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House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jobs.

Topics

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we are providing information. I must remind the Prime Minister that it is only the Conservative Party that is being investigated for election fraud, again I might add.

In the last election, 94 Conservative campaigns filed that they had made payments to RMG. In 48 of those, it was the same amount, $15,000. So we know the Conservative Party gave massive amounts of money to RMG but what about the contracts with the Conservative government? What is the full extent of the relationship between the government and RMG? What government departments gave it contracts? What were the services rendered? Were those tendered or sole source and what was the dollar value?

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

Mr. Speaker, we know that because of the transparency that the Conservative Party has provided in this regard. We are assisting Elections Canada with this matter. What we also know is that the opposition paid millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls.

Before continuing with these baseless smears, the opposition members should prove that their own callers are not behind these reports. These exaggerated allegations demean millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, as they say, the member's response should not be dismissed lightly. It should be dismissed with great force and with ridicule and derision because his answers get more absurd with each passing day.

The people have a right to know if their government is giving sweetheart contracts to a very shady company with very strong Conservative ties. RMG and its parent company have been involved in bilking charities, violating do-not-call lists and selling fake memberships. Did it also give RackNine the money to make these phony phone calls and carpet bomb the country with lies, trying to deceive people from their right to vote. We have a right to know what contracts it has with RMG.

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, those outrageous and exaggerated allegations made by the member opposite 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, presumably for the NDP under the column “miscellaneous”. Before continuing these baseless smears, it should prove its own callers are not behind these reports.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has referred to the people working at Elections Canada as “jackasses”. He has fought against limits on private spending in the lawsuit of the Prime Minister versus Canada. He lost to the rule of law on the in and out, which required him to make an enormous payment to Elections Canada just yesterday.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Is it not this ideological opposition to effective regulation that is behind his willingness to continue shackling the Chief Electoral Officer and refusing to give the Chief Electoral Officer the same powers as every other officer has in every province?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Not at all, Mr. Speaker. I am unaware of Elections Canada claiming that it does not have the authority or resources to investigate this matter as it should.

In fact, we have said repeatedly, from the very beginning of this particular matter, that we are sharing all information with Elections Canada, in particular to try to ascertain precisely who did what in Guelph.

I would encourage the Liberal Party to be as transparent with its information.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can hardly believe the Prime Minister was not aware that the Chief Electoral Officer asked for additional powers. He did so in a submission to the committee. The Conservative Party refused to grant him those powers. The Conservatives called the people at Elections Canada “jackasses”. They said that they fought against limits on private spending in elections.

Does not this same ideological approach on the part of the Prime Minister explain his reaction to the Chief Electoral Officer's specific request of Parliament?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, the committee selected an option proposed by Elections Canada. Since the beginning of this matter, we have made all of our information available to Elections Canada so that it can find out what happened in Guelph. This is a very serious matter, and we want to know who was behind it.

At the same time, the Liberal Party, which made both allegations and problematic phone calls, must turn its information over to Elections Canada.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the same ideological rigidity that the government is taking with respect to the work of the Chief Electoral Officer that perhaps explains the extraordinary answers that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans gave yesterday to the real attack that is under way now on the inshore fishery in eastern Canada.

This is an issue that speaks directly to the well-being of literally thousands of people whose livelihoods have been maintained by having an effective regulation of their ability to own licences and to keep off the corporate forces.

Why are you abandoning the inshore fishery, the way of life and the communities—

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will once again remind hon. members to direct their comments through the Chair and not directly at ministers.

The hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, of course we are interested in the words of Canadians and the thoughts of Canadians with regard to the modernization of the fishery and we will proceed in that manner.

I would like to read something that came out this week. It states, “I congratulate the minister for holding that type of discussion. We must always be willing to evaluate our policies and see whether we are meeting the needs of today and tomorrow”.

Do members know who said that? It was said by the former minister of fisheries, Robert Thibault.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

March 7th, 2012 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Conservatives finally decided to drop their appeal to the Supreme Court in the famous in and out scandal.

They are guilty of spending $1.3 million over the maximum allowed under the Canada Elections Act, yet they still tried to hit up taxpayers for $800,000. The upshot? They now have to pay back $230,000.

The timing on this is very interesting. They were suspected of committing the in and out fraud with their friends from RMG, so now they are trying to sweep this embarrassing matter under the rug.

