April 14, 2010

CPC

Stephen Harper

Conservative

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we received information which is obviously of serious concern. I have no direct knowledge to add to this information. The appropriate thing to do was to turn that over to the authorities.

The consistent pattern here is the government does what is the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Michael Ignatieff

Liberal

Mr. Michael Ignatieff (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, there is a consistent pattern of obstruction with this government. Ministerial staff block requests for access to information. Entire pages of information and documents on torture are censored.

Now the Prime Minister is refusing to tell us why he called in the police against his minister.

All of this amounts to contempt for the institutions involved and for Canadians.

When will the Prime Minister tell us why he trusted the minister last week, but no longer trusts her this week?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CPC

Stephen Harper

Conservative

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I reject the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition.

In this case, the minister tendered her resignation. I received information about her conduct. I have no direct knowledge of the allegations made. It was appropriate to forward these allegations to the authorities and that is what I did.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Mark Holland

Liberal

Mr. Mark Holland (Ajax—Pickering, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, when Rahim Jaffer met with some of his more questionable clients, he said, “I have access to a green fund”. It was no idle boast.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities delegated authority to review projects for the billion dollar green fund to his parliamentary secretary, a parliamentary secretary who now confirms he did meet with Mr. Jaffer and his partner last June for government cash for three specific projects.

What are the details of these projects? Which of Mr. Jaffer's clients were involved? Why were these unregistered lobbyists not reported to the lobbyist commissioner?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary did have meetings with Mr. Jaffer and no funding was recommended to any of the projects that were discussed. That has been very clearly stated by the parliamentary secretary.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Mark Holland

Liberal

Mr. Mark Holland (Ajax—Pickering, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, a parliamentary secretary meets with Mr. Jaffer and his business partner to discuss cash for their clients. It is the very definition of lobbying. None of it was reported; none of it was registered.

We now know the parliamentary secretary met with them again, this time on September 3, the same day Mr. Jaffer had a personal dinner with the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and eight days before Mr. Jaffer boasted of access.

How can we believe the lobbying efforts did not continue with the minister over dinner? Why were these unregistered lobbyists given this kind of access and not reported as required by law?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the law in this case is very, very clear. It imposes obligations on those who lobby government. They are very specifically prescribed in the act and all lobbyists are expected to follow that important legislation.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is refusing to investigate the affair involving the former minister for the status of women and Rahim Jaffer. She says that it is not up to her to look into this matter. We are forced to conclude that the allegations forwarded to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner are of a criminal nature.

Will the Prime Minister finally agree to show some transparency and explain what the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner does and does not have the authority to do?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CPC

Stephen Harper

Conservative

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I received serious allegations, which I forwarded to the RCMP and the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

It is up to the authorities to take the appropriate action.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner said she did not have the authority to conduct an inquiry into the matter. But the commissioner reports to Parliament. We are therefore entitled to know why she does not have the authority to look into the affair involving the former minister for the status of women and her husband, Rahim Jaffer.

Will the Prime Minister finally disclose the exact nature of the allegations that forced him to put the matter in the hands of the RCMP?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CPC

Stephen Harper

Conservative

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, I received serious allegations, but I do not have direct knowledge of this information. That is why I forwarded it to the RCMP and others.

It is perfectly appropriate for the authorities to take the necessary action.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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BQ

Carole Freeman

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Carole Freeman (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has refused to examine the allegations concerning the former Minister of the Status of Women. She maintains that such matters do not fall within her mandate. Shady business relations, drug trafficking, bribery, the use of Parliamentary assets for questionable purposes are all matters within the authority of the RCMP.

Because these are serious allegations that are criminal in nature, does the government acknowledge that the specific information provided to the RCMP should be revealed to clear the air?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that when the Prime Minister and his office were apprised of new information, they did two things: they forwarded this information to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, who operates independently of the House, as well as to the RCMP.

Those are the actions of a government that is very aware of the ethical standard in Canada. That is why the RCMP should have the time to study the information.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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BQ

Carole Freeman

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Carole Freeman (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, since the government is refusing to come out with the facts, we have to rely on the media to learn more.

We have learned that the minister's dismissal was prompted by the actions of a private detective. Bribery, drug use and trafficking are allegedly central to the revelations in the hands of the Prime Minister's Office

Can the government confirm what information was forwarded to the RCMP?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, all the information was sent to the RCMP and Parliament's Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

These two organizations are independent and we should give them the time to deal with the matter.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Ethics
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NDP

Jack Layton

New Democratic Party

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the culture of secrecy of the Conservatives is reaching new heights. We have the Information Commissioner telling us that our system is in tatters. We had the Eyes Wide Shut approach on torture in Afghanistan, and so on. Now we learn that the Prime Minister referred a matter to the RCMP based on a report from Magnum, P.I.

Why? What is the origin here? What we see today is the chief stonewaller refusing to tell us. Would he tell us what the private eye told him? At least he should give us a hint as to why the RCMP is involved.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Access to Information
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CPC

Stephen Harper

Conservative

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, of course, it is not appropriate that I would comment on any such information. It is appropriate that the authorities would have that information and would look into it. Of course, if the hon. member would have any similar information, I am sure he would do the same.

However, I have to reject the premise of the question. I think it has been very apparent for many years in Afghanistan now that whenever Canadian officials or Canadian military personnel receive any problems in their dealings with Afghan prisoners, they take the appropriate action.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Access to Information
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NDP

Jack Layton

New Democratic Party

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Health Act is the result of work started by the NDP 50 years ago. It is also an agreement between the federal government, the provinces and the territories to provide Canadians with health care that is free, universal, portable from province to province, and publicly administered. It is of the utmost importance to us.

Does the government intend to strictly enforce the Canada Health Act, yes or no?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Canada Health Act
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CPC

Stephen Harper

Conservative

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Health Act is the law in this country. We expect the provinces to respect the law.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Canada Health Act
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NDP

Jack Layton

New Democratic Party

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has always been steadfast in our support of the Canada Health Act. We have denounced violations of this act time and time again and we are going to keep on doing it.

Some have recently opened up discussions about the possibility of imposing user fees on patients. A number of members of the House have taken a position in favour of such a proposal and they are in fact willing to amend the Canada Health Act.

Is the government committed to enforcing the Canada Health Act or is it preparing to amend it?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Canada Health Act
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April 14, 2010