House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence said yesterday that this matter would be concluded in the “not too distant” future; “not too distant” should be sooner than the fall. The minister is known to have been in favour of the war in Iraq and a supporter of President Bush's missile defence shield.

Has the Prime Minister decided not to bring up the subject of missile defence with the President, even though Canada's decision has been made, simply because the government refuses to reveal its position to the people of Quebec just before the election?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is in error. The fact remains that these discussions with the Americans are continuing. They are fairly complex discussions. They deal with a number of complex issues which we are working hard to resolve.

I think it is safe to say that at the end of the day, whatever decision is reached will be one which reflects both Canadian interests and Canadian values.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, this seems to be the week in which Liberals reveal just how identical to the Conservatives they really are. First it was on the question of for profit health care and now it is on the question of national missile defence. Both positions, of course, the government was interested in hiding and not revealing to Canadians before the election. It is obvious that this is the case with national missile defence.

Is the Minister of National Defence opposed to national missile defence? If he is not, could he then tell us what the difference is between the Liberal and Conservative position?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, when I sent a letter to Secretary Rumsfeld back in January, I made it clear on behalf of the government that we were interested in pursuing discussions with the United States. That does not mean that we are ready to sign on to ballistic missile defence, not by any stretch of the imagination.

What we are doing is exactly what we said we were going to do which is to pursue these discussions in the interests of Canadians to protect the safety and security of Canadians. I think we are doing a good job of that.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, you will note that the Minister of National Defence could not come up with any difference between himself and the Conservatives on this issue, just as there is no difference between the Liberals and Conservatives when it comes to for profit health care and a number of other issues.

I want to ask the Minister of National Defence why are they hiding their position? It is obvious now that Washington understands that some commitment has been given by Canada with respect to the early stages of national missile defence, which by Washington's own admission and documentation will lead to the weaponization of space. Why are the Liberals in denial about the true reality of their own position?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that the NDP members are always prepared to say no to the Americans. The Conservatives are always prepared to say yes to the Americans. We are prepared to look at issues on their merits to determine what is in the best interests of Canadians.

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, Ruth Thorkelson worked in the Prime Minister's Office for 10 straight years. She left only long enough to negotiate a $17 million grant from international trade to the Forest Products Association of Canada. Then a staffer in the office of the Minister of International Trade, Andre Albinati, followed that grant money to Earnscliffe which received $800,000 of the $17 million grant.

What is the point in having post-employment rules when the Prime Minister allows this abuse to go on?

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in the hon. gentleman's question that indicates anything that was untoward or contrary to the rules. I take it he is arguing against government support for the forest industry in Canada.

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

No, Mr. Speaker, I am arguing against the abuse of the ethics counsellor's rules.

When the Forest Products Association of Canada received the $17 million grant, it first gave $800,000 to Earnscliffe advertising, untendered. Then it gave approximately $8 million to the Burson-Marsteller agency. Now Burson-Marsteller is buying Earnscliffe.

Under the terms of the grant, they were required to produce four reports on how they spent the money. Will the minister make public the four required reports so we will know for sure that the grant money is not funding the purchase of Earnscliffe?

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again, given this pattern of questions from the opposition members, obviously designed to sling as much mud against the fan as they possibly can, there is absolutely nothing in the allegations or in the facts of this matter that indicate anything untoward took place, nothing.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

April 29th, 2004 / 2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works continues to avoid the truth about the shady $1 billion relocation contract for Royal LePage. I will give him a hand. The contract was cancelled and ordered re-tendered and no official reason was given. Officials from the minister's department were alleged to have taken gifts, including cruises, for that contract from guess who? Royal LePage.

The CITT ruled that the bidding process was fixed, favouring Royal LePage, but did not call for the contract to be re-tendered. Is it still the government's position that there was no wrongdoing, but it cancelled the $1 billion contract with Royal LePage anyway?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that is not the position of the government at all. The position of the government is that one of the unsuccessful bidders in the original tendering for the relocation contract appealed to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, which is its right and a proper due process. The tribunal found that there was some evaluation criteria that it felt should be re-evaluated. That came back to public works.

There were allegations of bias. The hon. member is quite correct. An internal investigation was done with respect to employees in public works and it was determined, in an overabundance of caution, to re-tender the process.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to insist there was no wrongdoing other than that found by the trade tribunal in its hearing, but that is not true.

In fact in a letter I have, his own head of procurement said that there were reasons other than those considered by the trade tribunal which led to the cancellation of the contract. He said that the contract was cancelled “for reasons unrelated to the grounds of complaint filed by Prudential”. Those were the reasons given in the tribunal.

Why is the minister hiding the truth about why he cancelled this $1 billion contract?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am not hiding anything. As I mentioned in my previous answer, there were allegations of some bias or improper appearance of bias internally in public works. It was investigated. There was disciplinary action taken. To ensure that there was even no appearance of bias externally, the matter was re-tendered. It was re-tendered on April 20, and that process is in train.

St. Lawrence Seaway
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his meeting with President Bush, the Prime Minister intends to broach the issue of the diversion of Devil's Lake in North Dakota into the Red River, which poses serious problems to Manitoba.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to do the same for the St. Lawrence Seaway, which the Americans want to expand without consideration for the environmental impact?