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House of Commons Hansard #86 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is what Mr. Boulay said, “We never had one-on-one meetings. We run into each other at different activities”. He said he doubted that the Prime Minister even wrote the birthday letter. He noted that the letter miscalculated Mr. Boulay's year of birth by 11 years, a mistake he did not think the finance minister of the day, somebody who is very good with numbers, would have made.

The fact is that the hon. member and her party, by commenting selectively on testimony that favours their narrow partisan interests, are smearing Justice Gomery's work and smearing the reputation of this House.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

April 20th, 2005 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has been rising and defending the Prime Minister so vigorously in the Earnscliffe matter over the past two days, because he himself was doing the very same thing at the same time. In a letter of March 24, 1995, the Minister of Finance, who was the minister of agriculture and agri-food then, wrote his colleague at PWGSC to ask him to award an untendered contract of less than $50,000 to Earnscliffe.

What kind of credibility does the minister think he has in defending the Prime Minister?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this matter was fully discussed in the House over a year ago. I indicated at that time the reasons for the urgency in the matter referred to. Indeed, it has been in written form for more than a decade. The project was successfully completed and it received. at the end of it, a favourable review from the Auditor General.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, many things discussed in the House then, now prove not to have been correct.

His colleague at PWGSC wrote, “The Department of Agriculture is trying systematically to avoid complying with the Treasury Board guidelines for the awarding of contracts”.

I ask the Minister of Finance whether he is not defending his Prime Minister so vigorously because he too was a member of the parallel group, and the two of them were running their own sponsorship scandal on the side?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, a couple of years ago I had the privilege to work with the hon. gentleman as fellow House leaders and I thought he would be above some slimy attempt at character assassination.

I would point out that the correspondence back and forth between the Department of Public Works and the Department of Agriculture some 10 years ago had to do with disputes between the departments about the appropriate procedures to be followed. When questions were indeed raised at the official level, they were referred to the deputy minister of agriculture, who corrected the procedures.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, Alfonso Gagliano said that the current Minister of Transport had approached him to put in a good word for his friend François Duffar, of Cossette, a company trying to land federal contracts.

The Minister of Transport admits receiving fees from Cossette. He also admits seeing Alfonso Gagliano at his office with his client from Cossette, François Duffar. He also admits going out for supper with his client from Cossette and Gagliano. If these are not lobbying activities, then what are they?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we could call that a social gathering. There were many such gatherings that many people attended. The leader of the Bloc has sat at the same table as Mr. Gagliano. There was no lobbying involved. It was a social gathering, period.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport would have us believe that he invoiced only for policy analysis or brainstorming, but not for time spent arranging so-called social gatherings with ministers for his friends, and their subsequent meals.

I hope he does not expect us to believe that, because we do not. If he was not lobbying, then what was he doing?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, you know full well that during all those years I attended a lot of social gatherings and did a lot of policy analysis for most of the networks and many private sector clients. This was always covered by the press, radio and television. I always spoke my mind. I am being called a lobbyist. In 12 years, I believe I came here to Ottawa three or four times to give a speech on behalf of the private sector. After all, that was not my job. Let it go.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the sponsorship scandal was in its heyday, the Prime Minister's political organizer, Lucie Castelli, sat on the Quebec Liberal Party's finance committee. Her colleagues on that committee were those upstanding citizens Alain Renaud and Jacques Corriveau, who allegedly obtained $500,000 from Groupaction and the sponsorship program without doing any work.

Lucie Castelli was the Prime Minister's eyes, ears and right-hand person in the riding. How are Canadians supposed to believe the Prime Minister knew nothing about this when his political operatives were so deeply connected?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, would that be the same Mr. Renaud that the opposition has taken the testimony of as sacrosanct when he alleged that there were meetings between the Prime Minister and somebody else?

I think that probably would be the same Mr. Renaud. Again, it speaks volumes about the opposition that will stand in the House one day and attack somebody's credibility and then on another day vault them up onto a higher plane as sacrosanct, as somebody who offers undeniable evidence before a commission.

We would all benefit if the opposition would simply wait for Justice Gomery's report, as Canadians want them to do, because Canadians deserve the truth.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the reason the Prime Minister is not answering this is that he just cannot remember.

Serge Savard was a million dollar bagman for the Prime Minister. Coincidentally, I am sure, Savard received $500,000 in sponsorship cash after Lucie Castelli lobbied on his behalf to have his sponsorship application overturned and approved. Boy, I bet he loves Lucie.

When will the Prime Minister admit that he cannot clean up the sponsorship scandal because he is part of it?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that allegation is absolutely false.

