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House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Nunavut SivuniksavutStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, Nunavut Sivuniksavut is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. This exceptional post-secondary training program for Inuit youth has now added a second year to its program and is overseeing about 250 Nunavut beneficiaries who have completed this program.

The NS program taught in Ottawa has over the years evolved into an academic transitional year which teaches youth about the social and political road that leads to Nunavut and prepares them for future leadership roles. Young Inuit walk away more secure in knowing more about their own history and their rightful place in Nunavut, Canada and abroad.

I am proud that the Government of Canada supported this valuable program over the years. I would like to congratulate the NS program on 20 years of successful operation and for being part of preparing young Inuit for a great future in this country.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dale Johnston Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure members will be familiar with the farm aid concerts organized by Willie Nelson to raise money for cash-strapped farm families in the United States.

He got the idea from the original band-aid concerts where British and American rock stars banded together to help starving people in Africa. Perhaps that is where the Minister of Agriculture got his idea of how to deal with the Canadian agricultural crisis.

So far he has applied liberal amounts of band-aids across the land and done nothing to secure foreign markets for Canadian agriculture commodities and beef in particular. The agriculture industry is so plastered with band-aids that farmers look and feel like the walking wounded.

The role of government is to show leadership and to actively promote Canadians and their products.

The minister must act in the best interest of Canadian farmers instead of just plastering Liberal band-aids on Canada's farm crisis. He should know that band-aids may stop the bleeding but they do not cure the ailment. A long term solution is far past due.

Battle of Vimy RidgeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to those brave and courageous Canadians who fought side by side in the Battle of Vimy Ridge 88 years ago.

On April 9, 1917 our soldiers were to make history. The task before them was formidable. All previous attempts by allied forces to take this fortified ridge had failed.

General Byng, commander of the Canadian corps and later a governor general, would write:

There they stood on Vimy Ridge, (on the 9th day of April, 1917.) Men from Quebec stood shoulder to shoulder with men from Ontario, men from the Maritimes with men from British Columbia, and there were forged a nation tempered by the fires of sacrifice--

The assault turned out to be the swiftest and most complete of the war. Within three days the battle for Vimy Ridge was fought and won by 100,000 Canadians who, for the first time in the great war, fought as a unified corps.

The cost of nationhood was high. In those three days there would be over 10,000 casualties and of those, 3,598 would lie forever on French soil. Their legacy of virtue and valour is one we will always appreciate. It is said that Canada was born on the fields of Vimy.

FisheriesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Terry Glavin, a leading expert on the devastation of salmon farming on the wild salmon fishing industry says, “In Quebec, it is about language. In British Columbia, it is about salmon”.

Last month the British Society reported that sea lice from fish farms was having a devastating effect on wild salmon stocks. The David Suzuki Foundation says that this “study shows the link is undeniable and that the situation is even worse than we had imagined. We have a small window of opportunity to reverse this damage but the window is growing smaller and smaller”.

In the fall, the Liberals en masse voted against conducting an inquiry into the B.C. fishery, once again refusing to admit that there are systemic problems that risk the entire industry.

It is time for the DFO to begin to take the west coast fishery seriously and take some proactive action to guard against further problems. As a first step, the DFO needs to put a halt to any expansion of open net salmon farming and ultimately end the practice entirely.

Battle of Vimy RidgeStatements By Members

April 11th, 2005 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Conservative Kamloops—Thompson, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday I had the honour of laying a wreath at Canada's National War Memorial for those brave Canadians who took part in the attack on Vimy Ridge.

Eighty-eight years have passed since that cold, wet morning when all four divisions of the Canadian corps launched their assault. Thought by many to be impregnable, by that afternoon the Canadians had captured most of Vimy Ridge. I believe Lord Byng described it best when he said:

There they stood on Vimy Ridge, (on the 9th day of April, 1917.) Men from Quebec stood shoulder to shoulder with men from Ontario, men from the Maritimes with men from British Columbia, and there were forged a nation tempered by the fires of sacrifice and hammered on the anvil of high adventure.

