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House of Commons Hansard #87 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cfia.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former director general of the Liberal Party's Quebec wing, Benoît Corbeil, said that, on the initiative of Jean Chrétien's office, the dirty sponsorship money was used to finance the Liberal Party during the 2000 campaign with the approval of the party's electoral commission that Alfonso Gagliano sat on.

With Jean Chrétien's office, the director general of the Quebec wing, Alfonso Gagliano and the electoral commission involved, will the Prime Minister acknowledge that what we are talking about here is the heart of the Liberal Party and not some parallel group?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as we have said in the House, the allegations, the assertions of Mr. Corbeil are clearly unacceptable.

If in fact anyone, including Mr. Corbeil, was involved in that kind of conduct, it is unacceptable. It cannot be condoned and it should be punished to the full extent of the law.

I do not think we can be any clearer about our condemnation of that kind of conduct, if it indeed took place.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jean Chrétien's office was the trigger and the electoral commission gave its approval. Benoît Corbeil has confirmed this: Jean Brault, of Groupaction, handed over almost $100,000 of dirty money in cheques and cash to the Liberal Party as payment—although none of it was reported—to “fake volunteers” who worked on the 2000 election campaign, some of them in senior positions with the current government.

Since Benoît Corbeil has made it clear that the dirty sponsorship money was used to finance the Liberal Party, will the Prime Minister now demand that all the money be put into a dirty money trust account, as this House is asking him to do?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we will not defend the activities described by Mr. Corbeil. They are indefensible.

However, together with the Prime Minister we will defend the work of Justice Gomery. We will defend Canadians' right to the truth. We will also ensure that justice is served and that the guilty parties are punished once we get to the truth.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, Benoît Corbeil, the former director general of the Liberal Party of Canada Quebec wing, directly implicated the office of Jean Chrétien. He said, “One fine morning, I received a call from the Prime Minister's office and was told there was someone coming to see me and I had to find a way to pay him. I replied that there was no money and was told to find some”.

Is that not proof that not only was the office of the former Prime Minister aware that dirty money was circulating within the Liberal Party, but that they themselves encouraged the director general to find other sources of dirty money?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, if any of these allegations and assertions are found to be true, they must be condemned. This kind of conduct is completely unacceptable.

I think the hon. member makes the case for why Mr. Justice Gomery should be allowed to continue his investigation and why all Canadians, not all of us but all Canadians, need to hear from Mr. Justice Gomery in relation to what happened, why it happened and who was involved.

Let me be clear. If these allegations are true, this conduct must be condemned and--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Corbeil also confirmed that he was told by a minister's office that he would be getting $100,000 in dirty money from Jean Brault.

With revelations like these, can the Prime Minister still claim that no minister was involved in the sponsorship scandal?

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 important to note that Mr. Corbeil corroborates certain things said by Mr. Brault, but not others.

The only person who has the authority or mandate to analyze all the contradictory allegations is Justice Gomery. Canadians want the truth, which is why they deserve to see his report before there is an election.

The BudgetOral Question Period

April 21st, 2005 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

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

First, let me add my voice to those who are concerned about the televised address this evening. This is a Liberal crisis. It is not definitively a national crisis.

In our continued effort to try to make Parliament work, I have a simple question for the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister open to changes in his budget, yes or no?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the budget legislation is before the House of Commons at the moment. There are some technical provisions that will be coming forward in subsequent legislation.

Obviously the hon. gentleman has some suggestions to make. The principles of the budget are the principles of the budget and we stand firmly by those principles. If there are technical issues he wishes to raise, I would be glad to hear them.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a little hard to determine if that is a yes or a no. Our frustration with trying to work with the Liberal government is growing day by day. Putting aside the issue of corruption, I need to say through you, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. members of the government that our party cannot support billions of dollars of surprise corporate tax cuts when investments in the needs of people are required and promises have been broken.

Let me ask a very specific question. Is the Prime Minister open to making changes, not technical changes but significant changes in the budget, yes or no?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that is really like asking whether I would be prepared to buy a pig in a poke. Quite frankly, no minister of finance, acting responsibly, would answer that type of question.

