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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

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, under my predecessor, a number of improvements were made to the federal contracting system, following an internal audit report requested by him in 2000. It is on the basis of that internal audit report that the contracting system was improved and that new calls for tenders were made in 2001. As for future improvements, we will have to wait until later today.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, when one refers to one's predecessor, it is because things do not smell too good. The stench of scandal is spreading and, after the revelations made about Public Works Canada, we have now learned that Canadian heritage suffers from the same syndrome and is awarding contracts without calls for tenders.

Does the government realize that an independent public inquiry is becoming more urgent by the day?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, in the contract that we awarded, we included appendix C and schedule 3 to comply with all the Treasury Board rules.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have had enough stonewalling. It is time for the government to start co-operating with investigations into corruption. Canadians want answers, not more excuses. To this end, Alfonso Gagliano must appear before investigators.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister do the right thing and bring the ambassador home right now?

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, I think Canadians are getting a little tired of allegations without any facts. Canadians are tired of hearing allegations that this and that is a scandal and that this and that is wrong without any facts. It is just one giant fishing expedition.

There is a program. Opposition members like it. They like the money that they can ask for under it. If there are administrative problems, we will deal with them. If they have been handled badly, the auditor general will report on that. If there is further action required, of course the government will continue to provide all co-operation that is requested by anyone who is investigating it.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, if it is a fishing expedition, why is the auditor general looking into it? Alfonso Gagliano must give answers. This matter is too serious for more Liberal stonewalling. The blatant waste of taxpayer money and a possible kickback scheme now demands accountability.

Why will the government not tell Alfonso Gagliano to come home immediately?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, because no one looking at the matter is asking for it. Why is the auditor general looking at it? Because we asked her to.

This standing up and making allegations of kickbacks; why do these people not step outside the protection of parliamentary privilege? If they have something that they believe is a kickback, it is against the law, make the allegation outside. If they have any facts, produce the facts and the people responsible will be prosecuted under the law, and we will applaud it.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry is now becoming the mouthpiece of the oil lobby against the Kyoto protocol. On the one hand, he is undermining the agreement from within, by recommending that his colleagues not support ratification, and on the other, he is undermining it from without, by demanding fossil fuel export credits, totally contrary to the logic of the protocol.

Is the minister's new approach not just one more indication of the government's intention to reconsider ratification of the Kyoto protocol and the Bonn and Marrakech agreements?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, not at all. I have made clear on many occasions in the House the government's position. Further, we intend to proceed as we indicated back in 1997 when all first ministers, including the Prime Minister and also the Premier of Alberta, made it clear what the approach should be in handling the issue of ratification of Kyoto. We are doing that, exactly as planned some years ago. We are right on track.

I applaud the hon. member for his interest in the subject, but there is no change on the government side in terms of position.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, now the Minister of Natural Resources is adding his voice to that of the Minister of Industy in this mad rush to defend the oil lobby. Not only does the Minister of Industry want Canada to shirk its environmental and international responsibilities, but the Minister of Natural Resources goes still further by saying that plan B would have to be adopted instead of Kyoto.

Will the minister admit that this is just one more confirmation that Canada is reneging on its intention to ratify the Kyoto protocol?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, when the information from the federal-provincial-territorial committee is made public, which we expect to be in very short order, then there will be a number of options considered by Canadians from coast to coast.

We fully expect all sorts of other organizations, be they from industry or the provinces, also to put forward their views as to what makes an appropriate way for Canada to achieve its goals, which were made back in 1997.

No doubt, there will be many plans, many approaches and many suggestions and we will welcome all of them.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have to say to the Deputy Prime Minister that if this is a fishing expedition, it is one that is about to hook some Liberal bottom feeders.

The auditor general will bring down her indictment later today and she will find that inflated contracts are going to Liberal friends.

When will the government seek the extradition of the Prime Minister from Spain to come back and deal with these serious charges?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, that question is not worthy of a reply.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I say “if the glove fits, you must convict”. This is the most serious scandal that this Prime Minister has ever faced and that is saying a lot. Gagliano was shipped off to Denmark as damage control. We have the immigration minister who has been muzzled now and the stink is really starting to spread.

