February 17, 2004

CA

Jay Hill

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know what average Canadian gets mad as hell two years after finding out about something being wrong?

Why is it that a mere 11% of Canadians believe the Prime Minister's claim that he was unaware of what was happening? I will tell you why, Mr. Speaker. It is because it goes completely against human nature to react the way the Prime Minister is reacting. That is why Canadians do not believe him.

I am going to ask again, why the hell did he not react two years ago?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Anne McLellan

Liberal

Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, let me make this plain. We have absolutely nothing to hide. The Prime Minister has nothing to hide, none of us have anything to hide.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member says he could have answered the question himself. Then one might ask, why was the question asked? But it was. We have an answer forthcoming from the Deputy Prime Minister and we have to be able to hear it.

The Deputy Prime Minister has the floor.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Anne McLellan

Liberal

Hon. Anne McLellan

Mr. Speaker, we have a public accounts committee and a public inquiry. The Prime Minister and everybody on this side of the House have made it plain that we will cooperate. We will appear and we will answer questions. We have no problem with that because we have nothing to hide.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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BQ

Michel Gauthier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister of Canada toured Quebec telling everyone, in every television station, how angry he was about the sponsorship scandal and how he would be doing everything in his power to reveal the truth. The Deputy Prime Minister has repeated about ten times now that they have nothing to hide. I have a test for them. All I am asking for is one little piece of information.

Who are the ten ministers in your gang who paid $270,000 for a $27,000 study? That should be easy to answer.

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 Auditor General, in her review of public opinion research, has identified a small number of cases where the government rules with respect to this were not followed. We have accepted that criticism. Changes have been made and that will not happen again.

However, it is not a matter of hiding something. It is a matter of a small number of cases in a program which the Auditor General has said has been generally managed very well, but the criticisms are accepted and changes have been changed.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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BQ

Michel Gauthier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, these are absolutely pitiful answers we are getting.

First, the Prime Minister said, “I will do everything in my power to ensure that Quebeckers know the truth about the sponsorship scandal”. Yet, we cannot get an answer from the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, who is saying any old thing. No answer is forthcoming from the Deputy Prime Minister. And none either from the government House leader, who is hiding behind the public inquiry.

My question is the following. Will the public inquiry not be exactly what we feared it would be, that is, an excuse for the government not to say anything before the election, to keep the information well hidden, even that which is most readily available?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
LIB

Jacques Saada

Liberal

Hon. Jacques Saada (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in recent months, the Bloc Quebecois has called for public inquiries for everything. Now that one has been launched, they are trapped. They cannot figure how to get out of this one, because the inquiry will get at the truth. They do not know how to cope with that. So, they just keep asking questions and assuming answers.

We would rather let the process get at the truth.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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CA

Kevin Sorenson

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister repeatedly blew off answering questions in the House and instead kept referring to the inquiry.

What she failed to mention, however, was exactly what the timelines were on this public inquiry. Canadians deserve to know the timelines. They deserve to know that the inquiry will be held in a timely manner. Canadians deserve answers and they deserve the truth.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. What are the exact dates for the start and completion of the public inquiry into the sponsorship scandal?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Anne McLellan

Liberal

Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member may know, the terms of reference and the exact mandate for the inquiry are being discussed now with Mr. Justice Gomery and will be released very soon, dare I say within a day or two.

However, let me reassure the hon. member, but even more importantly all Canadians, that this inquiry will be timely. This judge will do a thorough job. This judge is independent and I know that he will take this task seriously. He will act expeditiously, but he will take the time--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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The Speaker

The hon. member for Crowfoot.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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CA

Kevin Sorenson

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the government is notorious for pulling the plug on public inquiries or ignoring the findings or recommendations. There was Krever, Somalia, APEC, Airbus, and the list goes on.

In light of these examples, what assurance do Canadians have that this latest inquiry will in fact be completed in a timely manner and the truth not buried until after an election?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Anne McLellan

Liberal

Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this independent inquiry will be conducted in a timely and thorough fashion. This inquiry is about the Prime Minister's commitment to ensure that we know all the facts in a timely fashion.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Sarkis Assadourian

Liberal

Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Lib.)

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

The avian flu has become a major concern in many areas that are involved in the poultry industry. My area of Brampton Centre is the home of one of Ontario's largest poultry processing plants.

Considering the fact that the flu has now been detected in the U.S., could the minister inform the House what measures are being taken by the government to assure that the health of Canadians is not at risk from the avian flu?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Health, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister responsible for Official Languages, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the bird influenza strain in the United States is different from the strain that has infected human populations in Asia.

United States officials have indicated that there is no threat to human health and that measures have been taken to stop the spread in the poultry population.

I can assure the House that Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are continuing to monitor the situation closely.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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PC

Greg Thompson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Greg Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, last week the Atlantic premiers expressed concern over the pork-barrelling taking place at ACOA. Liberal MPs have expressed the same concern, sort of like infighting at the trough.

Has the minister ordered the Auditor General to investigate the questionable projects approved by the former minister?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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LIB

Joe McGuire

Liberal

Hon. Joe McGuire (Minister of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, ACOA examines all projects very thoroughly. It does due diligence on every project and every project must follow all the criteria that are laid out.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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PC

Greg Thompson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Greg Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, that is utter nonsense.

The former minister of ACOA pork-barrelled the agency. His own members complained about it because some 50% of the funding was taken by one riding.

The former minister in fact spun out the story that this was being investigated by the Auditor General. Speaking to the Auditor General's office today, it was confirmed that it was just a story spun out by the minister himself. There is no audit.

Will the minister conduct an audit, yes or no?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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LIB

Joe McGuire

Liberal

Hon. Joe McGuire (Minister of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the program that was put in place to alleviate the hurt on the closure of the cod fishery was based on need. Approximately 50% of the need happened to occur in the former minister's riding and 50% of the need was addressed in that way.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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February 17, 2004