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House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was care.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again, Justice Gomery describes his mandate in his own words. He said:

According to s.13 of the Inquiries Act, which will be discussed in more detail later, I am entitled to draw conclusions as to whether there has been misconduct and who may be responsible for it.

Further, Justice Gomery said:

--whether there was political influence involved in the activities and, if so, by whom, to what purpose, and to what effect;

whether any person or organization in the Government of Canada gained an advantage financially, politically or otherwise from the activities and, if so who, to what purpose, and to what effect;

Justice Gomery is right. He does have the mandate to name names and assign responsibility.

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the Prime Minister that, in the matter involving his chief of staff, I do not need any kind of parliamentary immunity to make the same remarks, both inside and outside this chamber. That having been said, it is absolutely unbelievable that, two weeks later, the Prime Minister continues to maintain that he has not heard the compromising tape.

At a time when full explanations are required, will the Prime Minister admit that, in the matter involving his chief of staff, he has been absolutely and totally negligent?

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if I did not hear the tape, it is because I do not have it.

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would imagine that he has a radio or a television set in his office. Because it has been aired on radio and TV, and a translation has been published in newspapers.

In his address to Canadians and Quebeckers, the Prime Minister made the following statement about the sponsorship scandal. “I am sorry that we weren’t more vigilant, that I wasn't more vigilant”. If proven, the actions of his chief of staff may be actionable under section 119 of the Criminal Code.

Will the Prime Minister learn from past mistakes, stop being deliberately blind, show vigilance and suspend—

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, I would ask the leader of the Bloc Québécois to just take a look at what Mr. Kalia said. He was the third party, between the member and the government. Mr. Kalia said that no offer was made by the government, that the member was the one who made demands, which were refused outright.

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is protecting his chief of staff by claiming that it was the Conservative member himself who approached his government and offered his vote in exchange for some compensation.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, regardless of who made the initial move, what matters before the law is what was said and, in this regard, his chief of staff may have contravened section 119 of the Criminal Code?

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said that he was in fact informed that the member for Newton—North Delta approached his office about crossing the floor. He also said that he was very clear that there would be no deals offered.

The hon. member was making an accusation that there has been some type of criminal intent here. Certainly, the RCMP, as an independent body, determines what it will investigate and based on what evidence.

If the hon. member has any information that would suggest that an investigation is merited, I would suggest that he provide that information. In fact, he has an obligation to provide that information.

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's chief of staff said “you can stay home, stay back where you are or if you like, we can make an arrangement that allows you to move”.

How can the Prime Minister deny that the content of this recording is suspicious enough to warrant swift action regarding his chief of staff? Let the Prime Minister suspend him immediately.

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, again, the hon. member is making accusations. I understand that the transcripts have now been made public. I do not understand why it took so long for the official opposition to make them available.

Nonetheless, as the Prime Minister has said, there was no offer and no deals made. In fact, it was the member for Newton—North Delta who approached the government. The Prime Minister has made it very clear that we in no way look to entice anyone to join this party.

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the past six weeks, two Liberal ministers, one parliamentary secretary, the lawyer representing the Liberal Party at the Gomery commission and the Prime Minister himself have all boasted about calling on the RCMP. However, when the issue involves the Prime Minister's chief of staff and a Conservative member, their enthusiasm for the RCMP seems to wane. Could the Prime Minister tell us why?

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am a little surprised that the NDP leader would not know about the ethics involved in all this. The government does not have the right to give instructions to the RCMP. It can provide information, as any individual can, but the decision to act on this information rests with the RCMP.

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe we can all recall previous instances where the RCMP was called in by the government.

It is funny because on sponsorship the Prime Minister did nothing because he claimed that he did not know anything. In this case, he is doing nothing because he does not want to know anything. It is not a funny matter. The RCMP needs to investigate this. It is going to need all the relevant phone logs, e-mails, letters and meeting notes.

My question for the Prime Minister is, will they be provided to the RCMP?

Member for Newton—North DeltaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously the government will provide the RCMP any information it requires. I would hope that if the leader of the NDP has any such information, he would provide it.

