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House of Commons Hansard #95 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

May 10th, 2005 / 2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the trail of dirty money winds its way to the Prime Minister, it is clear he is breaking another promise to Canadians. Yesterday, we heard that his supporter and the Minister of Transport's aide, Richard Mimeau, received $6,000 in dirty money to cover campaign expenses.

Two months ago, the Prime Minister said, “Anybody who knew about that and did nothing should resign immediately”. That person has not quit. When will the Prime Minister finally keep a promise to Canadians and fire Mr. Mimeau?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize what the hon. member said on March 10 in a press release. She said:

Forcing and election would paralyse federal government activities and hurt Canadians...It is also imperative that the Gomery inquiry gets to the bottom of the sponsorship [issue]...An election now would prevent Justice Gomery from finishing his work as scheduled, and may put the whole commission in jeopardy. I believe Canadians are not anxious to fork over another $250 million [for] another election so soon after the last one.

That is what she said on March 10.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, all of this before they changed the budget. The Prime Minister was quick to fire those people associated with his predecessor, Mr. Chrétien, but apparently he has lost his nerve when it comes to his own cronies.

Mr. Mimeau is a key Quebec lieutenant and a supporter of the Prime Minister. He is an aide to the Minister of Transport. It is no longer just about the old guard, it is people who are working right here, right now.

Why should Canadians believe the Prime Minister did not know any of this when the trail is leading right to his door?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, frankly, because the individuals in question have absolutely and completely denied the allegations and have asked their lawyers to take action on it. What the member has to remember is that people do have rights in this country whether or not they are demonstrated on the floor of the House.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Benoît Corbeil tells us that two employees from the office of the Minister of Transport received tainted money from Groupaction: his press attaché, Irène Marcheterre apparently received $5,000 and Richard Mimeau, $6,000.

When will this tainted money be returned, as the Prime Minister has promised?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, it would be interesting to spend a little time with Marleau and Montpetit which talks about the privileges of the House and what it confers on members. It confers grave responsibilities on those who are protected by it. By that I mean specifically the hon. members of this place. The consequences of its abuse can be terrible. Innocent people could be slandered with no redress available to them.

I would caution hon. members to use a little judgment.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, members of the House also have the right to have their questions answered in question period.

Last week we learned that the transport minister was lobbying without properly registering himself as a lobbyist as is required by law. Now we learn that two people who are working in his office received dirty sponsorship money.

My simple question for the Prime Minister is, when will the dirty money be returned to taxpayers like the Prime Minister promised?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member that those two individuals have absolutely and completely denied it and they are taking action to defend themselves, which they have the right to do. We should not jump to the execution before we have had the trial.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the comments made by Benoît Corbeil at the Gomery inquiry are very incriminating and implicate members of the Liberal Party of Canada. Whether they are accusations or allegations the result is the same: dirty sponsorship money was used to pay election workers.

In light of these damning revelations, does the Prime Minister not feel that he has no choice but to put the dirty sponsorship money received by the Liberal Party into a trust?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again, these are unfounded allegations. Legal action was taken following Mr. Corbeil's testimony yesterday.

The only way to know all the facts is to have Justice Gomery's report. Canadians and Quebeckers want this report. The interests of Canadians are more important than the interests of separatists.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, are we to understand by the minister's comments that all those who did not send a formal notice are acknowledging their guilt?

Jean Brault, Michel Béliveau and Benoît Corbeil all said the same thing, that the sponsorship cash was used by the Liberal Party to pay election workers in violation of the Canada Elections Act.

In light of all this mounting testimony, does the Prime Minister realize that the only solution left to the government is to deposit the dirty sponsorship money into a trust?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, in the House yesterday afternoon that Bloc member said the following, “We want to leave Canada. So let us. That is exactly what we want”.

