House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was land.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the government's policy in respect of Iraq has been very clear for over a year. The Prime Minister totally supported the position we took. I think when we look at what is taking place in the Middle East today, we would all agree that position was the correct position to take.

The position taken by the Leader of the Opposition would have had us there with our troops, with the danger, with ourselves exposed to problems that were no part of Canada. The Prime Minister and the government are firmly correct on the position in Iraq, and we will remain where we always were in the best interests of Canadian people.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, once again the Prime Minister has not answered my question.

On one hand the Liberals are saying that the Conservatives are wrong to support President Bush's war in Iraq. On the other hand the Liberals are comfortable with the idea of the Prime Minister having appointed the biggest hawk in this Parliament as Minister of National Defence.

Can the Prime Minister explain why the Conservatives are wrong to support Bush's war, but his own Liberal Minister of National Defence is right to support the war?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the difference between the two is very clear. What the Leader of the Opposition wanted to do was send our troops to Iraq during the war. That is exactly what he said on the Fox network in the United States.

What our government wants to do, what our Minister of National Defence wants to do, is send our troops to Haiti to secure and maintain peace. He wants to send our troops to Afghanistan to secure peace. Our Minister of National Defence wants Canada to help these countries build their institutions. There is a fundamental difference between—

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Prime Minister. The hon. member for St. John's West.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance pleaded innocent to any wrongdoing regarding the issuing of contracts. He said that all the rules throughout the process were indeed followed.

How then can he account for the secret internal letter sent to him by his colleague David Dingwall stating that the minister's department had demonstrated a pattern of non-compliance with and avoidance of Treasury Board guidelines?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the specific letter that was referred to was one dated in March 1995 that talked about a certain polling activity that needed to be done in relation to the budget and the activities flowing out of the budget in the spring of 1995.

I explained at that time that there was an urgent reason why the work had to be done so the program could be administered properly, and that when the whole process was completed, the program was reviewed and received a favourable report from the Auditor General.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister brags about the speed with which government and even he himself dealt with issues regarding the contracting. He became the minister of agriculture on November 4, 1993. He was reprimanded for breaking the rules by the then minister of public works on July 25, 1995, 628 days later.

I am not sure of the minister's definition of speed, but how could this pretentiously cautious minister let his department get so far out of control?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. gentleman is referring to guidelines that came into place, not in 1993 but in the fall of 1994. Therefore the period of time that is being referred to here is a much narrower one than the hon. gentlemen indicates.

Also, the issue that had to be dealt with was not in 1994 but in the spring of 1995 in a very narrow window between the budget and spring seeding time.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister tried to mask his role in the government-wide contracting scandal by claiming that it was urgent that he hand untendered contracts to Earnscliffe.

When David Dingwall blew the whistle, the member for Wascana had been agriculture minister for 628 days. That is almost two years of being seized by urgency. That has to be hard on anyone.

Since the urgency defence has been blown, what excuse will the minister use today?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the letter that was circulated yesterday indicates very clearly what the timeframe was. The timeframe was the period of time around the budget in March 1995 and spring seeding time in 1995, which was only a matter of six or eight weeks.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, we know the Liberals are preparing to trot out their old scare tactics in the next election and they are off to a good start.

There are too many Canadians who are afraid that there is not a Liberal alive willing to follow the rules when it comes to spending taxpayer money.

Will the finance minister stop hiding behind his urgency defence and admit that he was a kingpin in the decade of Liberal corruption?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the case for urgency is laid out in very specific terms in the letter that was circulated yesterday. It indicates the argument very clearly.

It was important to make sure that a $1.6 billion program operated effectively. I am pleased to say that at the end of the program, after a review by the Auditor General, the report was indeed that it had been handled properly.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

April 21st, 2004 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, Edith Gendron, who works for the Department of Canadian Heritage, has just received an ultimatum to resign as president of the organization Le Québec, un pays.

Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage plan to intervene and call her departmental staff to order, on the basis of the 1991 Supreme Court ruling that confirmed public servants' right to legitimate political activities?

Public Service
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Hébert
Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, this is a matter that concerns departmental human resources and, as such, is between the department and the employee in question. The department has assured me that the matter was being handled in compliance with all standards applicable to the public service of Canada.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the minister explain to us how membership in Le Québec, un pays would prevent Ms. Gendron from performing her duties properly, those duties being to administer programs to promote the teaching of French as a second language in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia?