This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #175 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was panama.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's guide also says that ministers must stand and be accountable for themselves to Canadians but, still, nothing from the minister.

The last election was also tarnished by voter suppression from that party. The Minister of National Defence stood in this House and said that the culprit had been caught. Michael Sona's name was leaked and he was thrown under the bus.

Who in government leaked the name? Was it a Prime Minister's office staffer or a ministerial staffer? What evidence did the minister have in leaking the name? Who is next to be thrown under the bus by the government?

EthicsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. The Conservative Party of Canada ran a clean and ethical campaign and it was not involved in any voter suppression.

Obviously, we are all concerned about what took place in the riding of Guelph, which is why we are working with Elections Canada on this important issue. We do know that one conviction has been rendered about robocalls and breaking the law, and that, of course, was by the Liberal campaign that has been convicted and fined for breaking the law, as it properly should be.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

November 2nd, 2012 / 11:20 a.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives did not hesitate to throw Michael Sona to the wolves in the Guelph robocalls case. Since then, we have not heard a thing. But yesterday we learned from CBC that Andrew Prescott, a Guelph campaign worker, was identified as the individual who downloaded the voter data that was used to commit this fraud.

Can the Conservatives confirm that it was indeed Andrew Prescott who had access to this data and that they have handed over the information about this individual to Elections Canada?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our party is working directly with Elections Canada to get all the facts and identify the individuals associated with the allegations about the situation in Guelph.

I find it ironic that the New Democratic Party is rising in the House to condemn these violations of the act, when the NDP accepted $340,000 in illegal union donations.

The member should rise and provide an explanation.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, such an absurd response to a serious question shows some disturbing and tacit complicity on the part of the Conservatives.

Elections Canada has been investigating these fraudulent calls for a year and a half now. This is the worst fraud in Canada's election history, and yet no charges have been laid. If Elections Canada had more power, then perhaps this would have already been sorted out. The NDP had a motion on this subject adopted last spring, but the Conservatives are still dragging their feet.

Why are they not fulfilling their promise to give Elections Canada more investigative power?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, I think what is disturbing to all Canadians is that the NDP accepted $340,000 in illegal donations. This is a concern. It is for that reason that we are bringing forth a comprehensive proposal and that proposal will be brought forward in due course.

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, “We will put an end to the influence of big money in federal political parties by banning corporate contributions”. Do members know who said that? The Prime Minister said that. Do members know who brazenly broke that rule? The member for Labrador broke the rule. Not only did he take a corporate gift of $17,000 in free air travel, but he took a corporate cheque of $5,500 from Pennecon.

After this slap in the face to the Prime Minister's own law, why is that minister still in cabinet?

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said, there is a new official agent in place who is working with Elections Canada on this important issue.

I can say that the minister directed his campaign officials not to accept either corporate or union donations. We believe that is very important. We are the government and the party that got rid of the influence of big money in politics.

Let us look at the Liberals' record in this. They have four senior Liberals, including one on their front bench, who are in violation of the laws that this government brought in for disguising large donations as loans. When will they come clean with Canadians?

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is more pretending than defending. What he knows and what Canadians know is that the only party that has been convicted under the Elections Act is the Conservative Party and it has paid back a $52,000 settlement. I am not sure if the member for Labrador will avoid such a conviction.

Yesterday, Tom Flanagan, the former chief of staff for the Prime Minister, said that the minister had no choice but to step out of cabinet for so clearly breaking the laws. With over 20% in overspending that we know of, and now the corporate cheque scandal, when will that minister step down?

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals standing in judgment on campaign finance reform is almost like Colonel Sanders standing in judgment of chickens.

The minister made specific instructions to his campaign officials not to accept corporate donations. However, is it not funny that, despite the efforts of the member for Medicine Hat and many of us, the Liberal Party has yet to return the $40 million that went missing from Canadians? Why does the member for Cape Breton—Canso not put his focus and attention on that?

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said—and I am paraphrasing here—that the government would put an end to the influence of money in federal politics by banning corporate contributions. Now one of his ministers, the member for Labrador, has brazenly broken the law. He accepted over $5,000 in illegal donations, as well as $17,000 in free air travel.

After such an affront to our democracy, why is he still a minister?

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there is a new official agent in place to address all of the issues related to the last election in Labrador. I will gladly defend my minister and I am happy to work with him. He is a man of integrity.

