House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was products.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the flag challenge to which the hon. member refers was something that the government undertook at a time when many questions were being raised about our national unity.

Having said that, let me say that the government is examining the files and, like any other advertising contracts, investigations are underway to ensure that if any wrongdoing occurred, people will be held to account. If money was paid inappropriately, it will be returned to the taxpayers of Canada.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ms. Braverman personally phoned the Prime Minister, who was the finance minister at the time, to inform him of the situation. Once again, he chose to wash his hands of it, claiming that the flag campaign was the then heritage minister's responsibility.

Can the Prime Minister deny that he too did nothing?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue to deal with advertising. We have a number of processes underway that are looking at any aspect of the Auditor General's report dealing with sponsorship, advertising or public opinion research. The public accounts committee is looking into these issues.

The opposition cannot have it both ways. When a Commons committee does good work they just blame it on a government majority on the committee, but they try to take credit for it whenever it comes up other information. The government is being open with committees, it is being open with the Canadian public--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Argenteuil--Papineau--Mirabel.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has made a solemn appeal to all those who knew something about the sponsorship scandal, asking them to come forward and speak about it publicly. Yet, when Liberal supporters write to him or phone him to denounce dubious practices, he does nothing.

How does the Prime Minister expect us to take him seriously when he invites those who knew something to talk, but when notified, did nothing and washed his hands of it?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, far from washing his hands, the Prime Minister has launched the most comprehensive process ever undertaken to make sure that this matter is thoroughly ventilated, all the facts are known, the trail is followed to wherever it leads, and the appropriate consequences ensue. The Prime Minister has been very open, transparent and definitive in dealing with this matter and Canadians recognize that.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is not credible. Would the Prime Minister not have been better off following Mr. Cutler's lead and, instead of washing his hands of it as he did, showing courage and transparency and denouncing the sponsorship scandal, rather than condoning it through his silence?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, without commenting on the detail, of course the government applauds the courage of Mr. Cutler.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

March 12th, 2004 / 11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Financial Administration Act limits the signing authority for public servants at the Department of National Defence. Anything over $250,000 must go to Public Works. How could one person have signing authority for $160 million?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the employee being referred to obviously had no authority to sign contracts that were not authorized by the lead contract with Hewlett-Packard. If something was done of a criminal nature, the RCMP are investigating it to find out. The particular employee has been fired. The investigations and audits continue.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, only the minister--

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I do not know how the member for Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke is able to hear the answer. I can hardly hear it and I think the hon. members who are yelling could not possibly hear it.

If we are going to have multiple answers from all sides of the House we will change the rules, but the rules are that one person asks a question and one person answers. The minister had the floor and now we have the member for Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke who has the floor. Perhaps we could have a little order.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, only the minister could approve an expenditure of this size. Has the minister plugged the loophole that allowed a single individual to sign off on $160 million of taxpayers' money?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think that what the hon. member does not understand is that this was not one single contract for $160 million but a series of small contracts being dealt with. The thing to keep in mind as well is that there is a forensic audit going on and that the RCMP is also looking into this. As well, there may be further disciplinary action forthcoming.