House of Commons Hansard #82 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In his comments, the member specifically mentioned the member for Gatineau, who is a new member and an excellent member in the House. I object to that. I believe it is incorrect to be doing that in the House.

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I can only repeat what I have already said. I am sorry I was listening to quite a few conversations and I did not hear it specifically. I have heard from a couple of members now that an accusation was made toward an individual member of Parliament. That would be improper because all members here are honourable members and conduct themselves properly.

It is certainly okay to talk about a government or a party on any side of the House because that is not talking about an individual. We cannot ascribe motives, and certainly not activities, toward an individual MP. If that was the case, I would ask the member for Montmagny--L'Islet--Kamouraska--Rivière-du-Loup to withdraw those comments and continue with his speech.

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I invite you and all members of this House to look at the blues to see what was said exactly. What I said was that money was received by the Liberal Party of Canada. According to testimony that has now been made public, that money was given to the Liberal Party of Canada and its Quebec wing.

The Liberal Party of Canada used that money in the 2004 election, as we assumed it did in the 2000 and 1997 elections also. This is the main reason why we want today's motion to be adopted. It would prevent the Liberals from using that money in the next election. This is the first thing that must be clearly understood: we do not want that money to be used in future elections.

The Minister of Transport himself recognized the existence of dirty money. He also said that that dirty money would be given back. The problem is that he made that promise ten months ago but has yet to act on it. This is why we are bringing forward this motion in the House today, with the support of the Conservative Party and the NDP. We are not accusing the Liberals of anything. We are simply saying that, in light of the information available to us, that money must be put aside.

We are applying here the same practice used since the beginning of this debate, since we started asking questions. Some 450 questions have been asked in the House about the sponsorship scandal, which prompted the investigation by the Auditor General, followed by the Gomery commission.

From the beginning, our position has been that the matter has to be cleaned up, and the situation clarified so as to achieve results. It has now become obvious that the minority government opposite can be brought down anytime. We want to make sure that the money it will use during the next election campaign will not include the dirty money that has been identified.

We are not asking the Liberals to give that money to the government; we are simply asking that they put it in a trust account. After the whole situation has been assessed, we will see whether the money should be returned to the Liberal Party or kept there because it was raised inappropriately.

We now have sufficient evidence. Given that the Minister of Transport is saying the same thing, it is fully justified to ensure that this money is not used in an upcoming election campaign as it was in the last.

On the sponsorship issue, the current Prime Minister never acted until he was forced to. We therefore have to hammer at him every step of the way, if we want anything done. Action was taken only after the Bloc and the other opposition parties laid matters on the table, after the Gomery commission exposed facts adding to what we already knew. That is why we introduced this motion today.

Because the Prime Minister is continuing to refuse to return the dirty money, the House has to push him to do so. He boasts about having taken action on the sponsorship issue, listing the reasons that prompted him to act. Now, we have to put even more pressure on him to achieve tangible results.

It is pretty obvious that our motion today is designed to improve the quality of democratic life in Quebec and Canada. We have to ensure that, in the next election campaign, there will be a level playing field.

In the past, seats were won that way. The Prime Minister boasts about establishing a commission of inquiry in February 2004. But the fact is that he did so after questions had been asked by the Bloc since October 2002, especially in connection with the establishment of a commission of inquiry.

The Prime Minister claims to have fired Marc LeFrançois, Jean Pelletier, André Ouellet and Ambassador Gagliano as a result of the Auditor General's findings. Again, it was the Bloc Québécois that forced the Prime Minister to fire these men. The Prime Minister was simply reacting to political pressure from the Bloc Québécois. I remember the hon. member for Mercier saying that the ambassador's appointment made no sense. At the end of the day, that was the conclusion the Prime Minister arrived at, but only because we had laid the foundation to getting justice in this situation.

The Prime Minister must commit right now to respecting the decision Parliament will make at the end of this debate. If the Prime Minister wants to show good faith in this issue, why not have his members vote in favour of the motion? He could say, “Yes, we will put money aside in a trust account. Even though we made terrible mistakes and behaved inappropriately, effective immediately we will put money aside until there is an election or we have all the information we need to ensure fair competition.”

The Prime Minister does not need to wait until the end of the Gomery inquiry for that. He did not wait to sue the agencies and the guilty individuals. That is precisely the crux of the matter. As long as this does not affect the Liberals as a party, it is not an issue and they keep going about their business. However, when they need to exonerate themselves or get out of the situation, they take the type of action they took against the agencies and the guilty individuals.

However, in light of the evidence in the present situation, the Liberal Party of Canada should do what the Bloc Québecois, with the support of the Conservative Party and the NDP, is requesting. This debate is not about separatism, the official opposition or power struggles. It is about democracy, because we want the democratic process in Canada to become healthy and fair again, so that all Canadians can compete on a level playing field.

