House of Commons Hansard #24 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

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the sweetheart deal to top up the Groupe Everest contract was first proposed, Mr. Cutler wrote a memo recommending that the amendment not go forward for four reasons. First, it was a completely retroactive situation. Second, Groupe Everest was going to receive a commission for doing no work. Third, the amendment had to be approved first by the minister. Fourth, it had to have a cost analysis and legal approval before going ahead.

That was in the testimony today before public accounts. If that is the situation, why did Groupe Everest once again get a sweetheart deal from the government?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, shortly after the public accounts committee was created, I went before it and we offered immunity to whistleblowers.

Mr. Cutler came forward with a very detailed synopsis of testimony or his experience on this. He was interviewed at great length for a period of time. He is a very honourable man who gave very straight answers, and he did not implicate the Prime Minister.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, here is how it worked. There was an amendment to the contract for $909,000. The person in charge of the amendment said it should not go ahead for the following reasons. For one, it was completely retroactive; the work had already been finished. Groupe Everest was going to get 17% of that, almost $170,000, for doing no work. Third, it had to be approved by the minister, the minister who was sitting right over there.

Why is it that when Groupe Everest is involved, the Prime Minister is close by and it gets a special deal from the government?

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, I do not think the evidence of Mr. Cutler suggests anything of the kind.

What we have before the public accounts committee is evidence from someone who has come forward with the assurance of protection. He was invited and encouraged to come forward. He is providing valuable information. It is being considered by the public accounts committee.

All members will be interested in their conclusions on this and other evidence, so we should not prejudge the conclusion.

Racial Discrimination
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women.

Why is it important to celebrate March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination? What is the multiculturalism program doing to highlight the importance of this day?

Racial Discrimination
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, March 21 is indeed the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

We will continue the annual March 21 campaign which is entitled “Racism. Stop It!” We know, and we must acknowledge, that racism exists in our society. The ethnic diversity survey tells us that 35% of visible minorities experience some form of discrimination or unfair treatment.

Racism affects everyone. All Canadians must be encouraged to take action.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, all day we have been asking members of the government about a scam that was the result of them and they have no decency to take any responsibility for it. This is a scam that was perpetuated in the Prime Minister's office by his chief of staff and executive assistant. This is a scam that rewarded the PM's friend $170,000 for doing nothing. How can the Prime Minister still stand in this place and say he knew nothing about this?

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, I can only repeat, to the numerous questions that have been raised today about this and other related issues, that the inquiry will look into these issues. The public accounts committee is in the process of doing so. We will all gain a better appreciation of what happened. The Prime Minister and any other members of the government will go forward and speak to these inquiries or commissions or the public accounts committee if they are asked to do so.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is completely unacceptable. We are still not seeing the transparency that the Prime Minister promised in the House. He never stands up to answer the questions and we think Canadians want to see this.

The Prime Minister's two top staff were complicit in ensuring that Groupe Everest was able to skim $170,000 for doing nothing. Memos show that the minister had been informed. How can the Prime Minister still stand in this place and claim ignorance?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the member for radio transparency stands up in the House and talks about ethics and transparency. I simply say to him that we have put in process the most transparent process possible. There are lots of opportunities to bring evidence forward and have it adjudicated by members in this chamber, by a judge, under testimony, under oath. That is what we are doing. Let them put some evidence on the table, please.

Alcan
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, when she visited Alcan workers in the Saguenay--Lac-Saint-Jean region, the Minister of Industry was asked to invite the president of Alcan to come and explain his company's decision to prematurely close the potrooms at the Jonquière plant.

Could the Minister of Industry tell us if she has already taken steps in that regard and, if not, what is she waiting for to follow up on the request of Alcan workers?

Alcan
Oral Question Period

2:55 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, last week, during my visit to Saguenay--Lac-Saint-Jean with the hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, we met officials from various unions, including Alcan, who are going through difficult times.

Indeed, I pledged to meet with the president of Alcan, first to find out about the planned closure of the potrooms and, second, to urge him to invest more in aluminum processing in that region, as the Government of Canada is already doing.

Western Economic Diversification
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, Western Economic Diversification Canada makes investments in innovation. In addition to support for university research, has the department ever supported colleges in the west?

Western Economic Diversification
Oral Question Period

March 11th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul
Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, indeed my department has supported colleges for innovation. Today my department announced $550,000 in support for the Olds College Centre for Innovation in central Alberta. This college provides support, both technological and scientific, to small and medium sized businesses in the agrifood sector. As well, this college certainly will develop newer technologies. A stronger food sector industry is good for all Canadians. This is about building a 21st century economy.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

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

Earlier in this question period, the Minister of Public Works declined to answer a question by noting that technically the government took office only on December 12, 2003. Is it the government's position that no one in the House is responsible for actions taken by the Liberal government in which the Minister of Public Works, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and 13 other current ministers served?