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

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when the questions were raised and revealed in the interim audit prepared in the year 2000, that same report they refer to made a series of findings. There were 37 administrative changes. Those administrative changes were made.

There was a subsequent involvement in it which confirmed that those were the right changes. Then in the year 2002, the deputy minister of public works, in referring to that very internal audit, said that there was no evidence of any criminal activity, it was all administrative. Besides that, it was all in the hands of the Auditor General who accepted it.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, earlier, the President of the Treasury Board asked me to give him a single fact.

Chapter 5, page 7, paragraph 5.31 of the Auditor General's report states:

A core subscription to “Rethinking Government”, for example, costs about $27,000. We noted that 10 copies were purchased by departments in 2002-03 at a total cost of $270,000.

Since this is taxpayers' money, I would ask him this nicely: which ten ministers—

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the issue raised by the Auditor General was one of efficiency, that different departments should not be separately subscribing to syndicated public opinion research reports. That is something of efficiency that has been a useful recommendation, which the government has accepted.

If the hon. member wants to know the departments that individually subscribed to the same syndicated report, I will certainly supply that, but that was not the issue. It was not identifying the department. I will get the names for the member. However, the issue was one of efficiency, not of impropriety of any one of the departments.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister came to Quebec to say, “I will do my best to be transparent”. He came to say that. He told people, “Believe me, I want the truth to come out”.

For three days now, we have been asking which ten ministers each paid for the same report for a total of $270,000. We are not getting an answer.

Is the way they handle a request for a minor piece of information indicative of what goes on with sponsorships?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, when the member asks the question, he might want to listen to the answer, just for a little bit. The Auditor General in her report, the famous report, says:

In a large organization like the federal government, there are bound to be problems and failures, despite best efforts

The minister stood up and said that the Auditor General had said that a number of departments were buying the same report, and this was foolish. The minister said, “I agree”. We changed the program. We stopped it from happening, and if you want the list of names, he will give them to you.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I hope the President of the Treasury Board was quoting the minister in saying, “you”. I would urge all hon. members to please address their remarks through the Chair, as required by the rules. The hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

February 18th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, one of the Prime Minister's major planks was to restore Canada's visibility in the world. He has chosen a very interesting way to do it.

Headlines like these around the globe have screamed out the news this week. A headline in the New York Times said, “Scandal Haunts Canadian Leader”. Headline in the Washington Post said, “Canada's Prime Minister Acts to Counter Scandal”. Taipei Times headline said, “Kickback Scandal Grips Canada”. The Korean Daily said, “Corruption Raises Ugly Head”. BBC News said, “Ottawa 'mishandled' public funds”. BBC News said, “Ottawa 'damaged by funds scandal”.

Is this the Prime Minister's way to win our international reputation?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the reputation of Canada is enhanced by the way in which this Prime Minister frankly has stepped forward. Every country on this globe has its problems of governance. Each is judged by the way it handles it, and this government is handling it with transparency, openness and frankness by the Prime Minister and are--

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

I was not looking for a Howard Dean scream, Mr. Speaker, just a response.

The Liberal image of scandal is embarrassing and it is costly. Wesley Cragg of Transparency International, which is the watchdog group which monitors government corruption and transparency said that the growing perception of high level corruption will cause some international investors to park their capital elsewhere.

Will the Prime Minister admit that these Liberal scandals have hurt our international reputation, investment and possibly jobs?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that this is an issue which nobody wishes had arisen, but the fact is it is the way in which it is dealt with that demonstrates the strength of a country's democracy.

The fact is that we are dealing with this in an open and transparent way. We are leaving no stone unturned. Those who perpetrated whatever these acts were will be brought to justice.

We are dealing with this the way that a democracy ought to deal with it.

Cape Breton Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Mr. Speaker, in the late fall of 2002 it was determined by an independent actuary that the Cape Breton Development Corporation held surplus funds in both the contributory and non-contributory pension plans. In claiming rights to these funds, the corporation filed court proceedings which were later dismissed by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

The pensioners and widows of former coal miners who contributed to these surplus funds through the acceptance of contract concessions and wage scales far below industry standards are entitled to be fairly compensated in this case.

Could the Minister of Natural Resources tell the House when these good people can expect a resolution to their case?

Cape Breton Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the question and for the work that he and his colleague from Sydney—Victoria have done on this file.

We would like to see this in a timely fashion. In 2003 the Superintendent of Financial Institutions directed Devco to appoint an arbitrator. That process is in place now and we hope to see a settlement in the very near future.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, the BSE crisis has put our agriculture industry on the brink of disaster.

In Saskatchewan net farm income is down 177%. Imagine the Liberal action we would see if that party fell that fast and hard in the polls.

While the Prime Minister busies himself with scandal, the agriculture industry is sinking. Where do the farmers turn? Why does the Prime Minister have time and money for his Liberal friends but nothing for our struggling farmers?