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House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was foreign.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member misrepresents what Mr. Guité said yesterday. He said very explicitly that there was no political interference with respect to which advertising companies should be chosen or which events should go on. He said the only information he received was advice on which event should be sponsored. Then he made the decision, exercising his authority as the manager for that program.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the government is so big on transparency it should stop playing on words. Let us look at what Mr. Guité said. He admitted that the Prime Minister's Office and the ministers took some decisions with respect to granting contracts to specific companies, that he and Alfonso Gagliano agreed on the awarding of contracts, that he looked at the list with Jean Pelletier, and that it was Jean Chrétien who signed the requests for funding.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the political direction given by Jean Chrétien's office was so specific that it went so far as to indicate which Liberal-friendly companies should receive the contracts?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we have heard mentioned previously this morning the memo from Terrie O'Leary dated May 30, 1994, explicitly asking for more competition in this process. Against that, we have some testimony from Mr. Guité yesterday, going back in memory to a conversation he says occurred 10 years ago.

We know that in fact-finding processes when there is a difference of opinion, it is much more credible to rely on the printed word contemporaneous with that time rather than a 10 year old memory of a conversation.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

April 23rd, 2004 / 11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only is the government now refusing to condemn the actions of the politicians fingered in the sponsorship scandal, but at the time the office of the now Prime Minister, who knew very well how the whole thing worked, interfered politically to benefit his own friends at Earnscliffe.

Charles Guité confirmed yesterday that, in 1994-95, the chief of staff to the current Prime Minister indicated to him that “Paul would prefer”, “Paul would be happier” if Earnscliffe were chosen. Who is that Paul, if not the current Prime Minister?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I go back to what I said earlier. In fact, if we look at the documentation from that period of time, we see that what the then chief of staff of the former minister of finance said was that she wanted a more open process.

There are lists of firms which were to be added in a competitive, open process, a process of requests for proposals where there were criteria. In fact, what the then chief of staff of the then minister of finance was trying to achieve was an open, competitive process where the taxpayer got the best value for their dollars.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is still more. What Charles Guité has said is confirmed in a letter from Warren Kinsella complaining about political interference by the then finance minister, who not only was funding the scandal but also wanted to see his friends benefit from it.

Is this not proof that this Prime Minister, who claims to be as pure as the driven snow, also sought to favour his friends?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Again, Mr. Speaker, I go back to the fact that the record does seem to be pretty clear here in that what the then chief of staff of the then minister of finance was trying to do was ensure that more firms could tender, could in fact bid in relation to important work being done by the Department of Finance and the Government of Canada. There were criteria in these requests for proposals. Everything was transparent.

In fact, looking at these documents, I think we should be applauding what the then chief of staff of the minister of finance did, because she wanted to ensure--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, over the past 24 hours we have heard how close associates of the present Prime Minister curry favours for his friends. Over the past 73 days we have heard how close associates of the last Liberal prime minister curried favours for their friends.

Canadians are simply sick and tired of the cronyism, corruption and government over martinis that the Liberals represent.

Is the reason the public inquiry has not started that the Prime Minister knows Liberals are knee-deep in this mess no matter which side of the feud they are on?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member that it was this Prime Minister who made it plain that we wanted to get to the bottom of this matter. It was this Prime Minister who put in place a public inquiry.

That public inquiry is independent. Mr. Justice Gomery will carry that inquiry forward as he sees fit, but it was this Prime Minister who asked that the public accounts committee get to work quickly so that Canadians, all of us, could get to the bottom of this matter.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the Deputy Prime Minister that it has been 73 days since the Prime Minister appointed Judge Gomery to head the public inquiry and it still has not started. The British government could do it in 10 days, but this Liberal government has taken 73 days and counting because it does not want the truth to come out.

We have had enough and we have heard enough: boutique contracts for this Prime Minister's friends and cushy money for nothing contracts for the last prime minister's friends. If the Prime Minister will not start the public inquiry, will the Deputy Prime Minister at least stand up today and say that Earnscliffe will not get another penny of taxpayers' money--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member seems to forget that the whole point of appointing an independent judicial inquiry is that the inquiry be independent. Justice Gomery is preparing his proceedings and they will take place in due course.

The opposition likes to quote what they like from Mr. Guité and avoid otherwise, but let me quote from Mr. Guité's lawyer's letter to the chair of the committee, dated March 10:

It is clear that the Members of the Opposition comprising the Committee see these hearings as an opportunity to advance their political positions with respect to--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Crowfoot.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, even the Liberals are questioning the so-called wisdom of the Prime Minister's right-hand man in Quebec. Former separatist Jean Lapierre apparently wants the RCMP to lay charges in the sponsorship scandal, not because he wants to see people held accountable for the fiasco, but because he believes it would help this Liberal government going into an election. It would help them in the polls.

This is the man who is the voice of the Liberal Party. He is the voice of the Prime Minister in Quebec. Now he is the one who wants to put pressure on the RCMP: public pressure on the RCMP for political purposes. Why does this government--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the RCMP will conduct its criminal investigation independently. The RCMP is not influenced by the comments of anyone, including Mr. Lapierre.

Let me remind the hon. member that any final decisions in relation to prosecution will rest with the attorney general of the province of Quebec.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it was the member for Toronto—Danforth who said that Lapierre was making the sort of statements “where there is no filter between his brain and his mouth”. For once I agree with the member for Toronto—Danforth.

These remarks by the Prime Minister's lieutenant are either just plain dumb or they are a deliberate attempt to put pressure on the police for political reasons. Which is it?

When will the Prime Minister reprimand the Quebec lieutenant for this type of behaviour and conduct?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me again reiterate that the RCMP will conduct its investigations in an independent and transparent fashion. The RCMP will not be influenced by the personal comments of anyone, including Mr. Lapierre.

I remind the hon. member that if and when charges are laid and prosecution is undertaken, those are decisions that will be made by the attorney general of Quebec.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, wherever the Prime Minister goes in Quebec on his pre-election non-campaign who is in the photo? Jean Lapierre. There they are standing close together.

Canadians assume that when Mr. Lapierre speaks it is on behalf of the Prime Minister. Why then is the Prime Minister refusing to reprimand Lapierre for blatantly trying to exert political pressure on the RCMP into the sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, first let me say that nobody speaks for the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister. He speaks for himself.

Let me reiterate what I said before. The RCMP will conduct its investigations in the way that it sees fit and the personal opinions expressed by anyone will be irrelevant to the conduct of those investigations.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, not even the Deputy Prime Minister, never mind the Prime Minister, is willing to stand up and say that those comments are irresponsible. She will not even say that in the House.

By keeping Mr. Lapierre at his side and with the Deputy Prime Minister refusing to admonish Mr. Lapierre, they are sending out a very clear message to the RCMP investigators. The commissioner is her deputy minister.

Why do the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister remain silent when their political appointees are trashing the justice system?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, far from remaining silent, I have been absolutely clear in this matter.

The personal comments by anyone, including Mr. Lapierre, are completely irrelevant to the conduct of the criminal investigation being undertaken by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Prime Minister claim he was aware of nothing, when he knew how the system worked and his office did not hesitate to use political interference to steer contracts toward Earnscliffe, as the Warren Kinsella memo confirms?

Given the constantly increasing evidence, will the Prime Minister continue to claim he knew nothing?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I said before in relation to this matter, everything was done in an open and transparent way.

Requests for proposals had clear criteria. Those criteria were there to deliver the best value for dollar to the Canadian taxpayer. When we look at all this documentation that has been provided by the opposition and that is before the committee, all this documentation speaks to opening up the process and having a more competitive process in which more companies would be able to participate.