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Hugette Tremblay's testimony 

Standing Committee on Public Accounts 
Comité permanent des comptes publics 
EVIDENCE number 15, Témoignages du comité numéro 15 
Thursday March 25, 2004
Le jeudi 25 mars 2004

* (0910) 
The Chair (Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, CPC)): Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. The cameras can leave the room.

All cameras are out of the room and the door is shut.

Good morning everybody. The orders of the day are pursuant to standing order 108(3)(g), the Sponsorship Program, chapter 4, advertising activities and chapter 5, management of the public opinion research of the November 2003 report of the Auditor General of Canada, referred to the committee on February 10, 2004. 
Our witnesses today are from 9 to 11:00 a.m. and as an individual, Ms. Huguette Tremblay, and from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. the Honourable Diane Marleau, P.C., M.P. for Sudbury.

Mr. Murphy has given me an indication that he has a point of order.

Hon. Shawn Murphy (Hillsborough, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I think the point of order I'm going to make, Mr. Chairman, is very serious and it involves the incidents that occurred in this committee yesterday.
Yesterday we had certain allegations made by a witness about a payment to Mr. Villeneuve of $12 million and allegations of a company in Quebec that is allegedly dealing in drugs.

It was a very weak evidentiary foundation and the evidence was based solely on hearsay evidence given from a third party.
I would have thought, Mr. Chairman, that the members of this committee would have ignored the evidence and the media would have ignored the evidence until we had a stronger evidentiary foundation. I'm disappointed to see that that is not the case. 

Hon. Shawn Murphy: Mr. Chairman, I'm extremely disappointed in your behaviour. I would have thought that you would have cautioned the members of the committee, maybe Mr. Walsh would have cautioned the members of the committee, but what you did, Mr. Chairman, was at the very first opportunity you rushed from your chair to a media scrum and told the media--and I am summarizing,I didn't write it down--that the public would be surprised to learn that Mr. Villeneuve received $12 million and also that we're now into some sort of a drug investigation.

What you did, Mr. Chairman, was you gave credence and you gave credibility to the statements that were made earlier that day by the witness. Mr. Chairman, I urge you that your job is as the impartial chair of the committee. You're the spokesman of this committee. Your job is to maintain order, to maintain decorum and decide questions of privilege and speak for the committee on certain issues. What you risk doing, Mr. Chairman, is turning this committee into a three-ring circus. You're putting politics over process and you think you've something to gain by making these statements out in the hall.

As we go forward in life all a person has in their reputation. In a year or two everyone's going to forget the sponsorship scandal. In 10 years people are going to forget who the member of Parliament for St. Albert was. But what you're doing or what you're allowing to be done, Mr. Chairman, is to have the innocent reputations of individuals, Canadian citizens, destroyed by this committee. I don't 
Mr. Villeneuve, I don't know Mr. Brault and you may be right, they may be involved in drug dealings. Mr. Villeneuve may have received the $12 million, but I think that should have been allowed to come forward with a more stronger evidentiary basis.

What you've done, Mr. Chairman, you've allowed this committee and Parliament to an area of disrepute. Mr. Walsh, I urge you to instruct us on this whole issue of parliamentary privilege. Members on both sides of the House I don't think are aware. They think they're certain people and I'm not talking about only Conservatives, Liberals too, that anything can be said about anybody in these halls and use the defence of parliamentary privilege. I urge you and I urge all members to read Marleau and Montpetit, pages 74 to 78 and some of the rulings by Speaker Fraser. This is not the case, colleagues.

I'd like and I know I'm taking too much time, Mr. Chairman, but I want to quote just a reference from page 77 of Marleau and Montpetit:

There are only two kinds of institutions in this land to which this awesome and far reaching privilege extends, Parliament and the legislatures on the one hand and the courts on the other. These institutions enjoy the protection of absolute privilege because of the overriding need to ensure that the truth can be told and that any question can be asked and that debate can be free and uninhibited. 

Absolute privilege ensures that those performing legitimate functions in these vital institutions of government shall not be exposed to the possibility of legal action. This is necessary in the national interest and has been considered necessary under our democratic system for hundreds of years. It allows our judicial system and our parliamentary system to operate free of any hindrance. Such a privilege confers and I underline this, grave responsibilities on those who are protected by it. By that I mean the honourable members of this Place. 

The consequences of its abuse can be terrible. Innocent people could be slandered with no redress available to them. Reputations could be destroyed on the basis of false rumour. All honourable members are conscious of the care they must exercise in availing themselves of their absolute privilege of freedom and of speech. 

That is why there are longstanding practices and traditions observed in this House to counter the potential of abuse and that abuse, colleagues is the abuse that took place in these halls yesterday. 

Also, Mr. Walsh, I urge you to instruct the chair and perhaps other members of the committee on the law of libel. I've been through these cases. I know the pain. I have the scars to prove it. There is no more difficult case for a lawyer to go into court and defend a defendant in a libel case because you have to prove every fact, every connotation and if you can't prove it by cogent evidence, you're going to be found guilty. I would be surprised if there are not law suits flying out of what happened in these halls yesterday; and Mr. Chair, I would be surprised if you're not a defendant. There are lawyers licking their lips today. 
* (0915) 
What you've done, Mr. Chairman, is that you've allowed this committee and Parliament to an area of disrepute. And Mr. Walsh, I urge you to instruct us on this whole issue of parliamentary privilege. Members on both sides of the House, I don't think, are aware; they think there are certain people--and I'm not talking only about Conservatives, Liberals too--that they can say anything that can be said about anybody in these halls and use the defence of parliamentary privilege. 

I urge you and I urge all members to read Marleau and Montpetit, pages 74 to 78, and some of the rulings by Speaker Fraser. This is not the case, colleagues. I know I'm perhaps taking too muc time, Mr. Chairman, but I want to quote just a reference from page 77 or Marleauu and Montpetit.

So, Mr. Chair, I urge you--I urge you to put politics aside, I urge you to focus on what this committee is supposed to be doing, I urge you to try and deal with the relevant issues. Let...earlier this week you made the statement that your goal is to let the media play out, I was very disappointed in that and I was extremely disappointed in the actions that took place yesterday.

Finally Mr. Chair, on behalf of, when I speak for all the government members on this side, I want to totally, absolutely, utterly disassociate ourselves from the allegations that were made yesterday, the allegations that you made out in hall and on behalf of us, apologize to Mr. Villeneuve and the other people involved with Groupaction on the allegations that were made with no evidentiary foundation. We want to totally disassociate ourselves from that behaviour. Thank you very much.
Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC): I have a few comments as well arising out of Mr. Murphy's statements.

I didn't have the opportunity to hear your comments Mr. Chair and I only hope that Mr. Murphy's comments today haven't simply aggravated the situation. I know that it's an important issue and I know that Mr. Murphy is bringing this forward in good faith but even with the best of intentions sometimes these type of comments, that Mr. Murphy has made now will simply aggravate the situation.

I want to just state for the record Mr. Chair, I wasn't present for most of the hearing yesterday but I caught much of the testimony over the media, in my office. As a lawyer, as a former lawyer I don't find the two main allegations that were made particularly relevant to our hearings here today, the $12 millions and the drug-ring allegations, it's simply not relevant and that's the nature of the comments that I made to the media when they approached me this morning.

I can assure this committee that unless Miss Bédard's testimony is corroborated in a material respect, I do not intend to give those two allegations any weight. We need to focus on what is relevant.

At the same time Mr. Chair, I want to guard against any suggestion that this committee will be chilled by the threat of law suits. I know there is lawyers out there licking their lips and their chops, that's what lawyers basically do. I frankly will not be intimidated by the legal system. We're here to find out the truth. 
Sometimes in the course of evidence, whether it's in the judicial proceeding or whether here in the legislature, outrageous things are said and I'm not suggesting this was outrageous I'm just saying I don't see any need to give it any weight at this time because I don't think it's been corroborated in any material respect. But 
I won't be intimidated. 

Now the last comment that I want to make is a note that the Chair is a member of the opposition and I can tell you that I've sat on many committees where the Chair has been a government member and I felt very disappointed at the comments and the rulings that the Chairperson has made. The Chairperson has gone out and made certain assurances for example to my constituents and then come along and done exactly the opposite thing.

It's hard to divorce politics from this kind of proceeding but I take very seriously what Mr. Murphy has said and I think it's good advice, generally speaking for all members here. That we are dealing with people's lives, we are dealing with the reputations and so just with those comments and cautions I would suggest that we proceed with today's proceedings. 

I don't know if Mr. Walsh has anything else to add but I want to thank Mr. Murphy for bringing the matter to our attention and maybe we can proceed.
* (0920) 
The Chair: Monsieur Guimond s'il vous plait.

M. Michel Guimond (Beauport-Montmorency-Côte-de-Beaupré-Île-d'Orléans): Merci, monsieur le président.

Rapidement, parce que je ne veux pas prolonger indûment les débats, mais simplement, il y a un principe en droit criminel surtout qui fait en sorte qu'on doit prendre la victime dans l'état où elle est. Je pense qu'on pourrait faire l'analogie avec les témoins. Nous avons eu un témoin devant nous qui a légué des choses et c'était pleinement son droit de le faire. Je pense que ce sera le rôle du comité, dans sa recherche de la vérité sur ce qui s'est effectivement passé, à dégager les points de pertinence. Je pense que M. Walsh--c'est dommage qu'il ne m'écoute pas--, qui est le légiste en chef, est en mesure de corroborer le fait que les témoins, devant un comité parlementaire--Mme Tremblay s'est sûrement fait expliquer ça par son procureur--bénéficient de l'immunité. Je suis persuadé que la témoin d'hier, Mme Bédard, n'a pas à se laisser impressionner par des menaces de poursuites, comme ceux qu'on va entendre aujourd'hui. Les témoins, qui siègent devant un comité, ont la pleine et entière immunité. Donc, ils ne peuvent être poursuivis d'aucune façon pour les paroles qui sont dites ici, sur le parquet du comité.

À mon tour, j'aimerais qu'on procède le plus rapidement possible avec le prochain témoin.
The Chair: Thank you, merci beaucoup, monsieur Guimond.

Mr. Walsh, please.

Mr. Rob Walsh (Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, House of Commons): Mr. Chairman, a couple of comments in response to Mr. Murphy's comments. First of all, let me agree with other members readily that the citation Mr. Murphy provided to the committee from Marleau Montpetit is one that ought to be borne in mind. It seems to me that while there is complete immunity enjoyed by members of this committee and its witnesses from any legal proceedings flowing from matters stated in the course of the committee proceedings, it is also the case that this could have repercussions on third parties outside this room. Members ought to act responsibly as I think it was Speaker Fraser who said in the passage that Mr. Murphy has quoted to us. 

I might need to go back and review the testimony of yesterday, reading the blues, but my recollection is that Madam Bédard did not make any allegations regarding the company that has been discussed--and I won't repeat it for the nature of the comment made--nor about that individual. What she did was report to the committee statements that were made to her.

Arguably--I say "arguably", I've not examined her testimony closely--these statements were relevant to her testimony, at least in her judgment, to explain where she was coming from in terms of her apprehensions about some of the experiences she had. Again, in fairness to the witness, she was reporting statements made to her and she did not attest to the veracity of those statements.

Now, the problem is, Mr. Chairman, neither staff certainly, nor the Subcommittee on Witnesses, exercises a screening or censoring role with regard to witnesses. The committees are in the hands of witnesses when they appear and, of course, are at liberty to provide to the committee whatever it is they have to say in respect of the matter that is the subject of the enquiry of the committee. Indeed, it is the wish of the committee, I understand, to have full and complete accounting from witnesses. That may, from time to time, run the risk that statements are made of a kind that reflect poorly on persons outside this room. We can only hope, as Mr. Murphy suggests, that members and witnesses will keep that in mind and act responsibly and not cast unnecessary aspersions on third parties regarding matters pertaining to their reputations and integrity.

It is a case, however, that I think this witness came with what she had to say, and in her judgment she thought it was relevant, but it is only statements made to her by others that she testified to. She did not make allegations herself, if my memory serves. I know that's a weak distinction in the minds of those who were spoken about, but it is the case, I believe.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Walsh.

Madam Phinney, I thought a one-party intervention by everybody would ... but you have a short point.
* (0925) 
Ms. Beth Phinney (Hamilton Mountain, Lib.) (Hamilton Mountain, Lib.): Just a short point. I want to make sure that we're all very clear that anything stated at the witness screening meetings is not used outside, either at this meeting or anywhere else, and that we understand that all the things said at the witness screening meetings are confidential, absolutely confidential. We can't use that information.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Phinney.
I'd like to thank Mr. Murphy for his thoughtful presentation, and I appreciate the points that he has raised this morning. They are serious issues that this committee needs to be aware of, not just on this issue, but at any time the committee is dealing with an investigation where people's reputations are at stake. As Mr. Murphy pointed out, if we have one thing in this world, it is our reputations, and they must be respected.

As was pointed out, we do not in any way, shape or form ...

Mr. Walsh, did you have something to say?

Mr. Rob Walsh: Ms. Phinney made a comment and it seemed to gain the acceptance of the committee regarding the subcommittee and testimony it receives being confidential. 

I just draw to your attention that, if my memory serves, in yesterday's line of questioning which was with a witness who had been interviewed by the subcommittee, I had the impression that some questions had the benefit of prior knowledge arising from the interview with the witness by the subcommittee. Not that the member disclosed the testimony of the witness as given to the subcommittee, but I had the impression that those members of the committee who were on the subcommittee, or others from the same caucus on this committee, may have had the benefit of information from that subcommittee which assisted them in providing the questions to the witness. 

I assume that is in keeping with the rules, or is it not in keeping. I think that point needs to be clarified.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Walsh, for addressing that particular point. It's very, very difficult to forget knowledge that you are in command of. I personally made no notes whatsoever at the time of the confidential meeting with Madame Bédard and therefore didn't come forward with a line of questioning based on the in camera discussions. 