Further, this week the Prime Minister released Canada's international policy statement to strengthen Canada's role in the world. He announced funding and reform to improve Canada's immigration system, announced Canada's Kyoto plan to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and signed a historic agreement on federal gas tax investments with British Columbia for cities and communities, and all the Conservatives could talk about were birthday greetings.

This is a government that is addressing the issues that face Canadians four-square when all the opposition wants to talk about are birthday greetings. Canadians will choose this Prime Minister over that party.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister would like us to believe arm's length rogues are responsible for ad scam. His arm is rather short.

The Prime Minister's chief riding organizer, Lucie Castelli, made sure $500,000 flowed to his million dollar fundraiser and golf buddy, Serge Savard. After Savard was told no to gobs of sponsorship cash, the Prime Minister's riding aide intervened and unclogged ad scam money.

Will the Prime Minister finally admit he has not told Canadians the full truth about his ad scam knowledge?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, when Canadians determine whom they trust to get to the bottom of this issue, they trust Justice Gomery and they trust our Prime Minister who appointed Justice Gomery and supports the work of Justice Gomery and does not have any fear of the report of Justice Gomery. In fact, he believes that Canadians deserve that report before an election.

I will tell the House whom they do not trust. Canadians do not trust the Conservatives who want to kneecap the work of Justice Gomery and who want to deny Canadians the opportunity to have the truth before they face a decision in an election.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Lucie Castelli is the Prime Minister's eyes and ears in his riding. The Prime Minister's aide had her eyes on an ad scam application from the Prime Minister's million dollar fundraiser and golf buddy, Serge Savard. She put her ear to the phone to Public Works to find out why Savard had not received his slice of the ad scam pie. The sum of $500,000 in sponsorship slush flowed to the Prime Minister's faithful friend and Liberal Party bagman from Castelli's efforts.

How are Canadians to believe the Prime Minister knew nothing about ad scam?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, those allegations are absolutely false.

Let me quote from the Chronicle-Herald :

An election under the present circumstances would put the country in peril.... [The Conservatives] have been accused of being afraid to wait for the Gomery report - in case it exonerates [the Prime Minister]. This...is exactly what it will do.

If they do pull the plug, the Conservatives will be easy prey to the charge of recklessness and opportunism--

They are afraid of the Gomery report because they know that report will judge our Prime Minister fairly.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Don Bell Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, since becoming a member of Parliament, I have risen in the House on several occasions to speak in favour of compassion and understanding, and assistance for hepatitis C victims across Canada, including those who fall outside the January 1, 1986 to July 1, 1990 group who were previously included in a program of assistance, and to encourage and support our Minister of Health in considering extending assistance to these previously excluded victims.

Could the Minister of Health please inform the House on the government's position on today's vote regarding compensation for people?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to state that the government will vote in favour of the principle of the motion. We agree because it supports what we as a government have already been doing. We are committed to the discussions launched in November to explore all available options for providing compensation.

However, while we are supporting the motion, we recognize the limitations and flaws of that motion. It must be made clear that compensation can only be made once the discussions underway have concluded. Everyone is working in good faith as fast as they can to reach a successful outcome.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is the perfect poster boy for the democratic deficit.

Again yesterday in the House of Commons, representatives of the Canadian public called upon the PM to take practical action by making use of a trust account. All they want from him is a sign of good faith.

When will the Prime Minister stand up like a man, assume his responsibilities, make apologies and put the dirty money into a trust account, once and for all?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been clear, as has the Liberal Party.

If the party has received any inappropriate funds, it will reimburse the taxpayers. It is not possible to do so, however, without all the facts. That is why we are waiting for the Gomery commission's report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

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

One of the reasons this Parliament is not working is that the Prime Minister and his government keep thumbing their noses at things that are passed in the House: the motion on DFAIT, the motion on the Air-India inquiry, the motion on Glen Murray, and now the motion on setting up a trust fund to put aside the money.

Will the Prime Minister finally show some respect, show that he acknowledges that this is a minority Parliament and the government has a responsibility to respect the will of Parliament, and put that money aside?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the party has been absolutely clear; the Prime Minister has been clear; the Minister of Transport has been clear that any funds that were received inappropriately will be returned to the taxpayer.

Let us face the facts on this. The Liberal Party and our Liberal Prime Minister are the ones who are determined to get to the truth. We do not fear the truth. We will make the appropriate actions based on that truth when we have the Gomery report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, may I just remind the government, if it continues to violate the will of the majority of the House, it does so at its peril.

The Minister of Transport keeps answering about his views on Alfonso Gagliano and his own definitions on lobbying.

I would like the Minister of Transport to just be clear. Today a number of articles describe a meeting between the former minister of public works, Alfonso Gagliano, himself and François Duffar of Cossette Communication Group. Did that meeting take place, yes or no?