October 22, 2003

BQ

Louis Plamondon

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, according to a written response from the government, overall, the companies of the member for LaSalle—Émard have apparently benefited from government contracts to the tune of $137,000. Yet a search of the government data base indicates that just one of these companies received $15 million in contracts.

How can the Minister of Public Works and Government Services explain this discrepancy between the government's written response and the government figures?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in terms of parliamentary procedure—and I will restrict my comments to only that—there was indeed a question on the Order Paper of the House of Commons from the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest.

This morning, having reviewed the response to the question, I asked the PCO officials responsible to take a second look at it in order to ensure that all information had been made available, and to make any corrections required.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
BQ

Louis Plamondon

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, BQ)

Yet, Mr. Speaker, my question is very clear. The government's written answer: $137,000, as opposed to $15 million according to government figures, in contracts awarded to the member for LaSalle—Émard. Does the minister have trouble counting, or does he just want to hide someone, that is the future prime minister?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the procedural issues in relation to this matter will be dealt with as the House leader has explained. However on the substance, in the interests of ongoing transparency, my department has a public website reporting service for much of the contracting done by government departments government-wide.

That is the source of the information for the opposition's questions. The hon. member can hardly allege secrecy when he is in fact using my department and our public website as his factual source.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
CA

Grant Hill

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the new fat cat cabinet jets cost $100 million. Yesterday, the public works minister said that it was just a minor contract to explain why this was not tendered.

The rules call for a competitive tender for a major purchase. Was the fat cat cabinet jet contract a major purchase that should have been tendered?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is doing his very best to twist the nature of my reply yesterday. He asked me if the contract was a major one. Obviously, a contract for $100 million or thereabouts is a very significant contract. It is bigger than some government contracts. It is smaller than others.

It was a matter for a government decision at the time and all the information before me would indicate that the relevant rules that applied at the time were in fact followed.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
CA

Grant Hill

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, $100 million is a big contract to most taxpayers. The government usually seeks approval for purchases of this kind. The deputy minister said “no” to fat cat jets. The Clerk of the Privy Council said “no” to fat cat jets.

I would like to know why this minister continues to stand up to try and justify when his own bureaucrats said “no” to fat cat jets.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the former deputy of public works made some observations at the time about the legal issues involved. In fact, as it turns out, those legal issues never materialized.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
LIB

John Finlay

Liberal

Mr. John Finlay (Oxford, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Most of us here in the House recognize that the minister and his officials have worked tirelessly to re-open Canada's borders since May when they were closed due to the discovery of a single case of BSE in Alberta.

However, given that producers and numerous other support industries in my riding of Oxford and across Canada are continuing to suffer the effects of a restricted border, could the minister please inform the House as to the present status of Canada's efforts to restore full trade between our partners?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Lyle Vanclief

Liberal

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to pressure the United States and other countries around the world to open the market.

The President of the United States and the Prime Minister spoke yesterday. The Minister for International Trade spoke to a number of countries at the APEC meeting about this issue. I have spoken to Secretary Veneman about this issue this week.

We have made more strides and more advancement in getting the Canadian border open than any other country in the world has ever made in such circumstances. We have more to do and we will continue those efforts. The industry is there to support. I continue to meet with the industry to find ways, not only to open borders but to support the industry through this--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
Permalink
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The Speaker

The hon. member for St. John's West.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
Permalink
PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry was wrong on the airbus affair. He was wrong on the Cipro affair. He was wrong on the hepatitis C issue. He was wrong on the gun registry.

Why will he not follow the Minister of Labour and stand, and apologize to the House and admit he is wrong in this affair?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I went to the ethics counsellor and told him all about the relevant circumstances. I asked advice and I took that advice. I respected that advice and followed it to the letter.

That is the way I show respect for the House and that is the way I show respect for the rules.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC)

Mr. Speaker, we have heard the minister's well oiled, well Irving oiled, response over and over.

The minister knows that the ethics counsellor has about as much effect as he has had on the Prime Minister. Why does the minister not do what is right, either apologize to the House or resign?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have explained to the House the steps I have taken which were within the rules. I have told the House what I have done with the ethics counsellor.

I have responded to all the questions put to me and all of the circumstances raised by the opposition. I have explained that I was involved in no decision that affected the Irving companies and I have followed the advice of the ethics counsellor to the letter.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, with Maher Arar back in Canada, the government hopes this case will go away, but we need a full blown independent inquiry into why a year of Mr. Arar's life was stolen from him and his family.

Canadians, especially our one million Arab and Muslim Canadians, worry that there is nothing to prevent the same thing happening to them. Justice demands that we determine what happened to Maher Arar and how we will protect our citizens at home and abroad in the future.

Will the government today commit to that independent public inquiry?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to see that Mr. Arar is back in Canada. The government has worked strenuously to see that he was returned to Canada.

With respect to the specifics of the member's question, this House and previous Parliaments established such a body for what the member is talking about, that is, the commission for public complaints against the RCMP. If Mr. Arar or any others want to avail themselves of that process if they feel aggrieved, then that option is open to them.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
NDP

Yvon Godin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP)

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

Today a meeting was held with people from the Gaspé and northwestern New Brunswick. The Liberal MPs for Gaspé Peninsula, Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Madawaska all agree on the need for an independent environmental assessment.

Will there or will there not be such an independent assessment for the benefit of the people of the Chaleur Bay area?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
Permalink
LIB

David Anderson

Liberal

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained several times in the House, this problem falls under provincial jurisdiction.

Yesterday, officials of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency received a document from some of the stakeholders, and we are examining it at this time. The hon. member needs to realize, however, that provincial jurisdiction must be respected.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
Permalink
CA

Leon Benoit

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor has said that the labour minister's trip was wrong and she has resigned. The industry minister's trip--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink

October 22, 2003