House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the assertion of the hon. member is totally incorrect and he should apologize.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, not only do Liberals benefit from grants, but unfortunately for Canadians, the only grant that Conservatives are benefiting from is my colleague from Macleod.

Revelations today indicate that the culture of corruption is pan-Canadian. According to the Prime Minister's own words, he said he was going to get to the bottom of this, he was going to find out the source of this.

According to a Liberal source, the Minister of the Environment was accessing a slush fund. He accessed it through the former public works minister.

Can the Prime Minister tell us if, during his rigorous interview process of the Minister of the Environment, this meeting with the minister of public works came up?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the very article that the hon. member is basing his question on says that in this case there is no doubt the project fits the parameter of the program. It goes on to say that I acted scrupulously in my behaviour. In fact, as he knows or should know, I did not even send a letter recommending this particular project to the minister of public works. There were some 15 other letters, but not from me.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, there appears to be a collective case of cabinet amnesia going on on the other side. The Prime Minister has a dose of it as well.

He denied all knowledge of the Liberal slush fund. He said on February 13 that anybody who knew anything about this should resign immediately. Those were his words.

I ask the Prime Minister, will the multiple investigations, the multiple inquiries, include looking into these allegations of Liberal Party panhandling? When is he going to compost the current recycled Minister of the Environment?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the sponsorship program was well known by all members of the House and in fact endorsed and had constituencies referred on to the program in 2000.

The point in this case is that the hon. member's office referred on to the public works department. I have seen the application. It was four pages in detail, 15 pages of endorsement letters, not from the minister but from people in the community. A post-mortem of the festival found it to be entirely successful. This was an appropriate expenditure of public funds in the community.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House, the government House leader was unequivocal. He said that Liberal transparency had its limits, and there was no question of forcing Liberal members to immediately open the books of their personal slush funds, if they had any.

Will the Prime Minister, who said he wants to get to the bottom of things, admit that the public has the right to know before the election if the money from the sponsorship scandal ended up, for example, in the coffers of The Friends of Alfonso Gagliano Inc., registered with Industry Canada?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.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, the Bloc members keep changing their minds. Yesterday, they told the media they were satisfied with my answers. Today, they are no longer satisfied.

We refuse to react in kind to the Bloc's inconsistent and changing moods. A commission of inquiry had been set up to investigate this matter.

Yesterday, I said that the Liberal Party of Canada is transparent, that its books are open and that the figures published are available on the Elections Canada website.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I said that I was not satisfied because something was overlooked, namely individual funds and foundations, such as The Friends of Alfonso Gagliano Inc.

Since the government has nothing to hide, because all the millions in the slush funds of individual Liberal members were transferred to either the Liberal Party of Canada or the Liberal riding associations on December 31, 2003—we asked that this be clarified, but it was not—why is the government refusing to open the books immediately on where the funds now in the Liberal Party coffers came from?

I want to hear what the Prime Minister has to say about this.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.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 need not remind the leader of the Bloc Quebecois that it is up to us, not him, to decide who will answer the questions.

The answer to his question is quite clear: the Liberal Party has absolutely nothing to do with the allegations made by the leader of the Bloc.

His allegations mention millions, but he has no proof. Can he produce any documents? If so, then he should table them. If he has the slightest bit of evidence, he should table it. If he has any evidence that will assist the commission of inquiry, he should table it. But he should stop making gratuitous allegations that unfairly smear the Liberal Party, which does not deserve it.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to my colleague that Bill C-24 included a clause that allowed Liberal members of Parliament to transfer their personal trust funds into Liberal Party riding coffers, without anyone having any oversight. This is not something we made up; it is in their own legislation.

What we are asking the Prime Minister is this. If he truly wants to be transparent, will he allow an inspection of these funds, which, as the Chief Electoral Officer has said, are completely out of his control?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.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, first, it is not my responsibility to authorize something in a fund that does not even belong to the Liberal Party or the government. I do not have the authority to allow this. The commission of inquiry can do so.

However, be careful. If we are going to start investigating everyone who contributes to the financing of political parties, then this has to apply to everyone. We would have to investigate all the contributions made to the Bloc Quebecois, the Conservatives and our own contributions as well.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a classic example of trying to muddle the issue. The government can say what it wants; they have individual funds that were written into a bill. It is in the legislation.

These funds were automatically transferred, and the Chief Electoral Officer said, “This is out of control”. No one can deny this.

What I want to know from the government is this: if it wants to be more transparent with its finances, will it allow these funds to be examined?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.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 true that Bill C-24 effectively eliminated any possibility of having such funds in the future. It is also true that the bill regarding the ethics commissioner contains provisions for members to provide declarations of assets.

These are facts. It is concrete. It is real. The rest is nothing but hot air and allegations.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

February 24th, 2004 / 2:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the right hon. Prime Minister who no doubt is keenly aware, through the sponsorship scandal, of what happens when Liberals refuse to see what is really going on, when this sort of wilful blindness happens.

I say to him that there is a wilful blindness on the part of the Liberals right now with respect to national missile defence. They refuse to see that what is really going on is that the Americans intend to weaponize space.

Will the Prime Minister finally get up and say to the House, because he has yet to speak on this, that Canada will not participate in what is really going on?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member well knows that the Prime Minister answered this question once before. He made it very clear we are engaged in negotiations with the United States with respect to the security of the North American continent and the security of Canadians, but that we will continue to pursue our longstanding policies in terms of disarmament. We are pursuing an initiative to try to get a treaty on the weaponization of space, to prohibit it.

The Prime Minister is clear. The government is clear. The weaponization of space is completely contrary to what the government stands for, what this country stands for, and what we are negotiating about.