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House of Commons Hansard #185 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

Commissions of InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, that he did. He gave money to the tulips instead of the firefighters.

Let us look at the government's record when it comes to inquiries. We had an inquiry on the Somalia issue but when it got too close to the truth it was shut down. Will this inquiry be listened to by the government or will it be shut down if it gets too close to the sleaze and corruption?

Commissions of InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, we would like to remind the hon. member that the Somalia inquiry investigated a situation that occurred before this government was elected.

Commissions of InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us try the Krever inquiry which was an independent inquiry. The government let him complete his inquiry and then it completely ignored him. Krever said that compensation should be given to every single victim of hepatitis C but the government said no.

Will the government say no when this investigation is completed or will it listen to it?

Commissions of InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the government, and I in particular, asked for the auditor general's report. The hon. members could not stand us saying yes to doing what was right. We did it anyway.

The auditor general's report will be tabled today. She will make recommendations and we will respond favourably to the recommendations of the auditor general when they are announced in some time from now.

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister defended the brazen misuse of public funds to keep Quebec from attaining sovereignty. He mentioned that Quebec had also procured advertising in L'Almanach du peuple 2001 and that it was not free. He neglected to mention that, at $252 per page, Quebec City got a much better price than Ottawa did, at $6,369 per page.

Since the government is boasting about good management, can the Deputy Prime Minister explain to us today why Ottawa paid 25 times more than Quebec City for the same page?

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the member got his figures, but 101 pages and $650,000 are not the figures that he just mentioned.

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we will come back to these figures; we have all the figures.

Yesterday, the parliamentary secretary misled the House by saying that we had paid the market rate. Yet, there cannot be two different markets.

So, today I am asking him to set the record straight, tell us the truth, act like a responsible parliamentarian and apologize.

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite just made an allegation in which he used figures that were not accurate. I eagerly await his apology.

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, just for the benefit of the minister of public works, $650,000 for 100 pages works out to a hefty $6,500 a page. This is a bit much.

Groupaction was paid a $68,500 commission to act as a middleman between the federal government and L'Almanach du peuple . The government of Quebec paid $30,000 less than the Groupaction commission alone for all these pages, including the sponsorship.

How does the government explain this?

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again for the member opposite—and the Deputy Prime Minister pointed this out yesterday in the House—the Government of Canada took advantage of the opportunity to buy a number of pages in this publication, presenting in a non-partisan manner parliamentarians from both sides of the House and so forth. We did so at the going market rate, with no intention of wasting money.

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the federal government explain that the price paid by Ottawa was 25 times higher—not two times higher, but 25 times higher—than the price paid by Quebec City for the same sponsorship in the same almanac, other than by admitting that their cronies took a very large cut?

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is making allegations about so-called cronies.

This company, as well as all the others, were bidders in 2001. They first bid on a standing offer contract, and those on the standing offer list won a competitive process at the time.

Société Radio-CanadaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the scandals keep piling up with this government. Yet, during this crisis, the voice of Radio-Canada, which is a crucial source of public information, has been silenced.

Convenient, is it not? It may be convenient for the Liberals, but not for the public. The government must show leadership and provide the resources to solve this conflict.

Is it simpler for the government to send money to its friends and wait until the scandals are forgotten?

Société Radio-CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour and Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the union and the management of Radio-Canada met yesterday, May 7. They began a seven day blitz, during which they intend to settle the labour dispute.

I am patiently waiting, along with our mediators, for the conflict at Radio-Canada to be settled.

Société Radio-CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, hear these words that I quote, “It's a strike. Your leaders from CSN don't tell you the truth. My husband is tough. He won't give up.”

With those words, the CBC president's spouse dismissed the Radio Canada lockout as a dispute between the tough guy president and workers with illegitimate grievances.

From Moncton to Montreal to James Bay to Geneva, it is tough all right: tough for Canadians to get solid news from their public broadcaster.

Why is the government determined to abdicate all leadership while tough guy Rabinovitch perpetuates severe inequities and despicable labour practices?

Société Radio-CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour and Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, we understand that when there is a strike and we are negotiating a collective agreement both the employees and the employers must come to the table. They must agree to a new collective agreement. If anybody should understand that, it is the hon. member.

We will not interfere. There are a lot of questions on the table. Yesterday they started a blitz. They are negotiating in good faith for a new collective agreement.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, Groupaction, Challenger jets, Shawinigate, and the list goes on. The Liberals have so many skeletons in their closet they have rented another house.

Today we have learned that the RCMP may have to investigate Lafleur communications that, surprise, surprise, donated $46,000 to the Liberal Party. Public money goes out, Liberal donations come in. It is the anatomy of corruption. At this rate we will have to open more embassies for the Prime Minister's cabinet and cronies. The plot of Liberal patronage thickens.

When will the government clear the air and call a full public inquiry?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, some members of the House asked for the auditor general to prepare a report. I did precisely that.

The auditor general's report will be made public later this afternoon. I intend to table it in the House. She will, following that, be commenting to Canadians generally and to some members of parliament. I will respond to that immediately after and no later than the end of the day this day.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

That is fine, Mr. Speaker, but an internal public audit shows that two companies, Groupaction and Groupe Everest, received 63% of the $43 million dollar annual government sponsorship business. That is quite a return on a Liberal investment.

The RCMP has been implicated by association and having hired Lafleur communications, now owned by Groupaction, it may be in a conflict of interest if called upon to investigate them both. To protect the integrity and reputation of the RCMP, the Prime Minister should immediately call a public inquiry. This is an issue of honesty and public trust.

When will the government call a full public inquiry?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada contributed to the 125th anniversary of the RCMP. It contributes 100% of all other expenditures of the RCMP. To somehow state that constitutes a conflict of interest, I suppose one would have to have a conservative mind to understand that logic.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the prime Minister called home today and said that if there was any wrongdoing then those people would face the justice.

The auditor general has found plenty of wrongdoing: inflated contracts, contracts with no receipts, unqualified sole sourced contractors, all wrapped up with contributions back to the Liberal Party. All Canadian taxpayers demand justice on the mess the Liberals have made of their politically driven handout programs.

Will the Prime Minister allow his exiled crony in Denmark to come home and face the music or will the new public works minister take the fall?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Again, Mr. Speaker, the reason there is any inquiry at all is that the minister of public works asked the auditor general to look into it. The process will take its course.

However I reiterate, if there is knowledge about political contributions being made, it is not because somebody discovered it. They are on the public record. That transparency exists as part of our system and there is nothing illegal about firms making contributions to political parties, and it is public.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadian taxpayers truly appreciate the efforts of Sheila Fraser and her hardworking crew at the auditor general's office. Unfortunately today's report offers scrutiny in only one small area of corruption.

Public works is only the latest department from over there where the Canadians see hard evidence of waste, incompetence and political interference at the expense of taxpayers.

Will the Prime Minister send one of his new $100 million Challengers to bring Alfonso Gagliano back here to answer for his questionable record at public expense, I mean public works?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is being pretty silly about this. The program was audited in the first place by an internal audit ordered in 2000 by the government. A follow up audit was requested by the minister of public works. The information is being disclosed this afternoon.

Every attempt on the part of the government has been made to ensure that all information has been made available and that the audit has been done properly.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, not only has the government been very generous with the companies selected through a competition to co-ordinate its sponsorship program, it even went so far as to give $31.9 million in contracts to Lafleur Communications Marketing, a firm that was not on the list of 15 companies selected after the 1995 and 1997 competitions.

How does the Deputy Prime Minister explain this violation of the government's own rules in the awarding of contracts, if it is not to reward friends for services rendered?