House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was courts.

Topics

Rural Expo 2003
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw the attention of the House to an important event taking place this week in Lanark County.

Rural Expo 2003, the Lanark County International Plowing Match and Farm Machinery Show opens tomorrow in beautiful Beckwith Township, just east of Carleton Place. The tented city and its surrounding grounds cover 1500 acres.

Rural Expo is a celebration of rural living, both past and present, and of the vibrant future that we envision for rural Canada. Thanks to the hard work of Gordon and Ann Munroe, the co-chairs of Rural Expo 2003, and more than 1,000 other dedicated volunteers, this is sure to be an event to remember.

Highlights include music and entertainment from across the Ottawa Valley and around the world, hundreds of exhibits, and of course the excitement of competitive plowing using both traditional and modern equipment.

Those of us who make our home in Lanark County know what a great place it is, and I have no doubt that the tens of thousands who visit Rural Expo will be charmed, delighted and enthralled by our beautiful county.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

September 16th, 2003 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister was asked about criminal investigations into the Liberal Party of Canada. He said the RCMP and the Auditor General are doing investigations. I have to tell the Prime Minister that is not good enough. I have to remind him that he is the leader of this country and the leader of his party.

I ask him, what steps has he taken to assure himself that public funds have not been misused by his own political party?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the financing of a political party is the same for everybody. Every contribution that is given to the Liberal Party above $100 is public information that can be found on the Internet any day of the week. This is the only way that we have raised money for the Liberal Party over the last 10 years.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, maybe he could do a little more thorough investigation than that.

Mr. Speaker, the criminal investigation of the Liberal Party of Canada in Quebec is under way. The Minister of Justice is responsible for supervising the laying of criminal charges, and is also the political minister for the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party.

Is this not a good enough reason why the government ought to allow an independent criminal investigation?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is the Solicitor General and not the Minister of Justice who is responsible here. The hon. member ought to find out who is responsible for what before standing up in the House. It is a bit ridiculous not to know that the RCMP is under the jurisdiction of the Solicitor General.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it will have to be the Attorney General and Minister of Justice who prosecutes the charges and these will be potentially against members of his own party.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that his ministers “probably” did nothing wrong. The former public works minister, and I am not sure we put him in the “probably” category, avoided accountability when the Prime Minister assisted his flight from Canada with an ambassadorship in Denmark.

How many more people who “probably” were not involved in scandals does the Prime Minister intend to give patronage appointments to before he leaves office?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I must go back to my role as a professor of law and tell the hon. member that when there are prosecutions under the Criminal Code in one province it is the attorney general of that province who lays the charge, not the Attorney General of Canada.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, Communication Coffin is facing 18 fraud charges. A 2000 public works audit red flagged that company. Wrongdoing was exposed, yet the government continued to award new contracts. Corruption and political interference continue. Rules by themselves will not end political corruption. Political interference must end and ministers must be held accountable.

Will the government initiate a judicial inquiry into the public works scandals that will include recalling the former public works minister, Alfonso Gagliano?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, from the very beginning of my responsibility in this file I have been very careful to ensure that the proper steps were taken, first things first, step by step, every step on a solid foundation and then moving on in a progressive manner to ensure that all matters were properly exposed, all investigations were properly undertaken, and the public interest was satisfied. I have embarked on that course and I intend to continue it.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that in spite of what the minister says we saw another summer of scandals: a $1.4 billion Royal LePage contract, so bad it had to be re-tendered; Allan McGuire writing himself $250,000 worth of cheques, never audited; the department purposely bankrupting a Canadian company; and now the Liberal Party is under investigation. Canadians do not believe that corruption will end with the claims of the minister.

To deal with the sponsorship scandals, will the government initiate a judicial inquiry into the sponsorship program?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, specifically with respect to sponsorships, it is very important that the two official investigations that are presently underway be allowed to proceed to their full conclusion without any interference of any kind whatsoever.

One set of investigations is being presided over by the RCMP. It is obviously doing its job. The other set of investigations is being presided over by the Auditor General. We have in fact complied with her request to expand her mandate to allow her to do her full job in this matter. Those things must not be impeded.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada is under police investigation, and disciplinary measures will soon be taken against the people who ran the sponsorship program for Alfonso Gagliano. But while all indications are that politics were involved, strangely, no one is looking at the role played by the ministers in this scandal.

Since only an independent public inquiry could shed light on the political dimension of the sponsorship scandal, why is the Prime Minister so determined to protect his ministers by refusing to hold such an inquiry?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are two investigations under way, one by the RCMP and one by the Auditor General. These agencies are both completely independent of the government. So far, they have been doing very good work. There is no reason to change the policy adopted by this government a very long time ago.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister wants to limit himself to the RCMP and the Auditor General and not discuss politics. Let us see why.

In May 2002 in Winnipeg, speaking to Liberal supporters, the Prime Minister admitted, and I quote, “Perhaps there was a few million dollars that may have been stolen in the process,” but, he added, “we have re-established the stability of Canada.”

If the Prime Minister refuses to launch an independent public inquiry, might it be because his government, his ministers and he, himself, authorized the shameless use of public money to promote Canadian unity while lining the pockets of friends of the party?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is a law and it is the role of the police to investigate theft. That is the case in all jurisdictions, and that is exactly what the police are doing at this moment. The police have the authority to act when there are charges of theft.