The Liberal Party of Canada has to put at least $2.2 million in this trust. We came up with this amount following Mr. Brault's testimony. This is a minimum of dirty money that should be deposited in this trust. By creating this trust right now, we could put all the dirty money identified in testimony before the Gomery commission in a safe place. Luc Lemay's testimony ended just recently. We are still waiting to hear Jacques Corriveau, Claude Boulay and Paul Coffin. More witnesses will somehow soon corroborate that there was in fact misappropriation of funds.

Through the Gomery commission, we have finally learned that there was a well organized system to finance the Liberal Party of Canada.This is what I am saying and what I have been saying all along: a system was put in place, there can be no doubt about that. Who, specifically, are the culprits? Maybe we will have learn more over the next few weeks and months, but a system was in place. One could even check the percentage to be systematically funneled back to the Liberal Party of Canada.

While the transport minister blames a so-called “parallel” group for everything, we learn from witnesses at the Gomery Commission that people very high up in the Liberal Party of Canada were involved. Indeed, the PMO, Jean Chrétien, Jean Pelletier et Jean Carle approved budgets and projects. Every year, the finance minister replenished the national unity reserve used to finance the sponsorship program. The Treasury Board and its vice-president turned a blind eye on some shady practices. The bagmen and the firms that were doing partisan work for the Liberal Party of Canada were lining their pockets. Why would we wait any longer to demand that that money be placed in a trust account?

Science and Engineering
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School student Natalie Raso for her contributions and excellence in the field of science. Natalie was recently awarded first prize in the 45th annual Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair for her study on treating cancer using virus therapy.

Her success has earned her a spot at the Canada-wide science fair in Vancouver. She has also been chosen by a panel of experts to be a member of Team Canada, representing our country at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix next month.

Natalie commented yesterday that she is excited to be representing the Hamilton community and Canada to show people what great scientific achievements are happening in our city and country.

I once again extend congratulations to Natalie and wish her the best of luck in future competitions.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government is uncertain in its course and has lost its way. The recently introduced budget had no plan to address the state of our ranching and farming economy, yet weeks later a plan that lacks fairness and comprehensiveness is cobbled together.

A mother of two young farmers renting land in 2002-03 called me, saying neither of them would qualify for the proposed aid. A farmer who did qualify said the amount barely covered the cost of his accountant and registration fees for his organic farm, not to mention input costs or fuel.

There is no doubt that farmers and western Canadians who are barely getting by are frustrated and angry when they hear of the millions being siphoned out of government coffers for unintended uses, as shown by today's motion and the debate we are having.

The Canadian farm improvement loan program was cancelled despite a 70% usage rate in Saskatchewan, only to be reinstated a short time later.

Rural post offices are considered by the government to be a heavy burden and placed on a review list for closure.

This is a government devoid of direction that has lost its course and must be replaced.

World Health Day
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada marked World Health Day 2005 with an announcement by the hon. Minister of International Cooperation of a $90 million pledge to improve maternal and child health in developing countries.

It is a sad fact that each year in the developing world well over 10 million children die and half a million women die from pregnancy related causes. Tragically, most of these lives could be saved through intervention and programs aimed at promoting child and maternal health.

Canada's commitment includes almost $50 million to programs that will improve child health in Africa and an additional $40 million in support of specified programs in Bangladesh and Nigeria.

These new initiatives reflect Canada's ongoing commitment to achieving the millennium development goals, which aim to reduce poverty, hunger and child mortality by 2015.

Ms. Odette Ménard
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Denise Poirier-Rivard Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the Bloc's agriculture and agrifood critic, I would like to congratulate Odette Ménard, an agricultural engineer from Saint-Hyacinthe

Ms. Ménard was inducted into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame in March, a first for a woman and a Quebec member of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada.

Her exceptional efforts to promote soil conservation in Quebec and to increase public awareness, together with her enthusiasm in setting up an effective information exchange network, all led to her nomination to the hall of fame.

Her positive and convincing approach showed people that it was possible to protect the soil and the environment and still run a profitable business.

Once again, a tip of the hat to Ms. Ménard.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to inform the House of one of the outcomes of the national Urban Aboriginal Strategy workshop that I was pleased to attend in Winnipeg on March 30 and 31.

The UAS workshop brought together aboriginal community representatives from each of the 12 UAS pilot cities across the country. One observed such diverse aboriginal communities as the Haida Nation of British Columbia working diligently with the Ojibway Clan of Manitoba to produce new strategies to assist the many thousands of aboriginal peoples now residing in urban centres.

One of the most important outcomes of the UAS gathering will be the creation of an aboriginal caucus for the UAS. The aboriginal caucus will advise the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and his officials on how best to move this increasingly important strategy forward in the future.

I wish to express my congratulations and thanks to the UAS pilot city representatives for their hard work and thoughtful presentations and most of all for their willingness to work together to develop an urban aboriginal strategy that will benefit all Canadians.

National Defence
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Kamloops—Thompson, BC

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a major military undertaking in my riding of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. Exercise Cougar Salvo 2005 was a week long training exercise for some 800 military personnel comprised of approximately 100 regular forces and 700 reserve forces in addition to civilian support staff. It was a huge success.

The varied landscapes of the Kamloops area made it an ideal location for the largest peacetime army reserve exercise in B.C.'s history.

