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House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quarantine.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the public knows that the Prime Minister is not credible. Chuck Guité said that the Prime Minister intervened and that Vickers & Benson received money. Alain Renaud said that the Prime Minister intervened and that Groupe Everest received money. Allan Cutler and Warren Kinsella said that the Prime Minister intervened and that Earnscliffe received money.

Are these admissions true? Or is this some great conspiracy against the Prime Minister?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, these are unproven allegations. Mr. Guité also made some other allegations yesterday. In fact, he said that the political interference in contracts “was worse under the previous Conservative administration. It was a cooked deal then, 150 per cent politically driven”.

Do the Conservatives agree with that part of Mr. Guité's testimony? If not, then why are they not willing to wait for Justice Gomery's report?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. It might be helpful if members remembered that we are in question period. We need a little order so we can hear the questions and the responses. I thought there was relative quiet in the House today at the beginning, but things are degenerating. I would urge members to try to restrain themselves so we can hear the questions and answers.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the Prime Minister is not believable on the Vickers & Benson contract. The Liberals' hired gun, Chuck Guité, facing criminal charges and jail time, has finally broken his silence. He revealed how the Prime Minister let Vickers & Benson keep its ad contract for Canada savings bonds even after it was taken over by a foreign corporation. This violated Canadian ownership rules.

The Prime Minister was the boss. Will he just admit that he is not telling the truth about his involvement?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the opposition presents as sacrosanct the testimony of Chuck Guité, who faces both criminal and civil fraud charges. On allegations of alleged conversations between Mr. Guité and Mr. Tremblay, who has since passed away and is not able obviously to confirm or deny those discussions, and Mr. Gagliano, the man the Prime Minister fired, I think Canadians prefer to wait for Justice Gomery's report and not to rely on testimony from the dubious about the deceased.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Vickers & Benson helped run Liberal election campaigns. The Liberal Party saved millions by repaying such agencies at public expense with government contracts. The Prime Minister is busy denying his involvement, yet the multi-million dollar Vickers & Benson ad contract was with the Prime Minister's own department. It completely broke Canadian ownership rules, but he did nothing.

He was finance minister. He was vice-chair of the Treasury Board. He was the second most powerful man around the cabinet table. How can anyone believe the Prime Minister today?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the fact is Chuck Guité was hired by the previous government. Beyond that, the member for Calgary--Nose Hill is a lawyer and a member of the Law Society of Alberta. In its code of professional conduct, rule 3 says, “A lawyer must not act in a manner that might weaken public respect for the law or justice system or interfere with its fair administration”. She should resign from the bar.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Michel Béliveau, the director general of the Liberal Party, Quebec wing, has acknowledged that he asked for, and got, $300,000 in dirty money from Jacques Corriveau, a key player in the sponsorship scandal. Michel Béliveau went on to say that the Liberal Party spent that dirty money in hopes of making gains in Quebec in the 1997 election campaign.

Since Jacques Corriveau got $8 million in sponsorship contracts, will the Prime Minister admit that the $300,000 in dirty money was public funds used by the Liberals in the 1997 campaign, in violation of the Elections Act?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as has been indicated on numerous occasions, we need to wait for Justice Gomery's report. There ought not to be a commentary on the day's testimony, in this instance more than ever, because the testimony on which the leader of the Bloc Québécois wants me to comment has not yet been given. Mr. Béliveau has not yet appeared. We need to at least wait until he has.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the same Prime Minister who, at this time last year, was saying that Canadians knew enough about the sponsorships and that an election was needed. He said that because he expected to get a majority and to have four years to make people forget the Gomery inquiry. That is what he thought, and that is what he wanted. He lacks both principles and credibility.

I am asking whether he is preparing to run a fourth consecutive election campaign financed with dirty money diverted from taxpayers' pockets? Is the Prime Minister not ashamed?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the first thing that this government did when it came into power was to cancel the sponsorship program. The day the Auditor General's report was tabled in this House, we appointed Justice Gomery. We have defended him because we do not fear the truth. We are open and transparent and we want answers. I assure you that those who have acted inappropriately will be punished.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the money that was paid in cash directly to Liberal organizers was used for campaigning in Bloc Québécois ridings. Michel Béliveau said that cash was also used by Marc-Yvan Côté, chief Liberal organizer for eastern Quebec.

