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House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if we look at the agreement dated September 29, 1999, between Prince's company Park Inns and Michaud's company, Placements Michaud, it starts out saying that Akimbo Development purchased from J&AC all the shares in consideration of the terms set out in the agreement. When it talks about all the shares, it refers to the agreement of November 1, 1993.

The hon. member and his party said that if the agreement of November 1, 1993, was tabled it would end the matter. Why do they not live up to their own words?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is because it is full of contradictions. The Deputy Prime Minister should take a look at the 1999 agreement.

Article 2.1 provides that the Prime Minister waives his ownership rights over the shares. This means he had to have them in order to sell them. Under article 2.2, he provides the seller's guarantee. Again, something must be sold in order to provide such a guarantee. Under article 2.3, he waives his right to any recourse, while in article 3.6 he says “I will pay if there are legal proceedings against Michaud”.

In other words, his friend Michaud is saying to him “I am prepared to give you money, Mr. Prime Minister, but I am not prepared to pay for your mistakes”.

In light of all this, how can we not conclude that a conflict of interest exists?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the agreement of 1999 also said that Akimbo received legal advice that Akimbo “retained legal title to the shares since November 1, 1993”.

If the hon. member wants to read the document, let him read all of it. Let him also live up to his commitment that if the sales agreement were tabled he would drop the matter. Where are his ethics? Why does he not live up to his undertaking?

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Canadian Alliance Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

Mr. Speaker, senior government officials have been quoted as saying that the discredited Secretary of State for Multiculturalism was forced by the Prime Minister's Office to make her half-hearted apology to Prince George for fabricating cross burnings there.

We now know that she held back on that carefully scripted statement as long as possible while her staff frantically tried to get the police to justify her outrageous comments, but she has never, I repeat never, apologized for saying that crosses were being burned outside Kamloops. Nor has she attempted to explain those comments.

I have given the minister four opportunities to explain herself and apologize—

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. the Deputy Prime Minister.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, when I referred to a member from Calgary running his coffee shop, I should have mentioned a member from Edmonton.

Second, if the member gave the hon. secretary of state four opportunities to say something about what she did, she did not listen four times when the hon. secretary of state certainly confirmed, as did myself and the Prime Minister, that she recognized she made a mistake and she apologized.

Four times in a row the hon. member has shown no sense of ethics when she refused to live by the conventions of the House that when a member says she made a mistake and apologizes we should all accept that and move on to doing the business of the House.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Canadian Alliance Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

Mr. Speaker, a ministerial position is far more important than the person who happens to hold it at any given time. It is a position of trust.

When the behaviour of a minister is reckless, intolerant and apparently without ethics, the House should rise as one to condemn the behaviour and demand the resignation of the offending minister. That is to protect the integrity of the House.

I ask the Prime Minister to heed the call of my constituents and the minister's own constituents to remove her from this very sensitive multicultural position.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the House should rise as one and chastise the hon. member for not accepting the conventions of the House that when a member says he or she has made a mistake and apologizes all sides of the House accept that.

Where are her ethics? Why does she not rise and apologize for not living by the traditions and conventions of the House?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, while stem cell research can potentially provide useful therapies in a wide variety of health conditions and diseases, there are extremely difficult ethical and legal issues surrounding the use of human embryonic and fetal tissue in research.

In the absence of meaningful policy questions from the opposition, I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health what the government is doing to address Canada's lack of guidelines in this important area.

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies Québec

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, just today, a working committee of the health research institute released a paper on stem cells of human origin.

This is a major step forward. This document will help researchers and will also serve as a discussion paper in the coming months. This will allow us to move forward in a more cautious and informed manner in the public dialogue that we are beginning today.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the Deputy Prime Minister's response he has in fact accepted and condoned the shame and embarrassment that the junior minister of multiculturalism has brought upon her office, the government and the House of Commons. It is revolting for the Deputy Prime Minister to accept that.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister and his colleagues demand the firing of that minister of multiculturalism today instead of waiting until the summer?

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not condone any questionable conduct from any member on any side of the House.

In particular, I do not condone the unjustified attacks on the hon. secretary of state after she admitted she made a mistake, after she apologized. I do not condone his lack of ethics and his lack of willingness to accept the conventions and traditions of the House.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the junior minister for multiculturalism fabricated a story about a cross burning incident in Prince George and one in Kamloops. She fabricated a response about her office not calling the RCMP looking for evidence to back up her fabrications. She has misled the House on three occasions.

What does it take for the Prime Minister and for his colleagues in government to demand her resignation? How much more shame and embarrassment is needed before they will do that?

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thought the hon. member would start off by attacking and criticizing his colleague for fabricating his radio interview. That is where he should have started. I think he ought to deal with that issue before turning to anybody else.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of article 3.6 of the 1999 agreement is to protect the buyer, Mr. Michaud, against any future legal proceedings. This clause exists because, even for Mr. Michaud, there is a limit to helping out one's friends.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the reason he does not want an inquiry is that he will have to foot the bill, which puts him in a second conflict of interest situation?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the hon. member has no confidence in his party's former House leader, the member for Roberval, when he says about the record of sale “Let him provide that, and the problem will be over“.

Why does he not accept the words of his own colleague, the member for Roberval?

