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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

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not up to him to make suggestions, but that is exactly what he did. While we are at it, if the Government of Quebec got rid of the entire ministry of culture, that would make up for 10 weeks of the fiscal imbalance. If it eliminated all regional development assistance, that would be the equivalent of about four weeks of the fiscal imbalance.

Will the Minister of Finance acknowledge that the serious problem of the fiscal imbalance cannot be solved with simplistic solutions, and that his suggestion is to eliminate everything that makes Quebec Quebec, so that it winds up like any other province?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is up to the Government of Quebec to set its own priorities. If it is a priority for the province to have representatives around the world, it is up to Quebec to explain it to their constituents. It is not my place to decide.

However—and this is what I said in Montreal on Friday—if we could work together by reducing the problems between the different levels of government, by reducing the overlap, we might be able to pursue objectives that we have in common.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has proposed that the Government of Quebec close all of its foreign delegations, thus saving $100 million to remedy the fiscal imbalance.

Yet the problem of fiscal imbalance is costing the Quebec government somewhere in the vicinity of $50 million weekly. Instead of focussing on cuts to Quebec's budget, would the Minister of Finance not be better off looking closer to home, getting rid of the private foundations, eliminating interference in areas of provincial jurisdiction and putting an end to his propaganda aimed at Quebec?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. On shared projects, we can work together. Projects like the Séguin report, however, with its 20-year revenue projections, are not at all a basis on which to work together.

I believe the people of Quebec and the rest of Canada have lost patience with governments constantly trying to point the finger of blame at each other.

We need to work together. That is what I said in Montreal.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Auditor General, billions of dollars are lying dormant in private foundations set up by the federal government in order to encroach upon areas of provincial jurisdiction. We are also aware that millions more have been spent on propaganda in Quebec alone, not to mention a multitude of other needless expenditures.

Instead of making simplistic proposals, would the Minister of Finance not be better off cleaning up his own budgetary act and opening up a dialogue with the provinces, in order to solve the problem of fiscal imbalance for once and for all?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, a problem that does not exist cannot be solved. The provinces have the same revenue sources as the federal government, and others as well, lottery revenues for instance.

We all have an obligation to control spending and the public has its priorities. That is what we must focus on. We must stop blaming each other. We must find real solutions in order to meet the priorities of Canadians.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

October 7th, 2002 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

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

Last week the government announced the appointment of Howard McNutt as the director of the CBC. The press release listed many of Mr. McNutt's previous occupations and stated that he is a member of the board of directors of a number of organizations in the country. What the release failed to mention however is that Howard McNutt's relationship is with the Liberal Party and with Compass Communications, which is a long time Liberal tied marketing agency in Halifax.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister explain to the House why the government made a political appointment to the board of the CBC?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the CBC is governed by a board of directors appointed independently from the government.

Surely, the position the government takes is finding the best qualified people to ensure there is a strong, healthy CBC that speaks for all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Let me explain further, Mr. Speaker. Howard McNutt has ties with both the Liberal Party and Compass Communications. Compass Communications is a member of the Groupaction consortium that is at the centre of an RCMP investigation of government sponsorship contracts. Even more, Compass is one of the firms that has lost its exclusive contract in management sponsorship grants.

My question for the Deputy Prime Minister is the following. Can the government explain why it rewarded Mr. McNutt, an individual with links to a firm currently under RCMP investigation?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, again I would like to repeat that the role of the government is to appoint a board of directors to manage the day to day operations of the CBC which the hon. member knows is independent and a crown corporation.

What the government does do is effects the policy for the CBC. As the hon. member knows, the heritage committee is actually in the process of examining the Broadcasting Act and the role of the CBC and how and when directors should be appointed. I am sure that report will be tabled in December and we can discuss it at that time.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the ethics counsellor can sort that one out too.

The plot thickens in P.E.I. In a note prepared by the executive director of the Canadian Police College it indicates the minister's adviser, David Nicholson, was actually acting on behalf of the minister's brother's college.

