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 ethical.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform you and the House that in Calgary last week I announced a contribution of some $525,000 over the next three years for the Canadian Avalanche Foundation for the creation and development of the national avalanche centre. We are accepting all 36 recommendations of the avalanche risk review, and we are having the centre co-ordinate public safety programs and provide avalanche warning systems throughout Canada.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment's constituency office staff knew about the secret Liberal slush fund since 1997. In fact the staff of other ministers' offices may have known as well.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Does he still believe that none of his ministers had any knowledge of any scandal in the sponsorship program, yes or no?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned the other day, at the time that each minister was either named or reconfirmed as a minister of the crown, we went extensively into the person's background. At a cabinet meeting some two weeks ago, I asked every minister if he or she had any knowledge of wrongdoing at the time that this was going on, and my ministers responded in the negative. I have complete confidence in my ministers.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, no one else in the country does and no one else in the House does.

Contrary to the Prime Minister's assertion or testimony that he knew nothing, he saw nothing, he did nothing, the environment minister's office staff not only knew everything, but eagerly boasted and bragged about the fact that it had access to a secret Liberal slush fund.

Why has the Prime Minister not kept his word? Why has he not stepped forward and dismissed the Minister of the Environment?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, obviously hundreds of MPs' constituency offices across this country, over a number of years, knew of this program. It was not a secret program.

What has been discovered in the last couple of years is that there were significant problems with commissions paid to advertising companies. That does not disparage the worth of the festivals that were funded through many of these funds. That is not the issue. The issue is the commissions, so that is what we are looking into. Bring this evidence before the public inquiry and let us find out the truth.

Pharmaceuticals
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, many pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline, have been limiting their drug sales to Canadian pharmacies since the end of 2003, for fear that these drugs will be sold over the Internet to Americans who want to save money by purchasing drugs from Canada.

With the growing phenomenon of cyberpharmacies, has the Minister of Health obtained guarantees from U.S. pharmaceutical companies that we will not run short of drugs here in Canada?

Pharmaceuticals
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve raises a problem that is very important to our government.

Health Canada has not yet seen any signs that we will run short of certain drugs on the Canadian market. But I can assure the hon. members that we are monitoring the situation very closely and that we are going to do everything we can so that the Canadian market will continue to be supplied by all pharmaceutical companies.

St. Lawrence Seaway
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the maintenance of the St. Lawrence Seaway has always been the responsibility of the Canadian government. For several years now, the Canadian Coast Guard has been transferring the cost of dredging and ice-breaking to users.

I would like to ask the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans if he wants to maintain his position while transferring costs to users, and if this gradual withdrawal means that one day the entire responsibility for the maintenance of the St. Lawrence Seaway may end up being transferred to private enterprise, with all the ensuing consequences?

St. Lawrence Seaway
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank my hon. colleague because he has done a great deal of work on this issue.

The government believes that a portion of the costs of maintenance services for the St. Lawrence Seaway should be absorbed by the shipping industry, which enjoys the benefits.

As for dredging, I can assure the House that the Canadian Coast Guard will continue to fulfil its responsibilities.

Finance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the finance minister would like the opportunity bring down a budget to draw attention away from this horrible mess that his government is involved in. I wonder when we could expect a budget from the finance minister.

Finance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, of course, I must totally reject the preamble to the hon. gentleman's question.

I am very pleased to announce that I shall bring down my first budget for the Government of Canada in the House of Commons on March 23, 2004, at 4 p.m.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

February 24th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Dragoljub Micunovic, President of the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, during question period today the right hon. Prime Minister, in response to a question from the member for Edmonton—Strathcona, referred specifically to a document. He read from a document in which he referenced a sponsorship program that was accessed by the member's riding. This was in response to a question about a Liberal Party slush fund, which was the subject of much debate here in question period today.

In terms of protocol in the House, I would ask that the specific document to which the Prime Minister referred be tabled. We would ask that the document be put on the table. The Minister of Public Works did the same thing.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the list that the Prime Minister read from has been tabled in the House twice. We can table it a third time if they like but it is the same list. We are quite willing to table it again.