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 heritage.

Topics

Status of Women
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, 37 women's centres in B.C. are facing closure because of a decision by the B.C. Liberal government to eliminate 100% of their funding.

Violence against women is on the rise, more women are facing poverty, women are denied access to legal aid and day care is being cut too by the meanest and most vicious provincial government that has targeted the most vulnerable in our society. The question is, why is the federal government not doing anything?

As the report on Canada's lack of compliance with the UN convention on the elimination of discrimination against women points out, the federal government must step in and protect women's equality. It must make it clear that what the B.C. government is doing is unlawful and unjust.

It has been 30 years since the royal commission on the status of women, yet women are falling behind, especially poor, disabled and aboriginal women.

The former finance minister is the architect of that failure, and we demand that the government live up to its international commitments for dignity and equality for women. The federal government must support these vital centres and not let them die by political neglect.

Public Library Month
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, October is Public Library Month and I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to the importance of libraries and the work of librarians.

Libraries provide free and easy access to resources and information for lifelong learning, creativity and culture. They are the gateway to global communication and electronic information networks, and form an integral part of our social and intellectual infrastructure. Canadians are using libraries in ever increasing numbers.

The Toronto Public Library has the largest per capita circulation of library books in North America. Its reference section is one of the largest in Canada and it has the most comprehensive collection of theatre materials.

Libraries partner with governments to enhance information services and they lead the way on literacy programs. They bring the world within reach of ordinary Canadians and, by doing so, promote responsible citizenship and personal growth.

I ask all members to join me to salute the wonderful work of Canada's libraries in building strong and healthy communities.

B.C. Floods
Statements By Members

October 22nd, 2003 / 2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the recent floods in British Columbia have resulted in the loss of life and millions of dollars of damage. Communities, such as Pemberton, Victoria and Hatzic Lake, in my riding have been hurt by these floods.

We have been warning the government for years that its water course management plan is ineffective and could result in this kind of disaster. For years my colleagues and I have pleaded with the fisheries minister and the government to take the preventive measures necessary to ensure that dikes are properly maintained, that appropriate levels of gravel extraction be permitted, and that local municipalities be allowed to clean out their waterways.

Why does the government care more about fish than the safety of thousands of citizens?

The minister must now take immediate action to prevent future flooding in communities like Agassiz in my riding. The minister has continually refused to allow appropriate levels of dredging.

Instead of putting up roadblocks, the government should allow our communities to implement the tools necessary to solve this problem and prevent future flooding.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the industry minister told me in the House that he was required to co-sign a $55 million deal for Irving after the ethics counsellor had told him he was subject to a blackout. However, under the Financial Administration Act, the minister clearly had the authority to delegate this signing authority.

The minister apparently chose not to delegate. This is yet another attempt by the minister to provide an explanation for his conflict that simply does not hold water.

Will the Minister of Industry resign?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I also told the member yesterday was that the document for the Treasury Board was months after the decision in this matter. It was to implement a decision that was made by others. After I disqualified myself from this file, the matter was led by the Prime Minister's Office to Privy Council Office that dealt directly with officials in my department. I had no involvement in the decision that was made and contained in the budget of February.

The Treasury Board document, months later, was to implement that decision. I understood it was necessary for the Minister of Industry to sign it and it was signed under those circumstances.

I might say that the ethics counsellor has been asked to examine this as well.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows he should have delegated this signing authority. He had been subject to blackout on the Irving files. He has entered into a conflict or apparent conflict of interest more than once during this blackout. The minister has all but admitted this to the House by going back to the ethics counsellor and asking for retroactive permission.

Having failed to clear even the very low bar set by the ethics counsellor, would it not be appropriate for the minister to at least step aside while the ethics counsellor invents new reasons to get him off the hook?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think that it is--

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I know all hon. members want to hear the answer from the Deputy Prime Minister.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Ottawa South, ON

Apparently they do not, Mr. Speaker. Sometimes the facts are inconvenient for the opposition.

In this case, the issue of dealing with a restructuring at the Irving yards was something that commenced quite a few years earlier. In fact, I was the industry minister at the time. It came to a decision at the time of the budget in 2003. That was a budget decision taken by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Prime Minister. That was the end of the matter. The money was authorized in the budget and voted on in the House while the recusal period was being respected by the minister.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the government were so confident of the minister's actions, it would let him answer his own questions.

The minister knew what the ethical guidelines of the government were and he did not follow them. He knew he did not follow them and now he will not resign. Now we have a new Liberal leader who has promised to deal with this government's ethics deficit.

I will ask the minister the same question I asked him yesterday. Has he consulted the new Liberal leader to see whether this standard of behaviour is acceptable?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the person I consulted was the ethics counsellor. I made full disclosure of my visit and full disclosure of my conduct after the visit. I took the ethics counsellor's advice and I have respected that advice. I followed it to the letter.

I am confident that my conduct was entirely within the advice given by the ethics counsellor. The fact that I referred issues to him on Sunday, at my personal request, was because those issues were raised by others last week. However I am confident that I complied with his advice throughout.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Sadly, Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not share that confidence. The growing list of ministers racking up travel miles on corporate jets is disturbing for most Canadians, and it should be. Unlike members of the government, opposition members of Parliament do not sit at the cabinet table, nor do they decide government policies.

Corporations should not finance vacations for cabinet ministers. This is a clear breach of ethics guidelines. The Prime Minister knows that. His puppet ethics counsellor should know that as he is paid to know it. Surely the Minister of Industry knows that.

When will he resign?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I made full disclosure of the trip to the ethics counsellor. I also asked his advice, given those circumstances, on how I could fulfill my duties as Minister of Industry while at the same time avoiding conflicts of interest. The ethics counsellor considered the matter, provided advice and I have followed that advice to the letter.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, how many scandals? Let me count the number: the former public works minister and chateau Boulay; the former defence minister and his contracting gal pal; the Prime Minister and Shawinigate; and now the industry minister's favours for fishing vacation. Those are just a few examples of the rampant level of mismanagement, misrepresentation and corruption in the government.

The rot in the government is running deep. Ministers of the crown should not accept gifts from corporations.

What part of a blatant conflict of interest does the minister not understand?