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 gomery.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Repentigny.

Just like my colleague, the hon. member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord and Bloc Québécois whip, I want to reiterate the Bloc Québécois' opposition to the motion presented today by the Conservative Party.

We all want to know who was responsible for the sponsorship scandal, for their actions to be denounced, and for the systematic abuse of public money to benefit a political party to be punished. We want the money that was obtained illegally by the Liberal Party, the money that came directly out of the government's coffers through the federal sponsorship program, to be returned to the public purse. That is what the Bloc Québécois wanted when it presented its motion to create the dirty money trust fund. The hon. member for Outremont likes the expression “dirty money”.

The Bloc got what it asked for. The Liberal government, worried about an impending election, decided to follow through on the decision of the House by announcing a $750,000 trust on the eve of the confidence vote. The amount in trust is not sufficient. Testimony by Jean Brault, president of Groupaction, alone, led to identification of no less than $2.2 million that apparently was paid to the Liberal Party of Canada through the sponsorship scandal.

All the questions that the Bloc Québécois asked in the House, the smell of wrongdoing and mismanagement evident in the sponsorship program forced the government to set up a commission of inquiry in accordance with the rules of the federal Inquiries Act.

The government asked Justice Gomery to do his job without formulating any conclusions or recommendations regarding the civil or criminal liability of any persons or organizations and to ensure that the inquiry with which he was charged did not compromise any other inquiry or criminal proceedings under way.

That is why some witnesses were heard at first in private before the judge agreed to make some or all of their testimony public.

We hope that the judge's report, which should be handed down by the end of the year, will give us an idea of what misconduct there was and who was responsible so that the government can then institute civil or criminal proceedings, as the case may be.

Our Conservative friends, for their part, would like to change Justice Gomery's mandate. It is as if a referee decided to change the rules in the last minute of a game and thereby change the final result. It is unthinkable.

If Justice Gomery's mandate were changed, the witnesses—all of them—would have to be allowed to return before the commission, well informed about the possible consequences of their testimony, allegations and admissions.

Justice Gomery has not conducted his interrogations with a view to laying charges because that was not his mandate. The testimony that has been heard is therefore certainly not complete enough to enable the commissioner to name the people responsible.

It should be said as well that the Gomery commission's work is based on a promise: the witnesses are encouraged to reveal all in exchange for a promise that the judge will not make any recommendations regarding the civil or criminal liability of individuals. This promise cannot be broken along the way. That is why we oppose the motion now before us.

The Gomery commission's mandate is to cast a wide net so that we learn all there is to know. Individuals like Marc-Yvan Côté, a well-known Liberal and former Liberal minister in Quebec, admitted before the commission that he received $120,000 in cash to help the orphan ridings in eastern Quebec during the 1997 elections with the avowed purpose of beating the Bloc Québécois.

In its edition of May 6, the newspaper Le Devoir said the following and I quote: “This money was poured into solidly Bloc ridings—so-called orphan ridings, in Liberal parlance—during the 1997 election.” Le Devoir also mentioned, “This dirty money is not recorded in the party's financial statements, in violation of the Election Act. 'There is an irregularity, and I admit it. ...Mr. Commissioner, there was no receipt. ...No one knew about it,' said Mr. Béliveau, the first honourable man in the Liberal Party to take the blame for that party's secret funding”.

This admission shook the Liberal organization in my riding. The Liberal executive and the 1997 candidate feel they have to justify themselves by telling the local press that their riding was not one of the ones that received a brown envelope. The fact is that, in 1997, the local Liberal candidate kept a very low profile; instead the Liberal Party hierarchy campaigned against me, headed by Alfonso Gagliano, who travelled through Drummondville on a regular basis.

In 1997, 2000 and last year in 2004, the Liberals bit the dust in Drummond, a sovereignist stronghold. The CJDM radio station conducted a poll recently and asked the following question, “In light of the sponsorship scandal, do you want Quebec to become sovereign?” Survey results showed 69% of respondents saying yes, which is in keeping with the results of the referendums held in Quebec.

That said, Commissioner Gomery must be able to table his report as soon as possible and have all the latitude he needs to get to the bottom of things.

