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada will honour Harriet Tubman with a plaque to commemorate her heroism for future generations of Canadians.

The plaque will now read: Born on a Maryland plantation, Harriet Tubman escaped slavery to become one of the great heroes of the 19th century. The most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, she courageously led many of the people she rescued from American slavery on dangerous, clandestine journeys to safety and freedom in Canada. Tubman helped these black refugees settle after their arrival and played an active role in the fight to end slavery.

On May 27, I will proudly be joined by the members of the BME Church and my community to celebrate Harriet Tubman as one of Canada's leading abolitionists and a person of national historic significance.

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government's ethical tailspin continues to spiral out of control.

Let us look at it by the numbers: two RCMP investigations in one week; two contempt of Parliament rulings in one day; four ATIP investigations into government members or their staff; four top prime ministerial insiders charged with breaking election laws; one half million dollar gag order for the Integrity Commissioner; two ministers who, amazingly, are still ministers even though one used public resources to fundraise for the Conservative Party and one misled Parliament; and one Prime Minister hijacking the Government of Canada name plate with his order to the public service to replace it with his own personal moniker.

However, the most important number is the millions, the millions of Canadians who are now beginning to realize just how bad this government is. They are tired of the scandals, the abuse and reckless waste. They know it is time we had a government that is there to serve Canadians, not the other way around.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

March 21st, 2011 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader is again attempting to mislead Canadians about his job-killing, high tax agenda. Last week he inaccurately stated, when asked about the corporate income tax rate, “We have to maintain it at 18%”. As of January 1, Canada's business tax rate is 16.5%, cut from 18%. The Liberal leader knows this, but this is not the only instance of him making inaccurate statements.

Why is the Liberal leader misleading Canadians? The answer is obvious: he wants to hide the fact that his Liberal Party will raise taxes. He would much prefer if Canadians believe he will only freeze taxes “where they are now”.

The Liberal leader is misleading Canadians for his own political gain. This is clear evidence that the Liberal leader is a political opportunist. Indeed, the very definition of a liberal is someone who raises opportunism to the level of a principle.

The Liberal leader's high tax agenda will stall our recovery, kill jobs and set families back.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government faces two RCMP investigations at once, one of them about Bruce Carson's influence peddling right in the Prime Minister's Office, and four members of the Prime Minister's inner circle face accusations of election fraud that could result in jail time. As if that were not enough, a committee of the House has found the government in contempt of Parliament. This is an unprecedented cascade of abuse. The issue here is one of trust.

How can Canadians remain trusting of a government guilty of such flagrant abuse of power?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to the leader of the Liberal Party that I completely reject all of the misleading premises in his question.

There is no member of the government who is under investigation for a criminal offence. Let me be very clear that this government is the government that acted very expeditiously to bring in the Federal Accountability Act, to clean up the ethical mess that we inherited from the previous Liberal government.

He was not in Canada to know exactly how bad the Liberal ethics policies were. Maybe he should look at the Federal Accountability Act and look at the great changes, especially, that the Prime Minister has ushered in.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson was at the centre of the government's inner circle and there he remains. This is a question of the judgment of the Prime Minister, who is guilty. The government is facing charges of election fraud, influence peddling and a scheme related to access to information. As if that were not enough, a committee of this House has found the government in contempt of Parliament.

How can Canadians trust a government that treats them, and the country's institutions, with such contempt?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I guess the Liberal leader believes we do not need to have police to conduct an investigation. We do not need to have a court system. He will simply assign guilt as he sees it on the floor of the House of Commons.

Immediately after serious allegations were brought to our attention about a former member of the office, the matter was immediately referred to the RCMP, immediately referred to the Ethics Commissioner and immediately referred to the Commissioner of Lobbying. That was the right thing to do.

Let me be very clear that this government has brought in tough penalties for people who break the law. Anyone convicted of breaking the law will face the full force of Canadian law.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cannot deny the RCMP is crawling all over the government at the moment.

Conservatives also expect us to vote tomorrow for a budget without telling Canadians what their waste is going to cost: waste on corporate tax giveaways; waste on prisons; waste on jets, which they do not have accurate costing on for Canadians. Instead of telling Canadians the truth, they went out last week and spent millions of taxpayer dollars on government partisan advertising.

When is the government going to show some respect for taxpayers and a little respect for democracy?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the Leader of the Opposition at all.

The Liberal Party can try to attack the government with political smears. It has become very good at it.

This government is focused on the priority of Canadians, on jobs, on the economy and on economic growth. That focus has helped create 480,000 net new jobs.

The Liberal leader has recently become a convert. Last week we learned he wanted to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to billionaires who owned hockey teams. He is going to have to explain that to Canadians.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson was illicitly using his government connections to finance the purchase of $400 million worth of water filtration units.

According to the contract witnessed by Mr. Carson, his fiancé stood to gain $80 million from the scam. Carson had inside information that could only have come from the Prime Minister's office, like, for example, who would be the next minister of Indian affairs.

