This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #20 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was treaties.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again let me explain the process here. This occurred a number of years ago under the process in place at that time. The department wishing to have a certain advertising service set up a requisition. That requisition, as is the normal case, included a suggestion, but it was not the prerogative of the requisitioning department to make the decision. The prerogative rested with the Department of Public Works and the officials in that department at that time.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, no matter whose prerogative it was, there are e-mails out there that were denied. The minister insisted that Mr. Farley's e-mail was untrue. The minister's director of communications used even more creative language and told reporters to check with Mr. Farley. They did and Mr. Farley said exactly this, that he stood behind his e-mail which said that “The Secretary of State wants to hire Everest as the agency”.

To clear this up, will the minister turn this over this afternoon to the ethics counsellor and tell him to talk to all sides and get to the bottom of this so that we do not spend another few weeks in Parliament going around contracts? To get to the bottom of it, that is what the ethics counsellor is for--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the issue here is who had the authority to take the decision. Under the processes existing at that time the decision was taken by the Department of Public Works, not by the Department of Canadian Heritage, not by the secretary of state, but by the Department of Public Works. The officials who had the responsibility at that time exercised their judgment and made a choice, but it was their decision, not one resting with some other minister.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time that the immigration minister has tried to convince us that he has no close ties to Groupe Everest. In May he admitted being a guest in a Groupe Everest luxury condo after denying it in an interview in 2000.

Given his history, it is not hard to understand that we do not believe what is going on here. We think this should be turned over to the ethics counsellor. We have a contradiction here between the minister and his top bureaucrat. Let us find out who is telling the truth.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I obviously have no authority in relation to the matters that the hon. gentleman is suggesting, but I have looked at the records in my department to indicate what transpired at the time. What those records reveal is that an appropriate procedure was followed. A department needed certain services. It requisitioned those services from a pre-qualified list of suppliers. The selection of the firm from that pre-qualified list was made by the officials within the Department of Public Works.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, since the public works minister admits he has no authority, I will ask the Deputy Prime Minister.

There seems to be a pattern here. The immigration minister has stayed at the Everest condo, denied it and then eventually had to come clean.

Why does the Deputy Prime Minister not save the immigration minister a lot of pain and just ask the ethics counsellor to investigate this and find out in fact whether the e-mail was correct or the minister's statement was correct?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again the issue is the question of who made the decision. The evidence that appears on the file in my department is that the decision was taken by the officials vested with that responsibility, and it was the officials within the Department of Public Works. The Department of Canadian Heritage could make a recommendation, as is its prerogative, but it does not make the decision.

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, in October 2000, the Prime Minister justified an early election by saying that he had very valid reasons because, for the first time, there was a budget surplus, and before spending this money, the government should ask Canadians what they wanted as a society.

Does the Minister of Finance realize that the promises made by the Prime Minister are a long way away from being kept and that, instead of asking Canadians anything, the only thing that he and his predecessor have done is to hide the surpluses and prevent a public debate on their use?

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there was a big debate in the fall of 2000 and the government was re-elected. I consider the support of Canadians as clearly based on the fact that they prefer surpluses over deficits.

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, no one is arguing against the use of part of the surpluses to pay down the debt. However, contrary to what the government is stating, the Auditor General has said that there is no legislation that requires that 100% of the surplus be used to pay down the debt.

How then can the Minister of Finance justify his behaviour and that of his predecessor, whereby they arbitrarily siphoned off billions of dollars to pay down debt without any public debate on the decision?

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have just determined, with the confirmation of the Auditor General, the surplus for the financial year ending March 31. How can we turn back time to last year, to reduce last year's surplus by spending? We need to be logical here.

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only does the government deny the existence of a fiscal imbalance, but it is also cutting the provinces' financing for health and resorting to one accounting trick after another to hide surpluses, all of which go toward paying down the debt.

How can the Minister of Finance have the gall to tell us that he has no choice, when the Auditor General has said the opposite?

