House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was burma.

Topics

Air-India
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the bombing of Air-India flight 182 was one of the great terrorist actions and one of the worst tragedies in Canadian history. Our hearts continue to go out to the families even some 20 years later.

The British Columbia attorney general has decided not to appeal. The government's plan, in appointing Mr. Bob Rae to work with the families to seek the answers to the questions the families asked and to elaborate on how the government should approach this issue, continues. Mr. Rae is already actively doing this. We continue to support this initiative.

Democratic Reform
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the best testimony would be to respect the wishes of the families and this House, and call a public inquiry now.

The problem here is that there is not even any respect for the government's own promises. The member for Ottawa Centre has pointed out today that this government is foot dragging on voting reform.

I ask the Prime Minister, can he tell us why there has been virtually no progress on reforming democracy through voting reform, even though the Prime Minister ran on a platform of fixing the democratic deficit?

Democratic Reform
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government is following the wishes of the House in this matter.

In the Speech from the Throne, as amended, there was a call for a committee of the House to prepare suggestions for the government on the method of consulting widely with Canadians on the matter of democratic renewal, including electoral reform. The government is waiting for the report of that committee. It will certainly take it under advisement when it receives it.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the former director general of the Liberal Party has admitted that he was involved in the process of selecting judges by confirming candidates' allegiance to the Liberal Party. Yesterday, the Minister of Justice said he did not need to take any action because we already had the Gomery inquiry. The minister is well aware that Justice Gomery does not have the authority to investigate political interference in the process of appointing judges.

When is the Prime Minister going to take this scandal seriously and demand an inquiry?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me quote directly from Justice Gomery's mandate:

--to investigate and report on questions raised, directly or indirectly, by Chapters 3 and 4 of the November 2003 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons with regard to the sponsorship program and advertising activities of the Government of Canada...to make any recommendations...to prevent mismanagement of sponsorship programs or advertising activities in the future--

That is a very broad mandate. Justice Gomery has the mandate to get to the truth for Canadians. The only reason that Conservative Party members are questioning Justice Gomery's mandate recently is because they want to discredit Justice Gomery's work. They fear that his report will demonstrate to Canadians that our Prime Minister has acted honourably.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is rare that we get an answer from a minister that confirms we are right: Justice Gomery has no authority to look into the judge appointments.

The guy who ran Liberal headquarters has admitted that a Liberal loyalty litmus test was a regular step in the appointment of judges. He provided confirmation of candidates' Liberal credentials to the appointment council. This is a very serious matter with alarming implications. The Minister of Justice says it is up to somebody else to look into the matter of shocking admissions of political interference. Gomery is not allowed to inquire into it.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to act and to do something to protect the independence of the courts?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member says that Justice Gomery is not allowed to look into it, yet the very person whose allegations he is referring to is about to appear before that very Gomery commission. So it appears that the Gomery commission is looking into allegations in that regard.

With respect to the way we make appointments, I do not know how Benoît Corbeil makes appointments, or anyone else, but I know we make those appointments on merit, without regard for any political affiliation.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, last winter the Prime Minister spoke glowingly about Mr. Chrétien's ball-juggling routine before Justice Gomery. Spring came, the Prime Minister saw his shadow and denied he had ever applauded Mr. Chrétien's vaudeville act. But wait: the Prime Minister popped up again, juggled his opinion once again, and said yes, maybe he had led a round of applause for his mentor.

The Prime Minister says Canadians must wait for Justice Gomery to reveal the facts. Having been a cheerleader for Mr. Chrétien, having already indicated he does not think that Mr. Chrétien is responsible for this, how does he know that? How do Canadians know his position will not change again when Mr. Justice Gomery and an election heat up?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am not certain whether there was a question there, but the fact is that what is beyond question is the Prime Minister's commitment to supporting Justice Gomery, such that Canadians have the truth. We have supported Justice Gomery from the beginning. The Prime Minister appointed Justice Gomery, has provided resources to Justice Gomery, in fact about $72 million worth of resources, and has provided over 12 million pages of documents, including cabinet documents, to Justice Gomery.

We will continue to support Justice Gomery because we believe Canadians deserve to have that report and deserve to have the truth, not allegations and unproven testimony.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is sworn testimony, and the Prime Minister has never once taken the opportunity to deny that this happened.

The Prime Minister chose deliberately not to give Justice Gomery the mandate to say who was guilty for the sponsorship scandal. The Minister of Public Works parrots that, of course, and says Justice Gomery's mandate is clear: he is fact finding.

If facts revealed by Justice Gomery or anyone else find that public money made its way through government departments through ad agencies in Quebec to the Prime Minister's leadership campaign, I want to hear from the Prime Minister not whether he will call an election, but whether he will tender his resignation immediately.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, every single penny that I raised in the leadership race is a matter of public record. I wish that the Leader of the Opposition or the member who just spoke could stand up in the House and say the same thing, but they cannot.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We are now ready to hear the next question. The hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

May 4th, 2005 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, L'Actualité has printed a list of the transport minister's clients before he got into politics. They include Onex, Loblaws, Imperial Tobacco, and Réno-Dépôt/The Building Box. He also acknowledged having worked for Cossette Communication.

My question for the Minister of Transport is quite simple. When he was working for Cossette Communication, was he paid on a fee for service basis or was he paid on retainer, in other words, did he have a fixed rate contract?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the hon. member that during my 12 years in the private sector, I never billed anyone for any meeting.