She made her statement. We had no advance knowledge of her statement. I was not aware of it and I will not comment on her statement versus what we heard in camera.

I don't want to belabour this, but let me finish, Madame Jennings. 
I was talking about how I appreciated the thoughtful comments and intervention by Mr. Murphy. I was talking about how it is important that we respect that people's reputations must be appreciated and respected. While we may think that we have immunity from prosecution by what we say at this table, one's own credibility will rapidly disappear if they do not respect other people. Parliament is an institution, the highest institution in our land. If we can't act in accordance with propriety, then what kind of situation are we in?

Another point I want to make is that we're dealing with a serious investigation on a matter that has been brought to this committee. In my years of experience in Parliament I've come to appreciate that the responsibility of Parliament in a democratic world is to hold governments accountable. There are two kinds of governments in this world. There are dictatorships that can do whatever they want, and democratic governments that are constrained. And they are constrained and held accountable by the institution of Parliament, who in turn is accountable back to the electorate at election time. 

We are dealing with a sensitive issue where Parliament is exercising that accountability over government. We are dealing with a deep issue and I respect what Mr. Murphy has said. But the investigation has to go forward, as Mr. Toews has said, in order for Canadians and Canada around the world to demonstrate that our democracy works. 

So, Madame Jennings, a very brief intervention because I am going to move on.

* (0930) 
Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Lachine, Lib.) (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Lachine, Lib.): Very briefly. It just concerns statements that have been made by a person called before the witness committee which is confidential and then that individual testifies in public and either all or part of the statement is information which was given to the subcommittee. In my view in those instances, those informations are public.

For instance, a witness comes before the witness committee and says "I was told this" or "I saw x person". We can not comment on that, those of us who were at the committee, it's completely confidential. But once the witness comes in public before this committee and makes that same statement, then in my view the seal of confidentiality on that is lifted.

The Chair: Absolutely, absolutely.

Mrs. Marlene Jennings: Yes. I just wanted that clarification.

Mr. Dennis Mills (Toronto-Danforth): A point of clarification, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: A point of clarification from Mr. Mills.

Mr. Dennis Mills: I wanted to bring you and the committee some good news.
On Monday, the clerks will be receiving from Public Works the breakout of the first $65 million of production costs up to the year 2000. I think most members will be quite happy and surprised at the qualitative work that's being done by the department.

Thank you.

The Chair: Okay, we'll look forward to receiving that.

Mr. Toews, very briefly.

Mr. Vic Toews: Just in respect of Mrs. Jennings' comments, we have to recall why the witnesses were in camera. It wasn't confidential information. The evidence was taken in camera. And certainly any divergence in any material respect between what was said in camera and what is said in public testimony can be commented upon.

The purpose of the witness being in camera was to ensure that those who had nothing to add would not be publicly identified. But once we determined that witness has material evidence to present and is brought forward, then even those comments the witness may have said in camera but may now be reluctant to give or gives a different version, I think that is fair comment.

The Chair: 
I will ask the law clerk to give us some direction on that, perhaps at the next meeting. 

I'm going to move on. Let me see what I have here. I have a report from the full committee in camera and we agreed that these were the priorities of the investigation, that heads of crown corporations which are directly involved, the advertising agencies, people involved in the administration of the program, the whistleblowers, ministers directly involved, industry professionals, other selected ministers, and grant recipients. We will draw our witnesses from these areas, with the priority given to the ones I mentioned first. 

The next thing we're going to have is a letter from Mr. Corbett, the Clerk of the House of Commons. It's addressed to you, Madame Jennings. 

Madame Jennings, I have a letter from the Clerk of the House of Commons actually addressed to you. It's dated March 24, 2004. 

Dear Mrs. Jennings: In response to your question regarding access to evidence given in camera before a committee during an earlier session of the same Parliament, I have reviewed parliamentary precedents and can provide you with the following comments. 

When a standing committee decides to continue a study that it initiated during an earlier session of the same Parliament, it can order that the evidence heard during that session--whether given at a public or in-camera meeting--be deemed to have been heard during the current session. 

Precedents from recent sessions confirm this practice whereby a committee avoids the need to hear the same evidence a second time by adopting a motion to adduce evidence from a previous session. 

At the same time, evidence heard in-camera that is deemed heard during the new session retains its in-camera character. 

With regard to access to in-camera evidence, a committee usually adopts a routine motion authorizing its members to contact the committee clerk so they can consult the in-camera evidence or any document distributed at an in-camera meeting. This applies equally to evidence received during the current session and evidence received in-camera during an earlier session and adduced to the current session. 

Although a committee can make public any evidence that is heard in-camera or dispose of that evidence as it sees fit--for example, by storage in a confidential wallet or destruction of transcripts at the end of the session--it's authority in deciding whether to publish in-camera evidence and related documents from an earlier session is uncertain. 

A precedent that relates indirectly to this circumstance dates back to 1978 when, by House order, a committee was allowed to make available to a commission of inquiry in-camera evidence heard during an earlier Parliament and to impose on the commission any conditions that it wished. The committee then adopted a motion to make the documents available to the commission of inquiry for examination, in-camera, and required those documents to be returned at the end of the examination. 

In view of the actions of the House in 1978 and in the absence of other precedents suggesting other options, it would appear to be prudent for the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to seek a House order should it wish to make public in-camera evidence from a previous session. 

I trust this information will be helpful to you. Sincerely, William C. Corbett, 
with a copy to me as the chair. That document is tabled and available for public distribution. 

We have several motions; not the ones that were introduced yesterday. They are available for distribution but we will not deal with them this morning because they're required to give 48 hours notice. 

Mr. Desrochers is not here, so we'll just skip that. 

This is a notice of motion from Mr. Tonks. Mr. Tonks, I have your motion that the committee hear at least two witnes--and they both be heads of advertising agencies named in the November, 2003 report of the Auditor General, and that one of those witnesses be Jean Lafleur, if scheduling permits. That is your motion, moved by Mr. Tonks. 
(Motion agreed to)
* (0935) 
I have a motion from Marlene Jennings, MP, that this committee in addition to it's meeting schedule on April 5, 6 and 7, 2004, meet on three days during the week of April 12, 2004 for the sole purpose of hearing from witnesses in matters pertaining to Chapter 3, the Sponsorship Program, Chapter 4, advertising activities and Chapter 5, management of public opinion and research of the November 2003 Auditor General's report.
Madam Jennings.

Mrs. Marlene Jennings: In accordance with the agreement that we had yesterday between myself and Mr. Toews, given that he had tabled a motion subsequent to mine, which duplicated in some ways my own motion but differed in other ways, Mr. Toews and I have discussed and we've come to an agreement to submit to the committee a joint motion which would read that:

This committee in addition to it's meeting scheduled on April 5, 6 and 7, 2004 meet on the Tuesday the 13 and Wednesday the 14, 2004 for the purpose of hearing from witnesses the first day and receiving submissions from our clerks, i.e, first draft report based on the testimony of witnesses to date.

The Chair: Mr. Toews, are you in agreement with that?

Mr. Vic Toews: Yes.

The Chair: Okay are you comfortably with the amendment, are you ready for the question. All those in favour of the question? Opposed?
(Motion as amended agreed to)
Would there be unanimous agreement that we deal with Miss Ablonczy's motion regarding the publically, making a statement that we want to give people the opportunity to come forward. I'll just read the motion. So is there unanimous consent we deal with Miss Ablonczy's motion from yesterday. Okay I'll read the motion. 

That any persons whether public servants or members of the general public having information that the person considers relevant to the Sponsorship Inquiry of this committee but who are reluctant or unwilling at this time to come forward publically be invited to contact the Public Account Committee legal counsel, the law clerk by telephone, at telephone number 613-996-1057 or by fax at area code 613-992-4317.

And that these persons be assured that the law clerk will be bound by this motion to respect the privacy of such calls as if governed by solicitor client privilege that is with absolute confidentiality as to the identity of the person providing the information.

And that further that this committee request that the above arrangement for a completely confidential committee contact be published at the beginning and end of each televised meeting of this committee.

Are we agreeable to deal with the motion, I think we are. Those in favour of the motion? Opposed.
(Motion agreed to)
Of course I'm still waiting for responses back on the issue dealing with the Privacy Commissioner, I will leave that for another day.

Looks like we're now ready to hear from our witness who is just returning. 
Un moment s'il vous plait
* (0940) 
Mr. Michel Guimond: No, no, no, you start with the witness.
Un appel au Règlement, monsieur le président.
The Chair: Avant le...oui, a point of order.
M. Michel Guimond: Monsieur le président, je vous informe qu'il est 9 h 40 et que nous avions prévu une plage horaire de deux heures avec le témoin. Donc, je suis persuadé que vous ne ferez pas la même chose qu'hier, de dire que la réunion a commencé à 9 h 02. Je m'attends à avoir une plage de deux heures avec le témoin. Est-ce que c'est exact?
The Chair: Okay point noted. The meeting started...what time did the meeting start this morning. The meeting started at 9:09 this morning.

Mrs. Marlene Jennings: I agree with--
Je suis d'accord avec M. Guimond, mais il faut donner un peu de latitude. Si, en temps normal, on ajournait, qu'il n'y a pas d'autres questions de personne, qu'on libère le témoin. Mais si on voit qu'il y a toujours des questions, et qu'on continue pendant deux heures, le témoin sera épuisé. 
The Chair: The orders of the day are from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Ms. Tremblay, and after that, Ms. Marleau. If, at 11 o'clock, the committee wishes to continue to discuss issues with Ms. Tremblay that will be the committee's decision, and we'll deal with that at 11 o'clock.

On a point of order, Mr. Kenney.

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC): I would like to start, this is an important point, Mr. Chairman.

I understand that the witness's testimony has not yet been circulated to committee members?

The Chair: That is a very important point. I haven't seen a copy of it, other than the fact that I know it's in one language only, but I haven't read it. I'm not going to deal with this now, but I will ask the clerk and the law clerk... Does anybody have any information to add to this? Does anybody know how this got in the public domain? The clerk can perhaps enlighten us.

The Clerk of the Committee: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

As with all documentation the committee agrees to provide copies to the press gallery. The understanding that was given with the press gallery is that it would not be circulated until the witness's presentation had started. That was the understanding under which was given. It appears as though that understanding was not respected.

The Chair: Okay. I will have to talk to the press gallery because this is the second time that they have not respected the wishes of this committee. We just have to cut them off if they--

Mrs. Marlene Jennings: someone will go outside with the documents and distribute. 

The Chair: Ms. Phinney, and Ms. Wasylycia-Leis.

Ms. Beth Phinney: I would like to know when it went to printing, and if it's at the press gallery at least 20 minutes ago, why isn't it here?
* (0945) 
The Chair: It is here. It just hasn't been distributed. It is in one language only, which we have to deal with.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP): My only suggestion was going to be that we, in fact, circulate to members of the committee the evidence at the same time as it is circulated to the press gallery. That way, at least we'll all have it at the same time. What happens after that is, sometimes we have control and sometimes we don't, but at least we have the copies. 

The Chair: This is the second time that our instructions to the media have not been--

You may recall that when we received the cabinet documents we delivered them to the press gallery, because there was a stack of them, I didn't realize that they could reproduce them so fast. I said that they will not be made public for two days, and they were in the paper the very next day. Now, we have this situation. 

Therefore, we will instruct the clerks that no copies be given in advance to the press gallery if they can't respect the confidence in which it is given. So ordered. 
Now, to our witness.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay (As Individual): Thank you.
Monsieur le président, membres du comité, permettez-moi de dresser un court bilan de mes fonctions au sein de la fonction publique du Canada, incluant les années pendant lesquelles j'ai oeuvré au programme des commandites.

Je suis fonctionnaire depuis 1975. À ce temps, je travaillais au ministère des Approvisionnements et services Canada et j'ai occupé plusieurs emplois à titre de secrétaire au sein de ce ministère.

En 1987, je travaillais à la Direction des services de gestion de la publicité, sous M. Joseph Charles Guité, à titre de secrétaire. Cette direction a été renommée la Direction des services professionnels en communication.

En 1999, M. Guité a quitté sa direction, la DSPC, pour le Groupe de gestion de la publicité et je l'ai suivi peu après. Sous un nouveau gestionnaire, la DSPC est devenue le Secteur des services d'imprimerie et des relations publiques.

La GGP ou Groupe de gestion de la publicité a subi une réorganisation et est devenue la Direction de la publicité et de la recherche sur l'opinion publique, pour ensuite être renommée le Secteur de la publicité et de la recherche sur l'opinion publique. Par contre, je n'ai pas les dates auxquelles ces changements ont été effectués.

À la SPROP, j'étais gestionnaire de bureau et je m'occupais principalement du bon fonctionnement administratif du secteur. 

En 1997, une fusion de la SPROP et du Secteur des services d'imprimerie et des relations publiques a donné naissance à la Direction des services de coordination des communications, la DGSCC. Sous ce secteur, nous retrouvions le programme des commandites.

Au mois d'août 1999, M. Guité a pris sa retraite de la fonction publique et il a été remplacé par M. Pierre Tremblay, soit l'ex-chef de cabinet du ministre Gagliano.
Au mois de septembre 2001, la DGSCC a été fusionnée avec le bureau d'information du Canada pour créer le nouveau ministère, connu aujourd'hui sous le nom de Communication Canada. À ce moment-là, M. Tremblay a quitté pour un nouveau poste dans la fonction publique et le programme des commandites était maintenant géré par une nouvelle équipe de fonctionnaires, dont je faisais toujours partie.

Mon titre, au programme des commandites, était celui de chef-projets spéciaux. Mon rôle au programme était le suivant. Lors de l'approbation d'une commandite, de mettre en place les réquisitions afin de faire préparer un contrat de commandite. J'avais également la responsabilité de vérifier les factures reliées aux contrats de commandite, afin de m'assurer qu'il y avait un contrat en place pour l'évènement commandité et qu'il y avait des fonds au contrat.