If the hon. gentleman has a serious proposition, please bring it forward and I will give it the consideration it deserves. I would point out to him, however, that the changes in corporate taxation are intended to ensure that jobs, jobs, jobs stay in Canada.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, yet another disgraced Liberal. The former director general of the Liberal Party, Benoît Corbeil, confirmed Jean Brault's damning testimony that envelopes of kickback cash from Groupaction sponsorship funds were used to pay the Liberal minister's staff during the 2000 election. These staff members, so-called fake volunteers, were on leave from their government jobs and yet got paid through dirty sponsorship money. These actions were approved at the highest levels of the Liberal election organization and Corbeil says that everybody knew.

Where did the Prime Minister fit into the Liberal Party food chain and just how much dirty money was used to fund the 2000 Liberal election campaign?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again it is notable that Mr. Corbeil contradicted some of Mr. Brault's testimony. He did not corroborate all of Mr. Brault's testimony.

There is only one Canadian who really will have the ability to determine the validity of all the testimony in totality, and that is Justice Gomery. We trust Justice Gomery to review all the testimony, to analyze it and to give Canadians the truth in his report. That is what Canadians want, the truth, and that is what Canadians look forward to with that report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

In that year, Mr. Speaker, that minister was throwing allegations of corruption, not defending them.

The Prime Minister has refused to instruct the Liberal Party to set money aside in a fund for reimbursing the taxpayers for any bribe money paid out as part of the sponsorship scandal.

Might it be his intention to use that dirty money during the next election campaign?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the party has been clear. If it has received any inappropriate funds, it will reimburse the taxpayers. This, however, cannot be done until we have all the facts. That is why we need to wait for the Gomery report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's defence gets weaker with every passing hour. Today we find out that Claude Boulay is telling the Gomery inquiry that he met weekly with the Prime Minister in the 1993 election campaign. This directly contradicts sworn testimony from the Prime Minister.

Yesterday, the public works minister was talking about how credible Mr. Boulay was on the witness stand. Does he still stand by that? Does he think he is credible again today?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again the hon. member is commenting on individual testimony. When we consider it in totality, there are contradictions and there are contradictions on an ongoing basis which is why--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

It is evident that members are enjoying the minister's reply, but the Speaker cannot hear it. They might not enjoy it if he said something out of order and then I would be in trouble too.

I know the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is doing his best to respond to the questions he is asked from the member for Medicine Hat who has a supplementary question and who is going to be very interested to hear the answers. We are going to hear it now from the Minister of Public Works.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

He could benefit from the answer, Mr. Speaker. The fact is some testimony has contradicted other testimony. The hon. member makes an excellent point, that we ought to all wait until we have Justice Gomery's report which will, through his analysis, give Canadians a good analysis of all the testimony so Canadians can be secure in having the truth.

I agree with the hon. member. We really should wait for Justice Gomery's report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is very serious. When the Prime Minister was before Justice Gomery, he was asked if he recalled meeting Mr. Boulay. The Prime Minister said that he did not know Mr. Boulay very well. He went on to say that he may have been a casual acquaintance, but the testimony today directly contradicts this. It really calls into question the Prime Minister's credibility.

Is it not true that the Prime Minister really cannot clean up the sponsorship mess because he is implicated in it?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again members are selectively using testimony. We have had testimony recently from Mr. Boulay that said, “We have never had one on one meetings. We ran into each other at different activities”. Mr. Boulay even doubted that the Prime Minister wrote the infamous birthday letter which the hon. members opposite cited as evidence of some close personal relationship.

We are seeing on an ongoing basis contradictory allegations. The hon. members opposite point out those allegations that support their accusations. Canadians do not want this kind of partisanship. They want the truth. They want Justice Gomery's report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, Benoît Corbeil has revealed that the sponsorship program came on the heels of the campaigning around the 1995 referendum, and was done in the same spirit. The sovereignists had to be counteracted at any price, and that required a lot of money, even if it meant breaking the law.

Will the Prime Minister admit, having been the number two man in the government at that time, as we know, that the actions of this government are immoral, unacceptable, unjustifiable and unspeakable?