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

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

That is all for that question. Moving on to the next, the hon. member for Repentigny.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

May 5th, 2005 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jacques Corriveau is a personal friend of Jean Chrétien. He was on the policy and campaign organizing committees of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party; Liberal organizer; bag man; sign maker; francophone vice-president of the Liberal Party; vice-president of the LPC, Quebec wing; and finally, lobbyist for the Liberal Party.

How, then, can the Prime Minister continue to justify himself by maintaining that the Liberal dirty money scandal was the action of a small parallel group, when Corriveau's involvement puts it right at the core of the Liberal Party?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry. I did not hear. The hon. member for Repentigny.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, he is refusing to answer. Silence denotes consent. Corriveau provided the money. Corriveau drew up the list of projects that would get sponsorships. He was also the one who created the 10% commission system for Groupaction sponsorships.

How can the government still refuse to put that dirty sponsorship money into a trust account, when we know that the dirty money was nothing more than a kickback system providing crooked funding for the Liberal Party of Canada?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again the party has been clear. The Prime Minister and the government has been clear. If in fact the party has received funds from inappropriate sources, those funds will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer. That cannot be done without having all the facts. That is why it is very important that Justice Gomery be allowed to complete his work. The party will respond appropriately to that work.

Let us be clear. What we are doing here with the work of Justice Gomery is changing the culture of government. If we are to change the culture of government, it is worth the short term pain. I would urge all members of the House to support the efforts of the government and support Justice Gomery to change the culture of government.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, what needs changing is not the culture of government but the government itself. Guy Bisson, Jacques Roy, Louis Pichette and Franco Iacono, all of whom worked on election campaigns, deep in the Liberal Party's organization, have admitted to having been paid with sponsorship money.

I would like the Prime Minister to tell me what more he needs? Individuals have admitted to having been paid with sponsorship money. Does the Liberal Party not call that dirty money?

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, once again, these are unsubstantiated allegations among many others. For instance, it has been alleged that the Parti Québécois received money inappropriately. Does the Bloc agree with this statement? If not, perhaps we could wait for the Gomery report.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no connection between the Parti Québécois and the dirt and filth characteristic of this government. The Parti Québécois has created a trust in which the questionable money is kept.

What we are asking of the government is to stop playing the hypocrite, open a trust account and put in it the Liberal Party's dirty money, which was used to steal the election. Let it put the money in a trust.

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, again there are allegations that the Parti Québécois in fact received money inappropriately. Those same allegations said that the government of the Parti Québécois in fact was influenced by those inappropriate contributions. We know that the separatist cousins on the provincial level campaigned with those members on a federal level during elections. They worked together.

So before they sully the reputation of this House, they should look at their own house for a few minutes. They should actually get their own house in order and have the courage that the Prime Minister has had to establish the Gomery commission to get to the bottom of this issue for Canadians.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is not believable on the court appointment process. He promised significant reform and he has broken that promise. Now, even his own party officials involved in the process are admitting that there was inappropriate political interference in the judicial appointments process in Quebec.

How can Canadians believe that the Prime Minister will do anything to clean up this corruption when he refuses to take these admissions of his own people seriously? Why does he refuse to do anything?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there are independent judicial advisory committees in each province. A majority of the representatives on those committees come from the Canadian Bar Association, provincial bar associations, provincial attorneys general and the like. Indeed, the hon. member himself was involved in those same processes in his province. Does he want us to go ahead and say that all the people in his province from all these institutions are corrupt?

What kind of drive-by smears are we going to continue to endure with regard to all these institutions in the country, in particular the independence of the judiciary?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the request is not a complex one. There are admissions of senior Liberal officials involved in the panel that there was this corruption and the government will not take any steps to take a look into that. That is all I am asking. That is all that Canadians are asking.

Why will the government not look into these very serious admissions of corruption?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there seems to be no limit to the opposition's willingness to impugn every single institution that is represented on these committees in face of allegations that remain unproven. We have representatives from every single venerable institution in the country involved in the legal process.

I regard that as a shame that he is prepared to impugn not only the individual integrity of those individuals but all those institutions that he himself used to preside over.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the Prime Minister is not believable when he says that nobody but Gomery can tell us who is responsible. Justice Gomery's mandate explicitly states that he may not name those responsible for this terrible scandal. But that did not stop the Prime Minister from repeating on television that he wants to keep Canadians waiting until Justice Gomery's report has been tabled.

The Prime Minister is putting limits on Justice Gomery's mandate in order to protect his Liberal friends. How can we still believe what the Prime Minister says?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the mandate of Justice Gomery is clear. He is in fact investigating and reporting on questions raised in chapters three and four of the Auditor General's report. That is the first part of his mandate. The second part of his mandate is to provide prescriptives to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

Beyond that, there are criminal charges against several individuals, including Mr. Guité and Mr. Brault, their favourite witnesses over there. Further to that there is a civil action to recover $41 million of funding.

We understand the legal system. I do not know why that lawyer has forgotten so much of it in such a short period of time. We are getting to the bottom of this issue and we are supporting the work of Justice Gomery.