Il faut comprendre que la vérification se limitait à cela et que si c'est deux conditions étaient présentes, la facture devait être payée. Il faut également comprendre que le programme des commandites était, dans les faits, géré par deux ou trois personnes. Ces personnes étaient le directeur exécutif, soit M. Guité ou M. Tremblay, le chef de projet, soit moi-même, et sous M. Tremblay, la gestionnaire des commandites, Mme Isabelle Roy.

J'ai aussi inclut avec mon allocution, deux organigrammes, tel qu'on me l'avait demandé. Vous avez cela en main.

Le processus décisionnel, au niveau de l'approbation de la commandite, relevait du directeur exécutif, qui lui, recevait ses instructions, dans la très grande majorité des cas, du ministre Gagliano lui-même ou de son cabinet. 
En effet, le directeur exécutif rencontrait, le ministre personnellement à son bureau, en moyenne une fois par semaine. Le directeur exécutif revenait alors de cette réunion avec les directives du ministre que nous devions suivre aveuglément. À quelques occasions, j'ai questionné les directives et je me suis fait dire de ne pas poser de questions et de payer les factures ou préparer les réquisitions qu'elle qu'en soit le cas. 

De plus, nous recevions parfois des demandes des bureaux de d'autres membres du Parlement et même, à quelques occasions, du bureau du premier ministre.
Il est important de retenir que je n'ai jamais eu de rôle de décideur, mais plutôt d'exécuteur. Je n'avais aucune influence concernant l'approbation des commandites ainsi que sur le choix d'agences de communication pour gérer ces dernières.

Je répondrai honnêtement à vos questions et je le ferai au meilleur des mes connaissances. Par contre, s'il s'avérait que je ne puisse vous fournir une réponse je vous en aviserai franchement.
* (0950) 
The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms. Tremblay. In addition to that opening statement there is attached a diagram 1997-1999 Communications Coordination Services Branch, CCSB, and the same for 1999-2001. There is also a sheet that gives the full names of all the acronyms that are referred to in her opening statement. Okay, that is now a public document.

Just one question before we start, Ms. Huguette Tremblay. Were you coached, or interviewed, or suggested what to say by anybody in government, or formerly in government, or connected to government at all? Were you coached or given any direction on how to prepare your statement?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, sir.

The Chair: Okay, thank you very much.
Point of order?
Mr. Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour-Petitcodiac, Lib.): I appreciate, Mr. Chairman, that you asked that question. I believe, and we can check the blues, when Mr. Gagliano was here, you also asked if he talked to anybody, any members of the committee about his testimony. That's my recollection, we can check. 

But to be consistent, yesterday it would have been helpful too with the witness to include not only government officials but members of Parliament sitting at this table. 

Thank you.

The Chair: Why don't I get the clerks to draft a statement that I ask of everybody so it will be consistent. 

Did you talk to any members of Parliament too, Ms. Tremblay, regarding this issue other than your interview in the in camera meeting?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, sir.

The Chair: You didn't, okay.

Therefore, Mr. Toews.

Mr. Vic Toews: Thank you very much. And thank you, Ms. Tremblay, for coming here today and providing us with some insight into this issue.

As I understand it then, you worked for Mr. Guité essentially from 1987 to 1999, you were an administrative assistant. Is that correct?
* (0955) 
Ms. Huguette Tremblay: administrative assistant, office manager.

Mr. Vic Toews: Then for Mr. Pierre Tremblay from 1999 to 2001?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Mr. Vic Toews: You've indicated that you monitored the bills for the sponsorship program. In that respect I note that the function was mechanical rather than substantive. That is you didn't review the substance of the contracts, you simply ensured that there was a contract there and a proper appropriation there in terms of money.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: That's correct.

Mr. Vic Toews: All right. 

In fact I understand that from time to time you would even attend some of the events to ensure that there was compliance with what had been undertaken.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: That's also correct.

Mr. Vic Toews: Okay. 

Now, generally speaking though, can you talk about the system that was in place, the issue of controls. You indicate yes, I dealt with the contract, made sure that a contract was there, but in terms of the actual paper trail that was involved in all of this, was it extensive? How would you describe that paper trail?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, the paper trail was not extensive. Usually orders were given verbally, either by Mr. Guité or Mr. Tremblay, to me to prepare a requisition which would eventually generate a sponsorship contract. I was told what the event was, what the amount was, and who the advertising agency managing the event would be. It was rarely in writing. 

Mr. Vic Toews: So rarely in writing. That to me, speaking as a former public servant, is a little unusual. Would you agree with that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes, I do.

Mr. Vic Toews: Would you say then it was deliberately conducted in this way, almost deliberately sloppy?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I believe so.

Mr. Vic Toews: All right. And that's based on your experience as a public servant of 29 years.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Mr. Vic Toews: Now in respect of the once-a-week visits that Mr. Guité had with the minister that you've indicated, and I appreciate that's an estimate, you didn't keep any Daytimers or agendas or other books?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, Mr. Guité had his own agenda which he kept himself, he would write it in himself. Of course I always had the opportunity to ask him if I could include a meeting with somebody else, but he always kept his own agenda.

Mr. Vic Toews: Did he ever talk about his relationship with the minister?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Mr. Vic Toews: All right. 

In respect of the subsequent executive director, Mr. Pierre Tremblay, who was the former assistant to Mr. Gagliano, did Mr. Tremblay ever indicate or complain about any political interference in the operation?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I remember on a few occasions Mr. Tremblay voicing his opinion in the office as saying that the minister's office would not let us do our jobs. That they were quite frequently interfering in the day to day operations of the sponsorship program. 

Mr. Vic Toews: Again speaking as a former public servant myself I find it somewhat unusual that the minister's office would be interfering in an office that is somewhere down the chain of command. Usually in the public service, the minister operates through the deputy's office. The deputy would then come and visit the executive director or correspond. Is that not the usual ... 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes it is. 

Mr. Vic Toews: And was there any explanation why the minister's office would be directly involved in the handing out of contracts?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I was never given any explanation but that is how it worked. 

Mr. Vic Toews: Did you ever express any concerns about that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Mr. Vic Toews: And why wouldn't you have expressed concerns about that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Because that was the hierarchy in the sponsorship program. I mention in my opening statement, it was a very small program. We weren't many employees. There was Mr. Guite and then underneath him, his assistant ... well when I was his assistant and then his assistant and myself. So that's ... Mr. Guite was an executive ... well a director, a DG and then he became an executive director. I was an IS4 which was ... well I had the title of Chief but ... 

So there alone, there was a big gap. There was nobody, there was no buffer between myself and Mr. Guite as say a manager or a supervisor and that also is very rare. 
* (1000) 
Mr. Vic Toews: And that's what strikes me as a little strange again speaking from my experience as a public servant that the minister who is in charge of crown corporations, a total of 90,000 employees we heard testimony to that effect, a $4 billion budget. Yet we have the minister's office directly involved in what you described as a relatively small operation. I mean the appropriation was $40 million or whatever but relatively small. I find that a little odd. What about the relationship then with the deputy minister? Did he ever drop into Mr. Guite's office?
Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Mr. Vic Toews: No, well that, you know, as I understand the chain of command, there would be the executive director, there would be the deputy minister and then there would be the minister. What you're in fact telling us ... just please correct me if I'm wrong in any way, there was a direct relationship then between the minister and his office and Mr. Guite and then Mr. Tremblay.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Mr. Vic Toews: And that direct relationship extended to the actual interference into the issuing of the contracts.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes. 

Mr. Vic Toews: That's your testimony. Now what about some of these ad agencies that you had these contracts with. Would representatives of that office ever come to Mr. Guite's office?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Mr. Vic Toews: And who were those individuals?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Mr. Jean from Groupe Action, Claude Boulay from Groupe Everest, Gilles-Andre Gosselin from Gosselin Communications Strategic, Jean LaFleur from LaFleur Communications.

Mr. Vic Toews: And what did they want there?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I imagine ... I was never a part of any meetings between them and Mr. Guite. I imagine it was to discuss sponsorship events because that's what they did for the government. They managed the sponsorship events on our behalf.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Toews.

Monsieur Guimond, s'il vous plait, huit minutes.

Mr. Vic Toews: Thank you. 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: You're welcome. 
M. Michel Guimond: Merci, monsieur le président.

Madame Tremblay, je vous remercie d'avoir accepté de témoigner devant nous dans notre recherche de la vérité concernant le dossier du scandale des commandites.

Je vais y aller avec des courtes questions pour avoir des courtes réponses pour maximiser le temps qu'on sera avec vous. Avez-vous pris connaissance d'un article du Toronto Star du 14 mars 2004?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: J'ai lu plusieurs articles, si vous me dites le contenu je vais pouvoir...parce que la date ne me dit rien.

M. Michel Guimond: Le titre:
"Scandal tied to PMO: Chretien's aide made calls", and "Insider politicians deny applying pressure".
M. Michel Guimond: 

Mme Huguette Tremblay: sous la plume de Robert Crib.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Il me semble que oui.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: 
* (1005) 
M. Michel Guimond: Il vous semble que oui?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui. Comme je vous dis, j'ai lu plusieurs articles.

M. Michel Guimond: Pas de problème. Cet article relève que Jean Pelletier, M. Gagliano, Denis Coderre et Marc Lefrançois appelaient régulièrement Pierre Tremblay, est-ce possible? C'est possible? C'est exact?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: L'article s'appuie sur le témoignage d'une fonctionnaire anonyme. Est-ce vous?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

M. Michel Guimond: Ce n'est pas vous?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Ce n'est pas moi.

M. Michel Guimond: Lorsque vous avez mentionné dans vos remarques introductives: " De plus, nous recevions parfois des demandes de bureaux d'autres ministres ", pourriez-vous nous donner le nom de ces ministres?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: J'espère que je vais les avoir comme il faut, ça fait quand même un petit bout de temps.

M. Michel Guimond: Oui, oui, on comprend ça.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Il y a un M. St-Julien, est-ce que ça se peut?

M. Michel Guimond: Il n'est pas ministre.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: C'est un député, oui. Peut-être le mot " ministre ", je crois que c'est une erreur, j'aurais dû effectivement mettre dans mon allocution " député ". Il y avait, attendez une minute là...
The Chair: Madam Tremblay, if you're not sure, I would suggest that you say you don't know the names, or you're not comfortable saying the names. You heard the discussion earlier that we do not want to put names on the table that have nothing to do with the issue. So if you're not sure, then say you're not sure.
Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Okay.

I remember some of the names but not all of them.
M. Michel Guimond: Je repose ma question: dans vos notes vous dites: " nous recevions parfois des demandes des bureaux d'autres ministres ". Vous dites: " ça peut être aussi des bureaux d'autres ministres et d'autres députés ". Vous avez mentionné Guy St-Julien, député d'Abitibi. Mais y a-t-il eu des demandes d'autres ministres ou d'autres bureaux de ministre?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Le bureau de M. Coderre.

M. Michel Guimond: Le bureau de M. Coderre?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: 

M. Michel Guimond: Y en a-t-il d'autres?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Le bureau de M. Pelletier.

M. Michel Guimond: M. Pelletier, c'est la deuxième partie de la même phrase, " et même à quelques occasions du bureau du premier ministre ", là vous m'enlevez la prochaine question que je voulais vous poser, qui du bureau du premier ministre? 
Et là vous parlez de M. Pelletier.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: C'est le bureau de M. Pelletier.

M. Michel Guimond: On parle de Jean Pelletier, chef de cabinet.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui. Moi je n'ai jamais parlé à M. Pelletier personnellement, c'était quelqu'un de son bureau qui téléphonait, une dame, malheureusement je ne me souviens pas de son nom.

M. Michel Guimond: Et je reviens sur les ministres, y en a-t-il d'autres à part M. Denis Coderre?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non, je ne me souviens pas.

M. Michel Guimond: La fonctionnaire anonyme qui a parlé au The Toronto Star mentionne qu'il y avait des demandes à l'effet que les réunions ne soient pas inscrites officiellement à l'ordre du jour et que l'on utilise des lignes téléphoniques sécurisées, est-ce possible à votre connaissance, vous?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: La ligne téléphonique sécurisée, je ne suis pas au courant de cela, mais l'autre fait que vous avancez, oui, il y avait...

M. Michel Guimond: Qu'il ne fallait pas que les réunions soient inscrites à l'ordre du jour officiellement?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non, c'était très rare que c'était inscrit.

M. Michel Guimond: Mais pourquoi? Est-ce que quelqu'un avait quelque chose à cacher?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je ne sais pas.

M. Michel Guimond: Vous ne savez pas. M. Coderre, selon vous, appelait-il régulièrement?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je ne pourrais pas vous dire à quelle fréquence, je sais qu'il a déjà téléphoné à M. Tremblay, mais à quelle fréquence, je ne pourrais pas vous dire.

M. Michel Guimond: D'accord. Mais si je comprends bien là--j'aimerais que vous me démêliez là-dessus--à cette époque, M. Coderre n'étais pas lié au programme de commandites, c'est exact?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

M. Michel Guimond: Est-ce que dans votre mémoire M. Coderre à ce moment-là--parce que j'ai regardé les dates et j'ai regardé le parcours politique de M. Coderre--était secrétaire d'État au Sport amateur?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Au Sport amateur, c'est vrai, oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Vous vous rappelez de cela.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Alors pourquoi le secrétaire d'État au Sport amateur appelait votre direction?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: C'était pour voir si on avait reçu des demandes de commandites de différentes organisations et puis à savoir si ces demandes avaient été approuvées ou pour nous demander de commanditer certains événements sportifs.

M. Michel Guimond: D'accord. Donc, différentes organisations qui demandaient l'appui du programme de commandites.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: C'est cela.

M. Michel Guimond: Est-ce que, à votre mémoire, M. Coderre a appelé pour faire des représentations pour une firme de commandites en particulier?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

M. Michel Guimond: Non. Si je vous disais, aurait-il pu appeler pour faire des demandes au sujet d'Éverest?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

M. Michel Guimond: D'accord. De votre mémoire, savez-vous ce que faisait M. Coderre avant d'être en politique?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je n'en ai aucune idée.

