House of Commons Hansard #205 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pesticides.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. We do have to have some order. We are wasting time in question period today and that is not good. We do not hear questions and we do not hear answers.

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie has the floor, and shall be heard now.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Media IDA Vision not only received generous commissions through the sponsorship program, but the August 2000 audit report also reveals that in addition to its 3% cut, the Groupe Everest subsidiary pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars annually in interest on public money, money it was given at the outset of each new contract.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister acknowledge that before the events even got a whiff of the money, Media IDA had filled its pockets with interest on it, thereby abusing its exclusive contract with the government, and getting off scot-free?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, during the period in question, that particular firm was performing the function of an agency of record.

I have indicated that for future business I am anxious to develop a system that does not use agencies at all. Therefore not only would commissions be unnecessary, an agency of record would be unnecessary.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that was not the question. That has been raised. All of the money was given to this group, which earned interest on the money and then passed it on to the events.

In other words, it made money with public funds in the form of the interest that it was paid by the banks where it put this money.

How is it that the government never noticed this, that it allowed this system to continue, even after 2000, when we were told here that all of the standards were verified?

This was admitted by senior officials in committee. I expect the minister is aware of what his officials are saying, or will he do like the other ministers and hide behind his officials in order to hide the truth?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the issue the hon. gentleman raises goes to the question of value for money and that is a question that lies at the very root of this file.

I will be working with experts both inside the government and outside to come up with a stronger definition of what constitutes value for money in an area like advertising or sponsorships. It is extremely important for taxpayers to be assured that they have in fact received what they have paid for.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, to help the minister, the sponsorship program has budgeted between $40 million and $60 million annually since 1997. Media IDA Vision, a subsidiary of Everest, racked up interest on this amount, which sat in its accounts at an average rate of 3%, to take a very conservative figure, for an average of two months until the payments were made.

Will the government admit that Media IDA Vision received an outright gift of over $200,000 annually from the government?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general will be examining the question of value for money. That is something she is obviously deeply concerned about. She will determine on the basis of her audit to be done over the next number of months with respect to advertising sponsorships and that kind of activity, whether or not proper value for money has been received.

One of the issues I am examining for the future is that if and when an agent is used, perhaps the government holdback should be 100% until the work done has been verified.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of trying to tell us that they will no longer do this in future, that they will be taking a look at it, the minister should be outraged.

This government put in place a system which handed Media IDA Vision a gift of $ million over the life of the program.

I urge the minister to give this some thought. A gift of at least $1 million went to Media IDA Vision without any professional services being received in return. That is serious.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, an agency of record does provide services. The issue is what the value of those services is compared to the money paid. That is the question that is going to be audited by the auditor general. Indeed I have serious questions about the commission's system. That is why I have suggested that we should develop a delivery mechanism that does not use commissions at all.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Question Period

June 13th, 2002 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, earlier today the public works committee took the important step of summonsing a former, now retired, senior civil servant to appear before the committee. There have been public news stories that this individual, Mr. Charles Guité, was planning to sell his residence and leave the country.

What steps will the government take to ensure that Mr. Guité remains in the country until he has been summoned and indeed has appeared before the committee?

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am told that this issue is still before committee. Given that it is still before committee, no report has yet been filed with the House. Therefore may I suggest that at best, the question is out of order.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the terms of negotiation may be still before the committee but it was passed 14 to 2 that Mr. Guité would appear before the committee, so my question is very relevant. We simply want to make sure, and the Canadian public wants to ensure, that the gentleman remains in Canada until such time as he has appeared before the committee, be that next week or next year.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. opposition member seems to be advocating the arrest of a person who has not been charged. That is an unusual procedure. I do not know whether he was at the committee to which he is referring but I hope that his testimony before that committee, if such were the case, was different from that which he is saying in the House today.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, today at the committee it was confirmed by Howard Wilson that before he was appointed ethics counsellor, he himself demonstrated a serious lack of ethics while on the job at Industry Canada. A damning audit carried out by Mr. Wilson's own department found that he himself had acted unethically with respect to contracting irregularities. This resulted in the suspension of his signing authority.

This morning Mr. Wilson admitted that the Prime Minister was aware of this prior to his appointment. How could the Prime Minister appoint an ethics counsellor whose own ethics he knew were so severely compromised?