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House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was burma.

Topics

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is rare that we get an answer from a minister that confirms we are right: Justice Gomery has no authority to look into the judge appointments.

The guy who ran Liberal headquarters has admitted that a Liberal loyalty litmus test was a regular step in the appointment of judges. He provided confirmation of candidates' Liberal credentials to the appointment council. This is a very serious matter with alarming implications. The Minister of Justice says it is up to somebody else to look into the matter of shocking admissions of political interference. Gomery is not allowed to inquire into it.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to act and to do something to protect the independence of the courts?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member says that Justice Gomery is not allowed to look into it, yet the very person whose allegations he is referring to is about to appear before that very Gomery commission. So it appears that the Gomery commission is looking into allegations in that regard.

With respect to the way we make appointments, I do not know how Benoît Corbeil makes appointments, or anyone else, but I know we make those appointments on merit, without regard for any political affiliation.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, last winter the Prime Minister spoke glowingly about Mr. Chrétien's ball-juggling routine before Justice Gomery. Spring came, the Prime Minister saw his shadow and denied he had ever applauded Mr. Chrétien's vaudeville act. But wait: the Prime Minister popped up again, juggled his opinion once again, and said yes, maybe he had led a round of applause for his mentor.

The Prime Minister says Canadians must wait for Justice Gomery to reveal the facts. Having been a cheerleader for Mr. Chrétien, having already indicated he does not think that Mr. Chrétien is responsible for this, how does he know that? How do Canadians know his position will not change again when Mr. Justice Gomery and an election heat up?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am not certain whether there was a question there, but the fact is that what is beyond question is the Prime Minister's commitment to supporting Justice Gomery, such that Canadians have the truth. We have supported Justice Gomery from the beginning. The Prime Minister appointed Justice Gomery, has provided resources to Justice Gomery, in fact about $72 million worth of resources, and has provided over 12 million pages of documents, including cabinet documents, to Justice Gomery.

We will continue to support Justice Gomery because we believe Canadians deserve to have that report and deserve to have the truth, not allegations and unproven testimony.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is sworn testimony, and the Prime Minister has never once taken the opportunity to deny that this happened.

The Prime Minister chose deliberately not to give Justice Gomery the mandate to say who was guilty for the sponsorship scandal. The Minister of Public Works parrots that, of course, and says Justice Gomery's mandate is clear: he is fact finding.

If facts revealed by Justice Gomery or anyone else find that public money made its way through government departments through ad agencies in Quebec to the Prime Minister's leadership campaign, I want to hear from the Prime Minister not whether he will call an election, but whether he will tender his resignation immediately.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, every single penny that I raised in the leadership race is a matter of public record. I wish that the Leader of the Opposition or the member who just spoke could stand up in the House and say the same thing, but they cannot.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We are now ready to hear the next question. The hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, L'Actualité has printed a list of the transport minister's clients before he got into politics. They include Onex, Loblaws, Imperial Tobacco, and Réno-Dépôt/The Building Box. He also acknowledged having worked for Cossette Communication.

My question for the Minister of Transport is quite simple. When he was working for Cossette Communication, was he paid on a fee for service basis or was he paid on retainer, in other words, did he have a fixed rate contract?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the hon. member that during my 12 years in the private sector, I never billed anyone for any meeting.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport has a problem because he earned his living by counselling, as he called it, for a series of companies.

What I want to know is, when he worked for Cossette, was he paid on a fee for service basis or was he paid on retainer, based on a fixed rate contract?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean knows full well that questions regarding an hon. member's business are not admissible during oral question period. The question has to concern the administration of the Government of Canada. What someone did before being a minister is not a question about that administration.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport said in this House that he was not paid for that work.

With respect to that statement made in this House, I am asking him how he was paid when he worked for Cossette. I want him to answer. It is important to those watching. He swore—

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member is not entitled to ask an unacceptable question triggered by the response he got to an acceptable one.

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

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

May 4th, 2005 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, in May of last year, just before calling the election, the Prime Minister said that Canadians knew enough about the sponsorship scandal to form an opinion when the time came to cast their ballots.

Can the Prime Minister tell us why, last year, he felt that citizens knew enough to vote and why, this year, he thinks just the opposite? Let us hear the Prime Minister's explanation.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, one thing that unites Canadians is a desire to have the truth, the whole truth, before an election. Our Prime Minister stands with Canadians in their desire to have the truth. That is why it is important for Canadians to have Justice Gomery's report and to not be making an important decision based on unproven allegations, on testimony that members opposite have in fact criticized and attacked, testimony that has been contradicted by testimony on other days.

That is why it is so important that all members of the House work together to support Justice Gomery and to support the desire of Canadians to have the truth.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are referring to a statement made by the Prime Minister before he called the election. It is not the Minister of Public Works and Government Services who called the election.

Are we to understand from the Prime Minister's comments that his assessment of the relevancy of waiting until the Gomery commission has completed its work is directly related to his chances of getting elected, and to nothing else?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that the Bloc, the separatists, would like to have an election based on unproven allegations, not on fact. Clearly, Canadians understand that what is good for the separatists is rarely good for Canada. What is good for Canada, what is good for all Canadians, is that Canadians have the truth and that they have Justice Gomery's report before an election.

Our Prime Minister is absolutely committed to ensuring that Canadians have the truth they deserve.

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has a bad habit of race-baiting. Yesterday, he accused a huge group of Canadians, including me, of being members of the KKK. I have heard about being colour blind, but that is outrageous. Does the minister take pride in inciting hatred against Canadians?

When will the Prime Minister demand that minister's resignation?

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has already expressed the context in which these remarks were made. He has said that he wished--

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The Prime Minister has the floor. The right hon. Prime Minister will continue.

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has already given the context in which these remarks were made. He has already said that he wished he had not said those remarks in the way that he did. I would also hope that the members of the opposition who engaged in attacks on Canadians of Italian origin and offended would also apologize. If I might--

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton--Strathcona.

Minister of Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is incredible that the Prime Minister will defend the actions of that minister. His record is appalling. Last week he was forced to apologize after slurring a Sikh member of this House. He also told the Sikh community to shut up about ministerial permits. Now he is slandering all of us. He is not fit to represent Canadians in this portfolio.

Does the Prime Minister agree with that minister or will he fire this embarrassment to Canadians?