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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservatives.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.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, the hon. member should know that we are always looking for reasonable ways to make sure that government lives within its means and that we are reasonable to taxpayers. The hon. member and his party should know that we are living by the rules. We have collective agreements with workers and we apply those collective agreements, including overtime.

In this case our ministers are working long hours for the economy, long hours for jobs, long hours for the people of Canada. Sometimes that means a bit of overtime by the drivers.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians work long hours, but they do not expect to get personal chauffeurs. However, they do expect that cabinet ministers will treat their taxpayer dollars with respect. The Muskoka minister himself had a driver on standby for 360 days. How is that reasonable?

When is the government going to reign in this outrageous sense of entitlement, because, for crying out loud, even Batman drives his own car?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.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, the hon. member is mixing apples with oranges. My driver was not paid for 360 days of overtime. I can assure the House of that.

What we are doing is looking at the picture of drivers and their cars and ensuring that we can have a reasonable approach to this. If the hon. member has a suggestion, which would apply to his leader as well, I might add, and I am sure we would have no disagreement on that, then we would be prepared to look at it.

However, the hon. member time and again drags us through the mud. The last time he threw allegations at me, you, Mr. Speaker, found no cause for that. I am still waiting for his apology for that.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Works have all stated, as well as the government House leader, that they accept not only the recommendations of the Auditor General with respect to the fighter jet program, but they also accept the conclusions, his findings.

Could the Prime Minister comment on this? How does he expect us to take this seriously when his deputy minister yesterday testified that he thought the Auditor General had “got it wrong”? How do those two things compare and compute?

National DefenceOral Questions

May 2nd, 2012 / 2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, they do not, which is why the deputy minister did not say any such thing. The deputy minister was very clear in his overall comments that, like the government, he accepts the conclusions of the report. The government is moving forward on that basis.

The leader of the Liberal party knows full well he is taking what the deputy minister said, on a very small matter, completely out of context.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us understand what the conclusions of the Auditor General were. In paragraph 2.76 he says that the replacement aircraft were not accounted for, upgrades were not accounted for, cost of weapons were not accounted for, the true cost of annual maintenance was not accounted for. In paragraphs 2.80 and 2.81 he says that the National Defence did not exercise due diligence, which National Defence objected to and which it would appear still objects to, with respect to the findings of the Auditor General.

You are now creating a new process. How can Canadians trust the integrity of the process when your own deputies and your own departments are not following--

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I would remind the hon. member for Toronto Centre to address his questions through the Chair.

The right hon. Prime Minister.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General made some very clear findings with regard to this matter. He took submissions on this matter from the various departments involved. The Auditor General issued his report. The government and the departments in question have accepted the conclusions of that report. We have been very clear, in some detail, how we are moving forward on that.

We will ensure that the Canadian air force has the best equipment available and that our aviation industry continues to participate in the development of world-class aircraft.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Prime Minister can tell us quite simply whether the government accepts the Auditor General's findings.

Who, in the government, will take responsibility for the fact that the Canadian public and Parliament were misled by their own government? It is the Prime Minister's government that is refusing to take any responsibility whatsoever for the problems that have been so clearly described by the Auditor General.

Who, across the way, is truly responsible?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as we know, the Auditor General called into question some of the Department of National Defence's numbers, and this government has made a commitment to re-examine these issues, establish the facts and share the results of this review with Parliament. That is what we are going to do, as promised.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the princely lifestyle of Conservative ministers is shocking and in sharp contrast to the savage cuts to the public service.

While cuts are being made to food safety, air safety and old age security, the Conservatives are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep their limo drivers on standby. The minister responsible for the G8 slush fund even kept his driver on standby for 360 days.

Has the Conservative aristocracy decided to take full advantage of their perks at taxpayers' expense because it realizes that this will be its last term of office? When will the Conservatives put a stop to their brazen wastefulness?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.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, as I already said, we are constantly looking for ways to manage government at a reasonable cost to taxpayers. We are studying this matter, as I already mentioned.

Nevertheless, the salaries and overtime of drivers, who are public servants, are based on collective agreements negotiated with the unions. I imagine that the NDP supports this principle.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, only a Conservative minister would be happy about wasting just a little bit less of taxpayers' money than the Liberals did. It is almost as though the members opposite are holding a contest where the winner is the one that wastes the most money.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services wasted over $40,000 by having her driver sit and twiddle his thumbs while he waited for her. The drivers are waiting and, meanwhile, the ministers are hiding and not answering questions. Why are the drivers waiting? Is it so that the ministers can make a faster getaway?

