This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was services.

Topics

Lindsay Kinsmen BandStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Lindsay Kinsmen Band.

Formed in 1954 by a group of interested parents under the leadership of Lloyd McMullen and Earl and Muriel Kennedy, this boys and girls band has performed all over North America.

Teaching children to play a musical instrument, read music, march, and be part of a respected musical organization has been the focus of everyone involved in the Lindsay Kinsmen Band.

Congratulations to the instructors, the executive, the parents, the auxiliary and the Kinsmen Club of Lindsay for a job well done. We wish the band continued success.

Inuit History Travelling ExhibitStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the role the government is playing in recognizing and sharing Inuit culture and history.

The Inuit History Travelling Exhibit was launched on May 3. Its main purpose is to tell the stories of Inuit communities and share those stories with all Canadians, especially in the north.

The Inuit have a unique culture that spans thousands of years and vast geographical distances, from northern Manitoba to Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and outside of Canada in Greenland. The Inuit Heritage Trust is dedicated to the preservation, enrichment and protection of Inuit cultural heritage. By circulating the Inuit History Travelling Exhibit, this rich heritage will be presented.

I am very happy to say the exhibit will be available in four languages: English, French, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's charges finally came two years after the Auditor General's report on Groupaction. There are other police investigations outstanding, on sponsorship, on DND, on HRDC, on the Liberal Party of Canada's Quebec wing. I could go on and on. There are in fact at least 36 separate police investigations we are aware of into the conduct of this government. It is unprecedented in our history.

Are these charges not just the tip of the iceberg into the culture of corruption that has been the hallmark of the government for over a decade?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I reject the outrageous premise of the question just asked by the leader of the official opposition. In fact, the RCMP is conducting investigations. Charges have been laid. The RCMP will continue to pursue this matter as it sees appropriate, but I do want to underscore how singularly inappropriate I find the premise of the hon. member's question.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, instead of rejecting the premise, the Deputy Prime Minister should accept it and accept accountability for it.

I want to point out the pattern of what is going on here. The police investigations have been going on in secret for years. The judicial inquiry is not scheduled to start for a month. Now the Liberals are shutting down the public accounts committee.

Is this not the Liberals' real only hope and their real only strategy to get it all out of sight and out of mind?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly sure what the Leader of the Opposition is saying in relation to police investigations. Let me reassure all Canadians that police investigations are conducted in an independent fashion. I would hope the Leader of the Opposition is not suggesting otherwise.

In relation to the public accounts committee, as I have said before in the House, this committee has been meeting now for months. It has heard, I believe, well over 40 witnesses. I do not think it is unreasonable at this time for this committee to--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

May 11th, 2004 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will ask Jean Lapierre and François Beaudoin about independence.

The Liberal members want to interrupt the work of the committee. The witnesses will not appear before the public inquiry until the fall. The people who were arrested yesterday will not be able to testify.

Is this not simply a Liberal strategy to keep Canadians in the dark?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, again I reject the premise of the leader of the official opposition's question.

I want to come back to a very important point here. He has again, I believe, called into question the independence and integrity of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Everyone in this country should be under no illusions. That police force is independent. It conducts its investigations with integrity. To suggest otherwise is completely unacceptable.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, APEC, Shawinigate, there is all kinds of evidence that we can point to.

The arrest of Mr. Guité and Mr. Brault has no bearing--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. Hon. members will have to have some compassion for the Deputy Prime Minister. She has to be able to hear the question. We need to have some order so the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough will want to proceed and put his question.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of thin-skinned Liberals in the House these days.

The arrests of Mr. Guité and Mr. Brault have no bearing on the work currently underway at the public accounts committee. We still have no idea which Liberal ministers were involved in the cover-up and who gave the political direction the Prime Minister spoke of.

The Liberal motion to shut down the public accounts committee before any conclusions, with 90 witnesses outstanding, with undisclosed files, does not allow anyone to get to the bottom of this. What is the Prime Minister afraid of and what is he hiding?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, far from hiding anything, the Prime Minister has put in place actions to ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter, so that Canadians find out what happened here.

