This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parties.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is choosing to allow the criminalization of dissent and diversity in an increasingly brutal fashion. I join a growing number of people who are calling for an independent public inquiry into police actions against non-status Algerians on May 29, 2003.

There are allegations that the tactical unit of the RCMP used excessive force against a dozen peaceful non-status Algerians occupying the offices of citizenship and immigration simply asking for a meeting with the minister.

Canada's Algerian community and its supporters are deeply concerned with the desperate fate of individuals and families at risk of deportation. The minister lifted Canada's moratorium on returns to Algeria back in April 2002. Many fear they will face danger and persecution.

Groups such as Amnesty International and the Quebec Human Rights League have expressed alarm at the excessive use of tasers, or high voltage electroshock weapons. Many of the Algerians received serious burns, head wounds and bruises during the police raid.

We in the NDP call on the minister to review these deportations and meet the individuals involved to hear their concerns.

Jonquière Taxation Data CentreStatements By Members

June 9th, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

André Harvey Liberal Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, during celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the Jonquière Taxation Data Centre, Gilles Marceau, federal Liberal member over two decades ago, was honoured. Mr. Marceau will be remembered for fighting long and hard to make this project a reality.

In recognition of his contribution to this amazing achievement, the conference room was named the Salle Gilles Marceau.

Unable to attend for health reasons, Mr. Marceau was represented by his son Réjean. However, the following Wednesday, on June 4, 2003, the director, Diane Gagnon, made a presentation at his home. Mr. Marceau was very moved and honoured by this tribute in recognition of his contribution to the Jonquière Taxation Data Centre.

I also want to acknowledge all the employees of this centre for their professionalism.

Prime Minister of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us compare the legacies of two prime ministers, the present one and his hero Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

Laurier understood the importance of allies and a strong national defence. As Prime Minister he increased defence spending and took tough stands in support of the British in the Boer War and World War I. This Prime Minister failed to stand with our British and American allies for the first time in our history and has failed to adequately equip our armed forces.

Unlike the present Prime Minister, Laurier understood that it was in Canada's best interest to have a healthy relationship with the United States and sought to expand this relationship, particularly through freer trade. Laurier understood the importance of western Canada and sought to populate it and develop its potential. This Prime Minister has never even attempted to understand the dreams and aspirations of western Canadians.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier is rightly honoured today as one of our finest prime ministers. It is truly sad that our Prime Minister, while holding up Laurier as his hero, has completely failed to emulate his courage, wisdom and national vision.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is returning to the country in the midst of the mad cow crisis.

Before the Prime Minister left the country he could not remember if he had discussed the mad cow issue. Now, four weeks later the government still does not have a plan. Apparently it will be another two weeks before it is able to come up with any kind of compensation package to address the industry's problem.

My question is very simple. Is the Prime Minister capable of understanding that this is an emergency and if he is not interested in doing his job, why does he not just leave office now?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has worked extremely diligently on this file. This morning we had a report by a group of international experts who reported that we have acted more diligently than any other government. They are complimenting the government for the action it has taken.

We are very happy that there was only one cow that was affected. A lot of animals had to be destroyed because of that and, of course, we have programs within the government to deal with emergencies in the agriculture sector. We are looking at whether these programs can apply. If not, we will see what can be done on top of the existing programs that very often are agreed upon with the provincial governments.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have already said that existing programs will not cover the severity and immediacy of the crisis. While the Prime Minister is studying this, people are going bankrupt.

I want to move to another subject. If he is so interested in these issues, let us discuss Toronto. We have had the outbreak of SARS now for the past three months. It is devastating Toronto's economy, but the government apparently says it is not a disaster and is reneging on its commitment to provide the Government of Ontario with emergency relief funding.

Once again, if the Prime Minister and the government are not interested in dealing with this issue, why not just leave office now?

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we made some further announcements on this issue after Friday. We have done a lot of things to adjust to the situation. We face a very difficult problem and we are doing our best to solve it.

I do not think that it is advisable to try to score political points. It is difficult for the provincial government and we have to compliment the health workers in Toronto who are doing a fantastic job under extremely difficult circumstances.

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, apparently the new announcement is the Rolling Stones concert. That is after the Prime Minister did the Chinese restaurant photo op. Frankly, this crisis needs more than dinner and theatre.

The Prime Minister's real priority appears to be getting more money so that the Liberals can pass Bill C-24. This seems to take precedence over the devastation that is affecting rural Canadians in the beef industry and the health care crisis that is gripping the city of Toronto and affecting its economy.

My question once again is simple. Why should Canadians want a PM who does not deal with their problems but instead needs money to buy the support of his own party?

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I recall the last leader of the Reform Party who challenged me to call an election. I was in the House and I obliged, and with quite good results.

