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House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreement.

Topics

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the right hon. Prime Minister who I am glad is meeting with the Dalai Lama.

I hope that when he does meet with the Dalai Lama that perhaps the Dalai Lama could instruct the Prime Minister as to the difficulty of separating the spiritual and the political. Indeed, many of the best things about political life ought to be grounded in some sort of a spiritual view of the world.

Does the Prime Minister not think that it is difficult to separate the spiritual and the political? Would he not regard the whole question of human rights as having a spiritual dimension, and if so, will he be raising that with the Dalai Lama?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think that the comments in the preamble by the interim leader of the NDP are very much to the point.

I absolutely believe that human rights are a spiritual issue as well as others. I certainly have no difficulty raising the issue of human rights with anybody, anywhere, at any time.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, having said that, could the Prime Minister tell us whether he intends to discuss with the Dalai Lama what can be done to get China to improve its human rights record, to treat Tibet with more respect, to negotiate autonomy within the Chinese state, and all the things that the Dalai Lama has talked about?

What would be so spiritually uninformed or inappropriate about talking about those kinds of things?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the interim leader of the NDP that I intend to discuss a whole series of spiritual issues. The Dalai Lama himself declared that he was coming as a monk. These are subjects he wants to talk about.

That having been said—absolutely, the question of human rights must be brought up when one meets with any international leader, especially one with such broad influence as the Dalai Lama.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

April 22nd, 2004 / 2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's hand-picked Quebec lieutenant is trying to give political direction to the RCMP to lay criminal charges in the sponsorship scandal. By the Prime Minister's silence, the Prime Minister is allowing his political friend to direct and influence the RCMP criminal investigation.

The Prime Minister appointed Mr. Lapierre. Will he hold him accountable for his reprehensible action or is that what he expects of his political friends?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, the personal opinions of Mr. Lapierre or anyone else are totally irrelevant in relation to police investigations.

They would be totally irrelevant in relation to any decision as to whether prosecutions will be commenced and pursued in relation to any given case. That is going to be a decision that will be made by the Attorney General of Quebec.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has slammed the public accounts committee for its work in investigating the funnelling of tax dollars into Liberal friendly ad firms.

Now, his Quebec lieutenant, in fact, his appointed person, is pushing the RCMP to lay criminal charges to ease political pressure on the Liberals in Quebec.

Why is the Prime Minister more interested in interfering with the investigation in the scandal than getting to the bottom of this mess?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is very aware that no one pushes the RCMP. Police investigations will be conducted in accordance with normal police procedures and the opinions of anyone, including Mr. Lapierre, are irrelevant to that.

However, I do believe it was a member of the official opposition, I believe it was the hon. member for St. Albert, who at one point, when asked, suggested that someone should go to jail. I leave those comments with you, Mr. Speaker.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, order. I am sure there are many suggestions but we do not need to deal with those now. We are going to have a question from the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, since 1993 the Earnscliffe Strategy Group has taken about $6 million from the Liberal government and $2 million when the Prime Minister was finance minister.

Since then, David Herle has gone on to stage manage the Prime Minister's leadership campaign. He is now the co-chair of the Liberal election campaign. He has been installed as chief pollster. Now, Mr. Herle makes formal policy announcements instead of the Prime Minister.

My question is, and Canadians want to know, who is running the government? Is it David Herle from the Prime Minister's Office, or is it the Prime Minister from Earnscliffe's office? Which one is it?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not know to what formal policy announcements the hon. member is referring.

The fact is that Mr. Herle is a very active member of the Liberal Party. There is no doubt about it. He is a knowledgeable political analyst.

However, I do not know to what great announcements the hon. member is referring.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

I will help the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker.

On April 11 Mr. Herle was on national television making an important foreign policy announcement about the government's plan to establish a new secretariat in Washington. The Prime Minister tried to recover from that five days later with great fanfare by announcing in a Toronto speech that this was going to happen.

This is a fair question. Who is running the government? Is it Mr. Herle from the Prime Minister's Office, or is it the Prime Minister from Earnscliffe's office, and if it is Mr. Herle, when can we expect the next announcement from him?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the quality of research on the Alliance Conservative side. The fact is that the suggestion for the secretariat came from the Liberal caucus about a year ago.

Subsequently, I talked about it in speeches during the leadership race and then it was in the Speech from the Throne. It has been actively debated.

I can understand that the hon. member might not have known what the Liberal caucus suggested. I can understand that he might not have followed all my speeches during the leadership race. However, I saw him; he was here for the Speech from the Throne. Surely to heaven he listened to something.

The Armenian PeopleOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the House of Commons passed Motion M-380 recognizing the Armenian genocide of 1915 as a crime against humanity. But, despite that clear vote, the Minister of Foreign Affairs lost no time in declaring that the government's position would remain unchanged.

Will the Prime Minister tell us whether or not he agrees with the minister?

The Armenian PeopleOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have great respect for the motions and statements made in this House. We take them very seriously.

However, Canada's foreign policy is a matter for the government, of course, and we have clearly said that our relations with Turkey, a NATO ally, remain the same as before.

The Armenian PeopleOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Prime Minister, who claims he wants to end the democratic deficit, say such a thing when he feels he is not obliged to respect a vote by the majority of members in this House?

In other words, through his minister, is the Prime Minister saying to the House, “Talk all you want; we will do what we please”?

The Armenian PeopleOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Not at all, Mr. Speaker. Each one acts in his own field of competence. That is true.

Canada's foreign policy is our responsibility. We assume this responsibility as part of with all our responsibilities to our allies, and we will continue to do so seriously, while always respecting the will, the wishes and the opinions of the members of this House.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 13, 2004, groups representing the softwood lumber industry, including the Quebec Forest Industry Council, wrote to the Minister of International Trade to share their concerns about Washington's draft agreement.

Can the minister, who plans to respond to the American offer by the end of the month, confirm that he will never accept a sellout agreement to appease the Bush administration at the expense of the forestry industry?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is true that we have had many discussions with the provinces, the industry, workers and producers in the softwood lumber sector. We will continue to pursue our plans in two ways; by continuing the negotiations and by continuing to press our case in the dispute. Our goal is to obtain free trade for softwood lumber.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has confirmed that we have every reason to be worried. The last time the government wanted to respond to a U.S. draft agreement on softwood lumber, the industry had to mobilize to prevent its collapse.

Can the minister assure us that he will not use the election to negotiate a secret agreement on the backs of workers and the softwood lumber industry?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I must say that this matter is of the highest importance to me. It takes all of my time and I will continue to work for Canadians on this issue.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, in justifying awarding contracts to his friends, the Prime Minister explained how time was always a factor in his decisions. There was always a pressing need or a deadline which made it impossible to call proper tenders.

Why this pressing deadline for awarding a $160,000 contract to Earnscliffe to provide communication and strategic advice? Is it the election call, and if so, why is he using the public purse to pay for political propaganda?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, Health Canada uses the services of a number of suppliers of strategic communications services through standing offer contracts that are placed by Public Works and Government Services of Canada.

Public Works and Government Services of Canada respects the Treasury Board guidelines for doing so. The process is absolutely transparent and neither myself, as a minister, nor my office entered at all into the granting of those contracts.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, remember that old song, You Gotta Have Timing, take-a take timing? They certainly have it down pat.