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House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pornography.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I just finished saying in the House that if the committee would like to pass a motion asking for documents, as long as they are in conformity with the Auditor General's report, those documents will be tabled. All they have to do is pass the motion.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, it appears the Prime Minister conveniently forgot to table those documents of a meeting with Groupaction, a central recipient that is currently under investigation by the RCMP for the Liberal looting of the public purse.

It begs the question: Were notes of the meeting kept or shredded?

When will the Prime Minister simply keep his word and table all the pertinent documents pertaining to the Liberal sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have already answered that question. I said that if a motion is passed, which is the way it should be, they will be.

I would like to raise another issue. It is passing strange that on a day in which the Secretary General of the United Nations comes to this House, and in a week in which we are sending troops to Haiti, that not one time can the opposition make any reference to the fact that our men and women are going off to defend this country.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty sad when the Prime Minister of Canada hides behind the brave troops of the Canadian Forces to avoid accountability in the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister has blamed everybody and their dog for the sponsorship scandal. During his time spent overthrowing his predecessor, he desperately tried to distance himself from his own responsibility.

He coined the phrase, “Who do you know in the PMO?” Well, that has been replaced by a new phrase, “How much dough did they blow in the PMO, and when did the Prime Minister know?”

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member for incomplete documents once again accuses the Prime Minister of hiding. In fact, we have every possible tool one could imagine: a wide open public process, a public accounts committee investigation, and an unprecedented release of information.

The Prime Minister has said and we have said we have undertaken that as the committee requests information, it will be made available. I am not sure what the problem is.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claims he wants to get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal and wants total transparency. Now, when asked to make the minutes of the Groupaction presentation to cabinet public, he tells us he will wait and see whether the committee asks him to do so. We know very well that this committee has a majority Liberal membership. That is the reality.

I am asking the Prime Minister whether he ought not to show some leadership, set an example and state today that he will release the minutes, that he will tell us which ministers were present and that he will ask the committee to indicate that it needs these documents. That would be showing some leadership and transparency.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge, this is the first time in the history of our Parliament that cabinet documents have been made available to a parliamentary committee. A commitment had been made to provide the parliamentary committee with documents relating to allegations made by the Auditor General in her report. If anything else is required, let the committee pass a motion to that effect. The Prime Minister said so just moments ago.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, with all his talk of democratic deficit, the Prime Minister ought to answer us himself, and show some leadership.

I am asking him once again. Should he not rise and say that it is indeed important for this to be made public, that it is important to know which ministers were there, and thus send the message to the committee that we will get to the bottom of this matter? Let him stand up and say, “Yes, I want this made public”. That is what we are asking him to do.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, is it possible that the leader of the Bloc Quebecois does not understand the meaning of the word yes? I have just said that, if the committee wants this, certainly the Liberals are willing and have moreover already demonstrated their willingness. It will be done. So yes means yes.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, this side of the House has already seen that yes can really mean no.

The Prime Minister defended himself, in the sponsorship scandal, by stating that he had asked each of his ministers if they were aware of anything and that he was satisfied with their answer.

Now that we know that one member of his cabinet did defend the sponsorship firms and therefore knew, can the Prime Minister tell us, since the suspicions concern the President of the Privy Council, if he met with him to ask him again if he remembered—

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, it is important to point out that we have often seen the party opposite say no when it really meant yes. So, they are in no position to lecture anyone.

With regard to the committee, there is a very simple way to proceed. A commission of inquiry was established and a parliamentary committee is working on this. This is extremely simple. Everything is out in the open. They should simply make sure that they put the facts on the table, if they have any.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to offend the government House leader, but the Prime Minister himself said that he would leave no stone unturned in order to find out what happened in the sponsorship scandal. However, there are seven stones in his garden. Seven ministers were at a meeting, one of whom defended the sponsorship firms.

I am asking this of the Prime Minister. If he is serious in saying he will leave no stone unturned, will he meet with the seven ministers, three of whom are still in cabinet, to find out if the individual in question might not be the person sitting next to him?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the stones will be turned by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the independent commission of inquiry and the legal counsel responsible for recovering funds, if need be. Measures were also taken by Treasury Board to improve the situation and the way things are being managed.

My colleague opposite is afraid of offending me. I am sorry but I am going to start feeling that way today about this situation. That accusation is quite ridiculous and unfounded, in my opinion.

Foreign AidOral Question Period

March 9th, 2004 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the moderator of the United Church, the Reverend Peter Short, led a prayer service in front of Parliament in which he echoed the call of Secretary-General Kofi Annan for Canada to do more. He specifically urged that Canada meet the goal of raising our official development assistance to .7% of gross national income.

I want to ask the Prime Minister while he is in the mood for just saying yes, will he say yes to this particular request? Can he tell the House today whether the upcoming budget will include in it the money to meet this particular goal?

Foreign AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously I am not in a position to comment on what will be in the budget, but the fact is I found it very interesting that on the one hand the secretary-general complimented Canada for what it was doing, complimented us in terms of what we are doing in Haiti, and complimented us for what we are doing in Africa and certainly for what we are doing in terms of HIV-AIDS.

He also challenged us. I think that is a challenge which we as a country have to be prepared to take. There is no doubt that Canadians want to see us exercise a stronger role in the world. It is one that we intend to take.

Foreign AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, indeed the secretary-general did challenge the country to do more and I am asking the Prime Minister today: Will he make a commitment today that in the budget there will be the funds to meet that long sought, never reached goal of .7% of gross national income for overseas development assistance?

Maybe he could tell us while he is at it and receiving all that praise from the secretary-general, did he explain to him why he cut so much money from that budget in the first place?

Foreign AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know if he takes a look that in fact over the course of the last three to four budgets there have been substantial increases in our foreign aid.

I also think there is a time when we as Canadians can be very proud and I must say I have rarely felt as proud of my country as I did with the huge amount of applause that was given to the six people who were introduced in the House and to the great contributions we are making as a country.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, in a recent interview, the Treasury Board president stated that the present Prime Minister knew for years that financial controls had broken down and that federal programs were rife with problems and abuse.

No one believes that this Prime Minister was powerless to do anything about the problem. Why did he choose to do nothing as Liberal advertising firms were looting the Treasury?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member had to reach really far that time. In 1994 in my maiden speech in the House, I spoke about the problem with government having to adapt new systems to modernize management. The current Prime Minister was the person who expressed an interest in that and we had many good discussions about the theory and practice of changing government, theory and practice that he has put into reality with the change at the Treasury Board.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, for 10 years that minister was speaking about the problem. This Prime Minister did nothing about the problem. Why did he do nothing?

His job was to ensure that the proper controls were in place. In fact, he publicly assured Canadians that those controls were in place. Now we know, in fact, that those rules were broken and that the financial controls had broken down. Why should Canadians take the Prime Minister's word that he is going to do something about this after sitting on the problem for 10 years?

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 think there is a very simple answer to that question. When the current Prime Minister became finance minister he had a very tough job to do then, and he worked exceptionally hard at it, at getting us out of the deficit. It was a tough job. He did it. He has a new tough job and he is doing it.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, I will concede to the minister that it is a tough job laundering money back to the Liberal Party. The Prime Minister--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam knows better than to suggest that some member is money laundering. If the term is used in relation to a whole crowd of people, he might get away with it, but as for suggesting that some hon. members here are, I know he thinks it is beyond the bounds and he would not want to go that far. Perhaps he could rephrase his question.