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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

QuebecStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the attitude of the Canadian government toward Quebec, its people and its institutions is looking more and more like an obsession.

After the attacks of this government on provincial jurisdictions, as exemplified by the 1999 social union framework agreement, the federal government at it again, stifling the voice of Quebec at the upcoming Summit of the Americas.

The Liberal government is essentially marginalizing Quebec and the existing consensus about its existence as a nation and its legitimate aspirations having to be recognized as such by the world.

Canada's nation building is based on centralizing in Ottawa a number of discretionary powers to spend and to manage affairs that do not belong to the federal government. This is irreconcilable with the aspirations of Quebec and of its people, regardless of their political allegiance. Let those in charge be warned that Quebec is neither stupid nor for sale.

Organized CrimeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, I salute the action taken yesterday by Canada's police forces in cracking down on organized crime.

With up to 150 arrests made, yesterday's operation springtime 2001 is being called the biggest anti-gang operation in Canada's history. This is just part of an ongoing campaign to make it clear to the criminal element that we will be vigilant in demonstrating that these kinds of underworld activities are not tolerated in our communities.

Yesterday's raids came after many months of investigations and groundwork conducted by our police forces. One of the many tools used by police forces was the broader powers granted to them by the anti-gang law passed by the government in 1997.

Putting an end to organized crime remains a key concern of the government. We commit to continue to stand behind our police forces and to ensure they have the powers and resources necessary to keep putting organized crime in its place.

Freshwater ExportsStatements By Members

March 29th, 2001 / 2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have a news flash. Tragically I have to announce that the Liberal Party is now in favour of encouraging bulk water exports, jeopardizing Canada's natural ecological heritage.

The Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Premier Grimes are guilty of this crime by pushing forward with the plan to export freshwater from Gisbourne Lake, a scheme first envisioned by our current Ministry of Industry.

Equally guilty as an accessory to the crime is the Liberal Party of Canada for remaining silent and not condemning the actions of its Liberal cousins. Moreover, the Liberal government is guilty in failing to deliver a national strategy to ensure the prevention of interbasin transfers and bulk shipments of freshwater. Bill C-6 falls short of the mark and does nothing for non-transboundary water.

For eight years we have watched the Liberal government neglect the environment. I ask the ministers of the environment, heritage and international trade, as well as the Prime Minister, why they have flip-flopped and are now encouraging bulk water shipments through their silence and legislative inaction.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in provinces like Ontario and British Columbia simply calling crown corporations, let alone arm twisting them for a loan, would constitute a violation of the ethics code.

In most cities and towns in our nation calling an official and arm twisting for a loan for a hotel next to a property which he owned would cost that elected official. It would be a violation of the code of ethics of that town or city.

Why is the highest elected office in the country held to a lower ethical standard than aldermen and alderwomen in small towns? Why is he held to a lower standard?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, acting as a member of parliament, did not arm twist. He made representations as all members of parliament do. He was not dealing in a matter connected with a property he owned. He was trying to assist the tourism industry of the area.

Speaking of ethical standards, what about the ethical standards not followed by the Leader of the Opposition in connection with that shameful lawsuit in Alberta?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, wrong again, wrong again. During the Sinclair Stevens affair the Minister of Industry said:

The spectacle of the wife of a cabinet minister seeking terms for a loan that are unavailable at normal lending institutions would be a conflict of interest.

Those were his words. This is a spectacle of the Prime Minister himself not just seeking but actively arm twisting a public servant to get a loan for a hotel next to a property on which he was owed money.

Why does the Minister of Industry not want the Prime Minister to be held accountable to the same standards that he insisted on for Sinclair Stevens?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, whether the Leader of the Opposition is aware of it or not, the fact of the matter is that the people of Canada quite frankly are fed up with this line of questioning.

They have come to the conclusion that the Prime Minister of Canada has acted in an honourable fashion. They are quite frankly wondering why the Leader of the Opposition has nothing else he can talk about as he desperately tries to save his leadership.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the chosen son is learning from his master the art of evasion.

Both William Parker, the judge who presided over the Sinclair Stevens inquiry, and Robert Rutherford, who presided over the Somalia inquiry, called for an independent inquiry into the Shawinigate affair.

Is the Prime Minister going to listen to these universally respected ethics experts and set up an independent inquiry so that we will finally have the whole story on Shawinigate?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP confirmed that the Prime Minister acted properly. Over and over again the ethics counsellor confirmed there was no breach of ethics on the part of the Prime Minister.