Despite the attempts of Bloc members to hide their separatist agenda, their true intentions come through. They want this Parliament to fail because they want this country to fail. It is time for the Conservatives to stop lying down with the Bloc and start standing up for Canadians who want this Parliament to be sustained.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Yet, Mr. Speaker, we did not buy three elections with dirty money.

On the eve of the last election, the Minister of Transport made a commitment, on behalf of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada, to put the dirty money in trust.

How can the minister explain that it was necessary to put the dirty money from the sponsorships in trust last year, and now, with all that is coming out in the Gomery inquiry, it is apparently no longer appropriate to do the same?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, there are also allegations that the Parti Québécois received inappropriate funds. The Bloc thinks that, if the separatists are the ones getting dirty money, it is not as dirty.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government insists on bringing up the subject of the Parti Québécois, why does it not follow its example and put the money in trust immediately?

In light of the revelations in the Gomery inquiry, clearly the government no longer has our confidence. Under the circumstances, there is no question of this government running another election on dirty money.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for before creating a trust account as the House is asking him to, and putting the dirty sponsorship money into it immediately?

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 party has been clear. If the party has received any inappropriate funds, the party will reimburse the taxpayers. There is one leader who is working to clean up this system and that leader is our Prime Minister. If the separatists do not believe the allegations against some within their ranks, perhaps they ought to support the work of our Prime Minister and wait for Justice Gomery's report.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has said four times in the House that he was unable to do anything about political interference in the appointment of judges because of the Gomery commission.

Yesterday, Justice Gomery confirmed that he did not have the authority to inquire into this other scandal. The Minister of Justice was well aware that Justice Gomery could not investigate this serious matter.

Why did the Minister of Justice attempt to mislead the House yet again?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. However, I do have some reservations about the formulation of the question.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Gomery commission is well established. We set out the guidelines that follow in a normal way and fashion and it complies with the normal rules that we would expect of a judicial commission. I think that is appropriate.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister keeps saying that Gomery will get to the bottom of this. The rules say that he cannot.

The Minister of Justice misled the House when he said that Justice Gomery would investigate admissions of Liberal tampering in the process of appointing judges. Yesterday Justice Gomery confirmed what the Minister of Justice knew--

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I was speaking with the Clerk and did not hear all that the hon. member said, but I understand he suggested that the minister misled the House. He knows that making these kinds of statements are not proper.

If he will put his question directly, we will proceed and I will review the blues and, if necessary, have a withdrawal from the hon. member.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister told the House that Gomery would investigate these questions. Gomery says that he has no authority to do that because his hands are tied.

Since the Prime Minister has tied Gomery's hands, will the Minister of Justice stop telling Canadians that Gomery will take care of it and call for a full investigation into his own party's tampering in the appointment of judges?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again, the opposition members are attacking the mandate of Justice Gomery. They realize, after months of work, after months of testimony, after $72 million invested in getting to the truth by Justice Gomery, after 12 million pages of documents being reviewed by the Gomery commission and countless days of testimony, that there has not been a scintilla of evidence that has in any way demonstrated that our Prime Minister has acted inappropriately.

They are attacking the mandate of Justice Gomery to try to discredit it because they do not feel they will like the result of his work.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Too bad Gomery was not looking at Earnscliffe, Mr. Speaker.

We know the Prime Minister believes that post-secondary education, the environment and low incomes are all his number one priorities. He basically confirmed that earlier in question period. Yet his NDP deal, as reflected in Bill C-48, does not establish programs for any of those number one priorities. Funding if necessary, but not necessarily funding for his number one priorities.

Has the Prime Minister explained to the NDP that the money for all of his number one priorities will not flow until the fall of 2006, if it flows at all?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the legislation makes very clear that the government is seeing access to funds in fiscal year 2005-06 and fiscal year 2006-07. The terms of that access are very clearly spelled out in Bill C-48, as well as the purposes of the money in terms of the broad categories.

It is now obviously up to the relevant government departments to develop the specific programs that will dedicate those funds to the purposes described in Bill C-48.