None of this would be possible without the cooperation of the civilian employers of the reserve members. These small businesses and companies not only grant time away from regular employment, many top up the shortfall in salary for the members even when deployed overseas for lengthy periods of time.

I commend these organizations for their commitment to Canada. We stand on guard for thee would not be possible without their cooperation.

Vaisakhi
Statements By Members

April 14th, 2005 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to extend my heartfelt greetings to the Sikh community as we join together to celebrate Vaisakhi.

It was on this day in 1699 that Guru Gobind Singh formulized the Sikh faith by confirming the first people to be initiated with amrit and by establishing the Order of the Khalsa. The Khalsa continues to embody the principles and traditions that are laid down by the Sikh gurus through its commitment to the ideals of equality.

In the spirit of equality, I would like to also recognize the 20th anniversary of section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

On this day of celebration, I would also like to mention that I have brought forth a motion in the House of Commons recognizing the importance of religious articles of faith, specifically the 5 Ks, to the Sikh community.

I hope the House will join me in sending best wishes to the Sikh community for good health and much prosperity in the new year.

Exports
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, April 7 was the date the MercadOr awards were given out. They recognize the success of exporters in the regions of Laval, the Laurentians and Lanaudière. They are the initiative of Laval Technopole Export, Laurentides International and Lanaudière International.

On that evening, five businesses from Laval received awards: Dynacom Technologie and Warnex, in the new exporter category; Éclairage Vertex and Duo Vac, for market diversification; and, finally, DBM Reflex, which took the leading exporter award.

Laval is one of Quebec's leaders in exports. Over 35% of Laval industries had sales abroad in 2004.

I congratulate the five Laval businesses on their great success, which contributes to our city's reputation worldwide.

Skating
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Middlesex—Kent—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Parkhill Blades N'Sync Precision Skating Team that ended its year on a high note Sunday, March 13, with a first place gold medal finish at the Bert Winfield Competition in St. Mary's.

The group is an adult precision team with 21 members skating out of the Gemini Sportsplex in Strathroy. The coach is Chrissy Kernaghan. They are primarily over the age of 25, most are married with families and have varied occupations and all share the love of skating. They live within the Parkhill, Strathroy and Watford area.

Local skaters are July Dortmans, Rose Oakley-Law, Joanne Sadler, Jena McLellan, Ruth Perriam, Charlene Sadler, Alison Rammeloo, Shauna Forret, Janessa O'Neil, Gail Sadler-Barclay, Nicole Nesbitt, Kari Kennedy, Leanne McCann, Betty Smith, Lisa Blackmore, Jody Lucan, Lauren Harris, Lori Mackey and Lori Henderson.

Once again, I congratulate the Parkhill Blades N'Sync Percision Skating Team on its recent achievement. I wish them all the best of luck for the next season.

Health Care
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, what a spectacle Canadians saw yesterday as the Prime Minister refused to take responsibility for his government's role in the sponsorship scandal. Instead, he reached down into his magician's hat and tried to sprinkle a star dust illusion that will turn him into, ta-dah, the saviour and defender of health care in Canada.

Canadians have seen that act before. The Prime Minister had 10 years to deliver on health care, but what has he accomplished? The latest illusion, a 10 year fix.

Speaking of hidden agenda, the Liberal member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca has said, “Those who wrap themselves in the Canada Health Act and accuse anyone who wants change are deliberately misleading the public”. The same Liberal member said, “To save our medical system we must embrace new ideas, such as allowing a separate, parallel, private system to augment and enhance our public system”.

Do the Liberals have a hidden agenda on health care?

The Prime Minister's red faced exercise in “Abracadabra, I'm the saviour” will not convince Canadians who simply want access to improved health care for themselves and their families.

National Defence
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the recent announcement by the Prime Minister confirming the government's policy not to participate in the ballistic missile defence program is a courageous and commendable decision.

The ballistic missile defence program would not have contributed in any way to the security of Canada. It only would have served to contribute to a greater sense of insecurity and concern around the world.

Despite considerable pressure to participate in this program, the government chose wisely instead to protect Canada's vast national interest and in so doing, to promote real and meaningful security both at home and around the world.

I have always been opposed to this misguided and impractical initiative. I am proud and honoured to be part of the government led by the Prime Minister that has said no to ballistic missile defence.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's supply marketing system is the envy of farmers all over the world. Supply management is a fundamental tenet of rural Canada.

Our dairy farmers are not subsidized; they are organized. However, when push comes to shove, would the government stand up to defend the principles of supply management, or would it cut and run in the face of over-subsidized trade competition?

The facts are becoming abundantly clear. The recent WTO ruling on modified milk imports will devastate our dairy industries of cheese and yogourt, yet the government does nothing. We have the tools, article 28. Other countries stand up for their farmers, but the government does nothing.

Do we want to talk about a scandal? Do we want to talk about a breach of public trust? I am looking at a government that is too busy saving its own skin to stand up for rural Canada. Canadian farmers do not have to feed their families on recycled promises from the red book.

I am calling on the government--