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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

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

I was not looking for a Howard Dean scream, Mr. Speaker, just a response.

The Liberal image of scandal is embarrassing and it is costly. Wesley Cragg of Transparency International, which is the watchdog group which monitors government corruption and transparency said that the growing perception of high level corruption will cause some international investors to park their capital elsewhere.

Will the Prime Minister admit that these Liberal scandals have hurt our international reputation, investment and possibly jobs?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that this is an issue which nobody wishes had arisen, but the fact is it is the way in which it is dealt with that demonstrates the strength of a country's democracy.

The fact is that we are dealing with this in an open and transparent way. We are leaving no stone unturned. Those who perpetrated whatever these acts were will be brought to justice.

We are dealing with this the way that a democracy ought to deal with it.

Cape Breton Development CorporationOral Question Period

February 18th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Mr. Speaker, in the late fall of 2002 it was determined by an independent actuary that the Cape Breton Development Corporation held surplus funds in both the contributory and non-contributory pension plans. In claiming rights to these funds, the corporation filed court proceedings which were later dismissed by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

The pensioners and widows of former coal miners who contributed to these surplus funds through the acceptance of contract concessions and wage scales far below industry standards are entitled to be fairly compensated in this case.

Could the Minister of Natural Resources tell the House when these good people can expect a resolution to their case?

Cape Breton Development CorporationOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the question and for the work that he and his colleague from Sydney—Victoria have done on this file.

We would like to see this in a timely fashion. In 2003 the Superintendent of Financial Institutions directed Devco to appoint an arbitrator. That process is in place now and we hope to see a settlement in the very near future.

AgricultureOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, the BSE crisis has put our agriculture industry on the brink of disaster.

In Saskatchewan net farm income is down 177%. Imagine the Liberal action we would see if that party fell that fast and hard in the polls.

While the Prime Minister busies himself with scandal, the agriculture industry is sinking. Where do the farmers turn? Why does the Prime Minister have time and money for his Liberal friends but nothing for our struggling farmers?

AgricultureOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate a question on agriculture in the House today. It highlights the importance of the desperate situation being faced by many farmers and farm families across this country.

The Government of Canada has responded. We responded in terms of BSE. We have also brought in a new program, CAISP, that will help farmers in the future deal with their farm income situation.

The Government of Canada clearly recognizes the trouble in agriculture today and we are working to resolve it.

AgricultureOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister on a point of order.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period I was asked by the Leader of the Opposition if the pertinent cabinet documents could be made available. I said yes. He then followed up with a request that the pertinent Treasury Board documents, and I believe the communications committee documents, be made available.

I am glad to confirm that they will.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period I asked the Prime Minister about a document, an internal memo that came from his office in 1994 that pertained to retail debt strategy. The Prime Minister indicated at that time that he had no difficulty with that document being tabled. I have a copy of that and I would like to table it with the House today.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to table the document?

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, during question period, the President of the Treasury Board said, and I quote, and I believe the blues will confirm this: “The member for Calgary Southeast received $150,000 from the federal sponsorship program”. Clearly, this is completely untrue. It impugns my character and, I believe, my privilege.

I therefore request that the President of the Treasury Board retract this inaccurate remark.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the allegation from that side of the House was that a member on this side of the House, as a private citizen, when seeking funds on behalf of a community organization, was somehow engaged in a corrupt act.

There was $115,000 given to the organization in the hon. member's riding, not to the hon. member, I said in his riding. It was given two years in a row.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Clearly there is a dispute here. I think what the Chair will do is review the blues with respect to the matter and if necessary, I will hear further from the hon. members. I think we are getting into an argument and clearly, the member for Calgary Southeast says the minister said one thing in his question. I will look at the blues and see if he said that. Then we will look at the comments that have been made and if I need to hear further from the hon. member, I will.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, on a separate point of order, the President of the Treasury Board has twice cited from a document in the House. I believe he is therefore required by convention to table the document from which he has cited.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 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 may, I would like to deal seriously with one piece of this. We will check the tape. If I said on the record that the member received the money personally, I will withdraw that. That was never my intention and I would apologize to the member if that is in fact what I said.

However, as far as tabling the document goes, absolutely, I will make copies for everyone.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, just a moment ago, the President of the Treasury Board said he would table a document from which he quoted twice to the agreement of everyone. Then he said he would make copies.

He should table the document now, not pass copies around afterward. We do not know whether we will get the true document or not.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member will be able to weigh all that in due course.

The difficulty is that documents to be tabled by ministers in the House must be in bilingual format. He may have had to check to make sure it was, or get another copy before it was done so that it was tabled in conformity with our rules.

I am sure the minister will take note of the hon. member's comments. I am sure he will quickly become convinced of the necessity, if he was not already, of having the document in both official languages before he tables it. I made the assumption he did not table on the spot because he did not have the necessary document to do that.

I am sure the member's point will be taken and we will hear about the matter in due course. I am sure the Chair will be notified when the document has been tabled, as will the hon. member, because it sounds as though he is going to get a copy from the minister directly.

However, I do not think it is reasonable to expect the minister to have with him when he stands up and reads from some document, the necessary bilingual copies of the document that are required by our rules before a minister can table it.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, a document that we just tabled was accepted and it was not translated. Why would there be a difference?

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

There is a double standard in that ministers tabling documents in the House must table them in a bilingual format. There is no such a requirement when the House gives its consent to a member of the opposition to do the same thing.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

An hon. member

Mr. Speaker, you must have read the rule book.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I get an earful regularly from the Clerk.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, perhaps as a point of clarification, the issue here is one of the veracity of the document itself.

My colleague from St. John's is referring to the fact that the minister was quoting directly from a document which he then gave his undertaking he would table with the House. If he is permitted to leave the chamber and make copies, there is no telling what the copy that will be tabled with the House will then contain.

It is very much an issue of the veracity of the originality of the document.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think that there is a rule in this House by which MPs are to be trusted, considered to be telling the truth and behaving decently. The member who just spoke is insinuating the contrary.

Mr. Speaker, I invite you to resolve this issue of excessive questioning of individual behaviour.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to Standing Order 32(4):

Any document distributed in the House or laid before the House pursuant to sections (1) or (2) of this Standing Order shall be in both official languages.

Subsection (2), which is the relevant one, states:

A Minister of the Crown, or a Parliamentary Secretary acting on behalf of a Minister, may, in his or her place in the House, state that he or she proposes to lay upon the Table of the House, any report or other paper dealing with a matter coming within the administrative responsibilities of the government, and, thereupon, the same shall be deemed for all purposes to have been laid before the House.

To comply with subsection (2), the document must be in both official languages.

The hon. member, I am sure, will be able to ask the minister questions when the document is tabled as to whether it is the same one he was quoting from or whether he quoted from the English only version or possibly the French only version. I have no idea.

In order to comply with the Standing Orders the minister must table both. I do not know why the minister did not table it on the spot. My guess was he did not because it was not in both official languages and he could not comply with the Standing Order.

As I have said, the hon. member will have ample opportunity to question him on the matter if he has any doubt that the document that was tabled was in fact different from the one that he was quoting from. I am certain the minister will be prepared to answer questions in that regard to the satisfaction of the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, the hon. member for St. John's West, and all other hon. members.