House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quarantine.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the public knows that the Prime Minister is not credible. Chuck Guité said that the Prime Minister intervened and that Vickers & Benson received money. Alain Renaud said that the Prime Minister intervened and that Groupe Everest received money. Allan Cutler and Warren Kinsella said that the Prime Minister intervened and that Earnscliffe received money.

Are these admissions true? Or is this some great conspiracy against the Prime Minister?

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, these are unproven allegations. Mr. Guité also made some other allegations yesterday. In fact, he said that the political interference in contracts “was worse under the previous Conservative administration. It was a cooked deal then, 150 per cent politically driven”.

Do the Conservatives agree with that part of Mr. Guité's testimony? If not, then why are they not willing to wait for Justice Gomery's report?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. It might be helpful if members remembered that we are in question period. We need a little order so we can hear the questions and the responses. I thought there was relative quiet in the House today at the beginning, but things are degenerating. I would urge members to try to restrain themselves so we can hear the questions and answers.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the Prime Minister is not believable on the Vickers & Benson contract. The Liberals' hired gun, Chuck Guité, facing criminal charges and jail time, has finally broken his silence. He revealed how the Prime Minister let Vickers & Benson keep its ad contract for Canada savings bonds even after it was taken over by a foreign corporation. This violated Canadian ownership rules.

The Prime Minister was the boss. Will he just admit that he is not telling the truth about his involvement?

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, the opposition presents as sacrosanct the testimony of Chuck Guité, who faces both criminal and civil fraud charges. On allegations of alleged conversations between Mr. Guité and Mr. Tremblay, who has since passed away and is not able obviously to confirm or deny those discussions, and Mr. Gagliano, the man the Prime Minister fired, I think Canadians prefer to wait for Justice Gomery's report and not to rely on testimony from the dubious about the deceased.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Vickers & Benson helped run Liberal election campaigns. The Liberal Party saved millions by repaying such agencies at public expense with government contracts. The Prime Minister is busy denying his involvement, yet the multi-million dollar Vickers & Benson ad contract was with the Prime Minister's own department. It completely broke Canadian ownership rules, but he did nothing.

He was finance minister. He was vice-chair of the Treasury Board. He was the second most powerful man around the cabinet table. How can anyone believe the Prime Minister today?

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, the fact is Chuck Guité was hired by the previous government. Beyond that, the member for Calgary--Nose Hill is a lawyer and a member of the Law Society of Alberta. In its code of professional conduct, rule 3 says, “A lawyer must not act in a manner that might weaken public respect for the law or justice system or interfere with its fair administration”. She should resign from the bar.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Michel Béliveau, the director general of the Liberal Party, Quebec wing, has acknowledged that he asked for, and got, $300,000 in dirty money from Jacques Corriveau, a key player in the sponsorship scandal. Michel Béliveau went on to say that the Liberal Party spent that dirty money in hopes of making gains in Quebec in the 1997 election campaign.

Since Jacques Corriveau got $8 million in sponsorship contracts, will the Prime Minister admit that the $300,000 in dirty money was public funds used by the Liberals in the 1997 campaign, in violation of the Elections Act?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as has been indicated on numerous occasions, we need to wait for Justice Gomery's report. There ought not to be a commentary on the day's testimony, in this instance more than ever, because the testimony on which the leader of the Bloc Québécois wants me to comment has not yet been given. Mr. Béliveau has not yet appeared. We need to at least wait until he has.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the same Prime Minister who, at this time last year, was saying that Canadians knew enough about the sponsorships and that an election was needed. He said that because he expected to get a majority and to have four years to make people forget the Gomery inquiry. That is what he thought, and that is what he wanted. He lacks both principles and credibility.

I am asking whether he is preparing to run a fourth consecutive election campaign financed with dirty money diverted from taxpayers' pockets? Is the Prime Minister not ashamed?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the first thing that this government did when it came into power was to cancel the sponsorship program. The day the Auditor General's report was tabled in this House, we appointed Justice Gomery. We have defended him because we do not fear the truth. We are open and transparent and we want answers. I assure you that those who have acted inappropriately will be punished.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the money that was paid in cash directly to Liberal organizers was used for campaigning in Bloc Québécois ridings. Michel Béliveau said that cash was also used by Marc-Yvan Côté, chief Liberal organizer for eastern Quebec.

Is that not dirty, illegal, Liberal money?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, these are unproven allegations, like so many others. For example, it is alleged that the Parti Québécois government received inappropriate funds. Perhaps the Bloc can now agree with us that it would be a good idea to wait for the Gomery report.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and his Quebec lieutenant are the ones who have repeated, many times, that they would pay back the dirty money used by the Liberal Party. We simply do not trust them. It is out of the question for us to allow the Liberal Party to run another campaign with this dirty money. We want the dirty sponsorship money to be withdrawn from the Liberal Party coffers.

Will the Prime Minister finally follow through on the promises of his Minister of Transport and deposit this dirty money into a trust fund until the end of the Gomery inquiry?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the party has been clear, if it has received inappropriate money, it will reimburse the taxpayers. It is not possible to do so without knowing all the facts. Therefore, it would be a good idea to wait for the Gomery report.