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House of Commons Hansard #202 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was compensation.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary should inform himself.

The public works minister said he would not defend the indefensible yet more RCMP investigations and the suspending of business with some Liberal ad firms will not suffice.

These are not administrative errors. These are not coincidences that Liberals are consistently the beneficiaries of rich Liberal contracts. This is part of a deliberate plan by the Liberal Party to preserve power. The equation is simple: Liberal contacts equal Liberal contracts. Greenwich development is a prime example.

Will the government suspend the payment of this rich rental reward program until a full forensic audit is complete?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Beauharnois—Salaberry Québec

Liberal

Serge Marcil LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is important to understand one thing. First, the interpretive centre's construction was entirely funded by the APM through public-private partnership. Then, the lease was signed with Parks Canada.

Therefore, there is a big difference between the facts and the hon. member's fanciful imagination.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, thanks to a diligent Globe and Mail reporter and not the questionable internal audits at public works, we learned that the government shelled out $330,000 for a fish and game show that never took place and it never demanded the money back. It is still sitting there.

It is becoming clear that the entire Liberal cabinet sat by while taxpayers are on the hook for another outrageous abuse of their money. If, as the minister says, he is truly serious about accountability and transparency, will he stand up today and tell us which of his cabinet colleagues on his committee signed off on dirty deals like this?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as the media have reported, this file causes me deep concern. I have asked my officials to review it very carefully. That process is ongoing and I would confirm that they have referred it to the appropriate police authorities.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Another referral is great, Mr. Speaker, but where is the money? Why is the government not demanding the money back if it did not buy the services that were offered?

Canadians can no longer trust the government to help clean up this mess. We need a full blown public inquiry. When will the minister announce one?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, on the issue of recovery of the money, I would confirm that I commenced those proceedings this morning.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's reaction to the sponsorship programs scandal really confirmed that it was aware of these scandalous affairs and directly involved in them.

How can the Prime Minister explain that, instead of getting Canadians' money back, his government's first response was to meet with the firms involved that benefited from the system to warn them all to be careful in the future?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, immediately upon the conclusion of the internal audit corrective measures began to be taken. Those measures were implemented throughout the course of 2001 and continued to the spring of this year. In the spring of this year my predecessor sent the internal auditors back in to verify that in fact the appropriate action had been taken, of which they were able to do in the spring of this year.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that these measures have not yet been very successful. New scandals come to light everyday.

The second cover-up attempt by the government was to implement a communications strategy to keep the affair out of the public eye.

Will the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister admit that by acting in such a manner, the government put the interests of the Liberal Party of Canada ahead of the public interest, and that this is unacceptable? This man, the Prime Minister, violated his oath of office.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the evidence shows that the internal audit was published on the Internet on October 11, 2000. The following day media reports appeared, including on page 3 of the

Globe and Mail.

ATIP requests were responded to. This was obviously not a secret endeavour. It was an endeavour where issues were found in a program that needed to be corrected and the government began the process of correction.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, could it be just a coincidence that the treasury board, the justice department, the defence department, the fisheries department, Canada customs and the independent supposedly revenue agency, the office of the privacy commissioner, the CRTC and the fisheries department all just happened to have independently chosen Groupaction to do their work?

When will the government tell all government department that there is no more business for Groupaction or any of their related companies?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, in respect of that type of business that would be contracted through the Department of Public Works and Government Services, which would be the largest portion of it, the action has already been taken.

My deputy minister and I are also drawing this matter to the attention of every other official in the Government of Canada who may have contracting responsibility apart from public works. We will ensure that they know full well the position of our department.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, really this cover up sounds more like Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson and Dean, and the government should remember what happened to Richard Nixon.

I will quote the public works minister who said: “You can't defend the indefensible. You can't deny the undeniable”. The government cannot deny nor can it defend the obvious corruption, cronyism, incompetence and cover up.

When will it give Canadians what they are demanding, a full public inquiry?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I previously outlined the inquiries undertaken by my department, treasury board, the auditor general, the police, the public accounts committee and so on.

All dimensions of this matter are being very thoroughly investigated. I would say that it would be politically convenient on the floor of the House if I could respond to the hon. gentleman with a broadside political blunderbuss, but I would prefer to take this step by step, meticulously along the way to ensure that every step is sound and secure and we get to the ultimate destination, and that is cleaning up this problem.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the government's third step was to produce a report full of deletions, a censored report, on the Public Works and Government Services Canada web site so as to cover up the reality. It was a real crossword puzzle.

How can the Prime Minister claim to have tried to find a solution when, with the November 2000 election behind him, he again appointed the same minister, Alfonso Gagliano, so that the good old schemes could continue?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I made inquiries with my officials to examine this issue with respect to what appeared on the Internet. I am advised that aside from the severances of third party proprietary information, as required by the Access to Information Act and privacy legislation, there are no differences between the audit reports posted on the Internet and the final audit that was approved by my department.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, is not the mere fact that the Prime Minister decided in March 2002 to implement the communications plan that his personal advisers had already concocted in September 2000 proof that the Prime Minister is still trying to cover up the sponsorship scandal so that everything can go on as before?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, in asking me to take on this responsibility, asked me to find out where the problems were and to correct them. His instructions were very clear. There are problems that need to be addressed. They must be addressed in a sound and solid way so that we can have transparency, accountability and full value for taxpayer dollars.

That is the mandate I have and that is the mandate on which I intend to deliver.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a straightforward question for the government. Could the public works minister tell us how many different matters he has referred to the RCMP since he took over the portfolio 15 days ago?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I have thus far declined to get into the numbers game with respect to police references. If I am asked a direct question about a direct file, I will give a direct answer. However I will avoid speculation and being drawn into hypothetical supplementaries because if I allow myself to fall into that trap then sooner or later somebody will interfere with the police investigation and I do not want that to happen.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we know that the government is moving slowly and unsurely. However we are not after details here that may affect any police investigation.

Would someone over there please tell the taxpayers of Canada how many matters relating to the government's advertising, sponsorship and communications contracting are currently under investigation by the RCMP?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. gentleman is inviting speculation. Quite frankly, if we engage in that game sooner or later we will be tripping over something that fouls up a police investigation and I will not do that. It is extremely important in this matter that we take it step by step and that we are meticulous and careful to ensure that the police are able to do their job.

Research and DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a world leader in the field of biotechnology. In 2001 Canada was home to the second largest number of biotechnology companies in the world, with over 400 biotechnology firms. This burgeoning sector of the economy has obvious benefits for our knowledge based economy.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry tell the House what the government is doing to encourage the growth of this innovative biotechnology sector?

Research and DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Beauharnois—Salaberry Québec

Liberal

Serge Marcil LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to inform the House that when the Minister of Industry addressed the delegates to BioConference 2002 in Toronto today, he announced that the Business Development Bank of Canada would target $200 million of venture capital investments in the biotechnology sector over the next five years.

This investment is an important step in Canada's innovation strategy, which aims to double the amount invested in Canadian research and development by 2010.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

June 10th, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement expired on March 31, 2001. More than one year later the government has had no success in negotiations having to desperately rely upon challenges of the WTO and NAFTA. These remedies could take to mid-2003 to reach a decision.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, so forth and so forth. On Friday the minister told the media that we would have to deal with the impact of softwood tariffs somehow. Aside from the marketing contracts that will benefit U.S. firms or Liberal fundraisers through media campaigns, will the minister invest in Canadian communities and families devastated by the government's inability to handle this trade dispute?