Once the report has been read by us and by the public, the RCMP, the Chief Electoral Officer and the Department of National Revenue will be responsible for laying charges.

Since the Prime Minister, in his official address, made a commitment to voters to call an election within 30 days of the tabling of the report, I believe that it will the ultimately be the public's decision to punish the political operators behind this scandal, as it did in the 2004 election.

We cannot stress often enough that the sponsorship scandal is not a Quebec scandal. It is a Liberal scandal, concocted by individuals working for the Liberal Party. The Gomery commission and even the courts are hearing evidence of this.

This morning, the former head of Coffin Communication, Paul Coffin, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud. Mr. Coffin's advertising agency received approximately $8 million in Public Works sponsorship contracts, from which his income was $2.7 million. When he testified before the Gomery Commission, Mr. Coffin admitted that the bulk of that $2.7 million had been obtained with fake invoices as requested by the senior public servant in charge of the sponsorship program, Charles Guité.

Coffin Communication served as a conduit for a multi-million dollar advertising campaign on health care. In 2002, the Privy Council Office wanted to retain the services of an agency called Gingko, but that Toronto company did not have accreditation. In order to get around the rules for awarding contracts, the Department of Public Works used Coffin Communication as the middleman, which netted the agency close to $160,000 for doing absolutely nothing.

Mr. Coffin's admission of guilt clearly proves the Liberal government's negligence in the way it managed the sponsorship program. It confirms the Auditor General's concerns. She clearly expressed reservations about the way that program was being managed in her 2003 report.

The revelations that moved the Prime Minister to terminate the sponsorship program, to set up the Gomery Commission, to institute legal proceedings in order to recover the money and to dismiss Gagliano and the heads of the crown agencies involved in the scandal ought to be sufficient proof to enable him to pay back all the dirty money, that is the $5.3 million, not just the current $750,000.

As for the Conservative Party's motion, out of respect for those who testified before the commission and in order to avoid causing them harm, the Bloc Québécois will be voting against this motion.

Supply
Government Orders

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

It being 2 p.m., we will now proceed to statements by members.

Peterborough Memorial Centre
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Peterborough Memorial Centre is the home of the Peterborough Petes and of the Lakers, the 2004 Mann Cup champions. It is also the home of the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame and a focus for a wide variety of community activities.

However the people of Peterborough never forget the centre was built as a memorial to the veterans of World War II. Since then, it has become a memorial to all veterans.

Last year our memorial centre was refurbished and modernized. Following this, local veterans groups, notably the Legion, organized a rededication ceremony. In the presence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, this historic building was dedicated again to the veterans in whose name it was built. This was a dramatic and moving occasion.

I congratulate all those responsible for the rededication. Next week, in this Year of the Veteran, there will be a special ceremony in the presence of Prince Edward to recognize the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. We should never forget those to whom our Memorial Centre is dedicated.

Canada Post
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1994 the Liberal minister responsible for Canada Post claimed that, “As long as this Government is in power, no rural or small town post office will close”.

In spite of this Liberal promise, countless rural post offices have been closed or are facing closure.

In my riding of Haldimand—Norfolk, residents of Lowbanks have seen their post office closed and the towns of Clear Creek and York may be next on the list. These post offices have provided a valuable service to my constituents for decades.

Since 1997, Canada Post has recorded profits and dividends of almost $1 billion. Despite these profits and promises, the Liberal government continues to close rural post offices. Our rural communities deserve better.

In the words of my constituents, “hindering and interrupting an important service such as this is just not acceptable”.

Memorial Cup Hockey Tournament
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, the London Knights completed a dream season by winning the Memorial Cup 4-0 over the Rimouski Oceanic. Their combined record for the 2004-05 season and playoffs was 79 wins, 9 losses and 2 ties. Londoners are especially proud that this outstanding achievement occurred in the Year of the Veteran and in the 150th anniversary year of the City of London.

This record shattering team was fashioned by Mark and Dale Hunter. Led by Captain Danny Syvret, MVP Corey Perry, emotional leader Brandon Prust, Dylan Hunter and goalies Adam Dennis and Gerald Coleman, the Knights went undefeated at the Memorial Cup tournament.

As the MP for London—Fanshawe, along with my colleagues, the Minister of Labour and Housing, the MP for London North Centre and the member for London West, I congratulate the champion London Knights and the entire community of London for an outstanding season.

