Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in response to a question of privilege that was raised yesterday. I did say yesterday that I would get back to you in a timely fashion to respond to the concern.
As I understand it, the concern of the member for Calgary Southeast was that in a response to a question I made a comment about a grant that had gone to an organization in his riding. I said “You've got a grant for Spruce Meadows”.
He challenged me at the end of question period. He raised a point of order and asked that I clarify the statement, saying that he had not done that. I got up and said, “No, it is true,” that the member had not done it, that it had gone to his riding is the point I made.
He then raised a point of order the next day saying that I had provided incorrect information to the House. He specifically noted two things, my response stating that the organization in question was not in his riding. He then went on to say that I had also not responded to a request to table a set of documents.
I will table today the following information. I have here from the website of the organization in question, which is known as Spruce Meadows, the address. I have the Conservative Party of Canada website which has an electoral district look-up. When the postal code for Spruce Meadows is typed in, the Conservative Party of Canada website returns which shows that this organization is located in Calgary Southeast. I would like to table that as one part of my response.
The second thing is to correct the error that was made. Spruce Meadows received, through the Government of Canada sponsorship program, $100,000 in 2001, $115,000 in 2001-02, $57,500 in 2002-03 and $54,455 in 2003-04, totalling $326,955.
The point I was making at the time was simply that we should not consider everyone who has had these funds in his or her area to be corrupt. It is a foolish allegation. That was the allegation the member was making, that simply because someone had received a grant in his or her area that he or she was somehow corrupt. It is guilt by association and that is simply wrong.
I would like the member to correct the record.
The second thing I would say is that the member then challenged me to table a set of documents. He was concerned that I had not tabled them in an efficient manner or a timely manner. The documents I had were documents that had already been tabled in the House in response to Question No. 238. What the member asked me to do was re-table information that was already available to the House, which I did. However I did not do it at the exact moment because it was already in the House. When the request was made I came back and re-tabled it.
I do not wish to and I never wished to slur members of the House personally. If there was any sense that I had done so, I would fulsomely apologize for that because that is never my issue. My issue here is that if we are to have debates, let us have them in a competent and fact based fashion. That is all.