Committee on Public Accounts
> Comité permanent
des comptes publics
> EVIDENCE number
30, Témoignages du
comité numéro 30
> UNEDITED COPY -
COPIE NON ÉDITÉE
> Thursday April
22, 2004 - Le jeudi 22 avril 2004
> The Chair (Mr. John Williams (St. Albert,
CPC)): Good morning, everybody.
> The orders of the day are pursuant to
Standing Order 108(3)(g), chapter 3, the sponsorship program,
chapter 4, advertising activities and chapter 5, management of
public opinion research of the November 2003 report of the
Auditor General of Canada referred to the committee on February
> This morning, as an individual, we have Mr.
Charles Guité, who will be with us all day.
> There are two things. We'll be having a
break about 11 o'clock for 15 minutes and then we go to 1 and
then reconvene until 3:30 until 5:30 for the rest of the day. I
think there is agreement among all parties that all rounds
today, all interventions, will be eight minutes duration.
> Is that agreed?
> Some hon. members: Agreed.
> The Chair: Yes, if you want to split, you
may split, but give the Chair notice ahead of time. If you don't
then, if you use only a couple of minutes, that will deem to be
> The first thing we'll do is we will swear
in the witness. Mr. Guité, do you want to take the oath,
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, the evidence I
shall give on this examination shall be the truth, the whole
truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
> The Chair: Thank you very much.
> One other question or some questions, Mr.
Guité, the last time you testified before the committee you
were constrained by your oath of office as a public servant. Do
you feel constrained by that since cabinet ministers and so on,
that oath of office has been lifted? Do you agree you are no
longer subject of the oath of office of the public service as
you speak to the Parliament?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I agree, sir. But how
far back have you got this....Does it go back to 1990, 1995,
> The Chair: The oath of office was lifted
for cabinet ministers back to, I believe, 1996. We are awaiting,
it may come through momentarily, a decision by the Privy Council
as to whether that's going to be made retroactive even further.
I'm of the position that as a public servant you are not subject
to the cabinet oath which has been lifted back to a certain
date. It has been lifted for you for your period as a public
servant of Canada.
> Mr. Charles Guité: All right.
> The Chair: All right.
> Now some other notes and I read this for
everybody. The refusal to answer questions or failure to reply
truthfully may give rise to a charge of contempt of the House
whether the witness has been sworn in or not. In addition,
witnesses who lie under oath may be charged with perjury. That
comes from the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Marleau
and Montpetit, page 862.
> Also, Mr. Guité, you are appearing before
us as an individual this morning. Did you discuss or have
meetings with any employees of the Government of Canada, any
members of this committee on both sides in preparation of your
report before coming to this meeting or were you counselled or
given any coaching by any one in the Government of Canada, the
Parliament of Canada before coming here?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, I have not, sir,
> The Chair: And any assistance as well?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, I have not, but I
have spoken to people who worked for me in the past. When, I
don't know? I spoke to people since I left the government.
Obviously, some of these people are personal friends. But nobody
has given me advice or prepared me for my presentation
> The Chair: Has legal advice been provided
or paid for by the authorization of any official in the Treasury
Board Secretariat or the Department of Public Works and
Government Services or in any other government department or
agency? In essence, is the government paying for your legal
> Mr. Charles Guité:
> Yes, I have confirmation from the last time
I appeared here. I assume that agreement is still valid. So the
department will pick up my legal expense up to a certain amount.
> The Chair: We did actually table a report
in the House, was it yesterday, that we, this committee
recommended that public servants appearing before this
committee, because of their position as a public servant of
Canada, have their legal counsel paid for by the government.
> I think these are primarily the questions,
to everyone, to all members of the committee, including you, Mr.
Guité, just to advise that I will be ensuring that both the
questions by members and answers by the witness remain relevant
to the orders of the day, that being chapters 3, 4 and 5 of the
November 2003 report of the Auditor General of Canada. Where the
information given in questions and answers seem to stray from
that, I shall intervene to ensure that the discussion remains on
track. I would ask in that respect, questions and answers remain
succinct and to the point. That's both for the questions and the
> I think that is it. Mr. Guité, I
understand you have an opening statement. I turn the floor over
to you. The floor is yours.
> Mr. Charles Guité:
> Thank you very much.
> Well, good morning, everyone. Firstly, Mr.
Chairman, I'd like to make the following comment on statements
that you made to the press that are totally wrong and
misleading. I quote: > "> Can't have someone
arrogantly thumbing their nose at Parliament> "> ;
> "> The government has powers to make it awkward for
Chuck Guité> "> ; > "> Canadians can't
sit quietly back and watch Mr. Guité, who is out of the
country, thumbing his nose at them> "> ; >
"> Mr. Williams said he has no intention of asking for
help in the matter from the U.S. police> "> ; >
"> The committee could issue a subpoena to get Mr. Guité
to appear, or Canada Customs could even arrest him if and when
he returns to Canada> "> . End of quote.
> Mr. Chairman, I have spent most of my
career serving Parliament. As a public servant, serving the
public at large throughout my career, I have never thumbed my
nose at Parliament, furthermore at Canadians. Your comments that
> "> the government has power to make it rather
awkward for Chuck Guité> "> , well, you have
succeeded, sir. Canadians are thumbing their nose at me and my
> Let me give you an example. Where my wife
and I winter in Arizona, there are many Canadians who have full
access to the Canadian media. Because of your unacceptable
comments to the press, we had Canadians driving by our trailer
and yelling obscenities at us. Others were running around the
community with articles from the press, etc., etc.
> I repeat, Mr. Williams, I have never
thumbed my nose at Parliament or at Canadians. Furthermore, I
have continued to serve this institution long after I retired in
> Finally, on this issue, Mr. Chairman, I
have attached a copy of the letter my legal counsel has sent to
you on this issue, as I'm not sure if it has been circulated to
all members of this committee.
