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

Topics

Holocaust Memorial Day
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week, as Canadians remember the horrors of the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, we also understand the evil consequences of remaining silent when hate confronts our society.

As the Prime Minister rightly said, “hate-motivated crimes are an assault on all Canadians”.

Last week the hon. Minister of Justice visited my riding of Thornhill. He met with members of the community, religious and elected leaders. He visited both the Jaffari Islamic Mosque and Temple Har Zion next door.

These two religious institutions have set a concrete example of the Canada we want. The mosque and the synagogue share their driveways and parking lots. All those who stood on that driveway made a commitment. There will be no acceptance of bigotry, racism and hate in this country. We are taking action together. We will not remain silent. We have learned from the lessons of history.

Volunteer Awards
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, volunteering is one of the most noble acts of citizenship and philanthropy in our society. It is offering time, energy and skills of one's own free will to the betterment of others without any presumption of return or reward. Volunteers impact virtually every aspect of society including health, education, social services, youth, sports and recreation, culture, the arts and the environment.

While their contributions are undeniable, volunteers are rarely adequately recognized for their deeds.

Tonight the city of Port Coquitlam will host its annual volunteer awards dinner as a gesture of appreciation for all the hard work that volunteers have contributed to making Port Coquitlam one of the greatest places to call home. I regret that duties here in Ottawa will prevent me from attending tonight's event, where mayor Scott Young and the city will say, on behalf of all of Port Coquitlam, “thank you” to all the volunteers who have contributed to strengthening our community.

I want to personally thank all volunteers for helping build our strong community. Their efforts are greatly appreciated and are examples of what fine citizenship in a country like ours really should be all about.

Canadian Youth
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join with my colleague, the member for Brome—Missisquoi, in acknowledging the presence of 12 young students from the riding of Brome—Missisquoi who have distinguished themselves in various ways.

Some were winners in Expo-Science Bell, including Élodie Nora-Gemme, who took the top prize for the Eastern Townships region; others won distinction in a literary competition, “Le français, un passeport international”, including the national winner, Sabrina Coupal Harnois; and finally, Kate Gasser, who won the Governor General's Medal.

My heartfelt congratulations go out to them all. They are a fine example of the drive and excellence of our young people. Their success is to their credit and their future is very promising. Canada can be proud of its young people.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

April 20th, 2004 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the documents obtained today show that this Prime Minister gave contracts to his political friends while he was Minister of Finance. The Prime Minister had the gall to tell Canadians that he saw nothing and knew nothing. Not only did he see everything and know everything, he was the one who created the precedent of breaking the rules.

How can this Prime Minister look Canadians in the eyes and imagine that they trust him?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the contract to which I believe the Leader of the Opposition is referring was awarded by the Conservative government before we came to power.

In addition, once in office, we asked to have an open tendering process, which we eventually obtained, after a year.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told us that he saw nothing and that he knew nothing. The documents we have today show that the finance department was the first to break the contracting rules, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, to benefit the Prime Minister's political allies at Earnscliffe before 1996, laying the groundwork for the sponsorship scandal.

Does this not show that the father of this scandal is not Jean Chrétien, it is this Prime Minister?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is not clear to me what documents the hon. gentleman is referring to, but in fact, any of the documents that have thus far been referred to in the House or in the committee show indeed that the rules were not violated. As the hon. gentleman will know, beginning in December 2002, those rules were changed in a dramatic way to increase competition and to eliminate any potential political role.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will be happy to share documents with the minister later which reference his own attempts to get sole source contracts.

A public works memo from Warren Kinsella dated July 24, 1995 documented rule breaking by the Prime Minister. It said that finance department contracts “were conducted...contrary to cabinet-approved guidelines. This is simply unacceptable”.

The Prime Minister himself was actively engaged in a contract scheme, so why did the Prime Minister tell Canadians he knew nothing about this practice?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, earlier in this House there have been references made to memoranda from the former minister's staff. That memoranda clearly indicated that the minister's office was arguing for more competition, not less, and arguing for it sooner, not later. That in fact is the case.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case but I would sure like to debate it with the Prime Minister himself.

The Prime Minister told us he was mad as hell, yet Chuck Guité told him in July 1995 about his own contracting practices the following: “if escalated, it could become an embarrassment to the government”.

How can the Prime Minister claim to be mad as hell now about this practice?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the reference is incorrect, but the fact is that the Earnscliffe contract was one that was inherited by the new government. When we took office, we inherited it from the old Conservative government of which the Leader of the Opposition was a member. As soon as we took office, we asked to have open tender contracts. That is eventually, about a year later, what happened. We followed the rules.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Guité's memo indicates the scope of the work was written in a way that favoured the incumbent Earnscliffe. The scope was biased to one firm. The Prime Minister did no such thing. In memos from Chuck Guité, David Dingwall, Warren Kinsella back nine years, and these are the Prime Minister's own people, they indicate he did not just sign the cheques. He knew the rules were being broken. He participated in their being broken and he made sure his friends got the contracts.

Why should Canadians trust anything he says on this now?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, open public tenders may be broken rules according to the opposition, but that is the way that an open and transparent government ought to operate and that is the way that we operated.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the watch of the now Prime Minister, the Department of Finance deliberately favoured Earnscliffe, a company with close ties to the Prime Minister, contrary to cabinet-approved guidelines. The executive assistant to the Minister of Public Works spoke out against this in July 1995.

How, under these circumstances, can people have any confidence in the Prime Minister, when he claims to want to do things differently, yet the rules for awarding contracts were bent to benefit his buddies, on his watch at Finance, exactly as they were in the sponsorship scandal?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, documents have already been tabled in this House that clearly indicate what my office called for, namely open and transparent bids.

This is a contract inherited from the Conservative government. The first thing we did afterward was to call for open bids, and we got them a year later.