Was the minister's adviser, Mr. Nicholson, acting as a lobbyist for the minister's brother's college while employed by the office of the solicitor general? If the minister can follow that one, please tell us.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Gerry Byrne LiberalMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member refers to the minister's brother's college, he should point out this as well. It is news to the 14 member board of governors of Holland College that it is owned or has been sold to a Mr. Alex MacAulay. That is news to the 14 member board of governors. It is also news to the provincial legislature because Holland College was created by a statute of the provincial government legislature. It is news to the minister of education. I am also sure that it is news to the premier of the province. I am sure it is also news to the maritime provinces' higher education commission.

If the member wants to start--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, that was a nice attempt at distraction by the minister responsible for ACOA. What is news is there is a Senate vacancy for P.E.I.

Examples of patronage and ethical lapses by the Liberals seem to be piling up on the island. Last February the federal government announced a $5 million improvement to the Confederation Centre of the Arts. The minister bragged of this last week.

Could the minister advise whether that $5 million contract was (a) untendered and (b) awarded to P.E.I. Liberal Party president, Tim Banks, the same Mr. Banks who holds the $17 million contract and lease for the Greenwich development centre in the minister's riding?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Gerry Byrne LiberalMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, while the hon. member is trying to create some news, we will just clarify.

The Confederation Centre of the Arts is an incredibly important project. In fact, everybody in the House understands extremely well the value and credibility of it. It was all done in proper order.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, information trickles out in bits and pieces as the solicitor general sees fit. He tells us only what he thinks we need to know. The four exceptions to sole sourcing a contract are: one, it must be under $25,000; two, it must be an emergency; three, it can only be filled by a supplier; or four, it is not in the public interest to solicit bids.

Today I ask the Treasury Board minister, which one of these four criteria was used when awarding the contract to the solicitor general's friend?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I indicated last Friday in a press release all the details of what took place with this contract. As my hon. colleague must have heard, it was publicly posted. It was issued under Treasury Board guidelines. The rules were followed.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General has had four days to come clean to the House and explain his actions. Instead he slowly dribbles out his version of the truth. Now the Treasury Board minister fails to answer. She will not do so.

The Treasury Board guidelines state that only contracts under $25,000 can be sole sourced. Is there anybody on that side of the House who is willing to stand in his or her place and tell the taxpayers of Canada what criteria was used to hire the Solicitor General's friend?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague, I suspect, is well aware the contract was awarded to a firm, not an individual. It was given under Treasury Board guidelines and it was also publicly posted. In fact, those are the details. Whether the opposition likes it or not, those are the details and the guidelines were followed.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, the Minister of Public Works said he would make enquiries about the contract awarded to Everest for the tour by the former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport.

Is the Minister of Public works able to table Heritage Canada's request to Public Works Canada for Everest's services, the supporting reasons and the response to Heritage Canada's request?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am advised that prior to the particular contract that has been referred to, a competitive process was indeed used to select a number of firms to be placed on the pre-qualified supplier list for advertising and related services on behalf of both the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Department of Public Works and Government Services. Groupe Everest was one of the firms that was on that list and that list was established by a competitive process.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois asked Heritage Canada for the list of companies eligible for government contracts. The department refused to provide it, suggesting we should request it under the Access to Information Act.

If Heritage Canada will not provide us with the information, is it not because Everest was not on the list and the heritage minister was bypassed by going to Public Works to go along with the request by the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I gathered from the line of questioning last week that that might well have been the allegation that the hon. gentleman was making. I have made inquiries and I am advised that in fact there was a standing offer in place and that it was available to both the Departments of Public Works and Canadian Heritage.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, in 1996 the government encouraged senior officials to break the rules governing sponsorship contracts. The rule of law was disregarded in pursuit of raw political ambition. This trend continues today with the actions of the Solicitor General.

Why do the government and the Prime Minister continue to place Liberal Party politics above independent ethical standards by refusing to appoint an independent ethics commissioner?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, we have said that the guidelines Treasury Board has for issuing contracts were respected in the matter of which the hon. member complains. Second, at his initiative, the ethics counsellor is reviewing the matter. The hon. member should at least wait until the ethics counsellor has had a chance to review it and to give his report to the Prime Minister.