Before slashing essential services for Canadians, could the members of cabinet stop behaving like royalty?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.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, as I said, we must look into this situation. We are examining all situations so that government can operate at a reasonable cost.

If the members opposite, including the Leader of the Opposition and his driver, have suggestions, we will take them into consideration provided they are reasonable and fair.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the first anniversary of the greatest electoral fraud in Canadian history. I would like to congratulate the members opposite.

The Conservatives still claim that one single person orchestrated the whole thing, yet one of the architects of a similar fraud in the United States is in awe of how it was done. He says that the American-inspired strategy requires plenty of money and coordination.

Will the Conservatives acknowledge the extent of the fraud that happened on May 2 and give Elections Canada the necessary powers to investigate?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, when I saw the hon. member rise to talk about this issue, I thought he was going to apologize on behalf of his party. His hon. NDP colleague from Winnipeg Centre has already had to apologize for making false allegations about these things, allegations that his party repeated over and over again.

Now, I hope that the NDP members will stand up and do the honourable thing by apologizing as the member for Winnipeg Centre did.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the same old answers, the same old tactics.

The guy who literally wrote the book on how to rig an election in the U.S. said that these tactics were likely imported from the Republican's playbook. He said, “The thing that stands out most egregiously is the number of ridings involved” and called Canadian voter suppression “a systematic and sophisticated operation”. He said that this would have taken a lot of money and a lot of coordination.

When will the government come clean about the role of Conservative operatives in this U.S.-style election suppression scheme?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thought perhaps he was changing official languages so he could make his apology in English. Sadly, instead of apologizing for past false statements, he made new ones.

I encourage the next New Democrat who rises in this place to acknowledge what the member from Winnipeg in the New Democratic Party has already been forced to acknowledge, and that is the NDP is making false and baseless allegations without any evidence whatsoever.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Conservative majority is rolling the clock back on women's rights. A year ago the Conservatives promised not to reopen the abortion debate, yet last week we debated a Conservative motion that did just that. The Conservatives even chose an anti-abortion group to help them hand out Diamond Jubilee Medals. They have made promises such as addressing the violence experienced by aboriginal women: so many words, but no action.

Why will the government not live up to its promises to Canadian women?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Conservative

Susan Truppe ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, our government is concerned about women and we have increased funding for women to its highest level ever. Since 2007, we have approved more than $42 million in projects designed to help end violence against women and girls.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, repetition of the Conservatives' official talking points is no substitute for reality.

In addition to reopening the abortion debate, the Conservatives are also regressing when it comes to pay equity. Government contracts will no longer be subject to employment equity rules. Here is another example: while 75% of seniors living in poverty are women, the government is slashing old age security.

When will this government start tackling the issues that matter to Canadian women, rather than attacking Canadian women?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Conservative

Susan Truppe ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, we are working hard with Canadians across the country to promote greater economic prosperity for women and girls. Since 2007, we have approved more than $42 million in projects designed to help end violence against women and girls. Our government has increased funding for women to its highest level ever.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were shocked to learn that while others had to wait in line, unrepentant, convicted British citizen Conrad Black was allowed to waltz right back into Canada. Conservatives have double standards: one set of rules for their friends and another for everyone else.

Conrad Black gets fast-tracked into Canada, while British gadfly, George Galloway, has the door slammed in his face simply because Conservatives disagree with his politics.

Is this the fairness Conservatives run on: special treatment for their friends?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of public record that Mr. Galloway received a preliminary assessment of inadmissibility from the immigration program manager in London, based primarily on his having given tens of thousands of dollars in cash to Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the banned prescribed illegal anti-Semitic terrorist organization called Hamas.

With respect to Mr. Black, as I made clear yesterday, I indicated to the department that if there was a pending application, there should be no communication with myself or my office to ensure it would be considered in the same fair and independent fashion that our public servants do with over 10,000 temporary resident permits that they admit every year.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government sure has not hesitated to keep out people with whom it disagrees. However, the policy is clear: exemptions require exceptional circumstances.

A 22-year-old American, wanting to come to Canada to visit his girlfriend, was denied entry because of a DUI conviction he got while he was a teenager.

Why does unrepentant, convicted criminal Conrad Black get in while so many others are being denied? Why this special treatment for a criminal?