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

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I recall the discussion quite well, and also the fact that Mr. Gray went to Berlin and had the support of all ministers.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former minister also said that her two colleagues even went before cabinet to prevent her from signing the Berlin mandate.

Given these critical comments from his colleague, can the Prime Minister tell us what credibility can be given to his supposed determination to implement the Kyoto protocol?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, former Deputy Prime Minister Gray had responsibility, assumed that responsibility fully, went to Berlin and signed the mandate. He had our support.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, this morning in the public accounts committee Huguette Tremblay confirmed that the President of the Privy Council contacted Chuck Guité. She confirmed that this morning.

A minute ago, the Prime Minister stood up and essentially said that Ms. Tremblay is lying. Is that his position today?

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 public accounts committee is hearing evidence from various people and has obviously been getting different points of view, different evidence. The process is to find the truth. It is not complete yet. What the hon. member referred to has contradicted in the House a statement by that witness.

Members of this cabinet have said they will come forward to any of these processes to say what they knew, if anything, or to defend themselves, and we stand ready to do that. That is why these processes are continuing, but that allegation this morning has been directly contradicted by this minister.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are getting a lot of different stories from the government. Maybe I will ask the minister directly. My question for the President of the Privy Council is, has he ever contacted Chuck Guité in any possible way? Has he ever provided political direction to Mr. Guité? Will he give us an answer, yes or no?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming clear that the Liberals are having trouble following their own train of thought. The Prime Minister says that there was political direction, a small group of people giving political direction, behind this entire scandal. He is mad as hell and touring the country about it, but today he says he denies the witness is telling the truth. The witness is somehow misleading what? The committee? The House? The minister?

Why does the Prime Minister not get to the bottom of this and release Mr. Gagliano's papers, which will reveal the truth about this entire sordid affair?

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 processes are set up. There will be a public inquiry in public, judicially. We have the public accounts committee. It will hear evidence from various people.

These are fact finding processes. Let the processes go forward, and if any of those processes require documents, let them ask for them and the government will produce them.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the processes, as the minister calls them, have asked for papers. They asked for them in the public accounts committee and the Liberal members denied it.

The Prime Minister says there was political direction behind the sponsorship scandal. Is the president of the PCO the director? Is that the political direction? Where is this political direction? The Prime Minister says he knows where it is. Why does he not release the Gagliano papers and get to the bottom of this so that we can shed light and shed the truth on what went on in the sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the reason that the government asked the opposition to accelerate the hearings of the parliamentary committee, the reason that we asked Judge Gomery to take on the inquiry, the reason that we set up Mr. Gauthier, was to get to the bottom of this.

We appreciate very much the fact that Ms. Tremblay appeared this morning and we want other people to come forward because we do want to get to the bottom of this. We want to find out exactly what happened and we want those who did it to be punished.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

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

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I asked a question of the President of the Treasury Board on Tuesday concerning the government's expenditure review program.

The minister did not answer my question. The morale of our career public servants is important for me and they deserve a clear answer. I will ask the minister once again. Does the government's expenditure review mean job cuts in the public service?

Public ServiceOral 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, I wish to apologize to the member. When he previously asked this question, I was musing on the fact that he was the only member of the House who has been asking questions on the public service, the only one who showed any interest at all in the 450,000 people who work for us.

My answer to his question is no.

Insurance CompaniesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, according to a recent report of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in 2003, the 200 general insurance companies made profits of $2.6 billion, which represents a 700% increase over 2002. Meanwhile, seniors, young people and low income individuals are forced to sell their vehicle or to break the law by driving without insurance, because their premiums sometimes exceed payments on their car.

Does the federal government intend to do something to stop these companies from robbing Canadians?

Insurance CompaniesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalMinister of State (Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as we saw in the budget, the government is acutely aware of the needs of Canadians.

As regards insurance premiums specifically, these premiums are set by the provinces. I believe it is important to have an ongoing dialogue between the federal and provincial governments to ensure that the big winner is the Canadian taxpayer.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Next month, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be visiting Canada to conduct religious teachings and to meet with parliamentarians, including the foreign affairs committee.

I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he will agree to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as almost half the members of the House from all parties have requested of him, and will he agree to consider serving as an intermediary in talks between the People's Republic of China and His Holiness the Dalai Lama?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have received representations in respect of the visit of the Dalai Lama. We have a great deal of respect for His Holiness as a Nobel Prize winner and as someone who is coming to our country and will be treated with a great deal of respect.

In terms of whether or not we would have official government discussions with him, that is another matter, but that does not mean in any way that we in the House and everyone on this side of the House in particular do not regard the Dalai Lama with the highest of respect and the veneration he is due.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Privy Council denies ever having contacted Chuck Guité. Chuck Guité was replaced in that office by Pierre Tremblay.

I would like to ask the President of the Privy Council if he met with Pierre Tremblay while he was running the sponsorship program. If so, how often? And how much did he interfere in the management of this program?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I know the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is very popular, but we have to be able to hear his answer. The cheering is great, but the hon. minister will want to answer the question and members will want to hear the answer.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, this question is clearly related to the sponsorship incidents which are the subject of the inquiry by the public accounts committee and by the judicial inquiry to be held by Justice Gomery. That is where we should be putting these questions. The minister has favoured the House with a denial to an earlier question, but clearly these questions belong before the processes that have been set up to answer them.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Another one bites the dust, Mr. Speaker. He will not even answer.

I would like to give another opportunity to the President of the Privy Council, because the Prime Minister tells us that he consulted with all of his ministers, including this one, about their involvement and knowledge of the sponsorship scandal. Today we have testimony, serious testimony, that this minister was interfering in that program while Pierre Tremblay ran the office. Did he or did he not? Will he not stand in this place and admit his involvement in the sponsorship scandal right now?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

First of all, Mr. Speaker, we have allegations, uncorroborated allegations, about something that was said to have happened, and now totally uncorroborated and unsupported by anyone other than this member making up a question.

These processes are set up to answer them. All members of the government are willing to come forward when asked to answer these sorts of questions in the proper way in the proper forum.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceHouse Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister vowed only last week to put an end to cronyism and political patronage. Canadians almost believed him when he said he would do it come hell or high water.

David Peterson is floating on heavenly waters today. The former Liberal premier of Ontario is also the brother of a minister in this Liberal government. His law firm has just been awarded a contract extension worth in the neighbourhood of $1 million over the next year. When precisely does the Prime Minister plan to “condemn to history the practice and politics of cronyism”?