House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.


Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta


Michelle Rempel ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing we can all agree on in the House, is that addiction and drug usage is something we should all be paying attention to as legislators and figure out ways to deal with this major problem. It affects not only the people who are in the situation, but it affects their families and employers. It is an issue of great sensitivity.

My colleague talked about our government not being willing to listen. She also mentioned the Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court ruling stated that the federal health minister could block a safe injection site after considering:

—the impact of such a facility on crime rates, the local conditions indicating a need for such a supervised injection site, the regulatory structure in place to support the facility, the resources available to support its maintenance, and expressions of community support or opposition.

When the member talks about listening and evidence-based decisions, does she not think that, given the Supreme Court ruling in this matter, it is appropriate that we consult with the community on an important issue like this, which is at the heart of what this bill is about?

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, whenever my colleague stands, I always enjoy listening to her lead-up to the question, because up to the lead-up there is very little I disagree with, until she asks the question, which I will respond to now.

The Supreme Court ruling did indicate a number of factors that had to be taken into consideration. However, the bill is a deliberate attempt to circumvent that ruling.

I agree that we need a multifaceted approach, but we do not need more and more power in the hands of the ministers.

We have proven evidence that InSite, and operations like that, work. However, where communities are willing, and community safety has to be taken into consideration, we have had MPs from the other side saying that, even if their constituents want this, they would oppose it. Let us hear what they really want.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member makes reference to what we need. What we really need is a Conservative government with an open mind on the issue.

It is very clear from one of the speakers from the Conservative Party that even if the evidence was there, and we know that it is there, it just did not matter. There are those within the Reform/Conservative government who just do not support the concept of having safe injection sites. What is needed is an open mind in recognition of the issues surrounding addiction and drug use.

Could my colleague add to the importance of approaching things with an open mind and listening to what the stakeholders and professionals are in fact saying? Science does make sense.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, when we look at the bill, it is contrary to what scientific evidence tells us. It also presumes and tries to impose the government's ideology. It does not look at the scientific and medical support that is required to deal with addiction.

Addictions are very serious. When we deal with heroin addictions, the cost to society is very high. Yet, here we have a way to look at harm reduction and a transition to rehabilitation and treatment centres. We would not be doing the right thing for the Canadian taxpayers if we were to turn our backs on this kind of an option.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will say from the start that there is no argument. We are unequivocally opposed to Bill C-2 as there is no reason for the bill. What the bill seeks to do is deny a high-risk group of patients access to proven life-saving health care services. That is what it will do. That alone is unconscionable.

We are looking at a bill that is trying to refute all of the evidence that has been gathered with regard to safe consumption sites, which is what InSite in Vancouver is. It is the only one in Canada.

However, I would like the House to know that there are 90 safe consumption sites around the world, in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark and Australia. Switzerland introduced safe injection sites in 1986 as a public health harm reduction model. Since 1986, the evidence has been mounting and clearly shows that safe injection sites achieve exactly what they are meant to achieve. They reduce patient harm and decrease the number of patient deaths. They decrease the number of new cases of diseases such as HIV-AIDS, hepatitis C, as well as many other diseases transmitted through needles. Therefore, health and the reduction of morbidity were two things.

Switzerland, since 1986, and the other countries in Europe that have done this also show a reduction in public harm. There is order as well as less criminal activity. For example, the number of break-ins to get money to buy drugs was reduced. This has been proven since 1986. It is not something that someone just dragged up last year and decided this was what they wanted to do because they thought it was a good idea. This has been proven. It is because of that kind of evidence, in 90 sites around the world, that we in British Columbia decided to have a clinical trial. We did not just look at it and say we would do it. It was done by way of a clinical trial.

I want members to know that I was there when this began. I want to give credit to Philip Owen, the mayor of Vancouver, who was sick and tired of what was happening in his city with the number of deaths and the increase in break-ins, petty crimes and muggings that went on just to feed a habit. He decided to go to Europe to see what was going on there. We used to have something called a city caucus at the time wherein government and non-government members of Parliament, the provincial legislature and city councils came together to discuss problems that were common to the city of Vancouver. When this topic came up he said, “We have to work together”.

