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House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was price.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of the sponsorship scandal on February 12, 2004, the current Prime Minister said, “There had to be political direction”.

Today the Gomery report confirms this comment. There was indeed political direction. Despite the fact that he was at the reins of the powerful Department of Finance, and vice-chair of the Treasury Board, the current Prime Minister claims he knew nothing.

Yet in his address to the nation on April 21, he said the following, “Knowing what I've learned this past year, I am sorry that we were not more vigilant—that I was not more vigilant.”

It is all very well to keep on saying he knew nothing, but the people of Quebec and of Canada are well aware he was an extremely active crew member of the Liberal ship of state during one of the biggest scandals in Canadian political history.

Black Canadian StudiesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a major three day national conference entitled, Multiple Lenses: Voices from the Diaspora located in Canada.

I was pleased to witness the engagement of eminent Black Canadians in the field of academia, business, film, law, politics, media, art, literature, education and spirituality. This conference was organized by the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies. The forum provided 400 participants with an opportunity to discuss and explore the complexities of being identified as Black and Canadian. Presentations will be collated in a book form.

I would like to congratulate Professor David Divine of the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University for his efforts in organizing and overseeing such a successful conference. Kudos to all involved.

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, under the Liberal Party in government, Canada has experienced a dramatic decline in reputation.

Since 1995, Canada fell in the Transparency International clean government rankings from fifth place to fourteenth place today. That reputation has been justly earned by a Liberal Party in government that is corrupt in the worst way possible.

Justice Gomery has today confirmed that the Liberal Party ran an orchestrated scheme of contract kickbacks and illegal cash transfers designed to divert taxpayers dollars into Liberal Party coffers.

Having run millions of dollars into debt, and unable to raise money from a skeptical Canadian public, the Liberal Party simply helped itself to public funds and paid party organizers with taxpayer dollars. That money not only was the critical factor in winning elections, the Liberal Party actually applied for and received matching federal rebates for the money looted from the public treasury to run its campaigns, using that money for subsequent campaigns.

Every Liberal MP in this House has been elected using the benefits of that tainted, illegal funding, and all should hang their heads in shame.

ParliamentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to salute young Canadians. As I have over the years, I had the recent pleasure of visiting elementary schools in my riding.

During these visits I discuss the workings of Parliament, the democratic process and the responsibilities of a member of Parliament. Making our parliamentary system come alive is an integral part of these visits.

Following parliamentary procedure, students engage in a mock question period, take on the role of parliamentarians, and ask and respond to questions on issues that matter to them.

As I watch these young Canadians learn about how their country is governed, I know that when it is time for them to become leaders of this country, indeed we will be in good hands.

Carmen ProvenzanoStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, in July, Sault Ste. Marie and Canada lost one of its most distinguished citizens. Carmen Provenzano served with distinction from 1997 to 2004 as a member of Parliament. In the House he gave leadership as both chair and vice-chair of many important committees. He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Our community was saddened by Carmen's passing. He loved Sault Ste. Marie and contributed to its well-being in many ways over a long period of time, including as federal MP. He enjoyed Ottawa and shared with me how happy he was to represent the people of Sault Ste. Marie.

Carmen loved and was very proud of his family, as they were of him. That was obvious at his funeral, attended by a large number of his friends and citizens, including the Prime Minister. His son, Frank, gave a very touching eulogy. Many people here expressed their surprise and sadness at his passing, telling me how much they appreciated him as a colleague.

On their behalf, for myself and all of us--

Carmen ProvenzanoStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Port Moody--Westwood--Port Coquitlam.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the first responsibility of the state, above all else, is to protect law abiding citizens from those who would do them harm.

Lauri Tinga, a constituent of mine, is in critical condition at this hour in hospital after being shot in the head by a stray bullet while she was sitting in her living room in Port Moody. Port Moody police believe the shooting to be gang related and that Linda was caught in the cross fire.

Our gun laws do not work. They are not protecting Canadians and they need reform. While the Liberals have wasted billions registering firearms with no impact on reducing gun crime, Canadians believe in taking action and so do Conservatives. We believe in mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes and consecutive not concurrent sentencing for violent crimes.

My private member's bill, Bill C-289, would impose a lifetime ban on gun ownership for anyone convicted of a violent crime. Bill C-291 would impose tough new penalties for people convicted of illegally trafficking firearms.

On behalf of all members of the House, I wish Lauri a speedy and full recovery. On behalf of all victims of gun crime, I call on the government to wake up, change our laws and start protecting Canadians.

René LévesqueStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to pay tribute to the memory of a remarkable sovereignist leader and one of the most prestigious builders of modern Quebec—a man who hungered and thirsted after freedom.

I refer to the man who reinvented the meaning of the word “pride” in linking it with the word “Quebec” and giving new resonance to the word “Québécois”. I refer to the man described by Félix Leclerc as being on the short list of liberators of peoples. I refer to the war correspondent, that rare being, the visionary politician, the charismatic leader and exemplary democrat who left us on November 1, 1987. I refer to René Lévesque.

The Bloc Québécois respectfully salutes his memory.

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, today, as this country pours over the details of Justice Gomery's interim report on the sponsorship program, I would like to remind the House of those individual Canadians who are truly affected by this scandal.

We should think of whom that $250 million, when combined with the money blown on all the other scandalous and wasteful Liberal programs, could have helped.

We should think of seniors on fixed incomes this winter who face the choice of heating their homes or putting food on their tables.

We should think of students who face a bleak future burdened by the threat of bankruptcy due to exorbitant tuition and student loans.

We should think of our nation's farmers who face the very real prospect of losing their family farms because they cannot survive one crisis after another.

