Too cute by half

An exchange from Question Period yesterday.

Ms. Paule Brunelle (Trois-Rivières, BQ): Mr. Speaker, by telling us this morning that Canada has to wait longer still to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the minister for big oil is showing once again that the environment is not a priority for this government. Instead of stepping up efforts to get an agreement on strict reduction targets, he is instead working on derailing the Copenhagen summit and prefers to conduct his business without any regard for the consequences. Does the Prime Minister realize that his approach, which pits the economy against the environment, is viewed as disastrous by the experts?

Hon. Jay Hill (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I have said before in this chamber, there is no minister for big oil in this government. Therefore, there will not be any minister responding to that silly question.

Ms. Paule Brunelle (Trois-Rivières, BQ): Mr. Speaker, there is not just one minister for big oil, there are several.

The government subsequently refused to acknowledge Ms. Brunelle’s second question. Likewise, the government declined to respond later when the Bloc’s Michel Guimond directed at a question at the “minister of patronage” (Christian Paradis, apparently). That exchange after the jump.

Mr. Michel Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, BQ): Mr. Speaker, Senator Housakos is very influential. In addition to looking after Conservative Party financing, he is involved in awarding contracts. Several members of his gang have been appointed to government positions. One has gone to the Employment Insurance Board of Referees, a second to VIA Rail and a third to Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated. Will the Minister of Public Works, who is minister of patronage, see to it that the Housakos network stops being rewarded?

Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Bloc may not like it, but appointments are based on merit. If the Bloc members want to make allegations that we broke the law, let them do so outside the House. For three or four weeks, they have been insinuating all sorts of things and wasting the House’s time.

Mr. Michel Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the minister of patronage recognized himself, because he stood up. Serge Martel, a buddy of Senator Housakos’ who was named to the board of directors of Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated, admits that he made a mistake when he attended a cocktail fundraiser for the Conservative Party organized by Senator Housakos. Does the minister of patronage still find this situation acceptable, when Serge Martel himself acknowledges that he made a mistake?

The Speaker: The hon.—

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Speaker: The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has the floor. Order, please.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has the floor.