I was designated the minister responsible for the Downtown Eastside at the time by Mr. Chrétien. We had the NDP minister for communities who was designated to be in charge of that file, and we had the mayor. Together, the three levels of government did extensive public consultation with community groups, the police, the RCMP and businesses in that area in order to form the Vancouver agreement in 2000. One part of the Vancouver agreement dealt with this particular public nuisance at the time, in terms of crime and public health problems.

We are not talking about criminal activity alone. Rather, we are talking about addiction. An addiction is a chronic and relapsing health condition best served and treated by evidence-based public health care. That is what this is all about. Since 1986, 90 safe injection sites in many countries around the world had given us the evidence that prompted us to suggest in the 2000 Vancouver agreement that this is what would happen.

I came back to the federal government and brought this forward. There was a great deal of agreement around the table. The evidence was compelling. Then there was an election. When we came back in 2003, the federal government, through section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, agreed to a pilot project run by the University of British Columbia and clinicians in the area, who were experts from the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

As I said, evidence was at the heart of what we were doing. We did not want to translate things from Australia and Europe into Canada. We did not know if that was going to work, so we said “let us do our own pilot project”. It was funded and put together, and the pilot project proved without a doubt that InSite not only saved lives, but reduced mortality and reduced the spread of HIV-AIDS and hepatitis C. InSite also increased people's desire and ability to get help. They were a very high-risk group of users, people who never went to doctors and did not want to go to nurses or any kind of institution. It was found that these people sought detox. It was found that they wanted to be helped.

We replicated everything that was shown in Europe and Australia. In other words, we found that it worked in British Columbia, without a doubt. It is not only that. It is not just the British Columbia study that we are talking about. What happened was that peer scientific groups around the world checked the evidence from InSite. They looked at it, they analyzed it and they all agreed that it was authentic.

I just want to give the House a little background about the reality of this problem. In 1988, there were 39 deaths due to overdose from intravenous drug use in Canada. In 1993, there were 357. I know that some people may decide that those 357 deaths were okay because they happened to be drug users, people who were the most vulnerable because they lived on the streets, or because they committed petty crime. That must have been okay in some people's minds. It was not okay in the minds of the federal government of the day, the provincial government of the day in British Columbia, the municipal government of the day in British Columbia or the Vancouver Police.

It is interesting to note that of those overdose deaths, 50% of them occurred in Vancouver. British Columbia actually only carried about 14% of the population, yet 50% of those deaths were in British Columbia, most notably in Vancouver. In 1997, as a result of the escalating death rate and escalating disease, the chief public health officer of Vancouver, John Blatherwick, decided to call a public health emergency in the city of Vancouver.

I just wanted to talk about HIV for a second. I wanted to paint a picture of what was then and why people felt it was essential to move forward on this issue. In 1989, there were 120 new cases out of 100,000 in Canada. After InSite, in Vancouver alone, this had dropped to 31. In the rest of Canada, the number of new cases remained the same.

That is evidence, folks. We do not have to be a scientist to figure out that this is evidence, when we look at the number of deaths that were brought down and when we look at the number of diseases such as HIV-AIDS that were actually prevented in this area.

I am talking about what we saw and what happened as a result of InSite. InSite was so successful that within a year a half, the people who were running InSite formed a facility above it, called OnSite, where 25 beds were there for immediate detox. If anyone here knows about addictions, they know that when someone wants to quit or they feel moved to quit, if they do not get in somewhere then and there, they go right back to drugs in two days' time. This is the truth about people who are addicted. OnSite was there so we could say “right on, up you go”. That is what has been shown with this.

If anyone in the House can stand up and say that this is not an important piece of evidence in terms of deaths, morbidity and the spread of HIV-AIDS, and if anyone thinks it is funny and hilarious that people should die and that no one should care, and that this was not an absolutely essential thing to do, given that the chief public health officer felt that it was an emergency, then that person is callous. I am hearing laughter on the opposite side of the House. I do not think that this is funny at all. I had many patients who were addicts. Their lives were ruined. I have seen those people begin to have hope and begin to live new lives again.

