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 health.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly sure what the Leader of the Opposition is saying in relation to police investigations. Let me reassure all Canadians that police investigations are conducted in an independent fashion. I would hope the Leader of the Opposition is not suggesting otherwise.

In relation to the public accounts committee, as I have said before in the House, this committee has been meeting now for months. It has heard, I believe, well over 40 witnesses. I do not think it is unreasonable at this time for this committee to--

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

May 11th, 2004 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will ask Jean Lapierre and François Beaudoin about independence.

The Liberal members want to interrupt the work of the committee. The witnesses will not appear before the public inquiry until the fall. The people who were arrested yesterday will not be able to testify.

Is this not simply a Liberal strategy to keep Canadians in the dark?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, again I reject the premise of the leader of the official opposition's question.

I want to come back to a very important point here. He has again, I believe, called into question the independence and integrity of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Everyone in this country should be under no illusions. That police force is independent. It conducts its investigations with integrity. To suggest otherwise is completely unacceptable.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, APEC, Shawinigate, there is all kinds of evidence that we can point to.

The arrest of Mr. Guité and Mr. Brault has no bearing--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. Hon. members will have to have some compassion for the Deputy Prime Minister. She has to be able to hear the question. We need to have some order so the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough will want to proceed and put his question.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of thin-skinned Liberals in the House these days.

The arrests of Mr. Guité and Mr. Brault have no bearing on the work currently underway at the public accounts committee. We still have no idea which Liberal ministers were involved in the cover-up and who gave the political direction the Prime Minister spoke of.

The Liberal motion to shut down the public accounts committee before any conclusions, with 90 witnesses outstanding, with undisclosed files, does not allow anyone to get to the bottom of this. What is the Prime Minister afraid of and what is he hiding?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, far from hiding anything, the Prime Minister has put in place actions to ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter, so that Canadians find out what happened here.

In fact, who is playing politics with the public accounts committee? We called that committee together so that they could meet quickly in early February. What are they doing now? As opposed to hearing witnesses, the opposition is filibustering the activities of the public accounts committee. That is hypocritical and shameful.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, how sad. While the Prime Minister is out doing his “I feel your pain, I will share your wealth” tour, some of his ministers are shaking in their boots because two of the key players in the sponsorship scandal are now facing the slammer and possibly they may sing.

Fraud and corruption charges seem to have a lot of clarity of thought. It will maybe cure that convenient memory syndrome that has been suffered by a lot of witnesses at the public accounts committee.

With the possibility of credible witnesses now being called before the committee, why is the Liberal government trying to shut down the only truth seeking exercise in the country into what went wrong with the sponsorship--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. President of the Treasury Board.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

I would repeat for the member that the Prime Minister has launched one of the most open, transparent processes that the House has ever seen.

I would ask the member, why is he so afraid to share with Canadians who financed his leadership campaign?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 12, 2004, the Prime Minister was categorical. On the subject of the sponsorship scandal, he declared, and I quote, “There had to be political direction.”

Is the Prime Minister now able to tell the House where the political direction in the sponsorship scandal came from?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been absolutely clear on this matter. What we want to do is get to the bottom of this situation. We want Canadians to know what happened here. We want to know why it happened and who was involved, so that we can ensure it does not happen again.

In fact, that is what we see with the judicial inquiry led by Mr. Justice Gomery. That is what we should be seeing with the public accounts committee. Instead, what we see in relation to the operation of that committee is the most hypocritical approach by members of the opposition. What do we see? Filibustering. What do we see? Wasting the Canadian--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.