The Prime Minister and the London MPs will be pleased to welcome the team to Parliament Hill in the near future to more officially celebrate their remarkable season.

Guy Tardif
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 24, we lost a major builder of modern Quebec, Mr. Guy Tardif.

Guy Tardif was an RCMP officer with a Ph.D. in criminology from the Université de Montréal. He remained with the RCMP until 1976, when he was elected to the National Assembly as the member for Crémazie under the PQ banner.

René Lévesque immediately appointed this highly intelligent man minister for municipal affairs. History will recall minister Tardif's greatest achievement, however, as the Corvée-habitation program, which successfully got unions and entrepreneurs working together on the noble cause of providing the less fortunate with decent housing.

After nine years of public service in the Quebec government, he settled in Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu where he founded, along with his wife, Ghislaine, and their children, the Clos Saint-Denis orchard and vineyard. They developed and promoted such specialties as the famous Pomme de glace, an apple ice wine which won numerous awards.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I extend my sincere condolences to the family of Guy Tardif.

Canada-Ukraine Internship Program
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the last two centuries Ukrainians have come to Canada in search of a new life.

Generations of Ukrainian newcomers have made significant contributions to the building of Canada, one of the most successful democracies in the world.

Ukrainians have enriched the cultural mosaic of Canada with their unique heritage.

This spring, the Canada-Ukraine parliamentary program celebrates 15 years of work in the Canadian Parliament with the arrival of 28 students from 15 universities in Ukraine and Georgia.

For the past 15 years the House of Commons has welcomed a generation of young Ukrainians who have all had a chance to personally experience life in a civil society and to see democracy in action.

By taking an intern, members of Parliament contribute to the best kind of foreign aid a democracy can give to the future leaders, namely, the opportunity to observe firsthand the work of a democratic Parliament in an open society.

Junior Hockey Program
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, three years ago the Prince Albert Raider junior hockey program was in trouble. That is not the case today. Today, Prince Albert has a fully modern hockey facility called the Art Hauser Centre.

The Raider hockey team, under coach Anholt, has completed an immensely successful season. Attendance is up and hockey enthusiasm is back in full scale.

Three years ago certain hockey leaders took the bull by the horns and initiated a program called “Bring Back the Magic”. This campaign has been a resounding success.

Recently, the leaders of this campaign, Gary Anderson, Vic Lemieux, Terry Simpson and Ab Pelligrini, were honoured by the people of Prince Albert for an outstanding job.

Once again Prince Albert is known as Canada's “Hockey Town North”. It is a privilege to acknowledge the outstanding work of these hockey leaders.

In terms of the Memorial Cup, this may have been the year for the London Knights but next year I think it could be the year of the Prince Albert Raiders.

Canadian Building Trades Council
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Russ Powers Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week, Ottawa is host to the legislative conference of the Canadian Building Trades Council. Through its efforts, this and virtually all buildings in which we reside, work or play provide the type of lifestyle that we as Canadians have come to expect. We thank the council for its endless contribution to our society.

I wish to give special recognition to the Labourers International Union of North America. From its humble beginnings in 1903 and with a current continental membership in excess of 800,000, this organization has contributed in a meaningful way to our way of life. Not only are its members the fuel for our economy, but they contribute in a very positive manner through their volunteer and philanthropic efforts.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize the officers and staff of the central and eastern Canada regional office headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario. I would like to personally thank their former and current international vice-president and regional managers respectively, Enrico “Henry” Mancinelli and Joseph S. Mancinelli, for their belief in and commitment to Canada in general and Hamilton region in particular.

Centre d'action bénévole Les p'tits bonheurs
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently in Saint-Bruno, some 200 people attended a benefit concert by the Montérégie youth symphony orchestra at the Centre Marcel-Dulude, to raise money for the Centre d'action bénévole Les p'tits bonheurs.

It was an enjoyable way to do something useful. The useful or essential part was raising funds for this volunteer centre in downtown Saint-Bruno, which desperately needs to expand its facilities in order to meet a growing need for all sorts of community services: a used clothing store, meals on wheels, assistance for seniors and young families, to name just a few.

