Garrison Questions Government Funding to Private University

Conservatives failed three times to answer my question in House of Commons today about why the budget provides $6 m. of public money to the private Crandall University in Moncton which has a hiring policy banning employment of gays and lesbians. Either they didn't do their homework or worse the Conservatives knew and didn't care. And anyway, why is such a huge grant for infrastructure going to a private university at a time when public post-secondary infrastructure is crumbling?

Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is not just first nations who are waiting to get more respect from the government. The LGBTQ community also has reason to worry about the protection of our rights, seeing the Conservative priorities in this budget. The Conservatives are giving a $6 million grant to Crandall University, a private institution which explicitly discriminates against gays and lesbians, prohibiting their employment.

    My question is this. Was the minister aware of this university's discriminatory hiring practices when he approved this grant?

    Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we have a bill before Parliament right now on non-resident divorces that fix some of the problems in the bill that was originally introduced by the Liberal Party and supported by the NDP. Why does the hon. member not get up on his feet and get this bill passed so that it would benefit everyone?

    Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP): Mr. Speaker, there seems to be some confusion about who the minister is here. It is up to him to bring his legislation forward.

    I will ask the same question again. On page 165 of the budget, the government highlights a $6 million grant to Crandall University in Moncton. My question to the minister again is this. When public post-secondary institutions across the country have crumbling infrastructure, why are the Conservatives giving $6 million of public money to a private institution that bans the hiring of gays and lesbians?

    Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC): Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member really cares about some of these issues, why does he not get behind the government legislation? The government has introduced this bill in Parliament. All it needs is the support of the opposition parties to move forward on this. The hon. member cannot talk out of both sides of his mouth. Either he supports this or he does not. If he does, let us get on with it.