House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claims he wants to get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal and wants total transparency. Now, when asked to make the minutes of the Groupaction presentation to cabinet public, he tells us he will wait and see whether the committee asks him to do so. We know very well that this committee has a majority Liberal membership. That is the reality.

I am asking the Prime Minister whether he ought not to show some leadership, set an example and state today that he will release the minutes, that he will tell us which ministers were present and that he will ask the committee to indicate that it needs these documents. That would be showing some leadership and transparency.

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, to my knowledge, this is the first time in the history of our Parliament that cabinet documents have been made available to a parliamentary committee. A commitment had been made to provide the parliamentary committee with documents relating to allegations made by the Auditor General in her report. If anything else is required, let the committee pass a motion to that effect. The Prime Minister said so just moments ago.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, with all his talk of democratic deficit, the Prime Minister ought to answer us himself, and show some leadership.

I am asking him once again. Should he not rise and say that it is indeed important for this to be made public, that it is important to know which ministers were there, and thus send the message to the committee that we will get to the bottom of this matter? Let him stand up and say, “Yes, I want this made public”. That is what we are asking him to do.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, is it possible that the leader of the Bloc Quebecois does not understand the meaning of the word yes? I have just said that, if the committee wants this, certainly the Liberals are willing and have moreover already demonstrated their willingness. It will be done. So yes means yes.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, this side of the House has already seen that yes can really mean no.

The Prime Minister defended himself, in the sponsorship scandal, by stating that he had asked each of his ministers if they were aware of anything and that he was satisfied with their answer.

Now that we know that one member of his cabinet did defend the sponsorship firms and therefore knew, can the Prime Minister tell us, since the suspicions concern the President of the Privy Council, if he met with him to ask him again if he remembered—

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

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, it is important to point out that we have often seen the party opposite say no when it really meant yes. So, they are in no position to lecture anyone.

With regard to the committee, there is a very simple way to proceed. A commission of inquiry was established and a parliamentary committee is working on this. This is extremely simple. Everything is out in the open. They should simply make sure that they put the facts on the table, if they have any.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to offend the government House leader, but the Prime Minister himself said that he would leave no stone unturned in order to find out what happened in the sponsorship scandal. However, there are seven stones in his garden. Seven ministers were at a meeting, one of whom defended the sponsorship firms.

I am asking this of the Prime Minister. If he is serious in saying he will leave no stone unturned, will he meet with the seven ministers, three of whom are still in cabinet, to find out if the individual in question might not be the person sitting next to him?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 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, the stones will be turned by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the independent commission of inquiry and the legal counsel responsible for recovering funds, if need be. Measures were also taken by Treasury Board to improve the situation and the way things are being managed.

My colleague opposite is afraid of offending me. I am sorry but I am going to start feeling that way today about this situation. That accusation is quite ridiculous and unfounded, in my opinion.

Foreign Aid
Oral Question Period

March 9th, 2004 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the moderator of the United Church, the Reverend Peter Short, led a prayer service in front of Parliament in which he echoed the call of Secretary-General Kofi Annan for Canada to do more. He specifically urged that Canada meet the goal of raising our official development assistance to .7% of gross national income.

I want to ask the Prime Minister while he is in the mood for just saying yes, will he say yes to this particular request? Can he tell the House today whether the upcoming budget will include in it the money to meet this particular goal?

Foreign Aid
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously I am not in a position to comment on what will be in the budget, but the fact is I found it very interesting that on the one hand the secretary-general complimented Canada for what it was doing, complimented us in terms of what we are doing in Haiti, and complimented us for what we are doing in Africa and certainly for what we are doing in terms of HIV-AIDS.

He also challenged us. I think that is a challenge which we as a country have to be prepared to take. There is no doubt that Canadians want to see us exercise a stronger role in the world. It is one that we intend to take.

Foreign Aid
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, indeed the secretary-general did challenge the country to do more and I am asking the Prime Minister today: Will he make a commitment today that in the budget there will be the funds to meet that long sought, never reached goal of .7% of gross national income for overseas development assistance?

Maybe he could tell us while he is at it and receiving all that praise from the secretary-general, did he explain to him why he cut so much money from that budget in the first place?

Foreign Aid
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know if he takes a look that in fact over the course of the last three to four budgets there have been substantial increases in our foreign aid.

I also think there is a time when we as Canadians can be very proud and I must say I have rarely felt as proud of my country as I did with the huge amount of applause that was given to the six people who were introduced in the House and to the great contributions we are making as a country.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, in a recent interview, the Treasury Board president stated that the present Prime Minister knew for years that financial controls had broken down and that federal programs were rife with problems and abuse.

No one believes that this Prime Minister was powerless to do anything about the problem. Why did he choose to do nothing as Liberal advertising firms were looting the Treasury?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member had to reach really far that time. In 1994 in my maiden speech in the House, I spoke about the problem with government having to adapt new systems to modernize management. The current Prime Minister was the person who expressed an interest in that and we had many good discussions about the theory and practice of changing government, theory and practice that he has put into reality with the change at the Treasury Board.