House of Commons Hansard #210 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, what was revealed, as a result of the internal audit, was there were practices that did not in fact comply with the requirements of treasury board and that there were other procedures and mechanisms employed that were not appropriate in the circumstances. All those defects were outlined in the internal audit as well as an action plan for how to respond to those things and the action plan was implemented.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we listen to the minister day after day, it becomes clear that there was not much that did comply with the Treasury Board requirements.

Will the Minister of Public Works and Government Services admit that, given the mystery surrounding the contracts given to their buddies to save Canadian federalism, as they put it, an inquiry is essential, since millions of taxpayers' dollars disappeared into businesses belonging to friends of the Liberal party, without a trace?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we certainly need to ensure that all the recommendations flowing from the internal audit are fully and properly implemented. We need to ensure that the management framework and governance system is a modern 21st century system that is in full compliance with all of the requirements of the treasury board. We need to ensure that all advertising and sponsorship contracts are totally and thoroughly audited on a government-wide basis. We need to ensure that anything that raises any questions of a legal nature are properly and immediately referred to the RCMP, and we are doing all of that.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, to listen to the minister of public works we would think he moves swiftly to correct the problems, but that is not really true. The first red flag on Groupaction was raised nearly six years ago. Audits were conducted four years later and only now, once the scam was exposed, have measures been introduced to clean up this mess.

Why did it take so long to cut off the funds to Groupaction?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the difficulties were revealed in a comprehensive way by the internal audit that was ordered in the year 2000 by the deputy minister of public works. As a result of that, a great deal of public exposure and disclosure has been achieved.

There was an action plan to implement the recommendations of that audit report. We reviewed that in the spring of this year to determine that the action plan had been implemented.

With respect to Groupaction, my predecessor began the process of terminating that relationship.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the only action clearly was group action over there. The government had a cozy arrangement set up with firms like Groupaction, Groupe Everest, Lafleur, Polygone and Coffin. The evidence is conclusive. Its alibis do not stand up. Now, with the scam exposed, it is scrambling to find some way to make us believe the Liberal government is the victim. It is the perpetrator.

Will the Prime Minister finally admit that he has been the mastermind in this cash for contracts scam?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Again, Mr. Speaker, we have a very personal and very scurrilous allegation for which there is no evidence of any kind upon which to base it.

The difficulties with respect to this program on sponsorship were revealed initially through the internal audit. Since that audit in the year 2000, there has been a long series of steps that have been taken by the government and by my predecessors to ensure that the problems are exposed, that they are corrected, if there are overpayments that we recover them and wherever there is any illegal activity that is investigated and prosecuted.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, 73,000 people who would normally receive their GST rebate cheques in July will not receive them.

The excuse given by the federal government is that these people owe the government money. However, in the past, the government acknowledged that these people had a low income and that they needed the rebate, and it issued the cheques.

How can the government justify being so intransigeant all of sudden with low income citizens, when it is so understanding when it comes to friends' PR firms that have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for work that was never done.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has all the facts twisted. We have never mistreated anyone. The government is very sympathetic and compassionate toward people. Therefore I want the member to review the facts.

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that 73,000 people with a low income will not receive a cheque in July.

It took two years from the time an incriminating report on the sponsorship program was published for the government to start wondering about possibly recouping the money handed out to its pals' firms.

Why did it only take a few days for the government to decide to recover the GST it was supposed to pay these 73,000 low income earners, who needed this money to make ends meet?

Taxation
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, for those inquiries, our auditor general already pointed out and we already requested that it be looked into.

I am on the public accounts committee, so we know all about this. In the meantime we already have requested the witnesses to come before the committee. We even will come back in July, on July 9, to continue committee work.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

June 20th, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1996, perhaps sooner, these Liberals were giving out inflated contracts to ad companies that did nothing in return except recycle the money back to the Liberal Party.

Now, many years, many millions, many companies and many investigations later, the Liberals claim to be fixing the problem.

Hiding a minister in Denmark and introducing some phony guidelines do not erase the sleaze of the government.

Why does the Prime Minister not admit that the jig is up and throw himself on the mercy of a full, independent, public, judicial inquiry now?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is more of the same. This is what we are getting from this member all the time. There are allegations--

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Ottawa South, ON

--statements that he would never make outside of the protection of parliamentary privilege.

He knows perfectly well that all of the facts are being investigated by the auditor general, who has extensive powers under the act. He does not think that is sufficient.

The truth is, despite the fact that the government put on the table today a $5.2 billion package for agriculture, those members cannot even think of a question to ask about it.