In fact, who is playing politics with the public accounts committee? We called that committee together so that they could meet quickly in early February. What are they doing now? As opposed to hearing witnesses, the opposition is filibustering the activities of the public accounts committee. That is hypocritical and shameful.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, how sad. While the Prime Minister is out doing his “I feel your pain, I will share your wealth” tour, some of his ministers are shaking in their boots because two of the key players in the sponsorship scandal are now facing the slammer and possibly they may sing.

Fraud and corruption charges seem to have a lot of clarity of thought. It will maybe cure that convenient memory syndrome that has been suffered by a lot of witnesses at the public accounts committee.

With the possibility of credible witnesses now being called before the committee, why is the Liberal government trying to shut down the only truth seeking exercise in the country into what went wrong with the sponsorship--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. President of the Treasury Board.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

I would repeat for the member that the Prime Minister has launched one of the most open, transparent processes that the House has ever seen.

I would ask the member, why is he so afraid to share with Canadians who financed his leadership campaign?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 12, 2004, the Prime Minister was categorical. On the subject of the sponsorship scandal, he declared, and I quote, “There had to be political direction.”

Is the Prime Minister now able to tell the House where the political direction in the sponsorship scandal came from?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been absolutely clear on this matter. What we want to do is get to the bottom of this situation. We want Canadians to know what happened here. We want to know why it happened and who was involved, so that we can ensure it does not happen again.

In fact, that is what we see with the judicial inquiry led by Mr. Justice Gomery. That is what we should be seeing with the public accounts committee. Instead, what we see in relation to the operation of that committee is the most hypocritical approach by members of the opposition. What do we see? Filibustering. What do we see? Wasting the Canadian--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have been told that the Prime Minister is very clear. He said he wanted to shed all possible light on the sponsorship scandal. He also said that there was political direction. He said that himself. No one forced the Prime Minister to say such a thing.

I wonder, if he is so transparent, if he is so clear, why he is refusing to testify before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and tell us, before the election, who was the person behind that political direction? Was it his predecessor? Was it he? He knows things that we do not know and he does not want to reveal them. What do we call someone who refuses to tell the truth?

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 always interesting to listen to that party's contradictions as it calls for transparency but refuses to let the Standing Committee on Public Accounts make an interim report to the Canadian people on what they have heard in the past three months of listening to witnesses that included politicians, public servants, and other interested individuals. How can they be transparent—or demand transparency—on the one hand, and on the other hand, prevent the people of Canada from finding out what has really happened in that committee?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, because the government is unwilling to understand the Bloc Quebecois leader's questions, I will put it differently. In the sponsorship scandal, the little fish got caught in the net but the big fish are still swimming in murky waters. That is the reality.

What we want to know, since the Prime Minister was the number two man in the Chrétien government, vice-president of the Treasury Board, a member of the Quebec caucus, and, having spent nine years with that bunch, he must know a few things.

He says that there was political direction, so why does he refuse to appear before the committee, and why does he want to put an end to what it is doing before he can even tell us what he knows?

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, this reference to fish reminds me of how much of a fishing expedition the Bloc has been on for some time now in this connection.

The committee met more quickly at the instigation of the Prime Minister. Mechanisms have been put in place to get at the truth. The parliamentary committee has been meeting for more than three months now. It is being asked to produce an interim report so that the Canadian public can know what it has heard so far. What are they hiding in not wanting an interim report?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, continuing the fish references, I would remind hon. members that the Prime Minister's political lieutenant is the one who made reference in a speech in Quebec to the government's having left a rotten fish in the refrigerator, one that had to be got rid of because it was starting to smell bad. If he wants to talk fish, let him go and talk to Jean Lapierre.

The Prime Minister made the following comment on the sponsorship scandal: “The fact remains that very few Quebec ministers were aware”. I would like the Prime Minister to come and tell the committee which Quebec ministers were aware of the sponsorship scandal, because he himself has—