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House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was products.

Topics

Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are of course established guidelines for dealing with investment issues of this kind.

I would also point out that if the hon. member wants to be critical of appointments, she might want to be critical of one of our advisers on municipal matters, which of course is Mr. Harcourt, and of one of our previous advisers on health care, which of course was Mr. Romanow.

The government obviously tries to seek the best advice it can. That includes, from time to time, New Democrats.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, over the last 10 years public servants have come and gone and public works ministers have come and gone, but one person remained in control. That person is the present Prime Minister. He ran the finance department with an iron fist as it handed out these bogus contracts. He sat on Treasury Board even while his own department bent the rules. How can Canadians be expected to swallow the line that he did not know?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Again, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is relying on a hodgepodge of information to draw some inappropriate conclusions. The memorandum from Ms. O'Leary was clearly an argument for more competition, not less competition. The firm that the hon. gentleman and his party are complaining about, Groupe Everest, was in fact originally contracted by the Conservative Party, not the Liberal Party.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, 10 years and they kept the ad company that ran off the rails. Something had to change and the Liberals did not do it.

Throughout those last 10 years of Liberal mismanagement, there has been one common thread weaving in and around the scandals, the corruption and the waste, and that one thread is the present Prime Minister. That hodgepodge of evidence the finance minister talks about points to him, and it is mounting. What will the excuse of the day be now that the Prime Minister's line, he did not know, has been shown to be a serious nose-stretcher?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that the Prime Minister's career in public life is a very well known career for Canadians. It is a career that is applauded by Canadians. It is supported by the vast majority of Canadians, even to the point when the pollsters asked members of the Conservative Party who was best able to lead the country, they said this Prime Minister.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's career is becoming better known every day. The Prime Minister said he knew nothing about ad scam until 2002. The truth is that in 1995 he was told by Treasury Board, of which he was vice-chair, by the way, to stop breaking the rules in awarding contracts.

Months later, his staff were still breaking the rules. Ministerial staff simply do not wing it on their own. They follow orders. Why did the Prime Minister continue to break the rules and dole out contracts to his political friends?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I presume the hon. gentleman is referring to some comments that have been attributed to Monsieur Guité. I would point out to the hon. gentleman that the finance department disputed those allegations back in 1995 and continues to dispute them.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the common thread through all of this political mess and all this corruption is the current Prime Minister. He was told in 1995 by the Treasury Board, of which he was chair, to stop breaking the rules.

Why did the Prime Minister ignore these demands of Treasury Board, continue to break the rules and continue to hand out contracts to his political friends?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there was a set of rules put in place in the early 1990s with respect to contracting procedures, which had to do, if the hon. gentleman is familiar with the details, with the old appendix Q to the government procurement regulations and so forth.

Throughout my investigation of those matters, I determined that the procedures laid out deserved to be strengthened. In fact, that strengthening took place during the course of 2002 and 2003 to revise the rules. Prior to that, all of the evidence before me would suggest that the Minister of Finance complied with all of the obligations upon him.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jean Chrétien was prepared to do anything for the sake of national unity, even commit fraud and divert public funds. It seems the Chuck Guité approach was used in the flag campaign as well. We have learned that a flag maker, who is also the federal Liberal Party president in British Columbia, told the federal MPs of that province that rules were being violated.

Can anyone on the other side of the House deny that British Columbia MPs did nothing even though they knew what was going on?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the flag challenge to which the hon. member refers was something that the government undertook at a time when many questions were being raised about our national unity.

Having said that, let me say that the government is examining the files and, like any other advertising contracts, investigations are underway to ensure that if any wrongdoing occurred, people will be held to account. If money was paid inappropriately, it will be returned to the taxpayers of Canada.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ms. Braverman personally phoned the Prime Minister, who was the finance minister at the time, to inform him of the situation. Once again, he chose to wash his hands of it, claiming that the flag campaign was the then heritage minister's responsibility.

Can the Prime Minister deny that he too did nothing?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue to deal with advertising. We have a number of processes underway that are looking at any aspect of the Auditor General's report dealing with sponsorship, advertising or public opinion research. The public accounts committee is looking into these issues.

The opposition cannot have it both ways. When a Commons committee does good work they just blame it on a government majority on the committee, but they try to take credit for it whenever it comes up other information. The government is being open with committees, it is being open with the Canadian public--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Argenteuil--Papineau--Mirabel.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has made a solemn appeal to all those who knew something about the sponsorship scandal, asking them to come forward and speak about it publicly. Yet, when Liberal supporters write to him or phone him to denounce dubious practices, he does nothing.

How does the Prime Minister expect us to take him seriously when he invites those who knew something to talk, but when notified, did nothing and washed his hands of it?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, far from washing his hands, the Prime Minister has launched the most comprehensive process ever undertaken to make sure that this matter is thoroughly ventilated, all the facts are known, the trail is followed to wherever it leads, and the appropriate consequences ensue. The Prime Minister has been very open, transparent and definitive in dealing with this matter and Canadians recognize that.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is not credible. Would the Prime Minister not have been better off following Mr. Cutler's lead and, instead of washing his hands of it as he did, showing courage and transparency and denouncing the sponsorship scandal, rather than condoning it through his silence?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, without commenting on the detail, of course the government applauds the courage of Mr. Cutler.

National DefenceOral Question Period

March 12th, 2004 / 11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Financial Administration Act limits the signing authority for public servants at the Department of National Defence. Anything over $250,000 must go to Public Works. How could one person have signing authority for $160 million?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the employee being referred to obviously had no authority to sign contracts that were not authorized by the lead contract with Hewlett-Packard. If something was done of a criminal nature, the RCMP are investigating it to find out. The particular employee has been fired. The investigations and audits continue.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, only the minister--

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I do not know how the member for Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke is able to hear the answer. I can hardly hear it and I think the hon. members who are yelling could not possibly hear it.

If we are going to have multiple answers from all sides of the House we will change the rules, but the rules are that one person asks a question and one person answers. The minister had the floor and now we have the member for Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke who has the floor. Perhaps we could have a little order.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, only the minister could approve an expenditure of this size. Has the minister plugged the loophole that allowed a single individual to sign off on $160 million of taxpayers' money?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think that what the hon. member does not understand is that this was not one single contract for $160 million but a series of small contracts being dealt with. The thing to keep in mind as well is that there is a forensic audit going on and that the RCMP is also looking into this. As well, there may be further disciplinary action forthcoming.