> In regard to the meeting of June 6, 2002,
which was supposed to be in camera, five minutes after I left,
members of this committee were giving interviews to the media.
Having said that, I would like to make two comments on the
transcript of June 6, 2002, in reference to Mr. Jean
Brault-Chalaisand Attractions Canada. After having read the
transcript that was released, my wife reminded me that we did go
to Mr. Brault-Chalais, and that Mr. and Mrs. Boulay were
present. I do not remember the date, but it may have been during
the 1994-95 referendum.>
> As for the billboards that were bought
during the referendum, we did not use Attractions Canada for ads
as that program only started in 1997, if I recall. We did,
however, use other government ads.
> Now, let me turn to three areas that I
would like to address today. They are the process of AMG, APORS
and CCSB, as this committee keeps referring to the early 1990s,
my promotions, media articles, etc., etc. Item two, the Auditor
General's report, as I will illustrate quite clearly, is lacking
information and it is misleading to the public at large. It is
also inaccurate in some instances. The third item will be
political involvement in AG selection and sponsorship events.
> Let me turn now to AMG, APORS and CCSB. The
AMG was originally set up by the Clark government in 1978. That
government was short-lived. When the Trudeau government came to
power, it retained the AMG, that structure, it became part of
the Canada Unity Information Office, commonly referred to as
CUIO in early 1979. At that time, a political appointee, Mr.
Peter Zary, who subsequently is deceased, was staff of the AMG.
Mr. Zary was an expert in advertising and communication and in
fact became a professor in this discipline at York University. I
cannot describe the day to day workings of AMG in those years,
but I have heard a lot about its operation as it was during the
years of the first referendum when Monsieur René Lévesque was
premier of Quebec.
> In the fall of 1994, and my dates from here
on are approximations or best of my recollection, the Mulroney
government came to power and overnight they abolished CUIO on
the basis it was perceived as too political.
> It was a fairly large organization, CUIO
that is, and it promoted Canada with travelling exhibits,
participating at most national fairs and many other expositions.
> From 1994 to 1987 , I was manager of the
project management group at the Canadian Government Exposition
Centre, which was also privatized during the Mulroney years. The
only part of CIO that survived was AMG, and the Mulroney
government also at that time created the public opinion
research. Both of these groups were political and had political
appointees on staff. In fact, these appointees headed the AMG
and POR. The names are not important, but it is public
information, should you wish to know who they were.
> In those years, the selection of firms
advertising research were controlled by these political
appointees, and if you wish, I can go into more details later.
These groups reported to cabinet committee on communication that
was chaired by Senator Lowell Murray. The two groups, which also
had on staff public servants, reported administratively to
Supply and Services Canada, more specifically the communication
professional services branch. I became interim director of that
branch in late 1987.
> When Canada Communication Group, CCG, was
formed around 1989-90, because the Canada Communication Group
was to become a special operating agency, the administrative
responsibility of AMG and POR remain under the direction of
Supply and Services. I became the director of both groups, which
became known as the advertising and public opinion research
> Over the next several years, I reported to
a DG and two different ADMs. As stated previously, both areas
had political appointees on staff. During those years, APORS
basically worked with PCO, PMO and, as previously stated, for
all intents and purposes, it reported to the cabinet committee
on communication, headed by Senator Lowell Murray. I must say,
Senator Murray is an extremely professional person. It was a
pleasure to work with him.
> During those years, we had numerous
crises--the Meech Lake issue, the Charlottetown accord, the Oka
crisis and the ongoing day-to-day activities. PCO, PMO, APORS
worked closely together and due to the urgent circumstances
contracted for firms using criteria responsive to the particular
crisis of that time. We can discuss this further if you
> The public servants, during those years,
were backed by the government, as there were many critical
issues affecting all Canadians that had to be dealt with on an
> In the fall of 1993, when the Liberals came
to power, I was still DG of APORS, and during the first three to
four months, the management of my office had little or no input
from anyone in government, except the new minister of the day,
which was Mr. Dingwall. Mr. Dingwall requested an evaluation of
APORS to be carried out, and it was done by a private consulting
> I received a call from Minister Dingwall's
office around February 1994, requesting that I meet with the
minister the next day. At that meeting, the first direction I
received was to fire the two or three political appointees that
had been appointed by the Mulroney Conservative government, but
were still on APORS staff. At that point, I informed the
minister that it would be less costly to the Crown if we just
let their contracts expire--March 31, 1994--which was basically
two months. Minister Dingwall's reply was that we would honour
their contracts, but send them home anyway.
> The next 20 minutes were spent with the new
minister and his assistant asking me all sorts of questions re
the Mulroney years and how the system worked. I refused to
disclose such information. Imagine the next move I anticipated
was that they would reorganize the APORS group, bring in their
own political appointees and I would be forced to find another
job somewhere in the department, which I'm sure I would have no
difficulty in doing.
> Well, there are moments where events in
your life as individuals you never forget--and I don't have this
in my text--things like the day Mr. Kennedy got shot, the day
Elvis died, things like that. Well, that was one of them for me.
> I recall as clearly as yesterday, after
this 20-minute discussion, Minister Dingwall, who I was meeting
for the first time, got up from his chair, walked around his
desk towards me, extended his hand and said, > ">
Welcome aboard, you won't rat on them, you won't rat on us>
"> , end of quote. I responded that there was nothing to
rat on. It was a matter of ministerial confidentiality and I was
not about to discuss operation of a previous government, even if
it meant losing my position.
> The other comment he made was that there
would be no political appointees on my staff, which I welcome,
and I would be asked later to give him more details on APORS.
The rest is history. APORS became CCSB in the fall of 1997. I
was the executive director of the branch until I retired in
> Let me now turn to the Auditor General's
report. I will not spend too much time on the report, as I'm
sure we will discuss at length over the next two days. What I
would like to do is to initially make the following observations
that contain conclusions in the report that are misleading and,
in certain cases, wrong.
