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House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals took office back in 1993 they spent a lot of time talking about integrity. They made a big show about appointing an ethics commissioner and they promised that the days of Mulroney style political corruption were over.

Now reports of patronage ridden contracting, unethical fundraising and politically motivated grants keep piling up. The police have even raided the Liberal Party headquarters.

My question for the Prime Minister is, besides calling in the RCMP, what is he going to do to remove the clouds of corruption that are surrounding his government?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when the allegation was made that somebody was asking people for money, the minister did not wait one day. He immediately on the same afternoon called the RCMP and informed them of the allegation. This is what had to be done and it was done promptly. The RCMP are now investigating a case involving one or two people.

When I hear the Leader of the Opposition make an extravagant statement like that, I say he should wait for the investigation to finish.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there was no reference to words like ethics or integrity in the Prime Minister's reply, nor was there any reference to those words in the Speech from the Throne this year. At the operational level those words have been replaced by words like influence peddling, string pulling and shakedown.

I have a question about the transitional jobs fund, the $300 million kitty that the federal government doles out with special attention to Liberal ridings.

What is the Prime Minister going to do to remove the cloud of suspicion that now hangs around the transitional jobs program?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the transitional jobs fund is allocated to areas where there are a lot of unemployed people. The program is still there. Most of these ridings, particularly in Atlantic Canada, are not Liberal ridings any more and the program is still there.

The member for Edmonton North made a very strong accusation the other day and she did not even know the difference between Winnipeg and Montreal. She talked about the Shawinigan shakedown but the person who was eligible to receive the grant did not—

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, mere weeks before the election was called this spring, millions of dollars from this transitional jobs fund were funnelled into the Prime Minister's own riding. They were trying to make sure that his job was not transitional.

What influence did the Prime Minister exert to make sure that those grants to his own riding were announced just prior to the federal election?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada who is the member for Saint-Maurice, will always work to make sure that the people who live in his riding are treated the same way as people in the other ridings in Canada.

I have never had a temporary job here like the Leader of the Opposition. I have been elected 11 consecutive times and I have never lost an election federally.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

No wonder, Mr. Speaker, if he can keep buying his way into office. We have some pretty serious questions here.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I would urge all hon. members now to be very judicious in their choice of words.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to judiciously say that on March 5 the minister for HRD sent a letter and asked the police to investigate illegal fundraising. He knows that. But just 24 hours before that, the same minister approved $3 million out of that same jobs fund to go into the Prime Minister's riding.

Let me ask the minister for HRD this. Just how is it that he signed cheques one day and called police the very next day?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the member has a hard time with chronology. I could not know on March 4 things that I found out on March 5, the very day I called the police in.

These people are so cynical. They do not understand a thing about integrity in government. I will say one thing. All projects have been approved based on merit.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is something strange here because on the Tuesday the minister approved $3 million for companies in the Prime Minister's riding, paid from the transitional jobs fund. On the Wednesday he wrote to the RCMP as if there was some amazing new revelation that he had received to blow the whistle on corruption in that fund. The ink was not even dry on those cheques.

Let me ask him this and please come up with a better defence. Did it just hit the minister that something might be wrong as the clock struck midnight?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, all the projects in the Prime Minister's riding or in any other riding have been approved by the province of Quebec. They have been approved by the department and are based on merit all the time, so much so that after I called the police in, I asked my deputy minister to review the whole process in which my department was proceeding. My deputy minister conferred with me that our process was transparent, that our process was with consultation, the strength of our system and they invited—

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board would appear to be the Quebec godfather in the Government of Canada. He provides the link between the government's action and the Liberal Party of Canada.

We have learned that one of his political assistants, an individual at the very heart of the government's activities, is currently under investigation by the RCMP, and the President of the Treasury Board is not doing anything about it.

Is the Prime Minister not aware that these elements combined together oblige him to submit the case of his minister—

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The Prime Minister.

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

The Mr. Roy in question has sent a letter to the CBC asking it to retract, because his lawyers are saying he was never under investigation by the RCMP.

Before rising in the House and saying he is under investigation, it would not be a bad idea to do a little research.

As to our course of action, in all such cases I consult the ethics commissioner. I did so in this one. He is looking into the matter. I consult him each time a question of ethics is raised in the House. I discuss it with Mr. Wilson so he can check the facts.

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the Prime Minister tell us whether on or about March 6 he consulted his ethics commissioner and whether the commissioner told him that he should not take any action with respect to the permanent employees of the Liberal Party of Canada or the employees of the President of the Treasury Board and that he should wait for charges to be laid in connection with allegations made regarding an employee of the Liberal Party of Canada around the middle of June, after the June 2 election, as perhaps the member for Hamilton is aware?

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can only add that the person whose integrity was attacked by the CBC and subsequently by everyone else has formally demanded that the CBC make a retraction, because he is not under investigation by the RCMP. So, as far as I am concerned, the answer is clear.

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1985, the current Prime Minister said in this House that any innuendo or any suggestion of irregularities would undermine the confidence of Canadians and that it would be better if the suspect were to hand in his resignation. At the time, the Prime Minister was quick to criticize another government.

How can he explain today how incredibly tolerant he is in this matter which involves the President of the Treasury Board and which is under investigation?

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat that there is simply no RCMP investigation, as mentioned in the letter Mr. Roy's lawyers sent on this issue. So, no employee from the office of the President of the Treasury Board is under investigation.

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, one fact remains. Given everything we have found out these past two weeks about this influence peddling business, I want to ask the Prime Minister the following question: What good is a government code of conduct that nobody knows anything about and that has no appropriate provision for this type of situation?

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor is there for everyone, for all the hon. members, for everybody, and everybody consults him. He is a very honourable and highly respected man.

I have, as I always do, referred the issue to the counsellor, who will determine if the guidelines that apply to the government and members of Parliament have been breached. He has yet to report back. Every time I have to deal with this type of problem, I refer the issue to the ethics counsellor. As soon as he reports back, I will let the House know.

Atlantic CanadaOral Question Period

October 9th, 1997 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. On his way to today's Atlantic Vision Conference the Minister of Industry had the arrogance and the audacity to tell Atlantic Canadians not to expect a fair hearing from this government because they made a “mistake” when they fired Liberals in the last election.

Will the Prime Minister tell this House whether he has demanded a retraction from his industry minister for his colossal contempt toward Atlantic Canadians? If not, will he do so today?