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House of Commons Hansard #184 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was hamilton.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let us now look at the facts.

Of the 167 projects submitted, only five were selected. The first four met all of the criteria and the fifth was managed by a good friend of the Conservatives. According to the department's objective evaluation, this project was one of the worst of the 167 projects. Guess which one was chosen. Yes, that is right.

If this was done in good faith, as the Prime Minister just claimed, why is the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner blaming his minister for committing an illegal act and failing to co-operate with the investigation?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the contrary. The minister co-operated with the investigation for three years.

The reality is that the minister based her decision on the independent evaluation she received. This is not a private project. It involves a community centre for people with disabilities. It is a public project in the public interest. The evidence shows that the minister acted in good faith.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what the evidence actually shows is that Nigel Wright testified before the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. He said that the Prime Minister asked him, and I quote from his testimony, to “sort it out”, with respect to the grant for their Conservative friend.

Does the Prime Minister ask his chief of staff to sort out all of the grants his government hands out, or just the ones for good friends of the Conservative Party who take the Prime Minister's private plane?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the opposite. The report is clear on that.

It is very clear that I was not familiar with the specifics of any of these applications. I had no preference whatsoever on the applications. It was the minister herself who made the decisions.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister made more alarming statements yesterday on the rights and freedoms of Canadians. Could he please explain to Canada's half a million Muslim women why he said their chosen faith was anti-women?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, I said no such thing.

What is far more disconcerting are the statements that have been made by the Liberal leader and condemned by prominent organizations.

B’nai Brith Canada said that the Liberal leader's:

—language is divisive and only does a dis-service to Canadians interested in dealing with pressing issues of the day...The threat of radicalization and jihadist terror is real.

Here is what another organization said:

—the Government of Canada has appropriately and consistently distinguished between marginal, extreme, terrorist elements of the Muslim community and the broader Muslim community. This distinction is reflected by the more than 300,000 Muslim immigrants who have been welcomed to Canada since 2006.

Those are the facts.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister also said yesterday that religious freedoms should be overruled because almost all Canadians do not support the wearing of a niqab.

We have seen this before. He was the Reform Party's policy chief when it voted to prevent Sikh RCMP officers from wearing turbans, saying it was a needless concession to a Canadian minority.

Twenty-five years later, why does the Prime Minister still insist that the majority should dictate the religious rights of minorities?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

March 11th, 2015 / 2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me quote what the organization Muslims Facing Tomorrow says:

The requirement of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to remove full face coverings during citizenship ceremonies is not onerous and is consistent with the customs and conventions of an open liberal democratic society such as ours.

Let me quote what the Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations says, “Most Canadians believe that it is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family”.

These are not the views only of the overwhelming majority of Canadians, they are the views of the overwhelming majority of moderate Muslims. It is up to the leader of the Liberal Party to explain why he is so far outside that mainstream.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I just wish the Prime Minister had actually listened to what our courts said.

There are still too many atrocities in the world being committed against women.

However, the Minister of National Defence chose International Women's Day to continue his campaign of fear by posting misleading photos. The defence minister managed to insult half a million Muslim women with that underhanded trick.

Will the Prime Minister call on his Minister of National Defence to remove those misleading photos?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism

Mr. Speaker, it is odd that the hon. leader of the Liberal Party does not understand that one of the reasons we are in Iraq is to help the government and civilians, as well as to protect women and girls who are raped and who are forced into sexual slavery by Daesh. Even the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights believes that rape and other forms of sexist and sexual violence are being perpetrated against women and children.

We stand with the women of Iraq against the violence perpetrated by Daesh.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the ethics commissioner found that the former human resources minister circumvented the rules to give preferential treatment to a group in Markham. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the Prime Minister is trying to distance himself from the whole thing, but he is not fooling anyone.

When she approved the funding in defiance of all the rules, Nigel Wright was holding her hand, and the Prime Minister's current chief of staff was probably the one who handed her the pen.

How can the Prime Minister continue to deny his involvement in this blatant case of favouritism?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that is utterly ridiculous.

I have always believed that this project to improve access to the Markham centre for people with disabilities was valid and in the public interest.

I accept the commissioner's advice to ensure that these funding programs are administered in a fair, accessible and efficient way for everyone concerned.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister cannot weasel out of it that easily. Either he told his chief of staff and his secretary to direct the Minister of Public Works to give preferential treatment to a good friend of the Conservatives, or senior officials in his political office were scheming with the Minister of Public Works behind his back.

