House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was turkey.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, of course there was a program. Whether it was registered in some way or described in some way, there was a program. Many members of the opposition applied to the program, including the member for Red Deer.

Yesterday, we heard an accusation about the member from Victoria third-hand. We find in the newspapers this morning that in fact the person three steps back was only joking. The person two steps back was not sure what he heard. Then we get the newspaper and this is their accusation. Take it to the--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, speaking of steps, here are the steps. Mr. Kelley visits the Minister of the Environment's office looking for a grant. His staffers tell him there is a secret slush fund available.

Mr. Kelley sends a letter to the public works department. Media IDA Vision then sends him two cheques for $50,000. No checks or balances, just big, fat cheques.

Why did Media IDA Vision, a disgraced ad agency fingered in the Auditor General's report, inform Mr. Kelley about this grant and not the public works department? Membership has its privileges.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am quite surprised that the hon. member, having been a prosecutor in a former career, does not know the difference between evidence and hearsay, and in fact, hearsay three steps removed. He comes into the House and he puts forward as evidence in a condemning way information that is hearsay two times removed. Now let him come before a public inquiry, under oath, and give that evidence. That is great. That is where he should be.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the National Post , cabinet documents show that, in June 2002, after the release of the Auditor General's damning report on Groupaction, when everyone knew about the sponsorship scandal, an unidentified minister continued to defend the firms that were friends of the Liberal Party.

Can the Prime Minister, who claims to be totally transparent, tell us which minister of the cabinet's communication committee persisted, despite all the abuse, in defending the firms that were friends of the Liberal Party?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 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 think that, at the time, the current Prime Minister was no longer a member of the cabinet.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I did not say that it was him. However, I would like to know who this minister was.

The Prime Minister, who told us that, in May 2002, he noticed that this may possibly have been criminal behaviour, cannot now remain silent. He must—with all his talk about transparency—have the decency to tell us who, among the President of the Privy Council, the former minister of intergovernmental affairs and the other ministers on the cabinet's communication committee, continued to defend the firms that were friends of the Liberal Party. He can tell us, because these are cabinet documents.

Perhaps it was not him—

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is referring to cabinet documents that were tabled at the public accounts committee, I believe those are embargoed. I have not had access to them. In any event, I am not sure how we can answer that question without access to them and those of course have not been made public.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister suspended the Business Development Bank of Canada's Michel Vennat for his role in the Auberge Grand-Mère affair.

Since the Prime Minister is asking Michel Vennat to take a week to reflect about how to explain his role in the Auberge Grand-Mère affair, why not also ask him to think about how to explain what happened to the $4.8 million that disappeared from Option Canada in 1996, when he was chairman of the board?

We would be interested in knowing what happened to the money.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, we have made public our decision with regard to certain crown corporations. The decisions concerning Mr. Vennat are directly connected with the Quebec Superior Court ruling by Justice Denis, and have absolutely no connection with anything else.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, as long as they are cleaning house, they should do it properly.

In 1996, Michel Vennat was the chairman of the board of Option Canada, the predecessor of the sponsorship program. Some $4.8 million has totally disappeared. The Auditor General could find no trace of it. We are talking about $4.8 million here.

Would it not be in the public interest to shed light on what these people did with $4.8 million from the program that preceded the sponsorship program? This is the same Michel Vennat. Perhaps he could reflect long enough to provide us with some answers.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Business Development Bank of Canada, there were two totally separate matters.

On the one hand, there is the Auditor General's report on the sponsorship program and, on the other hand, there is the ruling by Superior Court Justice Denis.

In the sponsorship matter, the Auditor General met with Mr. Ritchie, the chairman of the board, herself. The Auditor General's analyst met with all the board members. The Auditor General said she was satisfied with the answers she received from the BDC.

Canadian National Railway
Oral Question Period

February 25th, 2004 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

For a week now Canadian National Railway has been importing Americans to do the work of striking Canadian railroaders and yet the Prime Minister and his government have said nothing at all about this.

I want to know from the Prime Minister whether there is any connection between this silence and the fact that one of his cronies is working for CN. John Duffy sat on the Prime Minister's transition team, and on February 6 he started representing CN as a corporate lobbyist, a cozy revolving door for the Prime Minister's corporate cronies. Why is there nothing to prevent a crony from working for him one day and working for CN the next?