Who in the Prime Minister's office was funnelling information to Mr. Carson? Have they, too, been referred to the RCMP?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear at the outset that there is no information whatsoever to suggest that any individual or company obtained any contract from the government in any of these matters.

Any individual who breaks the law should face the full force of the law. Rather than assigning the job of enforcing Canadian law to the member for Beauséjour, we have referred the matter to the RCMP. We will let it take it from here.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, we know that last fall Bruce Carson introduced his fiancée to the then environment minister, Jim Prentice; to the former human resources minister, Monte Solberg; and even to the Premier of Alberta.

What other ministers or government members have spoken with Mr. Carson and Ms. McPherson over the past year and a half? Has the government determined what information was given to Mr. Carson and Ms. McPherson? Did they provide this information to the RCMP as well?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think it is a matter of public record that the political staff in one office did have a meeting. It provided publicly available information. Let me be absolutely clear that no government funds and no government contract were awarded as a result of that meeting.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's finance minister, Raymond Bachand, said that negotiations between Quebec and Ottawa regarding harmonizing GST with sales tax are far enough along to conclude an agreement. He even sent a draft agreement to his federal counterpart on February 22. The ball is in the Conservative government's court.

Will the minister finally resolve the sales tax harmonization issue and include in the budget the $2.2 billion the federal government has owed Quebec for years now?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we continue to negotiate in good faith with the Government of Quebec and things are on track. Major progress has been made over the past few days, but once again, it is not over yet. Discussions continue and our budget will be brought down tomorrow.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, things are on track, but the train left the station 19 years ago. It is high time for the government to take action. Things moved quickly for British Columbia and for Ontario. It is a matter of political will. That is what it boils down to. If it was done for the others, why is it not being done for Quebec?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the taxes are not fully harmonized and we will continue to negotiate in good faith. Things are on track and we will bring down our budget tomorrow. They have been here for 19 years and now they are pulling this out of a hat. Why? To have an untimely election that Canadians do not want, that is why. We will be taking care of the economy and creating jobs in our ridings in Quebec. We will be negotiating, not with those people, but with the Government of Quebec.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, right before a huge shipbuilding contract is about to be granted, the Conservative government has changed the invitation to tender specifications at the last minute in order to exclude the Davie shipyards.

Workers in Lévis cannot count on the Conservative member for Lévis—Bellechasse in this matter. He is complacently accepting the fact that his government is changing the rules at the last minute in order to disqualify the Davie shipyards.

Will the Minister of National Defence admit that the new rules concerning solvency are intended only to exclude the shipyard in Lévis and favour others, outside Quebec?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's question, but it is important for her to understand that it is standard for all government contracting that any company doing business with the Government of Canada be solvent. Davie is aware of that. The RFP states that very clearly and we have worked with all of the shipyards across the country, including Davie, to ensure they understand that.

Moving forward, the bid does not close until July. Davie has every opportunity to become solvent between now and then.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a study by Secor Group, the Davie shipyards could generate economic spinoffs worth $2.1 billion and create over 2,700 jobs in Quebec. “...Davie is the only Canadian shipyard with the existing facilities to build the largest vessels...”

Why did the Minister of National Defence change the rules of the game at the last minute, if not to disqualify the shipyard in Lévis?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

As I said, Mr. Speaker, it is standard that all companies doing business with the Government of Canada be solvent. This has been made clear to all of the companies that are part of the bidding process for the national shipbuilding procurement strategy.

However, let me be clear that between now and when the bidding process closes, Davie does have an opportunity to become solvent.

JapanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been a difficult week on the international stage.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan as they struggle with the terrible situation that has befallen them. We would like the government to update the House on this situation. In particular, we have heard that there have been some problems at the embassy in terms of a lack of resources. Have those resources been increased?

What is the government doing to make sure that all of the consular services necessary for Canadians in Japan and the people caught in the danger zones in particular are being provided?

JapanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite said, Canadians have been watching with shock and great sympathy the disaster and turmoil in Tokyo and Japan from the earthquake and the tsunami.

I can assure the member that our consular services have been working 24/7. Our emergency response centre has received thousands of calls. We have assisted citizens in leaving the worst affected areas. We will continue to support citizens in Japan.

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Libyan people are also facing grave danger, this time from their very own leader.

We support the United Nations' efforts to protect civilians.

As the Canadian military is currently involved in the operations in Libya, could the Prime Minister tell us what are the goals and objectives of the mission? Is humanitarian aid included in our goals and objectives? How is success to be defined when it comes to this particular mission? What are the rules of engagement that have been given to the Canadian pilots?

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it would be difficult to answer all of those questions. I provided much of that information in a recent press availability.

I can tell the hon. member that we are there to comply with the resolutions that have been passed by the United Nations Security Council. We are there primarily to protect civilians on the ground in Libya from their own administration. We have clearly seen evidence in the past number of days, if not weeks, that Gadhafi has wreaked havoc on the ground against his own civilians.

We are there with an international partnership providing as much protection as we possibly can.