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House of Commons Hansard #205 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was lead.

Topics

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Macleod.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thought my question today was about the ethics counsellor. I guess it was not.

Here is what the ethics counsellor had to say further. He has no legislated power to subpoena. He has no legislated power to sanction. He in fact is a paper tiger just reporting to the Prime Minister.

I will ask my question again and maybe I will get an answer. Why do we not have an independent ethics commissioner reporting to parliament instead of reporting to the Prime Minister? That is the question.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if we had an independent parliamentary ethics counsellor to deal with members of parliament themselves, we would have that person asking that member to stand in the House and apologize for what he did yesterday.

What is it that prevents him from being a big enough person to stand here and say “We got it wrong. We have been on this witch hunt now for so long, we forgot to check the facts before we got up and threw mud at the government”.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Let me ask another question about the ethics counsellor. It might surprise the Deputy Prime Minister to say that I am asking the questions, not him.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I am sure the hon. member for Macleod appreciates the assistance but the Chair does not because he cannot hear the hon. member. All hon. members would want the Chair to be able to hear him in case he says something out of order. The hon. member for Macleod has the floor.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, here is another thing the ethics counsellor told us this morning. He did not come up with the leadership guidelines for fundraising. They in fact came up very late in the process and they came directly from the Prime Minister.

Is it not true that the only reason those guidelines are in place is so that the Prime Minister through spite can attack the member for LaSalle—Émard? Is that not true?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, those guidelines give us the ability to attack the Alliance Party because its members do not have any guidelines. We do not know who contributed to their leadership campaigns.

We do know that the member for Red Deer said that their position on Kyoto would help their fundraising. We know their positions are for sale but we do not know who gave them the money. How about if they come up with guidelines for themselves?

By the way, where is the apology?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor admitted in the industry committee this morning that if the Prime Minister lobbied the head of the BDC for a loan to the Auberge Grand-Mère today, he would be in violation of his own new ethics guidelines.

Will the government finally admit that what the Prime Minister did was wrong?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, who brought in the guidelines? The Prime Minister himself acknowledges that the guidelines prevent ministers from calling heads of crown corporations but those are the rules now.

How about the Alliance Party and its allegations about Harrington Lake? I hear a lot of noise from over there, a lot of heckling but I do not hear a word of apology. When is it coming, Mr. Speaker?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, so in other words, what the Prime MInister did was wrong. Finally the Liberals are admitting it.

The Prime Minister has made ministerial fundraising activities for the Liberal leadership retroactive. Will he also make the guidelines as they apply to ministerial lobbying of crown corporations retroactive?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, disclosure of ministerial activities is already public. There is no problem with that, but where are the disclosure rules for the Alliance Party? Those members want to talk about--

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

We don't write the cheques.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

They don't give cheques. Mr. Speaker, they just give away policy positions. That is what they do. That is what is for sale over there.

The Canadian public does not think that is good enough. Who gave them the money?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

June 13th, 2002 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Media IDA Vision announced—

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. We do have to have some order. We are wasting time in question period today and that is not good. We do not hear questions and we do not hear answers.

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie has the floor, and shall be heard now.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Media IDA Vision not only received generous commissions through the sponsorship program, but the August 2000 audit report also reveals that in addition to its 3% cut, the Groupe Everest subsidiary pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars annually in interest on public money, money it was given at the outset of each new contract.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister acknowledge that before the events even got a whiff of the money, Media IDA had filled its pockets with interest on it, thereby abusing its exclusive contract with the government, and getting off scot-free?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, during the period in question, that particular firm was performing the function of an agency of record.

I have indicated that for future business I am anxious to develop a system that does not use agencies at all. Therefore not only would commissions be unnecessary, an agency of record would be unnecessary.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that was not the question. That has been raised. All of the money was given to this group, which earned interest on the money and then passed it on to the events.

In other words, it made money with public funds in the form of the interest that it was paid by the banks where it put this money.

How is it that the government never noticed this, that it allowed this system to continue, even after 2000, when we were told here that all of the standards were verified?

This was admitted by senior officials in committee. I expect the minister is aware of what his officials are saying, or will he do like the other ministers and hide behind his officials in order to hide the truth?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the issue the hon. gentleman raises goes to the question of value for money and that is a question that lies at the very root of this file.

I will be working with experts both inside the government and outside to come up with a stronger definition of what constitutes value for money in an area like advertising or sponsorships. It is extremely important for taxpayers to be assured that they have in fact received what they have paid for.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, to help the minister, the sponsorship program has budgeted between $40 million and $60 million annually since 1997. Media IDA Vision, a subsidiary of Everest, racked up interest on this amount, which sat in its accounts at an average rate of 3%, to take a very conservative figure, for an average of two months until the payments were made.

Will the government admit that Media IDA Vision received an outright gift of over $200,000 annually from the government?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general will be examining the question of value for money. That is something she is obviously deeply concerned about. She will determine on the basis of her audit to be done over the next number of months with respect to advertising sponsorships and that kind of activity, whether or not proper value for money has been received.

One of the issues I am examining for the future is that if and when an agent is used, perhaps the government holdback should be 100% until the work done has been verified.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of trying to tell us that they will no longer do this in future, that they will be taking a look at it, the minister should be outraged.

This government put in place a system which handed Media IDA Vision a gift of $ million over the life of the program.

I urge the minister to give this some thought. A gift of at least $1 million went to Media IDA Vision without any professional services being received in return. That is serious.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, an agency of record does provide services. The issue is what the value of those services is compared to the money paid. That is the question that is going to be audited by the auditor general. Indeed I have serious questions about the commission's system. That is why I have suggested that we should develop a delivery mechanism that does not use commissions at all.