House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was new.

Topics

Code Of Ethics
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the code of ethics provides that “On appointment to office, and thereafter, public office holders shall arrange their private affairs in a manner that will prevent real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest from arising but if such a conflict does arise between the private interests of a public office holder and the official duties and responsibilities of that public office holder, the conflict shall be resolved in favour of the public interest”.

Will the Prime Minister admit that for everyone—parliamentarians in the House, citizens, and all remotely objective observers—he has crossed that fine line between the defence of—

Code Of Ethics
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The Right Hon. Prime Minister.

Code Of Ethics
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I put these shares in trust. Everything was managed by my trustee, who is also my lawyer. On every discussion she had, and every decision she had to take, she consulted the ethics counsellor, who said publicly that he had had the greatest possible co-operation from the person responsible for taking decisions without any involvement on my part.

The decisions were taken. There was a debt to be collected. She collected the maximum she could in the circumstances. I think that that is very clear: there is no conflict of interest.

Code Of Ethics
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I have notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

March 28th, 2001 / 3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 48(2), I rise on a question of privilege arising from comments made yesterday by the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas.

In response to a question he had asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the hon. member said the following:

While he is at it, the minister referred to a group of members of parliament who travelled to Sudan. How does the minister feel about the fact that the tickets for that trip were paid for by Talisman Energy?

Does the minister feel it is appropriate that two Liberal colleagues and one Alliance member, one of the Liberals being the vice-chair of the foreign affairs committee, should be travelling to Sudan, paid for by Talisman Energy? Is that acceptable to the minister?

The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas has deliberately misled the House. I have a letter from the Canada Arab Council which I would like to table in the House today which states unequivocally that it was the Canada Arab Council that paid for those tickets.

If I could read from that letter, dated March 28, 2001, it responds to your request, Mr. Speaker. I made a request in response to the allegations by the hon. member just to reconfirm what I had known prior to this trip. The letter states:

In response to your request for confirmation of the funding arrangements covering airfare and accommodation of the recent Nile River Valley familiarization trip to Egypt and central Sudan, March 9-10 to 20, 2001 by three federal MPs and a Quebec MNA, I wish to confirm:

  1. The trip was organized and sponsored, including airfare, by the National Council on Canada Arab Relations in accordance with its public education mandate.

  2. More specifically The National Council on Canada Arab Relations purchased the air tickets with funds from its general account.

I will table the letter in the House today. I am demanding that the hon. member apologize to myself for impugning my reputation and not dealing with the larger issue of a country that is racked by civil war and for that member to put his skills toward advocating a peace plan that will hold the government of Sudan, the FPLA and Talisman Energy's feet to the fire to develop peace in that country.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the point was of the point of privilege. I am pleased to have the opportunity to be very clear on precisely what has taken place in this very sad affair.

The fact of the matter is—

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Apologize.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I trust I will be given the same courtesy as the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas has the floor.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier today, at a press conference held by the hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton and the hon. member from Mississauga, the vice-chair of the foreign affairs committee, those two members confirmed that the travel within Sudan by the delegation that included the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca was paid for by an oil consortium which included Talisman Energy. That was confirmed directly by those members.

Furthermore, with respect to the travel and the cost of travel of the three members from Canada to Sudan, the fact is that Talisman Energy contributed significant funds to the National Council on Canada Arab Relations, which in turn were used to fund the travel of the three members who went to Sudan.

Talisman Energy funded the National Council on Canada Arab Relations with respect to this matter. Talisman Energy funded the travel within Sudan. Frankly, it is appalling that hon. members of this place would accept a trip funded by Talisman Energy, which has been complicit in some of the most egregious human rights violations in Sudan.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I think it is clear that there is a disagreement as to facts in this case. Unless the hon. member has something that is quite new to introduce into the matter, I would caution him. I do not want to protract the debate, because I think that is what we are into here.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas does not get it. He is impugning, as he said in the House of Commons yesterday, that we knowingly went on this trip paid for by Talisman oil.

I asked prior to the trip who was paying for it, and it was the Canada Arab Council. After the trip I asked whether Talisman had paid for it. I received a document, which I will table in the House, that clearly states it was the Canada Arab Council and not Talisman oil that paid for it.

I demand that the member for Burnaby—Douglas stop misleading the House and apologize to me and my colleagues.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

If the hon. member wants to seek leave of the House to table his letter, he may do so, but I think we ought to leave the matter there.

It appears there is a disagreement and I do not think it is one the Chair will be able to resolve. The members have different views of the facts of the case as is apparent from the submissions we have heard. If we go on further, we will hear a lot more.

Does the hon. member wish to seek consent of the House to table those documents?

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Yes, Mr. Speaker.