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House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, if in fact that is the case, if the rules were followed, why will the government not allow an independent commissioner to examine the facts?

Canadians are demanding that steps are taken to restore the credibility of the government. Departmental reviews and RCMP investigations are simply inadequate when it is the Prime Minister's Office that is encouraging the officials to breach the rule of law.

Since the Prime Minister refuses to appoint an independent ethics commissioner, will the Minister of Public Works finally sum up the courage to demand a full judicial inquiry into the Prime Minister's--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The Hon. Minister of Public Works.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, on many occasions during the month of June I outlined a series of steps, indeed layers of series of steps, that were being taken to get to the bottom of this matter and to provide a complete ventilation of what went on.

I am pleased to inform the House that there are two further steps being taken. First, a time verification audit in respect of some of the matters that raise particular concern has now been launched and is proceeding. Second, my deputy minister, as stated before a standing committee of the House, has launched an administrative review to examine compliance with the Financial Administration Act with the Government of Canada.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the sponsorship issue, every time the opposition seeks answers from the government, it is told that police investigations are underway.

Will the Minister of Public Works admit that the police investigations have nothing to do with the sensational revelations made last week by Chuck Guité about the sponsorship scandal, revelations about the relations between the Prime Minister's office, the Prime Minister himself and those involved in the scandal? Will he admit that the investigations do not deal with that at all?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, no such thing. There are two broad types of inquiries or investigations that are now underway.

First, as the hon. gentleman will know, launched by the Auditor General with respect to a government wide advertising and sponsorship activity. The House knows that the Auditor General will go wherever she has to go to investigate matters.

Similarly with the RCMP. If a matter is referred to the RCMP it is not for the government to interfere. The RCMP will investigate whatever it chooses to investigate.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP investigations deal only with the administrative aspects of the cases. At this time, there is nothing in any investigation having to do with the revelations made by Chuck Guité about the relations between the Prime Minister's office and the players in the sponsorship scandal.

How will we get at the truth about the role played by the Prime Minister and his office in the sponsorship scandal? There is no investigation into that at the present time.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, in all of my work in this portfolio over the last number of months I have found no evidence to substantiate the type of allegation the hon. gentleman is making.

I would suggest to the House that the two most effective, the two most qualified, the two most probing investigators that one could have in circumstances of this kind are, on the one hand, the Auditor General of Canada and, on the other hand, the RCMP.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, it turns out the lobbyist helping Bombardier got the untendered contract for new jets received a cool million dollars for his trouble. That is pretty good pay for three months work, considering no other company was allowed to even bid. This is sort of like a modern day Canadian Karlheinz Schreiber.

Apparently the need for ministerial comfort was so important, the tendering process, expert advice and legal niceties were all tossed into that big round filing cabinet in the corner.

Does the government believe that the million dollar lobbying fee was paid to promote the Challenger jet, or was it paid to ensure that no other firm was even allowed to bid?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, having looked at the record of this matter in terms of all of the steps that need to be examined to conclude an effective procurement of goods on behalf of the Government of Canada, it would appear that all of those steps were properly followed in this case.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, Shandong Airlines of China ordered four 604 Challenger jets from Bombardier for $100 million. Shandong cancelled two of those jets and then the Prime Minister bought them, two of them, for $100 million, twice the price. It is lucky for taxpayers Shandong did not cancel all four.

After all those years of free money for its friends and relatives at Bombardier, why did the government pay double the Chinese airline price? Why did it pay double?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, to the very best of my knowledge and information, the calculation that is causing some confusion for the hon. gentleman is that the Shandong transaction was calculated in American dollars and the transaction with the Government of Canada was contracted in Canadian dollars and that entirely accounts for the difference.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Central and Eastern Europe and Middle East. Two years ago today, three Israeli soldiers were abducted by Hezbollah while patrolling the Israeli side of the Lebanon-Israel border. This abduction occurred after Israel withdrew from Lebanon in accordance with UN resolution 425.

Would the government tell the House what it has done to assist Israel in bringing its soldiers home?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Elgin—Middlesex—London Ontario

Liberal

Gar Knutson LiberalSecretary of State (Central and Eastern Europe and Middle East)

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleague for her question and I applaud her interest in this issue.

The case of the abducted Israeli soldiers is another tragic chapter in the continuing cycle of violence and instability in the region. Canada deplores such kidnappings. Our sympathies go to the families of the soldiers suffering from uncertainty around the fate of their loved ones.

Canada made inquiries about the situation in May 2001 at the request of the Government of Israel. We communicated our findings to the Israelis at that time. Since that time several ministers and senior officials from Canada have raised this issue during their visits to the region. They have not had an opportunity to meet with the families to inform them of their efforts.

I join with--

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

HealthOral Question Period

October 7th, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government is fuelling the perception that to get good health care in this country one needs a good pile of cash.

On the one hand, Mario Dumont and the ADQ are using the government's laissez-faire attitude to promote one health care system for the rich and another for the poor.

On another side the former Leader of the Opposition demonstrated what is wrong when he jumped the queue and went to a private MRI clinic last week.

When will the health minister get a grip on the privatization situation and start cracking down on violations of the Canada Health Act?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have said on a number of occasions in the House that if in fact there is a violation of one of the five principles of the Canada Health Act we investigate those violations; we work with provincial officials. If we conclude that there is a violation that cannot be resolved, we have the power to withhold transfer payments.

The hon. member raises a very important question in and around the renewal of our health care system. Obviously we all await with great interest both Senator Kirby's and Commissioner Romanow's reports. Both will be coming in the coming months. I know that the hon. member will have much to say about the renewal of our health--

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Churchill.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, air carrier WestJet announced Friday that it would be reducing services on short haul flights and cutting service to Thompson, Manitoba. Air Canada has also reduced services. Increased fees, including the government's airport security tax, have added to passenger costs and deterred air travel.

The government exploited the September 11 attack and implemented the security tax, insisting we would have improved security. However a person can board a plane in Thompson and fly to Winnipeg and never pass through a security gate, yet the person is still required to pay the security tax.

When will the government admit the security tax is a cash grab that is negatively affecting air access, especially to Canadians in rural and smaller communities.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the design of the security charge was that users would pay the additional expenses that were incurred to provide the level of security that Canadians want and expect at their airports.

We will be reviewing the level of the charge together with the level of expenditures during the course of the coming months to determine whether the amount of the charge was appropriately determined. I would point out that the decline in use is related to many things other than simply the additional charge.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General's intention to award his most recent sole source contract was posted on the government's advanced contract awards system on March 15, 2001. Obviously the Prime Minister's Office knew that Mr. Roche had been the minister's official agent.

Why did the Prime Minister not refer this potential conflict of interest to the ethics counsellor at that time? Was the PMO asleep, or was it in collusion?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the matter is being reviewed by the ethics counsellor at the present time. Perhaps we could all do well to wait for his report.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, thank you King John.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. However respectful the title, the right. hon. member knows very well that he must refer to other hon. members by their proper title or by their constituency name. He would not want to get into disputes about the monarchy at this time I am sure.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, less than 24 hours after the public knew that the former Minister of National Defence had given a contract to a friend, the ethics counsellor had passed on advice to the Prime Minister, and the minister was out of cabinet 24 hours. Yet 72 hours have now passed since the ethics counsellor launched his investigation respecting the Solicitor General.

Has the ethics counsellor given advice to the Prime Minister? Why is this investigation taking so much longer? When does the Prime Minister expect to receive advice from the ethics counsellor respecting the Solicitor General and his solicitous interest in his friends?