House of Commons Hansard #2 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Speech from the Throne
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's throne speech has confirmed that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Quebeckers were hoping to find real solutions in the throne speech, such as annual and ongoing funding for health, a commitment not to appeal concerning parental leave, a commitment to provide full retroactivity on the guaranteed income supplement for seniors, a commitment not to participate in the missile defence plan with the Americans, a commitment not to accept the expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway—a project that would increase the risk of pollution all along the river.

Moreover, one group of fellow citizens was forgotten in this Speech from the Throne: unemployed men and women, particularly seasonal workers. There was nothing, not even one line, about a commitment to change the EI system to permit the creation of an independent EI fund to administer a system in which the number of hours required to qualify would correspond to the real situation of seasonal workers, many of whom now have to get through the coming weeks of the spring gap.

Where are the wonderful promises that were made in Baie-Saint-Paul on June 11, 2003, by the Liberal Party leadership candidate who has now become the Prime Minister of Canada?

Liberal Government
Statements By Members

February 3rd, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gilbert Barrette Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to rise today to highlight the incredible opportunities available to this government.

Its firm intention to inaugurate a new era of harmonious relations with its provincial and municipal counterparts is a very good sign for all Canadians.

We can face the future with confidence because, in Canada's big cities and provincial capitals, we are seeing that Canada's elected officials have a real commitment to working hand in hand with this government.

The goodwill that undeniably emanates from this government must signal a historic turning point. We know that by bringing together the efforts of all Canadians, our country will live up fully to its reputation for valour and take its place as the true north strong and free.

Together, we will be able to meet and overcome all challenges we may face.

National Defence
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, what a difference a decade makes.

Ten years ago the government cancelled a contract to replace our Sea King helicopters. Ten years ago this April, two Sea King pilots were killed when their helicopter went down outside my riding of Saint John. Since that tragic day we have seen countless incidents involving the remaining Sea Kings.

Ten years ago the government said that replacements were not needed. Now, just weeks away from a federal election, the government announces that it is a priority. Like a bolt of lightning, it suddenly occurred to the Liberals that the time had come to do the right thing, yet the most important question remains unanswered. Which replacement will we have, the EH-101 or the cheapest helicopter?

Surely we owe our greatest citizens the best equipment available as they risk their lives in the defence of our country, and I ask the government to do it.

Dr. Burton C. Matthews
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the life of a great Canadian, Dr. Burton C. Matthews, who passed away on January 2 of this year.

From 1970 until 1981 Dr. Matthews guided the University of Waterloo through a period of substantial growth and development into one of the most respected universities in the country. Dr. Matthews was dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence. After stepping down as the president of the University of Waterloo, he was the chair of the Ontario Council on University Affairs. In 1983 he was selected as the president and vice-chancellor of the University of Guelph until his retirement in 1988.

To his wife Lois, his sons David and Tom and their families, and his brothers Jim and George, I offer my sincere condolences on their great loss.

I thank Dr. Matthews for his years of continuous commitment to shaping the minds of future generations and for challenging those who knew him to be the very best they could be. His legacy will live on in the lives of the many people he touched.

Ethics Commissioner
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately the media is falling for the government's catchphrase regarding the establishment of an independent ethics commissioner, but saying so does not make it so.

We all want a truly independent ethics commissioner, but the proposal in Bill C-34 simply perpetuates the Chrétien status quo. I was upset when court testimony exposed the fact that the former prime minister vetted any ethics commissioner report before it was presented to him formally. I guess in dealing with the Shawinigate scandal he must have said, “Well now, what should I say to myself about myself?”

It is clear that the proposed ethics commissioner will be appointed by the Prime Minister and will be answerable to the Prime Minister when investigating alleged ministerial misconduct. This is not acceptable. This is one parliamentary officer that should be chosen, appointed and held accountable independently of the Prime Minister.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the official opposition, I would like to congratulate the new Prime Minister. In fact, it is our hope that he will be in that position about as long as I am in mine.

Last year the government reported that CSL, the Prime Minister's company, had received only $137,000. This figure was obviously wrong. The Prime Minister must have known it was wrong. He could have spoken up last year, but he remained silent.

Why did the Prime Minister remain silent? Why did he not just come clean with the truth?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for his congratulations. I would like to congratulate him on once again being named interim leader of the Conservative Party. As far as I am concerned, I hope he makes a habit of it.

In answer to the hon. member's question, there is no doubt that I was otherwise involved on a particular issue. I was involved in the leadership race. The fact is that somebody should have spoken up. As soon as I focused on it, and again I admit--

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Time has expired. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, is it not interesting that he was otherwise engaged.

This is a fairly significant matter for Canadians since it surely is Canadian taxpayers' money that is at stake here. The latest figure we have is $161 million that was given to the company. I want to know, is that figure correct? Is that the full figure, $161 million?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said that somebody should have spoken out. I felt that the government was in the process of dealing with it. At the time when I did focus on it, I asked the government to develop a comprehensive answer. The comprehensive answer is now public and is extensive: every single contract, every single amount dealing with those periods when I was in cabinet, the periods before I went into cabinet and after I came out.

There is the most complete answer that the government is capable of coming up with. I did not compile the answer, but the fact is that it is as complete as the government is able to come up with and it is certainly open to investigation by the Leader of the Opposition and his party.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if this response will satisfy the Canadian taxpayer. Here we have a Prime Minister who says “trust me”.

I will ask the question again that I just asked. Is the figure that we have now come up with through ATI, the figure of $161 million, the full figure, yes or no?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I did not compile those numbers. I have not been involved in the company for some 15 years. It is without a shadow of doubt the best answer that the government is capable of coming up with.

I am prepared to say that if the hon. member would like, I would be quite prepared to ask the Auditor General why there was a delay between the original question and the provision of those numbers. I am prepared to ask the Auditor General if she would like to take a look at this.

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, there is no answer forthcoming. It seems to me unbelievable that a person would not know how much money they received from the government.

The Prime Minister capitulated on the issue of having a public inquiry into the Maher Arar case. The terms of that inquiry we know must be independent. It must be broad enough to get to the truth and to ensure that public confidence is restored.

The terms of reference currently do not appear to be broad enough to include an examination of what led the RCMP to raid the home of reporter Juliet O'Neil. Will the Prime Minister guarantee that the public inquiry will be broad enough to include delving into this issue of the raid, the home invasion of that reporter--

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Maher Arar Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is probably aware that the terms of reference of the Arar inquiry are presently being worked out between government officials and Mr. Justice O'Connor. As soon as those terms of reference have been finalized, they will be made public for all to see.