House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is not now and never has been the policy of the government to attack the credibility of the Auditor General. However, on the credibility of the Leader of the Opposition, we may have some questions.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the $13 million man already questioned her credibility on television.

The Auditor General stands behind her report that every rule in the book was broken. She said that the entire quarter of a billion dollar program was suspect. Liberal members still want to cover it up. The judicial inquiry has not begun, but Liberal MPs want to shut down the public accounts committee with 72 witnesses left to be heard and no answers.

Why is the Prime Minister instructing his members to shut down the investigation by the public accounts committee?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

It is quite the opposite, Mr. Speaker. What in fact the government wants and what the Liberal members on the public accounts committee want is to have as many witnesses as possible. They want to have an indepth review. At the same time the government has created a commission of inquiry under Mr. Justice Gomery and has brought in special counsel to seek as much recovery of the money as possible.

In terms of the Auditor General, Mr. Speaker, the fact is that if you talk to the President of the Treasury Board what you will find is that he has brought in a fundamental reform on the way in which government controls its spending. He has done that in very close consultation with the Auditor General.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I think that study cost $13 million.

The Liberals are trying to discredit the Auditor General, to interrupt the work of the committee, and to tell their candidates it is nothing more than bad management. Initially, the Prime Minister pretended to be scandalized. The people of Canada continue to be scandalized.

Will the Prime Minister tell us the whole truth on the sponsorship scandal before calling an election?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I am sure the President of the Treasury Board appreciates the generous assistance being offered from the opposition benches with his answer, but we are entitled to hear his answer, not everyone else's suggestion for the answer.

The hon. President of the Treasury Board has the floor.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am not certain what they are so afraid of.

In response to the member's question, the information we have been trying to correct is the false information that has been put on the record by members of the opposition. The Auditor General herself has tried to correct that on three separate occasions.

The reality is the Auditor General said, as has been said elsewhere, that she never said that $100 million was stolen, despite the repeated assertions by members of the Conservative Party.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, somebody needs to state the obvious. Those questioning the integrity of the Auditor General are some of the same people most responsible for the sponsorship scandal: Gosselin, Guité, Lafleur, Gagliano. All of the same individuals who are intimately involved in the sponsorship scandal have the audacity to smear Sheila Fraser. Her report uncovered $250 million in misspent money. How many Liberal friendly firms have their snouts in the trough benefiting?

The real question remains, is the Prime Minister questioning the veracity of the Auditor General's report?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

The answer to the question, Mr. Speaker, is no, absolutely not.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Finally an unequivocal answer from the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker.

There is no Canadian in the country better equipped to tell Canadians what happened in the sponsorship scandal. Sheila Fraser knows, yet the Auditor General told us yesterday, “at the end of the day we still don't have an explanation for why essential controls failed and why there was so little oversight”.

The Prime Minister is not going to wait to get to the bottom of this, as he has promised. What Canadians really need to know before an election is, who took the money and where did it go?

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, if only the opposition would instruct its members to stop trying to cover it up, frankly. We have been trying, over and over again, to get to the bottom of this.

There have been repeated attempts to get to the facts, which have been thwarted by the opposition. There is a very simple test for this. If the member is so convinced of his position and the facts in this case, let him step outside of the chamber and restate it.

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, please. With luck, it will be a lot quieter from now on.

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie. We could do with a bit more order, please.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

May 4th, 2004 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we will try to continue inside the House.

Quebec's labour unions, and the CLC are unanimous: there must be overall reform of the employment insurance program, and not just the limited changes advocated by the Prime Minister.

Rather than applying a band-aid solution and crossing his fingers that it will last for the election campaign, will the Prime Minister take his cue from the unanimous recommendations of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, simply pigeonholed by the Liberals more than three years ago, and initiate a thorough reform of employment insurance?