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 #13 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was document.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is using words such as fraud, which I do not believe were indicated in the background papers.

There were some inconsistencies in billing in the background papers and some questions about them. They led to the conclusion that there was a need to improve the administrative practices which were supported by the deputy ministers and reported on by them to the public accounts committee.

If indeed there are any corrupt practices that come to light, they will be brought before the various inquiries that are going ahead and the appropriate action will be taken, whether it is criminal, civil or administrative.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he did not know about the sponsorship scandal until May 2002.

Yet, his Minister of Public Works and Government Services told us that there was a comprehensive internal audit in the fall of 2000, but that in the fall of 2001, in the latter part of that year, they realized that there were more than just administrative problems, adding that, in January 2002, Alfonso Gagliano had to resign for these reasons.

Everyone knows that. Only the Prime Minister apparently did not know about it.

How does the Prime Minister explain the total contradiction between his version—that he knew nothing until May 2002—and that of his Minister of Public Works and Government Services?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, in recent days, the past couple of weeks, the questions put directly to us by the Bloc Quebecois are intended specifically to either smear individuals' reputation or assume the findings of an independent inquiry.

Such behaviour is totally unacceptable. If they are serious about wanting to know what really happened, I suggest they wait, as we are doing, and trust the process in place.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there has to be limit in the end, because the Prime Minister is going all over the place telling people he is innocent. But when we put questions to him in the House, he is the democratic deficit incarnate. He will not answer.

If he is as transparent as he claims to be, I would ask him to answer our questions, instead of trying to hide behind the public inquiry. He says he is prepared to answer. Let him answer in this place.

Why is it that what his Minister of Public Works and Government Services said completely contradicts what he said?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no contradiction. The hon. member can read what I said; I said that there were rumours at the start of 2002, that questions were raised in the House, and there was an article in the Globe and Mail on this issue.

On January 15, I think it was, a new minister was appointed. Later, the Globe and Mail published an article on Groupaction. Following that, the Auditor General's report and confirmed everything.

I have said repeatedly and everyone knows that questions were raised in the House and there were newspaper reports in the early part of 2002.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, questions were asked in the House as early as of 2001, and a minister resigned in January 2002. It is very rare for a minister to resign on the strength of rumours.

However, I want to ask the Prime Minister a question, since he is in a position to answer and stated earlier that he was prepared to release cabinet documents. Yesterday, I asked this question, and I want to ask it again today.

Ten ministers in his government each paid $27,000, a total of $270,000, for a report worth $27,000. Yesterday, I asked the government: given this government's desire to be transparent, as it claims, could someone tell us which ten ministers paid—

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. President of the Treasury Board.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, it is true the government received an internal audit report which it hid on its website so everyone could see it. I would invite the member to read it and see what he would discern from that.

I might also point out that the Auditor General himself, because it was the previous Auditor General, when auditing the department's books did not discover what this member seems to have discovered. The fact is that the information that was available was relatively coached bureaucratese. It was done by somebody who was not sure what was going on.

I suspect that if the member opposite read that report, and I would invite him to do so, it would be interesting to see the conclusions that he would come to.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister does the rounds in Quebec, he swears to everyone that he is outraged, that he wants the truth to come out. Is this not a very basic test?

If the Prime Minister is telling the truth in Quebec, if he has information to the effect that ten ministers each purchased the same report, I ask the government, and this Prime Minister, who says that he want to be transparent, who are those ministers? It is not complicated.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, it is really easy for the opposition to come into the House and slander staff and slander, through innuendo, other members of the House, trying to create an atmosphere of distrust. I would ask him to put a single fact on the table that proves his allegation.

Let me tell the House what somebody else thinks about the Prime Minister. This is from today's Globe and Mail . It states:

...Prime Minister Paul Martin deserves more credit than the polls are giving him.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I remind hon. members that we have to use titles and not read something with names in it. Unfortunately, those are the rules that I am bound to enforce.

The hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, before this scandal can be properly cleaned up, the scandal has to stop.

Media/IDA Vision, which is a subsidiary of Groupe Everest, the Groupe Everest of scandals past, is the same firm that was mentioned in the Auditor General's report.

The Prime Minister received the Auditor General's report on December 12 of last year when he assumed the role of Prime Minister of Canada. After he became Prime Minister, he gave Groupe Everest a $500,000 contract, the very company that is still listed as the official company of record for the government.

The scandal is continuing. It is getting $500,000. When is the scandal going to stop?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is referring to an advertising contract awarded after competitive bids, without a commission being paid, through the reformed method that was put in place by my predecessor as minister of public works, then that was a highly competitive process that was transparent and there is accountability behind it.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, it hardly fixes the problem to give a contract to the very firm that has been involved in these very scandals that we are dealing with right now.

The company, Groupe Everest, is the very same company that has given $77,000 back to the Liberal Party of Canada. It has been given $500,000 in contracts.

The Auditor General's report is supposed to help clean this stuff up. The Prime Minister received the AG's report on December 12. After that, he gave Groupe Everest $500,000. This company, in the past, has kicked back $77,000 to the Liberal Party.

How in the world is anybody supposed to believe that the Prime Minister is cleaning up the mess when he continues to do it?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member has any single bit of evidence to suggest that this company that he is citing won a competitive process and did not earn or did not properly perform that contract, he should bring it before the public accounts committee and the public inquiry, and let us get to the bottom of it.

Just raising the name of a company in the House and ascribing corrupt motives to it is not an appropriate way to--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear today that the Minister of Canadian Heritage was involved in the sponsorship scandal. She managed projects that received subsidies from Groupaction for Public Works. But like her boss, she says that she knew nothing about this scandal.

If the Prime Minister, who sent out the cheques, did not know, and if the person who received the cheques, the current Minister of Canadian Heritage, did not know, who exactly in the Liberal Party did know?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the minister of heritage was a private citizen in 2000 when, as a representative of a non-governmental association, she applied to the Department of Public Works and Government Services on behalf of this group for a sponsorship grant for the World Ski Championship. She sought and obtained this grant through public works that ran the sponsorship program.

Groupaction was assigned as the communications agency by the Department of Public Works and Government Services. It has nothing to do with the minister of heritage who was a private citizen--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, it had everything to do with that minister who worked with Groupaction when it was taking money from the taxpayer that did not belong to it. In fact the project she was working on received a subsidy without even applying for it.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why is he allowing ministers to sit in his cabinet who were involved in the sponsorship scandal themselves?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, if I understand the question, when a private citizen is involved in trying to get some support for an organization in their area, that is wrong.

When the member for Calgary Southeast received $115,000 from the sponsorship program--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Glengarry--Prescott--Russell has a question.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

February 18th, 2004 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister responsible for Official Languages.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Once again I remind hon. members that there is a lobby out of the far end of the chamber where if members wish to carry on conversations, it is a great place for that and possibly in hearing of the media. We have before us now a question from the hon. member for Glengarry--Prescott--Russell who has the floor.