This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Department Of JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, last night CTV television revealed that $160,500 was allotted last year to the justice minister for strategic communications advice. In other words, taxpayer dollars were paid to spin doctors to try to make the justice minister and his government look good during the Airbus scandal.

How can the justice minister justify using Department of Justice money for purely partisan purposes?

Department Of JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing for which the hon. member for Crowfoot can be relied on, it is to get the facts wrong. Once again he has done just that.

In keeping with ordinary government practice, the Department of Justice entered into the usual competitive process and awarded a contract to an outside consultant in 1995. The usual rates were provided for in the contract. The contract was extended for a year and the services were used for a variety of legislative purposes, all in keeping with standard government practice.

It is true to say there was advice with respect to Airbus but that was one of the smallest aspects of the contract. The reality is this was the usual kind of advice provided to government departments and was well within accepted guidelines and practice.

Department Of JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, of course, $160,000 is a small portion of the $2 million that had to be paid out because of the bungling of the justice minister on the Airbus matter.

Seeing that all the money that was spent on the spin doctoring failed to make the justice minister look good, will he now demand a refund from his spin doctors?

Department Of JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is all in the eyes of the beholder. I can only imagine what my hon. friend must see from his distant perspective back there. But whatever it is, let me assure the hon. member and the House that everything in this matter was done entirely in accordance with appropriate government practice.

RwandaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jesse Flis Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Co-operation and Minister responsible for Francophonie.

In recent days, officials of the Government of Rwanda have allegedly stated that it is was justifiable for them to redirect foreign aid money toward objectives of the government. Can the minister tell this House if our foreign aid money in Rwanda has been redirected to those other than the people who need it the most?

RwandaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I want to report to the House that the Government of Rwanda does not receive any funding from the Canadian International Development Agency. All our aid in that country and in most other

countries is provided to Canadian and multilateral non-governmental organizations.

Therefore if no money goes to the Government of Rwanda, no money-at least no Canadian money-can be redirected by the Government of Rwanda.

AirbusOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Chris Axworthy NDP Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice and it involves the communications strategic advice that he received under contract with a well known Liberal media company. The contract was for strategic communications advice to the minister on his legislative agenda. We all know that the Airbus was not on the minister's legislative agenda. Yet some $160,000 was paid to the Liberal media company under this contract.

Why did the minister pay for advice when it was not provided for under the contract? How much did he pay for advice on how he should handle himself in the Airbus affair while at the same time he was saying that he was uninvolved in the actual affair?

AirbusOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is remarkable how the hon. member seems prepared, indeed enthusiastic, about interpreting a contract he very likely has never seen which contains terms with which he is entirely unfamiliar and is using amounts he has picked up from the odd television report. It is remarkable how enthusiastic the member is.

The member will know because his question was already asked and answered, much more capably I might add. The amounts at issue were paid over legislative advice with respect to legislative initiatives and all services that were rendered were entirely within those contemplated properly by the contract.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

February 17th, 1997 / 3 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, a point of order. I would like a clarification from you on the type of language being used on the government side during the course of question period.

During question period the Minister of Finance used two different phrases that I think have been ruled as unparliamentary language according to Beauchesne.

During question period the Minister of Finance referred to the leader of the third party and said "that he has not got the guts". Then he went to say "that he should not be misleading people".

Mr. Speaker, if you look on page 145 and 146 of Beauchesne they are both ruled as unparliamentary language. I would ask the minister to withdraw-

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, as you well know and as all colleagues know, for the most part there are very few words that in and of themselves are not acceptable to the House but it does depend on the context in which they are used.

I quote you directly I believe with regard to using the term that one member "does not have the guts". I mentioned to you here in the House that no member of Parliament's courage-and that is what this refers to, this type of thing-is ever questioned in the House of Commons. I would hope that all hon. members would refrain from using words like that.

A far as the word "misleading", goes I listened to the words very carefully. I heard the word misleading used on both sides of the floor today. What I was looking for was in the tone, but on neither side did they say deliberately misleading. I would appeal to you not to use the word "misleading" because if it causes offence of any kind then we usually get a retaliation on the other side.

I appeal to you, my colleagues, that in the course of the question period and in the course of debate, we should refrain from using words like that. We are in an atmosphere where emotions are running very high and I would urge you to be very judicious in your choice of words. As far as these words today, I did not find them unparliamentary or I would have stated so.

I thank the hon. member for bringing this up as a point of order.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, a point of order.

This also arises out of question period today. It involves the finance minister who, in one of his answers, claimed that the leader of the Reform Party should not mislead the Canadian public. I take exception to his blatant misrepresentation.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Once again I encourage all hon. members not to use words like misleading in the House because we get one word and then a reaction from the other side.

I think the hon. member is getting into debate. He is welcome to join in any debate in the House. But I would judge this to be a point of debate rather than a point of order.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, a point of order.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is this on the same point of order on which I just ruled?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is on another point of order.

On another reply during question period, the finance minister said that the Reform's position on the MP pension plan was something. Our plan is to cancel-

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Once again, I rule that this is debate.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 30 petitions.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege to present a petition calling on Parliament to ask the government to introduce some sort of an infrastructure program to deal with the infrastructure problems which exist across the country.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition which points out that the second phase of the National AIDS Strategy will expire on March 31, 1998. The petitioners request that Parliament ensure that dedicated AIDS funding beyond March 1998 be guaranteed and that the National AIDS Strategy be renewed now.

I support this petition from members of the public of Don Valley West.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present from constituents in places like Prescott, Brockville and surrounding areas.

The petitioners ask that the Prime Minister and the Parliament of Canada declare and confirm immediately that Canada is indivisible and that the boundaries of Canada, its provinces, territories and territorial waters may be modified only by (a), a free vote of all Canadian citizens as guaranteed by the Canadian charter or (b), through the amending formula as stipulated in the Canadian Constitution.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions I would like to present.

The first is from petitioners calling on Parliament to urge the federal government to join with the provincial governments to make the national highway system upgrading possible.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is in response to the many people who get caught in the middle between unemployment insurance and other insurance plans because of sickness or disability.

The petitioners pray and request that Parliament introduce mid-term disability benefits legislation which would allow working Canadians who suffer from a debilitating illness or injury to receive continuous sickness benefits in the following form: (1) 15 weeks UIC; (2) mid-term disability; and (3) Canadian disability pension plan.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the third petition is from people responding to the taxation of reading material.

The petitioners pray that the government demonstrate its support of education and literacy by eliminating sales tax on reading material. They ask Parliament to zero rate books, magazines and newspapers under the GST. As the provinces and Ottawa consider harmonizing their sales tax, reading materials must be zero rated under the provincial sales tax as well as the GST.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise pursuant to Standing Order 36 to present a petition which was presented to me by the people of my riding.

As there are over 30,000 nuclear weapons on this earth, the petitioners call on Parliament to support the immediate initiation and conclusion by the year 2000 of an international convention which will set out a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions.

The first petition is signed by 982 people from the community of La Crête. The petitioners call on Parliament to provide a better postal facility in the La Crête area. The existing post office has been in use since 1972. It was adequate at the time but this is a growing community and the present building is no longer adequate or meets the needs of the people of the La Crête community. I have had the opportunity to look at the building and agree with this petition.