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House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was board.

Topics

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, last week was the week before this one, so that clarifies the matter.

I never had any advice and neither did the Deputy Prime Minister who rose and replied in the House. Both the Deputy Prime Minister and myself always believed, and I still believe, that a public institution is not the same thing as a private for profit institution. The minister's job was to promote the interests of his province and to create jobs in his province. The ethics counsellor did not agree and I said that I did not agree with him. He is a counsellor to me but I am not obliged to accept his advice.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister asked the ethics counsellor on June 11 to provide him with a comprehensive report of his activities and advice on September 30 of this year. It would be surprising to find out that this incident was not in there on September 30.

However I want to refer to one other incident. On May 28 the Prime Minister told the media in this country that he was not going to ask the ethics counsellor's opinion on the Holland College matter, yet he has asked his opinion on just about every matter that has been raised in the House.

Is he not going to admit to us that the reason he did not ask for the advice was that he already knew what it was; that it was unethical behaviour?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have said that the Deputy Prime Minister and myself have defended the public institution and the president of that public institution. Clearly for me the matter was closed. Everything I say in the House of Commons is completely public.

The first time I heard about this, again, since I discussed that in June, was last week.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said he would have continued to defend the Solicitor General if he had not resigned, thus opposing the conclusions of his own ethics counsellor who condemns the actions of the former minister.

With this type of attitude, that never acknowledges mistakes, is the Prime Minister not proving that, over and above any rules of ethics, he is short on political ethics?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the member takes time to read the letter, he will see the full explanation given by the former Solicitor General. There was no private interest involved whatsoever. It was public interest, for a college which has existed for generations, which has a very good reputation and which was collaborating in this instance with other Canadian institutions.

In my opinion, therefore, there was no personal interest involved, only the public interest of the people of Prince Edward Island.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to explain the ethics counsellor's recommendation that the Solicitor General resign, if those were the motives. It is rather odd.

Even the best ethical guidelines in the world are of no use in the end if the Prime Minister is always talking of getting around them. Does he realize that the ethical guidelines cannot be of any help when the only thing he is trying to do is, as always, to save his government, save his own skin, and save his ministers, by circumventing the truth?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have accepted his opinions in other circumstances. This is an ethics counsellor and he gives advice.

Last week in the House, the Leader of the Opposition said that, when all is said and done, the Prime Minister is the one who must face up to his responsibilities. And that is exactly what I have done.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, true to form, the Prime Minister continues to defend the indefensible. After having cleared his name in the Auberge Grand-Mère affair, now he is exonerating the former Solicitor General, despite the opinion of his own ethics counsellor.

Is this not a very clear demonstration that even a new code of ethics, when applied using the old mentality, will give the same old results?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in a democracy, there is a Parliament. The Prime Minister becomes Prime Minister and he is responsible before Parliament for decisions that he makes.

I have accepted other resignations in other circumstances. I have asked some ministers to step down in other circumstances. In this case, I believe that the residents of Prince Edward Island should not have suffered discrimination because the minister was the brother of the president of a public college where there were no personal interests involved. The gentleman in question had been working there for a long time on a set salary.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just admitted that in some cases, he has asked for ministers to step down, and in others, he has accepted their resignation.

Did he not accept the former Solicitor General's resignation because the situation in which he found himself is exactly the same situation that the Prime Minister found himself in in the Auberge Grand-Mère affair? It is the exact same situation. Passing judgment on the former Solicitor General would have meant passing judgment on himself.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the situation is quite clear. Obviously the member, who likes to make noise, did not take the time to read the Solicitor General's letter.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

October 23rd, 2002 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

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

When it comes to Kyoto, Liberal leadership is an oxymoron. Enlightened NGOs and progressive unions have had to fill the vacuum, educating the public about climate change.

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union members are in Ottawa today continuing their pro-Kyoto campaign. Quite properly they are demanding that just transition measures for workers and communities be fully integrated into the Kyoto plan.

Will the Prime Minister give assurances today that a just transition fund for workers and communities affected will be integral to the Kyoto implementation plan?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Kyoto protocol will have its full effect in 2012. I cannot promise today what the government will have to do at that time. Is the member trying to find a reason to oppose it now?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the opposite is the case.

It has been obvious from the very beginning that the energy sector would have to undergo a major redefinition, a reorientation with Kyoto implementation. The government needs progressive unions and NGOs to stand with it for Kyoto, but those workers and communities need the government to stand behind them to effect a just transition.

Will the Prime Minister today commit the resources to ensure that integrated into the Kyoto plan from the beginning are the resources for just transition?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing. Now that the time for voting is coming, the member is trying to find a way out.

On this side of the House a great majority of the people know that we have an international obligation to meet because we believe it is very important to do something about climate change. We are thinking not just of the people today, but of the children of our children.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister refused to publish the ethics counsellor's report on the former Solicitor General.

The ethics counsellor's website publishes the reports on ministers who were exonerated, but in the case of reports that prove ministerial wrongdoing, the evidence is kept secret.

Why does the government hide the evidence that leads to changes in cabinet? Will the government publish the full report on the Solicitor General and all other ministers of the government who have been forced to resign?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the advice I received from the ethics counsellor is always a personal and confidential communication. He is a counsellor. In many cases he has advised me on this and that about ministers who have consulted him, members of Parliament, bureaucrats and so on. He tells me what he said and what happened.

In this case he did the same thing, but that led the Solicitor General of the day to resign. The former Solicitor General himself wrote a letter explaining his position and defending his right as the only minister in the cabinet representing his province to defend the interests of his province.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, in Beirut, Canada announced the creation of a fund to support the democratization of countries of the Francophonie, a bonus for good governance. The Francophonie includes ethical issues as one of its criteria.

Does the Prime Minister intend to judge good governance in African countries by using the same criteria that he uses to judge the behaviour of his own ministers?

Does he intend to call on his own experts on ethical issues, including Alfonso Gagliano or the former Solicitor General?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in a recently released international report, Canada ranked number one in the world for ethics in both the public and private sectors.

However, with a mentality such as that of the leader of the fifth party, it is no wonder that Mr. Lord does not want to join such a group.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the number of people disagreeing with the Liberals' approach on Kyoto is growing.

For instance, C.D. Howe president Jack Mintz disagrees. This is what he has to say. He predicts higher energy costs and gas prices. He also says, and this is very important, that low income Canadians will bear the brunt of the cost.

Why are the Liberals so intent on forging ahead with the Kyoto protocol when it is poor Canadians who will bear the brunt of the cost?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have to care about the future climate in Canada.

They are the same people who a few years ago talking to us would say, “Sign NAFTA, make a jump of faith”. Who gave us figures about the number of jobs that would be lost when we engaged with NAFTA?

We made a collective decision that has been good for Canada. It will be the same thing when we sign Kyoto.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister makes an impassioned plea for the environment. He forgets the poor people in Canada, frankly.

This is what Conference Board of Canada economist Jim Frank had to say about the Kyoto protocol. “Ratification has an awful lot of risks.” He said that for consumers, gasoline prices will go up quite a lot.

When will the Liberals admit that the Kyoto protocol will hit every single Canadian consumer in the wallet or the pocketbook? When will they admit that?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when the opposition will admit that some people will be dying in 30 years in Canada because we have not been responsible today.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration were among the first to come to the defence of the former Solicitor General.

We can see why. These are the same two ministers who are linked to the dubious schemes surrounding the hiring of Everest for the tour by the former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Is it not telling that those who are defending the ousted minister are the very ones who are afraid to get caught and who are trying to save their own hides?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am going to defend Lawrence MacAulay because he is a man of honour who has always served—