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House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was military.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the past year a new strain of the bacterium Clostridium difficile has killed over 600 hospitalized Canadians in Quebec. Today's papers are filled with concerns. The government has known since July's Canadian Medical Association Journal that hospitalized patients on gastric acid inhibitors are at increased risk of contracting this superbug.

Why has Health Canada not warned Canadians about these dangerous risks?

HealthOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, Dr. David Butler-Jones, the chief public health officer of Canada, has spoken to the chief medical officer of Quebec, and the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg has been contributing to the examination of the most recent outbreak in Quebec.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has been monitoring the situation. On November 1 we will start surveillance in the 25 major teaching hospitals in the country on this very issue.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of Mr. John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver organizing committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the recipients of the Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case: Allison Brewer, Léa Cousineau, Huberte Gautreau, Rosemary Speirs, Bonnie Sherr Klein, Frances Wright and Chi Nguyen.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Reynolds Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the government House leader if he could advise all members of the House on the business for the rest of this week and next week. Could he also advise the House when we will see legislation, as promised by the Prime Minister, on MPs' salaries?

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we will continue this afternoon with the debate on the Conservative opposition day motion.

On Friday we will debate a motion of reference before second reading of Bill C-10, the mental disorder legislation. We will then turn to a motion of reference before second reading of Bill C-12, the Quarantine Act amendments. We will then resume this debate commencing on Tuesday and follow it with second reading of Bill C-7, the parks reorganization, and Bill C-8, the public service human resources agency bill.

We would then turn to second reading of Bill C-14, the Tlicho legislation. This will be followed by reference before second reading of Bill C-13, the DNA bill, followed by Bill C-9, the Quebec regional development bill.

Next Thursday will be an allotted day.

On Monday, instead of a normal sitting of the House, there will be an address to both Houses by President Fox of Mexico. This will take place at 2:15 p.m.

With respect to my hon. friend's last question, that legislation will be coming forward in due course.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair has notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands arising out of question period.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

October 21st, 2004 / 3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Conservative Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is bad enough that the Prime Minister is hiding from the House, but during question period the Minister of Public Works stated that I personally called that office with respect to the sponsorship program.

I want to state, first, that is absolutely false. It is not true. I believe the member is intentionally misleading the House. I was not even aware of the sponsorship program until we learned about the money being shovelled to Liberal friends. The only thing I have ever done is write letters to various ministers asking that an application be given fair consideration based on its own merits.

For the minister to rise in the House and tarnish my reputation, intentionally misleading the House, is absolutely wrong.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, on December 28, 2000, the hon. member or a member of his staff called the office of the Minister of Public Works to inquire about the sponsorship program. If the hon. member was not aware of the sponsorship program, I guess at least he had a good staff member who was aware of the sponsorship program and was making a phone call on his behalf and on behalf of his constituents to obtain funding.

I am glad the member opposite is someone who understands the difference between a member of Parliament calling a minister's office and a staff member calling. If I was wrong when I said that the hon. member called and it was a member of his staff, I absolutely have no difficulty admitting that.

Beyond that, let us be perfectly clear that it was either he or a member of his staff who called about the sponsorship program on December 28, 2000. I appreciate his bringing to our attention the fact that his office was aware of the sponsorship program at that time.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I think perhaps hon. members will want to review what each other said but it sounds to me as though we have gone as far as we can go in the House on this matter. I am not sure there is a question of privilege.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Reynolds Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think there is a more important issue here. We have just heard the minister talk about a call log and what was done with the call. Every member of Parliament may call or write a minister's office. It does not necessarily mean that it has to do with the sponsorship program. Yet it was inferred by the minister that the member called with regard to the sponsorship program.

I am looking at a note written by the minister to the member which says “it's on the call log, your office did call”. He said that it was on December 28. The problem is that the member's staff was not working on December 28. Members of his staff do not work between Christmas and New Years. Something is wrong here.

Mr. Speaker, are telephone calls made by members of Parliament being recorded by ministers' offices? I want to know that. I think that is very important. Are our calls being monitored by ministers' offices?

How does this minister know? There were no staff in the office and the member says that he did not call. What was the call about? He is imputing that the member called for support from the sponsorship program but the member says that it is not true.

