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House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said he granted extensions to his cabinet so they would not have to file their declarations of assets on time.

Since these assets were already disclosed to the PMO prior to the formation of the current cabinet, the conclusion must be drawn that they knew these ministers are in a conflict of interest, a fact the PM must be trying to hide before the election.

Why was the extension granted? What are they trying to hide?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the question is nonsensical because the premise is nonsensical.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, how difficult can it be for the cabinet to declare their assets? It begs the question if they actually know their elbow from their assets.

When the Liberals continue to be mired in scandal, one would think that the Prime Minister would do everything in his power to ensure that no further embarrassment would come out of his cabinet.

They have had ample time. How can the Prime Minister justify this extension?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the question is about as good as the attempt at humour.

There are rules in place to ensure disclosure. Those rules will be followed. There will be full disclosure according to the rules and any allegation to the contrary is completely bogus.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Globe and Mail , the government has secretly agreed to sign on to an aerospace early warning system for North America, smoothing the path for Canada's participation in the U.S. missile defence shield and the weaponization of space.

In this context, how can the Prime Minister meet with President Bush and not raise this issue, especially without telling Quebeckers and Canadians, who will soon go to the polls, that his government has already decided to take part in the U.S. missile defence shield program?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as much as I respect the Globe and Mail , sometimes there needs to be just a little bit more in terms of caucus research.

The government's position on ballistic missile defence is quite clear. We are absolutely opposed to the weaponization of space.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, they are absolutely opposed to the weaponization of space, but they are ready to sign on and take part in the missile defence shield. Go figure.

President Bush wants to start deploying his missile defence shield in the fall. The pressure on Canada was so intense that the government caved in to President Bush.

Will the Prime Minister, who supported the war in Iraq last year, admit that Canada's participation in the missile defence shield has already been decided upon and that he does not want to talk about it in Washington for the simple reason that he wants to hide the truth on the eve of the election?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, let me be as clear as I possibly can be on this issue. Canada has not signed on to Canadian participation in the ballistic missile defence system.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence stated yesterday, when discussing the missile defence shield, that his goal was to protect the safety and security of Canadians, that he was involved in discussions with the United States with respect to missile defence, that those discussions were going well, and that he thought Canadians would be better protected as a result.

Do the words of the Minister of National Defence not confirm that the decision about Canada's participation in the missile defence shield has already been made and that the Prime Minister will not discuss this issue with President Bush, purely for electoral reasons? In the end, he has decided to behave like the head of a party rather than a head of government.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, let me restate what I said earlier, which is that we have not signed on to ballistic missile defence. It is important to note that discussions with the Americans are continuing. Our objective obviously in all of this is to provide for the safety and security of Canadians. The latest information that I have is that it may not be until the fall before we have a final decision on this.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence said yesterday that this matter would be concluded in the “not too distant” future; “not too distant” should be sooner than the fall. The minister is known to have been in favour of the war in Iraq and a supporter of President Bush's missile defence shield.

Has the Prime Minister decided not to bring up the subject of missile defence with the President, even though Canada's decision has been made, simply because the government refuses to reveal its position to the people of Quebec just before the election?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is in error. The fact remains that these discussions with the Americans are continuing. They are fairly complex discussions. They deal with a number of complex issues which we are working hard to resolve.

I think it is safe to say that at the end of the day, whatever decision is reached will be one which reflects both Canadian interests and Canadian values.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, this seems to be the week in which Liberals reveal just how identical to the Conservatives they really are. First it was on the question of for profit health care and now it is on the question of national missile defence. Both positions, of course, the government was interested in hiding and not revealing to Canadians before the election. It is obvious that this is the case with national missile defence.

Is the Minister of National Defence opposed to national missile defence? If he is not, could he then tell us what the difference is between the Liberal and Conservative position?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, when I sent a letter to Secretary Rumsfeld back in January, I made it clear on behalf of the government that we were interested in pursuing discussions with the United States. That does not mean that we are ready to sign on to ballistic missile defence, not by any stretch of the imagination.