When will the government call in an independent judge to take charge of this contracts for cronies controversy?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, is the member suggesting that the auditor general is not independent? A moment ago the opposition members were applauding her and her staff.

The independence is there. The auditor general makes certain recommendations. I hope that the member will stand and apologize for suggesting that somehow or other it was an indictment.

If there is evidence of criminal activity, let them bring it forward. I can say to the hon. member that we on this side will welcome the aggressive prosecution under criminal proceedings of anyone who has a committed a criminal act because we too would condemn it

Private Members' BusinessOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, in response to my question, the government House leader admitted that the system for private members' business was not working well, to say the least, and invited us to take part in a round table. Last week, I and about thirty other members did just that. The discussions were productive. A number of consensuses seem to be emerging.

My question is for the chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. When does he expect to report to the House on what was discussed at this round table so that we can take this further?

Private Members' BusinessOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

The standing committee has been working hard on private members' business. We want to thank all members who participated in the round table on private members' business.

Suggestions from that round table will be used by our steering committee to plan further steps to strengthen private members' business. The steering committee will meet the first Tuesday after the break and the member's concerns will be addressed at that time.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

May 8th, 2002 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

The real corruption story, so to speak, in the House is not just Groupaction; it is the way the Liberal position on Kyoto has been corrupted. It has gone from one of commitment to one of cowardice now when it comes to the Kyoto accord.

The Minister of the Environment used to talk about his intention, then he talked about his preference and now he is talking about having to make a decision. The Liberal government's position on Kyoto has changed. Perhaps he could explain why the position has changed and when it is going to go back to being what it was, which was one of ratification.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, a press release back in 1997 following the Kyoto agreement stated that the first ministers agreed to establish a process in advance of Canada's ratification of the Kyoto protocol that will examine the consequences of Kyoto and provide for full participation of the provincial and territorial governments with the federal government in any implementation and management of the protocol.

We are following a plan laid out some years ago by a joint decision of the Prime Minister and the premiers of the provinces and territories. I fail to see how there has been any change in what I have just read out.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government security tax on air travellers, Canada's new GST, is just a cynical Liberal tax grab preying on people's anxiety since the events of September 11. Take the airport in Thompson, Manitoba. People who fly from Thompson to Winnipeg have to pay the tax even though the airport is not required to have security.

Why is the Minister of Finance making people pay for security they are not receiving? Will he not admit this was an ill-conceived tax grab and repeal it immediately?

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport has already explained that extensive security measures have already been put in place throughout the entire airline system. Further measures are going in week after week. The situation is being brought up to where it really must be. The government has made it very clear that it is not going to make any money on this but it is going to ask those who benefit from the service to pay for it.

I simply remind the hon. member that of the $7.5 billion in national security expenditures, over $5.5 billion were paid for by the general taxpaying public.

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is clear from the sponsorship affair that the government is suffering from a political gangrene, which is slowly but surely eating away at its core.

Its system of patronage, perhaps corruption is a better word, leaves an odour of abject political decomposition on the other side of the House.

When are we going to get an independent public inquiry?

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the member can use all the colourful language he likes but, if he does not mind my saying so, it will not get him very far.

The fact remains that the auditor general gave me her report, which I will be tabling in about 11 minutes. I am told that she will appear before a parliamentary committee at that time and that she will have a statement for the press at 3.30 p.m. I will give my reactions immediately afterwards.

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, Lafleur, Groupaction, Polygone, Columbia, Everest, and so on—with each passing week, we learn more and more about how taxpayers' money has been squandered in the sponsorship scandal. An RCMP investigation is in the works, and a good thing.

But if the Prime Minister, who is in Europe, really wanted to save taxpayers money, could he not take Alfonso by the hand and bring him home to face the RCMP's questions and, at the same time, suspend the sponsorship program for the companies involved?

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we continue to hear baseless allegations. The member is making allegations without any information to back them up.

We have already pointed out that it was the minister himself who asked the auditor general to conduct an investigation. This afternoon, we will table the auditor general's report. I think it would behoove the member to have a little patience.