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House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was elections.

Topics

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Foreign Affairs completed a historic visit to Burma, the first of its kind. While there, he met with several high-ranking members of the government, including the president and foreign minister. They discussed the latest developments in human rights and democracy, the situation of ethnic minorities and Canada's hope for a better and brighter Burma.

As the world celebrated International Women's Day, the minister also had a great opportunity to meet with the Nobel laureate, honorary Canadian citizen and one of Burma's great champions of change, Aung San Suu Kyi. Canada has been a strong opponent of her oppression in Burma, and while several very positive steps have been taken, we hope that the progress to date will continue to lead to further reform. Change must be sustained so that the aspiration for a better and brighter future for the Burmese people is realized by all.

World Kidney DayStatements By Members

March 8th, 2012 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Kidney Day. This year's theme is transplantation. We recall, just a few months ago, when this House took note of the importance of encouraging more Canadians to fill out organ donation cards.

The aim of World Kidney Day is to raise awareness of the importance of kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide. An estimated 2.6 million Canadians have kidney disease or are at risk of it. The number of Canadians treated for kidney failure has tripled over the last 20 years. Nearly 80% of the over 4,300 Canadians on the waiting list for organ transplantation are waiting for a kidney. In 2010, a third of the people who died while waiting for organs were waiting for a kidney.

Yet Canada remains one of the only industrialized countries without a national system to support organ donation and transplantation. Together we can make a difference. People should let their families know their wishes and fill out their organ donation cards. Save a life.

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, freedom of religion is something that is enjoyed by all Canadians. Canadians practise whichever religion they choose without fear of oppression or silencing by those who disagree with them. Unfortunately, this freedom is not enjoyed throughout the world.

March 2 marked one year since the horrific murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's minister of minority affairs. On March 2, 2011, Minister Bhatti was assassinated by gunmen who ambushed his car in broad daylight. Mr. Bhatti was the only Christian member of Pakistan's cabinet and was assassinated for his strong criticism of Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Canadians and the supporters of religious freedoms around the world join with International Christian Voice and Shahbaz Bhatti's Canadian brother, Peter, to ensure that his vision will continue. Tragedies like the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti are what prompted our government to establish the Office of Religious Freedom. Our Conservative government is committed to protecting and defending the rights of religious minorities and monitoring the right to freedom of religion. The Office of Religious Freedom will reflect our commitment to promoting and protecting—

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.

International Women's DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, International Women's Day is a remarkable time when the world stops to remember and celebrate.

I have spent my life defending women's right to pay equity, maternity leave and work-life balance. That is why I am so proud to be leading a party that fights every day for gender equality. I am proud that the NDP caucus has the largest proportion of women in Canadian history. Together, the New Democrats fight for justice, fairness, equal opportunity and the freedom to live without fear. There is still work to be done.

One by one, the Conservatives are erasing the victories won by women.

Canada has fallen to 20th position on the UN gender inequality index, but there is hope. We have come far; we must go further. New Democrats will continue to fight for women's rights. Together we can get it done.

Attack on ReservistStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, something happened on Tuesday that sparked outrage in Nanaimo and across the country. About 10:40 in the evening, a young Canadian Forces reservist was waiting for a bus. He was in uniform when he was attacked without warning and without provocation by a young assailant with a knife. Although his throat was slashed, he was able to summon help from a nearby restaurant. He was treated by paramedics, stitched up in hospital and has been released.

While we are all relieved that the reservist will make a full recovery, news of the attack has shocked our community. Canadians are proud of the fine men and women who serve in our armed forces. The Nanaimo regiment is part of the Canadian Scottish Regiment. Reservists train one night a week and one weekend a month. Many of our reservists have volunteered for overseas deployment in places like Bosnia, the Middle East, Africa and for our current mission in Afghanistan. They have aided in domestic crises like the B.C. forest fires, the Manitoba flood and the Ontario and Quebec ice storm.

Nanaimo citizens are proud of our reservists. We are calling for anyone with information to assist police in bringing this cowardly assailant to face the justice he deserves.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have reversed course and will now support the NDP's motion on cleaning up election fraud. This motion has received support from all parties. We can work together after all.

After this motion passes, will the Prime Minister respect the will of Parliament and introduce amendments to the Elections Act within six months?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has clearly indicated its position on this matter before the House of Commons. At the same time, we obviously encourage all parties to co-operate with Elections Canada. Elections Canada already has significant powers and resources and there is no reason for any party not to co-operate with its inquiries.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today, La Presse revealed shocking recordings of calls made by RMG on behalf of the government, aggressive calls made to seniors by people who used insults and intimidation to get money for the Conservative Party.

