Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Earlier, you made a ruling relating to a question that had been asked. I would like to request some further information from you. There are two separate aspects to my point of order.
The first is the following. Last March, the Minister of Finance made a decision in his budget. That ministerial decision was unfavourable to the microbrewers' association and favourable to the major breweries. Not long after, he went on a sailing vacation with family members and members of the Brewers Association. So, last week, we asked the minister, given the potential for conflict of interest, whether this trip had been provided free of charge within the framework of his duties, as was common practice at the time, or whether he had paid. You allowed the minister to respond and his response was that he had paid the cost of his trip in full.
It is our impression, however, that what the minister paid for was his plane fare. As for the sailing vacation itself, today we merely asked the Minister of Finance, as a supplementary question, how much he had paid the person who provided this trip to reimburse him for its value. The Minister of Industry was asked the same question several weeks ago, and it was allowed.
It seems to us that it is important to know and that we have the right to ask a minister who went on a trip that could place him in an apparent conflict of interest situation whether or not he paid for that trip and how much. I would say that is a minimum. What is good for the industry minister should be good for the finance minister, even if we are talking about larger amounts.
Second, and this is of some concern to me, when questioned about this, instead of answering through the official channel, since you had risen, we very clearly saw the minister tell us in this House, “Fuck off”.
It seems to me that it is somewhat unparliamentary for a finance minister to answer this kind of question in such a despicable way. Is the question so terrible? Is that how dismayed the minister is to have to reveal how much he spent for this cruise with his family on the Caribbean, along with people from the Brewers Association, whom he had just favoured in his budget?
We do not know. But we are perfectly justified by political morals to ask this kind of question. I would therefore appreciate it if you could explain how the question about details on costs was in order when asked of the industry minister but not when asked of the finance minister. This is tied closely to decisions he made in his last budget and to a possible breach of ethics and conflict of interest. It seems to me that we can inquire.