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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

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, Parliament reformed political party financing in the fall of 2003. One of the measures imposed by the government concerned the blind transfer of funds from personal trusts to the riding associations before midnight on December 31, 2003. That is the reality.

Will the government admit that this was a huge money laundering operation, which probably wiped out all traces of sponsorship money in the trust funds?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite or anyone else in the House wants to obtain a report by any riding association representing any party, they need only go to the Elections Canada website, which has all the information on all the riding associations for all the registered parties.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are hearing about cash payments, phony invoices, salaries paid by agencies, and now about the laundering of trust money on December 31, 2003.

Will the government admit that the audit done by Deloitte & Touche involved only the books of the Liberal Party, and did not in any way include the books of the riding associations, on which there were millions of dollars, some of it transferred from MPs' and ministers' personal trust funds?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Once again, the hon. member has asked a question relating to a party's business. Another firm is involved, but again it concerns a party's finances. The hon. member has not made a connection with the government's responsibilities. Perhaps she would like to remedy this with a second question.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 31, 2003, the government used the political party funding legislation to organize the blind transfer of sums of money from trust accounts.

Will the government admit that part of the dirty money is with the riding associations, because millions of dollars were transferred to them on December 31, 2003, without any control by the chief electoral officer?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Once again, this question relates to the finances of a political party and not the administration of the government. It may relate to the chief electoral officer, but not the government. The question cannot, therefore, be allowed.

The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when--

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We are moving on to the next question. The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth has the floor.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when both the Globe and Mail and Greenpeace agree that the government's Kyoto plan is simply not going to work, we know that we are not going to be getting clean air any time soon.

The Minister of the Environment has even acknowledged that the rules for the big polluters have not been established. They are clearly going to benefit under the government's plan. The others who will benefit will be the big drug companies, who will be selling a lot more puffers to families whose kids are going to try to breathe the dirty air this summer.

My question simply is why, after 12 years of promising to do something about the environment and cleaning the air, have the Liberals delivered such a--

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Richmond Hill Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, first of all, this government has delivered on a balanced plan for the environment. In fact, this government is being praised not only in Canada by organizations such as the Sierra Club, but let me point out to the hon. member that the German environment minister said he was pleased that Canada is advancing climate protection with an ambitious plan of action, that the host country of the next world conference on climate hereby sends a strong and progressive signal to the world, and that Canada offers evidence of climate protection.

I would rather rely on the German minister of the environment than on the leader of the NDP.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is no wonder that the Europeans are celebrating the plan. Canadian tax dollars are going to be sent over to Europe to clean the Europeans' air instead of being invested here to clean the air that Canadians breathe. It is no wonder that they are thrilled with it.

The fact is that the Liberals have promised year after year to clean the air. Thirteen years ago the Prime Minister was banging his chest about how he was going to clean the air. We have kids in emergency wards trying to breathe. When is the government going to take some responsibility?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Richmond Hill Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would have expected that kind of comment from those across the way who do not even believe the ice age occurred. However, for the leader of the NDP to suggest for one moment that this plan does not deal with the health of Canadians and does not deal with the greening of Canada is a disgrace.

That member knows the trading credit system in Europe is a closed system. He knows that we have confidence in Canadians to expand and develop green technologies. We are going to do that. We are going to prove all those members on that side wrong.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, yet another Liberal public works minister is now under an ethical cloud. Media reports today reveal the minister is under police investigation for a suspicious $4,000 cheque that he cashed from his Conservative riding association.

It turns out that the minister never provided receipts or statements to justify the payment. He did not report the money to Elections Canada. He has not reported the cheque as a gift under conflict of interest guidelines.

How can the minister continue to defend Liberal corruption when he himself is under an ethical cloud?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's question. The Progressive Conservative riding executive at that time made decisions respecting the expenditure of funds. That Progressive Conservative executive no longer exists. In fact, a large number of those Progressive Conservative executive members joined me when I joined the Liberal Party of Canada.

The treasurer's report at that time fully accounts for this expense. In fact, the treasurer said today, “All was appropriate. All procedures and rules were followed. This is just some Alliance people playing cheap politics”.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, speaking of cheap government politics, the minister, the government's lapdog on scandals, has landed in an ethical cesspool of his own. Will the minister now make arrangements to pay back the money that he has taken inappropriately and perhaps talk to his own counterparts about paying back some that they have taken inappropriately?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the justice critic for the Conservative Party, who was the attorney general for the province of Manitoba and who is a lawyer, someone who should know the rules and the laws of the land, has been found guilty of campaign finance infractions. In fact, he broke the law.

Everything in my riding has been done in full respect of the laws of the land, and everything was done above the board, unlike the justice critic of the Alliance Conservative party who knowingly broke the rules of the land.

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in question period the Minister of Justice stated regarding Beryl Wajsman, “He is not a special counsel to the Minister of Justice”. I have with me a photocopy of Mr. Wajsman's business card and it says in English on one side and French on the other, “Special Counsel to Irving Cotler, MP, Mount Royal”. Does this not mean that it is legitimate to ask the Minister of Justice for his response to Mr. Wajsman's statement that in the Liberal Party, cultural communities are treated as “campaign slaves and ticket buyers”?

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

I would remind the hon. member that even reading a document with a member's name on it as a means of getting around our rule against using names is inappropriate. I caution him. I know that in this case it may have felt important, but he knows the rules.

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, clearly the hon. member was in the House and heard the response of the minister yesterday. It was very clear and unequivocal as it related to the individual involved. Quite frankly, I do not believe that anything more needs to be said on that matter.

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, today Mr. Wajsman issued a press release in which he states that he personally had been trying to set right a longstanding injustice within the Liberal Party. Mr. Wajsman said in his press release, “I faced resistance within the Liberal Party in Quebec to giving cultural community representatives responsible positions other than as campaign slaves and ticket buyers”.

My question, therefore, is for the former political minister for Quebec, who is now the Prime Minister. Why does the Liberal Party treat ethnic minorities with such astonishing disrespect?

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think what that hon. member said is inappropriate in terms of what this party stands for. Clearly this party is a multicultural party. Let us look at the people who are assembled here today. Clearly we do not represent anything other than a very representative and immigration friendly party. That hon. member ought to go back and take a look at this party and its record.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

April 15th, 2005 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Guy Côté Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone involved in the sponsorship scandal resorted to all sorts of tricks to give money to the Liberal Party: front men, phony invoices, salaries, unreported donations and so on.

Is it not obvious that, among the means found to give kickbacks to the Liberal Party, the communications firms could easily have used personal trusts, which are not subject to any external control? Therefore, what is the government waiting for to establish a dirty money trust?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the party made it clear: if the party received inappropriate funds, it will reimburse the taxpayers.

These are allegations, not facts. To know the facts, we have to wait for the Gomery report.