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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

JusticeStatements By Members

March 12th, 2004 / 11:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the tired Liberal government is recycling a Jean Chrétien piece of legislation and touting it as legislation to protect children.

Bill C-12 does no such thing. Even Canada's most notorious pedophile thinks it is great. Why will the government not put teeth into the legislation so it will truly protect our children? Why will it not remove the loophole allowing for defence based on public good? There must be no defence for child molesters and pornographers.

Why will it not raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age and catch up to the rest of the western world? Why will it not increase mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of preying on our children? Harsher maximum sentences that are rarely levied are not a deterrent.

Child molesters, pedophiles and the creeps who prey on our children support the legislation. It is obvious to me that it will take a Conservative government to put legislation in place that will send a clear message--do not mess with our kids.

South Vancouver Neighbourhood HouseStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I participated in the opening of the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House. The newly renovated South Vancouver Neighbourhood House was a joint effort of the community, business and government sectors under the Canada-British Columbia infrastructure program.

The new facility will provide day care for children, job and language training, a place for seniors to gather and new office space.

I wish to congratulate the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House; Chris Friesen, Chairman of the Board and board members; Executive Director Karen Larcombe; and the many volunteers for their hard work to bring positive change to our community.

Turks and Caicos IslandsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, since confederation of three provinces in 1867, Canada has grown to the ten provinces and three territories of today. Now, a bold new confederation opportunity is being proposed and should be explored.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, standing at the doorway to the entire Caribbean and South American marketplace, is beckoning a formalized relationship with Canada. Full provincial status for the Turks and Caicos Islands would give Canada a greater expanded economic, political and trade influence in the Caribbean.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, as Canada's 11th province, would also benefit greatly from the heightened Caribbean political influence as a major trader and transshipment port of Canadian goods and services.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, Canada's confederation partner of the new millennium, would become a Canadian model of regional stability and prosperity. Those who share the boldness and vision of our fathers of Confederation think that the time for action is now.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question for the acting Prime Minister is a very direct one. Can he tell us whether he, in his capacity as a minister, expects his staff to act independently or on his instruction?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I expect my staff to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times, consistent with all of their duties and obligations including all the relevant laws of the land.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the minister sidestepped the issue.

The Prime Minister's two most trusted advisers, working under his direction in his office, were interfering with the awarding of advertising contracts, clearly outlined yesterday at committee. Their actions were the actions of their minister.

Why did the Prime Minister interfere in 1995 and in the year 2004 refuses to take responsibility for his actions?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid the hon. gentleman is muddling a number of things together.

First of all, with respect to the memorandum from Ms. O'Leary, it is very clear that the memorandum calls for more competition, not less. It also refers to a relationship with the firm known as Everest which, in fact, was a relationship entered into by the previous Conservative government.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

More deception, Mr. Speaker.

I want to quote from the committee yesterday where Allan Cutler, coming before the public accounts committee--and this is a perfect description of the Liberal government--said:

Ethics and integrity seem to be minor considerations when it relates to advertising.

He went on to say:

--I was asked to prepare and award contracts in circumstances which I considered questionable or improper.

Why did the government hang it on bureaucrats when it was the Prime Minister himself, as finance minister, giving the instructions?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I admire the courage of Mr. Cutler and I wish him well in the testimony that he is giving. People coming forward in these circumstances to shed light on previously existing situations is exactly what was called for by the Prime Minister.

There is nothing in the testimony that has been given by Mr. Cutler that would in any way relate directly to the Prime Minister or the former minister of finance.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claims to know nothing about the advertising scandal. However, the evidence we heard yesterday makes it very clear that he and his most trusted advisers were involved in the awarding of contracts that the Auditor General declared broke all the rules. In fact, Groupe Everest was singled out.

Is it not time the Prime Minister admitted that he is directing or was directing his staff in awarding these contracts?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me again make the point that the advertising relationship with the firm known as Groupe Everest was entered into prior to the fall of 1993 by the previous Conservative government.