> The four following quotes are from page 1
of the Auditor General's report, > "> Government-wide
Audit, Sponsorship, Advertising and Public Opinion Research>
"> , and I quote:
> We found that the
federal government ran the Sponsorship Program in a way that
showed little regard for Parliament, the Financial
Administration Act, contracting rules and regulations,
transparency and value for money. These arrangement, involving
multiple transactions with multiple companies, artificial
invoices and contracts or no written contracts at all, appeared
to have been designed to pay commissions to communication
agencies, while hiding the source of funding and the true
substance of the transaction.
> This statement is partially misleading. For
example, it is impossible to make payment pursuant to a contract
without an invoice for the goods and services provided and pay
an invoice if there's no formal contract or financial
commitment. At no time did CCSB intentionally try to hide source
of funding while I was executive director up to August 1999. If
invoices were artificial, I cannot comment, > except to say
that I had no such knowledge or information at that relevant
> Quote two, and I quote:
> We found
widespread non-compliance with contracting rules in the
management of the federal government Sponsorship Program. At
every stage of the process rules for the selection of
communication agencies, managing and measuring and reporting
results were broken or ignored. These violations were neither
detected, prevented or reported for over four years because of
the almost total collapse of oversight mechanisms and essential
controls. During that period, the program consumed $250 million
of taxpayers' money, over $100 million of it going to
communication agencies as fees and commissions.
> This, again, is not entirely accurate and I
will illustrate in two examples later in this presentation.
> Quote three, and I quote:
> Public servants
also broke the rules in selecting communication agencies for the
government advertising activities. Most agencies were selected
in a manner that did not meet the requirement of the government
contracting policy. In some cases, we found no evidence that the
selection process was conducted at all.
> During my tenure, I can state this
assertion: CCSB never selected an agency without following the
process, as defined in the contracting policy and guidelines. We
always followed the process as per TB guidelines. The one
exception was during the referendum of 1995, where we used
exception, as provided in the procurement policy.
> Quote four, and I quote:
> While these
chapters contain the name of various contractors, it must be
noted that our conclusion about management practice and action
refer only to those of public servants. The rules and
regulations we refer to are those that apply to public servants,
they do not apply to contractors. We did not audit the records
of private sector contractors, consequently, our conclusions
cannot and do not pertain to any practices contractors followed.
> In this regard, it is my opinion that the
Auditor General's report is mistaken, and its conclusion is
potentially misleading because it has given the perception to
the public that $100 million has disappeared in thin air. For
example, moneys expended on sponsorship programs were needed,
and were proper expenditures. Nonetheless, it has been suggested
this is not the case. Not having access to relevant records for
many years, the dollar figures in these example are, of
necessity, approximations. Bluenose, which is one of the
sponsorship programs, someone from the Bluenose trust fund has
apparently said that there was approximately $2.5 million
sponsorship given to the Bluenose fund, but only $300,000 ended
up in the trust fund. However, they have failed to mention the
approximately $2.2 million which was spent on the following:
$600,000 for the purchase, and design of a travelling exhibit
that followed the Bluenose from Halifax to Thunder Bay, and
back, with some thirty to forty stops in ports and cities. This
consisted of a tractor trailer, expandable, the trailer would
access the handicapped people in a very sophisticated exhibit, a
ground crew of some ten to twelve people to set up the exhibit,
and a store that sold souvenirs, the proceeds of which went to
the Bluenose trust fund. The staff worked 12- to 15-hour days,
in some cases 24-hour days travelling during the night in order
to revive at the next port of call, and set up the travelling
exhibit before the Bluenose arrived. If my memory serves me
right, the tour lasted two and a half months. Who paid for the
mooring fees? The operation of the Bluenose? The daily sail
tours in some ports, weather permitting? Special events at city
halls of communities or cities that the Bluenose visited? Travel
expenses for 12 people, vehicles, hotels, etc? The sponsorship
program paid for these expenditures.>
> Based on the Auditor General's approach,
not having reviewed the disbursements made by these agencies
managing the Bluenose tour, the AG's conclusion would be $2.5
million sponsorship program with only $300,000 to the Bluenose
trust fund, and $2.2 million in fees and commissions. Therefore,
$2.2 million unaccounted for. This is demonstratively incorrect,
because the sponsorship fund covered all expenses related to the
tour, including agency fees and commissions properly earned for
managed this enormous project.
> Example number two, Canada games. The other
example is the Canada games that were held in Winnipeg. I don't
have access to specific dollar amounts, but the same applies.
There was a major Canada pavilion designed and built, travel
expenses long before, during and after the game, the staffing of
the Canada pavilion, the ongoing operation and maintenance
during the game, the subsequent take down, etc. It has been
suggested that funds from the sponsorship program have
disappeared. This is not accurate. An agency had the
responsibility to fund all aspects of the design, construction,
and operation of this pavilion. Significant funds were expended
for this purpose. Agency commission and fees were charged as
> Finally, political involvement. I think
it's appropriate here to quote a member of this committee, Mr.
Greg Thompson, of June 6, 2002, and I think I may have done it
in 2002, but I'll do it again.
> Would it be fair
to say that the sponsorship program was set up for the greatest
political reasons, in all sense and fairness. In the beginning
it was obviously set up for political reasons for the greater
good of the country.
> I could not have said it better.
> While I was executive director, I want to
make it very clear, I repeat very clear, is that the PMO, and
Minister Gagliano, Minister Dingwall never suggested the name or
got involved in the agency selection process. Did the PMO, and
ministers provide input and decisions with respect to specific
events that were sponsored, and the allocation to specific
> The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Guité, and now
we'll go to questions.
> Mr. Kenney for eight minutes, please.
> Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC):
Thank you, and good morning, Mr. Guité. Thanks for appearing
before us today.
