House of Commons Hansard #185 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was marriages.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Crowfoot Alberta

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, again, our Conservative government has a low-tax plan for jobs and growth in all sectors of the Canadian economy, and that plan is working. It is going to return Canada to a balanced budget this year. As we have stated, we will not bring forward the budget any earlier than April.

Again, while we are focusing on balancing the budget and creating jobs, the New Democratic Party and the Liberal leader are pushing a high-tax, high-debt agenda that will threaten jobs and set working families back.

Canadians families know they are better off with this Conservative government.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, racist comments are nothing new for the member for New Brunswick Southwest, who has used such terms as “the teepee republic” and suggested that there were no alternatives to residential schools. His racist comments should not surprise anyone, especially not the Prime Minister, who chose him as director of communications.

Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and remove this member from his caucus?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member has already apologized.

However, one member has yet to apologize. The Leader of the Liberal Party made disgraceful comments about the Holocaust. Two national Jewish groups have already called his comments inappropriate.

I will now give the Liberal leader the opportunity to do the honourable thing: apologize.

EthicsOral Questions

March 12th, 2015 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the leader of Liberal Party said nothing about the Holocaust, and he gave a great speech in Toronto.

Two of the Prime Minister's Conservative colleagues from Calgary have used strong words to denounce their colleague's language, labelling it racist and damaging to all of us. Yet the Prime Minister has remained silent. Does this mean the Prime Minister tacitly condones these racist remarks, or will he finally act and remove the member from his caucus?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has done the right thing in apologizing. Now there is an opportunity for the Liberal leader to stand in the House and apologize.

Let me quote B'nai Brith, one of Canada's leading Jewish organizations, “[The] Liberal leader['s]...comparison of Canada’s current immigration policy to that of the 1940’s which saw Jews barred from the country is wholly inappropriate”. B'nai Brith went on to call those comments divisive.

The Liberal leader has an opportunity to make right all of the wrongs that he carried out in that speech, and I invite him to stand now and apologize.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently we heard three things from the Conservatives: first, the Prime Minister appears to condone racist language; second, as is clear from their own document, Conservatives see their base as anti-immigrant; third, the Prime Minister keeps attacking Muslims.

Is the Prime Minister so deeply mired in his Reform Party roots that he is totally unable to promote an inclusive Canada, or will he expel that member from his caucus?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Multiculturalism)

Mr. Speaker, what I am hearing about is the Liberal leader's divisive speech, about which B'nai Brith Canada was prompted to say, “[The] Liberal leader['s]...comparison of Canada’s current immigration policy to that of the 1940’s which saw Jews barred from the country is wholly inappropriate”. It went on to say, “Such language is divisive and only does a dis-service to Canadians interested in dealing with pressing issues of the day”.

When will the Liberal leader stand up and apologize to Canadians for his divisive politics?

PrivacyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-51 will have a significant impact on the rights and freedoms of Canadians, and yet the Conservative government refuses to hear from a key witness: the Privacy Commissioner, Daniel Therrien, who believes that Bill C-51 is “clearly excessive”.

Daniel Therrien was appointed by the Prime Minister. He is a specialist who was presented to us as someone who is able to strike a balance between security and privacy. Why then is his expertise being ignored when those issues are at the very heart of Bill C-51? Why this selective listening on the government's part regarding this bill?

PrivacyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect the government's left hand to know what the right hand is doing. When it comes to protecting rights and freedoms, our bill contains many provisions, including one that gives the Security Intelligence Review Committee the mandate to investigate all threat reduction activities.

For all intents and purposes, we are the only country among our allies that does not already have measures in place to effectively combat terrorism and prevent radicalization in certain cases. We look forward to hearing evidence from experts and any constructive comments that they are sure to have on our bill, which is very important for Canada.

PrivacyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, we will give the minister a second chance. The minister may not like what the Privacy Commissioner has to say, but that is no reason for the Conservatives to block him from the committee.

Bill C-51 would make sweeping changes that would have serious privacy implications for all Canadians. The Privacy Commissioner has warned that this bill would give the government, in his words, “virtually limitless powers to monitor and, with the assistance of Big Data analytics, to profile ordinary Canadians”.

Why are the Conservatives refusing to allow the Privacy Commissioner to appear before the committee so all Canadians can hear his concerns?

PrivacyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, when we were drafting one of the parts that deals with the exchange of information already in the government's possession that could threaten national security, we submitted our work and our proposals to the Privacy Commissioner. I had the privilege of meeting with him yesterday, and we intend to carry on a constructive dialogue to ensure that the bill is an effective tool to protect Canadians against the terrorist threat while still upholding their rights and freedoms.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, so much for putting public safety first.