I would add that it is the Liberal Party that still has $400,000 in loans that have become illegal donations to the Liberal leadership candidate. If he cares so much about the law, perhaps he should answer to that.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are all too aware that our correctional system is failing women with mental health problems. One-third of women offenders struggle with mental health issues and 50% have a history of self-harm and yet there is no programming for women who self-injure.

The correctional investigator report laid out clear recommendations to address this failure in the system. Will the minister commit to implementing these recommendations? Refusal to do so would surely result in more cases like the Ashley Smith case.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the very sad case of Ashley Smith shows all of us that individuals with mental health issues need to be in professional facilities, not prisons.

Our government has taken concrete steps and CSC has implemented a mental health strategy. We will continue to support the work that CSC does in addressing mental health issues. We have invested and we will continue to invest. However, at the end of the day, I think we all agree that individuals with mental health issues should be treated in hospitals and in professional facilities.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, this issue cannot simply be ignored. Treatment for mental health issues should be available for all women offenders during their incarceration.

The correctional investigator discovered that only 12% of women offenders were entitled to the mental health assistance program. In addition, 35% of those offenders are currently on waiting lists. In 2011, the assistance program accounted for only 1.8% of the prison budget.

Will the minister ensure that Correctional Service Canada has the resources needed to provide adequate assistance programs to women offenders?

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, our government continues to take concrete steps on the issue of mental health in prisons. Since 2006, we have invested nearly $90 million in mental health for prisoners, as well as training over 8,000 front-line staff at CSC.

We recognize this need. We also recognize, as all of us do, that people with mental health illnesses should be treated in professional facilities before they reach the correctional system.

However, it is important to recognize the investments that we have made and the steps that we have taken.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the monster budget bill was released, many in my community were shocked to find that no bodies of water on Vancouver Island would be protected. Seventy per cent of all protected lakes come from Ontario ridings, mainly held by Conservatives.

Why are the Conservatives protecting lakes of the rich and famous but casting off important wild salmon rivers and fisheries, like the Cowichan River and the Salmon River?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, the Navigable Waters Protection Act is an act respecting the protection of the public to navigate. It is not an environmental piece of legislation. I do not know how many times we have to say this. There are other ways of protecting the bodies of water that the member pointed out.

Navigation, period. That is all it does. The changes that we have made have been widely applauded right across the country.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, only the Conservatives claim the Navigable Waters Protection Act has nothing to do with protecting the environment. The facts are just not on their side. When an owner deserts a vessel, Transport Canada has the authority to declare that boat a wreck and have it removed. However, after the Conservatives gut this act, those rules will no longer apply to most inland waters.

Why are the Conservatives abandoning their responsibilities to Canadians and leaving local communities on the hook?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, the premise of that question is wrong. There will always be common law that would apply to all waterways throughout the country. This is really dealing with the large waterways where scientifically empirical evidence demonstrates that having a Navigable Waters Protection Act helps.

The other issue the member raises is completely false.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives can play that broken record all they want, but their gutting of the Navigable Waters Protection Act is an unbelievable affront to Quebec.

How is it possible that the President of the Treasury Board's riding has three times as many protected lakes as all of Quebec? The minister claims that that has nothing to do with partisanship. He is taking us for fools.

Why not treat Quebec's waterways the same way as those of their Conservative friends? Why go after Quebec's water supply?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I will explain. Environmental laws protect the environment, including water; the Fisheries Act protects the fisheries; and the Navigable Waters Protection Act protects navigation.

Unfortunately, as it stands right now, 98% of the projects covered by the latter have nothing to do with navigation. That is why the municipalities asked us to change and improve it.

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' futile fight with the Parliamentary Budget Officer is the umpteenth example of their obsession with secrecy and backroom decision-making with no transparency. Billions of dollars in services are being eliminated, but the Conservatives are refusing to provide information about the cuts.

What are they trying to hide: the dollar value of the looting, the number of jobs lost, the impact on services to Canadians?

Why are they hiding this information?

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the contrary. We continue to provide information to the budget officer, as we have done in the past. We do so now. We will do so in the future. We have given information according to statutory obligations to the House through our quarterly financial reports, estimates and other means. We will continue to do so in the future.

Parliamentary Budget OfficerOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's secrecy is deeply disturbing. The Conservatives have broken the promise that got them elected: more openness and more accountability. They are refusing to share information with the Parliamentary Budget Officer and with Canadians. They will not say how many jobs are being eliminated or what services are being cut. Day after day, ministers rise and simply refuse to explain their cuts.

Why are they hiding the impacts of budget cuts amounting to billions of dollars?