May 22, 2013
Mr. Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canada's former law clerk to the House of Commons said that the $90,000 cheque prima facie violates the Parliament of Canada Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.
Will the Minister of Justice stand up today and answer a question, or will he let the Minister of Foreign Affairs stand up, as he did yesterday, to reject the relevance of our criminal law?
Will the minister at least recognize that this financial transaction may have constituted a crime and commit to calling in the RCMP?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the government obviously does not direct police authorities.
What we have said is that this Parliament has established an independent ethics officer, Mary Dawson. This matter has been referred to her. Obviously we have said, as we always do, that we will fully co-operate with any review she should choose to conduct.
Mr. Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, they can tell that to Helena Guergis.
At the very least it is clear a crime may have been committed, so why the silence from the Minister of Justice? No one is buying the Conservatives' hear-no-evil approach to this issue.
The Parliament of Canada Act, in section 16, states that “No member of the Senate shall receive...any compensation...in relation to any...matter before...a committee...”, yet according to reports, this is exactly what Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright did.
Why will the Minister of Justice not concede that a crime may have been committed and call in the RCMP?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my friend opposite talked about a previous case. The independent ethics watchdog did look into that and rendered a rather strong verdict with respect to that file.
We have confidence in the process in place. This matter has been referred to this independent watchdog of Parliament, who operates completely independently of the government. She will conduct her review properly, as she always does, and will report back to us in very short order.