Said to be the turning point of the great war, some 3,600 Canadians were never to return, so in the warm Ottawa sunlight I laid a wreath and said a silent prayer of thanks to those who not only took Vimy Ridge, but they forged a nation in the process.

Stadacona PapersStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Simard Bloc Beauport, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, a major paper company in my riding, namely Stadacona Papers, announced an investment of $44 million for the modernization of the facilities at its plant in Limoilou, in an attempt to maintain long term jobs and to ensure sustainable development.

While paper companies are going through some tough times, it is very encouraging to see this company make substantial investments in its plant, not only to remain a key player in Quebec's paper industry, but also to reduce by nearly 80% its greenhouse gas and air emissions.

The Bloc Québécois wholeheartedly supports the Kyoto protocol. I am delighted that a paper company from Quebec is taking initiatives that put it at the forefront of the industrial world in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, Liberal party spin doctors have been working overtime trying to minimize the impact of the sponsorship scandal by telling Canadians that the scandal is really not that bad and that opposition politicians have been exaggerating the extent of corruption within the Liberal Party. Therefore, in the interests of fairness and non-partisanship, it is only appropriate for me to quote a Liberal, the Liberal MP for Edmonton--Mill Woods--Beaumont to be precise. This is what he said on the weekend:

The Liberal Party is seen as looking on the public trust as a vulture looks on a dying calf. Here we are, a G-7 country, acting like a northern banana republic. What country is seen as more politically corrupt than us at the moment?

He did not stop there. There is more. He also said:

If you draw up a thing to make people want to vomit, this is it. This is everything to make you sick to the stomach. You can mumble the line, it's about a few people, but there's really nothing you can say.

I could not have said it better myself.

Charter of Rights and FreedomsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week Canada celebrates the 20th anniversary of section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The equality section, as it is known, makes it clear that every individual in Canada, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, colour, sex, age, or physical or mental disability, is to be considered equal before and under the law. At the same time the Conservative Party wants to turn the clock back on equality rights by denying same sex couples the right to legally wed.

As we celebrate the equality section of the charter, Canadians should look with pride to the Liberal government's civil marriage bill which ensures freedom of religion while respecting and defending the charter rights of all Canadians, not just those whom the official opposition feels deserve to be protected.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this weekend we know that senior Liberals huddled to come up with new strategies to deal with the latest revelations of Liberal corruption. The Liberal member of Parliament for Edmonton--Mill Woods--Beaumont has already passed judgment on these strategies. He said:

The Liberal Party is seen as looking on the public trust as a vulture looks on a dying calf.

If this is how Liberals now see their party, how are Canadians expected to buy any of these new spin lines?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us simply take a look at what the government has done.

The fact is that we are the government that cancelled the sponsorship program. We are the government that fired the heads of a number of crown corporations. We are the government that recalled the ambassador to Denmark. We are the government that has set out a number of lawsuits against 19 companies. We are the government that put the Gomery commission in place in order to find the answers that Canadians want to hear.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is the spin. Let us look at the real record.

Before the last election, the public accounts committee tried to get to the bottom of this. Every opposition party wanted to hear the testimony of Jean Brault before the election, but Liberal members worked around the clock and behind the scenes to ensure that testimony never became public.

Why did the government shut down the public accounts committee and shut down the testimony of Jean Brault before he could tell the truth about Liberal fraud?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let us look at what the member for Edmonton--St. Albert, the chairman of the public accounts committee, said last week, “There are all kinds of rumours and innuendoes flying around about what is being said at Gomery. Why don't we wait until we get all the facts about what was said at the Gomery commission”.

I would urge the Leader of the Opposition to follow his advice, wait for all the facts, and wait for Justice Gomery to finish his work. Canadians can then have the truth.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the House will note that at the first possible opportunity the Prime Minister shifted responsibility for answering to somebody else.

Last year, when Jean Brault's name began circulating at the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the Liberal members sitting on the committee, including the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, all voted against hearing new testimony.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he knew Jean Brault's testimony would implicate his party and that this is why he put an end to the committee's work?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, the answer is no, I did not know that.

