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House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.

Topics

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the government were so confident of the minister's actions, it would let him answer his own questions.

The minister knew what the ethical guidelines of the government were and he did not follow them. He knew he did not follow them and now he will not resign. Now we have a new Liberal leader who has promised to deal with this government's ethics deficit.

I will ask the minister the same question I asked him yesterday. Has he consulted the new Liberal leader to see whether this standard of behaviour is acceptable?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the person I consulted was the ethics counsellor. I made full disclosure of my visit and full disclosure of my conduct after the visit. I took the ethics counsellor's advice and I have respected that advice. I followed it to the letter.

I am confident that my conduct was entirely within the advice given by the ethics counsellor. The fact that I referred issues to him on Sunday, at my personal request, was because those issues were raised by others last week. However I am confident that I complied with his advice throughout.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Sadly, Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not share that confidence. The growing list of ministers racking up travel miles on corporate jets is disturbing for most Canadians, and it should be. Unlike members of the government, opposition members of Parliament do not sit at the cabinet table, nor do they decide government policies.

Corporations should not finance vacations for cabinet ministers. This is a clear breach of ethics guidelines. The Prime Minister knows that. His puppet ethics counsellor should know that as he is paid to know it. Surely the Minister of Industry knows that.

When will he resign?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I made full disclosure of the trip to the ethics counsellor. I also asked his advice, given those circumstances, on how I could fulfill my duties as Minister of Industry while at the same time avoiding conflicts of interest. The ethics counsellor considered the matter, provided advice and I have followed that advice to the letter.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, how many scandals? Let me count the number: the former public works minister and chateau Boulay; the former defence minister and his contracting gal pal; the Prime Minister and Shawinigate; and now the industry minister's favours for fishing vacation. Those are just a few examples of the rampant level of mismanagement, misrepresentation and corruption in the government.

The rot in the government is running deep. Ministers of the crown should not accept gifts from corporations.

What part of a blatant conflict of interest does the minister not understand?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the substance of the ethics counsellor's advice to me was that I was not to be involved in decisions that affect directly the interests of the Irvings. That was his advice and that was the advice I followed.

I was not involved in the decision with respect to the $55 million for the Saint John shipyard. That was made entirely without my involvement.

I was careful to exclude myself from decisions affecting the family and its interests. I have followed the advice of the ethics counsellor in this regard.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 24, 1995, a few days prior to the referendum, the Prime Minister made a solemn declaration to Quebeckers in Verdun, “To stay or to leave. This is the issue of the referendum—the fundamental and irreversible choice of a country”.

How could the Prime Minister talk about an irreversible choice prior to the referendum, when he already had a draft speech clearly indicating that he had no intention of respecting the choice of Quebeckers in the event of a yes vote?

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, Quebeckers should have been given a clear choice.

How can the leader of the Bloc Quebecois explain that a poll conducted a few days before the referendum indicated that half the voters thought Quebec's independence was conditional on a political partnership? How can he explain that, except to say that they tried to mislead the public with an unclear question? Naturally, like any other leader of a democratic nation, the Prime Minister of Canada could not have allowed the country to be torn asunder amidst such confusion.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has reached the same level of hypocrisy as the Prime Minister on October 24. What we are hearing is the height of hypocrisy. In this case, if the minister's reasoning is right, why did the Prime Minister not say on October 24, 1995, “The question is too confusing; I will not respect the decision of Quebeckers under those conditions”? Instead of talking about the irreversible choice of a country, he misled the public, as the minister is trying to do.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie is well aware of the fact that there is never hypocrisy in the House. He must not use such terms to describe an answer. The question is perhaps in order, but I do not like the tone currently being used in the House. The member must not continue in this vein.

The hon. Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:30 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, first, when there is an attempt at secession, which is an extremely serious and extremely delicate matter, respect must be shown. The way the leader of the Bloc Quebecois is behaving today is clear proof that he would be incapable of behaving responsibly during an attempt at secession. He is setting a very bad example for his followers.

Second, the Prime Minister was right in saying that separation was an irreversible choice.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, when asked about the government's intentions to send the army into Quebec in the event of a yes victory in 1995, the Minister of Transport maintained outside the House of Commons, that he would not talk about cabinet discussions. For his part, the Deputy Prime Minister said that this issue had never been discussed in cabinet. This is clearly a contradiction.

