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House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.

Topics

Political FinancingOral 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 tell the deputy leader of the Liberal Party that at least no one in this party has had to write a cheque for $1 million back to the taxpayers that they stole when they were in office.

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, from coast to coast to the Canadarm in space, the identity of the Government of Canada is subject to strict, non-partisan rules. It is that identity, which belongs to all Canadians, that the Prime Minister is attacking. Once again, he is disregarding existing rules. He is acting as though he were above the law.

In fact, is that not the problem, that the Prime Minister thinks that he is the government?

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, there has been no change. This is a practice used by many governments. We will continue to use the term “Government of Canada”. It is not uncommon for governments to use this practice.

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are immensely proud of their country and rightly so, but the Conservatives do not seem to share in that pride. It is no longer the “Government of Canada”, but the government of the Prime Minister's last name. It is a government of only one, for only one and by only one.

Is this what the Prime Minister meant when he said that by the time he was finished we would no longer recognize Canada? Why does the Prime Minister think he is more important than Canada?

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, there has been no change of policy or practice. It is not uncommon at all to see governments use various terms. A quick search of the various Internet sources show at least 109 references used by the Liberals. As a matter of fact, a term was used by the leader of the former government, a term that was endorsed by the clerk of the Privy Council, Mr. Mel Cappe, and also the president of the Privy Council.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Immigration said his staff's use of parliamentary letterhead for partisan fundraising was a minor administrative mistake. Yet it was the minister who told a member of his office staff, who is paid by taxpayers, to conduct this targeted fundraising.

Will the Minister of Immigration admit that he was behind this partisan fundraising carried out with government resources and that he must take responsibility and resign?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, it is obviously completely inappropriate to use government resources to raise funds for any political party. That is why I accepted responsibility as soon as I learned of this administrative mistake by my office. My political assistant offered his resignation and I accepted. I subsequently contacted the ethics commissioner and you, Mr. Speaker. I apologize for this mistake, and we have taken corrective action.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a little too easy. When it is time to cut ribbons, the minister is responsible. He takes responsibility, he struts about, and he says that he made the decision. But, when he breaks the rules, it is no longer his fault, it is the fault of his assistants. He is never responsible for that. He cannot have it both ways. Ministerial responsibility is always applicable. He made a mistake, he is responsible, he should resign.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, my office's standard practices were not followed in this case. As soon as I learned of it, I took steps to correct the situation. My political assistant submitted his resignation and I accepted. I personally informed you and the ethics commissioner as soon as I became aware of the situation. It is obviously inappropriate, and I apologize for the mistake made in my absence. I believe that this is the end of this story.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

March 7th, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem with the minister of immigration is that he is confusing his obligations towards newcomers with the partisan interests of the Conservative Party. It is preposterous that the minister responsible for processing all immigration applications is involved in a pre-election communications plan targeting certain ethnic groups.

How can we believe that the Conservatives' electoral and racial profiling will not be used as a framework for government policies, since they are orchestrated by the same minister?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, this government is proud of the progress it has made in responding to the aspirations and values of new Canadians and members of our cultural and ethnic communities. This government cut the Liberals' head tax in half. This government tripled funding to establishment services for newcomers. This government issued an apology for the head tax charged to Chinese Canadians. And that is not all. We are proud of our record when it comes to new Canadians.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the Minister of Immigration's responsibilities is to appoint citizenship judges as well as members of the Immigration and Refugee Board. These people must make decisions and examine cases based on merit, not the Conservative government's partisan interests.

How can we believe in their neutrality, knowing that the minister who chose them has drawn up a short list of communities to woo?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, this government introduced a new process for appointing and pre-screening IRB members. Of the people applying to become IRB members, 90% are not recommended to the minister. Only 10% are recommended. Since becoming minister, I have recommended to Cabinet the appointment of about 130 IRB members. I know that one of them had ties to the Conservative Party.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are beginning to see the extent of the Conservative Party's electoral fraud. For example, in 2006, in Hull—Aylmer, actual local campaign expenses totalled $12,000; however, the refund received from taxpayers' money totalled $34,000. In other words, an illegal refund was received for three times the actual campaign expenses.

For years, the Conservatives have been calling on the Liberals to pay back the money from the sponsorship scandal. It is now the Conservatives' turn to tell taxpayers when they are going to pay back the money they stole through their system of electoral fraud.

