House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parties.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Howard Wilson is doing a very good job, which is to clear any member of the government at all cost. I can understand why the Prime Minister would be proud of him.

The Prime Minister can try as he might to distance himself from this issue, the fact remains that Alfonso Gagliano was his right-hand man and was totally devoted to his employer, saying, “He's the boss. I served the way he wanted me to serve”. He did exactly what the Prime Minister wanted him to do. Alfonso Gagliano took his orders from the Prime Minister.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the reason he is clinging to the bogus advice of this so-called ethics counsellor is to protect himself and not have his reputation tarnished just weeks from his retirement?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the question has been answered. I will repeat that an investigation was initiated at Mr. Gagliano's request, and that it has been carried out. Previously, there was no ethics counsellor. Until then, there had been no one to refer such matters to. This is an innovation by this government, one which has been most useful. We have now moved on to the next stage. A bill has been introduced to improve the situation. The hon. member should recognize that the degree of ethics now found in our institutions is the result of this government's initiative.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, throughout the sponsorship scandal, the government used the ethics counsellor as one of its main defences to cover up its involvement and avoid launching a public inquiry into a member of the government at the time, Alfonso Gagliano.

Since Alfonso Gagliano was the Prime Minister's right-hand man in Quebec, is it not logical to conclude that the government used the ethics counsellor as a front to protect the Prime Minister?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, flatly, no.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, former minister Gagliano confirmed that he did the work he was asked to do with respect to the sponsorships.

Is that not a damning revelation about the Prime Minister, from whom Alfonso Gagliano took his orders, and does that not explain why the government, in a panic, used the ethics counsellor to cover up an operation that has all the makings of a very serious conflict of interest?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated on various occasions, all matters that merit investigation are in fact being investigated by all the proper authorities. This issue has been properly dealt with in the public arena by this government.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, section 23(4) of the ethics guidelines clearly states that a minister should not hire or contract with companies where members of their immediate family are employed.

The ethics counsellor, after investigating the former Minister of Public Works and the lucrative contract received by his son's contract, did not think to check if there was a direct benefit to the minister's son. In light of new evidence showing this internal credit for Mr. Gagliano Junior, will the Prime Minister order his ethics counsellor to reopen this investigation?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor takes any case that is referred to him. Many of the cases have been initiated by the opposition. If they want to do something, they can do it.

The problem is he did an inquiry on that at the request of the then Minister Gagliano, and he reported his findings publicly. If hon. members are not happy with his work, why are they regularly sending cases to him?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I doubt the ambassador is going to order an investigation into himself.

According to reports, the Prime Minister's former Quebec lieutenant and ambassador to Denmark will not be posted to the Vatican. During informal talks, it appears that officials in Rome made it clear that they would veto any such appointment. This is a serious condemnation of the former minister which speaks directly to the credentials he has as a foreign diplomat.

Will the Prime Minister immediately recall him and avoid tarnishing the distinguished reputation of Canada's foreign service, or will he perhaps recall his ethics counsellor as well?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in relation to the appointment, he is not factual. Mr. Gagliano was not refused by anybody. He has been the ambassador in Denmark for a year and a half, and he will keep doing his job.

Emergency Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is not easy to alienate Toronto and the west all at the same time, but the Prime Minister seems to be making a good job of it these days. Perhaps he wants to do what Brian Mulroney managed to do in his dying days in office.

When will the Prime Minister put his surplus where his mouth is and come to the aid of the beef industry in western Canada and hospitality workers in Toronto? He has a surplus. Will he use it to help Canadians who are in trouble?

Emergency Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have put forward elaborate programs and changes. Toronto is faced with this very difficult problem. The ministers have been involved on a daily basis on this very difficult file.

On the question of the problem in the west, the Minister of Agriculture has been in touch with them, and I am to talk with the president of the conference of the premiers later on today. I am anxious to speak with him.

Emergency Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

You could have fooled us, Mr. Speaker, that the Prime Minister is anxious to deal with these problems. Weeks have gone by with respect to SARS. Weeks are now going by with respect to mad cow disease. I say to the Prime Minister, through you Mr. Speaker, that this is a time for national leadership. It is a time for the Prime Minister to show that we are a Canadian family and that when people are in trouble, we help them.

When will the government do something, not just talk, for people in Toronto and for people in the west who are affected by these various crises?

Emergency Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, he is repeating the same argument that he made the first day. When we do something, they never recognize that we are doing something or we have done something. Rather than trying to find a concrete solution to very difficult problems, they just try to score some little political points.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

June 10th, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the scientific investigation turned out as expected. There is no more BSE in Canada. However we do have a trade and economic problem.

The Prime Minister has talked about compensation coming from farm safety net programs, which is really a ridiculous statement. The producers cannot apply for those programs until 2004, and most of the provinces have not signed on to them.

The western premiers are calling for $360 million for a three month emergency plan. Will the government commit to giving that money to those cattlemen in western Canada and across other parts of Canada?