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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

LibyaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when a country becomes involved in military operations, it knows the start date but, unfortunately, it rarely knows the end date. Therefore, it is important to have objectives that are clear and understood by everyone.

Not only must there be an urgent debate by Parliament of the Libyan situation, but it is essential that we apply the lessons learned from the Afghanistan war and give Parliament a supervisory and oversight role.

Will the Prime Minister make that commitment?

LibyaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to confirm that we will be having a debate immediately after question period.

As well, I will take this opportunity to inform the House and Canadians that we now have conducted our first air operation in Libya. Four CF-18 fighter jets and two CC-150 Polaris refuelling aircraft departed Trapani, Italy this morning. They have since conducted patrols off the northern coast of Libya. I can confirm that they are now safely back at base.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson is the consummate Conservative insider, a former chief of staff to the Prime Minister.

After he left the PMO in 2008, he began promoting water systems to be purchased by the Conservative government, generating profits for his fiancée of some $80 million.

It is publicly admitted that he met with the office of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and with bureaucrats in the department.

How many meetings were there? Exactly who was in each meeting? What was on the agenda? When was the minister personally briefed on the outcome?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office did absolutely the right thing by turning these allegations over to the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and the RCMP.

I have never met with Mr. Carson regarding the H20 Global Group. My staff met with Mr. Carson on January 11 and provided publicly available information as did departmental officials. No contracts have been awarded to H20 Global Group.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, none of this passes the smell test. This regime cannot deny the intimate role in Conservative affairs played for decades by Bruce Carson.

Given his criminal record, how he ever passed a security check is a mystery. However, more recently, acting for a private vendor and standing to profit personally by $80 million, how did he get in the door of the current minister's office, what contact did he have with the previous minister, and how did he know of last year's cabinet shuffle in advance bragging that he had the new minister in his pocket?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member for Wascana seems to have come to conclusions.

What we have recognized is that they are very serious allegations. The moment we learned about these serious allegations we referred the matter to the RCMP, we referred the matter to the Ethics Commissioner, we referred the matter to the independent Commissioner of Lobbying.

It is our government that brought in these tough laws. We expect every Canadian to follow them. Those who do not should face the full force of law.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians were, I think it is fair to say, shocked and surprised to discover that Mr. Carson, who was the acting chief of staff to the Prime Minister, had been disbarred, spent time in jail, had the highest security clearance and highest access to the Prime Minister and to all the affairs of every single department of government, and that he then left the government to head an institution which miraculously receives $15 million from the Government of Canada.

Can the minister please explain how all this happens?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think this individual's past has certainly been well known. It has been well documented not just before the courts but it has also been well documented in the Canadian media.

Let me be clear. When serious allegations were brought forward about this individual and his alleged contact, I think the government did the right thing and referred the entire matter to the RCMP, and referred the matter to the Ethics Commissioner and the Commissioner of Lobbying.

As a matter of first priority, it was our government that brought forward the Federal Accountability Act, which brought in these tough ethics rules. We expect every single Canadian to be held accountable when he or she breaks the law.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that Canadians who did not know Mr. Carson were very surprised to hear about his past and his criminal record, to discover that he had access to the government's most important secrets, and to learn that, when he left the government, the organization he joined received a gift of $15 million from the government.

How did this happen? That is the question.

EthicsOral 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 be clear. This gentleman's past was a matter of public record. It had been written about in the mainstream press. That is not a surprise and it should not be a shock to anyone. I know the member opposite knows that to be the fact as well.

This government brought in the Federal Accountability Act, which imposed tough new lobbying and ethics rules. This government expects every Canadian to follow that act.

When the allegations were brought to our attention we immediately referred them to the relevant authorities. We expect anyone who has broken the law to face the full force of the law.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport is hard to follow. Last February, he said in all seriousness that the Champlain Bridge was completely safe and that he did not see any urgent need to repair it. Since that time, we have learned that, for several months now, his department has had reports from engineers confirming that the Champlain Bridge is unsafe.

How can the Minister of Transport claim that the bridge is safe when the reports from the Federal Bridge Corporation say that the bridge is at risk of collapsing? How can a bridge at risk of collapsing be safe?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for the question.

We take the safety of the Champlain Bridge very seriously. In fact, we have done more than that. Last Friday, together with the previous years since 2009, we have announced $380 million to ensure that it is not only safe today but it is safe long into the future. We can affirm that. I actually have a letter in my hand coming from the Federal Bridge Corporation that I would be pleased to table or give to the hon. colleague to be able to help her out. It tells us that the bridge is safe today, and with the investment it will be safe long into the future.