M. Michel Guimond: Aucune idée. Si je vous dis que M. Coderre travaillait pour une firme qui s'appelle Polygone, est-ce que je vous l'apprends?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je connais Polygone.

M. Michel Guimond: Vous connaissez Polygone, mais je vous apprends que M. Coderre travaillait pour Polygone?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Quand on examine tout le cahier des commandites, on se rend compte que la compagnie Polygone a eu à peu près un dollar sur six du Programme des commandites. Est-ce que vous, comme spécialiste, comme analyste, comme quelqu'un qui est crédible, est-ce que vous trouvez cela normal? Est-ce que c'est raisonnable? Est-ce que c'est acceptable qu'une firme comme Polygone ramasse, comme on pourrait le dire, le gros lot, ramasse un dollar sur six? Est-ce que dans votre fonction, cela vous a soulevé des questions?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non, pas nécessairement.
The Chair: You are getting into the area of policy, and I'm not sure that these questions are properly directed to Madame Tremblay.

I will monitor the discussion, but remember that Madame Tremblay was a fonctionaire in the department. Bear that in mind.

Thank you. Merci.
* (1010) 
M. Michel Guimond: Je vais aller dans une autre ligne de questionnement.
En 2000, lors de l'enquête interne, vous dites que vous vous êtes inquiétée des problèmes administratifs concernant les salons de plein air. Pourriez-vous nous dire quels types de problèmes vous avez identifiés?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: C'était au niveau de la facturation. Les factures entraient de chez Groupaction sans pièce justificative, alors j'ai questionné le fait qu'on avait des gros montants à payer, soit pour des honoraires ou de la production avec aucune pièce justificative. 

M. Michel Guimond: C'est la seule chose particulière? Est-ce qu'il y a d'autres choses?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: À ce que je me souvienne oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Est-ce qu'il se peut qu'il y ait eu de la facturation pour des salons de plein air qui n'ont pas eu lieu?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: J'ai entendu dire, à un moment donné, que oui, il y avait un salon, je crois que c'était le Salon de Québec qui n'avait pas eu lieu et qu'on avait payé quand même, mais à ce temps-là, tout était fini. Au moment même où on a payé la facture, je n'étais pas au courant que le salon n'avait pas eu lieu.

M. Michel Guimond: Dans vos fonctions, vous n'étiez pas en mesure d'apprécier si l'évènement avait eu lieu comme tel, vous regardiez le cheminement administratif, s'il y avait des factures qui les couvraient. 

Mme Huguette Tremblay: S'il y avait les fonds au contrat.

M. Michel Guimond: Je suis informé que lorsque, encore une fois dans votre rôle de fonctionnaire honnête, vous avez commencé à poser des questions en 1998 et en 1999 sur...
The Chair: I didn't quite notice the time. You have just gone 30 seconds over your time, so I'm going to have to cut you off there. I apologize. 

We are now going to go to Madame Jennings, please.
Mme Marlene Jennings: Merci, monsieur le président.

Merci beaucoup madame Tremblay pour votre présence aujourd'hui et pour votre témoignage. 

Jusqu'à maintenant, aucun de mes collègues ont touché le fait que vous avez travaillé avec M. Guité depuis 1987 et que vous étiez là au moment où M. Guité était le directeur du secteur de la publicité et de la recherche sur l'opinion publique, où M. Allan Cutler travaillait. M. Cutler était censé préparer les contrats et est-ce qu'à ce moment-là c'était toujours votre responsabilité de préparer les réquisitions afin qu'un contrat soit préparé?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: À ce moment-là, j'étais gestionnaire de bureau et je m'occupais principalement du bon fonctionnement du bureau au point de vue administratif; la dotation, les déménagements, les fournitures de bureau, ces choses-là. Non, je n'étais pas affecté aux mêmes fonctions qu'au moment où j'ai travaillé au Programme des commandites.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Parfait. Mais c'était quand même un petit secteur. 

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui, nous étions environ 13.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Et cela a toujours demeuré. Alors, j'imagine qu'il ne serait pas hors des choses normales que vous aviez quand même eu vent des difficultés qui semblaient s'annoncer entre M. Guité et M. Cutler suite aux plaintes de M. Cutler, à l'effet que les ordres qui venaient de M. Guité ne respectaient aucunement les politiques du Conseil du Trésor. Est-ce que c'est exact que vous en avez entendu parler?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Est-ce que vous avez également eu connaissance que M. Cutler a déposé une plainte contre les pratiques de M. Guité et qu'il y a eu une enquête interne, une vérification interne suite à la plainte de M. Cutler?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui, je suis au courant.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Est-ce que vous avez eu connaissance du rapport de la vérification interne dans lequel on a jugé ou conclu que toutes les allégations de M. Cutler contre M. Guité étaient fondées?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Vous avez assisté à une réunion à laquelle M. Guité avait sommé M. Cutler et je crois que c'est vous qui avez préparé le procès-verbal. C'est là que M. Cutler a informé M. Guité qu'il s'en allait.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je ne me souviens pas de cela.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Est-ce que cela vous surprendrait que dans les notes, le compte-rendu que M. Cutler a préparé, il y a des documents où votre nom est mentionné comme ayant été présente à cette réunion? Et que cette réunion a eu lieu après la plainte de M. Cutler? Que M. Guité a prétendu que la plainte de M. Cutler et la véfication interne ordonnées n'avaient aucun lien avec le fait qu'on limogeait M. Cutler de son poste?
* (1015) 
Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I have no recollection of that at all.
Mme Marlene Jennings: Parfait. Est-ce que vous êtes au courant de la vérification externe qui a suivi la vérification interne effectuée par Ernst and Young en 1996?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Vous n'étiez nullement au courant? Vous n'avez pas vu des gens que vous n'aviez jamais vu avant, venir vérifier dans des casiers... etc.?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non, je ne me souviens pas du tout de cela.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Vous savez maintenant qu'il y a eu... Oui. C'est du domaine public.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je sais qu'il y avait eu une vérification interne suite à une plainte logée par M. Cutler, mais ce qui en est...les suites de cela, je ne me souviens pas du tout.
He had dealt with that personally, and nobody else in the office, to my knowledge, was aware of what had transpired in the audit.
Mme Marlene Jennings: Et M. Guité ne vous avait jamais parlé que... il y avait un... que les allégations étaient justifiées, que par la suite Ernst and Young allaient effectuer une vérification externe.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non, je me souviens que M. Guité avait...

Mrs. Marlene Jennings: Thank you.
You've said that... 
Vous dites qu'à la dernière phrase ou l'avant-dernière phrase de votre page 1, "lors de l'approbation d'une commandite, de mettre en place les réquisitions afin de préparer un contrat de commandite".

Vous savez, autant M. Cutler dans sa plainte de 1995-1996 que dans le rapport de la vérificatrice générale, elle dit qu'il y avait des réquisitions qui ont été datées antérieurement aux contrats, voulant dire que le contrat était fait sans qu'il y ait de réquisition. Et par la suite, on a préparé une réquisition et on a mis une date mais on peut démontrer que cela a été fait après le contrat, ou il y a des factures qui ont été approuvées sans qu'il y ait de réquisition, ou que le contrat n'existait pas, ou on a confectionné des contrats, on a mis de fausses dates dans le but de tenter de démontrer qu'on respectait les procédures, alors qu'en fait on ne les respectait pas.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Vous, étiez-vous au courant compte tenu que vous avez la responsabilité de recevoir les factures? C'était tellement courant. J'imagine que vous avez reçu des factures et que, quand vous avez tenté de vérifier le contrat pour voir si effectivement il y avait un contrat, s'il y avait une réquisition et que les fonds attribués à ce contrat étaient suffisants, vous avez constaté qu'il n'y avait pas de contrat.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Jamais au programme des commandites depuis 1997, non.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Jamais. Et avant 1997 dans les autres programmes que M. Guité gérait?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non. J'ai toujours eu un contrat quand venait le temps de payer les factures.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Et il y avait combien de contrats sur lesquels vous avez travaillé?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Des centaines.
The Chair: You've got another minute, Marlene.
Mme Marlene Jennings: Merci. Non, c'est correct.
The Chair: Okay.
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis, for eight minutes, please.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

I would like to thank you, Madame Tremblay, for being here and for your courage in giving us fairly clear evidence pertaining to meetings between Mr. Gagliano and Mr. Guité.

I think the first thing I would like to do is to just get some clarification about those meetings. I know this might be repetitious, but bear with me.

How long would a meeting last between Mr. Guité and Mr. Gagliano?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It's very hard to quantify in time. It could be anywhere from an hour; it could be half an hour. To my knowledge, they were not very long. It wasn't an all-day affair.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Again, how often did you think they met?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I am giving you an average of once a week. There could have been weeks when they did not meet, there could have been weeks where they met twice so that's why I'm giving you an average of once of a week.
* (1020) 
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Okay. That's appreciated.

Did they meet in Mr. Guité's office or Mr. Gagliano's office or both?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Never in Mr. Guité's office.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Never in Mr. Guité's office. So Mr. Guité would leave and he'd say I'm going to a.... Would he say I'm going...?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: He would say I'm going to the minister's office or I'm going to see the minister.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Do you think if we can pursue the daily agendas of Mr. Gagliano that there might be some evidence there of Mr. Gagliano meeting regularly with...?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I don't know. I don't know what the scheduling office of a minister's office...how it works so I wouldn't know....

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Or what was kept and what was destroyed.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: What was kept in Mr. Gagliano's agendas.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: We are asking for the daily agendas of Mr. Gagliano from the whole period of time we're talking about so we'll see.

I'm wondering, do you think if we don't find evidence there-I'm asking a subjective question here-do you think we should pursue computer records to get a better handle on any exchanges between Mr. Gagliano and Mr. Guité? Because you see what we're up against, we're up against Mr. Gagliano saying one thing and....

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I can't answer for what went on in Mr. Gagliano's office because I never worked in Mr. Gagliano's office or any other minister's office so I have no clue as to how scheduling works. I know that Mr. Guité always worked with a paper agenda. He rarely used the computers so it would be a paper....

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: You're saying Mr. Guité worked...?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Mr. Guité, yes.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: And Mr. Guité kept his own....

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes he did.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Did you have any involvement at all in scheduling meetings or rearranging his schedule or keeping track?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I would sometimes. If somebody asked to see him I would ask him if it was possible and if that person could be fit in but he basically kept his own agenda.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Did Mr. Guité ever ask you to call the minister's office and schedule anything?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Never.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Did the minister's office call you regularly?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: No.

You assume the meetings took place in Mr. Gagliano's office. Do you have any sense that they might have taken place in other settings? In social settings, in bars, in restaurants?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I know that they sometimes met in a restaurant in Ottawa, I believe it's Mama Theresa's, and in Mr. Gagliano's office.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: So if we could get the agendas from Mr. Gagliano and we could get the telephone logs and we could get the expense accounts we might be able to piece this together?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: You might.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: A possibility.

In terms of Mr. Guité's office, was there anyone else besides you who was involved in scheduling or in assistance?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes, after.

When I became chief special projects then he had other assistants and they were responsible for his agenda at that point.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Is there any other individuals we could call upon that would collaborate, corroborate what you have told us in terms of regular meetings between Mr. Guité and Mr. Gagliano? 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I imagine that the assistants that were there after me would, I'm pretty sure, corroborate what I've just told you.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Do you have any correspondence that you kept or you could get access to that would be between Mr. Gagliano and Mr. Guité?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: We've heard before, and this is evidence or information that's been collected informally, that there were regular meetings between Mr. Guité, from public works, Mr. Pelltier from the Prime Minister's office, and Mr. Roger Collet from that time at the Canada Information Office. Did you ever see any such regular meetings? I was told they happened every Tuesday. Was there any? Can you think back and see where there are times when Mr. Guité set a specific time to meet with the guys?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Not a specific time. I know that he met with Mr. Collet, I am not aware that Mr. Pelltier was there.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: You saw no evidence of contact with Mr. Pelltier?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Meetings? Did Mr. Guité ever say I'm off to the Prime Minister's office?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No. He would say I'm off to see Roger Collet or I'll be with Roger Collet.

He never told me he was going to the Prime Minister's office.
* (1025) 
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: And how often would...do you think he would meet with Mr. Collet, any sense?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No I'm sorry.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: It seems to me the link with Roger Collet is important and so we're trying to sort of...

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I know that he met with him at the frequency...I can't remember.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: It's been our understanding that Mr. Guité was the key person who would decide which sponsorship application would get approved or not. Do you believe that? That Mr...

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: On his own, no.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: On his own, so you don't believe that. What about...we've had some comments through the media from different sources, this one an anonymous source who worked with an agency say and I quote from this article saying, "It was clear that Chuck was key, meaning he decided who got the contracts." You don't believe that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No. He was a key player.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: He was a key player but you believe he was part of a bigger agenda, a bigger mandate.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: That he was being asked to in fact carry out responsibilities and duties by someone else or other persons.

Miss Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Have you got any reason to believe there were...any sense of this going beyond Mr. Gagliano, other ministers in and out of the office, any calls to other ministers?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Not that I'm aware of.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Can you tell us if you noticed any regular calls or contacts with members of the federal Liberal Party in the Province of Quebec?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Last question, was there a regular flow of individuals through Mr. Guités office of persons representing the four or five ad firms that are mentioned in the Auditor Generals report.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: They did come to the office regularly.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: How regularly?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Once a month, twice a month.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Does anyone stand out as being very regular?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Well the four that I mentioned previously.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Any individual?

The Chair: Mr. Kenney please, four minutes...we're now on to round two so it would be four minutes.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Thank you Mr. Chair and thank you very much Madam Tremblay for your integrity in appearing before us today and your clear demonstration of what true public service is. It's not something that we've consistently at this committee and I very much appreciate your frankness and integrity in coming before us today and I believe all Canadians will.

