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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

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, two days after I was sworn in as a minister, I said the following, which is still the government's policy, “If a strong majority of Quebecers unfortunately voted in favour of secession in response to a clear question, I believe that the rest of Canada has the moral obligation to negotiate the division of the territory. In a democracy we do not have the resort to force”.

Those were my words, and that is the government's policy.

EthicsOral Question Period

October 21st, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the industry minister was told to cease and desist with respect to Irving family businesses, but he continued to represent their interests. He appointed a member from the Irving empire to advise him. He lobbied on behalf of the Irvings for money and federal contracts. He co-signed a $55 million grant for the Saint John shipyard, which is owned by the Irvings.

How can the minister say that he was not acting on behalf of the Irvings when he was the one who co-signed the grant in the first place?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the member. The facts are not as stated. First of all, in relation to the document, the only document I signed was after the decision had been made by cabinet. The money was provided for in the budget. Treasury Board required that the Minister of Industry sign technically to get the money de-blocked, which was done.

With respect to the appointment of the man to the advisory council, that advisory council is 30 volunteers from across the country who serve without pay to give advice to the government on ship policy generally, including labour unions and manufacturers as well as shipyards. A representative of Irving was appointed but there was no pecuniary interest to the company.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that the industry minister actually co-signed the $55 million grant to the Irving shipyard. In fact, in May 2002, ironically just at the time he was consulting the ethics counsellor, he was lobbying cabinet for $100 million for these two shipyards. This goes against his direct testimony in question period today. He violated the terms of the conflict of interest. He violated the blackout period. When is the minister simply going to stand up and resign?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first of all, these matters have now been referred, at my request, to the ethics counsellor. I spoke with him on Sunday when I came back from Asia. I recognized that these issues had been raised; I am satisfied I acted properly, but I have referred them to the ethics counsellor so that he may look at them, and I am grateful that he will.

On the points raised by the member, the only document I signed in relation to the $55 million was after the decision had been made. I was not part of the decision. I disqualified myself from it. Because technically a document has to be signed to release the funds does not constitute, in my view, a breach of my obligations. The ethics counsellor will look at that as well.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. It now appears that the federal surplus will be in the neighbourhood of $6 billion and yet the new Liberal leader--

FinanceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Ho, ho.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

You should take that out of their time, Mr. Speaker.

Yet the new Liberal leader is promising 100 days of cuts, so I want to ask the Minister of Finance, who is still the Minister of Finance and who has some say in these matters, does he believe that an increased surplus is a reason for cuts or a reason for building and investing instead of slashing?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow I will release the annual financial report for the year ended March 31, 2003. I can confirm that it will reveal that for a sixth consecutive year the government's fiscal account will be in surplus. It is the first time in 50 years that we have done six in a row, and I would say that is cause for celebration.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is probably the first time we have had a surplus and we have had somebody talking about cuts. That is what I wanted the minister to address, but he did not.

I have a question for the Minister of Industry, who understandably is anxious to redeem himself given the situation with respect to the Irvings and the fishing trip, et cetera. I say to the Minister of Industry that all he has to do to show us that he is not under the thumb of the Irvings is to release the details of the $55 million deal. He should release all the details to show he is not under the thumb of the Irvings.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Gerry Byrne LiberalMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, the information about the arrangements to rationalize, to diversify, the Saint John shipyard are very clear. We will engage in an environmental remediation on a cost shared basis. We will work with the Irving shipyard to look at a diversification for the economy of the province and the region. It is very simple. That is well explained within the press release that was issued to the public.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, in 2002, shortly before resigning, the then minister of public works presented a cheque in the amount of $800 for his weekend at the home of the president of Groupe Everest. The situation of the Minister of Industry is identical, except that there is no cheque to cover the over $20,000 cost of his fishing trip to New Brunswick. Where is the cheque? If there is no cheque, where is his resignation?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor in the circumstances that I have described, not only about the trip but about my own activities subsequent to that time. The ethics counsellor gave me advice, which I followed.

I know that issues have been raised across the way. I believe that I complied fully with the advice, but because those issues have been raised, I have directed them to Mr. Wilson. He has been kind enough to say he will look at them. I look forward to his response.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor's advice is clear: no gifts over $200.

You received a gift worth 100 times--

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

No, I did not. The hon. member, I am sure, is addressing his remarks to the Chair.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Absolutely, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Industry received a gift worth 100 times the allowable amount. Can the member explain to the House how accepting a gift worth 100 times the allowable amount is not breaking the rules? Or would he prefer to have the Prime Minister answer that question for him?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is the very reason why I spoke to the ethics counsellor, told him what I had done, told him about the circumstances and told him about my activities as minister after that time. As a result of what I told the ethics counsellor, I received his advice to disqualify myself from any further involvement in matters involving the Irving family. No decision had been taken in relation to their matters before that point. After that point, I disqualified myself. Decisions were made by others.

There are issues that have been raised. I have referred those to the ethics counsellor. I am grateful that I will have his advice.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his book, journalist Lawrence Martin quoted the then Minister of Defence, who is now the Minister of Transport, as saying, “I was minister of defence. There were things that went on that had to be prepared for”.

I would like the Minister of Transport and then Minister of Defence to tell us what it means “to be prepared” in the context of a referendum in Quebec. That is what we want to know.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is only one Minister of Defence at any given time. The hon. member is referring to a time when I was not the Minister of Defence. I was not even in politics.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister's logic is implacable. He was not there. Therefore, he does not know what happened. If he does not want to take part in the discussion, he should not get involved.

My question is for the Minister of Transport, who was quoted as saying that they were prepared. We want to know what it means when the Minister of Defence talks about being prepared in the context of a referendum in Quebec. We have the right to know, and I urge him to stand up and justify his own remarks.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member insists on asking questions that are out of order, because there is, of course, only one minister at any given time. He must accept that the Prime Minister has already denied what Lawrence Martin wrote.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Irvings lost a 2002 ExxonMobil contract, the industry minister threatened ExxonMobil's president. He wrote that “ExxonMobil is risking the good working relationship with Canada and Nova Scotia”. The minister had already taken his Irving vacation and was now returning the favour. This is a clear conflict of interest and over the line for a minister.

Will the minister now resign?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I recall the circumstances, there was important work for ExxonMobil. The possibility was that it was going to be taken south to the United States, to Louisiana as I recall. Efforts were made in conjunction with the provincial government to keep that work in Canada.

Along with others, I interceded to get ExxonMobil to award those contracts to Canadian firms. Speaking up for Atlantic Canada and trying to keep the contracts here I think is fully consistent with my obligations as Minister of Industry.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the industry minister accepted a trip from the Irvings that was well over the $200 limit in the code of conduct.

He threatened the ExxonMobil president on behalf of the Irvings. He failed to notify the ethics counsellor about his trip until after he had lobbied for the Irvings. After the ethics counsellor warned him, he continued to lobby for the Irvings and even co-signed the $55 million grant to their company.

Will the minister now resign?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I must correct the facts as stated by the member.

The fact is that after I received the ethics counsellor's advice, I took no further steps to advance the interests of the Irving companies. I respected the ethics counsellor's advice.

The only document I signed in relation to the $55 million was after the decision had been made, a decision in which I played no part. There was a technical requirement the Minister of Industry had to sign to process the matter before Treasury Board. It was under those circumstances that the document was signed.

However, because that issue has been raised I have referred it to the ethics counsellor and he has been good enough to say he will consider it.