> As you know, Mr. Guité, you're in the eye
of the storm, speaking proverbially. The Prime Minister has said
that this is the largest scandal in decades in Canada. Canadians
are very concerned about what this says about the administration
of government, and the stewardship of their tax dollars, and a
number of people have pointed to you, and you alone as the
culprit in this whole mess. My friend Mr. Murphy opposite, near
the beginnings of these hearings said, and I quote >
"> the real culprit in the whole mess if Mr. Guité>
"> . Prime Minister Martin initially blamed this whole
matter on > "> a rogue group of bureaucrats>
led by yourself. This week the Public Works Minister said it was
all Chuck Guité who did this.
> How do you respond to this effort to make
you the sole scapegoat for what went wrong in the sponsorship
program, Mr. Guité?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I think you've had
witnesses who have appeared here. Obviously, when I appeared
here in 2002, I was using the clause of confidentiality.
> There is no question that Chuck Guité, or
for that matter, Joe Blow, can control a program of that nature
by his or herself. If I go back as far as pre-referendum years,
I worked very closely in those days with FPRO, PCO, PMO.
> After the referendum, I met regularly with
the minister in question, which was on two occasions. We have to
be careful here because the official start date of the
sponsorship program was 1997, if I recall correctly, but there
was a lot of sponsorship going on before that, which was
funding, I think, that came from the unity file. >
> Every time we prepared the plan of attack
for the upcoming year, ministers were involved, discussions were
held with the minister's office, they had input into the
process. The PMO had input into the process. At the end of the
day, my organization delivered the product.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Mr. Guité, Canadians
really have two preoccupations in this whole mess. First of all,
they want to know who is responsible, and second, they want to
know where their money went, so I'd like to start questioning
you really on this question of responsibility, going through
each of the ministers that you reported to in Public Works.
> You testified that you had a very memorable
meeting with Mr. Dingwall, where he said, > "> If you
don't rat on us, we won't rat on you> "> . But Mr.
Dingwall testified to our committee that he doesn't even
remember meeting you. He said, when asked, > "> To
the best of your recollection, have you ever met one-on-one with
Mr. Guité?> "> , he said, > "> No, I
don't believe I have, I don't believe I have, I don't recall
that, to the best of my knowledge I don't recall that>
"> . Did you meet with Mr. Dingwall as your minister,
and how frequently?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Absolutely, I met with
Minister Dingwall. It was not that frequent, but on several
occasions I met with the minister in his office with his
> Mr. Jason Kenney: What would you discuss
with the minister?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Obviously, in my
opening comments, I told you there what we discussed. Subsequent
to that, I think we discussed some of the promotion items we
would do, and some of the events that would take place.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Could you characterize
how often you may have met with Mr. Dingwall while he was
> Mr. Charles Guité: Oh, not very regular.
The program was just starting. But I would meet with the
minister, basically on their request. I never initiated the
> Mr. Jason Kenney: You never initiated the
meeting. Is that true of your meetings with Jean Pelletier,
because he testified that you met with him on average every
other month? This is Jean Pelletier, chief of staff to Prime
Minister Chretien. He said that in every instance you initiated
the contact with Mr. Pelletier, you initiated the meeting.
> Mr. Charles Guité: That's correct. Mr.
Pelletier's office never called and asked for me to meet him. It
was the opposite.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: So the minister initiated
contact with you, but you initiated contact with the chief of
staff to the Prime Minister?
> Mr. Charles Guité: That's correct.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Mr. Guité, as a
mid-level EX-2, EX-3 at this point, a mid-level public service
manager, how could you get such fairly easy access to the most
powerful man in the Government of Canada?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Because the advertising
management group, or whatever it was called in APORS, I don't
know if it was CCSB then, always reported to the minister's
office and had access to PMO.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Always reported directly
to the minister, bypassing the deputy minister.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Always did.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: And who set up that
> Mr. Charles Guité: The Clark government
and the Mulroney government.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: You would report,
regardless of the rules of the public service?
> Mr. Charles Guité: We always had ... the
head of my group, when I headed it, if I go back to the Trudeau
years, even though I wasn't in that area, I always had access to
the PMO and the minister's office. That's the way it was set up.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Sir, Diane Marleau
testified that you showed up at her office when she became
Minister of Public Works and said, > "> I report to
you> "> , and she said, > "> No, you
don't, I don't hear directly from line managers, you report to
the deputy> "> . Is that accurate?>
> Mr. Charles Guité: As you noticed in my
opening comments, I did not mention Mme. Marleau. If you
remember the testimony of Mr. Pelletier, he said that, >
"> Chuck started to contact my office around 1996>
"> . I think that was about the same time that Mme.
Marleau became Minister of Public Works. I met Mme. Marleau,
during the whole time she was there, probably twice.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: My question was, did the
exchange that she related to us transpire, where she said, >
"> You do not report to me and don't come back to my
office> "> ?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, I can't remember
her telling me that.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: But you approached her
and said, > "> I report directly to you>
"> , and she said, > "> No, you don't, you're
not a deputy minister> "> .
> No, I don't remember saying that to Mme
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Now, sir, how often did
you meet with Mr. Gagliano when he was your minister?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Regularly, regularly
being some months it would be once a month. Some months it might
be twice a month. Some weeks it might be three times a week. On
the average, I would meet Mr. Gagliano probably every month.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Your former assistant,
Huguette Tremblay, testified that you would meet with him, on
average, once a week. Would that be an accurate
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, I wouldn't say once
a week because the minister was out of town regularly, and so
> Mr. Jason Kenney: But Mr. Gagliano
testified that he may have met with you > "> two or
three times a year> "> . Is that accurate?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: That's not accurate.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Why do you think he would
have told us that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Just a minute, now.
Just let me backtrack here. When you say, > "> meet
Minister Gagliano> "> , I may have met the minister's
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Right.
> Mr. Charles Guité: --once a week, and I
wouldn't say it was once a week, but it was regular.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: So you were at Gagliano's
office, on average, once a week.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, on the average.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Meeting with Jean-Marc
Bard and Pierre Tremblay?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No. With Pierre
Tremblay, when Pierre was there, when I left the government I
think M. Bard became chief of staff about three months before I
left the government, so--
> Mr. Jason Kenney: And sir, I want to know--
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, let me finish.