In light of their guilty plea, will they finally co-operate with Elections Canada to shed some light on what happened in Quebec last spring?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this is a question of a long-standing administrative dispute with Elections Canada regarding the issue of whether certain expenses should be counted as local expenses or national expenses. The Conservative Party of Canada obeys the same rules as everyone else. We acted in accordance with the interpretation of the law at that time. In that regard, Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this was not an administrative dispute. The Conservatives have to pay $230,000 because they are guilty of breaking the Elections Act and of having filed false reports in order to get more money out of Canadian taxpayers' pockets.

The in and out system used in that election is strangely similar to what happened in the province of Quebec last spring with another in and out scheme.

Thousands of dollars in mysterious payments were made to RMG in several ridings in Quebec. What was that money for? Where did it come from? Where did it go? Why? The defeated Conservative candidates do not know. Neither do we. Will the Conservatives' Quebec lieutenant finally enlighten us and tell us what happened?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the article to which the hon. member referred is wrong regarding this particular issue. Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising. We followed all the rules based on the interpretation of the day and this administrative dispute has now been resolved.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is only one party in this House that has been busted for electoral fraud. The Conservatives tried to bilk the taxpayers out of $800,000 with their dodgy election filings in 2006. They were busted and forced to cop a plea and after years of stalling justice, they have had to pay the taxpayers $230,000.

Canadians are looking for a bit of contrition, just like in this robo fraud scandal. Now that the investigation is widening, will the Conservatives stop playing games and come clean about their role in interfering with the rights of Canadians to vote?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, before continuing these baseless smears, those members should prove that their own callers are not behind these reports. These exaggerated allegations by the member demean millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election. The opposition, in fact, paid millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls. We believe they are the source of these reports.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary sure is a trooper. He will read whatever lines the PMO gives him. However, when it comes to robo fraud, his attacks are about as effective as the black knight from the Monty Python sketch. This would be funny if it were not so serious. We are talking about an investigation into electoral fraud in Nipissing—Timiskaming, Kingston, Guelph, and Thunder Bay.

Does he not understand that his exaggerated prevarications demean the millions of Canadian people who cast legitimate votes in the last election?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 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 not a joke. The member is making exaggerated allegations for which he has absolutely no evidence. These are unsubstantiated smears being made by the member, and these exaggerated allegations do, in fact, demean millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election.

Before continuing these baseless smears, the opposition should prove that its own callers are not behind these reports.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are the only ones under investigation. They are the only ones who have pleaded guilty to electoral fraud. The in and out scheme is further proof that Elections Canada needs to be given the authority to demand all the documents it needs for its investigations.

If Elections Canada had had such authority in 2006, the Conservatives would have been forced to admit their guilt in the in and out scandal much sooner. The Conservatives were indeed guilty.

Are they going to support our motion to give more power to Elections Canada in order to start restoring a bit a confidence in our democratic system?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Conservative candidates spent Conservative money on Conservative ads. There was an administrative dispute between the party and Elections Canada in terms of who was responsible for the expenses. Were they local or national expenses? The matter has now been resolved fairly.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Chief Electoral Officer says that using external auditors to conduct compliance audits, as the Conservatives want, would increase costs for political parties and there is still no guarantee it is even doable. However, the Chief Electoral Officer believes his preferred option would “substantially enhance transparency and accountability”.

We in the NDP support enhanced transparency and accountability. Why do the Conservatives not?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 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 we support transparency. We have indicated to Elections Canada that we will assist it and provide any documents it is requesting.

Let us be clear. The opposition has undertaken exaggerated allegations in the House that demean millions of voters who cast legitimate votes in the last election. We know that the opposition paid millions of dollars to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls. Before those members continue these baseless smears, they should prove their own callers are not behind these reports.

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to drug shortages, the Conservatives are failing to provide transparency. Canadians deserve better.

We have a drug shortage crisis and hospitals still do not have a clear picture of what is going on. The drug manufacturer, Sandoz, will not say which drugs are in short supply, and all we hear from the minister is “Don't worry”. Well, patients are worried. Surgeries are being cancelled and intensive care is being compromised.

What immediate action is the minister taking to alleviate this crisis?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, we have been working around the clock to provide support to the provinces and the territories as we are keenly aware of how important this is to families and friends.

I want to be very clear that the shortage has been created largely by the decision of the provinces and territories to pick a sole source supplier, and that supplier cannot provide the drugs now. As health minister, I am taking action to help the provinces and territories address this. I have provided to them a list of drug companies in Canada that are already approved to make the--