House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the fall of 2000, the director of government communications took part in a secret meeting, the purpose of which was to cover up the sponsorship scandal. Mr. Laguë is now the current Prime Minister's communications director. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister said that he had personally questioned each of his ministers and caucus members to learn if they knew anything about the scandal, and they all said no.

Did it not occur to the Prime Minister to ask his communications director the same question before he hired him?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, let us consider the facts. Mr. Laguë never took part in this meeting. He simply was not there. Allegations that Mr. Laguë's conduct was questionable during a meeting he never attended are nothing more than smear tactics. This is unacceptable. Repeating something 100 times will not make it come true.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the entire media knows, how can the Prime Minister, who says he wants to get to the bottom of things, explain that he has chosen as his close advisor a man who tried to cover up the sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, it is quite unbelievable to see the opposition members so obsessed by their questions that they do not even hear the answers. The answer is simple. Not only did Mr. Laguë not attend that meeting, but he offered to appear before the parliamentary committee or commission to respond and have a normal opportunity to defend himself against a totally gratuitous and unfounded accusation. It is a matter of fundamental justice to wait for someone to appear to defend himself.

Business Development Bank of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, the Board of Directors of the Business Development Bank of Canada renewed its trust in its President, Michel Vennat. Contrary to what the Minister of Industry has stated, she does indeed have the authority to revoke his mandate under section 6 of the Business Development Bank of Canada Act.

Now that the bank has decided not to appeal the ruling in the Beaudoin case, and given the harsh findings in the Michel Vennat case, will the Minister of Industry confirm that she will proceed with the revocation of Michel Vennat's mandate?

Business Development Bank of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the BDC is a crown corporation with its own board of directors. The board of directors has reaffirmed its confidence in its president. We will obviously re-evaluate this based on the board of directors' response. After we evaluate the situation we will make a recommendation to government.

Business Development Bank of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, in light of Michel Vennat's blatantly reprehensible actions, which were condemned by the tribunal in the strongest possible terms, does the minister intend to call for Michel Vennat's resignation from the position of President of the Business Development Bank of Canada? Since the legislation gives her the authority, she should take action, and this government should take a stand.

Business Development Bank of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, crown corporations operate at arm's length. They have a board of directors. The board of directors has a fiduciary responsibility. The board of directors has, in fact, reasserted and reaffirmed its confidence in the president.

We will look at that situation and make a recommendation to the government. The Minister of Industry will do that, and we look forward to that recommendation.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, we do know where some of the sponsorship money went. Several thousand dollars of taxpayer money was misappropriated by one member of Parliament in order to put his name on a Quebec college mural. This was a clear abuse of public funds for the personal advertising benefit of a member of Parliament.

Has the Minister of Public Works and Government Services asked the member of Parliament for Beauce to pay back the $5,600?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely convinced that my colleague acted in good faith. There is a commission to investigate. There is a standing committee of the House dealing with these matters. My colleague is quite prepared to appear before them. I would suggest that we do not jump to conclusions too fast just in case it might be another case of smearing.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, obviously the writing was on the wall for the member of Parliament for Beauce. However it is a clear misuse of public money, an abuse of parliamentary office and just another chapter in this Liberal culture of corruption.

Will the Minister of Public Works and Government Services demand the money be paid back?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue, among a number, that is being looked into by all of the processes set up. If there was money improperly spent it will be asked to be repaid.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

February 20th, 2004 / 11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, so many scandals, so little time.

Lost in scandalmania over the last two weeks is the biggest scandal of them all. No, it is not the $100 million handed to Liberal friends and cronies. No, it is not the hundreds of millions for Challenger jets. And no, it is not even the billions of dollars for the failed gun registry. It is bigger than that. It is the $44 billion EI overcharge. The Prime Minister has politicized EI and has used it as his personal cash cow.

Will he commit today to restoring an arm's length, independent, rate setting process for employment insurance in Canada?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Ahuntsic
Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (Social Economy)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question but let us stick to the facts again. Let us quote what the Auditor General said in her report on March, 19, 2002. I quote:

Since 1986 the activities of the EI Account have been included in the accounts of the government....

In our view, this is the correct method of accounting and it complies with accounting standards.... The EI Account is an important component of the government's reporting entity and should be included in the government's accounts.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a blatant ripoff and the member knows it.

The Prime Minister has tried to point the finger at everybody. He has pointed the finger at the bureaucracy, pointed the finger at Quebec politicians and pointed the finger at Chrétien loyalists. The Prime minister is running out of fingers.

However, I know who will give him the finger. It is the Canadian taxpayer. If he wants a finger, he should talk to them. The $44 billion is owed to them. It does not belong to the Liberal Party.

When does the government plan to stop pointing the finger of blame at everybody else and start pointing the finger where it belongs, at itself?