House of Commons Hansard #86 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was estimates.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Warren Kinsella has stated, under oath, that members of the Prime Minister's entourage arranged for Earnscliffe to get a contract and that the Prime Minister was aware of that fact. All the Minister of Finance can think to do is hide behind the Ernst & Young report, referred to as “watered down” by Justice Gomery, the initial version of which identified a widespread failure to comply with contracting policies and regulations.

Since he knew, why did the Prime Minister not take action to prevent Earnscliffe, the firm of his close advisors, from profiting from an improper tendering process?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again, the hon. gentleman seems to be relying upon some unreliable information. The allegations are not supported by the written record. They are not supported by the audit done by Ernst & Young. They are not supported by the Auditor General of Canada. They are not supported in the independent comments offered yesterday by Mr. Goldenberg. They are only supported by the opposition and even the deputy leader of the official opposition calls that source poisoned partisanship.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General said she did not see most of Earnscliffe's reports because they were filed verbally. In addition, Justice Gomery said the Ernst & Young report was watered down in response to pressure from officials of this government. This is being used as an excuse, when there was very clearly a conflict of interest.

How can the Prime Minister not have seen a conflict of interest when the his former chief of staff was the spouse of David Herle, who worked for Earnscliffe? How could he not see a conflict of interest when his chief of staff was the spouse of David Herle, who was himself the PM's campaign manager? Did he not realize this was a conflict of interest?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, Ms. O'Leary corresponded with the Ethics Commissioner; as a result of this correspondence, she declared her status, and then she followed the Ethics Commissioner's recommendations to the letter.

Second, Ms. O'Leary stated unequivocally that she had never interfered in the awarding of any contracts. Her answer is clear: never. She made this statement under oath.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was aware of the interventions made to ensure Earnscliffe got the contracts for the Department of Finance, because he intervened himself to add pressure.

What does the Prime Minister have to say about Warren Kinsella's statement under oath that the former finance minister had even called him at home to complain?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the remark with respect to the alleged telephone call is completely fallacious. Again, I would ask the hon. gentleman to check the record. Check all the written record that is published in the material. Check with Ernst & Young. Check with the Auditor General. Check with Mr. Goldenberg. Time and time again you will find that your allegations are blatantly and completely false.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I hope the Minister of Finance was referring to any allegations I might have made when he said your, but I have been quite silent on--his. I am glad for the clarification. The hon. member for Repentigny.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the documents submitted in evidence to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts show beyond any doubt that the finance department intervened at least four times to promote Ekos, Earnscliffe and Everest.

How could the Prime Minister say here in this House on April 14 that he knew nothing and had never intervened in this regard, when documents show, on the contrary, that the Prime Minister was running his own little parallel sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's statement is not true, it is completely untrue. There has never been any intervention in the awarding of contracts. All I wanted as minister was an open competition, as did my assistant, Ms. O'Leary, the deputy minister and the finance department. That was what we proposed from the start.

The Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

April 20th, 2005 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Yesterday the Prime Minister chose to make a presentation on his broken promises on foreign aid when this House was falling apart due to the actions taken by this government to take away the democratic right of the opposition parties to hold the government accountable.

We have tried to make the House of Commons work. How exactly does it help the House of Commons to work when the Prime Minister first tries to take away the democratic rights of the opposition and, second, refuses to explain himself?

The Prime Minister
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member obviously must know, the planning for yesterday's presentation of the international policy review has been done for quite some time. It was very important that following the presentation I take the opportunity to meet with a number of key ambassadors so the message would go back to their capitals, and that is exactly what I did.

I would like, however, to take this occasion to congratulate the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of International Trade and the minister responsible for overseas aid. I must say that yesterday was a very successful day for Canada.

Whistleblower Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we just offered the Prime Minister an opportunity to explain why he would take away the democratic rights of the opposition parties and he refused to answer the question. That says it all.

Let us turn to the whole issue of corruption. The Prime Minister pretends to care about corruption but what he says does not match what he does. In the new whistleblower legislation that has been brought forward, the very individual who in 1999 brought forward the entire scandal on sponsorships would not have been protected. How is it dealing with corruption when he will not protect the people who expose corruption?

Whistleblower Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have a question on this bill. In fact, we put this bill before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. It is conducting an extensive study. It has made a series of recommendations and I am in the process of examining them. This is a first reading bill that is designed for the House to be involved in its design. We will respond in due course.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, raging Liberal Warren Kinsella raised concerns as far back as 1995 through memos, letters and phone calls about rigged contracts that he felt favoured the company employing the Prime Minister's leadership campaign manager. One memo read that the “competition was flawed, the payments are excessive, the work is probably not needed, and the research community can be fully expected to blow the whistle on the political connections”.

The Prime Minister's former EA, Terrie O'Leary, confirmed under oath that she had discussed these concerns with the current Prime Minister. We now know the Prime Minister was aware of these concerns over the shady contracting. What, if anything, did he do about it?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. gentleman is simply following the wrong path. Mr. Kinsella is not supported by the written record that has been filed with the public accounts committee. He is not supported by any of the audits that have been done, either by Ernst & Young externally or the Auditor General internally. Some of his testimony yesterday was directly contradicted by Mr. Goldenberg.

Indeed, the only support he has is from the opposition and that very member has described him as a “poisoned partisan”. So much for his star witness.