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

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, what is not appropriate is the whole point of this scandal. What is not appropriate is for somebody to come forward and say “give me money” , and the government then to give money to this person through a Liberal ad firm for the money then to be kicked back to the Liberal Party.

What is it about this system of money going through this circle and going back to the Liberal Party that this minister does not seem to understand?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this minister sees very clearly that there was a problem in the flow of money between legitimate representations by constituents and their MPs and the festivals or whatever other activity was being funded. There is a major problem in the flow of the money. That is why we have a public inquiry. That is why the public accounts committee is studying it. That is why we have a special counsel appointed to recover money wherever possible. That is why we have 18 RCMP investigations.

We are getting to the bottom of it: come and help us do it.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, what a tangled web we weave. It turns out that the current industry minister, the former president of the Treasury Board, in the year prior to the approval--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We have to be able to hear the question from the hon. member for Calgary Southeast or the minister will not be able to give an answer.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

I guess the slush fund junkies are in rehab, Mr. Speaker.

It turns out that the Minister of Industry, when she was the president of the Treasury Board, in the year prior to the formal approval of this program, received or was attributed as having received, according to the government, 28 sponsorship grants worth over $3 million, grants that went through no formal process, that totally violated all of the Treasury Board guidelines.

I want to know, how did the Treasury Board president allow this to happen under her own nose?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote something the member for St. Albert said yesterday: “...people please respect the confidentiality of these documents until the meeting commences on Thursday morning”. He asked that of all members. The documents that are being referenced are ones that have leaked out of that committee. It undermines the respect of the process. On this side we will respect the request of the chair until such time as the documents are published.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is based on a document that he tabled. This minister does not know what he is talking about. The point is that the former president of the Treasury Board was in this right up to her neck, watching 28 grants get attributed to her to get political advantage.

I would like to know how many tax dollars were stolen by Liberal ad firms in commissions for the grants that were attributed to the former minister of the Treasury Board.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, all the grants from this program are on the government website so that members opposite have the opportunity to see them, for their own ridings as well as others.

Political donations in this country are public. They are on the website.

The Liberal Party of Canada has offered to engage and is engaging an independent forensic auditor to look into the books of the Liberal Party of Canada and of Quebec.

This side is being perfectly open with what happened in this program and we have various processes to get to the bottom of it. Instead of carrying on with accusations in this House, why do we not talk about missile defence or--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve.

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Premier of Quebec said yesterday that the current health care system may not survive the decade because the federal government is not providing its share of the funding. We think the system will collapse in far less than 10 years.

Will the Prime Minister finally understand that the highest priority for all Quebeckers is to have access to the best quality health care and that this is only possible if the federal government admits it has to provide its fair share of funding, and not a penny less?

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, of course, the Canadian health care system is the number one priority for all Canadians. Obviously, this is reflected by our own government. Barely two months after becoming the Prime Minister of Canada, the latter held a federal-provincial meeting with the provincial premiers, where most of the discussion focussed on health.

We are committed to the values of the Canadian health care system. This is our priority. The finance ministers talked about it last week. We will be holding another federal-provincial conference on the health care system this summer.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Premier of Quebec differed with the Prime Minister on three counts. First, he said that the surplus will be larger than anticipated; second, that there has already been a sharp drop in equalization payments; and finally, that the Speech from the Throne was heavy on intrusion. These statements echo those made by the premiers of the other provinces. The Premier of Quebec concluded by saying that no one knows where the federal government is headed with this.

Will the Prime Minister tell this House where he is going with the health care system?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in any event, one thing is certain: the Bloc is going down in the polls. It has lost nine points in one week. We do know where the Bloc is going.

As for health care, our government has made a very strong commitment to make it our priority. The next federal-provincial conference, which the Prime Minister has promised to hold this summer with the premiers, will follow a meeting of finance ministers and a meeting of health ministers on the matter. We are going to ensure the long-term sustainability of our health care system in Canada.

EqualizationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, federal government spending estimates are reaching new heights and will increase by $10 billion next year. Increases of 20% are forecast in the Privy Council Office, for example. Another hundred million dollars or so will go to the gun registry. As if that were not enough, these increases are on top of the expected 39% increase in operating expenses over five years.

How can the federal government explain to the public that it is as generous toward its own bureaucracy as it is stingy toward Quebeckers?

EqualizationOral 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, the main estimates that were tabled yesterday are the consolidation of the A-bases plus all new spending this year where none of the budgetary decisions are taken. They are simply the reconciliation of current expenditures, reflecting changes in the structure of government.

It is true that this Prime Minister has adopted a very aggressive and activist policy. He has taken into his office some important initiatives--support the cities, support the aboriginals--and we are delivering on them. That is what this document tells us.

EqualizationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the federal government tells us, this year, the surplus will be between $7 billion and $8 billion. At the same time, the government is reducing its equalization payments and promising in the throne speech that it will encroach on all of Quebec's areas of jurisdiction.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, if no announcement is made in the health issue before March 31—and that is quite soon—the surplus will all go to repaying the debt, and there will be absolutely nothing for health?

EqualizationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have already made the commitment that the first $2 billion from the surplus will indeed go to health care. We have the legislation before the House right now that will ensure that the provinces can take that money in the fiscal year in which they wish to receive it.

We have established a process agreed to by all first ministers to work on health care sustainability over this spring and summer leading to further conclusions later on this year. The process is already in place and should not be pre-empted.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

February 25th, 2004 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, based upon the information tabled by the current President of the Treasury Board, we know that the current industry minister received 28 grants totalling over $3 million between 2001-02. The industry minister must stand up and defend herself on this fact.

Of the $3 million given, how much of this total went to Liberal-friendly advertising firms?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the government has questions about the flow of money as well. That is the very reason we have set up a public inquiry. We are participating with the public accounts committee to look into these issues. We have hired a special counsel to go after financial recovery and we have made referrals to the RCMP.

I ask hon. members to join with us in this inquiry to get the answers to these very questions.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question was for the current industry minister. Does the current industry minister think it was acceptable for her to receive $3 million between 2001-02? Does she even have any compunction about this whatsoever?

She should be standing up and demanding accountability on 28 grants totalling over $3 million in her riding in one and a half fiscal years. That is completely unacceptable.

How much of this money went to Liberal-friendly advertising firms?

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 whole government is standing up together and asking to get to the bottom of this by the inquiries and the other processes that we have established. We know there was a problem with this program. Funds were missing and that is what we are looking for. Please assist us in that task and then we will all be the wiser for it.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the front organizations change but the Liberal money laundering scam just goes on and on. In 2001 the environment minister's riding office basically doubled as a branch office for Media IDA Vision.

Why were the minister's political aides funnelling Jamie Kelley's request and laundering all kinds of cash through Media IDA Vision? Why were they doing that?

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 only information that any of us have to go on, that we know is the truth, is that, through the Minister of the Environment's constituency office, the festival organizer in his riding was directed to write to the minister of the program at the Ministry of Public Works and Government Services. That is what happened.

The money was received by the festival organizers. The festival was a great success. I will be tabling documents after question period to attest to the success of the program. However, the money flow in the middle is exactly what our inquiry is looking into. As I say, please join us in that inquiry.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, obviously the ad scam morphed into the program scam, but the problem is that the money still washed through all kinds of Liberal ad agencies and it still took the secret Liberal handshake to open up the vault. The member for Red Deer received no money from this thing whereas the Minister of Industry received $3 million. What a joke.

Why were the environment minister's political aides funnelling Jamie Kelley's request through a dirty Liberal ad agency? That is what we want to know.