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

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about 1995, when the Prime Minister was finance minister, and when he broke the rules to shovel tax dollars to his political cronies at Earnscliffe. Everybody on that side knows about the special relationship between the Prime Minister and Earnscliffe.

How does he expect us to believe that he did not break these rules and why is it that he would not even listen to the advice of Chuck Guité, when it came to ethical standards for government contracting?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. gentleman refers to a particular piece of paper. I would ask him to refer to the memos that were sent by the minister's office. Those memos from the minister's office argue for more competition and argue for it faster.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, a confidential memo in 1995 to Warren Kinsella, then chief of staff to David Dingwall of public works, outlined how the Department of Finance twisted the rules to award contracts to Earnscliffe. That same memo stated that the Department of Finance was not the only one breaching the guidelines.

We know that the present Minister of Finance, when he was the agriculture minister, dictated that Earnscliffe be sole sourced as well.

How could the Prime Minister entrust a key position in his recycled government to the member for Wascana, when he clearly has a history of breaking these contracting rules?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The hon. Minister of Finance has the floor.

The hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster I know wants to hear the answer. He is not going to be able to if everyone is yelling.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, indeed, I am glad the hon. gentleman asked the question. I have reviewed the record and an appropriate procedure was followed.

The subject matter was a crucial matter for western farmers flowing from the 1995 budget. A payment of $1.6 billion had to be made and it had to be done properly and quickly. The situation was urgent. The work got done and the payment was made. After the fact, the program's administration was given a favourable review by the then Auditor General of Canada.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the only thing we are sure of is that two out of three Liberal finance ministers put the “earn” in Earnscliffe.

In a 1995 secret letter from David Dingwall to the minister of agriculture, Dingwall, as public works minister, stated that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has demonstrated a pattern of non-compliance and avoidance of the rules for awarding contracts. It is the same old thing.

How does the Prime Minister justify promoting the member for Wascana, when his own cabinet colleagues of the day were attacking him for breaking the rules to benefit Earnscliffe?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman should know that the argument in the particular case that he is referring to was an argument based on urgency.

The urgency was obvious, as the hon. gentleman will remember the circumstances of the time. At that time, the minister of public works indicated that it was satisfactory.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the situation for groundfish fishers in the Lower St. Lawrence and Gaspésie is not rosy and many of them want the government to buy back their fishing permits. A buyback program would better protect the resources and the remaining fishers would then be able to hope for a quota increase.

Will the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans take action and promise right now to buy back permits from the fishers who are having difficulties?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I am aware of the fact that there are fishers in his region who are worried about this situation. I cannot say whether permits will be bought back as he has asked.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, for 10 years now, groundfish fishers have been suffering from the effects of the cod moratorium and the decrease in quotas for other species such as turbot. These fishers held a demonstration this morning in front of the offices of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.

The Prime Minister recently went to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. Is he finally going to listen to the groundfish fishers and ensure that they have a decent income?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, again I would like to thank my colleague for his question and for his concern regarding this matter. I must say that we have had numerous programs to address the situation of groundfish fishers. These programs have ended. We are aware of the fact that this is a matter of great importance for these people. We are going to continue to monitor this problem.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is spending a lot of time trying to protect the Prime Minister. However, he should be protecting himself.

In that secret letter in 1995 from public works minister Dingwall to the minister of agriculture, who is now the finance minister, he laid out the violations of contracting policies carried out by Agriculture Canada. This included issuing contracts through Agriculture Canada instead of having them go through public works as the policy required.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why should Canadians trust a Prime Minister who employed a minister like that in his cabinet?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to answer the question. First of all, the Minister of Finance has answered in terms of the approvals that were given.

If the hon. member wants to know why this member should be in place, it is because he was an outstanding minister of agriculture. He was an outstanding minister of public works who began the clean-up. He is an outstanding Minister of Finance who brought down a budget that the opposition did not have the courage to ask one single question about. That is why.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister defends him, but listen to this. The contracting policy clearly stated:

Departments and agencies must use Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to contract for all public opinion research or advertising services.

The rules were clear. However, the present Minister of Finance when he was agriculture minister broke the contracting rules.

Did the Prime Minister appoint him to his cabinet because he had the same expertise as the Prime Minister in breaking contracting rules?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the opposition may well think that standing here and repeating specious innuendo is what this House is all about. But what it really is all about is proper public policy so that this country can push ahead.

The fact is that the minister brought down an outstanding budget and that opposition members did not have the guts to ask one question about it. The fact is that the former minister of public works began the clean-up.

The Minister of Finance, when he was the agriculture minister, was an outstanding minister. He worked with the current Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to bring down one of the most important agricultural packages ever and the opposition is afraid to talk about it.

Status of WomenOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite many advances, women still have a long way to go before they reach true equality.

I would like to ask the Minister of State for the Status of Women, what is our government doing to advance gender equality in Canada?

Status of WomenOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine LiberalMinister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has undertaken many initiatives to address our commitment to gender equality. Let me speak about a few.

Status of Women Canada provided over $10 million in funding to women and other organizations to ensure technical assistance to their work to advance women's equality.

As part of our commitment to end violence against women, we have pledged $1 million over the next four years to aboriginal women's issues.

We also gave an additional investment of $15 million--

Status of WomenOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for St. John's West.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, in 1995, the then agriculture minister, now the Minister of Finance, got his knuckles rapped for allowing his department to continuously break the rules of awarding contracts.

The minister tried to sole source contracts to the Prime Minister's good friends. His officials limited who could bid on the contracts. He funded contracts through contributions instead of the tendering process required by Public Works.

How could the Prime Minister appoint such a finance minister? He says he was outstanding. Does it mean he did an outstanding job in awarding contracts to his friends?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what we are now dealing with is the quality of question period and whether in fact the public interest is being advanced.

Let me just take a look. What opposition members have done is to repeat the same question time and time again because they cannot ask any other questions.

Let us take a look at what happened yesterday. The opposition objected to government spending. It objected to government spending on a water treatment system in Killarney. It objected to government spending on a water system in Warren, Ontario. Opposition members stood and objected to contributions to 23 projects in Montreal to combat homelessness.

The fact is, the opposition is opposed to everything that is in the public interest.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, we would not have to repeat our questions if we would just get one honest answer to our questions.

Forget about us. Let me quote David Dingwall, the former minister of supply and services, when he said to the now Minister of Finance that “Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials have demonstrated a pattern of non-compliance and avoidance during the year the regulations have been in place. Contracting has been undertaken by Agriculture Canada instead of by Public Works--”

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, again, the Minister of Finance has answered that question time and time again.

Let us again look at what happened in this question period. Five minutes ago I stood, on behalf of all parliamentarians, and announced that we had eliminated the right of first refusal so that cheap drugs could be sent to Africa and other poor countries relieving people of HIV-AIDS.

What did opposition members do? They bayed like a bunch of hounds in heat. That is what they did. They refuse to accept that this country is in the lead. They refuse to accept, in fact, what all other parliamentarians in this House are in the process of doing. They are making this a mockery of what Parliament ought to be.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

April 20th, 2004 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of the Environment was asked yesterday whether Canada would soon be defining its position on chrysotile, he treated us to such a confused answer that it is impossible to know with any certainty whether Canada plans to include or exclude chrysotile asbestos from the list of products banned under the Rotterdam Convention.

Can the minister give us a clear reply to confirm that there is no question of Canada supporting any kind of chrysotile ban under the Rotterdam Convention?