The Conservatives have allowed the RCMP to work with a severely outdated criminal records database for six years. Apparently, it will not be fixed until 2018.

It is great that the minister wants to transition the RCMP to an electronic database—welcome to the 21st century—but what he has done instead is create a disastrous backlog. The police cannot wait another three years for current criminal records. Where is the plan to fix this dangerous situation now?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague should know that the police centre that collects the information includes all of the provincial and federal police forces across the country. It does important work and our government is proud to have provided financial support in the amount of $180 million to make this important transition.

Unfortunately, we did not get the support of the NDP, but we are aware that transferring all of that data will be a significant challenge. Yesterday, police representatives assured us that they would be able to successfully carry out their important mandate.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is funny. The government did not need our support to prove its failure.

Those are fine words, but when it comes right down to it, the minister has not solved anything. This has been an ongoing problem since 2009. It currently takes two years before criminal records are updated, yet they are a basic police tool. Police officers are currently working in the dark.

What is the minister waiting for? When will he resolve this problem and ensure that our police officers and Canadians are safe now?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, it is time for the NDP to wake up. We have been working on this problem for some time and we have invested $180 million. The NDP opposed an investment to ensure that information is available electronically instead of mouldering in the basements of courthouses.

We are working with every provincial and federal police force and with the provinces to ensure that our police officers, along with the entire legal system, have the information they need in real time. We will continue to support the efforts of our police officers.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is appalling that the Conservatives are using public money to reward their friends and punish their enemies.

Former Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau revealed that Nigel Wright and the Minister of Public Works politically interfered in the Jean Bosco Centre file. We do not know what happened, but we know the result: the funding promised disappeared into thin air when Lawrence Cannon was defeated. Unbelievable.

Can the Prime Minister explain why his chief of staff interfered in this file?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it would be no surprise to see the New Democrats increase taxes to finance all of their grants without any assessments. If the New Democrats want to hand out grants simply because Patrick Brazeau is lobbying, they are the ones who need to explain themselves.

We respect taxpayers' money and we protect their money by choosing sound investments and spending responsibly.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact that proposals do not meet departmental officials' criteria is no obstacle to helping the Prime Minister's good friends. Such things can be overlooked, which is what happened in Markham after the Prime Minister's former chief of staff got involved.

However, when an opportunity arose to punish voters who turned their backs on the Conservatives, a project that Lawrence Cannon had promised suddenly failed to meet the criteria.

Seriously. Is there one set of rules for the Prime Minister's friends and another for his enemies? Is Nigel Wright in charge of enforcing those rules?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that the NDP is siding with Patrick Brazeau to try to break the rules, but it is not surprising that the NDP would have to raise taxes to pay for this kind of irresponsible spending decision.

The NDP would say yes to anything just because someone lobbied for it. On this side, we make investments that are justifiable after we go through evaluations. That is why we have been able to balance the budget and cut taxes for Canadians. We will keep doing that.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Employment and Social Development is describing is exactly what the Minister of Public Works and Government Services did.

Since the ethics commissioner's damning report was released, memory loss has run rampant. The minister says she does not recall talking to Nigel Wright, and the Prime Minister does not even remember the project.

However, it was important enough for three of his ministers and two of his close advisors to intervene on behalf of a good friend of the Prime Minister and overturn a decision made by departmental officials.

If that is not favouritism, then how does the Prime Minister explain the fact that three ministers and two staffers got involved in awarding a grant?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I have said several times, I have always believed that this project to improve access to the Markham centre for people with disabilities was worthwhile and in the public interest.

I myself made the decision, and I have always believed that this project was good for the people of Markham.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been found guilty and here is the problem with her defence. She says that she cannot remember speaking to Nigel Wright about the project. Then she said, “Don't worry, there was nothing political”, which raises this question. Why was Nigel Wright phoning her about the project in the first place?

Let me try to jog her memory. She took a rejected project from the bottom of the pile and pushed it above 160 other qualified projects. Will she at least tell the House what was it that caught her eye about this rejected proposal? Why were so many key Conservatives so keen to give one of their friends so much public money?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, our government is very proud to have launched the enabling accessibility fund, which has helped millions of people across the country to have full inclusion and the ability to participate. It is unfortunate that the NDP voted against this program that has benefited virtually all of their constituents.

I always knew there was value in this project. I always believed it would be in the public interest. I co-operated fully during the three years of this investigation.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, she hides behind disabled children to explain why she was feeling guilty for breaking the rules to give money to her friends—

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!