House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was care.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, last year before shutting down a parliamentary inquiry into the sponsorship scandal and calling a pre-emptive election, the Prime Minister said that there had to be political direction into the Liberal sponsorship scandal.

He also said that Gomery would get to the bottom of it and it would have no limits. Yet the terms of reference deliberately disallow Justice Gomery to name names or identify political direction.

Why did the Prime Minister hide information before the last election and why is he now limiting Gomery's findings of responsibility of political direction by his party?

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, on February 20, 2004, the hon. member for Central Nova said this about Justice Gomery's mandate:

Well, they're certainly broad. There's no denying that the early indications are that the terms of reference will allow people to go where they have to go.

The hon. member was right then, but his party is wrong today with its opposition day motion. The fact is Justice Gomery does have the right and the ability, through section 13 of the Inquiries Act, to name names and to assign responsibility.

I would urge the hon. member to go back to planting potatoes and stop planting seeds of doubt about the work of Justice Gomery.

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. I urge my previous statement about personal attacks on all hon. members and would ask that we perhaps refrain from this sort of comment in the House. It does not help maintain order in this place.

The hon. member for Central Nova now has a supplementary question.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the Gomery commission Canadians want to know who was responsible for the largest political scandal in Canadian history. The Prime Minister states that only Gomery can do that. That is not true.

The terms of reference prevent Justice Gomery from indicating criminal or civil liability and nowhere else is he specifically empowered to name names or assign responsibility. That is a curious fact. The justice minister maintains that expanding the terms might interfere with other processes. That is not true either.

Can the Prime Minister tell us if there are past or present members or employees of the Liberal government or his party currently under investigation by the RCMP?

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, once again, Justice Gomery describes his mandate in his own words. He said:

According to s.13 of the Inquiries Act, which will be discussed in more detail later, I am entitled to draw conclusions as to whether there has been misconduct and who may be responsible for it.

Further, Justice Gomery said:

--whether there was political influence involved in the activities and, if so, by whom, to what purpose, and to what effect;

whether any person or organization in the Government of Canada gained an advantage financially, politically or otherwise from the activities and, if so who, to what purpose, and to what effect;

Justice Gomery is right. He does have the mandate to name names and assign responsibility.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the Prime Minister that, in the matter involving his chief of staff, I do not need any kind of parliamentary immunity to make the same remarks, both inside and outside this chamber. That having been said, it is absolutely unbelievable that, two weeks later, the Prime Minister continues to maintain that he has not heard the compromising tape.

At a time when full explanations are required, will the Prime Minister admit that, in the matter involving his chief of staff, he has been absolutely and totally negligent?

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if I did not hear the tape, it is because I do not have it.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would imagine that he has a radio or a television set in his office. Because it has been aired on radio and TV, and a translation has been published in newspapers.

In his address to Canadians and Quebeckers, the Prime Minister made the following statement about the sponsorship scandal. “I am sorry that we weren’t more vigilant, that I wasn't more vigilant”. If proven, the actions of his chief of staff may be actionable under section 119 of the Criminal Code.

Will the Prime Minister learn from past mistakes, stop being deliberately blind, show vigilance and suspend—

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would ask the leader of the Bloc Québécois to just take a look at what Mr. Kalia said. He was the third party, between the member and the government. Mr. Kalia said that no offer was made by the government, that the member was the one who made demands, which were refused outright.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is protecting his chief of staff by claiming that it was the Conservative member himself who approached his government and offered his vote in exchange for some compensation.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, regardless of who made the initial move, what matters before the law is what was said and, in this regard, his chief of staff may have contravened section 119 of the Criminal Code?

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said that he was in fact informed that the member for Newton—North Delta approached his office about crossing the floor. He also said that he was very clear that there would be no deals offered.

The hon. member was making an accusation that there has been some type of criminal intent here. Certainly, the RCMP, as an independent body, determines what it will investigate and based on what evidence.

If the hon. member has any information that would suggest that an investigation is merited, I would suggest that he provide that information. In fact, he has an obligation to provide that information.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's chief of staff said “you can stay home, stay back where you are or if you like, we can make an arrangement that allows you to move”.

How can the Prime Minister deny that the content of this recording is suspicious enough to warrant swift action regarding his chief of staff? Let the Prime Minister suspend him immediately.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, again, the hon. member is making accusations. I understand that the transcripts have now been made public. I do not understand why it took so long for the official opposition to make them available.

Nonetheless, as the Prime Minister has said, there was no offer and no deals made. In fact, it was the member for Newton—North Delta who approached the government. The Prime Minister has made it very clear that we in no way look to entice anyone to join this party.