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House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was person.

Topics

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I believe I mentioned that Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising. The national party transferred funds to local candidates. Elections Canada knows this because we told them.

I would also like to congratulate the Bloc for having created the in and out system. Everyone knows that the Bloc leader is the founding father of the in and out system.

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, Senator Doug Finley, the Prime Minister's henchman during the last two elections, the very one who orchestrated the scam to get around campaign financing limits, broke his silence this week to try to protect the Prime Minister. He would have us believe that the Prime Minister, a known control freak, was not aware of this electoral scam.

Do the chief organizer's comments not prove that the Conservatives know they are in hot water and are now trying to protect their Prime Minister?

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising. The national party transferred funds to local candidates. Elections Canada knows this because we told them, and why not? It is legal, it is ethical and it is common practice among all parties. We will continue to defend our position in court.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, we need to take action now and freeze the assets of the family of former Tunisian dictator Ben Ali, even more so since the Liberals are opposed to passing the new Bill C-61 quickly. The government could, for example, use section 354 and part XII.2 of the Criminal Code, as well as article 54 of the UN Convention against Corruption, to freeze the assets stolen from the people of Tunisia.

Why are the Conservatives protecting Ben Ali's family?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. We announced new legislative efforts that will assist in tracking down misappropriated, stolen money.

We want to get the message out that Canada is no place to put that kind of money, and yesterday's legislation delivers that message.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, section 462.33 of the Criminal Code is clear:

The Attorney General may make an application...for a restraint order...in respect of any property...if the judge is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there exists...any property [obtained fraudulently].

What are the Conservatives waiting for to invoke this section of the Criminal Code and the UN Convention against Corruption to freeze the assets of Ben Ali's family?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as was indicated yesterday, there are gaps in Canadian law. That is why I am so pleased to be part of a government that acts so quickly on these matters.

We introduced legislation yesterday in the House of Commons that would address this and Canadians will be better protected.

We are sending out the right message to the individuals who try to misappropriate money that it will not be acceptable and that there will be Canadians laws on the books to deal with this.

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, in order to distance himself from yet another breach of Parliament, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism apologized for the actions of an employee who sent out letters on parliamentary letterhead to raise $200,000 for the Conservative Party of Canada. This is another case of misuse of taxpayers' dollars.

For the minister, who gave the employee the information and the instructions for the improper mailing?

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

As was said before, Mr. Speaker, this is a serious matter and obviously unacceptable.

The minister gave the instruction to have the riding association contacted, but as is always the case in these matters, he fully expected that this would be done, but not with parliamentary resources.

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Here we go ahead, Mr. Speaker, another minister, another breach and another staff member sacrificed to protect their boss.

The employee could not have acted alone. Someone directed this operation. It is the minister who is responsible for the actions of his staff and he must be accountable.

The Prime Minister's ethical guidelines for ministers are crystal clear: Breach the guidelines and they are out. When will the Conservative government learn that it is not above the laws of Canada?

Political FinancingOral 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 has apologized. He has accepted the resignation of his staffer. I wonder whether we will see the same from the Liberal Party.

The Liberal member for Charlottetown appears to be using his constituency office in Charlottetown to run the Liberals' re-election campaign in that vulnerable riding.

I have information about the meeting to nominate his successor as the Liberal candidate. Where does one call to get information about the Liberal nomination meeting, to get a membership or to hear the member for Kings—Hants as the guest speaker? One contacts the office of the Liberal member for Charlottetown and his taxpayer-supported office is the address cited. When--

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, beyond the ethical problems with the minister's clumsy fundraising appeal, his very strategy is concerning. A government should show more respect to Canadians, not simply see them as votes up for grabs.

New Canadians who are looking for reasons to call this country their home and to feel welcome here should not be treated like commodities to be won or lost. What are new Canadians and ethnic minorities to think of this? What does “very ethnic” mean anyway?

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, no one has done more for the cause of Canadian immigration. No one has done more for the cause of immigration settlement to make new Canadians feel welcome in Canada than the current minister of immigration.

