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House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was religious.

Topics

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across is pontificating--

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, ho.

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Fraser Valley has to be able to hear the answer from the Minister of State and he will not be able to with all the noise.

The hon. Minister of State has the floor.

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across is pretending today that he is in favour of Bill C-24 and to have the rules in place now regarding everything that is in the bill including transparency. He and his party have systematically blocked this bill at every occasion, but today the bill will pass and it will be the law of the land.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, to be part of the select club of agencies entitled to manage federal sponsorships, the call for tenders specifies that the tenderer must have extensive experience in the field. The Nino Colavecchio translation firm, which has no experience in sponsorships, not only was part of the club, but pocketed $14,000 in commissions and landed contracts worth $115,000.

How could a company with no relevant experience have been selected, without the cosy relationship that existed between its owner, Nino Colavecchio, and Alfonso Gagliano?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, on the basis of the information in the files, it would appear that this particular standing offer was established by a competitive process. Nevertheless, as the House knows, I have never favoured the use of independent advertising agencies as administrative intermediaries and I terminated that practice more than one year ago.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are no longer any problems with the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. He sounds just like Alfonso Gagliano, and he reaches the same heights of hypocrisy. He is being a hypocrite right now. He should be telling us that he knew Alfonso Gagliano was a close friend of the Colavecchio family. He knew that the son, Roberto Colavecchio, was being investigated by the RCMP in the immigration commissioners affair. He knew that he was one of his main organizers.

Without reaching heights of hypocrisy, he should come right out and say that the main thing Nino Colavecchio had going for him was Alfonso Gagliano.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services will have the floor, and I hope we will not hear any unparliamentary language.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me just say very directly to the hon. gentleman that in a contest of public ethics I will stack mine against his any day of the week.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the ethics counsellor cleared the former Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Alfonso Gagliano said that he was especially satisfied because the counsellor had gotten to the bottom of the issue. Yet, we now learn that the counsellor did not even bother to look at the books of the companies Gagliano's son worked for before clearing his father.

Were the actions of the ethics counsellor, in the end, nothing more than a charade to clear the former minister? In fact, no serious investigation was carried out and Alfonso Gagliano is still up to his neck in trouble.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the ethics counsellor examined the matter at the request of Mr. Gagliano himself. He made a public report. This is an institution that did not exist before. There was no ethics counsellor before this government took office. In each case referred to him, the ethics counsellor has published a report, appeared before committees and explained his reasoning. This is an institution that is new and evolving. A new bill will be passed shortly to improve it. However, I am proud that we, here in the House, have been pioneers in this.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister wants to cover for Alfonso Gagliano because he, too, is involved in this affair up to his neck. Does the Prime Minister not realize that the only way to clear his name at the end of his mandate is to call for a public inquiry, otherwise, everyone will remain convinced that the Prime Minister was deeply implicated in this whole affair?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the whole sponsorship issue, the examination process began in 2000 with an internal audit. That was followed up by an audit action plan that was implemented and verified in 2002, followed by the inquiries of the Auditor General, followed by the inquiries under the Financial Administration Act, and wherever necessary, referenced to the RCMP. A reference to the RCMP is hardly a cover-up.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the story concerning Canada's ambassador to Denmark has revolved around new-found allegations of corruption, ethical conflicts, and the Vatican's refusal to accept him.

There is a myriad of new evidence now against Mr. Gagliano, including scandals at Groupaction and Groupe Everest as well as his son's printing company, and today, TNC Multicom, which has a stench of corruption that is hanging over this disgraced minister.

Will the Prime Minister simply recall Mr. Gagliano to Canada to deal with this issue and remove this cloud that hangs over Canada's distinguished foreign service?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, again, the member is just making accusations. The Minister of Public Works talked about all the steps that have been taken and that all these files have been looked into by the Auditor General as well as cases being referred to the RCMP. There was an internal audit.

He is making accusations saying that Mr. Gagliano was refused by the Vatican. It is absolutely not true.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, if the Canadian ambassador to Denmark is not good enough for the Vatican, why is he good enough for Denmark? It begs the question, was there an official request to remove the ambassador? This is the biggest tragedy to hit Denmark since Hamlet .

With new evidence linking Mr. Gagliano Jr. and the contracts to TNC Multicom, will the Solicitor General open an investigation to look at this situation again, where the ethics counsellor has failed to uncover this evidence?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this has already been answered several times in the House. There have been many investigations surrounding this issue. In relation to the references to the RCMP, those are operational matters and I cannot comment on them.

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

June 11th, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, pursuing the Shakespeare 101 theme, the real tragedy is not Mr. Gagliano, but the way the government is letting the victims of SARS and mad cow disease dangle in the wind while it hesitates to make up its mind on how it will help them.

I know the Prime Minister likes to golf, but would he not agree that he should not be on the golf course until such time as the needs of these victims have been met, and that the House should continue to sit until such time that the government gets its act together on these issues?

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Really, Mr. Speaker, this is ridiculous. I have not played golf in a month and I do not know when I will play.

The member does not want to recognize that I was on the phone yesterday with the Premier of British Columbia. We discussed the issues and he commented positively. We said that it had to be a solution involving the two levels of government. I talked to him again last night.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will be in western Canada on Friday and will meet with the ministers of agriculture to find solutions.

We had to wait for the results from the scientific community. It reported this week and now we are working to find an--

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona.

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, there seems to be an unholy rush on the part of the government and the official opposition to get out of here, even if it means getting out of here before these issues are dealt with.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will he commit that there will be solutions to these problems before he hits the golf course? Will he step up to the tee and hit one down the fairway for the victims of SARS and mad cow disease?

Government AssistanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, his is getting very ridiculous. I am doing my best.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has been complimented by his counterparts in the west. The people involved in the industry know that we have shown concern. I have raised the problem myself with the President of the United States. I was on the phone yesterday. There were some ministers looking at solutions.

I know that NDP members will never form a government, so they do not know how we must work to make proper solutions that will be lasting.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the beef industry is being held hostage and denied immediate financial compensation in an attempt to force the provinces to sign on to the agriculture policy framework. As of today eight provinces have not signed on to the APF.

I find it incredible that the government would use the beef industry and abuse it in this way.

My question is for the Minister of Agriculture. Why is the government blackmailing the provinces into signing the agriculture policy framework?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, we are not blackmailing anyone into doing anything. As of the end of December last year, the old program, the Canadian farm income protection program, which the opposition did not like and others did not like, ceased to exist.

We worked with the provinces and the industry, and we have developed a new program that is more effective and goes deeper into disaster situations than the old program did. That is there for the farmers to participate in. I am sure they want to do that.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association has stated at the agriculture committee that the agriculture policy framework would not handle a catastrophe, such as BSE where the border has been closed to the United States.

All other major farm groups, including the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, have said the same thing.

Why is the government not willing to provide immediate compensation to our feedlot industry that needs the cash today?