Could someone who was there indicate whether, yes or no, this possibility was discussed in cabinet?

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us not forget that in reality, the result of the referendum was no. It is also clear that the Government of Quebec and Mr. Parizeau had very different intentions, with respect to accepting the results simply as a consultation.

What mattered most was knowing what the Quebec government's intentions were with such a complicated question.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would call the minister's attitude two-faced.

Are we to understand that preparations for sending the army into Quebec were not discussed in cabinet, that such an important decision was made by one man, the Minister of National Defence, at the time? Is that what we are to believe? Well, we do not.

1995 ReferendumOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, the Prime Minister denied the allegations. Second, the current Minister of Transport—who was the Minister of National Defence—also answered questions yesterday, outside the House. I think things are clear.

There is nothing to add except that we have now agreed that if there is to be a secession debate here in this House, then there needs to be a very clear question.

EthicsOral Question Period

October 22nd, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry knows his actions were wrong when it comes to the shipbuilding file. He accepted a gift that violated the conflict of interest guidelines. He repeatedly lobbied on behalf of the Irving interest at the cabinet table. He wrote letters and signed agreements. He made government appointments with respect to a shipbuilding file he was told to stay away form.

How can the minister possibly suggest he was just doing his job when he violated the terms of the blackout over and over again?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I respected those terms, and from the moment the ethics counsellor gave me the advice to disqualify myself, I did so.

The decision with respect to the shipyard was made entirely without my involvement. It was contained in the budget and was news to me.

I took very seriously the advice that was given by the ethics counsellor and I followed it. In addition to that, in view of the fact that issues have been raised, I have referred additional questions to the ethics counsellor and he has been good enough to agree to consider them.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, on October 10 the industry minister defended himself by stating:

The trip took place in the summer of 2001 when I was minister of health.

Once named Minister of Industry...I informed the ethics counsellor of all the particulars relating to the trip.

That is simply not true. In fact the minister waited five full months during which he actively lobbied on behalf of the Irvings: $100 million for the two shipyards, and the ExxonMobil contract.

Why did the minister wait so long to contact the ethics counsellor?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor as soon as it became evident to me that it was necessary to do so. I took his advice with respect to conflict. I followed it in every respect and to the letter, and I am satisfied that in no way have I departed from the advice he gave to me.

Student LoansOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

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

The Minister of Finance will know that Canadian students are facing record levels of debt upon graduation, so much so that they are beginning to refer to themselves as “generation debt”. There is nothing in the 100 days of cuts promised by the new Liberal leader for them.

Could the Minister of Finance tell us if he would not agree, given the surplus, that one good day of student relief would be better than 100 bad days of cuts promised by the new Liberal leader?

Student LoansOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed, we welcome the students to the Hill and are glad to hear the views that they present to us.

The hon. member will know that the question of tuition is clearly a provincial jurisdiction. However I hope he will also know that the government takes the issue of access to post-secondary education very seriously. That is why every year we invest $1.6 billion in the Canada student loan program. That is why we have also introduced the Canada millennium foundation.

There are more programs that the government has put in place to support lifelong learning, and I hope the hon. member will recognize that.

Health CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the Minister of Finance. It has to do with the Governor of the Bank of Canada, rumoured to be possibly the next Clerk of the Privy Council in the government of the new Liberal leader.

Given that Mr. Dodge presided over a misuse of public funds at Health Canada, at the Fontaine addiction centre in Manitoba, that makes that Radwanski affair look pale, does the Minister of Finance still have confidence in the Governor of the Bank of Canada, and why is this man running the economy when he could not run Health Canada properly?

Health CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member that as soon as allegations of wrongdoing came to light in October 2000, my predecessor took immediate action. The department launched a forensic audit. We contacted the RCMP. We have launched civil litigation to recover any misused public funds. We initiated other audits.

Dare I say the audits we instituted in relation to this event are the most extensive the federal government has ever undertaken. Those audits have been turned over to the RCMP and, as we all know, charges have been laid and the investigation continues.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, another minister has admitted to taking advantage of free flights on air Irving. The Minister of Labour however has volunteered to pay for her flight. Clearly, the Minister of Industry has not.

Does the minister need to be ordered to do so by the Prime Minister before he follows his colleague's example and writes a cheque or is the Minister of Industry above the rules?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor. I took the ethics counsellor's advice and I followed that advice to a T.