Once again the Leader of the Opposition is failing Canadians. He is not doing his job by asking questions on matters of importance to Canadians. He does not care about softwood lumber. He does not care about agriculture. He does not care about the health of Canadians. He has failed. He should go, resign today.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the bill of sale the Prime Minister released on Tuesday is a very strange piece of paper. It is amazing that two corporate lawyers would sign a paper with no letterhead, no corporate seal, no witnesses and no deposit.

In fact the payment schedule was even an afterthought, almost as if the Prime Minister did not care if he got paid.

Did the Prime Minister not ask for a deposit because he was more concerned about a parking spot for his shares than getting paid for them?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member must have gone to the same law school as the leader of the Conservative Party. A binding contract does not need a letterhead. It can be in handwriting. The basic thing is to show the intentions of the parties.

The intention was that the Prime Minister, before he became Prime Minister, sold all his shares to Mr. Prince's company. That is what happened. Those are the facts, and the hon. member ought to admit it.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the date of the bill of the sale is the very date that the Prime Minister chose his first cabinet.

Surely the Prime Minister could have found at least one individual who was confident enough to draft a proper legal document. What circumstances forced the Prime Minister to sign such a dubious piece of paper?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the law schools which the Conservative leader flunked out of. I am sure that the hon. member is following the same practice. Her legal advice is equally unsound.

The document is a legally binding one. This is confirmed in a later agreement between Mr. Prince's company and Mr. Michaud's company when Mr. Prince signed that document which contained a statement that he, Mr. Prince, had owned the shares all along from and after November 1993.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is still claiming that he sold his shares in the Grand-Mère Golf Club to Jonas Prince in November 1993. But, in the September 1999 agreement, it is J&AC Consultants, the Prime Minister's company, which, under article 2.2, indemnifies and saves harmless the new buyer against potential “losses, damages, and expenses” arising from this sale.

Why is it the Prime Minister's company that is providing this guarantee and not Jonas Prince, the supposed owner of the shares?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the facts are clear. The Prime Minister sold his shares before he became Prime Minister and the shares were sold by Mr. Prince to Mr. Michaud. The facts are clear.

Why is the hon. member not prepared to accept these facts? He must accept them because they are the facts and they are true.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must accept them because the Prime Minister tells us to. This is a powerful argument.

It is the Prime Minister who is providing the vendor's guarantee to the new buyer, Mr. Michaud. It seems to me that to provide a vendor's guarantee, the Prime Minister would have to admit that he had something to sell. Otherwise, he would not be providing such a guarantee.

How is it that, in 1999, it was not Jonas Prince providing the vendor's guarantee but the Prime Minister's company? Let him explain that to us, rather than complacently believing what his leader tells him.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to the advice I have received, the documents contain the usual clauses found in such transactions. It is a fact that Mr. Prince and his company sold all their shares to Mr. Michaud's company. This proves that the Prime Minister was not a shareholder at the necessary times.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told this House that he had sold his shares in 1993. The ethics counsellor backed up the Prime Minister by saying that it was a sale without right of reversion.

If the Prime Minister and the ethics counsellor were speaking the truth, what was the Prime Minister doing in the 1999 transaction? How can a person sell something that has not been in his possession for six years?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member said, on March 15, and I quote:

Does he not understand that the only way to settle this matter, to exonerate himself...is to provide us with the record of sale, as we have demanded so many times already? Let him provide that, and the problem will be over.

He tabled it. So there are no more problems. The hon. member must withdraw his words, because the Prime Minister tabled the record of sale, as the hon. member asked him to.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, they would be all too happy to have the Prime Minister exhonerated when he is in it up to here.

Article 2.1 of the 1999 agreement confirms that the Prime Minister's company “or any third party will have no further property rights or interest in the shares”.

If the Prime Minister signed this document and stated that he had no further property rights, it means that just before signing the 1999 agreement he had an interest, he had property rights and he is in conflict of interest.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member told RDI “The Prime Minister just has to say 'Yes, it was sold, here is the record of sale”'. And that is exactly what the Prime Minister said “Here is the record of sale”.

So the member must withdraw his allegations because they are totally false.

Freshwater ExportsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the premier of Newfoundland has said that he intends to export water in bulk from Gisborne Lake without regard to the well-being of the rest of Canada. Whether that endangers our ability to control our water resources, or anything else, he does not care.

I have a question for the Deputy Prime Minister. The NDP believes it is very important for the federal government today to repudiate in the strongest possible way, not just rhetorically but legislatively if possible, what the premier of Newfoundland has said.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister indicate today that they will bring in a national ban on the bulk export of water?

Freshwater ExportsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the bill on water exports should be debated in the House the week we return from the spring recess.

Freshwater ExportsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, they say ask about something else and then we get that kind of crap for an answer.

Freshwater ExportsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.