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

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11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite right that I am not a lawyer. He said that I do not have a legal mind. I would question with that kind of rhetoric whether he has a mind.

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11:05 a.m.

An hon. member

Oh, come on.

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11:05 a.m.

An hon. member

You're crap.

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11:05 a.m.

An hon. member

That's a low blow.

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11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would urge some level of decorum opposite to listen to what Justice Gomery says about his own mandate. I think Justice Gomery, a learned jurist is probably almost as smart as the hon. member. Justice Gomery said:

I am entitled to draw conclusions as to whether there has been misconduct and who may be responsible for it.... [For example,] 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.

Those are Justice Gomery's words. The hon. member is saying that Justice Gomery is wrong. The hon. member is saying he is in the know and Justice Gomery does not understand the laws of the land. I believe Canadians will trust Justice Gomery's judgment on this more so than they would trust the hon. member's.

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11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on some of the minister's comments when he stated that the Conservative Party is trying to cast doubt over Justice Gomery's work. It is very important that we put on the record that nothing could be further from truth, absolutely nothing. I would ask the minister to temper his remarks as we just heard in his reply to the other hon. member. If he wants civility and decorum in the House, we should stay respectful and factual.

Also, he stated that Justice Gomery is going to come up with recommendations to prevent this from ever happening again. I respect Justice Gomery and all the work that he is doing. He can make all sorts of rules and recommendations, and I suspect he is going to come up with quite a few, but the bottom line is that the only people who can prevent this from ever happening again are the members who sit in the House.

It is very important to remember that this is a Liberal Party scandal, the current government in power. Millions of dollars were funnelled into the Liberal Party. There is a litany of testimony. There is irrefutable evidence before the commission where cash was sprinkled throughout ridings in Quebec. It comes back to our own honesty and integrity in this place as members. That is what we have to get to the bottom of.

The minister said that this motion is redundant or frivolous. Our motion simply says that Gomery should have the ability to name names and assign responsibility, full stop. That is all we are saying, that he should have the ability to name names and assign responsibility. The minister stated that he believes that Gomery has that now. If Gomery has that now, then the minister should just support the motion, even if it is redundant. We are just trying to clear up any ambiguity and it is a very legitimate, genuine motion.

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11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, first of all, our House leader has given notice of the motion which in fact will be on tomorrow's order paper. Our motion simply states that the House confirms that with reference to the Gomery inquiry, the commissioner has the authority under the Inquiries Act rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada and his existing terms of reference to name names and assign responsibility.

If the intent of the Conservatives is simply to ensure that Justice Gomery has the right to name names and assign responsibility, they ought to recognize that the government's motion makes far more sense because it does not seek to change the terms of reference and in doing so jeopardize the entire work of the Gomery commission. The Conservatives know that changing the terms of reference in the final days of testimony would jeopardize and disable the judicial inquiry. If they do not know that, then they are certainly demonstrating to Canadians a lack of understanding.

Once again, I will go to Justice Gomery's own words when he said, “I am entitled to draw conclusions as to whether there has been misconduct and who may be responsible for it”. Justice Gomery has earned the respect over decades as a learned jurist in Canada. He is earning respect from Canadians for his work in leading this important inquiry. I trust Justice Gomery when he says that he has the right currently under his terms of reference, under his mandate, to name names and assign responsibility.

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May 31st, 2005 / 11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have heard the minister very clearly. He has been quoting Justice Gomery. From what I heard, Justice Gomery was staking out new ground and enlarging the envelope to ensure that he did have the freedom, in spite of clause (k).

I would like the minister to state in this House that when the tough time comes, the Liberals are going to support the wording that he has just quoted and not back down, that Justice Gomery is looking for a larger horizon and that the government is not going to hold him to the limits of clause (k), which reads, “directed to perform his duties without expressing any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal liability”.

First, Justice Gomery has enlarged that and the minister has quoted that. Therefore, I am expecting the minister is going to make a commitment on behalf of the Liberals that they are going to defend the Gomery interpretation rather than the (k) interpretation.

Second, rather than the cabinet sitting on it or holding it or having discussions or whatever, the report by Justice Gomery will be tabled in the news media for everybody to know.

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11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, once again I will quote from Justice Gomery. Justice Gomery is not seeking to expand his mandate, as the hon. member is trying to nefariously infer. Justice Gomery recognizes, because he understands the laws of the land and his mandate, that he already has that right. That is why Justice Gomery says:

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.

Again, Justice Gomery is referring specifically to section 13 of the Inquiries Act, that he is entitled to draw conclusions.

The government and the Prime Minister have demonstrated tremendous intestinal fortitude by supporting Justice Gomery during what has been not an easy time for this party. He is doing the right thing and putting country before party, putting principle before partisan strategy, standing up for Canadians and doing the right thing by getting to the truth in this issue.

Business of Supply
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11:10 a.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, discussions have taken place among all parties regarding the course of this evening's debate on the main estimates in committee of the whole and I believe you would find consent for the following motion. Having been in the Chair for the committee of the whole, you will remember that this is a similar motion to the one passed a few weeks ago with respect to the order of proceedings this evening.

I move:

That notwithstanding Standing Order 81(4)(a), within each 15 minute period, each party may allocate time to one or more of its members for speeches or for questions and answers, provided that, in the case of questions and answers, the minister's answer approximately reflect the time taken by the question, and provided that, in the case of speeches, members of the party to which the period is allocated may speak one after the other.

Business of Supply
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11:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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11:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

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11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The minister who just replied to one of our questioners on the Conservative side of the House made some extremely derogatory remarks and I would ask that he withdraw them. He talks about civility in the House and at the same time he has made some extremely derogatory charges to the effect the people over here do not have a mind. I would ask him to withdraw that. It is totally unacceptable that this kind of language is used in the House.

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11:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

We do want to keep it civil, but I just took it as part of the debate. It will probably come up again later on in the debate perhaps.