It was an inherited circumstance and the finance minister and his office took steps at the earliest possible moment to complete the business and change the arrangement.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, that only begs the question, why was the staff of the finance minister, now Prime Minister, directing and singling out that particular advertising agency, Groupe Everest? Ministerial staff does not freelance. Ministerial staff follows orders.

How can the Prime Minister continue to deny that he knew nothing about the funnelling of tax dollars into Liberal pockets when his right hand and his left hand, his most trusted advisers, Littler and O'Leary, had their fingerprints all over this scandal?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again, the hon. gentleman has things all inverted. He has trouble knowing which end of the telescope he is looking through.

The memorandum referred to here is a memorandum from the department to Mr. Littler, not the other way around.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, Allan Cutler, who had the courage to denounce what he found unacceptable, says that in November 1994 the political blessing was given to let all rules for awarding contracts drop by the wayside, and that was when public funds started to be diverted to the friends of the Liberal regime.

Since the sponsorship scandal began in November 1994, that is two months after the Parti Quebecois was elected and as referendum fever was rapidly building, are people not entitled to know exactly what the Canadian unity fund concealed within the Prime Minister's budget was used for?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in relation to the reserve to which the hon. member is referring, the reserve existed at that time in the fiscal framework of the government. The current Prime Minister has not initiated any activities from that envelope. He has invited the Clerk of the Privy Council to look into that funding envelope and to make recommendations on how best to deal with it.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has acknowledged the existence of the national unity fund in his own budget. La Presse today reported that there was an envelope of $40 million concealed in this fund for 2002-03 alone. We do not know what the situation was prior to that.

In order to give us a better overview, can the Prime Minister tell us how much as finance minister he allocated to the national unity fund from 1993 on?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, the current Prime Minister has not made any use of that particular reserve. He has asked the President of the Privy Council to examine the matter and to make recommendations on how best to deal with that reserve for the future.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, what we want to know is how much has been spent since 1993. The secret national unity fund did indeed exist and benefited from a hidden budget of $40 million. It is impossible that, as finance minister with responsibility for budgets, he could not have been aware of this.

So can the Prime Minister confirm to us that, from the time of his first budget, he authorized a secret fund, the existence of which was deliberately concealed from the public?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, the Prime Minister, upon becoming Prime Minister, has not made any use whatsoever of that particular reserve. He has asked for the appropriate professional advice from the public service in the person of the President of the Privy Council to determine how best to handle it from here on forward.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the information of the Minister of Finance, I would like to point out that the Prime Minister was finance minister for nine years.

In budget after budget for those nine years, that is in nine budgets, the Prime Minister transferred considerable amounts to slush funds, thus becoming an accomplice to his predecessor, Jean Chrétien.

How can the Minister of Finance claim that the arrival of his government and a new Prime Minister represents a change from the way things were during the Chrétien years, when his actions while in Finance prove he was in it up to his neck?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, the Prime Minister has not made any use of that fund and he is seeking advice from the public service in terms of how to dispose of it.

Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal gravy train has just made another stop, this time to pick up another old corporate pal of the Prime Minister, Purdy Crawford. Mr. Crawford served with the Prime Minister on the board of Imasco and contributed $5,000 to his leadership campaign.

It makes us wonder what we have to donate in order to get an appointment to the other place.

Mr. Crawford has just been hired by the CPP investment board as, get this, an adviser on conflict of interest and ethics. Protect whistleblowers or protect a pal? It is a tough call. Why does the government not get it and break the mould for Liberal friendly ethics counsellors and the trough of Liberal patronage?

Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member really wishes to cast aspersions upon this particular individual, who was recommended not more than two years ago as Canada's chief executive officer of the year.

Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, one has to wonder, when will this path of appointing corporate conservative cronies to Liberal boards and commissions end?

Canadians are demanding more and more that their pension funds be used for ethical investments, investments with no place for the scourge of tobacco companies. Mr. Crawford has been involved with the tobacco company Imasco since the early 1970s, as a board member with the Prime Minister and even as its CEO and president.

How can we expect ethical, neutral advice from a staunch defender of tobacco investment and marketing? Is the CPP Investment--

Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.