House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was document.

Topics

Rural Canada
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, this is not a new government and it has no vision.

As a minister of this government, the Prime Minister has allowed $1 billion of taxpayers' money to be wasted through the HRDC department, $2 billion to be thrown away on a controversial gun registry program, and now, $250 million to be squandered through the sponsorship program.

All this while rural Canada suffers.

This may be his vision for Canada, but it is not the vision of the people of Gander—Grand Falls.

The weather station is important to Gander and coastal regions of Newfoundland and Labrador. Not only is this service vital but so are the jobs that will be lost. Why did this government permit the downgrading of this important service without an impact study?

As I said before in the House, is there a conflict of interest for the CEO of Pelmorex Communications, who is a member of the advisory board to the Meteorological Service of Canada, which owns and operates the broadcasting licence for the weather network?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Rob Walsh, the parliamentary legal counsel, says that secret cabinet documents can be released only to the public accounts committee. That is the committee charged with looking at the Liberal sponsorship scandal. My question is for the Prime Minister. When it asks, will he release those secret cabinet documents?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is quite prepared to have those cabinet documents pertinent to this matter released.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Notice the word “pertinent”, Mr. Speaker.

A more specific question: will the documents--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

It is Wednesday, but perhaps we could get through a couple of questions before bedlam. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor. We will want to hear the next question.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I guess it is very interesting who will determine what is pertinent.

To my specific question now. There was an ad hoc communications committee. On that committee: will those secret documents be released to the public accounts committee?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly prepared to enquire. The use of the word “pertinent” was that I thought there was a specific issue the member was directing himself to. If he would like, I will ask if we could have documents related to the first and the second world wars and the Korean war.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am certain that the Canadian public is going to be happy with an answer like that to the taxpayers' funding that they have taken away.

To another specific question. The Treasury Board minutes, those minutes that discussed this issue, will they be released when the public accounts committee asks for those minutes?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, documents of this kind belong to the previous government and it is only up to the previous government to see if permission can be given.

We have sought that permission, which is why I was able to answer in the affirmative to the hon. member's question, and I am certainly prepared to seek that permission. As far as this government is concerned, we are prepared to be totally open, totally transparent, and to lay everything on the table that can be laid on it.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

February 18th, 2004 / 2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is the same government, obviously.

In 1994, the Prime Minister's executive assistant sent a memo to officials stating that the then finance minister hoped a number of Liberal-friendly ad firms would be added to the government's list. Among them was Claude Boulay's Groupe Everest, the same firm named as a huge beneficiary of Liberal largesse by the Auditor General.

If the Prime Minister was willing to recommend Mr. Boulay's firm and give it a recommendation for its work in 1994, how can he possibly say he knew nothing of its shady actions 10 years later?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted in fact to have that memo tabled. What it said was that it agreed with the suggestion from someone else and then went on to say that we wanted it all to be on a competitive basis, we wanted everything to be tendered, and there was a list of other companies that we, the government, wanted to see on that list. I would be quite happy to table that memo.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, we will be happy as well, but according to the Prime Minister's communications officer, Mario Laguë, no records were kept about decisions made at closed meetings on advertising decisions. How convenient.

While the Prime Minister's man Mario was in the thick of it, the Auditor General stated that the problems plaguing the sponsorship program touched the advertising contracts as well. Does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe that his special request for the addition of Groupe Everest was not politically motivated and that with all those connections to his office he was not aware of its actions until 2002?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just answered the question with respect to his request that the process for choosing advertising companies be done on a competitive basis.

As we know, in the late 1990s, problems did occur with respect to the advertising and communications factors. Those have been reported on by the Auditor General. This government is taking every possible step to get to the bottom of it. But this does not go back to the 1994 suggestion and encouragement by the Prime Minister, then finance minister, that these be on a competitive basis.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jean Carle said in court in 1998 that as soon as he arrived at the BDC from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's office, the mandate given to him was to improve the visibility of the Government of Canada. To do so, Jean Carle acknowledges having met Chuck Guité and a number of ministers including Alfonso Gagliano, Marcel Massé, the member for Outremont and the current Minister of Industry.

How can the Prime Minister say he wants to get to the bottom of things when he has kept in his government a minister involved in the sponsorship scandal?