What is the Prime Minister's explanation? Did he intervene on behalf of a friend of the Conservatives, or has he lost control of his political staff? It has to be one or the other.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the commissioner stated quite clearly that the Prime Minister had nothing to do with the decision about this funding.

I myself made the decision because I have always believed that this project would improve access to the Markham centre for people with disabilities and that it was in the public's best interest.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works tells us she does not remember talking to Nigel Wright about this deal that has gotten her into so much trouble. That is really odd because Wright, the Prime Minister's right hand, not only remembers the conversation, he remembers the content.

He said that that minister talked to him about this project that she knew was a dud, but she wanted to find out how important it was to the Conservative Party. The Prime Minister said “sort it out” and presto, a $1 million flowed to a Conservative ally.

Will the minister put aside this convenient amnesia and just explain to us why she put the interests of this party ahead of the interests of the Canadian people?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I always believed that this was a valid project for improving access for people with disabilities.

I co-operated fully with the commissioner's investigation, which lasted three years and I testified to the best of my abilities.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, she says she co-operated, but she does not remember talking to the Prime Minister's right hand. She broke the rules. She interfered in this project, a project that should never have been approved, was pushed, and the taxpayers were out $1 million because it was given to Conservative allies.

It was not in the interests of the public. It was in the interests of Nigel Wright and this Prime Minister. She took a fund that was meant to help disabled people and turned it into a pork barrel trough.

Why will she not at least have the decency to stand up and apologize?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that is not true at all.

I always believed that this project to improve access for people with disabilities was valid and in the public interest.

Neither I nor my family nor my friends had any personal stake in this. What is more, I have never met Rabbi Mendelsohn.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Prime Minister and the Conservatives are playing politics with public money. In my own riding in a tweet from former Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, it is being alleged that the Minister of Public Works pulled funding from the Jean Bosco Centre in Maniwaki because “The NDP won the election”.

Let me repeat the question from my constituents. How can the Prime Minister endorse such unacceptable and unethical behaviour from the minister and the cabinet?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, an external and internal assessment showed that the Centre Jean Bosco did not merit a grant of this nature. The NDP, of course, would fund anything even if there are objective assessments that demonstrate that the recipient was not meriting the dollars in question.

It is no wonder that the NDP and the Liberals would have to raise taxes. They would fund absolutely every request, even those that do not qualify.

EmploymentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Jean Bosco centre provides essential services to the people of Maniwaki.

According to former Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau, the Conservatives broke their promise to fund this centre because Minister Cannon was defeated in the last election. Again according to Mr. Brazeau, the former public works minister and even Nigel Wright were involved in this decision.

Does the Prime Minister find it acceptable that the people of Maniwaki are being punished?

EmploymentOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeMinister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, internal and external assessments determined that the organization in question was not eligible for the requested subsidy, regardless of the lobbying done by Patrick Brazeau.

We respect the taxpayers' money. We control spending so we can keep taxes low, reduce them and balance the budget.

This is another example of why the NDP and the Liberals will have to raise taxes because they spend money irresponsibly. We will prevent them from doing so.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Senator Wallin claimed to be living in Saskatchewan, but even her own staff say she lived in Toronto. It was so obvious that charging the Senate for her trips home was fraudulent that Conservative senators took her aside to warn her about it. About 93% of the senator's trips included time in Toronto.

Given how obvious this fraud was, why did the Prime Minister stand up in this place and claim her expenses were no different than those of other western senators?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as members know, an independent audit found that Senator Wallin claimed inappropriate expenses. As a result, we hope that she will face the full extent of the law for that.

At the same time, I hope that the member opposite will encourage her leader to cut a cheque for $600,000. That is the amount that the Leader of the Opposition and the House Leader over there owe for inappropriate mailings.

The total bill is $2.7 million to the taxpayers of Canada. I certainly hope that the member will get on top of the situation with her leader and the others who owe that money.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are fed up with this culture of cronyism and patronage, where friends of the Conservative regime gleefully raid the cookie jar.

Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin spent all of her time fundraising for the Conservatives and then expected taxpayers to pick up the tab for her travel expenses. She was forced to pay back $150,000, and there are still 150 invoices that the RCMP considers suspicious.

Why did the Prime Minister turn a blind eye to these abuses?