House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was services.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

May 11th, 2004 / 2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the public safety minister's firearms office said it has no knowledge and no records of a mystery $150,000 firearms communications contract that is the subject of fraud charges against Chuck Guité and Jean Brault. The minister even said that this contract had nothing to do with the operation of the gun registry.

This does not pass the smell test. How is it possible that the minister who was responsible for the gun registry for so many years knows nothing about these mystery contracts?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I can be absolutely frank. I have no knowledge of the two contracts that were referred to yesterday in relation to charges laid by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

As I think the hon. member knows, charges have been laid. This matter is now before the courts. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further on the specific case other than to say I have no knowledge of the two contracts referred to in the charges.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it gets even worse. We have documents from the minister's own department which show that Groupaction was getting government firearms contracts after the Auditor General blew the whistle on the first $330,000 bogus contract.

For years, the minister has repeatedly said she was fully accountable and responsible for the firearms program. Why does she not finally accept some responsibility instead of claiming ignorance every time a new scandal in the gun registry is exposed?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, in May 2002 the Auditor General and the Government of Canada referred Groupaction files to the RCMP for investigation. In June of that year, public works stopped all contracting with any agency that had files referred to the RCMP. In August 2002, if the members opposite are at all interested in listening to the answer, we stopped all contracting with any company whose files had been sent to the RCMP, including Groupaction.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, a trip by the Governor General and 59 of her closest friends, $53 million; the ad scam, a national disgrace the Prime Minister is about to bury, $250 million; HRDC mismanagement, $1 billion; and a misguided and useless gun registry, over $1 billion. Sending Canadian D-Day veterans to the 60th anniversary of D-Day should be priceless, but it is obviously not to the government.

Sixty veterans out of a possible 18,000: How can the minister possibly justify this lack of consideration for our veterans?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the respect of the government for our veterans is deep and profound. In fact, when I think of those Canadians almost 60 years ago jumping out of ships onto a flaming beach or out of airplanes into enemy territory, the scale of the sacrifice, the degree of the risk they were called upon to take on behalf of their country is almost incomprehensible for people of my generation.

That is why this government in a short five months has done more for veterans than any government in a generation, and that is why we are working on the D-Day expedition right now.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

That is right, Mr. Speaker. They were all sent there to fight for their country, but they are not all getting the opportunity to go back there and be thankful for the fact that they did not die on those beaches.

It is all very well and good, but another day has gone by and now there are only 24 days left before the start of D-Day celebrations in Normandy. The minister, only after coming under severe pressure, has indicated that he is going to send more than the 60 he originally planned to send.

With the days quickly passing by and this government able to toss out billions of dollars in pre-election promises, why can the minister not simply tell us how many more veterans are going to D-Day celebrations? They were sent there to fight for this country 60 years ago. They have the right to go back and--

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, a few facts might be in order. It was over a year ago that our D-Day advisory committee, which is comprised of veterans organizations and D-Day veterans, recommended to the government that the appropriate size of the official delegation of veterans be 60. That is in line with past Canadian history. It is in accordance with the traditions of other countries. The Americans, with a much bigger size, have a contingent of 100, and the British have 80.

Yet the government is listening. The government realizes the public wants more, and the government is going to act very soon.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, to everyone's surprise, the Prime Minister made a statement in Montreal to the effect that Saddam Hussein does have weapons of mass destruction and that they are now within the reach of terrorists.

Given that neither Hans Blix, President Bush, Tony Blair or the UN were able to provide any evidence of the existence of such weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has the Prime Minister, who seems to know, taken steps to share what he knows with other world leaders?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, only someone intent on misunderstanding this statement by the Prime Minister could have reached such a conclusion.

The Prime Minister clearly stated that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction around the world is a problem, which is something everyone agrees on.

He also said that there are some dangerous weapons in Iraq, and that we must fight terrorism all over the world and take these two aspects into consideration. These are two separate aspects. the Prime Minister made a clear distinction between the two. Let us not try to confuse the matter.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should have made the distinction. The Minister of Foreign Affairs ought to read the newspaper accounts today however.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that it is totally irresponsible to make such statements and say something as serious as what he said without something solid to back it up, and should he perhaps not just admit that he made a mistake and apologize?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that the Prime Minister should apologize for having said something everyone knows. There is a problem with the proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction around the world. This represents a problem. There are individuals in Iraq who are dangerous. That is clear. There are people dying everyday over there.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

We must be absolutely clear. There are a lot of weapons of mass destruction around the world. There are also means of delivering these weapons. Terrorism has to be brought under control. That is what the Prime Minister said. That is clear, and we all stand behind that statement.