Why did RMG make these calls on the government's behalf? Why are the Conservatives still dealing with RMG? Is it because RMG and the Conservative Party are one and the same?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not know exactly what the opposition is talking about, but I am aware of one case where RMG dismissed an employee. This employee was dismissed before the election, and we always uphold our standards.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister must take responsibility. He created a culture of victory at any cost within his party. That is what matters. It is true of the Conservative Party, their allies, their voter suppression school and their bagman, RMG, which harasses people and calls them separatists and socialists if they do donate money.

The Prime Minister must know where these types of insults originated. He must be aware. He must tell us.

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.

I think I very clearly answered the specifics of the case in question. In terms of the more general allegation, obviously this is just simply a smear without foundation.

What I would say is this: the Conservative party always accepts the verdict of the voters. We have accepted the verdict of the voters when we have won and also when we have lost. I would encourage the other parties to accept the verdict of voters as well.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, like others, I was shocked to hear the recorded fundraising calls of one Don Duke calling on behalf of the Conservative party. In these calls he treats people on the other end of the line like dirt, all in the name of filling up the Conservative war chest. The company doing the calling, RMG, received over $1.3 million from local Conservative campaigns and an unknown amount from the central campaign.

How much did the Conservative war chest grow from these strong-arm tactics?

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 am aware that a single individual was in fact fired for not upholding the very clear standards that this party holds itself to. We are very proud of the standards that we have set forth. Obviously, Canadians have supported us in that because they have in fact voted for Conservatives right across the country.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cannot write this off by just saying it was some sort of isolated situation. The fact is, RMG merged with Xentel, which has similar dubious tactics. In February 2010, Xentel was fined $500,000 by the CRTC for violating Canada's do not call list. It was also charged $75,000 in Missouri for “manipulative, high-pressure techniques to solicit donations”. Does that sound familiar?

The Conservatives are accusing the NDP of demeaning voters when we ask tough questions. However, what could be more demeaning than funding Xentel and RMG's unethical behaviour?

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, we make no apologies for the fact that our party has very high standards. If someone does not hold up to those very high standards, then in fact we expect companies to act. In this case, the company did act and removed a single individual and let that individual go.

However, it is interesting to hear these kinds of smears and baseless allegations coming from the NDP members when they themselves, in fact just last fall, had to return donation cheques to folks when they were trying to direct money into the Broadbent Institute, contrary to the Elections Act. They know full well they did that.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, with great respect to the Prime Minister, I am still trying to figure out the exact position of his party with respect to the motions that are being debated today together with the amendments.

Could the Prime Minister give us his assurance today that the government will in fact support additional powers to the Chief Electoral Officer that will apply not only to future elections, but the election just passed and to previous elections? Will he give us that guarantee and also guarantee that the government will be forthcoming with legislation within a very short period of time?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the government has been very clear in its decision on the matters before the House today. If the opposition has any other useful suggestions in terms of legislation, I would encourage it to bring forward detailed proposals.

None of this in any way obscures the responsibility of all political parties, including the Liberal Party, to provide Elections Canada with all information needed.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, the Prime Minister did not answer my question. My question is very simple and direct, and the Prime Minister keeps dodging it.

Does the government agree that the additional powers proposed in the NDP's motion today will apply not only to future elections but to the election just passed? Can he assure us that amendments will be made in the near future, as is clearly set out in the NDP's amended motion?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has indicated its support for today's proposals and encourages the opposition to bring forward any constructive suggestions. If the opposition has any detailed proposals, we would be happy to hear them. At the same time, it is important that all the parties, including the Liberal Party, co-operate with Elections Canada's investigations.

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario health minister today made a very important statement with respect to the issue of drugs and access to drugs. I am sure the Prime Minister will know that there is a major problem facing hospitals right across the country with respect to drug shortages. The Ontario minister made it very clear that the provincial government had not received advanced warning with respect to drug shortages.

This is a very serious issue across the country. It does not just affect one province, it affects patients across the country with respect to elective surgery. This is a major issue for the country.

Could the Prime Minister tell us why the regulations seemed to have been so failing at this—

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone is aware of this issue. Certain provinces have undertaken to sole source certain critical medications.

The Minister of Health has indicated that Health Canada is working on a range of options and solutions, including the fast-tracking of approvals for that problem. We work with and encourage provinces to find multiple sources for vital medication.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning we heard a first sample of the type of fundraising that RMG does for this government. We heard a telephone operator insult voters and behave like a bum. An expert even said that these calls amounted to harassment. Lack of respect, harassment, intimidation: for the Conservative Party anything goes when it comes to collecting money.

Is this government really comfortable with the idea that its election was paid with harassment calls?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, RMG fired that employee.