October 29, 2003

LIB

Stéphane Dion

Liberal

Hon. Stéphane Dion (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I asked the hon. member a question. Is he prepared to recognize that he is a member of the nation of Quebec and the Canadian nation, and the French-Canadian nation as well?

I am, as are all Quebeckers on this side of the House, a proud Quebecker, a proud French Canadian and a proud Canadian. Can he say the same?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Quebec
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CA

Rob Merrifield

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry. His fishing trip at the Irving lodge while he was the minister of health with a registered health lobbyist was a clear conflict of interest. The industry minister just does not get it.

Did the minister consult the ethics counsellor while he was the minister of health about the fishing trip with that health lobbyist?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I recall, last week the suggestion from this member and his colleagues was that I was in a conflict because of the connection with the shipbuilding industry. I understand that now they have decided I am in a conflict because of the health industry. It is neither.

The fact is I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor of all the circumstances. He gave me advice which I took and which I respected to the letter. I have satisfied all the requirements for which the ethics counsellor has provided.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CA

Rob Merrifield

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the excuses of that minister are absolutely astonishing. A minister of the crown cannot and should not accept a trip from a lobbyist while that lobbyist is actively lobbying that minister's department. That is exactly what the minister did.

Could the minister explain how this is not a conflict of interest?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is time for those members to get their stories straight. He just said I took a trip from a lobbyist. I thought the allegation was that I took the trip from the Irving family.

They are desperately trying to make something of nothing. I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor. I sought his advice. I followed his advice. They are left with nothing.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I might change the subject because we in the NDP have bigger fish to fry. My question is for the Minister of Finance.

There is $44 billion in outstanding credit card debt in this country to Visa and MasterCard alone. He knows that the spread now between the prime rate and credit card rate is 14 points. It is clear that Canadians are being gouged. If the Liberals are concerned about debt reduction, they should be concerned about this kind of debt reduction.

Will the Minister of Finance finally do something about this and tie the credit card rate to the prime rate in some way?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Finance
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LIB

John Manley

Liberal

Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we have taken extraordinary measures to ensure that consumers have full information about rates, about how they are calculated and can make comparisons among cards.

The effect of limiting the amount that could be charged on cards is that many Canadians would not be able to access cards at all. I think it would not be in the interests of Canadians, and I would have thought the NDP would agree with this, to leave large portions of the population without any access to credit.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Finance
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not need more information, if they are up to their you know what in alligators. They do not want the Liberals counting the alligators. They want them to do something about it.

I have a question is for the Minister of Public Works and it has to do with the awarding of the census contract to Lockheed Martin.

I have information from a competitor of Lougheed Martin that it received this contract, not through due process, but sometime after the RFP had been initiated and others had gone through the process. However, Lougheed Martin showed up at the end and received the contract.

Could the Minister of Public Works undertake to look into this and report back to the House as to why that American corporation received favourable treatment in that way?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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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 information that the hon. gentleman has just described is certainly at odds with the information I have. He has asked me if I will look into what he has suggested. I certainly will do that, and I will get back to him if there is anything further to report.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, licence or no licence, our fishing trip yesterday was successful. Divine revelation struck the HRDC minister last night and she remembered that she too had been at chateau Irving with Paul Zed.

How can the minister explain her poor memory and how can she explain misleading the House yesterday?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's assertion is wrong. The facts are these. In the summer of 1996, seven and a half years ago, I was in Atlantic Canada on political and departmental business. I was in the riding of Fundy—Royal with the then member of Parliament, my colleague in this caucus. In the course of our schedule he suggested my family join his family for an evening at his wife's family cottage. We did that.

The hon. member can rest assured that the ethics counsellor has reviewed this and has said that there are no concerns.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the government in the Senate said yesterday that one must carefully separate when one does something with a friend from when one does something for so-called other reasons.

We know now that Paul Zed has invited the Minister of Industry, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, now the Minister of Human Resources Development to the Irving fishing lodge for vacations.

Could the Prime Minister tell us what criteria he advises his ministers to use to separate public business from private business, and will he table that criteria today?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, they are all over the place. Last week the big problem was the Minister of Industry, and it was a question with the Irvings. Now it is with Paul Zed.

I find it absolutely incredible that a member of Parliament, who is no longer a member of Parliament, who has made friends with people in this House, should not talk with his former colleagues. I think it is stretching this thing quite far.

For a long time in this House there was a sense of dignity and respect for the honesty of the people. Now it is always the presumption of guilt rather than the presumption of innocence.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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BQ

Caroline St-Hilaire

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, we are surrounded by scandal because of the ties between certain ministers and the Irving family, which has been so generous. Today it is the Human Resources Development minister's turn to confess.

What should we think of the future prime minister, who has several creditors who have contributed $100,000 or more to his leadership campaign? Does the Prime Minister realize the handicap his successor will have as he takes up his future duties?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in contrast to the leader of the official opposition, who has only revealed the source of 13% of the money he received for his leadership campaign, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard and the ministers who have been candidates have publicly reported on every dollar they have received, every three months, and they have revealed the names of all their donors.

It is public knowledge and I do wonder why they are asking these questions; it is all public knowledge. We have passed a law so that these things cannot be happen again in the future, but it is—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Longueuil

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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BQ

Caroline St-Hilaire

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, beyond legality, there is something called morality, a value that this government seems to have forgotten a very long time ago.

Because, if receiving $1,500 casts doubts on a minister's impartiality, to the extent that he must distance himself from anything having to do with the Irving family, how can we think that contributions of $100,000 and more will not affect the impartiality of the one who benefits, namely the member for LaSalle—Émard?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, there were rules that applied to all the political parties in this House.

When there are conventions, in the case of the Liberal Party, every dollar donated is accounted for publicly. The amounts were made public before the convention, which does not happen in the other parties.

All the rules were respected. It is clear that with the new legislation, these things will be different in the future, after January 1, 2004, but until now, all the rules have been followed and everything was public knowledge.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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CA

Kevin Sorenson

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, organized crime and the violence that goes with it is increasing across the country, particularly in the cities, but also on reserves.

An RCMP report claims it has dropped aboriginal gangsters from its list of priorities. A lack of resources has forced the RCMP to pick and choose the organized crime it investigates and we have a smorgasbord to choose from: biker gangs, Asian gangs, Russian mafia, aboriginal gangs.

When will the RCMP get the resources to fight all organized crime?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Organized Crime
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LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the resources have been increased substantially in the RCMP since 2001.

The report that the hon. member opposite talks about is a very good report. It establishes the priorities, looks at the problem, and analyzes the problem in order to make recommendations on what the key priorities should be for the RCMP and its work so it can make the best use of the resources that are available, both human and financial.

The RCMP and the government are in fact doing that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Organized Crime
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October 29, 2003