Madam Tremblay, presumably you've been following these hearings and the general coverage of them, were surprised last week to hear former Minister Gagliano testify to the effect that he only met with Mr. Guité three or four times a year, were you surprised to hear that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes I was.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Let me quote to you from Mr. Gagliano's testimony last week in response to a question that I posed. He said, "I recall that on average I would have three to four meetings a year with Mr. Guité."

Your understanding is that it's completely inaccurate, correct?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes that's correct.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Well why do you think...I'm a little at a loss to understand why former minister thinks he would think that he could come to this committee and suggest that he'd only met three or four times a year with Mr. Guité, is there some reason why you believe he thought that would be a believable story?

Miss Huguette Tremblay: I don't know. Like I say I was surprised to hear Mr. Gagliano say that but why he did or what was his reasoning behind it, I'm sorry I have no idea.

Mr. Jason Kenney: In your statement Madam Tremblay you said that:
" De plus, nous recevions parfois des demandes des bureaux d'autres ministres et même, à quelques occasions, du Bureau du premier ministre ".

Who from the Prime Minister's office would have contacted your office?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It was somebody in Mr. Pelletier's office.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Somebody in Mr. Pelletier's office but not Mr. Pelletier himself.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Not to me, no.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Do you recall the name of the person?

The Chair: I think it's important to point out that Mr. Pelletier when he was at the Prime Minister's office not when he was the Chair of VIA Rail, am I correct in saying that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

The Chair: Sorry to interrupt Mr. Kenney.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, I'm sorry I don't recall the name of the...it was a lady, she called on several occasions but I cannot remember her name.

* (1030) 
Mr. Jason Kenney: Did you get frequent contact in your office from Pierre Tremblay when he was in the Minister's office as Chief of Staff?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Myself?

Mr. Jason Kenney: Mr. Guité's office?
Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Did Mr. Guité's office receive frequent contact from Jean-Marc Barr from the minister's office?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Mr. Guité , no, Mr. Tremblay. He was there after Mr. Tremblay came to the Sponsorship.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Oh right, he succeeded Mr. Tremblay in the Minister's office and so he would have called over on an on-going basis.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes, Mr. Tremblay would deal with Mr. Barr.

Mr. Jason Kenney: What about Pierre Brodeur who was also in Mr. Gagliano's office?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I remember him speaking-not to me-either to Mr. Tremblay, or Ms. Roi who worked with us once Mr. Tremblay joined the Sponsorship Program.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Do you recall any on-going contact to your office from representatives of major crown corporations such as Canada Post, or VIA Rail?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Mr. LaFrancois from VIA Rail was a frequent caller to Mr. Guité . I can't remember anyone else. That's the only one that comes to mind right now.

Mr. Jason Kenney: You don't recall anybody from Canada Post or the RCMP contacting your office?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Do you have any idea what Monsieur LaFrancois was contacting Monsieur Guité or Mr. Tremblay to discuss?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Mr. Jason Kenney: You testified in answer to a question posed by Mr. Guimond that you had seen inflated invoices coming through your office. What did you do when you saw what appeared to be inflated invoices? How would you deal with this?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I didn't say inflated invoices, I said invoices that had no back-up documents.

Mr. Jason Kenney: I believe you told the auditor on this that there were contracts for events that occurred in 1998 and 1999 that weren't signed until late in 1999; contracts that were signed after the events had occurred. Apparently you told auditors that you asked questions about these files, but were told by one of your superiors, "don't ask". Is that correct?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: The only one that comes to mind right now would be the Maurice Richard contract, Série Maurice Richard Production. That contract was issued I believe late 1999, or 2000. I'm not sure of the fiscal year now. That was under Mr. Pierre Tremblay. When I questioned, because it was a production contract- usually when it's a production contract we have to have a scope of work, it's not just straight sponsorship. So when I questioned him on that saying, you can not give out a production contract without giving me some kind of scope of work to work with. That has to be put into the contract, especially for that amount of money-his response to me was, Huguette, we have to do it, so just do it.

The Chair: Mr. Mills, please.

Mr. Dennis Mills: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. 

Thank you very much, Ms. Tremblay, for being here today. It's great to have someone with such history on this communications file.

I notice that you started in 1987. Did you notice that from 1987 forward in Quebec, some of the agencies that were dealing with the government in the last few years, actually some of them go back as far as 1987?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No. There weren't any sponsorships in 1987.

Mr. Dennis Mills: I'm talking about the agencies that you dealt with.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Mr. Dennis Mills: You didn't deal with agencies when you first started in 1987?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.
* (1035) 
Mr. Dennis Mills: You mentioned earlier today that the contracts that you received, or the direction that you received for events, amounts, manager, agency, from Mr. Guité was all verbal. 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Mr. Dennis Mills: From 1997 to 2003 there were 1,986 projects. All of it was verbal?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: What year did you say, 2003?

Mr. Dennis Mills: Until 2003. There was a total 1,986 events across Canada, and all of those events you simply had verbal direction?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No because Mr. Guité left in 1999. 

As you know, in 2000, there was an internal audit that was conducted within the Sponsorship Program. That was, I believe, asked by Mr. Quail, the Deputy Minister.

After that audit was done and the conclusions of the audit, there was a much better paper trail in the files because that was one of their comments I believe.

Mr. Dennis Mills: 
That was after 1999.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: After 2000.

Mr. Dennis Mills: Okay, 2000. So let's just take a specific year--1997-98. There were 191 events across Canada--they weren't all in Quebec, as you know. All of that direction given to you on 191 events was just verbal?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: We would get lists. Mr. Guité would give me a list and he would say, okay, but those lists were never included in the files or I'd have a meeting with him and he'd say, okay, such and such an event; I would write these things down, do my requisition...

Mr. Dennis Mills: So it was a combination of written and some verbal.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes, but there were never any formal letters; not in those days.

Mr. Dennis Mills: That's fine. Mr. Chairman, yesterday you gave me 45 seconds, and I'm just wondering how much time I have left?

The Chair: I didn't give you 45 seconds; your compatriot used up most of it. You've got about a minute and thirty seconds.

Mr. Dennis Mills: I'd like to deal in this minute and thirty seconds with the point that Mr. Guimond brought up and I think it's relative to the witness.
Mr. Guimond referred to the secretary of state for amateur sport, Denis Coderre, as coming to the sponsorship program asking for support for amateur sporting events across Canada. Correct? I want to be on the record, Chair, and colleagues, that there is a period of time where I chaired that committee responsible for sport in Canada, and I can tell you that there were members of parliament from more than just the Liberal Party that came to me, and I certainly, on more than one occasion, on their behalf, called Mr. Guité directly, and said, please, if this project is worthy, consider sponsoring it, so I don't think we should leave the impression with people across Canada that sporting events that we sponsored were just in Quebec; they were, in fact, across Canada. In fact, you would agree that a lot of those sporting events were not just in ridings of Liberal members but they were in ridings of all parties. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Mr. Murphy, please, four minutes.

Hon. Shawn Murphy: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I, too, like my colleagues, want to thank you, Madam Tremblay.

The first issue I want to talk about is, we've heard testimony before in this hearing that this sort of sponsorship group, as I call it, was a small group, and somebody has made the reference that it's less than 14 people. If I hear what you're saying, it's actually quite a bit smaller than that; it really seemed to be Gagliano, Guité, and you were performing an administration function of paid invoices.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It wasn't a very big group. Like I said before, there was Mr. Guité, there was myself, there was his assistant, and there were clerical people who would do letters. It grew as the years progressed, when Mr. Tremblay took over, like I said, Mrs. Roi joined the group, then we hired other people to manage the events because we were getting more and more demands for events. 

So, in total, I would say, maybe 10 people. It was very small.

Hon. Shawn Murphy: It was an extremely small group. My second area, Madam Tremblay, and I want you to elaborate, there seemed to be, around 1990-91, a total culture change in the sponsorship program. I know in my dealings with the applications, and I was only elected in 2000, it seemed to be these groups had to follow quite an elaborate application and then to get the money, they had to give everything, including, I think, a sample of their own DNA to get the money. I'm sorry...I apologize...2001...there seemed to be a lot of rigour in the administration of the system and the piles of documents that these people was quite onerous for smaller groups. Do you agree with that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes. Once all of this came about, the scandal, if you want to call it that, we were now under Communication Canada, and then the whole program was redefined completely under a new minister, and we then got rid of the agencies and everything was done internally. A questionnaire was drafted that the organizations had to fill out; it was a very big process, as of 2001...well, I would say, 2002.
* (1040) 
Hon. Shawn Murphy: We've heard testimony also, Mrs. Tremblay, in a very disturbing allegation about a double invoice involving Groupe Action. Were you involved and if you were, do you have anything to add to that issue?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Double invoice concerning which file?

Hon. Shawn Murphy: The allegation is that it's Groupe Action, there was a $500,000 invoice that appears ... and we don't know, we're not at the bottom of the story yet, but it appears it may have been paid twice.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I'm not aware of that. 

Hon. Shawn Murphy: Were you involved in any way with the verification ... let's assume you got an invoice for so much money. That would be for production costs. Were you involved in the verification that this production was actually done?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Hon. Shawn Murphy: So you would just get the invoice, you would check against the contract. What verification or what verification was done that the work was actually done?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: That was the responsibility of the executive director.

Hon. Shawn Murphy: The responsibility of Guite.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: And Mr. Tremblay, yes. 

Hon. Shawn Murphy: So they would tell you ... 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: They would sign under section 34 of the Financial Administration Act which says that the goods and services have been received. 
Hon. Shawn Murphy: And did they provide you any supporting documentation as to the veracity of that statement?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Hon. Shawn Murphy: So the file wouldn't include any kind of an affidavit?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Well some files ... we did ask for post-mortem reports from the advertising agencies. 

Mrs. Marlene Jennings: Mr. Murphy, that was your last question.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Most of the files did get ... we did receive a post-mortem but I believe it was found out through the different audits that some of them were missing.

Hon. Shawn Murphy: Thank you very much.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: You're welcome.

The Vice-Chair (Mrs. Marlene Jennings): Thank you, Mr. Murphy.
Mr. Kenney, four minutes.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Madam Chair.
The Vice-Chair (Mrs. Marlene Jennings): 

M. Jason Kenney: Merci, madame la présidente.
Dans votre témoignage, vous avez dit, et je cite: " Le processus décisionnel au niveau de l'approbation des commandites relevait du directeur exécutif qui lui recevait ses instructions, dans la très grande majorité des cas, du ministre Gagliano lui-même ou de son cabinet ".
Could you please elaborate on this? How did you arrive at this inference that in the great majority of cases Mr. Gagliano himself or his cabinet were involved in the approval process?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Well like I said before, Mr. Guite had frequent meetings in the minister's office and when he would come back from a meeting ... I'm not saying every single meeting because he could have met with the minister on a different topic. But very often when he would back to the minister's office, we were given directives as to which sponsorships had been approved. So I mean if I put one and one together ... 

Mr. Jason Kenney: So did you ever hear Mr. Guite say that the minister approved this project or the minister asked for this project to be approved? You just made a reasonable inference that this was the process.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: He might have referred to that on a couple of occasions.

Mr. Jason Kenney: So you think that it would be fair and accurate to say that there was political direction in the management of the program and the approval of the contracts.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It is my belief yes.

Mr. Jason Kenney: In your testimony, excuse me, I was asking you earlier about what you had said to auditors with respect to the 2000 audit. I'd like to ask you what were the main types of irregularities you saw in the contracting such as backdating of contracts or verbal ... you mentioned verbal rather than written information. Were there any other kinds of consistent irregularities in the contracting procedure?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: There weren't many irregularities in the contracting procedure. What I saw mostly was in the invoicing where there were no backup documents to support the invoices especially when it was production costs and hours worked. There was very rarely any backup documents to support the amounts charged.
* (1045) 
Mr. Jason Kenney: I asked you earlier about your comment that officials from the Prime Minister's office would contact your office occasionally, that of Mr. Guite and then Mr. Tremblay. Do you have any sense that the Prime Minister's office or people representing it were intervening, asking for approval of particular projects?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: The Prime Minister's office? Except for the time that I received calls from Mr. Pelletier's office. No I'm not aware.

Mr. Jason Kenney: 
So you weren't aware of the contents of those conversations, just that they were calls coming in. So Mr. Guité would never present you with an invoice to be prepared, saying that this is following a discussion with somebody in the Prime Minister's Office.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Mr. Jason Kenney: I'd like maybe just to pull back a few steps, here, Madam Tremblay, just to ask you--and you followed this, the Auditor General's report and these hearings--how would explain, in terms that Canadians could understand, how this happened? How could this happen for so long and how could, in the words of the Auditor General, "the rules be broken"?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It's hard. How the rules were broken, it was very hard to break rules when none were in place. When it came to sponsorships, there were no rules in place. From what I've told you today and what you've heard from other people, things were done, contracts were drafted, invoices were paid and no questions were ever asked. So I come to the conclusion that you can't break a rule if it's not there.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Kenney. 
We'll go on to Mr. Guimond. The first round, all parties had one intervention of eight minutes each. The second round, the Conservative party should have been followed by the Bloc and then two interventions by the Liberal party, because the Bloc of course have two seats at this committee. The second round, Ms. Wasylycia-Leis doesn't get a mention on the second round, she had her eight minutes in the first round.

Now we're on to the third round. Again, because the Bloc do not have three seats on the committee, it is the Conservatives, then the Liberals, but I will have Mr. Guimond's intervention at this point in time.
M. Michel Guimond: Monsieur le président, étant donné que la bonne foi se présume, je vais perdre cinq secondes pour vous le dire que je ne suis pas très heureux de votre décision.

Madame Tremblay suite à une enquête interne de Travaux publics, vous aviez mentionné qu'il y avait eu certains problèmes, surtout des problèmes de facturation où il manquait des pièces?
Est-ce que c'est exact?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Vous avez posé des questions concernant les salons de plein-air et on vous a répondu: " Don't ask ".
Qui vous a dit cela?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: M. Guité.