> So my meetings with M. Bard I'd think I
could probably count on less than one hand because when--let me
finish--when M. Tremblay joined my organization, I think in
February, 1999, about March or April I basically gave him the
reins of the organization and I stood basically in the
background, observing things that Pierre was doing, but I
haven't met M. Bard...
> In the case of M. Tremblay, when he was
chief of staff, he was normally with the minister when I met
with the minister.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: I only have time for one
more question, Mr. Guité, which is this, a two-part question.
> First of all, did you meet with and discuss
the sponsorship program with Jean Carle of the Prime Minister's
office? If so, how frequently?
> And the larger question is this. You
testified to us that you did receive political direction but all
of your former political masters basically deny ever having
known you. They disavow their involvement in this. They claim
there was absolutely no political interference. We've heard
minister after minister say this, and spokespeople from the PMO.
Would you tell us the truth?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, I know, I--
> Mr. Jason Kenney: To what extent was there
ongoing political direction in this program?
> Mr. Charles Guité: > Let me answer your
question because I think it's important. There is quite a bit of
difference about political interference and political input. To
me, that is two> completely
different things and to say that they interfered--i.e.,
selection of agencies--never. I would not let them do that
because ministers are not to interfere with the selection
> Did they have input into the program of who
got the sponsorship, which sponsorship we're going to do?
Obviously. I met with them and we went through the programs
together. I think you must have got from some other witness a
list of how we used to present the programs to the minister's
office where we had, you know, the event, the commissions paid,
the agency that got it and so forth. I sat with ministers--not
with ministers because in the days of Mr. Dingwall, that did not
exist--but with Mr. Gagliano I sat with him and we went through
that list and he had input.
> Now, what input did he have? He didn't say,
> "> Well, we don't like that. We like that one>
"> . We talked about the impact and at the end of the
day we agreed that the split of the projects would be done in
this way. So they had input.
> But let me add another comment, which is
important, briefly, of Mme Marleau, and when Mme Marleau came on
staff or became minister, the message I got was, deal with PMO.
> The Chair: All right, thank you very much,
> Monsieur Gauthier, s'il vous plaît, huit
> M. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Merci,
monsieur le président.
> Monsieur Guité, vous êtes un
fonctionnaire de longue expérience, le rapport de la vérificatrice
générale, vous avez donné quelques exemples qui ne vous
apparaissaient pas appropriés et j'aimerais savoir si vous
considérez que la vérificatrice générale était plutôt légitimée
d'exprimer ce qu'elle a exprimé dans son rapport, compte tenu
du manque de preuves, du manque de documentation et du manque de
capacités à suivre le dossier? Comme vous êtes un
fonctionnaire d'expérience, vous savez que dans
l'administration publique, toujours j'imagine, on essaie de
suivre nos dossiers pour que la vérificatrice générale, qui
éventuellement est appelée à faire son travail un peu partout
dans les ministère, puisse retracer l'utilisation de l'argent.
Est-ce qu'il ne vous semble pas que dans le Programme des
commandites, l'absence de documentation, l'absence de dossiers
étoffés pouvait vous amener un rapport comme celui-là un jour
> Mr. Charles Guité: What you've got to
realize here is that if you're doing a sponsorship, and I don't
want to be sarcastic here, but I can not take a copy of the word
mark that's on a building and put it on a file. I can not take
the word mark that's on the ice in the forum, or any other
hockey club. Sponsorship in its definition, what you're doing is
you're getting visibility, that's what we were doing with these
files. On the files, when I was there, there was a contract, an
invoice and there was an affidavit or a document that said the
product has been delivered. What more can I put on file?
> M. Michel Gauthier: Mme Tremblay, une de
vos adjointes, s'est présentée ici au comité pour dire
qu'elle s'était inquiétée--c'est une personne qui avait quand
même de l'expérience, elle avait l'habitude de fonctionner
dans votre service--qu'elle s'était inquiétée à un certain
moment donné de manque de pièces justificatives dans un
dossier et à telle enseigne qu'elle avait communiqué avec une
agence pour dire: « écoutez, il manque des données ». Or,
Mme Tremblay avait des habitudes de travail, j'imagine, elle
n'en était pas à sa première semaine de travail quand c'est
arrivé pour, après ça, se faire dire « écoute, ne pose pas
de questions, effectue le paiement, tout est correct ». Comment
vous expliquez cette inquiétude de Mme Tremblay qui devait
avoir des habitudes administratives correctes, j'imagine?
> M. Charles Guité: Oui. Je pense que Mme
Tremblay, le commentaire que je lui ai fait c'est que, premi>
èrement, une commandite est différente d'un programme
ordinaire, disons une campagne publicitaire. Alors le rôle de
Mme Tremblay dans mon organisation était de s'assurer qu'il y
avait un contrat en place, que quand la facture arrivait chez
nous le contrat était en bonne et due forme et qu'il restait
des fonds dans le contrat. Ce n'était pas à Mme Tremblay de me
dire: « est-ce que l'événement a eu lieu »? Ce n'était pas
son rôle de faire ça. Ce n'est pas qu'elle a refusé, elle m'a
questionné sur une telle facture, j'ai dit: « non, madame
Tremblay, je suis certain que l'événement a eu lieu, j'ai
l'information qu'il a eu lieu, payez la facture ».
> M. Michel Gauthier: Finalement, dans le
processus que vous nous indiquez là il y a une seule personne
en réalité qui pouvait témoigner du fait que le travail avait
> The Chair: Mr. Gauthier, can I just
interrupt and say all cell telephones absolutely off in this
> Sorry, my apologies.
> Mr. Gauthier, my apologies.
> M. Michel Gauthier: Je reviens à ma
question, monsieur le président, vous m'avez troublé.
