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 health.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

May 5th, 2005 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by agreeing with the Prime Minister that transparency and complete openness of donations in politics is very important. So let me ask about trust funds held by cabinet ministers in his government.

Will the Prime Minister require his ministers to reveal the donors to their trust funds to see whether or not there were any government contractors on the list?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Parliament has enacted Bill C-24, which allowed riding associations of all parties in the country to transfer any money they had into political associations registered with Elections Canada. As far as I know, that has been done and there are no trust funds to speak of.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can see that the Prime Minister does not have the courage of his accusations when it comes to pointing fingers at others.

We know that sitting members of the cabinet had trust funds and that the donors were secret. Alfonso Gagliano had one and there are others.

In the name of the pursuit of honesty and transparency, will the Prime Minister give us the lists of the donors to those trust funds, so that we can find out who they were and whether they had government contracts, yes or no?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Elections Act is quite clear. All funds received have to receipted and are declared.

After the passage of Bill C-24, if there were any funds in riding associations, these riding associations could register with Elections Canada and transfer all these funds, and that has occurred. As far as I know, there are no trust funds.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the Prime Minister is not believable when it comes to being transparent about his own business dealings.

The fact is that the Prime Minister failed to come clean about the 33 meetings he had with executives from his own shipping company while he was the Minister of Finance. The fact is that he also failed to come clean about the over $161 million in taxpayers' money that was funnelled into his own shipping company.

How can Canadian taxpayers trust the Prime Minister when he himself has not told the truth about the benefits he and his company have received?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this is another example of trying to drag people through the mud. There is not much more that can be said here.

The Prime Minister, whether we talk about Gomery or about the finances of this country, brought this country back from the brink. He balanced the books and made investments for Canadians that in fact benefit this country.

When it comes to the integrity of the Prime Minister, I would expect that Canadians will decide, and they have decided over and over again, that the Prime Minister is the leader that they believe has the ability to take this country into the future.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to that decision because not only did the Prime Minister benefit from millions of taxpayer dollars being sent to his shipping company but he in fact altered the rules to benefit himself.

While closing tax havens in most other countries, the Prime Minister kept open a tax loophole that allowed his companies to avoid paying Canadian taxes. Then he amended private pension legislation to allow him to gain access to over $80 million of the surplus in the CSL pension fund, all of which went right back into his companies.

How can the Prime Minister possibly expect Canadian taxpayers, when he is not honest with them about the benefits that he and his--

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I know the hon. member for Edmonton--Leduc will not want to suggest that any hon. member is not honest. I know he will want to withdraw that remark a little later. The hon. Minister of Finance may wish to respond.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, rarely has the House been treated to such a scurrilous display of character assassination as we have just seen from the hon. member. There is absolutely not one scintilla of evidence or justification to support that personal abusive attack upon the Prime Minister of Canada.

Indeed, in dealing with tax havens outside this country, his every move since 1993 has been to close them, limit them, and ensure the taxes in this country are applied fairly to all Canadians.

The hon. member is just a disgrace.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like he is a little sensitive about the fact that the leader of the NDP has replaced him.

Canadians know that the Prime Minister cannot be believed, but the NDP is always the last to know. Too bad it was only after it struck a deal that the NDP realized the Liberals are sleazier than it thought.

The Prime Minister and the Liberal team even double-crossed the finance minister. If his own colleagues cannot trust the Prime Minister, then why should Canadians?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on February 23 the Leader of the Opposition indicated clearly and categorically that there was no reason to oppose the federal budget or defeat the government. Then later in April the Leader of the Opposition flip-flopped. He changed his position 180 degrees. Hand in hand with the separatists, he vowed to defeat the government and the budget at every turn. That is a huge betrayal of Canadians.

I ask the finance critic for the opposition, when will he do the right thing and resign?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, how sad. The finance minister has been fired and he does not even know it.

Canadians know that the Prime Minister just cannot be believed on the budget. Back in February he told us the cupboard was bare. When his job is on the line, all of a sudden he finds $5 billion. It sounds like he was not really giving us the true story.

When will the Prime Minister just admit that he has not been telling Canadians the truth?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman will find the space written specifically in the budget plan. I think it is page 285.

Since we balanced the books in 1997, we have had the best debt to GDP ratio in all the G-7. We have had the best job creation record in all the G-7. We have had the fastest growth in living standards in all the G-7. We have had the only balanced budgets in all the G-7. We have the best fiscal performance since 1867. That is a record I would be prepared to run on.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!