House of Commons Hansard #195 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-55.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to see an Atlantic Canada where Atlantic Canadians do not have to have friends in the federal cabinet to get equal treatment from the government. Instead of rationalizing the pork-barrel politics that the government practices in the region, did the Prime Minister make any attempt before exonerating the solicitor general to seek any kind of ethics advice on the solicitor general's behaviour?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when a member of parliament is representing institutions of education that give some courses of great quality to make the young people of that province first citizens of Canada with all the abilities to serve their country, these programs apply to P.E.I. just like the $5 million that was given to the University of Calgary, the $10 million that was given to the University of Alberta and the $10 million that was given to the University of Saskatchewan.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is not just the RCMP. We have now learned that the college of the solicitor general's brother received millions of tax dollars. It received it from ACOA when this minister was the minister for ACOA. It received the distinction of being the only college in Canada to receive transitional jobs fund money.

Why can the Prime Minister not admit the solicitor general was just wrong to pressure his own departments to fund projects spearheaded by his brother?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the brother was the president of a university. The government would never deprive a university or the people of a province because it happens in a family that one brother is the head of a school and the other brother is serving the Canadian people very honourably in the Parliament of Canada.

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

May 30th, 2002 / 2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, any suggestion, whether it is real or perceived, that the independence of the RCMP has been compromised is extremely serious. This may be difficult for the ethically challenged members of the government to comprehend, but Canadians must have confidence that the RCMP can do their job without the fear of reprisal or interference from their political masters.

I ask the Prime Minister, does he in fact condone the solicitor general lobbying the very organization that he controls? Yes or no.

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when a member of parliament and a cabinet minister receives a request by a citizen of his province to apply for programs that exist in the department under his responsibility, it is his duty to transmit that request to the officials so that the people of his province and his riding will not be penalized because he is serving Canada as a minister.

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we look at Airbus, we look at APEC and we look at Shawinigate. The government is mired in allegations of political interference with the RCMP.

The Prime Minister's defence of the solicitor general putting political pressure on the RCMP for financial favours substantiates those well founded allegations.

How will the Prime Minister restore Canadians' faith that the RCMP can operate free of political interference after he condoned and defended the solicitor general lobbying the RCMP?

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am listening to these people being sanctimonious.

I have an ad here. The Leader of the Opposition was working for a member of parliament, Jim Hawkes, in the House. A few weeks later he ran against him and the National Citizens Coalition spent $50 million asking the people to defeat Jim Hawkes, the former boss of this person. After that they come to us and talk about integrity?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the minister of immigration, who stayed at Claude Boulay's condo, the Minister of Justice is also connected to Groupe Everest.

His current chief of staff secured a $56,000 contract for Everest for the Games of la Francophonie, and his former deputy minister violated the code of ethics when, for $7 million, Everest, which employed his wife, became “the” communication firm for CED.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the network linking the ministers, their entourage and the firms run by friends of the government is so tightly knit that a public inquiry is necessary to find out the extent of that network?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, as regards my political chief of staff, I wish to point out to the Bloc Quebecois leader that she is a childhood friend.

Second, her communication officer, Carole Lavallée, is a former member of Groupe BDDS. Are we going to make a big issue of this?

Third, as regards the communication contracts awarded by CED—and I am no longer responsible for CED—I want to point out that we do not get involved in the process. But perhaps there is indeed a problem and we should redefine the ministerial power, so that we could play our role.

When people vote for us—

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the core of this network where contracts are awarded in exchange for contributions to the Liberal Party of Canada, we find, on the government side, three key figures: Alfonso Gagliano, the minister of immigration and the Minister of Justice. These are the people who, since 1993, have been the chief organizers for the Liberals in Quebec.

Since his Quebec lieutenants are key members of this network, will the Prime Minister recognize at last that a public inquiry is in order to shed light on the whole political dimension of this new gimmick?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, at the request of the opposition, we have asked a House of Commons official, namely the auditor general, to look into all these issues.

The auditor general will report to us. Those who committed illegal acts, if any, will be prosecuted. This is how we have always proceeded.

If an investigation reveals that individuals have committed criminal offences, they must be tried before the courts. If they received excessive amounts of money, they must give that money back.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in coming to the defence of the minister of immigration, the minister of justice told us a lot more than he intended to by saying “In my opinion, the minister ought to have the opportunity to speak out, to make an official statement. Let us put an end to the hypocrisy”.

By indicating that he feels the minister ought to make an official statement, is this not a confirmation that at present, ministers express their opinion, but in an unofficial manner, through their staff, and that he would wish it could be done openly?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, what I am saying essentially, and I think this is important, is that we are being criticized within a process in which many ministers here do not have the opportunity to act as far as our various powers are concerned.

What I am saying is that there is a malaise from the point of view of how political power is exercised. I think we may have reached a crossroads where we must ask what the exercise of power is, what ministers must do within the powers and the mandates assigned to them.

People vote for us every four or five years, and expect us to exercise these powers. The same goes for backbenchers. Should we give them more power within their ridings?