> Je vous demandais: vous étiez la seule
personne qui, finalement, constituait la bibliothèque vivante,
c'est-à-dire que c'est vous qui saviez que l'événement avait
été fait, c'est vous qui saviez que le travail avait été
livré comme prévu et personne d'autre ne pouvait témoigner de
cela et il n'y avait aucun dossier pour en témoigner?
> M. Charles Guité: Non, pas nécessairement,
il y avait d'autres personnes dans mon équipe, on avait, je
pense, si je me rappelle bien, quatre ou cinq personnes impliquées
dans le processus des commandites, et même souvent des
personnes de mon équipe assistaient à des événements qu'on
commanditait. Alors c'est sûr que j'avais des discussions avec
Mme Tremblay, qui a assisté à plusieurs événements, M.
Parent, qui a assisté à plusieurs événements. Qui d'autre était
là dans ce temps-là? Je ne me rappelle pas des noms, ça fait
longtemps que je suis parti du fédéral, mais en tout cas. La
seule autorité de délégation pour la signature de factures était
à mon bureau. Si je n'étais pas là, je déléguais mon
autorité à quelqu'un d'autre, que ce soit M. Tremblay ou M.
Parent. Alors, oui, c'est sûr que moi j'étais au courant de
presque tous les événements qui se déroulaient.
> M. Michel Gauthier: Mais est-ce que vous ne
pensez pas que vous avez eu quand même des budgets d'une
quarantaine de millions de dollars, parfois plus, annuellement?
Est-ce que vous considérez que lorsqu'on est un serviteur de l'État,
qu'on travaille au plus haut niveau, je dirais, de
l'administration publique, que 45 millions de dollars dépensés,
cela doit laisser un certain nombre de traces, au moins pour
qu'une personne comme la vérificatrice générale puisse
retrouver des éléments importants? On ne peut pas. Je ne crois
pas que ce que vous dites c'est: « moi, en autant que je savais
que c'était fait, c'était suffisant », parce qu'une personne
disparaît, une personne décède, quitte, et là l'appareil
gouvernemental s'en trouvait, à toutes fins utiles, paralysé.
Si c'est sur la bonne foi d'une seule personne qu'on dépense 45
millions de dollars, cela n'a pas de sens.
> M. Charles Guité: Non, non. C'est comme
j'ai dit dans mon allocution quand j'ai commencé à parler ce
matin, chaque événement avait un contrat, avait une facture et
une certification que le produit était livré. Les commentaires
de la vérificatrice générale c'est qu'elle dit: « même,
j'ai trouvé des dossiers sans contrat ». Impossible,
> Et l'autre commentaire que je voudrais
faire à ce point-ci, c'est que quand j'étais là, moi,
jusqu'en août 1999, les dossiers étaient là. Et je sais
aujourd'hui qu'on entend parler à travers les branches que les
dossiers ne sont plus l> à. Ils sont partis où les
dossiers? Il y a eu une vérification faite en 1996 quand j'étais
là et la vérification, comme toute vérification, on fait des
commentaires sur telle chose, bien, les dossiers étaient là
puis aujourd'hui ils ne sont plus là. Ils sont partis où?
> M. Michel Gauthier: Je comptais sur vous
pour nous le dire.
> M. Charles Guité: Je ne le sais pas,
monsieur, je ne le sais pas. Comme je vous le disais tantôt,
c'est impossible, dans le système fédéral, quand la vérificatrice
générale fait un commentaire comme :
> > "> fictitious contracts,
fictitious invoices> "> . Well it must have been a
fictitious payment because you cannot make a payment without a
contract and an invoice. It's like you writing a cheque with no
money in the bank and then go to go.
> And I'm not trying to knock down the
Auditor General, she has a job to do, her office has a job to
do, but those files were there when I was there. How come
they're not there?
> M. Michel Gauthier: Si vous me le
permettez, comme le temps s'achève pour ma période, j'aimerais
juste que vous nous disiez, lorsque vous dites que les dossiers
étaient là, que : « moi j'avais des dossiers à ma
satisfaction », qu'est-ce qu'on retrouvait normalement dans un
dossier pour qu'il soit à votre satisfaction?
> M. Charles Guité: Un contrat, une facture,
une vérification dans le dossier, à savoir que le produit a été
livré. Cela pouvait être un post mortem, cela pouvait être un
affidavit ou quoique ce soit. Il y avait un contrat, une facture
et une vérification que le produit a été livré. Comme je le
disais tantôt, la vérificatrice générale ne les trouve plus.
Chère madame, chère vérificatrice, allez regarder où les
dossiers sont partis, parce qu'ils étaient là lorsque j'étais
> Le président: Merci beaucoup, monsieur
> Mr. Murphy, please, eight minutes.
> Hon. Shawn Murphy (Hillsborough, Lib.):
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
> Mr. Guité, I just want to follow up on the
same line of question of Mr. Gauthier and that appears to me to
be the nub of this whole issue, this whole issue of
documentation in the files in the whole sponsorship program or
the lack of documentation. And to put it in context I'm going to
go back and talk a little bit about the evidence we heard
yesterday from Commissioner Zaccardelli.
> It seemed to be pretty clear and you're
probably familiar with it, the 125th Anniversary of the RCMP,
there was large sponsorship.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I'm very much aware of
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: And $1,081,000 for
production costs. And the two agencies involved, which were
Gosselin and Lafleur Communications, received a commission of
$244,380. Commissioner Zaccardelli explained that they were very
pleased with the 700 events, they were very pleased with the way
it went, but again, when the event was audited the Auditor
General, reflects a lack of documentation. And again it rises
because of the lack of documentation. She makes the statement:
> These agencies
retained a total of $244,380 in commission fees for transferring
funds from CCSB to the RCMP.
> And I take it
that you don't agree with that statement?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I don't agree at all,
no. And while I don't agree at all, I'd have to see the file and
the invoices and so forth.
