House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Small Business Week
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, October 20 to 26 is National Small Business Week. Recognizing this week is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the vital role small and medium size enterprises play in the Canadian economy.

Ninety-seven per cent of Canadian businesses have fewer than 50 employees. Small businesses account for nearly 50% of Canada's GDP, employing six out of ten Canadians and creating two-thirds of all new jobs.

Since the fall of last year and in the wake of the capital market's tumult, the Canadian economy has outperformed expectations and continues to create jobs. This accomplishment is in large part due to the resiliency, dedication, hard work and dynamism of small business enterprises.

The PC Party applauds the hardworking small business enterprises in Canada and the excellent work done by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Yet with the Liberal government in power every Canadian business person knows that the best way to have a small business in Canada is to start a large business and wait.

Small Business Week
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure also to remind all members of the House that October 20 to 26 is National Small Business Week. Small and medium size businesses play a vital role in the Canadian economy.

Companies in my riding of Etobicoke North, like Hemosol, Ifire and Sohiel Mosun Ltd., account for nearly 50% of our gross domestic product and employ six out of every ten Canadians. Moreover, these businesses are currently responsible for generating a majority of all the new jobs created in Canada.

It is obvious that these companies have made it possible for the Canadian economy to avoid the recent economic downturn that has occurred in the United States.

I ask all members to take this opportunity to join with me in congratulating the small and medium size businesses in their ridings, thanking them for a job well done and wishing them continued success in the future.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of the former solicitor general after the ethics counsellor said that he had violated rules in the Holland College matter. Yet we now know that the government had advice from the ethics counsellor on this matter since 1999.

What good are any ethical guidelines if the Prime Minister allows his cabinet ministers to override them?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in 1999 the ethics counsellor told the then solicitor general not to sign an order in council and he never signed the order in council.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister knows that is playing very tightly with what the ethics counsellor said.

The government knew the Holland College dealings constituted a conflict of interest three years ago. It knew that when the Holland College dealings were raised in the House last May and June by several members of the opposition and yet the former solicitor general, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister assured the House that no conflict existed.

Why did the Prime Minister mislead the House on this critical matter?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition may want to be very careful in his choice of words. The right hon. Prime Minister may answer the question.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I never misled the House. I said, and I repeat it again today, that the institution is a public institution controlled by the provincial government with a private board and it selected Mr. MacAulay to be the president of the college. I think there was absolutely no personal interest on the part of the president of the college in promoting the advancement of this institution in P.E.I.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I hope the Prime Minister's defence is not simply that he does not know the difference between right and wrong even when his own ethics counsellor tells him so.

I return. The Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and the former solicitor general all assured the House that there was no conflict of interest in the Holland College case. We know now that the former solicitor general knew otherwise and the ethics counsellor had told him in 1999.

When did the Prime Minister become informed of the ethics counsellor's position?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, last week.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says last week. I will ask him to clarify that answer.

We know from testimony that has been given elsewhere that the ethics counsellor advises the Prime Minister and briefs him on question period responses. This matter on the Holland College dealings was raised in question periods last May and June.

Is he saying that he was never advised by the ethics counsellor before he answered questions in question period?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, last week was the week before this one, so that clarifies the matter.

I never had any advice and neither did the Deputy Prime Minister who rose and replied in the House. Both the Deputy Prime Minister and myself always believed, and I still believe, that a public institution is not the same thing as a private for profit institution. The minister's job was to promote the interests of his province and to create jobs in his province. The ethics counsellor did not agree and I said that I did not agree with him. He is a counsellor to me but I am not obliged to accept his advice.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister asked the ethics counsellor on June 11 to provide him with a comprehensive report of his activities and advice on September 30 of this year. It would be surprising to find out that this incident was not in there on September 30.

However I want to refer to one other incident. On May 28 the Prime Minister told the media in this country that he was not going to ask the ethics counsellor's opinion on the Holland College matter, yet he has asked his opinion on just about every matter that has been raised in the House.

Is he not going to admit to us that the reason he did not ask for the advice was that he already knew what it was; that it was unethical behaviour?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have said that the Deputy Prime Minister and myself have defended the public institution and the president of that public institution. Clearly for me the matter was closed. Everything I say in the House of Commons is completely public.

The first time I heard about this, again, since I discussed that in June, was last week.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said he would have continued to defend the Solicitor General if he had not resigned, thus opposing the conclusions of his own ethics counsellor who condemns the actions of the former minister.

With this type of attitude, that never acknowledges mistakes, is the Prime Minister not proving that, over and above any rules of ethics, he is short on political ethics?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the member takes time to read the letter, he will see the full explanation given by the former Solicitor General. There was no private interest involved whatsoever. It was public interest, for a college which has existed for generations, which has a very good reputation and which was collaborating in this instance with other Canadian institutions.

In my opinion, therefore, there was no personal interest involved, only the public interest of the people of Prince Edward Island.