House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the substance of the ethics counsellor's advice to me was that I was not to be involved in decisions that affect directly the interests of the Irvings. That was his advice and that was the advice I followed.

I was not involved in the decision with respect to the $55 million for the Saint John shipyard. That was made entirely without my involvement.

I was careful to exclude myself from decisions affecting the family and its interests. I have followed the advice of the ethics counsellor in this regard.

1995 Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 24, 1995, a few days prior to the referendum, the Prime Minister made a solemn declaration to Quebeckers in Verdun, “To stay or to leave. This is the issue of the referendum—the fundamental and irreversible choice of a country”.

How could the Prime Minister talk about an irreversible choice prior to the referendum, when he already had a draft speech clearly indicating that he had no intention of respecting the choice of Quebeckers in the event of a yes vote?

1995 Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers should have been given a clear choice.

How can the leader of the Bloc Quebecois explain that a poll conducted a few days before the referendum indicated that half the voters thought Quebec's independence was conditional on a political partnership? How can he explain that, except to say that they tried to mislead the public with an unclear question? Naturally, like any other leader of a democratic nation, the Prime Minister of Canada could not have allowed the country to be torn asunder amidst such confusion.

1995 Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has reached the same level of hypocrisy as the Prime Minister on October 24. What we are hearing is the height of hypocrisy. In this case, if the minister's reasoning is right, why did the Prime Minister not say on October 24, 1995, “The question is too confusing; I will not respect the decision of Quebeckers under those conditions”? Instead of talking about the irreversible choice of a country, he misled the public, as the minister is trying to do.

1995 Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie is well aware of the fact that there is never hypocrisy in the House. He must not use such terms to describe an answer. The question is perhaps in order, but I do not like the tone currently being used in the House. The member must not continue in this vein.

The hon. Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

1995 Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first, when there is an attempt at secession, which is an extremely serious and extremely delicate matter, respect must be shown. The way the leader of the Bloc Quebecois is behaving today is clear proof that he would be incapable of behaving responsibly during an attempt at secession. He is setting a very bad example for his followers.

Second, the Prime Minister was right in saying that separation was an irreversible choice.

1995 Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, when asked about the government's intentions to send the army into Quebec in the event of a yes victory in 1995, the Minister of Transport maintained outside the House of Commons, that he would not talk about cabinet discussions. For his part, the Deputy Prime Minister said that this issue had never been discussed in cabinet. This is clearly a contradiction.

Could someone who was there indicate whether, yes or no, this possibility was discussed in cabinet?

1995 Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us not forget that in reality, the result of the referendum was no. It is also clear that the Government of Quebec and Mr. Parizeau had very different intentions, with respect to accepting the results simply as a consultation.

What mattered most was knowing what the Quebec government's intentions were with such a complicated question.

1995 Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would call the minister's attitude two-faced.

Are we to understand that preparations for sending the army into Quebec were not discussed in cabinet, that such an important decision was made by one man, the Minister of National Defence, at the time? Is that what we are to believe? Well, we do not.

1995 Referendum
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, the Prime Minister denied the allegations. Second, the current Minister of Transport—who was the Minister of National Defence—also answered questions yesterday, outside the House. I think things are clear.

There is nothing to add except that we have now agreed that if there is to be a secession debate here in this House, then there needs to be a very clear question.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry knows his actions were wrong when it comes to the shipbuilding file. He accepted a gift that violated the conflict of interest guidelines. He repeatedly lobbied on behalf of the Irving interest at the cabinet table. He wrote letters and signed agreements. He made government appointments with respect to a shipbuilding file he was told to stay away form.

How can the minister possibly suggest he was just doing his job when he violated the terms of the blackout over and over again?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I respected those terms, and from the moment the ethics counsellor gave me the advice to disqualify myself, I did so.

The decision with respect to the shipyard was made entirely without my involvement. It was contained in the budget and was news to me.

I took very seriously the advice that was given by the ethics counsellor and I followed it. In addition to that, in view of the fact that issues have been raised, I have referred additional questions to the ethics counsellor and he has been good enough to agree to consider them.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, on October 10 the industry minister defended himself by stating:

The trip took place in the summer of 2001 when I was minister of health.

Once named Minister of Industry...I informed the ethics counsellor of all the particulars relating to the trip.

That is simply not true. In fact the minister waited five full months during which he actively lobbied on behalf of the Irvings: $100 million for the two shipyards, and the ExxonMobil contract.

Why did the minister wait so long to contact the ethics counsellor?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor as soon as it became evident to me that it was necessary to do so. I took his advice with respect to conflict. I followed it in every respect and to the letter, and I am satisfied that in no way have I departed from the advice he gave to me.

Student Loans
Oral Question Period

October 22nd, 2003 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Finance will know that Canadian students are facing record levels of debt upon graduation, so much so that they are beginning to refer to themselves as “generation debt”. There is nothing in the 100 days of cuts promised by the new Liberal leader for them.

Could the Minister of Finance tell us if he would not agree, given the surplus, that one good day of student relief would be better than 100 bad days of cuts promised by the new Liberal leader?