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House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.

Topics

Food BanksStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, a report made public last week by the Canadian Association of Food Banks confirms that the number of men, women and children turning to food banks to put food on the table has doubled since 1989.

The numbers are staggering. According to this report, at least 750,000 people use food banks each month.

Increasing numbers of people are living in poverty and must beg for their bread and butter. Meanwhile, the Auditor General will soon tell us that, during the sponsorship scandal, the current Prime Minister chose to scandalously waste public funds on propaganda, rather than invest in a real strategy to fight poverty.

This sad saga in Canadian politics was written by the current Prime Minister, along with the former finance minister, who still prefers to use tax havens rather than contribute to the taxes of the country he dreams of leading. This is a sad legacy for one, and a sorry start for the other.

Occupational Therapy WeekStatements By Members

October 21st, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West—Mississauga, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the beginning of National Occupational Therapy Week in Canada. Occupational therapists work with anyone who is having difficulty doing the activities that are important to them.

Their vital work is done with almost all age groups. They work with seniors helping them to enjoy more years of independent living. They work with children who suffer from developmental difficulties to help them enjoy all the benefits of growing up.

Unfortunately their work sometimes goes unnoticed and far too often funding for occupational therapy services are cut to finance more acute medical services. However, for those who have been treated by an occupational therapist, their services are invaluable.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank occupational therapists across Canada for their hard work and dedication to their profession. I wish them a successful National Occupational Therapy Week and good luck for the future.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to condemn in the strongest possible terms the racist, anti-Semitic outbursts of Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister of Malaysia.

It is easy to dismiss these remarks as the ravings of a madman, but he is a head of state with status and influence, and as such his racist lies incite hatred and violence and give licence to too many others who share his warped world views.

Anti-Semitism is the most virulent and enduring form of hatred the world has ever known and within living memory this hatred has manifested itself into the most shameful event in human history, the Holocaust.

On this day when Parliament has agreed to establish Yom Ha'Shoah, as Holocaust Memorial Day, I call upon our Prime Minister to publicly denounce Mahathir Mohamad and to state clearly that we consider his shameful racist comments a hate crime on an international level.

2002 Winter GamesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, honesty pays. I rise in the House today to honour a great Canadian champion, Becky Scott from Alberta, who represents our country in the sport of cross-country skiing.

Among her many achievements in world and Olympic competitions, Becky Scott was awarded a bronze medal at the 2002 Winter Games. In a dramatic turn of events, it was later announced that the two skiers who finished ahead of her in the 10 kilometre classic race were both found guilty of doping infractions.

After lengthy negotiations, Becky has been awarded a silver medal during a special ceremony held today at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, in front of her friends and fans.

This singular twist to Becky's story comes as a just reward for sticking to her sport's ethical values in the face of strong pressures to achieve success at all costs. It can inspire other Canadian athletes in their quest for excellence, showing them that hard work and perseverance alone can lead them to the top. Honesty does pay.

Canada Pension PlanStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, here is a letter from a constituent. He wrote:

The number, frequency, and high rate of government mismanagement incidents are totally outrageous to people such as myself. I'm being assessed by Canada Pension Plan for my fitness to receive my money plus they can't figure out why I, a legally blind person, can't find work.

He then indicates that for the third time in five years he is being required to prove to Revenue Canada that he is legally blind. Here is more from his letter:

In the face of the Governor General's million dollar tour of the north, I could live for 50 years on that amount. Being interrogated by CPP while she takes all her friends to travel the north and eat at fancy restaurants really offends me. Why do they waste taxpayers' money while hassling disabled folks? Something has to be done about this government which steals from the poor and gives to the rich.

That is how he ends his letter.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am forced today to return to the industry minister. After staying at the Irving fishing lodge, the industry minister was subjected to a blackout on the Irving files by the ethics counsellor.

We have reviewed the industry minister's statements from yesterday and contrary to his statements, we believe he was involved in these files.

I will get to these conflicts of interest in a second, but my question for the minister is this. Has he tendered his resignation or has he spoken to the Prime Minister or the new Liberal leader about the appropriateness of his actions in this matter?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I told the ethics counsellor fully about the trip. After taking his advice to disqualify myself from involvement in other Irving matters, I disqualified myself.

Issues were raised last week to which I have responded. I have also referred some of those issues to the ethics counsellor to have his views on the subjects, as well.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, he should be speaking to at least one of his leaders so we know whether that party thinks these are appropriate actions.

In May 2002, after the industry minister began lobbying for a bailout package for the Irvings, the ethics counsellor told the minister to stay out of these files, to stay out of decisions on Irving business. However in June 2003 we know that the industry minister actually co-signed a $55 million package for Irving, while under the blackout.

Why did he not consult the ethics counsellor on the deal before signing off on it?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is very important to know that the decision in respect of that matter was made by people other than me. I had disqualified myself. The decision was made and contained in the budget of February 18. The document at the end of May was solely for the purpose of putting the matter before Treasury Board so it could decide on releasing the funds.