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is mistaken if he thinks that the band-aid solutions announced by his government will be sufficient to fix the Champlain Bridge, which, according to all the studies and reports published to date, is unsafe and has reached the end of its useful life.

What is the minister waiting for to listen to the engineers consulted by his department and announce the construction of a new bridge?

Champlain BridgeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Yellowhead Alberta

Conservative

Rob Merrifield ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the bridge, as I said, it is safe and I have that affirmed by the Federal Bridge Corporation. As for the investment of $380 million, only somebody from the Bloc would see that as plaster and a minor amount of dollars to cover the repair. Those dollars will keep it that way long into the future.

When it comes to any future options with the bridge, we are waiting for a final report and we will look at those options as they come forward.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, a long-time aide to the Prime Minister, Bruce Carson, is under investigation by the RCMP because he allegedly engaged in illegal lobbying activities. In return for a 20% commission for his girlfriend, an escort, he promised to provide full access to the Conservatives. The Prime Minister said that he was surprised. Nevertheless, his aide was sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud.

How can the Prime Minister be surprised by Bruce Carson's illegal practices when he tolerated this individual with a shady past as a member of his entourage for so long?

EthicsOral 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 be very clear that when allegations were brought forward to the attention of the Prime Minister's Office, the matter was immediately referred to the RCMP, to the Ethics Commissioner and to the Commissioner of Lobbying.

The Liberal member earlier asked how could this individual outside of government know who was going to be the new minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. I remember watching the news the night before and it was Craig Oliver on CTV National News who I think had the scoop.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the heels of the Jaffer affair, here is another instance of illegal lobbying by one of the Conservatives' close associates. The Prime Minister promised that he would not allow individuals to use their time in government as a stepping stone to private lobbying. Nevertheless, that is what his former caucus chair and his advisor did.

Do these two examples not show that the Prime Minister has proven that he is incapable of controlling the greed of friends of the Conservative regime?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I guess the member from the Bloc Québécois does not feel that we should have an investigation, does not believe we should have a trial and she herself will determine the guilt or innocence of any Canadian.

It is this government that wanted to reduce the influence of lobbyists and impose tough five-year bans on those of us in government for conducting lobbying. When any individual breaks the law, he or she should face the full force of the law. We felt so strongly about that issue that we wrote the law ourselves.

Access to InformationOral Questions

March 21st, 2011 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians hear of secretive, controlling governments that have political operatives, they likely think of other countries. Yet last week the Information Commissioner revealed that this was happening in Canada and the RCMP had to be called. We know she is studying other departments for interference in access to information.

How can we trust the Conservative regime when every week there is evidence of new abuses? How can we trust a government that hides information? How can we trust a government that does not believe Canadians have the right to know?

Access to InformationOral 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 really going to miss the exciting vibrancy of question period and questions like this one. In fact, when it comes to information access, there has been a record number of requests this year both under the Privacy Act and under the Access to Information Act. As a matter of fact, over 75,000 of those requests have come in, which is a record, and the majority of those get answered within 30 days.

We are always working to improve those and hopefully with some good suggestions from my friend opposite, we may even be able to accelerate that process.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the information commissioner has said we have “hit rock bottom”. Conservatives have been exposed for trying to hide information from Canadians. The Information Commissioner is undertaking a sweeping study of the abuses of the Conservative regime. We have a scandal-a-week government that is again being investigated by the RCMP for potentially criminal political interference.

How can Canadians trust the government when it is known to hide the truth?

Access to InformationOral 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, anybody who looks at the numbers in terms of the sheer volume and importance of the information we have made available over the last year alone to opposition requests will see that it is at an all-time record high. Never before has the amount of information been released that we have released.

I would refer my friend to last week's announcement about open government. Some 261,000 data sets of information are now available to all Canadians. It is number two in the world for a government opening up data sets of information.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have rights with respect to access to information, and we will ensure that these rights are respected. The Information Commissioner has joined a long list of public officials who are investigating the Conservatives' schemes. The Conservatives always want to hide everything, which was evident when we tried to uncover the exorbitant costs of the F-35s and the megaprisons. Furthermore, a ministerial aide flouted the Access to Information Act and no one is taking responsibility.

Why do the Conservatives systematically refuse to come clean with Canadians?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, when I received the Information Commissioner's report in February, along with its five recommendations, I immediately asked the department to implement all of them. They have been implemented fully already.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are serious allegations of political interference by the government over access to information. The Information Commissioner had to investigate these allegations and now the RCMP is involved yet again.

Whether it is Canadians asking for information or the opposition requesting costs for megaprisons or $30 billion stealth fighters, the Conservative regime just will not come clean and give Canadians the straight goods.

Why do the Conservatives not respect the public's right to know?