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of three distinguished visitors today. Perhaps hon. members could refrain from applauding until all three have been introduced. The first is His Excellency Aleke Banda, Minister of Health & Population of Malawi. The second is the Hon. Mosiuoa Gerard Patrick Lekota, Minister of National Defence of the Republic of South Africa. The third is His Excellency Sandor Pinter, Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Hungary.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the House leader what is on the agenda for next week and the coming weeks. He has talked about water, but I am sure there are other important things he could share with us today.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon we will continue consideration of Bill C-2, the employment insurance bill. We will then return to the second reading of Bill C-18, the equalization bill. That will be followed by Bill C-17 respecting the innovation foundation.

On Friday we will consider third reading of Bill C-8, the financial institution, and if necessary we will return to Bill C-18.

On Monday, we will return to Bill C-2. If it is completed at report stage, we will return to Bill C-18, C-17 or C-22 on the Income Tax Act, depending on which of these bills requires further consideration.

Tuesday shall be an allotted day, and I believe it is the Canadian Alliance's turn. On Wednesday, we will return to Bill C-2. We will also try to complete third reading of Bill C-12, the Judges Act amendments, and Bill C-9, the elections bill. If we have the time, I will also suggest completing Bill C-4, respecting the Sustainable Development Foundation, before adjourning for Easter.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

March 29th, 2001 / 3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of privilege with regard to a committee matter that is so unique and extraordinary that I must bring it directly to the attention of the House.

My question of privilege charges the chair of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology with contempt. This morning at the standing committee's meeting, the chair abused her authority by ruling out of order a motion concerning her decisions as chair of the committee. Such motions are in order.

Referring to Marleau and Montpetit, on page 858 it states:

Disorder and misconduct in a committee may arise as a result of the failure to abide by the rules and practices of a committee...If a committee desires that some action be taken...it must report the situation to the House. The House may make a decision on disorder upon receiving such a report.

That is exactly what I was attempting to do. How can the committee comply with the practices of the House if the chair rules such motions out of order? What I find most objectionable is the fact that the motion was concerning the actions of the chair.

The motion was to report to the House the matter of the chair's rulings regarding numerous motions concerning the ethics counsellor to the House. Her refusal to allow a motion to report her own actions to the House is a conflict of interest and impedes the committee from being master of its own proceedings.

I would gladly ask the committee to report this conflict of interest to the House, but the chair, based on her decision today, does not entertain motions concerning her decisions. As you can see, Mr. Speaker, my only recourse is to bring the matter to the House directly.

The House is entitled to all reports and has a duty to deal with contempts or misconducts that occur in committee. Since that is not possible, since the chair has impeded the committee's ability to decide to report the matter to the House, I must submit the chair's actions directly to the House. The chair's rulings regarding certain motions were biased and inconsistent with the practices of the House.

The final motion she disallowed was a motion to report her rulings to the House. That goes to the very heart of the question of privilege. The member cannot procedurally or legitimately disallow a motion that might jeopardize her position as chair. She cannot silence criticism against her authority and refuse to implement the wishes of those who elected her.

On page 119 of Erskine May there is a reference regarding a select committee that was appointed in 1977 to inquire into the conduct and activities of members and to consider whether any such conduct or activities amounted to a contempt of the House and whether any such activities were “conduct inconsistent with the standards the House was entitled to expect from its members”.

I consider the chair's decisions at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to be conduct inconsistent with the standards that the House and the public expect from a member.

There is a great deal at stake here. We cannot let the matter go unresolved. The hon. member for Essex must be found in contempt by the House. While my rights as a member of the standing committee are immediately at stake, ultimately the threat is to the democratic rights and freedoms of all members of the House.

The member is contributing to the inability of the House to resolve the matter of the appearance of a conflict of interest regarding the Prime Minister's involvement with the Grand-Mère Golf Club and Grand-Mère Inn.

Her role as chair is not to protect the Prime Minister but to protect the rights of all members of the committee and to uphold the rules and practices of the House. In that regard she has failed, and she has no right to impede my efforts to report those decisions to the House.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the issue we are referring to occurred over two days. In the first incident some members of the committee attempted to bring in witnesses to review the activities of a member of the House. Obviously members know that cannot be done. It is quite clear under our rules and under Maingot's advice that one cannot do that. At the first meeting the chair ruled that was out of order and that was sustained.

At the second meeting, the information I have is that an hon. member who was dissatisfied with both the ruling at first reading and the sustaining of the chair's ruling tried to bring a motion to report that to the House. When that was ruled out of order by the committee chair the ruling was appealed.

The hon. member has failed to indicate that the ruling he refers to was appealed and that the appeal was sustained by a vote of the committee. He neglected, either skilfully or perhaps he forgot, that very important element. The ruling was sustained. I suggest that this issue should not be before the House at all.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not think the Chair need hear any more on this point. The point appears to me to be clear. I received the letter from the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest and have heard his arguments. I have heard the arguments put forward by the hon. government House leader.

Certainly the committee is master of its own procedure. The fact that the committee made a decision to uphold the decision of its chair renders it impossible for this Chair to intervene.

If the committee, being master of its own procedure, has decided that is the way it wishes to proceed, I do not believe it is in order for the hon. member to come to the House under the guise of a question of privilege and attempt to challenge the ruling of the chairman of the committee. In the circumstances, I find there is no question of privilege raised here.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have something to which the Chair and the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism should be made aware given the events of last week.

I would like to table the secretary of state's press release dated March 8, 2000. It may help her to answer a question I asked her in question period. Her response to the question I had asked was “I do not know what the member is alluding to”. Her response to my second question was “I will not make a comment on something that I know nothing about”.

We would find that hard to believe.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

It does not sound like a point of order to me. This sounds like an argument. The hon. member for Edmonton North is requesting consent to table some documents. Is there consent?