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House of Commons Hansard #240 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he sold his shares before being sworn in as Prime Minister.

So, the decision is his. He did so as a member of parliament, as a citizen, and not as Prime Minister. The trust is not involved.

It would be so easy to remove all suspicion. Why does he not table the bill of sale he made as member—not as Prime Minister and not through the trust—but on his own before he was sworn in? It is simple. It would put an end to all these questions and all these suspicions weighing on him.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wilson discussed this problem with the person in charge of the trust in which I am required to deposit my assets. This person manages the matter and discussed with Mr. Wilson, who testified before a committee of the House and provided all the relevant facts in response to the questions put to him.

As for me, my assets are in a trust and I have no say in the matter. I leave its management to the person in charge of it.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, quite seriously, the Prime Minister could avoid a good number of problems if he simply complied with this request and agreed to clarify the situation.

I am asking him once again, quite simply this: in light of all the hullabaloo surrounding this situation, and the fact that the sale occurred when he was just an MP and not the Prime Minister, does he not think that it would be so much simpler if he were just to produce the record of sale? That will settle it.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wilson, who is responsible for ethics for all members of the House, has looked into the matter. I repeat: all of my assets are managed by a trustee. I have no oversight over the management.

I have done what the law and regulations require me to do, and all this was explained by Mr. Wilson before a committee of the House of Commons, on May 6.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will understand that some doubt still remains when he refers to his ethics adviser, this person who is hard to speak to, who works on order, and reports to him, not the House of Commons.

I ask him once more: this business of keeping this sale secret, refusing to produce something as simple as a paper stating “I have sold my shares and here are the signatures”, does this not leave even the Prime Minister with doubts?

He could clarify the situation. Let him do what needs doing, then. Is there something in this contract that we ought not to see? If so, he should let us know.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wilson is the one to deal with problems of this nature for all MPs and ministers. He has looked at the portfolio my trustee is handling for me. I have no right of supervision whatsoever over that trust.

I turned my assets over to it and years from now, when I leave this position, I will see whether the trustee has handled my affairs well or not. That is when I will know whether to laugh or to cry, but right now I have no say in this, I depend on her competency and I trust her greatly.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The House is once again set to vote on the Senate's budget of over $50 million. Here stands Canada on the eve of the 21st century and we still have an unelected, unaccountable Senate, a Senate that refuses to account for how it spends public dollars.

Why is the government content to push through yet another Senate budget without public scrutiny?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Senate is an institution of this parliament that is part of the Canadian constitution. It is there until it is changed in the constitution. It is a very useful institution and is doing a good job for Canada.

We wanted to change it some years ago. I remember very well that when we wanted to have a reformed and elected Senate many people on the other side voted against it. So we have the Senate that has been given to us by the Reform Party.

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, a lot of Canadians beg to differ. A lot of Canadians had hoped to see from the government a little more interest in real democracy.

The Canadian Senate has no place in a modern democracy. It is a joke and an embarrassment. It is indefensible.

Will the Prime Minister agree to write to the first ministers? Will he sound out their support for ridding us of this relic and moving on with democratic renewal in the coming century?

The SenateOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no desire by the premiers at this time to spend a lot of time on changing the constitution to change the Senate. They did it for months and months to no avail. I am telling the House that they do not want to do this at this time.

When we had a chance we voted for reform of the Senate. The NDP voted for reform of the Senate too, but I am sorry to report to the House that the Reform Party made sure that we kept the Senate in exactly the same form it is today.

KosovoOral Question Period

June 8th, 1999 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, so far, we know, and there is evidence to back this up, that the Canadian government's position with respect to the KLA has always been complete disarmament. However, we know that the United States and the G-8 nations have now decided to talk about demilitarizing the KLA.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Can he tell us the difference between demilitarizing and disarming the KLA and what the Canadian government's position is today?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government's position, like that of all the G-8 nations, is to ensure that the Kosovars can return home safely.