This is evidence. This is what a government is supposed to do: care about all of its citizens, not just the ones it likes.

This is not something I stand to say because I happen to have been the minister for the Downtown Eastside and the minister for the Vancouver agreement. What I am saying is that across the country we know that many municipalities want to have safe injection sites because they have the problem. They have seen the evidence. The evidence was agreed upon by international peers. Scientific communities around the world agreed upon this. This is going on. There are 90 safe injection sites around the world.

I am repeating this because this is not some little pitch that the government is trying to stop. It is denying people the right to life. All of those 395 people who died of a drug overdose in that year. I think most of us believe that their lives were worth saving and the lives of subsequent people are worth saving. When the number of drug overdose deaths went down so dramatically after InSite, this is something that the government should be considering.

The government fought InSite on moral grounds, on ideological grounds, but certainly not on evidence because it did not have a leg to stand on if it looked at the evidence. The evidence was compelling, but the government did not look at it. It had an idea that this was morally wrong, all these people were shooting up heroin and we were letting them shoot up, and all this kind of judgmental attitude toward citizens of Canada who are vulnerable. They are vulnerable. They are in need of help by the government. They are in need of a good, solid public health response to addiction.

I want to say this is our public health, yet the bill brought in by the Minister of Health is going to be sent to the public safety committee, not the health committee. We see that the whole issue of public safety was served, not only here but in the 90 safe injection sites in countries of the world. This showed the most important thing, which was that law order and order prevailed. The number of petty crimes went down. The number of people shooting up in the streets went down. The number of people who were begging and being a public nuisance went down. Law and order was served. This is an important piece, as well, if all the government thinks about is law and order and not about people and not about compassion and not about public health.

The government spent millions of dollars taking this case through the courts. When the British Columbia courts agreed that this should happen, that this is evidence-based and the evidence is compelling, and when the Supreme Court of British Columbia agreed that the evidence was compelling, the government took it straight to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada said the evidence that it listened to was compelling and said that while the federal government had it in its power to deny access, in fact, it was something that it should not do because ethically this would deny section 7 of the charter, which is the right to life, liberty and security of the person. If a person going to die and something would help him or her, that is security of the person. That is life. This is a government that likes to talk about caring about life, but it does not care about certain lives. Some lives are not worth it, as far as the government is concerned.

Now, the government is building a case beyond what the Supreme Court asked. The Supreme Court said, yes, we should consult. This is not consultation; this is legislation. Consultation is to go around and talk. When we started InSite in Vancouver, the city, the province, the federal government, the police and the communities all agreed to do so. Sixty-five per cent of people, at the time, supported InSite in Vancouver because they saw the harm that was being done.

Finally, before I finish, my colleague in the NDP brought forward a motion that the bill be not brought to second reading. I want to say that I support that motion because the bill is not in the best interests of public health and it is not in the best interests of the most vulnerable Canadians.

Respect for Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I hope the member for Vancouver Centre did not misunderstand. She still has five minutes remaining. However, the time for government orders has expired. Therefore, she will have five minutes remaining and questions and comments, following question period.

UkraineStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Ukrainians who live in my riding of Don Valley East, I acknowledge that Ukrainians have made a huge contribution in the establishment and development of Canada. During the past 100 years, successors to the first wave of Ukrainian immigrants have made contributions at different levels of Canada's industries, from building and creating new cities and advancing agricultural endeavours, to working at all levels of government.

Today it is time to make hard decisions for many states, including the Ukraine. I stand here to request the support of Canada in nudging Ukraine toward the EU. The Ukrainian diaspora supports it. Canada has the second-largest diaspora, which feels responsible for the destiny of Ukraine.

For the last two months, I have had the pleasure of hosting in my office one of the Ukrainian interns. He has worked very hard and gained much knowledge, which he will take back to the Ukraine.

Waste Reduction WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, October 21 to 27 marked Waste Reduction Week in Canada, which is when I hosted my fourth annual Litterless Lunch Challenge. Every year, more and more schools across my riding join the challenge to do their part to reduce waste by packing litter-free lunches.

