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House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Jean-Marc LalondeStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year the community of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell is celebrating the dedication of one of their own. The local MLA, Jean-Marc Lalonde, began his political career 35 years ago and has never looked back.

He was elected mayor of Rockland in 1976 and held that position until 1991. He made the leap to provincial politics in 1995. Among his many accomplishments, he was the driving force behind the adoption of the Franco-Ontarian flag as an official emblem. He was also the founding vice-president of the Association francophone des municipalités de l'Ontario.

Politics aside, Jean-Marc Lalonde is also dedicated to young people. For many years he was a hockey coach in Rockland, which has produced some great players including a certain Guy Lafleur, whom we all know became a hockey legend.

Congratulations to Jean-Marc Lalonde.

Alberta SceneStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, from April 28 to May 10 the nation's capital and Canada's National Arts Centre will come alive for Alberta Scene, a celebration of the best Alberta's arts community has to offer. Over 600 artists will perform in more than 95 events at 19 venues across the city.

As the member of Parliament for Macleod, I am particularly proud to invite all Canadians to attend the Thursday, April 28 or the Saturday, April 30 performance of Filumena , a truly Canadian opera based upon the romantic life and the tragic death of a young Italian immigrant to the Crowsnest Pass region.

In celebration of Filumena and all the great Alberta Scene performances, I invite hon. members from this chamber and the other place, Albertans and all Canadians who will be in Ottawa April 28 to May 10, to join me for a reception to be held in Room 200 West Block on Friday, April 29 at 5 p.m.

Charter of Rights and FreedomsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 20th anniversary of the coming into force of section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is an important milestone for persons with disabilities.

This equality rights provision represents the Government of Canada's commitment to build communities in which everyone is fully included. It emphasizes that what we all want as Canadians is to have the opportunity to contribute to the economic and social life of our country.

The charter puts into words what we believe as Canadians. The guarantee of equal rights under the charter for individuals with a mental or physical disability is an important achievement and a major driver in helping Canadians with disabilities become full participants in our society.

As chair of the subcommittee on persons with disabilities, we remain committed to the goal of full inclusion for persons with disabilities.

Toronto Port AuthorityStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Toronto needs control of its waterfront. Today a single federal institution stands between Toronto and the development of a vibrant and exciting waterfront, and that is the Toronto Port Authority.

The Toronto Port Authority was set up by the Liberal government against the wishes of the city of Toronto. It is unnecessary and worse than unnecessary, it undermines the work that needs to be done for Toronto's waterfront.

Without the port authority, the city would never have had to go through the fight that it did about the expansion of the Toronto Island Airport. Without the port authority the city would not have had to wait for the Liberals to actually pass a draft regulation to prohibit the building of a bridge to the Toronto Island Airport. That draft regulation was published shortly before the last federal election and still has not been enacted.

Perhaps the Prime Minister is waiting for another federal election in the vain hope that his party will win a majority and he can abandon this empty promise. Well, it is not going to happen. The power to decide the fate of Toronto's waterfront must be in the hands of the people of Toronto and the port authority must be abolished.

ZimbabweStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, leading up to the recent rigged elections, Zimbabwe was the international community's cause du jour. Now that the elections are over, Robert Mugabe has manufactured himself an increased majority and the international community is doing what the international community does best, turning its attention elsewhere precisely when Zimbabwe needs it the most.

Bolstered by his increased majority, Mr. Mugabe is preparing to amend the constitution to entrench his party permanently and has started arresting opposition members of parliament. Nelson Chamisa, the courageous MP and opposition youth leader who is my parliamentary twin, was arrested for distributing pamphlets. Others have been detained on similar pretexts.

Meanwhile, in a country where food is in desperately short supply, Zimbabweans who are known opposition supporters have been ordered to leave the food lines where corn is being distributed. Only the worst monsters in human history have employed hunger as a weapon. International pressure could stop the use of this weapon in Zimbabwe.

Now of all times is the moment when the world must not forget the suffering people of Zimbabwe.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

April 15th, 2005 / 11:10 a.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois reached a major milestone in its fight to improve the employment insurance program, despite massive opposition by the Liberal members.

On Wednesday, the House passed Bill C-280 at second reading. This legislation, which was introduced by the Bloc Québécois, is another step toward our objective of preventing the federal government from dipping at will into the employment insurance account.

The bill proposes the establishment of an independent commission to manage all the assets of the employment insurance account, set the premium rate and recommend improvements to the program.

This victory is a significant step for all workers, but the battle is not over. We will continue the fight until employment insurance contributors obtain justice by taking control of their fund.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker,

Humming and hawing,Toing and froing,Bobbing and weaving,Coming and going.The seed of decision bears fruit but it withers,Who could it be? It's Prime Minister Dithers.His utmost priority's constantly changing,Polling and focus groups are a distraction.The Titanic deck chairs may need rearranging,He'd like to but can't find the courage for action.The Liberals say ice caps will flow into rivers,But there's only hot air from our Mr. Dithers.The Gomery commission, the Liberal connection,He promised to dig and he hoped for a plaudit,He's mad as hell and he will get to the bottom,As long as it doesn't involve a real audit.His claims of sincerity give us the shivers,No Clouseau, just clueless, our poor Mr. Dithers.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me quote what the leader of the official opposition said on CTV Canada AM, September 6, 2002: “What I am supportive of is, frankly, not ratifying the Kyoto agreement and not implementing it”. Or how about this one on CTV news, September 4, 2002: Kyoto is “the worst international agreement this country has ever signed”.