M. Michel Guimond: Que signifiait ce " don't ask ", vous qui l'avez reçu?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Dans le cas des salons, ce qui est arrivée c'est que j'ai reçu des factures à payer de Groupaction et les montants étaient quand même assez élevés et il n'y avait pas de pièces justificatives. Alors ce que j'ai fait, de moi-même, j'ai téléphoné à l'agence, j'ai parlé à quelqu'un là-bas et je lui ai dit: " Écoute, il faudrait que tu m'envoies quelque chose comme pièce justificative parce qu'il faut que j'envoie cela au finance et à un moment donné ça ne passera pas. " 

La personne m'a dit: " D'accord, pas de problème ". Dans la même journée ou peut-être le lendemain, ça fait quand même plusieurs années, je me souviens pas exactement, M. Guité m'a appelé dans son bureau pour me dire qu'il avait eu un appel du président de Groupaction lui disant: " Quelqu'un chez vous pose des questions sur la facturation ", et M. Guité m'avait dit: " Écoute Huguette fait seulement que vérifier la facture, paye la facture et ne pose pas de questions. "

M. Michel Guimond: Donc le fournisseur, celui qui utilisait les deniers publics était en mesure à intervenir auprès de votre patron: " Pose pas de question ", est-ce exact?

Est-ce que vous avez pu déceler qu'il y avait de l'ingérence politique derrière tout cela? 
Est-ce que ce " don't ask " signifiait de l'ingérence politique?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Pour moi, oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Pour vous oui. Qui, selon vous, faisait cette ingérence politique?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Probablement au niveau du bureau du ministre, parce que les contacts se faisaient là.
* (1050) 
M. Michel Guimond: Au bureau du ministre Gagliano.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Lorsque vous avez dit que vous avez reçu de nombreux appels du bureau du premier ministre, vous avez mentionné, M. Pelletier--quelques appels--, est-ce qu'il y a eu des appels de M. Jean Carl?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Moi, je ne me souviens pas d'appels de M. Jean Carl. Je me souviens que M. Carl venait souvent au bureau voir M. Guité.

M. Michel Guimond: Lui, il venait au bureau. Il n'avait pas besoin d'appeler.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Au niveau des ministres aussi, des appels de demandes de bureaux de ministres, vous avez mentionné M. Coderre. Il appelait personnellement?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je ne sais pas, parce qu'il ne m'appelait pas moi. Alors si on me dit que le bureau de M. Coderre a appelé, ça ne veut pas nécessairement dire que c'est M. Coderre, ça peut être quelqu'un d'autre. Je ne pourrais pas vous répondre.

M. Michel Guimond: Les questions qui tournaient de la part de M. Coderre, si je vous donne des dossiers, si je vous parle de l'Almanach du peuple, est-ce qu'il y a eu des problèmes avec l'Almanach du peuple? Est-ce qu'il y a eu des problèmes avec les capsules radio? Est-ce qu'il y a eu des problèmes avec les Salons de plein air? Est-ce que cela sonne des cloches?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui, ce sont des dossiers que j'ai vus. Ce sont des dossiers qui étaient gérés par Groupaction et dont la production était faite par le Groupe Polygone.

M. Michel Guimond: Les commentaires que vous aviez au niveau du bureau de M. Coderre, vous n'êtes pas en mesure si c'était selon le même ton que les autres députés de la Chambre des communes ou si c'était vraiment des directives qui se donnaient là? 

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

M. Michel Guimond: Une dernière question. Dans la série Maurice Richard, il y a eu un autre article, et c'est vrai que nous ne pouvez pas vous en souvenir, mais le 30 mai 2002, il y a eu un article dans le Globe and Mail qui faisait état de la série Maurice Richard. Vous avez mentionné à l'enquête de l'an 2000, que les projets liés à cette série étaient...

Le président: Votre question...Your time is up.

M. Michel Guimond: Vous avez mentionné que les projets liés à la série Maurice Richard étaient hautement politiques. Qu'est-ce que vous entendez par " hautement politiques "?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: J'essaie de me souvenir de ce que j'ai dit. Il faut comprendre que j'ai passé deux mois avec les vérificateurs. Alors, j'ai dit plusieurs choses.

M. Michel Guimond: Il faut comprendre que M. Guy Scully a eu 7,5 millions de dollars du programme des commandites.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: À mon avis, presque tous les dossiers étaient hautement politiques.

M. Michel Guimond: Qu'est-ce que cela veut dire?

Le président: Monsieur Thibault, quatre minutes, s'il vous plaît.

Hon. Robert Thibault (West Nova): Merci, madame Tremblay pour votre présence aujourd'hui et merci pour votre excellente présentation.

Madame Tremblay, j'aimerais que vous nous donniez des clarifications sur la question de la fréquence des réunions entre le bureau de M. Guité et M. Tremblay et le bureau du ministre. Vous indiquez, dans votre présentation, que ces réunions étaient plutôt sur une base mensuelle.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non, hebdomadaire.

Hon. Robert Thibault: Ces réunions hebdomadaires se faisaient entre M. Tremblay ou M. Guité, surtout, et le bureau du ministre, et parfois avec le ministre, parfois avec des représentants du ministre.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

Hon. Robert Thibault: Est-ce que vous étiez en mesure de savoir, parce que ce n'était pas dans son agenda, à chaque fois qu'il aurait rencontré M. Guité, le ministre, ou un membre du bureau?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Vous voulez dire si je savais à chaque fois?

L'hon. Robert Thibault: Oui.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Probablement pas, non.

L'hon. Robert Thibault: Ces réunions qui auraient eu lieu entre M. Guité et le bureau du ministre, soit le ministre ou des représentants ministériels, à chaque fois, est-ce que c'était pour présenter des dossiers de commandites ou autres choses?
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Mme Huguette Tremblay: Ç'a aurait pu être pour autres choses, j'imagine. Je sais que souvent c'était pour les commandites, mais ç'a aurait pu être pour autres choses, mais je ne suis pas certaine.

L'hon. Robert Thibault: Disons qu'il y aurait eu des rencontres avec le bureau du ministre, d'une manière hebdomadaire, avec le bureau du directeur, et parfois il y avait des rencontres pour les questions des commandites et parfois c'était pour d'autres sujets. Parfois, il y avait des rencontres avec le ministre, mais pas nécessairement tellement souvent. Il y avait des rencontres avec les représentants du bureau. Tout cela serait possible, sans dire que vous êtes d'accord avec la déclaration de M. Gagliano, mais ce serait possible que ce soit exact, que ce soit à quelques reprises par année, trois ou quatre fois par année, que le ministre aurait rencontré le directeur, personnellement, pour les raisons expresses de discuter des questions des commandites.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

L'hon. Robert Thibault: Vous n'indiquez pas, dans votre présentation, quelle était cette fréquence. Vous avez dit qu'il y avait une fréquence de rencontres entre le directeur et le bureau...Est-ce que ces réunions ont continué après que M. Tremblay est arrivé en poste?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

L'hon. Robert Thibault: À la même fréquence?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

L'hon. Robert Thibault: Suite à l'adoption en octobre 2000, du plan d'action de 37 points, il y a eu des grands changements dans l'application, dans la méthode, dans la réglementation de l'application de ces programmes-là. Vous êtes d'accord avec...

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Il y a eu quelques changements, oui.

L'hon. Robert Thibault: Est-ce vous diriez qu'il y avait des règles plutôt rigides, à ce moment-là?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Des critères ont été mis en place pour sélectionner les évènements. C'était pour rendre tout le processus plus transparent. Je n'ai pas été impliquée dans la rédaction de ces critères. C'était plutôt Mme Roy avec M. Tremblay. Mais je sais que des critères ont été mis en place. Alors, quand on nous présentait un évènement pour avoir une commandite, il fallait suivre les critères qui avaient été établis.

L'hon. Robert Thibault: On , que ces critères étaient rendus rigides que pour plusieurs organisations ça devait quand même moins un fardeau.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Ça s'était plus tard, une fois que c'est devenu Communication Canada.

L'hon. Robert Thibault: C'était l'implication quand même du plan d'action de 37 points suite à la demande de vérification interne par M. Gagliano.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui, mais cela s'était plutôt suite à ce qui s'est produit lorsque les médias ont eu vent qu'il manquait des rapports de Groupaction et ensuite, la GRC a été impliquée là-dedans. Alors, là, c'est devenu encore plus rigoureux et c'est là que les agences ont été écartées du processus.

L'hon. Robert Thibault: Une dernière question, monsieur le président.
Monsieur le président, vous me direz si ma question est hors d'ordre ou pas.
Le président du comité vous a posé la question, madame Tremblay, si vous aviez reçu des instructions des membres du comité ou des membres du gouvernement.
La question que je poserais, si elle n'est pas hors d'ordre: " Est-ce que vous avez reçu des instructions ou est-ce que vous avez eu des discussions avec d'autres gens qui pourraient être appelés à comparaître devant le comité ou qu'ils vont comparaître devant le comité? "

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.
The Chair: 

Merci, Monsieur Thibault.

Ms. Phinney, please, four minutes.

Ms. Beth Phinney: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you appearing before the committee, Madam Tremblay.

I just would like to ask you some questions about who could send in requests or who could ask for money in the sponsorship fund? Could Joe Blow from my riding, Hamilton Mountain, ask for money from this fund?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes, if they had a project, an event, a festival, any kind of public event that they were looking for funds to put that event together could apply for a sponsorship.

Ms. Beth Phinney: And this is anybody across Canada?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Ms. Beth Phinney: Okay.

So if somebody from my riding asked for some money, say $10,000, and they phone you or write you and--

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: They would send a request, yes.

Ms. Beth Phinney: A written letter or was there a form to fill out?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, in those it was a letter.

Ms. Beth Phinney: A letter, okay.

In my riding I would expect my constituents to come to me when they're dealing with--and they do come to me when they're dealing with--any government agency. There's been some indication that people are surprised if MPs have gotten involved in any of these requests, but I consider that part of my job. So if you had received a phone call from me saying that I had a specific group in my riding that were interested in getting some money, would you have found that unusual?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, I would have told you to ask these people to send us a formal request.

Ms. Beth Phinney: If they had already made the request?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: If they had already made the request, no, I would not find that unusual.

Ms. Beth Phinney: But do you consider that political interference? You've been asked that several times.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, it becomes political interference, and that has happened, when an organizer would ask us for funds and for whatever reason we would decline their request and then they would go to their member of Parliament and the member of Parliament would phone us and say: "Listen, I really would like this event to be approved." and then the decision would be overturned. That I find, is political pressure. 

Ms. Beth Phinney: Well, I would ask you then what is a politician supposed to do? If somebody in my riding asks for something and they're told no, isn't it perfectly all right for me to phone up and say "Look, this is really interesting--

Mr. Vic Toews: I think that the question being asked is putting this witness in a very difficult situation. Remember, Mr. Chair, that this individual is a public servant and now she's being asked what should a politician do? I know what a public servant should do and that is follow the directions, the proper directions of her superiors. And for her to be put into this kind of embarrassing situation is not correct.

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The Chair: The phrase "What should a politician do?" is not appropriate. They've been asked of the witness, but I do think that "What's the process by which a member of Parliament can access these grant funds?" would be an appropriate question.

Ms. Phinney.

Ms. Beth Phinney: The reason I'm asking the question, Mr. Chairman, is because this witness has used the words "I think that's political interference.", that expression, several times today and I'm not sure what she thinks political interference is.

The Chair: You can ask her what political interference is, you can ask her for direction, but you cannot say "What should a politician do?" because she can't tell us what to do.

Ms. Beth Phinney: I'm not a lawyer, sir--

The Chair: You may recall that I cautioned Mr. Guimond who was talking about the amount of money going in one particular area.
I will continue on. 

Mr. Dennis Mills: I have a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I want to follow on Mr. Toews' point of order, because confusion is beginning to set into certain parts of the public service. 

A few days ago, I called the passport office to intervene on behalf of a desperate situation from a constituent--

The Chair: Is this relevant?

Mr. Dennis Mills: --and the public servant said, "That's political interference." I happen to believe that kind of situation is crazy when MPs can't intervene and the impression starts setting in across government departments. That goes against your statement, Mr. Chair, about democracy breaking down here.

The Chair: What I'm trying to say, Mr. Mills--and I'm not going to take any more points of order on this issue, I'll just give a directive of that--is, if the witness says she believes it's political interference, it's perfectly legitimate to ask on what basis does she believe that. If you would like to find out the process by which members of Parliament may access grant moneys that's perfectly legitimate too, but you can't say, "Tell me as a member of Parliament what I should do." She can tell you the process, but she can't give you direction. It's a subtle difference. 

Mr. Toews' point that you can't ask a public servant to tell members of Parliament what to do.... They can tell you the process by which you should access these moneys, if that's your desire to access the grant funds, the same way as if you phone the passport office and say, "What is the process?" Getting the process is fine.

Ms. Phinney. 

Ms. Beth Phinney: Well, I think the witness already answered the question. I wanted to hear from the witness whether she thought if a politician phoned if a grant had been refused and asked why and said, "I'd really like this to go through. 

I think it's a good idea" that's not political interference. The political interference is if somebody else approved the project after that. Is it not possible that on second thought, maybe Mr. Guité made 100% correct decisions the first time, but maybe on second thought he could change his mind? Is that not just a clearing of the air and saying, "Well, yes, now that I look at this a second time, maybe there is good merit in this project" and that is not necessarily political interference as a negative factor. 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I'm not saying it's necessarily a negative factor, but if every time a...and I'm talking from when I worked there, from what my perspective is. We received so many requests for sponsorships and of course we could not approve them all, it's impossible. Some of them were approved and others weren't. This was a lot of work. I'm talking from a civil servant's point of view. When you have so much work to do and every time--not every time but often--if a project is refused and that organizer goes to his MP and the MP phones, it's never ending. At one point you have to draw the line. We did have some criteria, and if it didn't fit within our criteria.... Well, you can't approve them all. 

The Chair: her answer on political interference. I'll give you one more question on that if you want. 

