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House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was literacy.

Topics

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, I had the privilege of travelling to St. John's and Halifax with the veterans affairs committee to study the delivery of front line health and well-being services to our Canadian vets. We heard from Jim Lowther and David MacLeod about the unacceptable and preventable tragedy of homeless veterans.

The very least that presenters should have from elected officials is a respectful and attentive ear. After all, is the goal not to ensure that the heroes who served our country so faithfully receive the care and help they need?

I was appalled by the disrespect and inattention of committee members on the government side. Sleeping was not the only affront. Others laughed inappropriately or wandered in and out of the room with more attention to a Blackberry than to the people who had taken their time to come out and speak.

A late and grudging apology just does not cut it. Our veterans and all Canadians deserve better. After witnessing what I did last week, I wonder what action the Conservatives will take to honour all of our veterans--

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Prince George—Peace River.

Liberal Party of British ColumbiaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend's Vancouver Province described a photo of the interim Liberal leader and Liberal loyalist, Jaspal Atwal.

I will share with the House the rap sheet on Mr. Atwal. Mr. Atwal was convicted of the attempted murder of Malkiat Singh Sidhu in 1986. He even admitted to pulling the trigger. He was also charged with the beating of former Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh in 1985. Someone should tell Terry Milewski at CBC.

I wonder what Mr. Dosanjh thinks about the interim Liberal leader being photographed with Mr. Atwal.

Mr. Atwal's Liberal connections run even deeper. In the 2011 election campaign, he helped bankroll the Liberal Party's campaign in Fleetwood—Port Kells. Is the interim Liberal leader going to defend his friend, Jaspal Atwal? Is the interim Liberal leader now so focused on the relentless pursuit of power that he will associate with anyone for an easy vote, even a convicted criminal like Jaspal Atwal?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like to give this government the opportunity to set the record straight with regard to the fraudulent phone calls. Last week, the Prime Minister stated that only the Liberal Party made such calls from the United States. Now, we have learned that the Conservative Party also made calls from the United States and that it used American companies.

Will the Prime Minister and the government apologize for misleading Canadians?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, a number of things are clear: the opposition cannot accept the results of the last election. The Liberals paid millions of dollars to make calls to hundreds of thousands of voters, and they hired American companies to make many of those calls. Now, the members of the opposition are trying to make exaggerated and unfounded claims to explain why Canadians did not vote for them in the last election.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this government must stop blaming others, take responsibility for once and shed some light on this scandal.

The Prime Minister said that the calls in question were calls that the Conservative Party of Canada made to its supporters, calls to inform people of changes in polling stations. However, there were no changes in polling stations in most of the ridings.

Can the Prime Minister and his government explain this today?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has not provided any evidence to support her allegations. They are exaggerated and unfounded claims that demean the millions of voters who exercised their right to vote during the election. Voters, Canadians, gave us a very strong mandate. That is democracy. That is reality. The opposition should learn to accept it.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Conservatives said they never used U.S. companies, but that is not true and we know it now. Calls were made telling voters about polling station changes in ridings where there were none. Thirty-one thousand individuals contacted Elections Canada. That is the reality.

Now Conservative MPs are blaming Elections Canada for this mess. Does the government realize Canadians are losing confidence in this process? Do you care?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would just remind the hon. member to address her comments to the Chair, not directly at her colleagues.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm to the Leader of the Opposition that the speaker cares deeply.

I would also say to the Leader of the Opposition that what the Prime Minister said last week was absolutely 100% accurate. The Conservative Party and our callers were all out of Canada; all the calls came from Canada. What the member is alleging is absolutely false. The stories were in fact false. No voter ID calls were made from the U.S. on behalf of the Conservative Party.

What we can also say is that the Liberal Party paid millions of dollars to contact hundreds of thousands of voters right across the country. It appears it may have given them some wrong information.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am holding a picture from the website of RackNine owner Matt Meier holding a Government of Canada cheque that says “for some services rendered”. The only problem is there is no public record of this payment to RackNine.

I ask the government, what exactly were the services rendered by RackNine to the Conservative government and which government departments? Were these tendered contracts or sole-sourced contracts? Will the government table in the House all records of all invoices and contracts between the Government of Canada, any department, and RackNine?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, of course, the member may have some issues with RackNine and they may be personal issues.

What we can say very clearly is the opposition is having a very difficult time accepting the results of the last election. What we know, and these are the facts, is the Liberal Party paid millions of dollars to contact hundreds of thousands, I would argue probably millions, of voters right across the country. It appears it may have given them some incorrect information.

These exaggerated allegations demean the voters of this country.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, another photo from Matt's website shows an impressive stack of servers that he calls his political superweapon.

We know the Conservative Party paid for the services of this political superweapon during the last general election, because we have the invoices for that, but why would the Conservative government be buying the services of a political superweapon?