This means that the Kosovo liberation army and Serb forces must leave the area so that the international force can restore peace and freedom for the Kosovars, who, I hope, will return as soon as possible, within a few weeks, to their own country.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, the Prime Minister is unaware of the agreement that has been negotiated with the G-8 nations. There is a big difference between demilitarizing and disarming. Canadian troops will be among the first to enter Kosovo.

If the KLA is not disarmed, there is a risk. What are the Canadian army's rules of engagement? Will it be able to disarm the KLA or will it let KLA soldiers leave with their arms?

I would like the Prime Minister to accurately inform us on this important issue. I hope he will be able to answer clearly this time.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the resolution was clear.

It demands that the KLA and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups end immediately all offensive action and comply with the requirement for demilitarization as laid down by the head of the international security council in consultation with the Special representative of the secretary general.

That is the text that has been agreed to by everybody. It has satisfied me and I hope it will satisfy the hon. member.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals were in opposition they said that Sinclair Stevens had mixed his public and private business. In fact, the now heritage minister went berserk trying to force Sinclair to admit he was wrong. Berserk is looking kind of good right now.

There is a simple way to clear up questions about the Prime Minister's similar conflict. Owning the Grand-Mère shares places the Prime Minister in a clear conflict of interest. If they were sold, where is the receipt?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when Mr. Wilson was at the industry committee on May 6 he said that that it was a sale free and clear of the Prime Minister's interest in that golf course. He also said that a sum of money had been denominated and that there was a repayment schedule.

I think what Mr. Wilson said to the committee is very clear.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but we are trying to give the Prime Minister an opportunity to tell Canadians that he did nothing that would constitute a conflict of interest. Perhaps I can put the question another way: Où est le reçu?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will quote Mr. Wilson.

He said that in his view this was a done deal and that there were no financial connections regarding the Prime Minister in either the auberge or the golf course. It is very clear. He is an official who has been looking into that and is consulted by all the members of parliament. I have confidence in him.

My trust fund has to administer my assets. As I said in French, it is only at the end of the process that I will know what has been done. It is a blind trust and blind means blind. I am just doing what is required. From the day I became Prime Minister, I have had no decisions to make on it.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister refuses to table the record of sale, whereas he sold his shares even before becoming PM. He says it is in the hands of the trust.

There is something he could do very easily, namely instruct the trustee to make the record of sale public.

Why does he not instruct the trustee to make the record of sale public? Then the members and the public will be able to make a judgment based on facts, rather than on an act of faith in the Prime Minister.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the trustee is the one in charge of these things. Under the circumstances, ministers, like the Prime Minister, have no right of supervision. It is a matter of having a blind trust manage one's assets. This is done for all ministers, as it is for me.

I have said all I had to say. I have nothing to add.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not asking the Prime Minister to administer his shares, we are merely asking whether this was the case.

There are two choices for clarifying the situation, dispelling suspicion and tidying up the matter. One is to do it himself, because he did this before being sworn in, and the other is to ask the trustees to do it, and stop hiding behind the ethics counsellor.

The ethics counsellor is not controlled by the House. He is hired by the Prime Minister, is answerable to the Prime Minister and seems to be receiving his orders from the Prime Minister. It makes no sense.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I believe what makes no sense is the question itself.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have been asking the solicitor general for weeks about drugs in prisons.

He said that he knows about it and that he is studying it. What he does not say is who is doing the study, how long it will take and what the scope of the study actually is. My sources say that no such study is taking place in these prisons.

Since drugs are out of control in the prisons, why does the solicitor general not have a plan to do something about it?

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said a number of times in the House, when I was appointed solicitor general I became aware of the massive drug problem.

I have asked Correctional Service Canada to review the drug program in the penal system. It has indicated to me that it will have a report on the review in about three months.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is refreshing that the solicitor general will know about it in three months. I have known about it for six years.

Let me quote the solicitor general in the House last week. He said that after prisoners are on parole, there needs to be some type of program to help people who are addicted. What does he mean by after they are on parole and in some type of program? This does not sound like a plan, it sounds like a cop-out to me.

After all these years of drug abuse in our prisons, why does the solicitor general have no plan at all?