Ms. Beth Phinney: I just don't want my constituents to feel they can't phone their member of Parliament, because if they phone their member of Parliament, their name is going to go off the list on this project. I had that reported to me from two different places, that when the member's staff phoned about a project, they were immediately told by the civil servant at the other end of the phone, "Since you've called, that project is off the list." I don't feel that is the correct action either. 
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The Chair: No. I agree with you.

Ms. Beth Phinney: That's why I'm trying to clarify what our role is to help our constituents. 

The Chair: If anyone in the public service were to say that, I would think the member of Parliament would be obligated to take it up with the minister and to ensure that our job as advocates on behalf of our constituents doesn't deny them their entitlement rather than promote their entitlement.

We have orders of the day. However, there was some discussion earlier on that we may wish to continue questions to Madam Tremblay. Is it the desire of the committee that we continue to question Madam Tremblay?

Okay, it seems to be the wish of the committee, so we will continue on.

We'll now move into the next round, which will start with Mr. MacKay. 

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough, CPC): 

Thank you, Mr. Chair and Madame Tremblay, thank you for your testimony and your presence here with us today.

I want to go back to just a couple of points you made in your testimony. At one point you said that Mr. Tremblay, the executive director, said in your presence, 

"Why don't they let us do our job?" and you also commented at one point in your assessment of what was happening--and I'm presuming you were talking specifically about sponsorship programs--"There was a lack of controls. It was deliberately sloppy and there were no paper trails". 

Can you expand for us what you saw that led you to that conclusion, and I'm assuming you're talking about how the decisions were being made, how the decisions were arrived at, the moneys that were being attached to these particular programs. So could you comment on those two previous statements you made, firstly about, "Why won't they let us do our job". Who wasn't letting you do your job and what did you feel your job was at that point?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: When I made the statement, "Why don't they let us do our job", that was Mr. Tremblay speaking and not myself. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: Yes. 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I heard him say that on a couple of occasions. I guess because he was frustrated by the minister's office, the directives that were given to him by the minister's office. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: Did you ever see any of these directives?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: Did you share that sentiment, though, that somebody was interfering in what you thought was your job?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: And who was interfering?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It was the minister's office. A lot of the directives came from above and--

Mr. Peter MacKay: How were those directives relayed to you?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: They were relayed to me by Mr. Tremblay, verbally, and I believe that he met with the minister's office, as Mr. Guité did when he was in the function. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: Do you believe that it came from Mr. Guité, these directives?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, Mr. Guité had left the public service. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: Oh, I see, at this point. 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It was from the minister's office. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: And with respect to this lack of controls, what were your observations about that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Well, you asked me what it is that I saw. It should be what it is that I didn't see-- 

Mr. Peter MacKay: What you didn't see. 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: --which means that there weren't any backup documents, there weren't any written directives...

Mr. Peter MacKay: So there was no air of professionalism, no controls. It appeared to be out of control. Would you say that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: There weren't many internal controls. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: There was a statement made by the Prime Minister at one point that there was a very sophisticated cover-up that was taken on by this small group who did this, those people who were not going to come to the government and say that they were breaking every rule in the book. 

Do you feel that's an accurate statement as to what was going on here, that there were a very few people that were making these decisions and were they persons in your office?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Well, the persons in our office that were making the decisions were Mr. Guité or Mr. Tremblay, with the minister's office. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: And were they acting independent of the minister, in your view?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: If they were acting independent?

Mr. Peter MacKay: Independently. Were they making those decisions themselves or were they making them in consultation?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I'm sure that some of them must have been made... I mean, I don't think that the very, very small sponsorship events--the $2,000 ones or whatever--were all approved at the ministerial level. I doubt that very much. 

But the bigger sponsorship events, I'm pretty sure--

Mr. Peter MacKay: They were on Mr. Gagliano's desk. 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: --were discussed by Mr. Guité and Mr. Gagliano. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: They would have been on the minister's desk, in other words. 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I'm pretty sure of that, yes. 

Mr. Peter MacKay: Okay, that's it. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. MacKay. 

Mr. Tonks, please. 

Mr. Alan Tonks (York South-Weston, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Ms. Tremblay, for being here. 

Ms. Tremblay, you had indicated that you became concerned about huge bills but there was no documentation. You gave as an example an affair that a contract had been made for but never took place. Is that an accurate description of what you said?

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Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Is that during the 2000 audit, is that what you're referring to?

Mr. Alan Tonks: No, no. You didn't say that. You said that you had serious concerns about issues like that affair, or an event that had not taken place, but you had signed some sort of a requisition, a payment. 

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes, you're probably referring to the Maurice Richard file. 

Mr. Alan Tonks: All right.
Would you consider that something of a criminal nature, paying for something that never took place?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I'm not in a position to give you an answer like that, because I have no knowledge of what is criminal and what isn't. I'm not an expert in criminal law.

Mr. Alan Tonks: But as a civil servant for seeing and your role to the limited amount that you were able to see the flow of these applications, did you see that happen very often where there was payment and you knew the event didn't take place?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: The event had taken place the year before in the Maurice Richard case, the event had taken place. It's just that the payment was done in another fiscal year.

Mr. Alan Tonks: So the event actually...so there was value for money then?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Mr. Alan Tonks: Oh, that's not the way the testimony sounded. It sounded like there was no value, that there simply had been an invoice given and stamped approval and payment was made.

Mr. Alan Tonks: But you did have concerns that you saw of a criminal nature?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Well, yes.

Mr. Alan Tonks: How early did these concerns start to....

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Well, when they asked me to do the requisition for a production contract with no scope of work.

Mr. Alan Tonks: All right, and who would you complain to if you felt....
Mr. Cutler had been before us and I could give you his testimony, but we don't have time, but he generally said much the same thing, "These things were happening. I went through the process of making a complaint"`. And we know that particular hierarchy of procedure, but who would you complain to?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I did. I spoke to Mr. Tremblay.

Mr. Alan Tonks: To Mr. Tremblay.

Did you speak to Mr. Guité prior to that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: He wasn't there at that time.

Mr. Alan Tonks: So it was Mr. Tremblay?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Mr. Alan Tonks: I see.

There was a meeting that was referred to by one of my colleagues with respect to Mr. Cutler. He had indicated that Mr. Guité had now the authority to authorize expenditures, approve, you know, go through all of the approvals that have been described. 

There was a meeting that had been held that--and I'm just going to refer to it--"In 1994 a meeting was held and Mr. Guité told us that normal rules and regulations should not apply to advertising. He said he would talk to the Minister to have them changed". And at that meeting Mr. Cutler indicates there was a Tremblay that was there? Do you not recall being at that?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I do not recall that at all.

Mr. Alan Tonks: Were there any other Tremblays in 1994?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

Mr. Alan Tonks: Is it possible it could have been you, that you--

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It's possible, but I honestly do not recall.

Mr. Alan Tonks: If you reflected on that you would connect if you were and I'd ask that you seriously consider this, you would have again realized later on there were serious issues with respect to processes, wouldn't you and you would have gone to your superior who would have been Mr. Tremblay?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: At that time, yes.

Mr. Alan Tonks: But that didn't happen?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Well, I did go to Mr. Tremblay.

Mr. Alan Tonks: Okay, but nothing happened? No....

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Tonks.

We've had our full four rounds and according to the seats at the table here and the wishes of the committee, I'm suggesting we go to one-party round of four minutes each. Is that acceptable? Then perhaps if we wish to continue on, then, fine, but if we wish to dismiss the witness, we can do so at that time.

It will be Mr. Kenney, Monsieur Guimond, Madam Jennings and Ms. Wasylycia-Leis.
Mr. Kenney, please, for four minutes.
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Mr. Jason Kenney: Thank you.

Madam Tremblay, Did you see any documents destroyed in your office at any time, suspicious destruction of documents?

The Chair: If you wish to consult with your counsel, please feel free.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I don't recall....I never destroyed any documents personally. I remember Mr. Guité having...shredding documents. I couldn't tell you what they were. I have no idea. But I do know some documents were shredded, but I couldn't tell you which ones.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Your tenure with the office terminated when?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I beg your pardon?

Mr. Jason Kenney: When did your tenure at the office end?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I'm still a part of the department.

Mr. Jason Kenney: So during the 2000 audit, did you see any activity on the part of Mr. Tremblay which would lead you to infer that he was not being completely forthcoming with the audit?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Mr. Tremblay wasn't involved in the 2000 audit. He put me in charge of it because he said I was the corporate memory. So he put me in charge of the audit. He had very little to do with it.

Mr. Jason Kenney: All right.

One of the big questions that we're trying to sort out, Madame Tremblay, is what happened to moneys that were not properly appropriated that went to ad firms for which value was not received? And there's been a great deal of speculation about whether any of this money found its way back to people who were involved in making these decisions. Did you ever see anything which would lead you to believe that people in your office, or in the minister's office, received favours from the advertising firms in return for the contracts that were given?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: If people in the sponsorship program received favours? What kind of favours?

Mr. Jason Kenney: Gifts, trips.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Usually the staff would receive gifts at Christmas from the advertising firms. Things like plants, or a spice rack I remember we received one year, very small tokens. Aside from that, no, I'm not aware of anything else.

Mr. Jason Kenney: The former deputy minister of Public Works, Mr. Quail, testified before this committee, more or less verified what you've said that Minister Gagliano had a close working relationship with Mr. Guité and Mr. Tremblay. To the best of your knowledge, was Mr. Quail aware of the regularity of contact between Mr. Guité and Mr. Gagliano?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I don't know.

Mr. Jason Kenney: You don't know. So he wasn't on the agenda in terms of meetings to attend.

I'm sorry, earlier in response to a question from Mr. Guimond, did you say that Mr. Jean Carle visited your office?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes, he did.

Mr. Jason Kenney: How frequently?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: That would be hard to say. I did see him in the office. As to the frequency, it would be very hard to recollect because it was a while ago and Mr. Carle left to go to I believe it was the Banque de développement du Canada at one point.

Mr. Jason Kenney: Were his visits to your office during his tenure at the Prime Minister's office or at the Business Development Bank?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I believe it was when he was at the Prime Minister's office.

Mr. Jason Kenney: I see.

The Chair: Merci beaucoup. Thank you, Mr. Kenney.

Monsieur Guimond, s'il vous plaît, quatre minutes.
M. Michel Guimond: Merci, monsieur le président.

Dans la même foulée, à la question que je vous ai posée tout à l'heure, vous aviez les visites de M. Carl.

Est-ce que je peux vous suggérez des fréquences, pour essayer de déterminer si c'est souvent ou pas souvent? Est-ce que c'est une fois par semaine, une fois par mois, une fois par six mois, avoir un ordre de grandeur?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je ne dirais pas une fois par semaine, non. Je ne dirais peut-être même pas une fois par mois. Je peux vous faire une moyenne, peut-être une fois par deux mois, mais encore je ne suis pas à 100 p. 100 certaine de cela.

M. Michel Guimond: Selon vous, les visites de M. Carl, est-ce que ces visites, à votre connaissance, portaient sur des projets précis? Il devait venir avec des bonnes raisons. Pourquoi venait-il?
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Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je ne le sais pas. Il rencontrait M. Guité et je ne le sais pas pourquoi. On ne me le disait pas.

M. Michel Guimond: Les réunions se faisaient dernière porte clause, vous aviez aucune idée.
Je reviens sur l'article du Toronto Star. Tout à l'heure, en première question, vous m'avez dit que ce n'est pas vous qui a fait cette déclaration, mais je vais vous le citer en essayant de vous les traduire de mon mieux, des choses à l'évidence qu'une collègue a mentionné. C'est sûrement quelqu'un de votre équipe et cela n'a pas été remis en question, pParce que ça corrobore certaines choses que vous avez dit au niveau de qui appelait, des interventions.

Lorsque cette informatrice anonyme dit: " Quand vous recevez des téléphones de politiciens qui vous mettent de la pression sur vous et qu'ils ont les moyens de vous tasser si vous n'acceptez pas de vous conformer..., elle considère--je la lis toujours entre guillemets--c'est un abus de pouvoir. "

Est-ce que vous avez le même sentiment, vous, comme membre de cette équipe?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Lorsqu'elle dit: " Je crois que les choses devraient être faites de façon correcte et dans ces cas-là, il y a eu des choses de faites de façon incorrectes. "

Est-ce que vous êtes d'accord avec un commentaire comme cela?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Quand elle dit: " J'aimerais parler, mais je pense à mon emploi et je vais y penser à deux fois avant de parler. "
Est-ce que vous avez vécu le même sentiment avant de témoigner devant nous?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

M. Michel Guimond: Non, vous n'avez jamais eu peur à votre emploi?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.
The Chair: Mr. Guimond, if you have to answer. You have to answer the question on the record.
M. Michel Guimond: Donc, vous avez témoigné devant nous de façon libre et volontaire et vous n'avez jamais eu peur à votre emploi?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

M. Michel Guimond: Alors, je veux aussi revenir sur un autre événement, l'International de Bromont est-ce que ça vous dit quelque chose?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: Oui. Étiez-vous présente à cet événement-là? Parce qu'on remarque qu'une subvention est passée de 30 000 $ à 70 000 $ soudainement. Est-ce que vous étiez présente?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

M. Michel Guimond: Vous n'étiez pas présente. Est-ce que, à votre connaissance, il y a eu pression politique? Parce que si la subvention est passée de 30 000 $ à 70 000 $ ce n'est pas par l'effet du Saint-Esprit, il y a sûrement eu des représentations. Est-ce que, à votre connaissance, il y a eu ingérence?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Je ne suis pas au courant.

M. Michel Guimond: Vous n'êtes pas au courant. Autre élément. Lorsqu'on parle des implications, vous avez mentionné tout à l'heure qu'il y avait visible de plusieurs firmes de publicité, vous avez mentionné Gendreau, Boulay, Gosselin, Lafleur, est-ce que, à votre connaissance, il y en avait d'autres?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui, il y avait M. Tony Blond de Campus Communications d'Halifax.