Is the position clear on Kyoto? The Conservatives oppose Kyoto, right? This week they tried to camouflage their opposition to Kyoto. They state that they support Kyoto, but want to achieve targets almost 10 years later than we have agreed to. That is like saying that I want to run the marathon, but I need 10 years more to make it to the finish line.

Canadians are not fooled by the Conservative Party's newly found love of the environment. The Liberal government has shown leadership all along on Kyoto. Shame on the Conservatives for trying to--

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

Art CoulterStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the working people of Manitoba had no greater friend than Art Coulter who passed away on April 11.

Art dedicated his long and full life to elevating the standards of wages and working conditions for all Manitobans. After serving in the second world war, Art helped organize the union at Canada Malting, became secretary-treasurer of the Winnipeg Labour Council, executive secretary to the Manitoba Federation of Labour, and was elected to Winnipeg City Council.

A lifelong supporter of the New Democratic Party, Art served as the official agent for Stanley Knowles through seven federal elections and over 25 years. Art has been recognized with an honorary Doctorate of Laws, the Order of Manitoba, and many service awards. Perhaps his greatest legacy is the gratitude and appreciation of his brothers and sisters in the labour movement, and in the international struggle for social and economic justice.

Art Coulter, a social democrat, a life well lived, was a great Canadian.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we heard testimony from one of the star witnesses at the Gomery commission. I think I can summarize Mr. Corriveau's testimony in this way. The more money he received from the Liberals, the less he remembered. Is that not lovely?

We do not need a final report from the Gomery commission and we do not need a court order to get the government to start paying back money.

Why does the Prime Minister not do the right thing, get his friends in the Liberal Party together, tell them that the jig is up, that all the commissions, kickbacks, and dirty money they have received should be returned to the people?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the individual attacks a witness before the Gomery commission. His leader has in fact said that some of the witnesses are lying. The deputy leader over there has accused some of the testimony as being a sham.

It is very clear that opposition members do not trust a lot of the testimony before Gomery, which is even more reason why they ought to wait for Justice Gomery to sift through all the testimony and then to report to Canadians by using his extensive experience as a jurist to get to the bottom of it to present Canadians with the truth.

I agree with the hon. member, we should--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Niagara Falls.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, next week, the House will adopt a motion proposing that the Liberal Party put in a trust account the dirty money from the sponsorships. The Prime Minister has already endorsed the idea. He said they had made it very clear that this money would be put in a trust account, and his Minister of Transport said the same thing. However, yesterday, in the House, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services contradicted his leader.

Do the Liberals intend to run a fourth election campaign with dirty money, yes or no?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. The party made it clear that if it received inappropriate funds, it will refund taxpayers.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, for over a year now we have witnessed the worst fraud and corruption this country has seen since Confederation, and yet, throughout that period of time, the government has refused to answer questions on this.

I want to remind the government that the Canadian House of Commons is the highest democratic institution in this country, and we deserve answers on this and every question every day.

What does the minister have to hide? Why does he not come clean and start paying that money back to Canadians now?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the opposition called for and wanted to have an independent judicial inquiry. There is an independent judicial inquiry. That independent judicial inquiry is actually working quite well and progressing properly, and is getting to the truth. The way Canadians will get to that truth is to have the report from Justice Gomery.

There certainly is no need for a parallel inquiry, a partisan pithy inquiry on the floor of the House of Commons every day. I think when Canadians watch question period and they see this kind of partisan exchange, and they see a political party that puts party above country, they prefer to have Justice Gomery sift through the--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government tries to make Canadians believe that money skimmed off the sponsorship program by the Liberal Party will be recovered, but the government's promises evaporate when it comes time to act.

Yesterday a motion in the House simply asked that the Prime Minister keep his promise to set up a trust fund. People should have seen the Liberals run for cover. They even tried to completely gut the motion.

Why did the Prime Minister break his clear commitment?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister keeps his promises and he is keeping his promise to get to the bottom of this issue by supporting Justice Gomery.

It is interesting. Yesterday the hon. members opposite were attacking Deloitte and the credibility of PricewaterhouseCoopers. They should note that Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers have been financial contributors to the Conservative Party, and to the Alliance Party and Reform Party over the years. Carman Joynt, the auditor for the Conservative Party of Canada, is in fact a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell mister diversionary tactic over there that this is exactly what the Prime Minister publicly promised: “We've made it very clear that in fact, we will put that money into trust”.

His Quebec minister pledged over a year ago that hundreds of thousands of dollars that went to the Liberal Party from sponsorship ad agencies would be put into a special account.

Yesterday the Liberal government had a chance to put its money where its mouth is. Why did it choke?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been clear, the Minister of Transport has been clear and the party has been clear that any funds received from inappropriate sources would be returned and will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer.

I draw the hon. member's attention to the Winnipeg Free Press editorial today, which says:

--an allegation made before an inquiry is not...a conviction in a court of law. And when such an allegation is made...by someone facing criminal charges in a court of law, it might be a matter of elementary prudence not to rush to judgment on the basis of that allegation...This is a recognizable part of the partisan game, but let us recognize that political advantage will not withstand scrutiny when trotted out as high principle.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government, still in search of the dirty money, claims that there is none in the Liberal Party coffers. However, the riding associations have very substantial funds, some of which are from the former personal trust funds of a number of Liberal ministers and MPs.

Will the government admit that it is quite possible, even probable, that some of the dirty sponsorship money now belongs to Liberal Party riding associations, after transiting through the former trust funds, which are outside—

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member knows that the problems related to party financing have nothing to do with the administration of the government; therefore, questions on this subject are unacceptable.

The hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean has the floor to ask another question.