House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was harassment.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

September 30th, 2005 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of revelations at the Gomery commission, the government has announced that it is upping by $5 million the law suits against the agencies suspected of extra billing. But, we also learned from the commission that the Liberal Party got more money than first thought.

An indepth examination of testimony before the commission indicates that, at the very least, over $5.4 million went to the Liberal Party of Canada. In light of this, does the government intend to demand repayment from this organization too?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley West
Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey Minister of State (Infrastructure and Communities)

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to recover payments that were the result of irregularities. As the amounts are discovered, they are added to the total. We are now demanding repayment of $44 million from groups already identified to the House. We will continue to do so.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, where did the taxpayers' money go?

The government is having serious problems recovering the millions of dollars misappropriated by these agencies since, to date, it has recovered only $1.5 million of the $45 million identified.

In order not to lose the funds directed to the Liberal Party of Canada, will the government admit that it must also take action against this organization so as to be able to recover taxpayer money?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley West
Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey Minister of State (Infrastructure and Communities)

Mr. Speaker, that is why we are waiting for the Gomery report. In the meantime, we will continue to refine our research regarding the amounts that we believe were subject to irregularities. We our revising our figures, and we have already received $1.5 million. Our search continues.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, hon. members will recall that in the aftermath of the sponsorship scandal, the Liberal Party set up a trust and made a commitment to put $750,000 into it.

Since the government decided to step up its demands on agencies in the aftermath of the Gomery inquiry, does it plan to do the same with the Liberal Party of Canada and check whether the dirty money has indeed been put into the trust fund as it promised?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and all members of the House of Commons and all members of the public of Canada can be absolutely assured that in this matter all commitments made by the Liberal Party of Canada will be fully and completely honoured.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to our estimates, the amount of dirty money from which the Liberal Party of Canada benefited is not $750,000 but $5.4 million.

That being the case, ought the government not ensure that there is at least $750,000 of dirty money in that trust account?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley West
Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey Minister of State (Infrastructure and Communities)

Mr. Speaker, that is the reason for the Gomery commission. We will know the exact amounts when its report comes out on November 1. We will then do what is necessary based on that.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence and it concerns Canadian policy in Afghanistan with respect to the handing over of captives, whether that be to the Americans or to the Afghan government.

I wonder if the Minister of National Defence could tell us how the Canadian government intends to ensure that Canadian troops are not in violation of Geneva conventions. Does he intend to work with NGOs, such as the Red Cross and Amnesty International, to make sure that Canada is not in violation of these conventions?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, absolutely. I appreciate the hon. member's question. I treat this issue very seriously.

Hon. members in the House should know that if we take prisoners in Afghanistan, some are released immediately because they are of no interest whatsoever. Any who are kept, because of suspicion of being involved in terrorist or other activity, are treated by Canada and by our Canadian troops in accordance with all standards of humanitarian and international law. When they are then turned over to either Afghan or American authorities, the Red Cross is notified in accordance with conventions so it can take the inspections. Members of the House have heard the assurances of the American government and others that prisoners will be properly treated in accordance with humanitarian standards.

Housing
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, we know that the Americans sometimes take a rather creative approach to international law, so I would urge the Minister of National Defence to keep his eye on the situation.

While Canadian troops are putting themselves in danger in Afghanistan, we find out that many of their families back here at home are also in danger because they are being compelled to live in Zonolite infested homes on base. Last night there was a program about a woman whose husband is in Afghanistan.

Could the minister assure us that he will look into this particular case and others, and get these families into decent housing?

Housing
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's interest in this issue and his general interest in the welfare of the families of our troops. I will work with him and other members of the committee to ensure that.

This Zonolite issue is something we have attacked very proactively. We are inspecting houses. We are scientifically looking at how we can manage this. We are shutting in those areas where they should be shut in. We are demolishing those houses which have to be demolished.

I am not aware of the specific case the hon. member referred to me, but I assure him and members of the House that I will refer it to the agency. I will request immediate information about the disposition of this matter and I will report back.

Technology Partnerships Canada
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, the technology partnerships audit of 33 companies has been completed and 11 were found to be in breach of contract. The industry minister was informed of this on September 16. That was two weeks ago and yet the minister refuses to reveal the details of those audits.

For two weeks the results of those audits have been kept hidden from this Parliament. Who are the 11 involved? Was Mr. Dingwall one of the 11 or was he not? How much money was kicked back? In the interest of transparency, when will the minister tell the House?

Technology Partnerships Canada
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex
Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the minister has acted totally responsibly. He will not start naming companies here in the House of Commons. However, he has said there will be zero tolerance in any breakage of any rules that are there. Every penny will be recouped by the government if any violations occurred.

Technology Partnerships Canada
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister could save himself a lot of headache and a lot of heartache by simply coming clean on who the 11 are and how much money was kicked back. We will continue to ask the question until it is answered. There are 11 more David Dingwalls out there. The public deserves to know who they are, what these breaches were, and how much money was kicked back.

When will the government come clean on these illegal activities? Who received these kickbacks? How much did they get?