We should think of the thousands of sick and dying patients who face a wait for desperately needed medical treatment that will not come in time.

We should think of the millions of low and middle income overtaxed parents who face an uphill struggle to provide their young children with a secure and hopeful future.

These are the people the federal Liberal government could have helped but did not because it was more preoccupied with serving its own self-interest.

IranStatements By Members

November 1st, 2005 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, further to the resolution passed unanimously yesterday in the House, I rise today to condemn the bigot remarks of the Iranian president calling for the annihilation of Israel, the destruction of the United States, and for a global war against the western world by the Muslim world.

Iran is a dangerous pariah state. It systematically violates the human rights of its people and supports terrorist groups internationally.

Furthermore, Tehran's nuclear ambitions are a threat to international peace and security that merit international action. A nuclear Iran, driven by zealous policies of holy war against non-Muslims, represents an existential threat to Israel and to the whole western world.

I applaud the Canadian condemnation of these unacceptable comments and urge the government to add action to our strong rhetoric.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today Justice Gomery confirmed that the Liberal Party of Canada master-minded the worst scandal in this country's history for its own benefit. It was not so long ago that the Prime Minister said here, and I quote, “I am very proud of what the last government did and I am very proud that I was part of it”.

In light of the findings of the Gomery inquiry, is the Prime Minister still just as proud?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what Justice Gomery is saying is that certainly, with respect to sponsorships, there was a group of individuals who did completely inappropriate things. As soon as the Liberal Party became aware of this, we alerted the RCMP and set up the Gomery inquiry. I must say that I am very proud of the Gomery report because now, for the first time, we have all the facts. Yes, I am very proud to be a Liberal.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I expected some expression of shame, but the Liberal Party knows no shame.

Justice Gomery clearly lays the blame at the feet of the entire cabinet for the creation of the sponsorship program. He said a decision in principle reached at the February 1996 cabinet retreat was to pursue an improper partisan strategy that was inconsistent with democratic values.

In light of this conclusion, does the Prime Minister accept his part of the blame for the creation of the sponsorship program?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is asking whether cabinet has a collective responsibility, obviously it does. However, the fact is that the opposition has a responsibility, when it stands up, to accurately quote what Mr. Justice Gomery said.

Now that Mr. Justice Gomery has established the facts, the Leader of the Opposition refuses to accept what Mr. Justice Gomery said. The fact is that we accept it, he knows what happened, and we accept his conclusions.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let me zero in again on what Justice Gomery said. He said the program was dirty from the outset. Its sole objectives were to be partisan. This was illegitimate and inconsistent with democratic values. The Prime Minister was part of the cabinet that made that decision.

Does the Prime Minister accept the blame for that decision, here, on the floor of the House of Commons?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as to what Mr. Justice Gomery said, I would ask the hon. member to read the preface. He talks about the strength of our democracy. He talks about the strength of accountability. He asked what other country would call a commission of this kind? What other country would be as open and transparent? What other government would call for otherwise confidential documents to be made public?

We asked that the facts be established in an open, transparent and public way. That is what has happened and I am very proud of that.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, one would think there would be some element of shame from the Liberal Party regarding today's report but there is none whatsoever.

I want to get past the bluster. The Prime Minister wants to take credit for the Gomery commission. Does he accept his part of the blame for the creation of the sponsorship program in the first place, yes or no?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, over a year ago, I apologized. Over a year ago, I said that I wished that I had been more vigilant. Last night I read Mr. Justice Gomery's report which clearly established the facts in this particular case. He said where in fact the responsibility lies.

He went on to say that measures had to be taken. We look forward to his second report, building on the reforms that we have brought in, the most extensive reforms possible in terms of running the government. Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition ought to begin to address those.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the truth is if this party were in office, we would not have to clean up the mess in the first place.

I am asking the Prime Minister a simple question. Justice Gomery has identified that the entire cabinet is responsible for the creation of this program. Will the Prime Minister simply stand and admit that is what Justice Gomery says and accept his share of the blame, yes or no?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the Leader of the Opposition's attention to page 77, the introduction to the report, where in fact it says that the Prime Minister as finance minister was exonerated from any blame by Justice Gomery.

The fact is this type of activity that Justice Gomery was investigating was inappropriate. It was totally wrong. This type of behaviour went on in Canada for far too long under successive governments. But it was this Prime Minister who said, “Enough is enough. We are going to clean it up and we are not going to let it happen again”.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Justice Gomery's findings are damning. There was a political direction in the sponsorship program and a kickback scheme was set up to illegally funnel public money to the Liberal Party.

In light of the extent of the scandal that discredits the entire Liberal machine, will the Prime Minister take the only decision he can in this situation and call an election immediately?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is not what Justice Gomery said. He certainly criticized some inappropriate actions. We accept that and we have already admitted that. Furthermore, we have already taken remedial action.

I must say that right at the beginning, the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada phoned the RCMP and asked it to investigate this matter. It was the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada that replaced the guilty directors and organizers and revoked certain party memberships. I could go on for some time.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will continue: the Liberal Party was the one that created the sponsorship program, a system of kickbacks and a scandal. This is the Liberal Party.

The Prime Minister was the second in command in that government. He turned a blind eye, he stuck his head in the sand, he did not want to see. He was vice-chair of Treasury Board, but he failed in his responsibility for oversight. This Prime Minister no longer has the moral authority to govern. Here is my challenge to him. Will he call an election? If he refuses, it is—

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I understand clearly why the leader of the Bloc, the chief of staff, is so disappointed, now that the facts have been established. Now, the Bloc can no longer make false allegations or tell tales. Justice Gomery has established the chain of events and the facts. Now, we know exactly what happened.