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

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

October 22nd, 2003 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a written response from the government, overall, the companies of the member for LaSalle—Émard have apparently benefited from government contracts to the tune of $137,000. Yet a search of the government data base indicates that just one of these companies received $15 million in contracts.

How can the Minister of Public Works and Government Services explain this discrepancy between the government's written response and the government figures?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in terms of parliamentary procedure—and I will restrict my comments to only that—there was indeed a question on the Order Paper of the House of Commons from the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest.

This morning, having reviewed the response to the question, I asked the PCO officials responsible to take a second look at it in order to ensure that all information had been made available, and to make any corrections required.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Yet, Mr. Speaker, my question is very clear. The government's written answer: $137,000, as opposed to $15 million according to government figures, in contracts awarded to the member for LaSalle—Émard. Does the minister have trouble counting, or does he just want to hide someone, that is the future prime minister?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the procedural issues in relation to this matter will be dealt with as the House leader has explained. However on the substance, in the interests of ongoing transparency, my department has a public website reporting service for much of the contracting done by government departments government-wide.

That is the source of the information for the opposition's questions. The hon. member can hardly allege secrecy when he is in fact using my department and our public website as his factual source.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the new fat cat cabinet jets cost $100 million. Yesterday, the public works minister said that it was just a minor contract to explain why this was not tendered.

The rules call for a competitive tender for a major purchase. Was the fat cat cabinet jet contract a major purchase that should have been tendered?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is doing his very best to twist the nature of my reply yesterday. He asked me if the contract was a major one. Obviously, a contract for $100 million or thereabouts is a very significant contract. It is bigger than some government contracts. It is smaller than others.

It was a matter for a government decision at the time and all the information before me would indicate that the relevant rules that applied at the time were in fact followed.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, $100 million is a big contract to most taxpayers. The government usually seeks approval for purchases of this kind. The deputy minister said “no” to fat cat jets. The Clerk of the Privy Council said “no” to fat cat jets.

I would like to know why this minister continues to stand up to try and justify when his own bureaucrats said “no” to fat cat jets.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the former deputy of public works made some observations at the time about the legal issues involved. In fact, as it turns out, those legal issues never materialized.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Most of us here in the House recognize that the minister and his officials have worked tirelessly to re-open Canada's borders since May when they were closed due to the discovery of a single case of BSE in Alberta.

However, given that producers and numerous other support industries in my riding of Oxford and across Canada are continuing to suffer the effects of a restricted border, could the minister please inform the House as to the present status of Canada's efforts to restore full trade between our partners?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to pressure the United States and other countries around the world to open the market.

The President of the United States and the Prime Minister spoke yesterday. The Minister for International Trade spoke to a number of countries at the APEC meeting about this issue. I have spoken to Secretary Veneman about this issue this week.

We have made more strides and more advancement in getting the Canadian border open than any other country in the world has ever made in such circumstances. We have more to do and we will continue those efforts. The industry is there to support. I continue to meet with the industry to find ways, not only to open borders but to support the industry through this--

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for St. John's West.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry was wrong on the airbus affair. He was wrong on the Cipro affair. He was wrong on the hepatitis C issue. He was wrong on the gun registry.

Why will he not follow the Minister of Labour and stand, and apologize to the House and admit he is wrong in this affair?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I went to the ethics counsellor and told him all about the relevant circumstances. I asked advice and I took that advice. I respected that advice and followed it to the letter.

That is the way I show respect for the House and that is the way I show respect for the rules.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, we have heard the minister's well oiled, well Irving oiled, response over and over.

The minister knows that the ethics counsellor has about as much effect as he has had on the Prime Minister. Why does the minister not do what is right, either apologize to the House or resign?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have explained to the House the steps I have taken which were within the rules. I have told the House what I have done with the ethics counsellor.

I have responded to all the questions put to me and all of the circumstances raised by the opposition. I have explained that I was involved in no decision that affected the Irving companies and I have followed the advice of the ethics counsellor to the letter.