Second, we are the ones—the Liberal Party, the Canadian government—who established the Gomery commission, precisely because we wanted to get answers.

If one looks at all the measures taken, one can see that we are the ones who cancelled the sponsorship program; we are the ones who fired the chairs of crown corporations who were at fault; we are the ones who recalled Canada's ambassador to Denmark; we are the ones who initiated proceedings against the 19 companies; and we are the ones who will get the answers and settle the issue.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office interviewed and hired all ministerial chiefs of staff including John Welch, chief of staff to the heritage minister. Mr. Welch was recently suspended with pay for taking $80,000 in sponsorship kickbacks from Jean Brault. Scott Reid, the Prime Minister's chief of communications, referred to his boss as the “wire brush that will scrub clean this stain on Canadian politics”.

When the Prime Minister's Office interviewed Mr. Welch for the top job, did the wire brush demand that Mr. Welch come clean regarding his ad scam involvement or did he simply hold his nose and flush?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe that one would accuse somebody with only an allegation.

Mr. Welch asked to be relieved of his duties in order to defend his reputation, and I agreed. He is on a two-month leave with pay, in accordance with Treasury Board standards, precisely to clarify the situation and restore his reputation. These allegations are based on a—

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

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

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this is clear as mud. My question is clear and simple and is for the Prime Minister.

Does he approve the despicable actions of the member for Brome—Missisquoi, who forced Jean Brault to hire the individual who, until very recently, was the chief of staff of the Minister of Canadian Heritage? Yes or no?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that opposition members constantly discuss the testimony of Mr. Brault. Let us be clear about this individual on whom they are basing their case. Mr. Brault and Groupaction are facing action from the Government of Canada to recover $34 million. Mr. Brault is facing criminal charges before the courts for fraud. I think that Justice Gomery has more credibility than Jean Brault. That is why Canadians want Justice Gomery to complete his work and give them the real truth, not individual testimony.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has now studied Jean Brault's testimony. He knows that, between 1995 and 2002, through Groupaction alone, the Liberal Party pocketed at least $2.2 million of dirty money through all sorts of devious means. In the face of such serious revelations, the Prime Minister recognizes that he has “a moral responsibility to act”.

My question is extremely simple. Since he has the moral responsibility, why is the Prime Minister not demanding the Liberal Party deposit the $2.2 million in tainted money in a trust fund?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

I have already answered this question any number of times. The Liberal Party has said from the start that it would reimburse any money it received inappropriately. We said that at the outset, and I repeat it again today.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we would not want it to take any chances. The Liberal Party has held three elections with dirty money, we do not want it to hold a fourth.

On Thursday, the Minister of Transport said in all seriousness that so much dirty money could never be found in the Liberal coffers, because it does not appear in the books. That is the very problem: it does not appear in the books.

Is the government not admitting that some of the tainted money turned up in secret funds, in short that it is not a matter of a parallel group, but of parallel accounting?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is asking the same question again. My reply is therefore the same.

I would simply like to ask the leader of the Bloc what he thinks of the remarks of Bernard Landry, who called Mr. Brault's testimony before the Gomery commission into question, and I quote, “I understand that he—Jean Brault—does everything he does in order to wiggle out of it”. So he is not exactly the most credible person in this regard.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport stated that the alleged actions, the illegalities committed during the sponsorship scandal, were the work of a small parallel group.

However, when we are talking about the minister responsible for Quebec, Alfonso Gagliano, the director general of the Liberal Party's Quebec wing, Benoît Corbeil, very close friends of Jean Chrétien, his brother Gaby, full-time party organizers, how can it be a parallel group, when, clearly it is the very core of the Liberal Party of Canada?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about thousands and thousands of Liberal supporters throughout Canada; let us talk about supporters working in Quebec who are dedicated to their country and their party; let us talk about the presidents of the provincial and riding associations; let us talk about dedicated, honest individuals, people of integrity, who supported the government when it established the Gomery commission to find the answer to this situation.