House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously I will meet with Mr. McGuinty. I am prepared to meet with any premier. In fact, it is either this afternoon or tomorrow that I will be meeting with Premier Lord. I have met with Premier Williams. I have met with Premier Calvert. It is part of my job. I would be more than happy to discuss the affairs of state with a provincial premier.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure when that meeting eventually happens, the Premier of Ontario, like the Liberal Premier of Quebec, will want to discuss the fiscal imbalance which the Prime Minister should start to take seriously.

Air-India
Oral Question Period

April 12th, 2005 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend Senator Terry Mercer, a Liberal senator, suggested that racism is the real reason for the government's refusal to call an inquiry into the Air-India tragedy. He said:

If there were 350 white people on that plane, would we be waiting for an inquiry?

Will the Prime Minister change his position and vote with the Conservative Party on a motion today that calls for an Air-India inquiry?

Air-India
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, any notions of racism are odious and any accusations of such are simply not acceptable.

I would simply point out to the hon. member that today the Deputy Prime Minister is in the process of meeting with the families. She has said that she will take action. She is seeking the best way to do so. She is seeking the questions that the families want to have answered. Unequivocally, the government will take action in an appropriate way.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, judging from the families' comments after that meeting, they were not terribly impressed.

Yesterday the Prime Minister wrongly suggested that the Liberals were not responsible for shutting down the public accounts committee looking into Liberal corruption prior to the election. For the record, I checked. The then Liberal majority voted to produce a premature report before hearing all the witnesses on May 11. On May 13 it voted against hearing further committee witnesses.

I have a simple question. Did the Liberal members act on their own, or did they act on the Prime Minister's instructions?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is acting in total disregard of the facts.

Let me point out that on April 6, 2004 Liberal members of the public accounts committee proposed a schedule of witnesses of which Jean Brault and Groupaction were the first on the list of the advertising agencies to be heard. On May 11 the Liberal members had a motion to have an interim report. The opposition voted against it. Then the opposition began a lengthy filibuster and the chairman of the committee went to Mexico.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, once again the Prime Minister omits the fact that the Liberal Party voted against hearing further witnesses.

Yesterday the government misled the House on another matter. It claimed full audits were done on the Liberal Party's books to find dirty sponsorship money. That is not true. PricewaterhouseCoopers even stated emphatically that what it did did not constitute an audit.

Will the Prime Minister admit that an audit was never done, only reviews?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte were engaged proactively by the party to get to the bottom of the issue. The reports were provided to Justice Gomery. We are cooperating fully with Justice Gomery.

It is also notable that the reports did say that all contributions were handled and receipted properly. If there were profiteers who were operating below the radar screen of the party, we want to ensure that those individuals are punished.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister declined to answer this question and he should, because after all, he has told the country he is “the moral authority”.

So let me ask the moral authority this. PricewaterhouseCoopers says that what it is doing here does not constitute an audit. Deloitte says its services were engaged to perform a forensic accounting review, no audits. Will the Prime Minister admit that, contrary to what the government has told Canadians, they never performed an audit?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, a forensic accounting review is a very thorough review of all accounting. That is exactly what Deloitte did and that is exactly what PricewaterhouseCoopers did. I would urge the hon. member to stick to politics and not try business if he does not understand anything more about accounting than that.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, after he was pushed enough by the opposition parties, the media and public opinion, the Prime Minister finally took some action in connection with the sponsorship scandal. Yesterday, in the House, the Prime Minister indicated that it was he, in response to the sponsorship scandal, who recalled Canada's ambassador to Denmark and dismissed three heads of crown corporations.

Since the Prime Minister is establishing a link between Alfonso Gagliano, Jean Pelletier, André Ouellet, Marc LeFrançois and the sponsorship scandal, can he tell us whether these individuals were members of the parallel group?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc is quite right in saying that I acted from the outset. The very day the report of the Auditor General was tabled in the House, I created the commission of inquiry and I appointed Justice Gomery as commissioner. We, the government, have supported the Gomery commission so that it will come up with answers. We want answers and we will act in consequence.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will ask the question, since he is boasting of dismissing Alfonso Gagliano and three heads of crown corporations. He certainly did not cause heads to roll just because of allegations. He had facts that justified the dismissal of Gagliano, Pelletier, Ouellet and LeFrançois for their involvement in the sponsorship scandal. This is what he has just said.

Were these people part of the parallel group? On what grounds did he dismiss them?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in each case, we gave the reasons for our action. For example, in the case of Mr. Pelletier, it was because of the statement made by Ms. Bédard. In the case of Mr. Gagliano, it was because the Minister of Foreign Affairs said it was hurting Quebec's image.

In each instance, we provided explanations. I guess the leader of the Bloc was not here. Whatever the case, it was done here in the House.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his haste to distance himself from the sponsorship scandal, the Prime Minister fired some of those associated with it, such as André Ouellet, Alfonso Gagliano and Jean Pelletier.

What we would like to know from the Prime Minister is the reason for his decision to dismiss these people. Was it based on allegations, or was he certain that they were part of the little parallel group directing the operations of the sponsorship scandal?