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the coming years, transfers to the provinces will increase by 6%, while it is estimated that government revenue will grow by 2%. If we can do more, we will. The Prime Minister has said so, the Minister of Finance has said so, the Minister of Health has said so, and I am saying so once again.

One thing is certain: the Government of Canada will not go back into deficit. We will help the provinces within the financial capability of Canadians.

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, even the Auditor General is calling for a debate when she says, “I hope we will be able to have a good discussion in parliamentary committee and make it clear to parliamentarians that there are no laws or accounting rules forcing them to reduce the debt”.

Does the Minister of Finance realize that he is doing many things to prevent any debate on the use of surpluses, which do not belong to him but to the people?

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am very interested in what the Auditor General says, but I am sure she would agree that forecasting surpluses or deficits is more of an art than a science. We have the example of the United States, which had forecast a surplus of $235 billion for the year just ended, but ran a $165 billion deficit instead.

Since we do not know whether or not we will have a surplus, how do we know how we will be spending it, before the end of the year?

Missile Defence ShieldOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, this government is silent on the U.S. missile defence shield project. In order to make it easier to convince Canada to support their views, the Americans are directly contacting Canadian businesses, such as Canadian Aviation Electronics, to ask them to join in the program.

My question is for the Minister of National Defence. Does this government support the U.S. missile defence shield project, yes or no?

Missile Defence ShieldOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada has made no decision but is keeping an open mind about the U.S. ballistic missile defence project.

With respect to CAE, I would like to remind the hon. member that it is a private company that does not act on behalf of the Canadian government.

Missile Defence ShieldOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is participating de facto in the American missile defence project. CAE has already received $72 million in federal funds in partnership with Boeing. This company is involved in the NMD and the Canadian government is funding it.

The government says that it has not made up its mind and it turns around and subsidizes a corporation that is running simulations for the project.

Why does the government not simply admit it is supporting the missile defence program? What kind of policy hijacking is this?

Missile Defence ShieldOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, may I remind the hon. member again that CAE is a private company. It does not act on behalf of the Canadian government. No decision has been made on national missile defence system.

There are three items here. One is our commitment to NATO, one is our commitment to NORAD and one is our commitment to interoperability with the Americans.

I remind the member that CAE is a private company.

ByelectionsOral Question Period

November 1st, 2002 / 11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are currently three vacancies in the House of Commons: Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, Berthier—Montcalm and Perth--Middlesex. This morning the Prime Minister called only two of those byelections.

Why is the Prime Minister treating the voters in Perth--Middlesex as second class citizens by denying them the same opportunity to elect a representative to defend their interests in the House of Commons? How can the government defend this blatant double standard?

ByelectionsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there is no double standard and the right hon. member should know that. He should know that the last vacancy occurred only a few days ago as a result of an illness. His colleagues are familiar with that. Out of respect, he should also know that gives very little time for the election to be called and for the people of Canada in that particular constituency to choose a representative.

The member has been here a long time and I think he would have known all these things.

ByelectionsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the way to demonstrate respect for the people of this country is to give every citizen the same opportunity to have a representative in the House of Commons. The government has just denied that basic principle.

He cannot hide behind the time it takes to call a byelection. The Prime Minister could have called a byelection in Perth--Middlesex at the same time if he wanted to. He chose to deepen the democratic deficit. He is taking it out on the people of Perth--Middlesex. Why are they being treated with such a double standard?

ByelectionsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. member talks about the respect for the electorate. Should he not know that the electorate has the right to choose in all political parties, democratically, candidates to represent them in the election? Why does he have so little respect as to want to deny that process to them because of a vacancy which occurred only a few days ago?

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General suggested that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is responsible for the delay in preventing Hezbollah from engaging in certain activities in Canada. I do not agree.

Does the minister think that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is too slow, too busy doing other things or, maybe, afraid of making a recommendation to the Liberals? What is the reason?