House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Social Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Edmonton—Spruce Grove, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has invested billions of dollars in a child care program. This program encroaches on provincial jurisdictions. Yet the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs remains silent on this issue. The provinces have spoken: they want to have a choice. However, the Minister of Social Development refuses to acknowledge that demand.

When will the minister finally listen, and respect the rights of the provinces?

Social Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden Minister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we have been involved in discussions and negotiations with all the provinces and with all the territories. We have come to an agreement with five different provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia. We are in discussions with the other provinces and with the other territories. The provinces and the territories have engaged in these discussions with great interest and great delight, because the amount of money that is involved in an area of great priority to them would represent a 40% increase on what all--

Social Development
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Charlesbourg--Haute-Saint-Charles.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's chief of staff is intimating that he could put pressure on the Ethics Commissioner to hurry up an inquiry report on the Conservative member for Newton—North Delta.

How is it the Prime Minister is still hesitating about suspending his chief of staff who, according to the tapes, indicated his intention to influence the ethics commissioner?

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Minister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, first, the Ethics Commissioner is an officer of the House. He is completely independent. He is chosen by all parties in this House. He alone will decide on this matter, since it has been brought to his attention, I believe.

Second, the commissioner himself acknowledged that Mr. Murphy had not spoken to him on this matter.

Third, when tapes that have been altered, reduced from four hours to two hours in length, are used as evidence, considerable caution must be exercised in making statements of the type made by the member opposite.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, the commissioner himself has described the remarks of the Prime Minister's chief of staff as unacceptable. He also said that if there are any clouds hanging over anyone they are over the person making the suggestion, Tim Murphy, and not over the office of the Ethics Commissioner.

In the light of such a blatant allusion to political interference, does the Prime Minister not feel his chief of staff should withdraw immediately?

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Minister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Ethics Commissioner said “if there are any clouds”. I believe the hon. member opposite would do very well to follow this matter.

Judgments cannot be made based on recordings that have been altered. That is recognized now. They were reduced in length from four hours to two hours. I therefore think that the Ethics Commissioner, this House's independent officer, should be permitted to decide for himself, as he is empowered and is intending to do.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the tape, we can hear the member for Newton—North Delta say, “If we have something then we don’t need to lie to the media. We can tell them that OK, if we do something out of encouragement and conviction, then you have to have something for that. Some reward or whatever”. To which the Prime Minister's chief of staff replied, “Right”.

If that is not indicative of a desire to buy a member's vote, what is it?

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, first of all I go back to the fact that we need to be very careful in terms of the allegations that we throw around in this place.

Yesterday we had an assertion that the tapes that are in the public domain were pristine or unaltered. A few hours after that statement was made, we discovered that this was not the case. I think we need to be very, very careful here in terms of the kinds of allegations that are being made and the basis on which they are being made.

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the Minister of Health is challenging the quality of the translation of his remarks from Punjabi, I will read an excerpt from what the Prime Minister's chief of staff said, and he said it in English. He said, “I think it is important that we are honest about it. But [we] also think that those people who take risk are ought to be rewarded for the risk they take”.

If that does not hold the promise of an offer, what did it mean?

Member for Newton—North Delta
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Again, Mr. Speaker, let me be absolutely clear. The Prime Minister said that no offers were to be made and that is as simple as the matter is, but let me say that I think we in fact come back to a very basic proposition here, which is that the hon. member for Newton—North Delta was simply not willing to take no for an answer.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

June 3rd, 2005 / 11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, taxpayers paid millions of dollars in rent for an empty building owned by the company of a Liberal senator. In committee hearings over this Liberal rent for nothing scandal, the public works minister admitted that his Liberal caucus colleague broke the law. I asked the minister, “You learned that he was contravening section 14 of the Parliament of Canada Act from me in question period?” The minister's reply, “That's correct”.

Liberals wasted money and broke the law. When will they stop paying the rent?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if I could go over the sequence of events, the building in question was first started in May 2001. By the way, in December 2001 the contract was awarded. It was an irrevocable offer to lease. The document was signed. A fairness monitor, KPMG, was involved in the whole process and the building was done on time and on budget.

The situation with the departments moving in is that they were merging and it took a little time to merge those departments. There were 1,000 people involved in the move.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 17 the minister's lawyer wrote the senator's company threatening to cut off the rent by the end of May because of this violation, but after a mysterious phone call, the minister's department granted the Liberal senator another month's rent worth half a million dollars. That is a half a million dollar phone call.

What happened during this secret phone call? What dirty deal was cut to give the Liberal senator's company another half a million dollars?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me reiterate. The contract was signed in 2001, an irrevocable offer to lease legal document. Let me also reinforce the fact that yes, when the Minister of Public Works heard about the situation, he acted immediately. He has referred it not only to the company but to the individual involved.

The Minister of Public Works should be complimented. On hearing of this, he immediately took action. That is what the minister does. He takes action.