We have a piece of legislation that has been before the House for months. There is a committee report on the bill dealing with electoral financing that has been presented to the House. The committee made recommendations to the government and the bill will be dealt with by the House this week. It is a bill that will serve democracy very well in Canada.

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the government tabled amendments to Bill C-24 that will raise the annual per vote subsidy to political parties from $1.50 to $1.75. The shortfall caused by banning corporate and union donations will now be entirely made up by public funds and an extra $1.2 million in taxpayer money will go every year to the Liberal Party of Canada.

Why does the Prime Minister insist on digging deeper into the pockets of Canadian taxpayers in order to line the chest of his party?

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, I think there are crocodile tears on the other side of the House when there is talk about the subsidies to political parties. As I outlined in the House last Friday, every Alliance MP elected and all of their defeated candidates who had 15% of the vote received a taxpayer subsidy last election.

Do you know, Mr. Speaker, how many of them gave it back? Zero.

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the minister of self-righteousness is at it, he might offer to--

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Lanark--Carleton has a supplementary question and everyone will want to hear it, particularly the government House leader who might have to answer.

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the minister of self-righteousness is at it, he might offer to give back all those terrible corporate donations that he and his Prime Minister have suddenly discovered.

The newly boosted subsidy will guarantee the Liberals a massive $9.1 million annual subsidy, year in and year out, with the first $9 million coming in a lump sum next January, just in time to replenish Liberal coffers drained by the leadership race.

Why are taxpayers paying for the shortfall caused by the 18 month leadership race imposed on this country by the Prime Minister and Paul Martin?

Political Party FinancingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member knows he must refer to hon. members by their constituency name or title, and not by their names. I know they are very good friends, but it is still not appropriate to use their names.

The hon. government House leader.

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, I am sorry if the hon. member has not read the bill. There is no subsidy on contributions to leadership campaigns.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the sponsorship scandal, the tightly knit network of firms alluded to by Public Works Canada not only benefited advertising agencies, the Liberal Party, its cronies and their families, but we now learn that the son of Alfonso Gagliano, the minister who orchestrated the entire system, was a huge beneficiary.

Will the Prime Minister admit that there is a direct link: Alfonso Gagliano grants a contract to an intermediary, his son's employer gets the subcontract and, end result, the son collects?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained many other times in the House, the government has been proactive and conscientious in dealing with the troubled communications files. Management issues are the subject of a government-wide audit by the Auditor General. The responsibility of public servants is being pursued under the Financial Administration Act and any possibility of illegality is being examined by the RCMP.

In addition, for the future, the rules, terms and conditions pertaining to all of these programs have been substantially revised on the instructions of the Treasury Board to ensure that the situation cannot recur.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister was telling us that the government was proactive. In this case, it was Alfonso Gagliano who was truly proactive.

When he was a minister, Alfonso Gagliano categorically denied all allegations of conflict of interest relating to contracts granted by the government and work that these same contracts gave to his son's employer. Alfonso Gagliano stated that his son was not directly or indirectly involved.

Since Vincenzo Gagliano now admits that he benefited from this situation, will the Prime Minister recognize that there was clearly a conflict of interest, and that the very active Alfonso Gagliano deserves being investigated?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, all dimensions of this situation are being thoroughly investigated and examined. I have indicated a number of those already. Audits are underway and the RCMP is at work when issues of illegality are raised. Administrative reviews are underway under the Financial Administration Act.

The government said, at the very beginning, that the whole situation with respect to sponsorships and advertising needed to be thoroughly ventilated and the appropriate corrective action taken, and we are in the process of doing just that.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, Vincenzo Gagliano agreed that the sponsorship contracts boosted his sales. It was his responsibility to expand business for his group and the contracts gave his career an edge.

When the decisions of the father benefit the son, which was the case with the Gaglianos, does the Prime Minister not believe that his former Minister of Public Works was in a direct conflict of interest and that this unacceptable situation reflects on his entire government?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me say again that where there was anything wrong with previous contracting, that will be disclosed and dealt with through all of the various inquiries, examinations, and investigations that we have underway.

For the future, the rules are being changed in a major way to ensure strong management, more competition, transparency, accountability and full value for taxpayers' money.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, nothing has been settled. An independent public inquiry would settle things. The Prime Minister is letting Alfonso Gagliano, his former right-hand man who was the driving force behind the Liberal machine in Quebec, off the hook easy.

How can he deny that this calls for a public inquiry when his right-hand man took decisions—several of which are currently under police investigation—when stakeholders took their share in passing, making sure that his party was generously financed, and when his minister's son benefited directly?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the answer to the hon. gentleman's question is indeed in the question itself. All matters that raise any issues that are of a legal nature are within the purview of the RCMP, and the RCMP, I have every confidence, will do their job.