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, clearly the premise of the question is wrong. In actual fact, Conservative Party candidates spent Conservative money on Conservative ads. The national party transferred funds to local candidates. The reason why Elections Canada knows about it is that we told them. Why not? It is legal, it is ethical and all the parties do it on a regular basis. We have defended our case before the courts and will continue to do so.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is taxpayers' money and that party stole it.

For the past five years the Conservative motto has been abuse, cheat and scheme, that the ends justify the means. And if one gets caught, use a low level staffer as a scapegoat.

The latest example is one of the worst. The minister instructed his staff to use his letterhead and government resources for purely partisan political purposes, which is completely illegal. His pathetic justification? He would normally be responsible but he was not physically present when the letter was written; therefore, he is not responsible This passes the bounds of hypocrisy even for a Conservative.

The minister is responsible for these illegal acts. When will he resign?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Actually, Mr. Speaker, that is the opposite of what happened.

I was leaving to go overseas and I asked a staff member to pass on to caucus colleagues some information, specifically saying not to use government resources in doing so. It is why, unlike the member for Edmonton—Strathcona, who uses her parliamentary email account for partisan messages, I have my own personal political letterhead that we use for these purposes. It ought to have been used in this instance; it was not. That was inappropriate, which is why the staff member in question offered his resignation, which I accepted.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the senior staffer was fired just because he was caught.

This was a scheme organized by the minister of immigration to exploit immigrant communities. The minister has been doing much of this fundraising himself, abusing his power as the minister.

How many organizations hoping to get funding or some special favours were hit up for donations? Who else has he shaken down?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our record and of communicating our record to new Canadians.

I want to emphasize that even just last night, I attended a fundraising event for the Conservative Party that was attended by more than 800 proud Canadians from diverse backgrounds. They were there to contribute of their own free will to the Conservative Party precisely so that we can communicate our message about how we finally have a government that reflects and fights for the values and aspirations of new Canadians who believe in entrepreneurship, in opportunity, and believe in this government.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, in the riding of Malpeque, the Conservatives used the in and out scam to funnel money to use for national ads, overspent the limit and tried to buy the election. Bad enough.

Now we know that other ridings in Atlantic Canada not only used this scam but have already received refunds for it, in Halifax and in Humber, Newfoundland.

Will the Prime Minister order these two Conservative riding associations to pay back the thousands of dollars they owe Canadians in dirty money?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, these ridings and, indeed, the entire Conservative Party followed all of the rules. Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising.

What is interesting is that we still do not have any questions from the Liberal Party on jobs. Why? It is because our economic action plan has created 460,000 of them. There are no questions on unemployment. Why? Unemployment in Canada is two percentage points lower than in the United States for the first time in a generation. There are none on the economy, because we have had six consecutive quarters of economic growth in Canada. There are none on savings, because five million Canadians have opened up Conservative-created tax-free savings accounts.

We are getting the job done.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, could the parliamentary secretary get to answering the question?

The audacity of the government is simply astounding. No one is better at saying one thing and doing another than the super cop from Vaughan.

This month is fraud prevention month. The slogan is: “Recognize it, Report it, Stop it”. Meanwhile in Vaughan, where tens of thousands of dollars were used to commit election fraud, the new MP praises fraud prevention.

Will the member do the right thing and tell the Conservative regime to repay the dirty money?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, if the members continue to ask the same question, they will continue to get the same answers.

Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising. The national party transferred funds to local candidates. The reason Elections Canada knows it is because we told them, and why would we not? It is legal, ethical and common practice amongst all political parties.

We have taken Elections Canada to court because we have followed the rules, and we will continue to pursue our case in front of the courts.

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is already shameful enough that the Conservatives cheated our electoral process by committing electoral fraud in 67 ridings to the tune of more than $1 million. To add insult to injury, the Conservatives had the gall to make taxpayers repay the bogus expenses.

Will the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs give taxpayers back the thousands of dollars that she received fraudulently?

Political FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.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 did transfer funds to the local campaigns.

The reason Elections Canada knows that is because we told them and why would we not? It is legal, ethical and common practice amongst all political parties.

Elections Canada singled us out, so we took them to court. We will continue to pursue our case in front of the courts.