April 29, 2004

LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the rules are in place and the rules will be followed. All members of the cabinet will comply.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, CPC)

Well, they have not thus far, Mr. Speaker. The ethics counsellor, the Prime Minister's alter ego, lists on his website that there are a number of ministers who have not filed their declarations of assets.

Yesterday the Prime Minister told us that members have been given an extension by that champion of democracy and protector of the government, the ethics counsellor. When was that extension granted? How long will it be? When were these details going to be made public? Is it again a case of being caught before they give the truth?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, all the applicable rules will be followed with care. Obviously the hon. gentleman knows that he is perfectly at liberty to direct his questions to the ethics counsellor.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, this is question period. It is funny how the government continually waits to get caught before reacting.

The Prime Minister feigned outrage over the sponsorship scandal when information went missing. Well, information is missing. Canadian taxpayers have to file their tax forms on time or the government comes knocking.

If the information was readily available at the time of the appointment, which presumably it had to be, where is it now? Why has the Prime Minister not acted and what is he hiding?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, obviously the Prime Minister and the cabinet are hiding nothing at all. The rules are in place to make sure there is full disclosure and there will indeed be full disclosure.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
CA

Rahim Jaffer

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said he granted extensions to his cabinet so they would not have to file their declarations of assets on time.

Since these assets were already disclosed to the PMO prior to the formation of the current cabinet, the conclusion must be drawn that they knew these ministers are in a conflict of interest, a fact the PM must be trying to hide before the election.

Why was the extension granted? What are they trying to hide?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the question is nonsensical because the premise is nonsensical.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
CA

Rahim Jaffer

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, how difficult can it be for the cabinet to declare their assets? It begs the question if they actually know their elbow from their assets.

When the Liberals continue to be mired in scandal, one would think that the Prime Minister would do everything in his power to ensure that no further embarrassment would come out of his cabinet.

They have had ample time. How can the Prime Minister justify this extension?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the question is about as good as the attempt at humour.

There are rules in place to ensure disclosure. Those rules will be followed. There will be full disclosure according to the rules and any allegation to the contrary is completely bogus.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ethics
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, according to the Globe and Mail , the government has secretly agreed to sign on to an aerospace early warning system for North America, smoothing the path for Canada's participation in the U.S. missile defence shield and the weaponization of space.

In this context, how can the Prime Minister meet with President Bush and not raise this issue, especially without telling Quebeckers and Canadians, who will soon go to the polls, that his government has already decided to take part in the U.S. missile defence shield program?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as much as I respect the Globe and Mail , sometimes there needs to be just a little bit more in terms of caucus research.

The government's position on ballistic missile defence is quite clear. We are absolutely opposed to the weaponization of space.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, they are absolutely opposed to the weaponization of space, but they are ready to sign on and take part in the missile defence shield. Go figure.

President Bush wants to start deploying his missile defence shield in the fall. The pressure on Canada was so intense that the government caved in to President Bush.

Will the Prime Minister, who supported the war in Iraq last year, admit that Canada's participation in the missile defence shield has already been decided upon and that he does not want to talk about it in Washington for the simple reason that he wants to hide the truth on the eve of the election?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

David Pratt

Liberal

Hon. David Pratt (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, let me be as clear as I possibly can be on this issue. Canada has not signed on to Canadian participation in the ballistic missile defence system.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence stated yesterday, when discussing the missile defence shield, that his goal was to protect the safety and security of Canadians, that he was involved in discussions with the United States with respect to missile defence, that those discussions were going well, and that he thought Canadians would be better protected as a result.

Do the words of the Minister of National Defence not confirm that the decision about Canada's participation in the missile defence shield has already been made and that the Prime Minister will not discuss this issue with President Bush, purely for electoral reasons? In the end, he has decided to behave like the head of a party rather than a head of government.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

David Pratt

Liberal

Hon. David Pratt (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, let me restate what I said earlier, which is that we have not signed on to ballistic missile defence. It is important to note that discussions with the Americans are continuing. Our objective obviously in all of this is to provide for the safety and security of Canadians. The latest information that I have is that it may not be until the fall before we have a final decision on this.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence said yesterday that this matter would be concluded in the “not too distant” future; “not too distant” should be sooner than the fall. The minister is known to have been in favour of the war in Iraq and a supporter of President Bush's missile defence shield.

Has the Prime Minister decided not to bring up the subject of missile defence with the President, even though Canada's decision has been made, simply because the government refuses to reveal its position to the people of Quebec just before the election?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

David Pratt

Liberal

Hon. David Pratt (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is in error. The fact remains that these discussions with the Americans are continuing. They are fairly complex discussions. They deal with a number of complex issues which we are working hard to resolve.

I think it is safe to say that at the end of the day, whatever decision is reached will be one which reflects both Canadian interests and Canadian values.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Hon. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, this seems to be the week in which Liberals reveal just how identical to the Conservatives they really are. First it was on the question of for profit health care and now it is on the question of national missile defence. Both positions, of course, the government was interested in hiding and not revealing to Canadians before the election. It is obvious that this is the case with national missile defence.

Is the Minister of National Defence opposed to national missile defence? If he is not, could he then tell us what the difference is between the Liberal and Conservative position?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

David Pratt

Liberal

Hon. David Pratt (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, when I sent a letter to Secretary Rumsfeld back in January, I made it clear on behalf of the government that we were interested in pursuing discussions with the United States. That does not mean that we are ready to sign on to ballistic missile defence, not by any stretch of the imagination.

What we are doing is exactly what we said we were going to do which is to pursue these discussions in the interests of Canadians to protect the safety and security of Canadians. I think we are doing a good job of that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
Permalink
NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Hon. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, you will note that the Minister of National Defence could not come up with any difference between himself and the Conservatives on this issue, just as there is no difference between the Liberals and Conservatives when it comes to for profit health care and a number of other issues.

I want to ask the Minister of National Defence why are they hiding their position? It is obvious now that Washington understands that some commitment has been given by Canada with respect to the early stages of national missile defence, which by Washington's own admission and documentation will lead to the weaponization of space. Why are the Liberals in denial about the true reality of their own position?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
Permalink

April 29, 2004