This year's winning class went 90% litter-free. If I could get a drum roll, the winning class is Mr. Berry's grade 2 and 3 class from Harbour View Elementary School. Congratulations to those students. They are this year's litterless lunch champions. Way to go.

I would like to acknowledge the special efforts of the entire school for going litter free, not just during Waste Reduction Week, but all year around. Thanks go to Madame Thibodeau and the zero-waste initiative team for coordinating Harbour View's efforts, and to all students, teachers and parents who made this year's Litterless Lunch Challenge another success. They did a great job. I encourage them to continue building healthy sustainable communities.

Municipal Elections in QuebecStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, municipal elections were held in Quebec, and I would like to congratulate all of the mayors in Quebec, as well as all the new councillors, and particularly those in my riding, with whom I will have the privilege of working.

The people of Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière have vision, and they show a lot of talent and leadership. Our municipal officials are the ones who will realize the aspirations and carry out the constructive and unifying projects that are important to our constituents.

Municipal officials play a very important role. They are involved in various key sectors, including infrastructure, the economy, community and culture.

I believe that the key to progress is for the federal, provincial and municipal governments to work together to build strong communities in Quebec, within a united Canada.

DiwaliStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians across our country started their celebration of Diwali this weekend, and on behalf of the Liberal caucus, I would like to extend best wishes for peace and enlightenment to all.

Yesterday, the Liberal leader visited Gursikh Sabha, in Scarborough, and Vishnu Mandir, in Richmond Hill. As our leader pointed out then, Diwali is an important celebration, not only for those of Hindu, Sikh and Jain religions, but indeed for all Canadians.

At its core, Diwali marks the triumph of good over evil, and represents the power of love, light and knowledge to dispel ignorance. As legislators working to make Canada a better place and working to promote literacy, peace, prosperity and social justice, the sentiments underscoring Diwali are worth our emulation.

On behalf of the Liberal caucus, I wish all those celebrating Diwali a happy festival of lights.

Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary DelegatesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Goldring Conservative Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to recognize 34 youthful delegates representing the Canada–Ukraine parliamentary program, who have visited with us for the past seven weeks. They are here in members' offices to gain valuable perspectives of Canada's most important democratic institution, the Parliament of Canada.

Last week, I met with these young people, the future leaders of Ukraine, who embody the highest ideals of achievement and community service. These are young people like Andrii Sorkhan from my office. We had an intriguing discussion on the role of religion in the political life of Ukraine.

Ukraine holds a special place in the hearts of Canadians. There is fully one in 30 Canadians of Ukrainian descent, including my wife, daughters and granddaughters. Canada was the first country in the western world to accord diplomatic recognition, in 1991, to an independent Ukraine.

As the young emissaries depart, we wish them well and say to them, Mnohaya Lita.

Burns Bog Conservation SocietyStatements By Members

November 4th, 2013 / 2:05 p.m.


Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the beloved Burns Bog Conservation Society in my riding of Newton—North Delta. Locals call Burns Bog the lungs of the Lower Mainland because the society does much to maintain air quality throughout our region. Burns Bog is home to many species at risk, including the sandhill crane and the Pacific water shrew. It is a key rearing ground for Fraser River salmon, including sockeye, pink and chum.

Without the bog, my riding and the Lower Mainland would be a very different place. Therefore, I want to take the opportunity in the House of Commons to thank Eliza Olson and the entire Burns Bog team for their activism, hard work and dedication.

In closing, after a weekend of celebrating with my constituents, I would be remiss not to wish all members of the House, fellow Canadians, and all who mark the occasion around the world, a very happy Diwali.

The Hastings and Prince Edward RegimentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to recognize the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment as it celebrates 150 years of service to king, queen and country. On October 26, I had the honour to join serving and retired members of the famed Hasty Pees at their special anniversary event.

The Prince Edward regiment was authorized on February 6, 1863. The regiment won an unprecedented 32 battle honours in World War II, making it the most decorated Canadian regiment of the entire Second World War. Since then, Hasty Pees have served in harm's way in Bosnia and Afghanistan, to name but a few. The spirit of the regiment, made in a toast from a regimental officer, summed it up to me when he said, “I love my country and I serve it in the Regiment. Duty, honour and discipline give life meaning, and there is no greater honour I'd rather have than to be called a Hasty P.”