Is that not dirty, illegal, Liberal money?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, these are unproven allegations, like so many others. For example, it is alleged that the Parti Québécois government received inappropriate funds. Perhaps the Bloc can now agree with us that it would be a good idea to wait for the Gomery report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and his Quebec lieutenant are the ones who have repeated, many times, that they would pay back the dirty money used by the Liberal Party. We simply do not trust them. It is out of the question for us to allow the Liberal Party to run another campaign with this dirty money. We want the dirty sponsorship money to be withdrawn from the Liberal Party coffers.

Will the Prime Minister finally follow through on the promises of his Minister of Transport and deposit this dirty money into a trust fund until the end of the Gomery inquiry?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:25 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 inappropriate money, it will reimburse the taxpayers. It is not possible to do so without knowing all the facts. Therefore, it would be a good idea to wait for the Gomery report.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by agreeing with the Prime Minister that transparency and complete openness of donations in politics is very important. So let me ask about trust funds held by cabinet ministers in his government.

Will the Prime Minister require his ministers to reveal the donors to their trust funds to see whether or not there were any government contractors on the list?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Parliament has enacted Bill C-24, which allowed riding associations of all parties in the country to transfer any money they had into political associations registered with Elections Canada. As far as I know, that has been done and there are no trust funds to speak of.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can see that the Prime Minister does not have the courage of his accusations when it comes to pointing fingers at others.

We know that sitting members of the cabinet had trust funds and that the donors were secret. Alfonso Gagliano had one and there are others.

In the name of the pursuit of honesty and transparency, will the Prime Minister give us the lists of the donors to those trust funds, so that we can find out who they were and whether they had government contracts, yes or no?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Elections Act is quite clear. All funds received have to receipted and are declared.

After the passage of Bill C-24, if there were any funds in riding associations, these riding associations could register with Elections Canada and transfer all these funds, and that has occurred. As far as I know, there are no trust funds.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

May 5th, 2005 / 2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the Prime Minister is not believable when it comes to being transparent about his own business dealings.

The fact is that the Prime Minister failed to come clean about the 33 meetings he had with executives from his own shipping company while he was the Minister of Finance. The fact is that he also failed to come clean about the over $161 million in taxpayers' money that was funnelled into his own shipping company.

How can Canadian taxpayers trust the Prime Minister when he himself has not told the truth about the benefits he and his company have received?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this is another example of trying to drag people through the mud. There is not much more that can be said here.

The Prime Minister, whether we talk about Gomery or about the finances of this country, brought this country back from the brink. He balanced the books and made investments for Canadians that in fact benefit this country.

When it comes to the integrity of the Prime Minister, I would expect that Canadians will decide, and they have decided over and over again, that the Prime Minister is the leader that they believe has the ability to take this country into the future.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to that decision because not only did the Prime Minister benefit from millions of taxpayer dollars being sent to his shipping company but he in fact altered the rules to benefit himself.

While closing tax havens in most other countries, the Prime Minister kept open a tax loophole that allowed his companies to avoid paying Canadian taxes. Then he amended private pension legislation to allow him to gain access to over $80 million of the surplus in the CSL pension fund, all of which went right back into his companies.

How can the Prime Minister possibly expect Canadian taxpayers, when he is not honest with them about the benefits that he and his--

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I know the hon. member for Edmonton--Leduc will not want to suggest that any hon. member is not honest. I know he will want to withdraw that remark a little later. The hon. Minister of Finance may wish to respond.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, rarely has the House been treated to such a scurrilous display of character assassination as we have just seen from the hon. member. There is absolutely not one scintilla of evidence or justification to support that personal abusive attack upon the Prime Minister of Canada.

Indeed, in dealing with tax havens outside this country, his every move since 1993 has been to close them, limit them, and ensure the taxes in this country are applied fairly to all Canadians.

The hon. member is just a disgrace.