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House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was infrastructure.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, counsel for Mr. Justice Gomery did not question the Prime Minister on Jean Chrétien's statement simply because the statement was made only yesterday. That is why I ask the Prime Minister the following question. Is it true that Jean Chrétien received positive opinions from his ministers on Treasury Board, including the present Prime Minister, who was its vice-chair?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I invite the member once again to read Justice Gomery's report carefully. He will see that the role of Treasury Board was examined in great detail. It was concluded that the ministers from Quebec and the Prime Minister did their job. They are not responsible and were totally exonerated from all negligence or malfeasance.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport should read page 47, where Justice Gomery wrote, in black and white, that Treasury Board had abdicated its spending oversight function. He should read the entire report.

The Prime Minister is avoiding responding, but I put this to him again. Yesterday, Jean Chrétien said that his ministers in charge of supervising spending, that is, Treasury Board, had assured him on a number of occasions that there had been compliance and that everything was in order.

I would like to know from the Prime Minister whether Mr. Chrétien was or was not stating the facts.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think the member is hard of hearing.

At page 430, Justice Gomery has said, “Mr. Martin, whose role as Finance Minister did not involve him in the supervision of spending by the PMO or PWGSC, is entitled, like other Ministers in the Quebec caucus, to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct”.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jean Chrétien said, with regard to the sponsorship program, that he had ordered Treasury Board to make the necessary checks and said they assured him many times that there were no problems.

Does this not prove that the Prime Minister, who was then vice-chair of the Treasury Board, chose to turn a blind eye, even if there was mounting evidence to the contrary with regard to the sponsorships?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I get the feeling that the hon. member and her colleagues are not happy with the work of Judge Gomery, who is however universally recognized as an extremely competent judge with a great deal of integrity. He examined every aspect of the Treasury Board. Ultimately, he has completely absolved the ministers and members from Quebec.

The Bloc does not want to hear these findings, which are not to their liking. These findings are not consistent with their claims and their smear campaign. That is why they are in a bad mood.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will have to repeat my question because the members opposite are unable to answer simple questions.

With regard to the sponsorship program, Jean Chrétien said that he had ordered Treasury Board to make the necessary checks and said they assured him many times that there were no problems.

Does this not prove that the Prime Minister, who was then vice-chair of the Treasury Board, decided to turn a blind eye, stick his head in the sand and refuse to hear the mounting evidence with regard to the sponsorships?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I must nevertheless insist so that people realize what Justice Gomery concluded after an exhaustive study on everything related to the sponsorships. The judge said, “Mr. Martin...is entitled, like other Ministers in the Quebec caucus, to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct”.

Clearly, this does not suit the Bloc and does not fit with everything the Bloc members have said this past year. They need to accept the truth from Justice Gomery. He did his job and is not engaging in petty politics or partisanship, unlike those who are trying to do so at his expense.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the U.S., Enron executives got hard jail time for relatively minor crimes compared to this vast Liberal criminal conspiracy. Yet no one here been sent to jail, nearly two years after the Auditor General's report.

Why is there one justice system for average Canadians, and another for Liberal criminals?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, am I to take it that this hon. member is saying that the RCMP is not doing a good job? In reality, criminal conspiracies are handled by the RCMP. We have complete confidence in their work. They have full access to all of Justice Gomery's documents. I hope, therefore, that the hon. member is not questioning the credibility and professionalism of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Judge Gomery confirmed that millions of taxpayer dollars were funnelled by the Liberal government to the Liberal Party. At least two federal elections, likely more, were paid for by the Liberal Party with these stolen sponsorship dollars.

The Liberal Party owes taxpayers millions, but the Prime Minister has promised to pay back a fraction. No shame, no honour.

Will the Prime Minister direct his government to sue for all the money that his Liberal Party stole from Canadians? Will he, yes or no?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again the Liberal Party has reimbursed the taxpayer for any funds obtained inappropriately, $1.14 million, that reflects a thorough analysis of the facts in Justice Gomery's report.

Furthermore, as Justice Gomery reported, according to evidence presented on behalf of the Liberal Party in Quebec, reforms to the party management and systems make it less likely that any irregularities will reoccur.

Not only has the money been paid back, but the Liberal Party has taken responsibility and strengthened governance to make sure this sort of thing does not happen again.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister admitted his party's guilt in an ongoing scheme of kickbacks, money laundering and illegal contributions. He said the Liberal Party would repay a token $1.14 million, even though the money his party walked away with is many times that amount.