As a former cadet with the regiment, I say congratulations to the Hasty Pees. As they approach Remembrance Day, let us all be eternally thankful. Lest we forget.

Fitness of CanadiansStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we Conservatives returned from Alberta where we had our best convention ever. We addressed topics that matter to Canadians, including fiscal accountability and the topic of my address today, which is health.

It is no secret, our country is facing a health crisis. Over half of Canadians aged 18 to 79 are either overweight or obese. At the core of this problem, less than 15% of our young people achieve even the minimum guidelines for physical activity each week. Each year, treating obesity related cardiovascular and diabetes costs $7 billion.

Conservatives are committed to sound fiscal management and improving the health of Canadians. Once again, last Saturday our party walked the talk. Conservative delegates and MPs, including the members for Burlington and Kitchener—Conestoga, followed the lead of our Minister of Health on a five-kilometre walk to put fitness front and centre in Calgary.

I invite the members of the other parties to do the same at their own conventions in the future,

We must join together to make Canada the fittest nation on earth.

VeteransStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, with Remembrance Day just around the corner, I would like to take this opportunity to honour all Canadians who have served our country over the years. These brave men and women have given up so much, with many of them paying the ultimate price of their life for peace and freedom.

Special thanks to the veterans of our community and to their families for their contribution. We must ensure they are always taken care of, in service and in retirement.

I particularly want to commend the members of Branch 46 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Bury, who recently celebrated their 80th anniversary. The men and women of Bury had the highest participation rate per capita in the two world wars.

I also want to mention Lennoxville Unit 318 of the Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada, one of the last of its kind in Quebec, which celebrated its 60th anniversary.

I was honoured to participate in their celebrations, as they continue to work on helping veterans of recent battles, as well as their communities.

Long live Branch 46. Long live Hut 318. Lest we forget.

Lest we forget.

Sports InjuriesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Joan Crockatt Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, as members of Parliament, we are often focusing on the issues that divide us, so it is nice to be reminded of some of the issues that unite us as Canadians. As someone who grew up in hockey rinks, I can think of no better example than the good old hockey game. However, like many sports, hockey comes with its own risks, even when both sides are going head to head honourably. That is why I was pleased to see our Minister of Health today deliver on our government's commitment to reduce injuries, with a specific commitment to focus on concussions in youth.

Sports like hockey are a great way to spend an afternoon and make new friends, but injuries that can result are no laughing matter. Concussions and head injuries are serious matters, which parents and families rightfully dread when we are watching our kids play our favourite game.

I congratulate the Minister of Health for her announcement today to work with partners to support the recovery and long-term health of Canadians who suffer from these serious injuries.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Sylvain Chicoine NDP Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, during this week leading up to Remembrance Day, let us remember the thousands of men and women who answered the call to defend our nation's values, freedoms and democracy.

It is impossible to imagine what these men and women must have felt during their deployment—the sadness of leaving their loved ones, the fear of future battles and the worries about possible injuries or even death. We salute their courage in the face of adversity.

Canadians have always been ready and willing to support our troops. Our support for our troops is unwavering. When, for example, we learn of untimely deaths, we come together to pay a final heartfelt tribute to our heroes. Each and every one of us is proud of the outstanding job that the members of our Canadian Forces do to protect us.

On November 11, as we gather around memorials across the country, let us remember the sacrifices they made for us all. Let us remember those who were injured and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Lest we forget.

Delegation from ItalyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Stella Ambler Conservative Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is proud to welcome five distinguished representatives from Italy. These dignitaries, who are visiting Ottawa, includeMs. Debora Serracchiani, president of the Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia; Mr. Primo Di Luca, Honourary Canadian Consul to the Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia; Mr. Alberto De Toni, president of the University of Udine; Mr. Giovanni Da Pozzo, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Udine; and Mr. Matteo Tonon, president, Confindustria Udine of Italy.

On behalf of the Minister of Veterans Affairs and, indeed, all parliamentarians, benvenuti a tutti and welcome to Canada.

