February 18, 2004

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The Speaker

I remind hon. members that we have to use titles and not read something with names in it. Unfortunately, those are the rules that I am bound to enforce.

The hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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CA

James Moore

Canadian Alliance

Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, before this scandal can be properly cleaned up, the scandal has to stop.

Media/IDA Vision, which is a subsidiary of Groupe Everest, the Groupe Everest of scandals past, is the same firm that was mentioned in the Auditor General's report.

The Prime Minister received the Auditor General's report on December 12 of last year when he assumed the role of Prime Minister of Canada. After he became Prime Minister, he gave Groupe Everest a $500,000 contract, the very company that is still listed as the official company of record for the government.

The scandal is continuing. It is getting $500,000. When is the scandal going to stop?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is referring to an advertising contract awarded after competitive bids, without a commission being paid, through the reformed method that was put in place by my predecessor as minister of public works, then that was a highly competitive process that was transparent and there is accountability behind it.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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CA

James Moore

Canadian Alliance

Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it hardly fixes the problem to give a contract to the very firm that has been involved in these very scandals that we are dealing with right now.

The company, Groupe Everest, is the very same company that has given $77,000 back to the Liberal Party of Canada. It has been given $500,000 in contracts.

The Auditor General's report is supposed to help clean this stuff up. The Prime Minister received the AG's report on December 12. After that, he gave Groupe Everest $500,000. This company, in the past, has kicked back $77,000 to the Liberal Party.

How in the world is anybody supposed to believe that the Prime Minister is cleaning up the mess when he continues to do it?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member has any single bit of evidence to suggest that this company that he is citing won a competitive process and did not earn or did not properly perform that contract, he should bring it before the public accounts committee and the public inquiry, and let us get to the bottom of it.

Just raising the name of a company in the House and ascribing corrupt motives to it is not an appropriate way to--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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CA

Jason Kenney

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear today that the Minister of Canadian Heritage was involved in the sponsorship scandal. She managed projects that received subsidies from Groupaction for Public Works. But like her boss, she says that she knew nothing about this scandal.

If the Prime Minister, who sent out the cheques, did not know, and if the person who received the cheques, the current Minister of Canadian Heritage, did not know, who exactly in the Liberal Party did know?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the minister of heritage was a private citizen in 2000 when, as a representative of a non-governmental association, she applied to the Department of Public Works and Government Services on behalf of this group for a sponsorship grant for the World Ski Championship. She sought and obtained this grant through public works that ran the sponsorship program.

Groupaction was assigned as the communications agency by the Department of Public Works and Government Services. It has nothing to do with the minister of heritage who was a private citizen--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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CA

Jason Kenney

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it had everything to do with that minister who worked with Groupaction when it was taking money from the taxpayer that did not belong to it. In fact the project she was working on received a subsidy without even applying for it.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why is he allowing ministers to sit in his cabinet who were involved in the sponsorship scandal themselves?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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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, if I understand the question, when a private citizen is involved in trying to get some support for an organization in their area, that is wrong.

When the member for Calgary Southeast received $115,000 from the sponsorship program--

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 for Glengarry--Prescott--Russell has a question.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Sponsorship Program
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister responsible for Official Languages.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Official Languages
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The Speaker

Order, please. Once again I remind hon. members that there is a lobby out of the far end of the chamber where if members wish to carry on conversations, it is a great place for that and possibly in hearing of the media. We have before us now a question from the hon. member for Glengarry--Prescott--Russell who has the floor.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Official Languages
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria

Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the minister responsible for the action plan for official languages. In the context of the review of the action plan for official languages, the Commissioner of Official Languages, testifying before the parliamentary committee, told us that the review must not become a pretext for relenting on programs related to official languages.

What steps is the minister prepared to take to assure the House today that the Official Languages Act will be strengthened, not weakened?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Official Languages
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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, I would like to thank the hon. member for his excellent and timely question. Today at noon, in fact, I had lunch with the ministers responsible for each of the parts of the action plan for official languages.

I noted that the ministers around the table were very enthusiastic and committed to promoting the action plan in favour of the linguistic communities in this country. I saw that they wanted to keep their sights on the action plan as a priority over the next five years.

As the House is aware, the Minister of Finance recently announced in Regina that he fully intends to honour the $751 million commitment.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Official Languages
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. New Democrats will not be fooled or bullied by a fan of the Iraqi war waving a piece of paper proclaiming “No space weapons in our time”. The fact is his letter to the U.S. defense secretary said not a single word about the government's supposed objection to space weaponization.

If missile defence is not on course to weaponized space, why is the U.S. Missile Defense Agency budgeting $3.3 billion for 304 space-based missile interceptors?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Bill Graham

Liberal

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the facts of the hon. member's question are totally out of whack with the reality, as the debate in the House last night demonstrated.

In so far as the government is concerned, she has been attacking us for the fact that the defence minister did not mention the weaponization of space in one single letter to the defense secretary of the United States when we have voted on this in the United Nations and when we have raised this continually in every single international disarmament organization of which we are a member.

The member knows full well that Canada is on the record as being against the weaponization of space. The United States of America knows it, and every member of the House too.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, last night in the House Liberals and Conservatives accused the NDP of star wars scaremongering. It is not scaremongering, it is just plain scary, especially with proposals for equipping those missiles with nuclear tips. This is the weaponization of space.

If the minister thinks Canadians will shut up about it, he is dead wrong. When Canadians do not trust a word that scandal-ridden Liberals say these days, why would they not think the government is lying about star wars?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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February 18, 2004