What we are doing is exactly what we said we were going to do which is to pursue these discussions in the interests of Canadians to protect the safety and security of Canadians. I think we are doing a good job of that.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, you will note that the Minister of National Defence could not come up with any difference between himself and the Conservatives on this issue, just as there is no difference between the Liberals and Conservatives when it comes to for profit health care and a number of other issues.

I want to ask the Minister of National Defence why are they hiding their position? It is obvious now that Washington understands that some commitment has been given by Canada with respect to the early stages of national missile defence, which by Washington's own admission and documentation will lead to the weaponization of space. Why are the Liberals in denial about the true reality of their own position?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that the NDP members are always prepared to say no to the Americans. The Conservatives are always prepared to say yes to the Americans. We are prepared to look at issues on their merits to determine what is in the best interests of Canadians.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, Ruth Thorkelson worked in the Prime Minister's Office for 10 straight years. She left only long enough to negotiate a $17 million grant from international trade to the Forest Products Association of Canada. Then a staffer in the office of the Minister of International Trade, Andre Albinati, followed that grant money to Earnscliffe which received $800,000 of the $17 million grant.

What is the point in having post-employment rules when the Prime Minister allows this abuse to go on?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in the hon. gentleman's question that indicates anything that was untoward or contrary to the rules. I take it he is arguing against government support for the forest industry in Canada.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

No, Mr. Speaker, I am arguing against the abuse of the ethics counsellor's rules.

When the Forest Products Association of Canada received the $17 million grant, it first gave $800,000 to Earnscliffe advertising, untendered. Then it gave approximately $8 million to the Burson-Marsteller agency. Now Burson-Marsteller is buying Earnscliffe.

Under the terms of the grant, they were required to produce four reports on how they spent the money. Will the minister make public the four required reports so we will know for sure that the grant money is not funding the purchase of Earnscliffe?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again, given this pattern of questions from the opposition members, obviously designed to sling as much mud against the fan as they possibly can, there is absolutely nothing in the allegations or in the facts of this matter that indicate anything untoward took place, nothing.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

April 29th, 2004 / 2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works continues to avoid the truth about the shady $1 billion relocation contract for Royal LePage. I will give him a hand. The contract was cancelled and ordered re-tendered and no official reason was given. Officials from the minister's department were alleged to have taken gifts, including cruises, for that contract from guess who? Royal LePage.

The CITT ruled that the bidding process was fixed, favouring Royal LePage, but did not call for the contract to be re-tendered. Is it still the government's position that there was no wrongdoing, but it cancelled the $1 billion contract with Royal LePage anyway?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that is not the position of the government at all. The position of the government is that one of the unsuccessful bidders in the original tendering for the relocation contract appealed to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, which is its right and a proper due process. The tribunal found that there was some evaluation criteria that it felt should be re-evaluated. That came back to public works.

There were allegations of bias. The hon. member is quite correct. An internal investigation was done with respect to employees in public works and it was determined, in an overabundance of caution, to re-tender the process.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to insist there was no wrongdoing other than that found by the trade tribunal in its hearing, but that is not true.

In fact in a letter I have, his own head of procurement said that there were reasons other than those considered by the trade tribunal which led to the cancellation of the contract. He said that the contract was cancelled “for reasons unrelated to the grounds of complaint filed by Prudential”. Those were the reasons given in the tribunal.

Why is the minister hiding the truth about why he cancelled this $1 billion contract?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am not hiding anything. As I mentioned in my previous answer, there were allegations of some bias or improper appearance of bias internally in public works. It was investigated. There was disciplinary action taken. To ensure that there was even no appearance of bias externally, the matter was re-tendered. It was re-tendered on April 20, and that process is in train.

St. Lawrence SeawayOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his meeting with President Bush, the Prime Minister intends to broach the issue of the diversion of Devil's Lake in North Dakota into the Red River, which poses serious problems to Manitoba.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to do the same for the St. Lawrence Seaway, which the Americans want to expand without consideration for the environmental impact?