February 13, 2004

LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

Hon. Stephen Owen (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Finance, the former Minister of Public Works and Government Services, has mentioned, starting in 2002 when the evidence started to come in that this was beyond managerial incompetence or error, a number of steps were begun.

When Groupaction came to the attention of the government, the matter was referred to the Auditor General. References were made to the RCMP for that case. A government-wide audit was started by the Auditor General. Internal inquiries through independent forensic auditors also preceded the actions that have taken place this week.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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BQ

Monique Guay

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, he wrote that, in such a scandalous situation, patriotism must come before partisanship.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, in his actions, he chose the party and not the public interest?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has indicated in the House and outside, the facts of this matter, as they have been presented by the Auditor General, are absolutely appalling.

They are unacceptable to the government. We are determined to ensure that this matter is properly dealt with, both in investigating what went before and putting in place safeguards so that it shall never happen again.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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BQ

Yvan Loubier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in his letter dated February 7, 2002, the senior executive of the Liberal Party of Canada warned the current Prime Minister that, if it were ever revealed that the party contributed to this loss of trust either through silence or indifference, the blow could be fatal.

Ignoring these warnings, did the Prime Minister not choose silence?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

Hon. Stephen Owen (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, there has been hardly any silence this week or since the government took action or indeed in the preceding two years.

Once these issues started to come to light, that there was something more than managerial incompetence, consistently and incrementally investigations have been held. References to the police have been made. Charges have been laid.

We have an array of processes, from the public accounts committee which is sitting this week, to the public inquiry, to the special council to recover funds.

The government has acted--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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?

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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BQ

Yvan Loubier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister set limits and reached conclusions: anyone who knew anything and did nothing should resign.

In light of the revelations contained in this February 7, 2002 letter, which confirms that the Prime Minister knew and did nothing, can he tell us what conclusion he will reach about himself?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

Hon. Stephen Owen (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government in which the current Prime Minister was finance minister started to take very aggressive action starting in 2002.

No one in the country can take issue with what the current Prime Minister has said. He has acted to find the facts, go after the money, hold people to account, bring people before the inquiry to give evidence under oath and be held accountable, whoever that might be.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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CA

Cheryl Gallant

Canadian Alliance

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister will not fire people like André Ouellet, Michel Vennat, and Jean Pelletier like he fired Gagliano, will he at least make them step aside until Canadians know the outcome of the inquiry?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Reg Alcock

Liberal

Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, unlike the opposition, we prefer to have the verdict come after the evidence.

I have been asked by the Prime Minister to undertake a process to examine the adequacy of the responses of the affected crown corporations. I am doing so. I will report my findings to the Prime Minister soon and then they can be judged.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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CA

Cheryl Gallant

Canadian Alliance

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, why will the government not at least make these men step aside until the outcome of the inquiry is known to Canadians?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Reg Alcock

Liberal

Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the member may be aware that yesterday the Prime Minister, in his remarks, indicated that he had asked me to undertake a special investigation of the affected crown corporations.

I am doing so, but I will simply not act or make a judgment until I have sufficient evidence to do so.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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CA

John Reynolds

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said again and again that he had no knowledge of the sponsorship corruption. He was out of the loop. He was clueless every day and everywhere he travelled during his 13 year leadership campaign.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister a simple question. Is he still denying today that he has never once intervened personally on behalf of any advertising agencies to get them federal contracts in Quebec or anywhere else in Canada?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that whenever any wrongdoing of any nature came to the attention of this minister or any other minister, we have taken the steps to deal with that immediately.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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CA

John Reynolds

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday on the Terry Moore radio program in British Columbia, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca said that “The Prime Minister knew about this two years ago but his hands were tied”. What a catch this member was for the Liberals.

However, there is one question remaining. In 1994 the finance minister's executive assistance wrote a memo to the civil service with suggestions, from herself and the minister, of companies to be put on lists for future advertising contracts.

Will the Prime Minister stand today and deny that the memo from his executive assistance was written without his knowledge or without his permission?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have no knowledge of the document the hon. gentleman is referring to. If he would care to share a copy with me, I will look at it.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have a real question for the government this morning. My question is for the Minister of Health. Canadians are concerned about their health and about contagious diseases. After the SARS crisis, which hit my province of Ontario particularly hard, the media are now reporting on avian flu, or chicken flu, as they are calling it in Europe.

What is the Minister of Health prepared to do to protect the health of Canadians?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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LIB

John McCallum

Liberal

Hon. John McCallum (Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his excellent question.

On behalf of the health minister, I would like to reassure Canadians that we do not face any immediate threat of a pandemic.

Yesterday the Minister of Health and Minister of State for Public Health announced the Canadian pandemic influenza plan as a proactive measure to help protect Canadians in the event there is an influenza pandemic.

Together with the provinces and territories and over 200 health experts, we have created a plan that will guide the actions of all levels of government and assist all--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Windsor West.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Brian Masse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the government has a hard time understanding what is right or wrong. One clear wrong was its decision to tender the Canada census to Lockheed Martin, an American-based weapons dealer. Maybe it likes something in the name of the Pentagon's number one arms pusher and star wars champion.

I ask the Minister of Finance, will he do the right thing, cancel this contract, bring this work back to Canada, protect our privacy, and not pay off another Liberal corporate friend?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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February 13, 2004