The minister should withdraw his remarks. He should also advise the House on whether members' calls are being taped.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the Nixonian sort of allegation around tapes of members' calls. The fact is that all members' offices record ministers, members or staff who are calling. That is part of the process to ensure that every request gets responded to. That is simply good management.

I do not understand why the hon. member would not understand the importance of ministers' offices keeping track of requests from offices of members of Parliament. We maintain those logs to ensure we are responding on a thorough basis to all members of Parliament on all these issues, because we are responsible to all Canadians.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

We are getting into a dispute about what transpired in this case. It seems to me that there already is a committee of the House that is looking into the sponsorship scandal. Questions on these kinds of phone calls are certainly ones that members of that committee could ask. They can ask for production of documents. The committee has the power to do all that. It seems to me this matter could be dealt with there rather than here on the floor of the House.

The fact that there may have been a call made on a particular day is clearly a matter in dispute. I would suggest that if members wish to pursue the matter they pursue it in committee rather than have statements on this matter here in the House. We have reached the position where there is some disagreement and we are not going to resolve it by cross-examining one another here. The committee has the power to do that. I suggest that if members wish to pursue it, including the member for Saanich--Gulf Islands, they go to the public accounts committee which is dealing with this issue.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

An hon. member

They do not give any documents.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member said that it does not give any documents. The committee has the power to send for documents, persons and papers. It can command the presentation of these materials. There will be no problem with that. That is where I believe the hon. member should now go.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Conservative Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member has referred to a call log. He is impugning my reputation as a parliamentarian. I would ask that the call log be tabled in the House.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I have suggested that the hon. member take the matter up in committee, which is where the call log could be produced if the committee orders it to be produced. I believe that is where this matter should go.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, I believe the House would appreciate your esteemed judgment on whether it was a serious conflict of interest and a major breach for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to be quoting a seriously compromised journalist in defence of the Prime Minister when that journalist, Anne Dawson, is married to someone on the Prime Minister's payroll. Is that not a serious conflict of interest and a major breach of ethics?

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is referring to a headline in today's Ottawa Citizen , which he is free to read, and probably, I suspect, subscribes to. My experience with journalists is that journalists typically do not write the headlines. The fact is the headline said that the Tories were wrong about the Prime Minister and the calls.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I may have missed the point of the remarks made by the hon. member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin. He seemed to be suggesting that perhaps the minister was in a conflict of interest for quoting somebody. I cannot imagine that. We all like to quote people with whom we agree, or sometimes with whom we disagree, for various reasons. Whether quoting somebody puts us in a conflict of interest I would have trouble imagining that. That normally has to do with business transactions and not who we quote. I suspect there is no conflict of interest here.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like your guidance on this. As you know, during question period I set the record straight on a matter involving the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. However, there is a deeper issue here which I would really appreciate your advice on, and that is the freedom of members of Parliament to do their work on behalf of constituents.

As it happens, in this case, I knew nothing about the program nor did I access the program. What bothers me is if I do access the program, then I am always vulnerable to a minister opposite standing up and making an accusation that I have accessed a program, or mentioned something to a minister or wrote a letter. Surely, we can all see how this can inhibit us working together for the good of Canadians.

I would be interested in any direction or advice you could give on how can we ensure that our dealings on behalf of constituents will remain on a basis that would allow freedom of congress between members of Parliaments and members of the cabinet and ministers. I do not know if you have considered this, Mr. Speaker, but it certainly is becoming a problem.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill for raising the issue. I have not sat about considering it, I must admit. It seems to me that if a member contacts a minister's office and there is a note made, and we are hearing a lot today about the value of notes, then that becomes part of the public record and at some point will become public. Whether the minister chooses to make it public early, or after the records have become part of the public archives or some other date is another matter.

However, I thank the hon. member for expressing her concern. I am sure the members of the government will bear it in mind. However, obviously the tenor of questions makes for a different tenor in the answers and so we are in the midst of a disagreement over certain facts that bring out things that perhaps might not otherwise be brought forward. That is certainly true of the commission of inquiry as well, and I will leave it at that.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to bring up a matter in support of the point just raised by the member. It is the privacy concerns of the constituent in question as well. It is not just the members of Parliament. They have a right to access this House and government programs and so on. It seems to me members have to represent their constituents. There are privacy concerns too. When government members bring forward these documents in the House, they could be violating the privacy rights of constituents by doing that, and I find that offensive.

I would like the Speaker to consider--