House of Commons Hansard #240 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was marriage.

Topics

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wilson is the one to deal with problems of this nature for all MPs and ministers. He has looked at the portfolio my trustee is handling for me. I have no right of supervision whatsoever over that trust.

I turned my assets over to it and years from now, when I leave this position, I will see whether the trustee has handled my affairs well or not. That is when I will know whether to laugh or to cry, but right now I have no say in this, I depend on her competency and I trust her greatly.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

June 8th, 1999 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The House is once again set to vote on the Senate's budget of over $50 million. Here stands Canada on the eve of the 21st century and we still have an unelected, unaccountable Senate, a Senate that refuses to account for how it spends public dollars.

Why is the government content to push through yet another Senate budget without public scrutiny?

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Senate is an institution of this parliament that is part of the Canadian constitution. It is there until it is changed in the constitution. It is a very useful institution and is doing a good job for Canada.

We wanted to change it some years ago. I remember very well that when we wanted to have a reformed and elected Senate many people on the other side voted against it. So we have the Senate that has been given to us by the Reform Party.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, a lot of Canadians beg to differ. A lot of Canadians had hoped to see from the government a little more interest in real democracy.

The Canadian Senate has no place in a modern democracy. It is a joke and an embarrassment. It is indefensible.

Will the Prime Minister agree to write to the first ministers? Will he sound out their support for ridding us of this relic and moving on with democratic renewal in the coming century?

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no desire by the premiers at this time to spend a lot of time on changing the constitution to change the Senate. They did it for months and months to no avail. I am telling the House that they do not want to do this at this time.

When we had a chance we voted for reform of the Senate. The NDP voted for reform of the Senate too, but I am sorry to report to the House that the Reform Party made sure that we kept the Senate in exactly the same form it is today.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, so far, we know, and there is evidence to back this up, that the Canadian government's position with respect to the KLA has always been complete disarmament. However, we know that the United States and the G-8 nations have now decided to talk about demilitarizing the KLA.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Can he tell us the difference between demilitarizing and disarming the KLA and what the Canadian government's position is today?

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government's position, like that of all the G-8 nations, is to ensure that the Kosovars can return home safely.

This means that the Kosovo liberation army and Serb forces must leave the area so that the international force can restore peace and freedom for the Kosovars, who, I hope, will return as soon as possible, within a few weeks, to their own country.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, the Prime Minister is unaware of the agreement that has been negotiated with the G-8 nations. There is a big difference between demilitarizing and disarming. Canadian troops will be among the first to enter Kosovo.

If the KLA is not disarmed, there is a risk. What are the Canadian army's rules of engagement? Will it be able to disarm the KLA or will it let KLA soldiers leave with their arms?

I would like the Prime Minister to accurately inform us on this important issue. I hope he will be able to answer clearly this time.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the resolution was clear.

It demands that the KLA and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups end immediately all offensive action and comply with the requirement for demilitarization as laid down by the head of the international security council in consultation with the Special representative of the secretary general.

That is the text that has been agreed to by everybody. It has satisfied me and I hope it will satisfy the hon. member.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals were in opposition they said that Sinclair Stevens had mixed his public and private business. In fact, the now heritage minister went berserk trying to force Sinclair to admit he was wrong. Berserk is looking kind of good right now.

There is a simple way to clear up questions about the Prime Minister's similar conflict. Owning the Grand-Mère shares places the Prime Minister in a clear conflict of interest. If they were sold, where is the receipt?

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when Mr. Wilson was at the industry committee on May 6 he said that that it was a sale free and clear of the Prime Minister's interest in that golf course. He also said that a sum of money had been denominated and that there was a repayment schedule.

I think what Mr. Wilson said to the committee is very clear.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but we are trying to give the Prime Minister an opportunity to tell Canadians that he did nothing that would constitute a conflict of interest. Perhaps I can put the question another way: Où est le reçu?

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will quote Mr. Wilson.

He said that in his view this was a done deal and that there were no financial connections regarding the Prime Minister in either the auberge or the golf course. It is very clear. He is an official who has been looking into that and is consulted by all the members of parliament. I have confidence in him.

My trust fund has to administer my assets. As I said in French, it is only at the end of the process that I will know what has been done. It is a blind trust and blind means blind. I am just doing what is required. From the day I became Prime Minister, I have had no decisions to make on it.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister refuses to table the record of sale, whereas he sold his shares even before becoming PM. He says it is in the hands of the trust.

There is something he could do very easily, namely instruct the trustee to make the record of sale public.

Why does he not instruct the trustee to make the record of sale public? Then the members and the public will be able to make a judgment based on facts, rather than on an act of faith in the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the trustee is the one in charge of these things. Under the circumstances, ministers, like the Prime Minister, have no right of supervision. It is a matter of having a blind trust manage one's assets. This is done for all ministers, as it is for me.

I have said all I had to say. I have nothing to add.