The Minister of Industry is required, as a technical matter, to sign the document. I do not believe that is a conflict. I have asked the ethics counsellor to look at it. I believe that I was well within the terms of the recusal, but I have asked the ethics counsellor to look at it, and he has agreed to do so.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I submit that the minister has asked the ethics counsellor now because he knows he should have asked then and he should have not done it. That is why he is asking now.

I will give another example. Once again, while under the ethics counsellor's blackout, in March 2003 the minister successfully lobbied cabinet for a financial aid package for the shipbuilding industry. The changes would result in direct benefit to the Irving business, one of the largest shipbuilders in the country.

On this conflict of interest, could the minister tell the House how he could not possibly have known that Irving would benefit directly from his decision in this matter?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member may be referring to the structured financing facility, which is to assist purchasers of ships who come to Canada to get ships made or to buy them to buy down the interest rate they pay. That was a program started under my predecessor. I brought to my colleagues a proposal to change that program. It was for the shipbuilding industry as a whole, not for the Irvings or any particular yard.

I believe that is within the terms of my recusal. However, again, because this issue has been raised, I have referred it to the ethics counsellor and he has been kind enough to say he would review it.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, shortly after the resignation of the public works minister over his weekend jaunt to chateau Boulay, the Minister of Industry jetted over to see the ethics counsellor to find out how he could cover his tracks of his extravagant escapade to the palatial Irving fishing lodge.

The former minister of public works was relieved of his duties because he violated the code of ethics. The industry minister has done the identical thing. He is in a clear conflict of interest.

Why then does the Prime Minister simply not fire the Minister of Industry for having committed an identical breach?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I can only speak for myself. I can say that I approached the ethics counsellor after I became Minister of Industry and when the nature of the files before me made it obvious that I should do so. I spoke to the ethics counsellor in detail about the trip. He provided me with advice, which was to get out of files where the direct interests of the Irving company were involved by decisions that might be taken. I followed that advice.

Last week questions were raised about the items raised by the Leader of the Opposition. I referred those matters to the ethics counsellor. I believe I acted within the appropriate terms of the recusal, but the ethics counsellor has agreed to review it and for that I am grateful.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, after checking with an independent broker in New Brunswick on the cost of the industry minister's trip to the Irving fishing lodge, it was revealed that the cost of a private jet to New Brunswick was $19,000, the cost of staying at a luxury resort for a couple of days, $2,000, the cost of a New Brunswick salmon fishing licence, if he bought one, $40.25, and the savings to the Canadian taxpayer if the minister resigns, priceless. When will the Minister of Industry do the right thing and tender his resignation?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is--

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The Deputy Prime Minister has the floor and hon. members will want to hear the answer.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is more than a little ironic to hear this member talking about ethics when there are still some outstanding questions that Mr. Orchard has put to him about his reliability.

Let it be understood that this is a minister who has acted with the utmost integrity. He has referred any outstanding issues to the ethics counsellor for his commentary. It would behoove the House to await the response of the ethics counsellor to those questions.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a book to be released, journalist Lawrence Martin says that the federal government was prepared to send the army into Quebec the day after a yes victory in the 1995 referendum.

The journalist even quoted the current Minister of Transport as saying, and I quote, “I was minister of defence. There were things that went on that had to be prepared for”.

Will the Minister of Transport tell us whether the army was at the ready to move into Quebec in the event of a yes victory?

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately for Mr. Martin, the Prime Minister has already denied these allegations.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately for the Deputy Prime Minister, this would not be the first time the Prime Minister denied something that was true.

I am asking the Minister of Transport, who refused to answer, who refuses to answer today and who said they were getting prepared for certain things. When he was Minister of Defence, was he preparing to send the army into Quebec in the event of a yes victory? The people of Quebec and Canada have the right to know. If he has courage and respect for this House, he will stand up and answer.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time that Mr. Martin has written things that are not true. The Prime Minister has already denied these allegations, period.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has had more to say outside cabinet. According to him, Ottawa's position had not changed since the Trudeau days. The federal government must ensure that order is respected, which was what led to the War Measures Act and its many excesses in 1970.

Can the Minister of Transport tell us whether, following in Trudeau's footsteps, the federal government was prepared to send the army into Quebec the day after the 1995 referendum, if there had been a yes vote? Is that what he was referring to?

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is taking a peculiar approach. Might he be claiming from his seat that this is what I said? What he has said is not at all what I said.

I can find no parliamentary terms to describe such a bending of the truth.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, he was not there in 1995 when the Prime Minister said the following in Verdun just days before the referendum, “To stay or to leave. This is the issue of the referendum—the fundamental and irreversible choice of a country”. Once the outcome was known, that is the no vote, that very evening he said, and I quote again, “In a democracy, the people are always right”.

Is the minister trying to tell us that the government had decided to do the exact opposite of what the Prime Minister said, and to thumb its nose at democracy and send the army into Quebec?