Why would Canadian tax dollars be going to hire a high tech political superweapon, and who did the government intend to use that political superweapon against?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party does in fact have a political superweapon. He is from the riding of Whitby—Oshawa. He is the Minister of Finance of this country.

He has led this country through one of the most challenging economic circumstances that we have ever witnessed, and he has done so in a fashion that Canadians from coast to coast to coast have endorsed. That is why so many voters voted in support of the Conservative Party.

What is clear and factual in this case is that the Liberals spent millions of dollars to contact hundreds of thousands of Canadians, and it appears they may have given them some incorrect information.

Phone Calls to Mount Royal ConstituencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, one thing we do know for certain is that after the election there was a poll taken in the riding of the member for Mount Royal by Campaign Research Inc., in which it was said that the member for Mount Royal was in fact stepping down.

The Speaker of the House in ruling on that question said that the taking of that poll, which was apparently authorized by the Conservative Party, was reprehensible. Does the government agree that in fact that tactic is reprehensible?

Phone Calls to Mount Royal ConstituencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

What is reprehensible, Mr. Speaker, is that the opposition, specifically the Liberal Party, is having a very hard time accepting the results of the last election.

It is very clear and it is a fact that the Liberal Party and its riding associations spent millions of dollars to contact hundreds of thousands of households across this country. It appears that they were probably given some incorrect information.

The exaggerated allegations of the member opposite demean the millions of voters who cast their ballots in elections right across this country.

Phone Calls to Mount Royal ConstituencyOral Questions

March 5th, 2012 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that after the election, in the riding of the hon. member for Mount Royal, calls were made that were authorized directly by the Conservative Party. The Speaker of the House described those tactics as reprehensible.

I will ask the question again: is the government prepared to accept the Speaker's ruling and recognize that in fact those tactics are reprehensible?

Phone Calls to Mount Royal ConstituencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the real question is whether the Liberal Party is prepared to accept the results that Canadians handed them in the election. Canadians voted in very large numbers—there was an increase in voter turnout—to reject the Liberal Party as never before. The Liberal Party is now trying to come up with explanations for its extraordinary defeat.

It has to accept the results. It has to accept democracy. That is what we are doing.

Phone Calls to Mount Royal ConstituencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cannot even answer an interesting, clear, factual question.

A poll was commissioned by the Conservative Party. The Conservative candidate said, “It was not me; it was the party”. The government House leader said, “It is okay; it is just free speech”, and the Speaker of the House said, “It is reprehensible”.

I am asking the Government of Canada a very simple and direct question: Does it agree with the Speaker of the House that such a tactic, spreading false information, carrying out a poll based on a false assumption, is reprehensible? Does the government agree with that, yes or no?

Phone Calls to Mount Royal ConstituencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is reprehensible to make baseless, unsubstantiated smears in this House. That is what the leader of the Liberal Party has undertaken for more than the past week.

The leader of the Liberal Party knows full well every household that they called, every originating phone number they called them from, and in fact when those calls were made. When will he make those phone records public, because I believe when those phone records are made public, the Liberal Party will have fingered itself for each and every one of the calls that they allege took place.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, I asked the Conservatives to explain the new in and out scheme carried out by RMG to fund calls of an indeterminate nature. The answer I got was a bizarre rambling commentary about the Liberals and North Dakota that had nothing to do with anything. What we know is that the defeated candidate in Chicoutimi—Le Fjord said, “I can't really say if I got my money’s worth or not.”

We want to know what that money was used for, where the calls were made, and whether the RCMP are going to have to raid the Conservative Party offices again to find out the truth.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should not be giving us noise instead of facts, but that is what he does every time he rises in the House. The fact is that the Liberal Party spent millions of dollars on hundreds of thousands of calls. Now the Liberal Party needs to explain what those calls were about.

Making unfounded allegations will not change the outcome of the election.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not remember asking a question about the Liberal Party.

This reminds me of the in and out scandal. They denied their involvement until they had no choice but to admit their guilt and pay the maximum fine, so they should be careful with their answers.

It did not take long for another failed candidate to confirm that he had nothing to do with the RMG contract. The Conservative candidate for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques' campaign was nothing but a mailbox for RMG bills.

Why did these Quebec ridings pay RMG for services they did not receive, and whose purposes did their money serve?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, these unfounded and exaggerated allegations are an attempt to downplay Canadians' historic participation in the last election. Canadians gave us a strong mandate to manage the economy, create jobs and protect national security.

Canadians made a democratic decision, and the opposition cannot erase that by making false, baseless accusations.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, deny, blame, change the channel; every day the Conservatives come up with a new story to divert attention away from Conservative election fraud. The problem is their story is starting to stumble on itself.

Early last week, it was the kid from Guelph. Then the Prime Minister told us it was Liberal call centres in the United States and the Conservatives had never hired any call centres, which was false. Now we find that the Conservative Party thinks it is Elections Canada that was behind robo fraud.

What is it this week? Do they now agree with the member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, that Elections Canada is trying to make the government look bad? Who is it?