October 22, 2003

CA

James Rajotte

Canadian Alliance

Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton Southwest, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry knows his actions were wrong when it comes to the shipbuilding file. He accepted a gift that violated the conflict of interest guidelines. He repeatedly lobbied on behalf of the Irving interest at the cabinet table. He wrote letters and signed agreements. He made government appointments with respect to a shipbuilding file he was told to stay away form.

How can the minister possibly suggest he was just doing his job when he violated the terms of the blackout over and over again?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I respected those terms, and from the moment the ethics counsellor gave me the advice to disqualify myself, I did so.

The decision with respect to the shipyard was made entirely without my involvement. It was contained in the budget and was news to me.

I took very seriously the advice that was given by the ethics counsellor and I followed it. In addition to that, in view of the fact that issues have been raised, I have referred additional questions to the ethics counsellor and he has been good enough to agree to consider them.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CA

James Rajotte

Canadian Alliance

Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton Southwest, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, on October 10 the industry minister defended himself by stating:

The trip took place in the summer of 2001 when I was minister of health.

Once named Minister of Industry...I informed the ethics counsellor of all the particulars relating to the trip.

That is simply not true. In fact the minister waited five full months during which he actively lobbied on behalf of the Irvings: $100 million for the two shipyards, and the ExxonMobil contract.

Why did the minister wait so long to contact the ethics counsellor?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor as soon as it became evident to me that it was necessary to do so. I took his advice with respect to conflict. I followed it in every respect and to the letter, and I am satisfied that in no way have I departed from the advice he gave to me.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Finance will know that Canadian students are facing record levels of debt upon graduation, so much so that they are beginning to refer to themselves as “generation debt”. There is nothing in the 100 days of cuts promised by the new Liberal leader for them.

Could the Minister of Finance tell us if he would not agree, given the surplus, that one good day of student relief would be better than 100 bad days of cuts promised by the new Liberal leader?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Student Loans
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, indeed, we welcome the students to the Hill and are glad to hear the views that they present to us.

The hon. member will know that the question of tuition is clearly a provincial jurisdiction. However I hope he will also know that the government takes the issue of access to post-secondary education very seriously. That is why every year we invest $1.6 billion in the Canada student loan program. That is why we have also introduced the Canada millennium foundation.

There are more programs that the government has put in place to support lifelong learning, and I hope the hon. member will recognize that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Student Loans
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the Minister of Finance. It has to do with the Governor of the Bank of Canada, rumoured to be possibly the next Clerk of the Privy Council in the government of the new Liberal leader.

Given that Mr. Dodge presided over a misuse of public funds at Health Canada, at the Fontaine addiction centre in Manitoba, that makes that Radwanski affair look pale, does the Minister of Finance still have confidence in the Governor of the Bank of Canada, and why is this man running the economy when he could not run Health Canada properly?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health Canada
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LIB

Anne McLellan

Liberal

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Health, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member that as soon as allegations of wrongdoing came to light in October 2000, my predecessor took immediate action. The department launched a forensic audit. We contacted the RCMP. We have launched civil litigation to recover any misused public funds. We initiated other audits.

Dare I say the audits we instituted in relation to this event are the most extensive the federal government has ever undertaken. Those audits have been turned over to the RCMP and, as we all know, charges have been laid and the investigation continues.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health Canada
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PC

Gerald Keddy

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC)

Mr. Speaker, another minister has admitted to taking advantage of free flights on air Irving. The Minister of Labour however has volunteered to pay for her flight. Clearly, the Minister of Industry has not.

Does the minister need to be ordered to do so by the Prime Minister before he follows his colleague's example and writes a cheque or is the Minister of Industry above the rules?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor. I took the ethics counsellor's advice and I followed that advice to a T.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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PC

Gerald Keddy

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC)

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry is above the rules.

Canadians are all faced with a barrage of licences. Under this government every Canadian has to license every individual firearm they own. They need to buy a licence for their dog. They need to buy a licence for a small motor boat. They need to buy a licence to hunt. They need to buy a licence to fish.

The minister does not even have a cheque for his fishing licence in New Brunswick for $40.25, assuming the Minister of Industry even bought a fishing licence.

It is unbelievable--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
?

The Speaker

I am afraid the hon. member has run out of time and I did not hear a question, so perhaps without a licence we will just move on. The hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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BQ

Paul Crête

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, while the Bloc Quebecois was asking for a shipbuilding policy, and while the former minister of finance was having his ships built in China, the Minister of Industry, on a fishing trip with the Irvings, was discussing compensation for the closing of shipyards and laughing off the demands of workers.

Will the Minister of Industry admit that his close relationship with the Irving family did not predispose him to bring in a shipbuilding policy and that, at that time, the issue was settled in advance?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)

No, Mr. Speaker. As I have already explained, under the circumstances, I asked for, received and followed the advice of the ethics counsellor.

Furthermore, as Minister of Industry, I have continued, and I will continue to prepare a pan-Canadian policy for the marine industry, a very important industry for our economy.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
BQ

Paul Crête

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Industry admit that, not only has he contravened ethics guidelines, but in addition, and more seriously, his decision has penalized hundreds of workers who have lost their jobs because of his lack of responsibility? This is very serious. Will he finally admit it?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
LIB
CA

Jim Gouk

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, now that the industry minister has been caught with his hands in the Irving cookie jar, others are starting to admit their breach of the rules.

The latest was the Minister of Labour. She accepted a free trip on Irving's executive jet which was worth far more than the $200 gift limit. The minister now admits that what she did was wrong. If she knows it is wrong now, she must have known it was wrong then.

Why did the minister not disclose at the time? Did she simply think she would get away with it?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
LIB

Claudette Bradshaw

Liberal

Hon. Claudette Bradshaw (Minister of Labour, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I was attending a meeting in Ottawa as regional minister with the Irvings. I was booked on a commercial flight. They offered to take me home to Moncton as they were going to Saint John.

On an oversight I should have phoned the ethics counsellor and he would have told me that I had to pay the Irvings. It was an oversight. I apologize to the House and I apologize to all Canadians. It was an oversight on my part.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
CA

Jim Gouk

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour has admitted that she did wrong and at least took steps to correct it. The Minister of Industry has done nothing of the kind. He spent years excluding himself from the business he should have been doing, and still accepted the gift.

Will he now either refund the money he was paid as the minister while he was unable to do the job because he excused himself or pay the full cost of the trip?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor in May 2002, took his advice and followed that advice to the letter.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink

October 22, 2003