House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cabinet.

Topics

Public Service
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the hon. member for Ottawa--Orléans is the first member to rise in this House and ask a question about our public servants.

There are no current plans to outsource. There are no current plans to privatize. There are no plans at all to privatize. What we are working very hard on is building the best public service in the world. This process is about excellence. It is about delivering the kind of public services that Canadians expect.

I thank that member for his interest in it, and his continued pushing of me to do the right thing.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal by a Quebec physician, Dr. Jacques Chaoulli, who wants a parallel private health care system, which would destroy the public system. Now, ten senators, including Senator Michael Kirby, are intervening in support of this appeal.

Can the minister confirm who is subsidizing this intervention, and why these Liberal senators are supporting this attack on our public health care system?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I want to confirm our government's commitment to the Canada Health Act and to each of its five principles.

As minister, I have had the opportunity to visit each of the thirteen jurisdictions, meaning the ten provinces and the three territories. Wherever I went, I recognized the strong support of each of my counterparts for the Canada Health Act. I can assure you that our government will continue to promote and defend this legislation.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is not one word about these despicable senators in his reply.

I have a supplementary question. The Liberal government is silent on the Romanow report, yet it stands by while Liberal senators support an illegal assault on the Canada Health Act.

I want to ask the minister whether he will ask his Liberal buddies in the Senate to stop attacking the Canada Health Act, to listen to Roy Romanow and to back off on using public money to subvert the Canada Health Act.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our commitment was in the throne speech. Our government is quite clear, and I will not begin to comment on actions that the Senate and some other courts and some other houses might be taking.

I do believe honestly that our job as a government is quite clear. It is in the Speech from the Throne. We will continue to promote and defend the Canada Health Act and will not begin to comment on actions by the Senate or any others.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday on television the Prime Minister said he knew nothing about the sponsorship scandal, even though he was vice chair of the Treasury Board. A quick look at the website for the Treasury Board says that it was Treasury Board's responsibility to approve the proposed sponsorship spending plans by public works and then to review the sponsorship program.

As the vice chair of the Treasury Board, the Prime Minister was paid to know what was going on. It was his job to know what was going on. Why did he not know what was going on?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, there was an internal audit in the Department of Public Works in late 2000. This led to an action plan to deal with some identified managerial problems. By late 2001 it became clear through investigative reporting as well as other means that this was beyond just ministerial problems. In early 2002 the then minister was removed from that job and specific programs were put in place to come to grips with bringing to end the problems that existed in the sponsorship program.

That led in an incremental way to the situation we have today with--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, he might have different questions than we have, but the Deputy Prime Minister just a few minutes ago said, “None of us knew about the details of the sponsorship program”. The Prime Minister said in his press conference last week, “A very few ministers, Quebec ministers, did know about the conduct of the sponsorship program”.

Both answers cannot be right. Did they all know? Did a few know? Did some know? How many knew?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let me say again that we are committed to getting to the bottom of this. The government is committed to finding out what happened here on behalf of the Canadian people.

I would ask the opposition perhaps just for a minute to stop slinging the mud, stop playing the partisan games and in fact join us in getting to the bottom of this on behalf of all Canadians.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is mistaken. It is not the opposition that is slinging the mud. It is the Liberal government that slung 100 million tax dollars that belonged to Canadian taxpayers right out the window.

The Prime Minister himself said a few Quebec ministers may have known more about the real dealings behind the scandal than he did. Who were they? Do they still sit in the cabinet? Could it be the president of the Privy Council with his deep connections with the Liberal organization in Quebec? Could it be the Minister of Health?

Why will these ministers not stand up and tell us what they knew and when they knew it?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, that is the worst kind of example of partisan mudslinging.

What we are committed to is getting to the bottom of this, finding out what happened. That is why the Prime Minister has called for a public inquiry. That is why we asked the public accounts committee to sit immediately. We are committed to finding out what happened.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Before we proceed with the supplementary question, I would remind hon. members that there is a little-used lobby just outside the doors at the far end of the chamber. Discussions across the chamber could perhaps be carried on out there so the rest of us could hear the question and the answer in the House.

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast has the floor.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, first they claimed ignorance, then they blamed a dozen bureaucrats, then backroom operators blamed the Prime Minister. Now they are blaming the opposition for the culture of corruption and Liberal sleaze for which the government is responsible.

The Prime Minister said that he heard rumours about this. As finance minister, as senior minister in Quebec, as vice chair of Treasury Board, did he follow up on those rumours? Did he call any of the ministers responsible? Did he raise this at cabinet, or did he just bury his head in the sand because he did not want to know about the Liberal culture of corruption?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, part of the problem is in this environment where we have 30 seconds and it is easy to lay on the table some of these sleazy innuendoes. I understand that.

Tomorrow I understand we are going to have a debate in the House. I am going to have 20 minutes and the opposition will have 10 minutes to question me. I will come into this place and put some facts on the table. I am going to talk substantively about what has gone on. I will be very interested to hear what facts the opposition puts on the table, facts, not sleaze.