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House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when the minister was appointed, a check was done of his assets and his background, as is the case for all ministers. I can assure the hon. member that the Minister of Transport, and the other ministers, passed the test with flying colours.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Can the Prime Minister confirm, from his seat, that the Minister of Transport never approached his ministers or opposition members to arrange meetings for his clients, which clearly constitutes lobbying?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House that the Minister of Transport has always acted appropriately and with the utmost integrity.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claimed in sworn testimony that he had no relationship with sponsorship kingpin Claude Boulay, that he barely knew him, that he had no contact beyond a casual hello. Yet we learned yesterday that the Prime Minister discussed contracts with Boulay over lunch at a Liberal convention.

Will the Prime Minister now admit that he met with Claude Boulay to discuss contracts?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is commenting on yesterday's testimony. If he wanted to be truly transparent about this, he would also say that yesterday's testimony actually contradicted some of Mr. Brault's testimony of last week.

The folly of commenting on daily testimony is that one runs the risk of making grievous errors on an ongoing basis, and that is what they are doing. That is irresponsible when we are dealing with an issue of this importance. That is why we should be trusting Justice Gomery to go through all the testimony and in a reasonable way develop his report and provide it to Canadians. That is what Canadians deserve.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is the Prime Minister who has said that he has the moral responsibility to clean up this mess, yet he has that minister answering questions. This scandal is worse than Watergate and the Prime Minister has an obligation to answer these questions.

Perhaps I will get an answer if I ask in French.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he dined with Claude Boulay and that they discussed contracts? Will he admit that?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is putting country above party. The Prime Minister is putting principle above strategy. That is exactly the opposite of what the Conservatives, the Bloc and the NDP are doing with this issue.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Justice was indignant at the opposition for suggesting what every Canadian believes, that the Liberal Party has some explaining to do.

Now Canadians have learned as a result of sworn evidence that a former member of the minister's own staff, his special counsel, has been identified as pocketing thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for favours for the Liberal Party.

When were these facts about his special counsel brought to the minister's attention?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I read about those allegations at the same time the member opposite read about them in the newspapers.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, as the highest law officer in the country, the minister has an obligation to advise the Canadian people fully about this matter. Canadians have heard that his special counsel was picking up envelopes of sponsorship money.

When he heard about this, what steps did he take when this matter came to his attention?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am stunned that a former crown attorney does not understand what the rule of law is all about, does not understand what the integrity of the administration is all about, does not understand what a judicial process is all about and comes here, goes ahead and pronounces conclusions without any evidence and without any attribution to any judicial authority. It is a scandal.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, amid allegations of $50,000 cheques for bonds being taken through the offices of a Conservative member of Parliament, many members of the House are deeply concerned.

What is the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration doing to look into this matter and how is he going to ensure the integrity of our immigration services are not put up for sale?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not talking about allegations, but about admissions by the member for Newton—North Delta. It is a very serious misrepresentation of the immigration system, where a member of Parliament asks a constituent to sign a bond of $50,000 to $100,000 made out to his name or to his party in return for writing me a letter.

I have asked the conflicts commissioner to take a look at this. I further will ask him to see who gets that money when the conditions go into default and whether the leader of the--

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, disturbing questions have arisen as to whether HRSD training dollars are being siphoned out of volunteer organizations and into the hands of Liberal friendly organizations. Each of these contracts are worth a half a million dollars. Further, we have had a steady stream of witnesses coming forward with tales of harassment and intimidation by HRSD bureaucrats if they speak out.

Will the minister explain why front-line volunteer organizations across Canada have learned that it is not the merit of the work they do, it is “who you know in the PMO”?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, the allegation the hon. member is making in this House is a very serious one. What is going on at the present time needs to be closely scrutinized.

The request for proposals procedure is there to award contracts in a very transparent way to organizations, the majority of which are community organizations delivering services to our fellow citizens. A kind of invitation to tender is issued and the organization with the best proposal is selected.

This is the context we work in with the volunteer sector in order to improve the system as a whole.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Transparency, Mr. Speaker? Tell this to the volunteer groups that are being shut out. We have documented a culture of fear, fear of losing contracts, fear of losing out to Liberal friendly organizations. These organizations are working with the poor, the immigrants and the homeless. My God, it is like a cross between Gomery and a Charles Dickens tale.

Will the minister explain why the Liberal government has taken to shaking down widows and orphans in order to do damage control for HRSD policy?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, the request for proposal process is a very transparent process to ensure that we receive value for money each time we sign a contract with any organization, including a community organization in the volunteer sector.

We have heard about some difficulties they are having with the new process. We are working very closely with the volunteer sector to improve the system. I think no one is against the principle to be very transparent and to have good contracts with those organizations.

I can assure the members of the House that we will work very closely with the volunteer sector to have a better organization.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, Claude Boulay is one of the ad scam kingpins, the head of Groupe Everest. The Prime Minister claimed last year in the House and this year at the Gomery commission that he barely knew the man, sort of a passing acquaintance, might say hello every now and then.

Now we have learned that the Prime Minister actually lunched with Mr. Boulay while discussing contracts for Attractions Canada, a major recipient of dirty Liberal ad scam money.

The public works minister does not know. He cannot answer this question. Only the Prime Minister can.

Is this true? Did he indeed lunch with Claude Boulay to discuss contracts, yes or no?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the entire history of my relationship, which was very short, he is a political acquaintance, is well set out in the testimony that I provided to the Gomery commission. It is there for anybody who wants to read it. It was examined and cross-examined by counsel. I would simply ask the hon. member to read it.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, watch the prevaricating, listen to the wiggling, not an unequivocal answer. Here is an unequivocal question. Did the Prime Minister have a lunch meeting with Claude Boulay of Groupe Everest to discuss contracts? I do not want prevarication. He says that he has moral authority. Then exercise some moral responsibility to tell the truth. Did he have that meeting, yes or no?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is nonsense, as is the allegation. All the hon. member has to do is go and see the Gomery testimony. It is very clear, and one thing comes out. Witnesses before the commission have testified unequivocally that I have never interfered in any contract, and I never did.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

There seems to be a slight breakdown in order in the chamber at the moment. I would remind hon. members that these conversations can be carried out elsewhere. We are in a question period and I believe the hon. member for Central Nova is now going to ask a question.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

April 12th, 2005 / 2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the record will show the Prime Minister did not answer the question or who picked up the tab.

U.S. Congressman Mark Souder, a senior member of the homeland security committee, says that Canada risks becoming a junior rather than a joint partner in North American border security. One of his chief concerns is the same as voiced by Canadian border authorities: inadequate and incomplete watch lists and no computers available to provide accurate and updated information.

At least 62 border crossings do not have 24/7 real time live access to CBSA computers. Instead officials have to sift through reams of paper to determine if the person crossing the border is a terrorist. When are these glaring gaps at the border--

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.