Would the Prime Minister explain why Canadians are being hung out to dry, instead of getting every penny back that his party stole from them?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, last winter despite my warnings to the hon. member, she continued to comment on daily testimony before Gomery. As such, she actually said things in the House that are not consistent with the truth in Justice Gomery's report. In fact, she accused our Prime Minister of being involved in inappropriate malfeasance. In Justice Gomery's report, Justice Gomery clearly states that our Prime Minister is exonerated from blame for this.

The member should be apologizing both to Justice Gomery and to the Prime Minister for her completely irresponsible behaviour here in the House of Commons.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member should have some shame being part of a government that is tainted with Gomery's findings that our electoral system was undermined and Canadian standards of honesty were violated by his party.

The Prime Minister holds office won by a party even he admits is guilty of fraud, theft and corruption. Why has the Prime Minister stopped at a mere $1.14 million? Why is the government not demanding that the Liberal Party pay back all the millions it stole from Canadians?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has reimbursed the taxpayer any funds received inappropriately and that was the right thing to do. Furthermore, Justice Gomery also said that under the Conservative administration, the previous government, advertising and communications agencies having Liberal Party sympathies or connections had little or no chance of getting government business.

The kinds of activities Mr. Justice Gomery investigated were wrong, but they went on under different political parties and governments over the years. The Prime Minister has ended it, cleaned it up and will prevent it from ever happening again.

AgricultureOral Questions

November 2nd, 2005 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, as chair of the rural caucus and understanding that there are many other issues that the House has to deal with, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

For the record, will the government vigorously support our supply management systems at every available international forum, especially at the World Trade Organization talks this fall?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, yes, clearly we will. We firmly believe that Canadian producers should have the right to choose their domestic marketing regimes, including that of supply management. That is a point we have been making internationally all along.

In these negotiations we have been saying there needs to be a robust, sensitive products regime, one which allows us to deal with those issues in a way that provides flexibility and allows us to meet our national interests.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the right hon. Prime Minister.

I seem to remember a time when the Prime Minister and his colleagues were in opposition and they were quite willing to hold the Conservative Party of Canada responsible as an institution for the scandals that happened while the Conservatives were in government.

I want to ask the Prime Minister, if he is not willing to apply that same standard to his own party and own up to the responsibility of the Liberal Party as an institution for the whole mess, not just for individuals, how are we not to come to the conclusion that he is faking it when he says he accepts the Gomery report?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right. I sat in opposition with him and watched the previous government and I certainly did not see the previous government call in to account a commission of inquiry. In fact, as Mr. Justice Gomery has said, rarely in the history of any democracy has a government opened itself up to the kind of openness, transparency and accountability that we have. Rarely has a government opened up confidential documents.

The fact is that what has happened here is virtually unique. It is because we believe in accountability; it is because we believe in integrity as the foundations of a democracy.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is no point in having an inquiry if one is not going to truly accept the recommendations and the conclusions of that inquiry.

The Prime Minister seems to be asking Canadians for forgiveness without the appropriate confession and repentance.

We want real repentance from the Liberal Party. We want the Liberals to show Canadians that the cronyism is going to end, the unregistered lobbyists are going to end, the patronage is going to end, and end to all the things that are part of the culture of entitlement that the judge referred to and which is larger than just the sponsorship scandal.

When are you going to do something about that?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure that the “you” meant the Prime Minister. The right hon. Prime Minister may want to respond.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, we have said we have fully accepted the conclusions of the report. The President of the Treasury Board has set out a complete set of responses in terms of structural changes to deal with this kind of issue.

While I am on my feet, I would like to clarify something I said earlier. I said, in short form, that further charges were pending, in response to an earlier question. I should have said that criminal charges that are proceeding in the courts and for which decisions are pending.

The fact is, of course, that obviously we have referred the report to the RCMP. They will take the decision in their own discretion.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Justice Gomery made it very clear that money was stolen from taxpayers. The beneficiary of that stolen money was the Liberal Party of Canada.

Canadians with common sense understand that thieves should not be trusted to decide how much money was stolen and then how much money should be given back.

What we are asking is a very common sense proposal, which is to have a civil action independent of the politicians to decide how much money was stolen and to give it back to Canadian taxpayers.

Will the Prime Minister initiate civil action to ensure that every dime of stolen money goes back to the Canadian taxpayers?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again, our analysis is based on the facts in Justice Gomery's report. This is what Justice Gomery said in his report:

--a system of government that would impose upon itself a searching inquiry by an independent commissioner armed with...a far-reaching mandate to investigate and report on matters that could prove to be embarrassing to the Government itself, is proof that our democratic institutions are functioning well and effectively.

We take our responsibility seriously. This Prime Minister has cleaned up the mess and we will change the governance to ensure it does not happen again.