House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the arrangement is made between the minister or office holder with the Registrar General who administers these guidelines. It is a private matter between the two of them. We call it a blind arrangement because we do not want to make it public. If it were to be public it would not be blind.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the minister could have been told about these charges against his company the public should have been told as well.

To recap, the former finance minister knew about the dumping charge in March, he was briefed on it twice and settled for a guilty plea in November. The former finance minister's relationship with his company is supposed to be arm's length, not hands on. How can Canadians be assured that for these six months the former minister did not have input into the final settlement?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will just say it again. There are guidelines that all ministers are requested to follow. I am not privy to any other information.

There is one thing that is clear. When Canada Steamship Lines was mentioned, everybody who knew a bit about the member for LaSalle—Émard and the company knew that he was the owner, so it was public that it was his company. It was not a company unknown to the Canadian public.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister keeps saying that this arrangement with the former finance minister was a blind management agreement. That is not accurate. I could say it much stronger, but it is certainly not accurate.

I have that agreement with me and it says “supervisory agreement”. I want the Prime Minister to tell all Canadians again today, as I asked him yesterday, that this is the only minister who has this agreement, yes or no.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have said many times, and it is known, that two other ministers have the same agreement. It is known. We gave the names last week. It is within the guidelines and the rules that were established before we formed the government. These rules existed under the previous administration.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say it even stronger: that is even more incorrect. I have the agreement that the foreign minister has and that agreement is truly a blind management agreement. I have an agreement of another cabinet minister and it is truly a blind management agreement.

This agreement is a supervisory agreement and I would like to table it in the House so that all Canadians could see it. This is not a blind management agreement.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not know whether there is a question, but if the right hon. Prime Minister wishes to comment, that is fine.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Registrar General is the officer who was managing these files. In February 1994 he said to me, in a letter, that the minister of finance of that day had complied with all the requirements of the guidelines that existed in the previous administration and were the same for my administration. He said that he was satisfied with the agreement, so I had no reason not to believe that the agreement was proper.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, two opposing initiatives were taken at the Security Council, one by the United States, Great Britain and Spain, who are for the adoption of a resolution geared towards war and, another by France, Germany, Russia, and supported by China, that favours strengthening the United Nations inspections program.

Will the Prime Minister tell us which initiative Canada supports, the resolution based on a logic of war, or the memorandum based on a logic of peace?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the goal of resolution 1441 is to achieve peace. It is to ensure that Saddam Hussein does what is necessary so that it is not necessary to force him to comply with resolution 1441.

A debate is under way at the United Nations. We will follow the situation. There will be many stakeholders and many suggestions. I imagine there will not be a vote before the second week of March. At this time, everyone is working very hard to try to find a solution geared towards peace, not war.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the time for stalling is over. There are two proposals on the table and they are not hypothetical. They are known proposals. The government has to make up its mind.

Before he leaves for Mexico, will the Prime Minister tell us which option he intends to advocate with other world leaders? Will it be forceful disarmament or peaceful disarmament of Iraq?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we favour peaceful disarmament. I am sure that even the United States and Great Britain would like peaceful disarmament. No one wants war. Everyone wants peace. But for there to be peace, Saddam Hussein has to assume his responsibilities and assure the international community that he will comply with resolution 1441, which was unanimously adopted at the Security Council a few months ago.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the Prime Minister will be off to Mexico to meet President Fox and no doubt to discuss the important issue of Iraq with him.

Which position will he be putting forward: the one set out in the memorandum presented by France and Germany, or the one in the resolution proposed by the United States and Great Britain?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, both of these proposals seek the same thing, but by two different means. They both want Saddam Hussein disarmed.

Some feel this will take longer than others. At this point, however, the final proposal has yet to be determined and work still needs to be done on it. I will have an opportunity to discuss this with President Fox tomorrow and the day after. I trust that, working together, we will all be able to find a solution that will preserve peace and not lead to war.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, one wants disarmament, even at the cost of a humanitarian catastrophe if necessary, while the other wants to avoid that. Which of these two positions is Canada going to defend?

Canada and Mexico are the two immediate neighbours of the United States and its two main trading partners.

Is the Prime Minister going to suggest to President Fox that they go together to meet with President Bush in order to argue in favour of peaceful disarmament and of respecting the UN?