House of Commons Hansard #197 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-15b.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of launching a public inquiry to get to the bottom of the scandals that reflect upon his government and making this a priority, the Prime Minister tells us that Canadian unity is justification for the theft of millions of dollars in public funds, and then he sacks his Minister of Finance.

With such actions, is the Prime Minister not confirming that, for him, it is more important to solve his leadership problems than to attack the credibility crisis that is shaking his government relating to the scandals about awarding contracts to his party's cronies?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I made a speech on this in the House of Commons two weeks ago. I intend to present the eight point program this week, or early next week. I note, for example, that the Alliance Party is already indicating that it does not want to participate in having a code of conduct for MPs, senators and ministers approved by the House of Commons.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I imagine that the first rule has already been announced in Winnipeg: it is OK to steal millions, provided the purpose is to fight sovereignty.

The Prime Minister's priorities are very much out of order. By making his first priority the leadership race within his party, he is putting his personal interests before his responsibilities as a head of government.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, instead of putting a political rival out of cabinet as he did, he ought to have seen it as urgent to call a real public inquiry into all the scandals that are undermining public confidence in this government, particularly when they are being told that stealing is no big deal?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the intellectual dishonesty of this party leader is unbelievable.

What I said was “If money has been stolen, even millions of dollars, the guilty parties will have to go to court and face the consequences”. This is what I have always said, and the RCMP is doing its job at this time, as is the auditor general, in order to ensure that, if money has been lost, the guilty will be punished.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister expelled the Minister of Finance from cabinet because, in his opinion, the minister was responsible for the leaks concerning what the Prime Minister himself called a “theft of a few million dollars”.

Could the Prime Minister tell us why, instead of expelling those members of his government who are up to their neck in scandals, he chose instead to shoot the one whom he thinks is the messenger?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I never believed that he could be the messenger.

The letter that I sent to him on Sunday afternoon reflects the discussions that we had, he himself, people in my office and myself, during the previous 48 hours.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, by downplaying the numerous scandals in which his ministers are involved, by acting as he is doing with the Minister of Finance and by answering us the way he is doing in the House of Commons, is the Prime Minister not showing that he is a head of government with few scruples?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have been the head of this government for nine years and all of us on this side of the House are proud of its performance.

On Friday, the newspapers mentioned that economic indicators for the first quarter of this financial year show a 6% growth in Canada.

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will be aware that there are a number of votes on Thursday night. These are supply votes. They are confidence votes by their very nature.

Could the Prime Minister tell the House whether, should the government lose any such votes on Thursday, he will respect the obvious and ask the Governor General to ask some other Liberal to form a government, one that enjoys the support of the Liberal caucus and therefore, in the present context, of parliament.

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is purely a hypothetical question and nobody wants to have an election at this time.

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

That is precisely my point, Mr. Speaker. There would not be a need for an election in that context if the Prime Minister was willing to respect the judgment of his caucus should it be that judgment.

Given that the Prime Minister has answered the question, could he tell the House whether he will be reversing many of the damaging policies inflicted on the country by the member for LaSalle—Émard with respect to cuts in health care, housing, EI and all the other things that have been done to Canada by the former finance minister?

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the opposition party wants to dare us and wants to have a campaign arguing against the minister of finance, who quit on Sunday afternoon, and the policy of our government with this minister, we will never be afraid to face the NDP across the land.

Member for LaSalle--Émard
Oral Question Period

June 3rd, 2002 / 2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

The Prime Minister should quit saying that, Mr. Speaker.

The former minister of finance did not submit a letter of resignation. He refused to sign a joint letter drafted by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said: “We mutually agreed he was to leave”, yet the former minister of finance said he learned about the cabinet shuffle on the radio.

Why does the Prime Minister not just admit that he fired the former minister of finance and tell this House of Commons and the Canadian public why?

Member for LaSalle--Émard
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, after the letter had been read and some lines in it corrected by the former minister of finance, he knew that he was not the minister of finance any more. No, I did not tell him that I would have a ceremony right after that because it was irrelevant. He was no longer the minister of finance. I had already talked with the Deputy Prime Minister, who will be, as his predecessor, an excellent Minister of Finance.

Member for LaSalle--Émard
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government is too preoccupied with its internal strife to govern. Yesterday, in his own special way, the Prime Minister dismissed his former Minister of Finance.

Did the Prime Minister ask the ministers of finance, industry, Canadian heritage, health, human resources development and justice personally and directly to stop their campaigns? Did the Prime Minister receive assurances from these ministers that their campaigns were indeed shut down?