> And it's funny, because I was listening
last night to the Commissioner of the RCMP at this committee
yesterday--I think he was here, if I recall right--and I got
quite a kick when he had to ask me--I guess it wasn't him, but
his predecessor--if he could buy horses. I thought it was quite
funny. Mind you, I could probably help him because I'm quite a
good rider and I know a lot about horses, but I'm off track
> Let me now answer your question. The RCMP
125> th--and again, the figures that are here I'm sure that
she got them from somewhere so I won't disagree with those
figures--celebration that happened in La Belle Province in
Montreal, where there was a big ball and there were a couple of
events, I think, in Quebec City, the Commission yesterday was
quite accurate. There were horses that were purchased with the
money that was given to the RCMP for that event. The set up of
the whole celebration or the ball, for a better term, that was
held in Montreal cost a lot of money. Now, when the Auditor
General says $243, in what? In fees and commissions? Is it both?
Definitely there would be fees. Who paid to set up the place?
I'm sure the agencies involved spent some time in setting up the
ball, spent some time in getting the hall organized, probably
did some promotional items for the RCMP.
> And in that regard I recall, it seems to me
that during the 125th there were some parkas or jackets made
with the RCMP logo on the back and saying 125. There were some
other promotional items like--I can't remember exactly--maybe
cufflinks or things like that. But, I mean, this was all part of
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: Is it your testimony
that the sponsorship program got value for the money, for the
> Mr. Charles Guité: Absolutely. Absolutely,
and, you know, I'm sure that we're going to talk about several
projects over the next day and a half, and I will always come
back to the same conclusion, or the same statement: The
Government of Canada, in all of those projects, got value for
money, and as we commonly say or often say, > "> The
proof is in the pudding> "> .
> I think there was one committee member who
made a comment, > "> Well, why do that when you knew
there was going to be no more referendums?> ">
The reason there's going to be no more referendums, or in
the coming year, is because the popularity of the separatist
movement in Quebec is way down. Why is it way down? The
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: I'd like to stick to the
report if I could here.
> Mr. Charles Guité: But what I'm trying to
tell you, sir, is that, as I said earlier, if you do a
sponsorship, you do get value for money. We sure did, we got
value for money.
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: There have been
allegations made--and I'm sure, sir, you have heard them--that
there's $100 million missing. Your evidence is, that's not
> Mr. Charles Guité: Absolutely wrong.
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: Is there any money
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, and let me tell you
why. If you went back, not you but if any auditor went to
CCSB--whatever it is now because I think CCSB is history--and
went through every invoice, because you cannot pay an invoice or
issue a government cheque without an invoice, it's going to add
up to $250 million and 24¢, if that was the money that was
allocated, because it's impossible to issue a cheque without
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: But in fairness to the
auditor--and I've been on this committee now back 2002 when you
appeared before--the level of documentation and supporting
evidence doesn't seem to be there that you see in other
> Mr. Charles Guité: I agree, sir, and I
addressed that earlier, but again, I will make a statement like
the two examples I used. What am I going to put in a file? I
can't put the Bluenose in a file. The schedule was there.
There's a schedule of where the Bluenose went.
Canada Games in Winnipeg, they happened. How many people visited
the pavilion? The pavilion was a huge, huge undertaking. How was
it managed? Who staffed it? Who kept it operational? When the
games were over, and the feedback I got from the agency that was
involved, and I forget who did the Canada Games, they said, >
"> Chuck, a fantastic success> "> . What else
do I put on file? I have a contract, I have an invoice, and I
would have a post-mortem, obviously, of the games, which should
be on the file. What else do I put on file?>
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: But the auditor has made
the statement, on many occasions, that these contracts...the
provisions of the Financial Administration Act and the policy
guidelines issued by Treasury Board were generally not followed.
> Mr. Charles Guité: That's the Auditor
General's comment. I don't agree with it.
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: You don't agree with it?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: Did anyone ever tell you
the way to document the files in the sponsorship program?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, but I think at a
discussion around the table probably during the referendum year,
1994-95, when I worked very closely with FPRO and Privy Council,
which is basically the Prime Minister's department--and when I
say > "> we> "> , I could probably give
you a few names but I'd have to go back and talk to a few people
to get who the players were--we sat around the table as a
committee and made the decision: The less we have on file, the
better. The reason for that, if somebody has an access to
information...and I think as I said back in 2002, a good general
doesn't give his plans of attack to the opposition.
> Hon. Shawn Murphy: Could it be, sir, that
you were keeping your level of documentation down because of the
access to information legislation?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes. The reason we kept
minimum information on the file was in case we have an access to
information. Now, since that time, I'm well aware--and I think I
got that, Mr. Williams, at the last committee--the rules have
changed on access to information, but they didn't apply at the
time when I was there.
> The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Murphy.
> On this access to information, that seems a
rather strange comment, Mr. Guité. The sponsorship program was
to sell Canada, get the name out there, to get information out
there at the best possible value for money by what you're
telling us, and yet you seem to say, > "> We don't
want anything to file to tell us how we're promoting Canada>
"> . It seems to be a dichotomy that you would keep the
file very small, and yet you would be spreading the word Canada
> Mr. Charles Guité:
> No. During the referendum and after the
referendum also. But again, the information that we didn't want
to get out, obviously, was what participation we were going to
> Let me give you an example. I'm sure
that'll come up over the next day and a half or whatever. I was
provided with a lot of good advice from Groupaction on the
strategy of the Quebec government. I'm sure we'll talk about
that later on. I wasn't going to put that information on file.
> I knew, for example, that if I went to a
certain event that the Quebec government was going to be present
with quasi-government organizations like the casino and Société
des alcools du Québec, and so forth.
> In certain cases, somebody in
Groupaction--I had several people I was dealing with there--came
back to me and said, > "> Chuck, you can't go to that
event because the organizers of that event told me that if
there's any federal money, Quebec will withdraw their
participation> "> . In several cases, I said to the
agency, > "> go back and tell them we'll cover it>
"> . So where they were getting $50,000, let's say, from
the Quebec government, we wanted to be equivalent or more, to be
visible at that event. The organizer would call back and say,
> "> if we take money from you, we're going to lose
the one from Quebec> "> . A good strategy is to say
that we'll double it.