What I find most surprising is that the Leader of the Opposition seems to imply that Canada is a police state, that in fact we will dictate to the RCMP what it should do. That is not the way it works. It would be most improper if the government were to tell the RCMP to initiate an investigation. It should be provided with the information and then an independent decision of the RCMP is taken on whether or not to act.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, today we learned the government has made a deal with former Prime Minister Chrétien, the kind of deal the public works minister yesterday suggested in the House might be characterized as witness tampering and trying to interfere. The minister said that kind of deal would be shameful. The government's deal is that Chrétien will not try to remove Gomery for now but may do so later.

Why today a deal the minister scorned just yesterday?

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 hon. member's assertion is ridiculous. The fact is that Mr. Chrétien, as an individual, has a right to defend himself and to take action as he sees fit.

The government has been clear. It did not agree or support Mr. Chrétien's previous action. He has decided to take another action. That is his right. We believe in the charter of rights and we believe in the freedom of individual Canadians to defend themselves under our system.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, this deal and reprieve from the Chrétien application to remove Gomery is only temporary. It can be brought back any time and hangs over the head of the inquiry. Did the government's deal include waiting to see what Gomery says before deciding whether the Chrétien attack will proceed?

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's question and assertion are totally false. There was no deal. Mr. Chrétien, as an individual, has determined a course of action and he has the right to pursue that. The government has also chosen a course of action.

The Prime Minister has chosen a course of action and that is to support the work of Justice Gomery. The only people in the House who are acting in a way that could potentially disable and disrupt the work of Justice Gomery are the Conservatives. Their opposition day motion today is at best disruptive or redundant and at worst mischievous and aimed at disrupting the work of Justice Gomery.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the lawyers representing Jean Chrétien have suspended their application to have Mr. Justice Gomery dismissed, because they have an agreement with the Liberals. They reserve the right to submit their application again and delay the release of the judge's report. The lawyers representing the government have agreed to this.

Will the Prime Minister commit to tabling in the House the details of this agreement with his predecessor?

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 hon. member should speak to his colleague from Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam who said, “We think Jean Chrétien did the right thing”.

Members opposite cannot on one hand stand up in the House and say that Mr. Chrétien is somehow doing something wrong when on the other hand, one of their learned members is supportive and congratulates Mr. Chrétien for doing the right thing.

Beyond that, Mr. Chrétien, as an individual, does have a right to determine a course of action. He has done exactly that. It has nothing to do with the government.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, first the Liberal government tried every trick in the book possible to block judge Gomery from doing his work. The government had the former prime minister sue Justice Gomery in order to shut him down. Now it has struck a secret deal with Mr. Chrétien regarding that lawsuit, the details of which it is refusing to elaborate upon.

Will the government amend the terms of reference in order to have Judge Gomery's report tabled in this House at the same time that it is presented to cabinet?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if it were not such a serious matter, it would become amusing to see them bounce from pillar to post and from question period to question period desperately grasping at anything to shed some pall or to create some question about the work of Justice Gomery.

Justice Gomery said in his own words that according to section 13 of the Inquiries Act he is entitled to draw conclusions as to whether or not there has been misconduct and who may be responsible. Yet, the Conservatives have an opposition day motion that actually questions the logic of Justice Gomery. Their opposition day motion at best would be redundant, but if implemented would actually threaten the work of Justice Gomery.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

May 31st, 2005 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this affair concerning his chief of staff, the Prime Minister's behaviour is a carbon copy of that of Jean Chrétien and Alfonso Gagliano in the sponsorship scandal. He thinks that denying something will make it disappear.

Will the Prime Minister finally understand that denying the responsibility of his chief of staff is not enough, that he has to take action, assume responsibility and suspend him, nothing less?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, again, we are hearing allegations from the opposite side. The Prime Minister has said that he was informed that the member for Newton—North Delta approached his office about crossing the floor. He made it very clear that there would be no deals offered. There was no deal offered.

I do not understand why there is a continued line of questioning. This has been answered and if the hon. member does have information that is pertinent to this, I would suggest that he turn that over to the RCMP if he believes that there has been any wrongdoing.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's only defence in this affair concerning his chief of staff is to say that the member himself approached the government, which supposedly relieves his chief of staff of all responsibility.

Will the Prime Minister admit that buying someone is not made acceptable merely by the fact that someone offers himself for sale? That seems clear to me.