Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank my colleague opposite for his comments.
Most of us are new here and may not have necessarily received Mr. Reid's report. I would tend to trust the parliamentarians who have worked on this. According to Mr. Lukiwski, they are all of the same opinion. However, despite the subcommittee's report, you raise other questions in your report that you say you want to discuss with committee members. As I understand it, one of the issues is gifts. If I understand correctly, you feel that this would be an interesting topic to discuss with committee members. The rules about gifts are not always easy to interpret, even for Members. You, on the other hand, must interpret the rules on a daily basis.
Basically, you're asking us to work together to clarify the issue of gifts. Is that what you're suggesting?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Indeed. There are four or five points in your binder that we could discuss. I know we can dispense with the whole issue of forms, because there appears to be agreement on that score, but I think we can take the time to talk about gifts. Even when we do advise our Members, there are always grey areas. As you said, I think it would be a good idea to clarify the guidelines.
Is this really a problem? Do you ask yourself questions about the policy? As Commissioner, are you uncomfortable with some of your decisions where gifts are concerned?
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
My questions are not about forms. You would like to deal immediately with this issue, but I have questions about other matters, specifically about gifts and travel.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Reid mentioned that the subcommittee report was unanimous. I think Ms. Dawson has been waiting for these forms for a year and a half. Perhaps it would be unreasonable to put this matter off any longer, since things are quite hectic right now and we're preventing you from continuing your work.
We should behave like responsible individuals and move the adoption of the forms. That would allow Ms. Dawson to do her job and that would help Members abide by the rules. We're talking about forms here.
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
Considering that the committee could shut down fairly soon, I'd like to know if committee members would all agree to allow a photographer from a local newspaper in my riding to take two or three photos of the committee at work. That would be nice, since we are all still on good terms.
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
I don't want to delay the proceedings unduly, all the more so since we may be shutting down very soon.
I'd like to know how you assess the monetary value of a gift. Suppose Air Canada officials invite me to attend a hockey game at the Corel Centre and give me two or four tickets to seats in the corporate box. It's important to understand that these tickets are not available for sale to the general public. In years past, before I was elected to the House, I received tickets like this and there was no price listed on the ticket. How do you assess the monetary value of a gift like this?
I have another question and it concerns contracts with the Government of Canada. I've already had lengthy discussions with your predecessor, Mr. Shapiro, about how to interpret the advertising Members do for companies. In my opinion, Members who do so put themselves in a compromising position. I recall that Judge Ruffo, a youth court justice in Quebec, was strongly reprimanded by the Conseil de la Magistrature for appearing in a VIA Rail ad. The judge was seen riding in total comfort in a VIA Rail train. We're talking about a judge. Was Judge Ruffo authorized to enter into a contract with VIA Rail?
It's no secret here that my question concerns the independent Member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, Mr. André Arthur. This member has done some commercial advertising for Chrysler. As Members, are we authorized to advertise for one company at the expense of another? Can we use our position to extol the virtues of one product at the expense of another? Is this in keeping with our code of ethics?
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
Excuse me for interrupting you. In other words, if, because of my duties as an MP, I regularly ride the train between Montreal and Ottawa and VIA Rail wants me to extol the virtues of train travel in a commercial, whether I'm paid or not for my services, as an MP, I'm not authorized to get involved because VIA Rail is Crown corporation. Did I understand you correctly?
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
I see. Take the case of Mr. Arthur, who served on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology and appeared in a commercial for Maison Chrysler Charlesbourg. I can send you copies of the commercial. It runs so often that I'm tired of seeing it.
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
You don't want to be vague, but you are in fact being vague.
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
Let me put my question differently then. Can I do a commercial for an automobile dealership, whether or not I'm paid for my services? Can you answer that question with a simple yes or no?
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
No. I served on that committee for seven years, but I'm no longer a member. However, should we be looking at doing a commercial for an automobile dealership from a transportation standpoint, or from the standpoint of the automobile industry? Does that affect your question?
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
Could you take that time? It's just that several companies want me to appear in their commercials because I have a very nice voice and I'm quite handsome. I have a list of requests, so I'd very much like an answer. In any event, committee members know that I'm a very modest person.
I'll wait just a moment, because when we crack jokes in French, we find that committee members burst out laughing 20 seconds after the fact, despite our highly qualified interpreters.
So then, I would appreciate it if you would submit this hypothetical case to the clerk. I appreciate that you cannot give me an answer right now, but I still would like one.
View Michel Guimond Profile
BQ (QC)
Will we be setting up the same type of subcommittee as the one created to discuss forms? We haven't talked about the makeup of this subcommittee. Will it have one representative per party?
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