He has done perhaps more for new Canadians than any minister in the federal cabinet in a generation and he can be very, very proud of that.

The Conservative Party, since its inception, has always reached out and welcomed the involvement of new Canadians in our party and they are responding to the great record of this government.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative funding plan for new Canadians reeks of contempt. They are categorizing entire ridings as being very ethnic. What does “very ethnic” mean? They are categorizing Canadians and are targeting Asian, Jewish and Ukrainian people.

Do the Conservatives think that some Canadians are more Canadian than others? Are they unable to understand that all Canadians are real Canadians?

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 worked so hard to make every single Canadian, young and old, new and those who have been here for generations, those from the west and the east, and those who have come to make Canada their home, welcome in this country.

He has done a significant amount to reach out to these citizens. He has cut the landing fee for them, something that was imposed by the Liberal government. He has cut that in half. He has brought in a record number of new Canadians to call Canada home, to help build Canada and make it a place for optimism, for hope and for opportunity. We make no apologies for that.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to strengthening Canada's economy. Last week Statistics Canada released the 2009 “Bioproducts Production and Development Survey”. The survey confirms that the investments our government has made have sparked the industry, with 43% of those firms reporting having become involved in bioproducts production or development since our government took office. That is an outstanding growth rate.

Could the Minister of Agriculture tell the House how biofuels are benefiting Canadian farmers while boosting the Canadian economy?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, that is a tough but fair question.

The member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin is absolutely right. Advancing Canada's bio-based economy while providing opportunities for our farmers is indeed a priority for this government. We have taken action by passing the renewable fuels bill in 2008. We have also developed a comprehensive renewable fuel strategy and invested over $2 billion in support of the renewable fuel industry. It is a strategy that is winning praise from leaders such as Don Kenny, chair of the Grain Farmers of Ontario, who said last month:

Thank you to the Canadian government for the implementation of a renewable fuels strategy that will truly benefit our farmers—

Regional DevelopmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, Atlantic Canadians are still struggling to recover from the recession, but this government continues to chip away at the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The 17% cut to ACOA's budget while the unemployment rate is above the national average is a stark reminder of the Prime Minister's opinion of Atlantic Canadians. Included in the cuts is a $2.5 million drop in the promotion of official languages and $24 million from RInC funding.

When will this government accept that the people of Atlantic Canada are not locked in a culture of defeat and give them the support they need to prosper?

Regional DevelopmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government's economic stimulus measures rolled out through ACOA were wildly successful. I might remind the member opposite that there were significant investments in his own riding.

We have been clear all along that these temporary stimulus measures will be ending. That is why we call them “temporary”. I recommend a wonderful resource to the member opposite. He could use the Webster's dictionary to look up the word “temporary”.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, when I go into Iroquois Falls, Cochrane and Englehart and Timmins, I am hearing the same story over and over. Families are unable to find long-term care facilities to look after their loved ones. They look to this government and see a profligate spending spree to build prisons. No wonder Canadians are saying Ottawa is broken.

Is the government too busy playing political games to notice or care that Canadians are struggling? Where is the plan for long-term care? Why has the government abandoned seniors who should be able to spend their last years living in dignity and comfort?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Oxford Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I am sure when that member goes to those communities they ask why he broke the faith and voted against Bill C-391. That is the real question in his riding.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that Christiane Ouimet, the former public sector integrity commissioner, received $400,000 in severance pay after she was forced to resign. In a damning report, the Auditor General pointed out the many shortcomings in Ms. Ouimet's performance. It is outrageous to compensate an individual who has done a poor job and persecuted her employees.

Will the Conservatives make public the contract and the agreement reached with Ms. Ouimet, or are we to understand that she was given preferential treatment?

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the previous Public Sector Integrity Commissioner has resigned. We look forward to working with all opposition parties to find a new commissioner.

The government sought and followed legal advice as to the terms of her resignation, based on her years of service.

We understand that Ms. Ouimet will be appearing before the standing committee next week, which is the appropriate place to raise these questions.