House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was marijuana.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly the answers we are getting have nothing to do with the questions.

We can see that no one in this government knows anything; no one saw anything; and no one did anything.

My question is the following. Is the government not blaming public servants just to bury the issue for a few weeks, until an election is called, to keep the public in the dark? It does not matter what happens after, the problem will be dealt with, but for the time being, no one will know—

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, the government and the Prime Minister are committed to transparency and accountability.

Minutes after the Auditor General's report was released, the Prime Minister announced a comprehensive package of measures to get to the bottom of the situation and to answer the questions that the Auditor General identified that she could not answer.

It is unprecedented for a Prime Minister to do the things the Prime Minister has done: call a public inquiry; reconvene public accounts early; bring in whistleblower legislation; a review of the Financial Administration Act; ensure the--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona.

Ottawa Centre Byelection
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. It has to do with the fact that the Prime Minister called a byelection in Ottawa Centre for November 29. This creates a situation where the citizens of Ottawa Centre could possibly be left without representation, if there is no spring election, for up to 15 months, which I believe is a record.

How does the Deputy Prime Minister reconcile this with trying to address the democratic deficit, this abuse of the democratic rights of the people of Ottawa Centre?

Ottawa Centre Byelection
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, far from being a democratic deficit, the Prime Minister called the byelection. It is his responsibility once a vacancy occurs to call a byelection within six months. That is exactly what the Prime Minister did.

Ottawa Centre Byelection
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, that has to be one of the weaker answers I have heard in a long time. The fact is he called it only when he absolutely had to and he called it in a way that if there is no spring election, the people of Ottawa Centre will be left without representation. This is clearly at odds with any respect for democracy or for the question of addressing the democratic deficit.

I want to ask the Deputy Prime Minister again, does she really believe that leaving the citizens of Ottawa Centre this way, without representation for possibly up to 15 months, is in harmony with addressing the democratic deficit?

Ottawa Centre Byelection
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, the law requires that once a vacancy occurs, a byelection be called within six months. That is exactly what the Prime Minister did yesterday.

Let me reassure everyone in the House that the constituents of Ottawa Centre continue, and will continue, to receive constituency services until such time as the byelection is held.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

March 8th, 2004 / 2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, in Friday's National Post it says, “the government fired VIA Rail president Marc LeFrançois for his alleged role in the sponsorship program”. Saturday's Globe and Mail quotes the transport minister as saying, “The decision to fire Mr. LeFrançois was based on the Auditor General's report”.

The public accounts committee has not yet heard from Mr. LeFrançois and no recommendations have been made at all about his future, so why was he fired? What is the standard for firing heads of crown corporations?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I said and as the hon. member quoted, the firing of Mr. LeFrançois was based on the Auditor General's report. Mr. LeFrançois had an opportunity to provide a submission. He did so on March 1. I subsequently met with Mr. LeFrançois. We discussed his submission. Based on that, Mr. LeFrançois' appointment was terminated.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the question is still on the table. What Canadians really want to know is whether the government is cleaning up this scandal. What we need to know is the standard the government will apply to terminate the employment of bosses like Mr. LeFrançois. What is the standard? Is there an equal standard or is there a legal or a political standard? What standard will the government use to clean up this terrible scandal that is dividing the government and preventing it from governing the country?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, first of all, it is not preventing the government from governing. We are governing. We are engaged in policy and we are doing a lot on this side of the House. If the opposite side would actually ask a question that had relevance for Canadians, we might in fact get some answers.

With respect to the question that was asked, Mr. LeFrançois was provided due process. It was based on that process that we made a decision. That decision was one that was made after reviewing and receiving that submission and the government stands behind that decision.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, we would rather have the member from Hamilton back.

Alfonso Gagliano is back from Denmark and he is talking, but the Prime Minister does not like what he has to say. The other day Mr. Gagliano said, “Naturally, the Prime Minister wants to get re-elected. He wants to distance himself from the previous government. But he can't. He was part of it”.

Why does the Prime Minister pretend that he was not part of that corrupt government? Why was he always in the other room when the loot was being divvied up? Was he really the most senior minister in the Chrétien administration, or was that just his evil twin?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier in question period, the actions the Prime Minister has taken to get to the bottom of this matter are unprecedented. Where before have we seen a Prime Minister release cabinet documents earlier than the 30-year period? Where have we seen a Prime Minister within minutes of an Auditor General's report come forward with a comprehensive response such as that of the present Prime Minister? In fact, everyone on this side of the House, we take responsibility. We take our responsibilities seriously, that is why we want to get to the bottom--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.