The enjoyable part was listening to the concert put on by the hundred or so members of the Montérégie youth symphony orchestra. Their beautiful music made our hearts soar and helped us leave our cares behind.

Congratulations to the two “conductors”: Gaby Bouvrette, director of the Centre d'action bénévole Les p'tits bonheurs; and Luc Chaput, conductor of the Montérégie symphony orchestra, for this delightful evening.

B. Fernand Nadeau
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the people of New Brunswick, and Edmundston, especially, were deeply saddened to learn of the death yesterday of B. Fernand Nadeau, a former minister of the Province of New Brunswick and the former mayor of the City of Edmundston.

B. Fernand Nadeau was committed and active in his community. He served as mayor of the City of Edmundston from 1963 to 1969. He contributed considerably to New Brunswick's development between 1967 and 1970, while he was the member for the Edmundston region in the New Brunswick legislature and then minister of municipal affairs and minister of labour in the government of the late Louis J. Robichaud.

I would therefore like to offer sincere condolences to the family and friends of B. Fernand Nadeau on behalf of myself and the people of Madawaska—Restigouche.

Martin Donald Jones
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, 61 years ago a teenage seaman of the Royal Canadian Navy volunteer reserves was serving on the L.S.I. Prince Henry , a landing craft carrier stationed offshore Normandy, France.

Under a halo of bursting enemy shells and clouds of smoke from the ship's guns, the invasion of Europe was underway on Juno Beach.

On the Prince Henry , able seaman Jones did his part, providing gunnery coverage for the landing craft, laden with regimental soldiers of the Regina Rifles and of the Canadian Scottish, heading to Juno Beach.

After the war, Martin Donald Jones came to Edmonton and worked for 29 years until retirement in 1985 for Canada Mortgage and Housing, serving another tour of honourable duty for the public of Canada.

My good friends, Marty and his wife Pauline, are celebrating life's blessings and Marty's 80th birthday together with family and friends in Edmonton this week.

I send my congratulations to Marty and wish him good health and God bless.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, mayors from across Ontario, including Mississauga and Brampton, want the 2005 budget passed. They want better roads, improved transit systems and more sustainable infrastructure.

This explains why the mayor of Toronto and the mayor of Ottawa appealed to all parties to pass the budget. Similarly, this explains why mayors issued a statement which said, “Cities across the country have worked too long and too hard to see the new deal wiped out by political posturing”.

There are billions of dollars already spent in the 2005 budget for child care and money for economic development for communities in northern and rural southern Ontario.

I agree with the mayors that the interests of Ontarians must come before political posturing. Rather than sit on the budget in committee, let us get the budget adopted so cities and communities across Ontario can start to reap the benefits of the 2005 budget.

National Day Against Homophobia
Statements By Members

May 31st, 2005 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, June 1 is National Day Against Homophobia, and our leader and members of the federal NDP caucus stand in solidarity with the GLBT and queer community to speak out against prejudice, discrimination and homophobia.

We congratulate Fondation Emergence and its partners across the country for its courageous and sustained work to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and to promote equality, diversity and openness in our society.

We in the NDP are fervently committed to equality of all people and the recognition of diversity as a wonderful and affirming value of our society. We want to see the day finally arrive, and soon, when the rights of same sex couples to marry are passed into law. We want to see the day when homophobia is something unknown, when gays and lesbians can be who we are, with pride, love and support and without the fear, hatred and violence that comes from homophobia.

We mark this day in a solemn way and we also celebrate the tremendous achievements that have been made.

Justice
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, we need a justice system that will make the punishment fit the crime. Let us consider the case of Herbert Ward.

A rapist, Ward has been convicted of sexual assault more than 24 times in a devastating criminal career stretching back 24 years. Yet over that period Ward has spent only 51 months in prison.

In 2003, when Ward last pleaded guilty to a string of sexual assaults, the crown sought dangerous offender status to help keep the serial predator locked up. “No way,” said the judge. These crimes did not meet the threshold for dangerous offender status.

Now this Scarborough rapist has struck again, according to a woman who says that she was his victim on Friday.

How many more women will be victimized before the Liberal government introduces mandatory minimum sentences for violent and repeated offences? How many more women will be victims before the Liberal government acts?