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House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was scientists.

Topics

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Finance, the President of the Treasury Board and the Prime Minister go to represent us on the world stage, we are very proud because they are telling the story of Canada's economic success.

It is a success that is second to none among the major developed economies. It is the reason we are leading, with the lowest debt of any of those major economies and the strongest economic growth of any of those major economies. It is why the kind of people who go to Davos are bringing investments into Canada to create jobs here in Canada for Canadians.

That is our priority, job creation for Canadians.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, now we know why the House leader is so bullish on defending the minister of luxurious living: it is because he shares her same sense of entitlement.

We learned that the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the Minister of Finance and the President of the Treasury Board racked up $23,000 for two days of joyriding in Davos. This sense of privilege is unconscionable when they have the nerve to tell Canadians that the cupboard is bare.

Enough of treating taxpayers like chumps. Will the minister pay the money back?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the opportunity in Davos to present Canada's economic success story is a critically important one for Canada.

I know that if the NDP were in government, it would not have to worry about it, because Canada would not be there with an economic success story to deliver. However, we make no apologies for being there to make sure that those who want to invest, those who want to see economic growth, those who are looking for the best place in the world to invest are following the lead of people like those in the Economist Intelligence Unit, who have said that Canada is exactly that.

They are coming to hear the story delivered by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and others about why Canada is the best place to create jobs.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not expect an apology, because the ministers seem to think that should be entitled to act like the Habsburg dynasty as soon as they leave Canada.

This is the latest issue of lack of accountability. When we have the President of the Treasury Board, the Minister of Finance and the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who have—

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay has the floor.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, obviously we have touched a nerve here, because the Minister of Finance, the Muskoka minister, and the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the three musketeers, have the nerve to preach austerity while whooping it up like royalty off the taxpayers.

Will one of those men do the right thing? Will this member do the right thing? Will they stand up and pay the money back?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, Davos is an opportunity where those who are looking to invest, those who are looking to create jobs around the world, have an opportunity to meet.

In the case of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of International Trade, there are opportunities for literally dozens of bilateral meetings with not just other counterparts in terms of trade and the economy around the world but also with investors.

That is why they are going there. They go to hear about Canada's economic success story and to make decisions about where they are going to invest and where they are going to create their jobs. They can do that anywhere in the world.

We are there to make sure that when they make those choices, they choose to come to Canada to create jobs.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

My goodness, Mr. Speaker. It is clear that those ministers have been spending too much time in their ivory gazebos.

We just learned that they wasted $20,000 on transportation for a few days in Davos. At the same time, they are cutting parking for federal public servants. They do not even know what parking is because they have drivers on standby 24 hours a day.

Can the minister explain why it is more appropriate to spend tens of thousands of dollars on limousines than it is to provide parking to federal employees?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the vehicles that were utilized in Davos, it should be underscored that the cars were utilized to transport not just ministers but also staff and departmental officials. Those vehicles were booked by the department, not by the ministers' offices, and they were booked following a competition. Davos has limitations. It requires that when attending the conference, all vehicles must fit a certain profile. They have to be green vehicles.

The question that the NDP is putting forward is one suggesting that Canada should not be there. We believe that Canada should be there, representing our place on the world stage as economic leaders.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, only the Conservatives would consider parking spaces a luxury when they have drivers on standby 360 days a year. Only the Conservatives consider EI and OAS as non-essential when they spend their time in luxury junkets on the taxpayer's dime. The President of the Treasury Board is asking Canadians to do without essential services, but then he turns around and spends $20,000 to be driven around Switzerland. That is totally unacceptable.

Will he back down on his reckless cuts and cut his own entitlements instead?

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the NDP is revealing its plan here. Its plan is that Canada should not be there attracting investment on the world—

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The government House leader has the floor.

Ministerial ExpendituresOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP plan is that Canada should not be there on the world stage, that we should not be meeting with potential investors, that we should not be telling Canada's economic success story.

The fact is that our number one priority is jobs and the economy. That is why we will continue to promote Canada's success on the world stage and that is why we will ensure that those who are looking to invest and create jobs know that Canada is the best place in the world to do that.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, a couple of months ago, the citizenship and immigration minister stood in the House and blamed civil servants for a botched citizenship ceremony staged for TV. Now we discover the truth: that the network and the minister's department knew that the “oath fakers” were actually government employees. The minister blamed officials while in fact his office knew the truth.

Will the minister now admit the truth and apologize to the citizenship employees he blamed for his scheme?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, every year we have dozens of special ceremonies, including many that are televised, including on the CBC, for example. At every one of those ceremonies, Canadian citizens, including public servants, reaffirm their loyalty to Canada through the oath.

In this particular instance, the documents that have come to light today reconfirm that in fact I and my office were not aware of the fact that there were only a few new citizens sworn in at that ceremony. In fact, this reconfirms what we have said.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, citizenship ceremonies are solemn and significant, as is ministerial accountability, but the minister has made a mockery of them both. After pressuring his department to rush a ceremony, the minister then insisted he was duped by civil servants. We now know the minister and his political staff knew the truth.

Why did the minister mislead Canadians, and will he apologize for his involvement in this embarrassing fiasco?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

I did no such thing, Mr. Speaker. The member should apologize for the tone of that outrageous question. The reality is that every year we have dozens of special ceremonies, some of which are televised. In this instance, officials reaffirmed their citizenship, which, by the way, they do all the time at ceremonies. The fact of the matter is that the documents that have been released today demonstrate that neither I nor my office were aware of the fact that most of the people participating in that particular ceremony were officials.

In any event, we are strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship and we are proud of our record in that respect.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, citizenship ceremonies are a key part of the process to become a new Canadian citizen. They should not be a partisan tool. Yet the minister did not hesitate to use them as a vulgar backdrop for political purposes.

Together with a television network, the minister's communications team organized the broadcast of a ceremony featuring departmental employees. Then they tried to bury the story.

When will the minister formally apologize for his role in this matter?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, clearly the NDP does not understand that citizenship reaffirmation ceremonies take place every year and that some of them are televised. In fact, many of these special ceremonies have been broadcast by CBC. It is completely normal for Canadians, including government officials, to reaffirm their loyalty to Canada during such ceremonies.

As to whether it is difficult for new citizens to attend these ceremonies, I was not aware of that, and neither were the people in my office.

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government's refusal to implement mandatory drug shortage reporting puts the health and safety of Canadians at risk.

Now it is failing to protect our interests in trade talks with Europe. Provinces fear that the increase in cost will be $3 billion if the Conservatives cave to demands to increase patent protection for brand name pharmaceuticals.

Why are the Conservatives so incompetent on these files? Why are they negotiating a deal that could drive up medical bills for provinces, employers and individual Canadians?

International TradeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member's question and I listened to other questions from members of his party. They continue to try to mislead the public on what is really happening with the negotiations with the European Union.

The reality is that the negotiations will exclude public services such as public health, public education and social services. It will not drive up the cost of health care. It is just sheer nonsense.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

June 5th, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, politicizing bureaucrats is bad enough, but now we learn the government was deceiving Canadians about the fake citizenship ceremony. The whole mess began when the minister ordered bureaucrats to stage the event, ignoring their advice to simply film an existing ceremony.

It now turns out that the minister's line that bureaucrats deceived the network was not true, and they knew all along these were not real new citizens.

Why did the minister deceive Canadians and try to make public servants take the blame for this fiasco?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I did no such thing. The reality is that every year there are dozens of special citizenship ceremonies, many of them produced specifically—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The minister has the floor. We will have order.

The hon. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.