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House of Commons Hansard #195 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-55.

Topics

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I explained very clearly yesterday that a minister has the responsibility to represent his riding and to represent his province.

I understand that the Leader of the Opposition does not like Atlantic Canada very much. His record as the Leader of the Opposition in two weeks is pretty good. He has managed to insult Quebecers on bilingualism and--

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker--

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. We are having trouble today. I know there are strong differences of view in light of recent statements but we have to proceed with question period and we would like a little order so that we can get on with it. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian Alliance Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to see an Atlantic Canada where Atlantic Canadians do not have to have friends in the federal cabinet to get equal treatment from the government. Instead of rationalizing the pork-barrel politics that the government practices in the region, did the Prime Minister make any attempt before exonerating the solicitor general to seek any kind of ethics advice on the solicitor general's behaviour?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when a member of parliament is representing institutions of education that give some courses of great quality to make the young people of that province first citizens of Canada with all the abilities to serve their country, these programs apply to P.E.I. just like the $5 million that was given to the University of Calgary, the $10 million that was given to the University of Alberta and the $10 million that was given to the University of Saskatchewan.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is not just the RCMP. We have now learned that the college of the solicitor general's brother received millions of tax dollars. It received it from ACOA when this minister was the minister for ACOA. It received the distinction of being the only college in Canada to receive transitional jobs fund money.

Why can the Prime Minister not admit the solicitor general was just wrong to pressure his own departments to fund projects spearheaded by his brother?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the brother was the president of a university. The government would never deprive a university or the people of a province because it happens in a family that one brother is the head of a school and the other brother is serving the Canadian people very honourably in the Parliament of Canada.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

May 30th, 2002 / 2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, any suggestion, whether it is real or perceived, that the independence of the RCMP has been compromised is extremely serious. This may be difficult for the ethically challenged members of the government to comprehend, but Canadians must have confidence that the RCMP can do their job without the fear of reprisal or interference from their political masters.

I ask the Prime Minister, does he in fact condone the solicitor general lobbying the very organization that he controls? Yes or no.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when a member of parliament and a cabinet minister receives a request by a citizen of his province to apply for programs that exist in the department under his responsibility, it is his duty to transmit that request to the officials so that the people of his province and his riding will not be penalized because he is serving Canada as a minister.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we look at Airbus, we look at APEC and we look at Shawinigate. The government is mired in allegations of political interference with the RCMP.

The Prime Minister's defence of the solicitor general putting political pressure on the RCMP for financial favours substantiates those well founded allegations.

How will the Prime Minister restore Canadians' faith that the RCMP can operate free of political interference after he condoned and defended the solicitor general lobbying the RCMP?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am listening to these people being sanctimonious.

I have an ad here. The Leader of the Opposition was working for a member of parliament, Jim Hawkes, in the House. A few weeks later he ran against him and the National Citizens Coalition spent $50 million asking the people to defeat Jim Hawkes, the former boss of this person. After that they come to us and talk about integrity?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the minister of immigration, who stayed at Claude Boulay's condo, the Minister of Justice is also connected to Groupe Everest.

His current chief of staff secured a $56,000 contract for Everest for the Games of la Francophonie, and his former deputy minister violated the code of ethics when, for $7 million, Everest, which employed his wife, became “the” communication firm for CED.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the network linking the ministers, their entourage and the firms run by friends of the government is so tightly knit that a public inquiry is necessary to find out the extent of that network?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, as regards my political chief of staff, I wish to point out to the Bloc Quebecois leader that she is a childhood friend.

Second, her communication officer, Carole Lavallée, is a former member of Groupe BDDS. Are we going to make a big issue of this?

Third, as regards the communication contracts awarded by CED—and I am no longer responsible for CED—I want to point out that we do not get involved in the process. But perhaps there is indeed a problem and we should redefine the ministerial power, so that we could play our role.

When people vote for us—

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the core of this network where contracts are awarded in exchange for contributions to the Liberal Party of Canada, we find, on the government side, three key figures: Alfonso Gagliano, the minister of immigration and the Minister of Justice. These are the people who, since 1993, have been the chief organizers for the Liberals in Quebec.

Since his Quebec lieutenants are key members of this network, will the Prime Minister recognize at last that a public inquiry is in order to shed light on the whole political dimension of this new gimmick?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, at the request of the opposition, we have asked a House of Commons official, namely the auditor general, to look into all these issues.

The auditor general will report to us. Those who committed illegal acts, if any, will be prosecuted. This is how we have always proceeded.

If an investigation reveals that individuals have committed criminal offences, they must be tried before the courts. If they received excessive amounts of money, they must give that money back.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in coming to the defence of the minister of immigration, the minister of justice told us a lot more than he intended to by saying “In my opinion, the minister ought to have the opportunity to speak out, to make an official statement. Let us put an end to the hypocrisy”.

By indicating that he feels the minister ought to make an official statement, is this not a confirmation that at present, ministers express their opinion, but in an unofficial manner, through their staff, and that he would wish it could be done openly?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, what I am saying essentially, and I think this is important, is that we are being criticized within a process in which many ministers here do not have the opportunity to act as far as our various powers are concerned.

What I am saying is that there is a malaise from the point of view of how political power is exercised. I think we may have reached a crossroads where we must ask what the exercise of power is, what ministers must do within the powers and the mandates assigned to them.

People vote for us every four or five years, and expect us to exercise these powers. The same goes for backbenchers. Should we give them more power within their ridings?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister of justice has just shown us his true colours.

He and his cabinet colleagues are trying to intervene. They do so via their staff, via third parties, and are unhappy about it because they do not always win out. When they do get their way, however, their little friends stand to benefit.

I would ask this of the minister of justice: Does his point of view not lead directly to a system of patronage, but an open one, as opposed to the existing one, which is rather secret, as long as the opposition does not speak up?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, my words have been seriously misrepresented. What I said is absolutely clear and explicit.

What I am saying is that politicians are elected every four or five years. We have certain powers. What I am saying is that, even when we do not have those powers, we are criticized.

If we are going to be criticized, let us ensure that the various ministerial powers can be rethought, political power restored, perhaps even redefined, and that, in this context, we can make sure we get the best quality at the best price, and the best service, and that all of this can be accomplished in harmony.

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is preoccupied with Liberal double crossing, but could he turn his attention for a moment to a broader concern; the severe crisis in Africa.

Ten million people in southern Africa alone face starvation. The Prime Minister promised lasting solutions from the G-8, but his officials are now running around dampening expectation.

Canada's foreign aid is below .3% of GDP, far below the .7% UN target. Why does the Prime Minister not keep his promise and increase Canada's foreign aid immediately to the .7%? That would be integrity.

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for two years we have increased our program by 8% a year and it is going up every year. On top of that increase, we have allocated $500 million for the next three years to be applied specifically, above the previous programs, to new programs for the people of Africa.

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister fancies himself as the champion of African development, as the champion of democratic rights and freedoms. Yet as of May 25 the International Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Development is operating without a president at a time when its work on African development on human rights and democracy in the context of terrorism is desperately important.

Why has the Prime Minister allowed the appointment of one of his most loyal, competent and respected former colleagues, Warren Allmand, to expire with no replacement?