House of Commons Hansard #180 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was security.

Topics

Transportation
Statements by Members

May 1st, 2002 / 2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the present government has completely ignored the transportation needs of many rural parts of the country.

The costs of travel to Newfoundland and Labrador are prohibitive to most. This has a major effect on the central Newfoundland area and on Gander in particular, where there is now only one Air Canada flight in and out each day.

This makes it almost impossible for businesses who depend on the movement of goods and services to compete on a level playing field. Tourists and the travelling public are being hit. The net result is having a negative effect on the economy. This area and other areas of rural Canada deserve better.

The government says these problems are at arm's length, out of its reach, and so will the Gander--Grand Falls seat be on election day.

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a cloud of corruption hangs over the government. We have been trying to get at the truth but no one over there seems willing to tell it.

We asked for information about the ethics counsellor's handling of the arrangement between the finance minister and Jim Palmer. The issue is Palmer's position as a departmental consultant who also raises money for the minister's under the table leadership bid. A request for details of records of this discussion was answered this way: There is no record.

Could the Prime Minister tell Canadians, what is this government covering up?

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when ministers or members of parliament talk to the ethics counsellor, they call, they talk, they discuss the problem. That is exactly what the Minister of Finance did, twice.

There is no need to have a record of a private discussion. Members go there and discuss their private affairs with him. They receive advice.

He gives them the advice to follow all the guidelines and that is exactly what the Minister of Finance did.

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we asked the right person and the right department the right questions, but there was no answer, no record, not even a single piece of paper.

Still, we know that something was done because a $25,000 donation to the stealth leadership was returned. How do we know that is where the conflicts of interest ended?

Surely the Prime Minister must be concerned. Will the government table Mr. Palmer's contract and a list of all those he was paid to consult with?

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the counsellor, Mr. Wilson, discussed that with the Minister of Finance. He looked at all the facts and he concluded that there was no conflict of interest. That is the end of the matter for me.

If the hon. member wants to have information about the contract, he has access to information. He can file the application with the Department of Finance and of course according to the law it will have to table the document eventually. It is the process that has to be followed and I know that in this case the Minister of Finance has followed the regulations properly.

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just says there is nothing wrong, but it is obvious that somebody thought something was wrong: The minister's off the books leadership organization sent back the offending cheque.

We wonder if there are other ghost campaigns that had undocumented ethics meetings resulting in other returned cheques from his ministers who are seeking the leadership of his party. How can the Prime Minister assure us that this $25,000 cheque that was sent back is the only one sent back and how can he assure Canadians? There has to be something in writing or the ethics counsellor should be reporting to parliament, not to him.

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor appears regularly in front of committees where they can ask questions.

He is there to advise members of parliament. Some from both sides have consulted him, ministers and the Prime Minister, and his role is to give advice. There was no such job before we formed the government. He is there. He is knowledgeable about that. He is involved in the registry of the lobbyists too. He gives very good advice. He has been very useful to the government. He has been a very good witness very often in front of committees, replying to all the questions from members from all sides.

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister said, he has been really useful to the Liberals. Indeed.

In fact, there is a little stench of sleaze and corruption hanging over the government like a cloud. The Prime Minister interestingly enough claims that there is no corruption because no ministers have resigned. Might I remind the Prime Minister that our ambassador to Denmark did not get there as a promotion?

The Prime Minister also says that everything is fine because no authorities have been called in. Might I remind him that on the Shawinigan affair, two of those individuals have been convicted by the courts?

My question is, do those things not count?

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can measure the dishonesty of the member across. Yes, two persons were found guilty in my riding, and it is my office that called the police. He should get up and say so to the House of Commons.

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

There is more, Mr. Speaker.

Here is another example of what I call sleaze. The opposition brings forward an issue on Groupaction and how the government paid twice for it. The auditor general is now called in on that issue. When the auditor general says that should go to the police, what is the Prime Minister going to say then?

Ethics Counsellor
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, whenever there has been a case to be referred to the police it has been done, since we formed the government, but I see this person who tried to raise money himself, and he probably failed badly in his own leadership, and he has never given the names of the people who gave him money a few months ago.

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence may play on words like he did yesterday, the new bill on public safety will deprive citizens of their right to undertake civil action.

The bill is clear: it is the government, not the courts, that will determine the amount of compensation that plaintiffs will receive if damages, losses or injuries result from the creation of a military zone.

Since his minister is unable to tell us, will the Prime Minister agree that his government is in fact violating a foundation of our democratic society, which is the possibility for any citizen to assert his or her rights before a civil court?

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member wants to raise these issues, that is fine with me.

At this point, we have a bill before parliament. This legislation will go through second reading and then be referred to a committee. The hon. member will have the opportunity to raise all these issues before the committee. It goes without saying that if he is right, adjustments will be made. Bills are reviewed in the House and then referred to a committee precisely to be improved if necessary.

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not sit on the committee.

Yesterday, the Minister of National Defence told us that it would be possible to take civil action.

The government is responsible for the legislation that it proposes, and the Prime Minister must know it. He is telling us that it is better because it is better.

If it is so much better, could the Prime Minister tell us now why clause 74 prevents someone from taking civil action? It is written in black and white in the bill. Could we get an explanation on this act that is supposedly so much better?

Public Safety Act
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said that if the hon. member is not pleased with any measure contained in the bill, he can go before the committee and explain why. The deputy minister and public officials will answer his questions.

But why make a big fuss now, considering that he will have the opportunity to raise all the issues that he wants before the committee in the coming weeks?