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 #90 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

EducationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to highlight a serious crisis in public education in Canada.

As I speak, there is a province-wide job action by teachers in British Columbia. Thousands of women and men who teach our children feel so strongly about the erosion of standards in our classrooms that they have taken the ultimate step of withdrawing their services. They have good reasons for doing so.

Class sizes are excessive. Special needs children are not getting the attention they deserve. School boards are cutting teachers, librarians, ESL specialists and programs of all types. While provincial Liberals and federal Conservatives spend billions on corporate tax cuts, convention centres, stadium roofs and prison cells, they say they have no money for the people who instruct our children.

We New Democrats stand in full support of all Canadian teachers. They deserve fair compensation and our respect for the valuable work they do. We know that a strong education system is the cornerstone of a sound economy and a fair society.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

March 6th, 2012 / 2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last week, when I asked the Prime Minister questions about fraudulent calls, he said, “...only the Liberal Party made such calls from the United States” via American companies. We know that this is not true and that the Conservative Party also used American companies.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he was wrong? Will he admit that the Conservatives made fraudulent calls?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I gave clear answers about the Conservative Party of Canada's activities. Since the beginning, all of our information has been made available to Elections Canada. Now it is time for the opposition, which spent millions of dollars on hundreds of thousands of phone calls, to turn its information over to Elections Canada.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister also said that the calls in question were made by the Conservative Party to its supporters. It makes no sense that the party would have called its supporters to notify them of phantom location changes.

And were the bills for those calls also phantom bills? They were not even declared.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think I just answered that question.

Of course I answered questions very clearly about the activities of the Conservative Party of Canada. Those calls are all very well documented. All that documentation is available to Elections Canada, and has been available since the beginning.

What is not available is all of the information that is coming from the opposition, the NDP in particular. There is a complete lack of transparency on the hundreds of thousands of calls that they made. They should give that information to Elections Canada.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that 35,000 contacts to Elections Canada is a frame.

A Conservative MP blamed Elections Canada for illegal calling. The Prime Minister's very own parliamentary secretary says that all calls were from the Liberals. RMG, Campaign Research, RackNine, are these Liberal companies?

The Conservative Party paid them, even though the bills have not been reported. RackNine also got a cheque from the Government of Canada. Does the Prime Minister know why? Can he answer this—

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The right hon. Prime Minister.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is a serious report of a non-reporting of an expense in Guelph. That is a matter in which the Conservative Party is helping Elections Canada with the investigation.

In terms of the Conservative Party of Canada and its national campaign, all of those calls are recorded; they are all reported. We have documentation on all of them. Those are available to Elections Canada.

What remains unavailable is the substance of the NDP's allegation and the information on its own activities. It should provide that information.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we do not know who paid RackNine to make the phony calls into Guelph, because they do not show up on the Conservative campaign expenses.

We do know that somebody else shows up, the Responsive Marketing Group, RMG, for $15,000. Yesterday the government refused to tell us what business contacts it has had with RackNine.

Will it tell us today what business the Government of Canada has done with RMG, the Responsive Marketing Group? What services has it purchased? Which government departments? Were they tendered or sole-source contracts? What is the total dollar value—

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

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, let us be clear. These exaggerated allegations demean millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election.

The opposition paid millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls. Before continuing these baseless smears, they should prove that their own callers are not behind these reports.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we know that the links between the Conservatives and RMG run long and deep. In fact Conservative bon vivant Tom Flanagan credits them with their 2006 campaign victory.

We also know that the Mike Harris government showered many lucrative contracts on RMG. Members have to admit that the front bench of the government looks eerily like the Mike Harris government.

We do not want any smartass gibberish from the member for Peterborough. We have had enough of that. We want to know the full extent of the—

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I do not know if that kind of language is helpful in the exchange.

Order. Order.

I appreciate all of the assistance. If the hon. member wants to rephrase that aspect of his question and stay away from that type of language, I will let him finish putting it.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will simply ask, what is the full extent of the relationship between the Government of Canada and RMG, or any of their subsidiaries or their American parent company Xentel?

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, when the member makes comments like that, he does not just demean this House but is in fact demeaning the millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election.

The opposition paid millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls. Before continuing these baseless smears, the baseless smears the member is making again right now, they should prove that their own callers are not in fact behind these reports.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if getting the same answer twice qualifies as a robo-answer.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister a very simple question. Since the premise of a great deal of what goes on is that we need to follow the money, and the Prime Minister himself has said there is a need to follow the money with respect to what happened in Guelph, can the Prime Minister please explain to us why the Conservative members on a committee refused to give the Chief Electoral Officer the powers that he was asking for with respect to doing audits and getting a hold of financial information from political parties?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, we have been very clear from the beginning. We have been assisting Elections Canada with any information it requires in this matter. We consider the activities that apparently took place in Guelph to be totally unacceptable, and we want to see that matter investigated and solved.

At the same time, the Liberal Party has now made all kinds of allegations, frankly, that appear to be about its own calls into ridings. It should provide Elections Canada with the information on its own calls.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a hard time understanding the Prime Minister when he says that, as the leader of the Conservative Party, he wants to ensure that Elections Canada has all the facts. While that is what he says in the House of Commons, the Conservative Party is adopting a completely different position in committee. It refuses to give Elections Canada the additional powers the agency says it needs. Why? The question is simple.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, in this case, all Conservative Party documentation is available. That is not the case with the opposition. The opposition has made allegations, but to date, it has not turned any information over to Elections Canada, and it needs to do so.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, with great respect, the Prime Minister has simply not answered the question.

The Chief Electoral Officer has asked for additional powers with respect to the Elections Act. We approved of those additional powers. The New Democratic Party approved of those additional powers. The Conservative Party refused to give him those powers.

Why would the Conservative Party refuse to give powers to an officer of Parliament who is seeking to look at the electoral process in this country? What are they afraid of?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, as we have repeatedly said, and of course as we have said to Elections Canada, all of the information on this matter that we have is all very well documented by the party and is all available to Elections Canada.

The real question here is why the leader of the Liberal Party would make allegations about calls purporting to come from Liberals without checking his own records and providing those to Elections Canada? Why is he afraid to do that?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the government is scrambling to divert attention from electoral fraud.

First they blamed the kid in Guelph. Then they blamed Elections Canada. Now they are blaming the other parties, when they are the only party being investigated. The fact is that only the Conservatives, or in fact a dozen ridings, hired RackNine and RMG and only the Conservatives tried to keep payments to RackNine a secret from Elections Canada. Keeping payments secret, that is what crooks do.

Why did the Conservatives try to mislead Elections Canada?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

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

Of course, Mr. Speaker, we have done no such thing. We are in fact assisting Elections Canada. This member knows that full well.

These exaggerated allegations demean millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election. The opposition paid millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls. Before continuing these baseless smears, it should prove that its own callers are not in fact behind these reports.