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 senate.

Topics

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, obviously a number of issues need to be ironed out with respect to implementation of the G-8 peace plan, but one of the central problems is the question of how to implement a ceasefire, particularly with the Kosovo Liberation Army remaining something of a wild card.

Will the Prime Minister tell us whether any progress has been made in agreeing to the terms of the ceasefire and whether or not the KLA is being brought into these discussions?

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the resolution that will eventually be adopted by the United Nations security council there is provision for the disarmament of the KLA.

As to the terms of the negotiations, I am not in a position to say with whom people are talking at this time. All the G-8 has agreed that to have peace in Kosovo we have to proceed with the disarmament of the KLA, just as we want the Serb army to withdraw and go back to Belgrade.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, 800 Canadian forces personnel are on their way to the former Yugoslavia. The Minister of National Defence is musing about sending more, even though his chief of defence staff has advised that may be beyond our capability.

It is not unreasonable for Canadians to want to know what our troops will be doing, what role they are assigned to, and whether or not it is within our capability. Canadians want specific answers to these concerns and questions, and not just vague assurances.

Will the Prime Minister tell the House what specific role Canadian forces will play in the implementation of the G-8 peace plan and what resources will be made available to them in order to do the job?

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we can tell the Canadian people, as we agreed some weeks ago. Briefings were given to members of the House and to the media about the role of these 800 people.

As to the next group to possibly go, it is being discussed at this time with the NATO commanders. The Canadian government is not in a position at this moment to agree because we do not know exactly to our satisfaction all the details that are needed to make a final decision.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

June 8th, 1999 / 2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has avoided answering more than 50 questions in the last three weeks about Shawinigate. He and his human shield have done everything possible to hide their shame for the Shawinigan shame, hoping it will just go away. I have news. It will not go away.

The Prime Minister insists that he does not own the shares he is trying to sell. He cannot explain why he is selling something that he does not really own but, gee whiz, it is like we are all just supposed to accept it and go on, right?

We do not and we would like an answer to the question once and for all. Where is the receipt?

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe I can add to what the Deputy Prime Minister and I have said in the House.

Before I became Prime Minister I sold those shares and I gave the problem or the receivable to my trustee as with my other assets. She is in charge of managing it. Mr. Wilson on May 6 explained the situation in front of a committee of the House of Commons.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is just great that he gave the problem to somebody else. In fact he says that he sold something that he did not really sell, that somebody bought something but he did not really buy it. It is as clear as mud.

This Liberal arrogance, this going to see me through attitude, is just not working. Just ask Camille Thériault and Dalton McGuinty how well that works.

We have asked the Prime Minister to produce the proof that he is not in a conflict of interest and he just tells us that he is being a good little MP. We asked him to show us proof that the shares were actually sold to somebody and up comes the human shield. The question remains. Where is the proof?

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am told that the ethics counsellor looked into that, discussed it with my trustees and reported it to the committee on May 6, last month.

I said, and I repeat, I sold those shares. For the rest, I have done my job as a member of parliament helping to create jobs in an area where they have 12% unemployment, as it is my duty. I have been doing what the members of the Reform Party by the big numbers have done for their constituents, making sure that federal programs apply to their constituents as I do for mine.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the apparent conflict of interest involving the Prime Minister and business people in his riding, the Prime Minister could easily remove all suspicion.

The Prime Minister, who says he sold his shares before being sworn in, claims that the sale was final.

I ask him quite simply why he does not table the bill of sale. It seems to me that would resolve the whole mess we are in at the moment.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat the same thing over again. I signed the sale of my shares before becoming Prime Minister, and gave that to the person looking after my trust, as we are required to do.

The person in question is responsible and spoke with Mr. Wilson, who explained what he learned from this person. She is the one who has been handling these matters since November 1993, when I became Prime Minister.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he sold his shares before being sworn in as Prime Minister.

So, the decision is his. He did so as a member of parliament, as a citizen, and not as Prime Minister. The trust is not involved.

It would be so easy to remove all suspicion. Why does he not table the bill of sale he made as member—not as Prime Minister and not through the trust—but on his own before he was sworn in? It is simple. It would put an end to all these questions and all these suspicions weighing on him.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wilson discussed this problem with the person in charge of the trust in which I am required to deposit my assets. This person manages the matter and discussed with Mr. Wilson, who testified before a committee of the House and provided all the relevant facts in response to the questions put to him.

As for me, my assets are in a trust and I have no say in the matter. I leave its management to the person in charge of it.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, quite seriously, the Prime Minister could avoid a good number of problems if he simply complied with this request and agreed to clarify the situation.

I am asking him once again, quite simply this: in light of all the hullabaloo surrounding this situation, and the fact that the sale occurred when he was just an MP and not the Prime Minister, does he not think that it would be so much simpler if he were just to produce the record of sale? That will settle it.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wilson, who is responsible for ethics for all members of the House, has looked into the matter. I repeat: all of my assets are managed by a trustee. I have no oversight over the management.

I have done what the law and regulations require me to do, and all this was explained by Mr. Wilson before a committee of the House of Commons, on May 6.

Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will understand that some doubt still remains when he refers to his ethics adviser, this person who is hard to speak to, who works on order, and reports to him, not the House of Commons.

I ask him once more: this business of keeping this sale secret, refusing to produce something as simple as a paper stating “I have sold my shares and here are the signatures”, does this not leave even the Prime Minister with doubts?

He could clarify the situation. Let him do what needs doing, then. Is there something in this contract that we ought not to see? If so, he should let us know.