M. Michel Guimond: Encore une fois, ces firmes, ces gens-là, est-ce que c'était courant de venir rencontrer M. Guité ou M. Tremblay?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

M. Michel Guimond: C'était courant. Encore une fois, la fréquence des visites, avez-vous...là courant c'est plus que fréquent.

Le président: Merci beaucoup, monsieur Guimond. 

M. Michel Guimond: Est-ce qu'elle peut répondre, monsieur le président, elle s'apprêtait à répondre?
The Chair: Your response to the last question.
Mme Huguette Tremblay: La fréquence, encore je vais vous donner une moyenne, une fois par mois, une fois par deux mois.

Le président: D'accord, merci beaucoup, monsieur Guimond.

Madame Jennings, s'il vous plaît, quatre minutes.
Mrs. Marlene Jennings: Yes. I want to come back to
Je veux retourner avant le programme des commandites ensuite avec le témoignage de M. Cutler. M. Cutler nous a parlé d'une réunion qui a eu lieu le 17 novembre 1994 entre lui et M. Guité et d'autres personnes où M. Guité a dit que les règlements et les normes standards ne devraient pas s'appliquer à la publicité et qu'il parlerait avec le ministre pour les faire changer. Étiez-vous à cette réunion?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Comme je l'ai dit au monsieur tantôt, je ne me souviens pas de cela du tout.

Mme Marlene Jennings: D'accord. La prochaine réunion importante donc, M. Cutler nous en a parlé, était le 11 juin 1996 où, suite à une plainte qu'il a déposée contre M. Guité, où M. Guité l'a informé que son poste a été aboli, déclaré surplus, avez-vous assisté à cette réunion?
* (1125) 
Mme Huguette Tremblay: Pas à ma connaissance, non.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Avez-vous eu connaissance du rapport de la vérification interne qui a été déposée auprès de M. Stubb le 19 juin 1996?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Non. Avez-vous eu connaissance que, à un moment donné, M. Guité a pris la décision de forcer M. Cutler à répondre à M. Parent et que M. Parent avait une classification inférieure à celle de M. Cutler?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Vous n'étiez pas au courant de...
The Chair: excuse me, you have to answer on the record, please.

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non, je ne suis pas au courant.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Alors vous n'avez pas eu connaissance qu'on a demandé à M. Cutler, à un moment donné, de se rapporter à M. Mario Parent?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Vous n'avez pas eu non plus connaissance de la classification de M. Mario Parent nulle part, pendant aucun temps que vous travailliez dans la même section que lui?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.

Mme Marlene Jennings: D'accord. Vous avez parlé qu'il y avait trois ou quatre personnes qui géraient et administraient cette section, malgré qu'il y avait plus de personnes, un groupe un peu plus large, et que ce sont eux qui géraient des milliers de projets, parce que sur toute la vie du programme des commandites il y a eu plusieurs milliers de projets. Alors c'est seulement ces trois ou quatre personnes?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Et vous identifiez ces trois ou quatre personnes dans la section comme étant M. Guité, par la suite son successeur, M. Pierre Tremblay, l'ancien chef de cabinet de M. Gagliano?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Oui.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Ces deux personnes et qui d'autre?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Il y avait moi-même et Mme Roy, quand M. Tremblay a succédé à M. Guité.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Mme Isabelle Roy. 
Ma dernière question est : quand Mme Phinney vous posait des questions, à savoir que parfois des députés sont interpellés par des organisateurs d'un évènement et qu'ils communiquent avec le bureau. Quels étaient les critères d'admissibilité pour un projet dans ce programme? Quels étaient les critères d'évaluation d'un projet pour déterminer s'il était approuvé ou non? Quel était le processus de sélection? Normalement, quand quelqu'un vous appelle, ce sont les informations que vous êtes censée leur fournir pour qu'il sache ce qui ce passe, n'est-ce pas?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Une fois que les critères de sélection ont été mis en place.

Mme Marlene Jennings: Quand?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Une fois que M. Tremblay est arrivé et une fois que Mme Roy était là. Comme je l'ai dit tantôt, je n'étais pas au courant, je n'ai pas eu . 

Mme Marlene Jennings: Donc, avant l'arrivée de M. Pierre Tremblay, il n'y avait pas de critères d'admissibilité, il n'y avait pas de critères d'évaluation et il n'y avait pas un processus de sélection mis en place?

Mme Huguette Tremblay: Non.
The Chair: Merci beaucoup, Madam Jennings.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis, please, four minutes.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

I'd like to start off by asking what I mentioned earlier about Mr. Guité taking the fall, it would seem, for this elaborate sponsorship program, this scandal. It's been speculated for a while that in fact the government, if they are involved politically in this scandal, that in fact they are looking for a fall guy. As we heard in the past about another scandal, Hughie will take the fall, maybe they're saying Chuckie will take the fall.

Why won't Mr. Guité come immediately to this committee and give testimony? Do you think--

The Chair: You can't ask that question. He can't answer when he's not here.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: I'm sorry. I take that back. I'm sorry, I thought that would be a fair question. I apologize. 

The Chair: I don't think that we can asking the witness about whether Mr. Guité will show up or why he won't show up because he's only expected to be here on April 1.
On a point of order, Mr. Toews.

Mr. Vic Toews: I think if Ms. Wasylycia-Leis is asking has this witness had any conversations with Mr. Guité about this issue, that might be something else and that would be a proper question to ask.

* (1130) 
The Chair: She has already indicated she has never had any conversation with a past or current or former employee of the Government of Canada and so on, but this is Ms. Wasylycia-Leis' time and you can't ask whether or not she knows why Mr. Guité will or won't show up on April 1.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson. I apologize for that question. I apologize to the witness.

I'm wondering if you could tell us what is Madam Roy's first name?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It is Isabelle.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: She is in what position now?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: She has left the department. She has left Communications Canada and she is at present working in a new department that was created by the Prime Minister. I'm sorry, I don't know the exact name of it...emergency--

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: --preparedness or whatever?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: It is something like that. I believe that's where she is now.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Do you have any idea where she came from before she came to...

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: She worked for Mr. Tremblay in the minister's office.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: So she came right out of...she was a special advisor or political staff.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: She was an adjointe spéciale. I don't know what that is in English.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: So we had someone coming right from Mr. Tremblay's office.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: From the minister's office, yes.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Out of Minister Gagliano's office?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: ...into this position to become part of this group of 14.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Well, 10--

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: How tight was this group? Do you get a feeling that they were all in on it?

The Chair: Excuse me, we don't know what "in on it" means. I think you have to explain yourself a little bit better. You may want to rephrase your question, Ms. Wasylycia-Leis. 

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Yes, I will.

We know from Madam Huguette Tremblay's testimony that in fact Mr. Guité was very involved in this but would appear to have been taking orders from the minister. We know that there was a staff of 14 under Mr. Guité.

My question is really does Madam Tremblay have any sense of whether or not this was a group working together with full knowledge of what was happening under the orders of Mr. Guité, who was following the orders of Mr. Gagliano. That's a very direct, clear question.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I can answer for myself. Yes, I believe that I knew what was going on. I'm pretty sure Ms. Roy also knew because she came from the Minister's office, she worked for Pierre Tremblay in the minister's office, and then she worked for him in the sponsorship program. I'm pretty sure she was aware, also, but I cannot answer for the other people.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Throughout this period of time, you had a fairly responsible position in terms of the sponsorship program, and the contracts, and understood what was going on, but also brought some expertise to the area. Do you have any opinion about the commissions that were charged? This has come up a lot. People have suggested that a lot of this money is justified, but we have big questions about; were the commissions fair, were they appropriate, how were they set, and who set them. Can you elaborate on any of that for us?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I'm not an expert on that. I know that the commissions pay the 12% that was paid to the agencies, I believe, is industry standard. That is what the knowledge was in the branch. That's what we paid in commissions for the work that was performed. 

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms. Wasylycia-Leis.

I have one or two questions of my own. I was going to ask on these commissions that Ms. Wasylycia-Leis just talked about, and you say 12% is industry standard. The Auditor General pointed out to us that sometimes they just received a cheque and they passed the money on. Did you see the amounts of money being paid to the end recipients? Were you aware of how much money was going to the end recipients?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: To the organizers, you mean?
* (1135) 
The Chair: Yes.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I know that when I would prepare a sponsorship requisition there was so much money given to the organization, and 12% of that was given to the advertising firm for their services. Before 1998, all moneys were paid directly to the advertising firm, who would then give out the sponsorship amount to the organization. After 1998, Media IDA Vision was brought into the picture. They were the record for the government of Canada. They already handle all of the advertising placements and payments for the government, and they were given additional responsibilities as to make the payments for the sponsorship events. 

What would happen, then, a sponsorship directive was issued to Media IDA Vision for a sponsored event, and they would bill the government. They were the ones who controlled the money, and not the advertising agency anymore, and that was as of 1998.

The Chair: Prior to 1998, these invoices that you saw were just for the gross amount of money going to the ad agency. You didn't see the breakdown, you didn't see-

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Yes. It would say sponsorship amount, $100,000, agency commission, whatever the amount, and we would pay the full amount to the agency who would, in turn, give the money to the event organizers. 

The Chair: Parliament appropriates funds for each individual program. We vote on that every year, and we allocate, by budget, so much money for this, and so much money for that, and so much money for other programs. 

Were you aware if you were working within an amount appropriated by Parliament, or how did you see a budget being developed, and given to you?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: The budget was given to us every April 1, at the beginning of the fiscal year. We were allotted so much money for sponsorships.

The Chair: When you mentioned that Mr. Tremblay changed the rules, or brought in some rules when he came along, that of course would have changed the relationship with the advertising agencies. Did you advise them of the new rules, or, on what basis were they brought up to speed on the new rules?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I didn't personally. I imagine Mr. Tremblay met with them, and apprised them of the new procedures that were to be in place.

The Chair: You are not aware of any written communication that went to the ad agencies?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: No, I can't recall.

The Chair: Going back to the two organizational charts that you gave to us, as part of your opening statement, first, from 1997-1999, you were working for Mr. Guité, as the Chief of Special Projects, and then, from 1999-2001, you were the Co-Ordinator of Special Projects. Then, a new position comes in, Manager of Sponsorship. Was that Elizabeth Roy?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Isabelle Roy.

The Chair: 
Isabelle Roi, who came from Mr. Tremblay's political office when he was working with the minister. Did she come at the same time as Mr. Tremblay?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Shortly after.

The Chair: Shortly after. Was this additional job because of workload or do you know why your job seemed to be split in two ways?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I don't know. I think it was a preference of Mr. Tremblay's. I don't have the reasoning for it.

The Chair: Okay, just one moment, please.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: Could I clarify a point please? Further to a question by, I believe it was Mr. Mills and Mrs. Wasylycia-Leis, they asked me if I had had any contact with people who are to testify before this committee, and I had said no. I would like to clarify that. I have spoken to Mr. Guité on a few occasions in the past couple of months. I'd also like to tell this committee that I speak to Mr. Guité regularly, so I would not want you to be under the impression that we have no contact. We are very good friends; we speak regularly, and I know that he has been called to testify; I don't know if, and when he will, but I just want to clarify the point that I have spoken with Mr. Guité in the past couple of weeks.

The Chair: When you've been talking with Mr. Guité as a friend, did he coach you in any way, shape, or form as to what to say today?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: The only thing that Mr. Guité told me when I told him that I was appearing here; when I told him I had appeared a couple of weeks ago, because I spoke to him after the fact, and when I told him I was appearing here today and I quote exactly what he told me, he said, "Huguette, you have to tell the truth, and if you stick to the truth, there won't be any problems. You tell the facts; you tell them what you know."
* (1140) 
The Chair: Thank you very much. One final question. There's a lady by the name of Donna Achimov, who was the executive assistant to Mr. Quail. You mentioned that Mr. Quail seemed to be out of the loop because he was never in your office and he didn't seem to be in any way connected to the process. Was Donna Achimov, in any way, shape, or form involved in conversations with your office, with Mr. Guité, or Mr. Tremblay? Are you aware if she was involved and aware of what was going on in any way, shape, or form?

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I don't know that she was aware of sponsorships, per se, when she was in the deputy minister's office, but I know that Donna Achimov worked for Mr. Guité once we became CCSB. She took a position with us; I believe she was director of public access programs or something to that effect.

The Chair: Okay. Two points in closing. One was brought up earlier that if, per chance, you find, upon reflection, that there's additional information that you would like to communicate to the committee, the clerk will give you his card; you can call him or you may write to him and that will be brought to the attention of the committee.

The other point that you have requested, and would everyone please note, that the witness has requested that she doesn't mind being on camera, but she doesn't want to answer questions of the media. She will, therefore, be escorted out of the room and off the premises without having to speak to the media. I would therefore, also suggest to you, and ask you, that if you are called at home or called at work by the media that you let us know, because we do not want you to feel intimidated in any way, shape, or form.

Ms. Huguette Tremblay: I have already been approached by several journalists and I've never answered any questions.

The Chair: Okay. The rule, of course, is, if you start talking to one, you'd better talk to them all, and that's a good line 

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Mr. Chairperson, I just wanted to raise with the committee the fact that Huguette Tremblay has taken a very courageous stand by coming forward and giving us such frank testimony. 

The Chair: I'll get there, Ms. Wasylycia-Leis.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: My question is can we, as a committee, take extra steps to ensure there are no repercussions for Madam Tremblay on the job.

The Chair: I'll get there, Ms. Wasylycia-Leis, I will get there.
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Okay, I'm asking the question.

The Chair: In addition to the media, not counting you of course, we have on the record the assurance from the President of the Treasury Board, supported by this committee, that your career is in no way affected by your testimony this morning while you're coming forth voluntarily to speak to this committee. 

We'd like to thank you on behalf of the Parliament of Canada, the people of Canada, for coming forth and giving us your testimony. We appreciate it.

Thank you very much.

There'll be a five minute recess until we change our witnesses.

Check out these related links:

arrow-trans.gif (111 bytes) Public Accounts Sponsorship Hearings (Updated Mar. 23)

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