Montreal Municipal ElectionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, congratulations to those who participated in municipal elections across Quebec yesterday. Montrealers have a new mayor, the hon. Denis Coderre. Coderre's team fought tooth and nail against a valiant opposition, particularly in the Saint-Jacques district, if I may say so.

Each and every candidate deserves our gratitude and congratulations. Their commitment to democracy bodes well for a prosperous and ethical future for Quebec's metropolis.

Montreal has some serious social, environmental, economic and financial challenges ahead of it. Most importantly, Montreal needs to be given the honest and transparent administration it deserves.

Here in the House, we know the determination of the former member for Bourassa, his work ethic, his ability to stir things up, his sense of purpose and his outspokenness. The Government of Canada needs to work with the new administration. It can start by committing to building an excellent Champlain Bridge worthy of the city loved by all Canadians and by visitors from around the world.

Good luck, Denis.

International TradeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, special interest anti-free trade groups with ties to the NDP are today spreading the same falsehoods they were spreading during the NAFTA negotiations. These groups say that free trade is bad for Canada. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.

The Canada-Europe trade agreement will make Canada the only major developed country to have preferential access to the world's two largest markets: the European Union and the United States. This deal will add $12 billion to our economy annually. That is the equivalent of 80,000 new Canadian jobs.

Sadly, the NDP remains beholden, both financially and organizationally, to the big union bosses and these special interest anti-trade activist groups. The NDP's position on denouncing free trade is well known, given their record of voting against almost every single trade deal put forward by our government. Its shameful position on opposing the Canada-Europe trade deal is not very surprising.

The Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, Conservatives showed us this weekend that they are more right wing than ever. Conservatives voted for a less progressive tax system. They voted to attack collective bargaining and reduce public pensions. They rejected any form of any gun control. They even want to reopen the abortion debate by restricting a woman's right to choose. The same proposal was rejected by the House. However, while Conservatives were showing Canadians how right wing they are, missing from the convention was anyone taking any responsibility for any part of the Senate expense scandal.

When the Prime Minister is losing the credibility war to Mike Duffy and the contrition war to Mayor Rob Ford, we know he has serious problems. Fortunately, in 2015, Canadians will have a real choice: to elect an NDP government to finally clean up Conservative and Liberal corruption once and for all.

Canada Border Services AgencyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Roxanne James Conservative Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe.

Recently the Canada Border Services Agency apprehended the 48th individual on the “wanted by the CBSA” list and removed the 40th. Our government was proud to create this tool for ordinary Canadians to provide assistance to law enforcement. Canada will not be a safe haven for foreign criminals. Our government has zero tolerance for those who disregard Canadian law and abuse our generous immigration system. Under the leadership of our Conservative government, we have removed over 115,000 illegal immigrants since 2006.

I would like to congratulate the Canada Border Services Agency for the great work it does every day keeping Canadians safe.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.


Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, Conservatives, like Irving Gerstein, were making up new versions of events around the Senate expense scandal and the PMO cover-up.

Nigel Wright's attorney said that Mr. Wright has “no comment at this time to this latest characterization of events”.

For Monday, November 4, what is the Prime Minister's official version of the events surrounding his cash-for-cover-up scheme hatched in his office?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario


Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on February 13, Senator Duffy approached the Prime Minister with respect to his inappropriate expenses. The Prime Minister told him that he had to repay those inappropriate expenses. Senator Duffy then went on television to tell all Canadians that he had actually repaid those by taking out a loan at the Royal Bank.

We subsequently learned that that was not true, that Nigel Wright had actually paid for that. That was inappropriate. Mr. Wright has also acknowledged that that was inappropriate and is prepared to accept the consequences.

At the same time, the Senate has a motion in front of it that will suspend these senators without pay, and we think that is the right course of action for taxpayers.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.


Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, what we would like to see from that side of the House is some sense of contrition, some sign that they understand that they made mistakes with these senators, some signal that the Prime Minister understands the serious problems with his office. What we did see was Senator Gerstein producing yet another version of events.

Can the parliamentary secretary tell us: when was the first time that the Prime Minister spoke with Senator Gerstein about the Senate expense controversy?