> The Chair: Ms. Wasylycia-Leis, please.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North
Centre, NDP): Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
> Thank you, Mr. Guité, for your appearance
here today. We appreciate your testimony because, in fact, I
think that you can help us, as a committee, and all Canadians to
understand what went wrong in this very egregious chapter in
> I know that you've spent some time
downplaying the significance of the Auditor General's report,
but I'm not convinced. In fact, I think that the Auditor General
was clear when she said that every rule in the book was broken
with respect to normal process of government.
> If you don't accept the Auditor General, we
also know that there were internal Public Works documents in
2002 talking about the extreme nature of the over-billing,
talking about systematic and egregious overcharging, and talking
about involvement with sponsorship funds or ad firms dealing
with the gun registry. I could go on with that list.
> We also have Allan Cutler who said in 1994
that you began interfering in the contracting process. We also
have some of your previous staff who said that they smelled
something wrong and they felt something wrong. They've raised
> How can you now downplay this chapter in
our history, and suggest that all was above board? Is somebody
else lying? Was the Auditor General lying? Is Allan Cutler
lying? Is your former staff lying? Are the Public Works
officials who did the internal review lying?
> Mr. Charles Guité: What's the question?
You've asked me 12 questions.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: The question is,
if you don't accept the findings of the Auditor General, do you
accept them of some of the other witnesses we have had, Allan
Cutler, some of the previous staff, and the internal reviews in
your own old department?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Do you want me to
address Mr. Cutler's comments?
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: How can you say
that there's really nothing egregious and nothing wrong in this
> Mr. Charles Guité: I cannot comment on
what other people or other witnesses have said here unless you
give me the exact quote, and I'll reply to it.
> If you want to, I'll address which seems to
be--and it's been bounced around this committee several
times.... I must say that I didn't know what was going on in
this committee--because apparently I was hiding in Arizona.
Everybody else knew where I was--until I got back. I listened,
for about 20 minutes, to three or four sessions that went on
here that were broadcast on national TV.
> Now, if you want me to address the comments
made by Mr. Cutler, I will.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Let me give you
three short questions then.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Not three, one question
at a time.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: The Auditor
General says every rule in the book was broken. Do you disagree
or agree with that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I disagree.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Some of your
previous staff have said... Huguette Tremblay has said that
rules weren't broken because there were no rules.
> Mr. Charles Guité: That's what she said.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Mr. Allan Cutler
has said that you began interfering in the contract due process
in 1994, and in fact you started, and I'll quote here, >
"> by authorizing agencies to carry out work without a
pre-existing contract> "> . I could go on. Do you
agree or disagree?
> Mr. Charles Guité:
> I disagree.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: We have reports
from the Public Works internal review, 2002.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I wasn't there.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: No, this was a
review of previous, of the history of the sponsorship program.
They commented on some of the over-billing. Do you disagree that
there was over-billing?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Disagree.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Do you disagree
with the findings that were not refuted by Mr. Boulay when he
was here from Everest that there was in fact money for nothing
> Mr. Charles Guité: Possible.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: How do we explain,
how do you explain money going from your department to several
agencies to go on to other projects, with agencies taking a huge
cut and work not being provided or services not being provided
in terms of direct benefit or communication of that particular
> Mr. Charles Guité: What date are you
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: I'm talking about
the Maurice Richard series.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Okay, the Maurice
Richard series started, I think, 1998.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: So you're saying
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no, let me finish.
Let me answer the question.
> What happened after August 1999 I can't
comment on. Let me make a point here that I think on three
occasions people have tried to explain. An agency, an
advertising agency or an agency of record, and there's quite a
bit of difference here between an AOR and an advertising agency.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: I don't want to
talk about agency of record right now. Just a straight,
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, but you made a
comment about Claude Boulay and said that he received or you
said that he received--
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Everest, not Media
IDA as the agency of record, but Everest in terms of direct
funds for supposedly managing a contract for which he could not
give a single bit of evidence about what that translates into.
> Mr. Charles Guité: When I was executive
director of the branch from 1997, it became it branch, till I
left, the policy that existed and the way we did sponsorship,
the government, was through an ad agency. In the Treasury Board
or contracting policy, I guess, for guideline, it is very clear
that an agency gets 12%, an AOR gets different, 11.75% and
3.25%. I forget the exact amount.
> Now, it is no different than the private
sector. What happens in a system like that is that you will have
a project where you will lose your shirt. You will have another
project where you'll make the money, as any business.
> No, no, let me explain it because I think
one of the biggest things, hearing some of the comments from
this committee, and again I don't want to make a general
comment, but you've got to understand how the industry works.
When I was there, that was the rule. You paid 12%.
> I'll give you an example.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: There were three
Groupaction contracts done. Each one, in terms of our
perception, a fake, not providing real studies of any sort. I'm
not talking about normal business. I'm talking about those
examples that are not normal.
> Mr. Charles Guité: What contracts are you
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Well, we can go
back to when you appeared before the committee in 2002.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, no, you're saying
these contracts. I have to know which contracts you're talking
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: The Groupaction
contracts that you testified--
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, those contracts
were given. The crown got value for money.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Well, see, that--
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, that's your point
of view, Madame.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Okay, that's my
point of view. Okay, but let me ask one more question.
> The Chair: Okay. Let's be careful. We'll
not have a violent disagreement back and forth. We'll allow the
person to ask the question. We'll allow the person to answer.
We'll have a civilized discussion, here.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Sorry.
> Fair enough. I appreciate that, Mr.
> You said earlier that the government,
politicians, cabinet ministers did not interfere at all in the
selection of ad agencies.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Correct.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Yet, you said back
in 2002, and I'm quoting: The Federal-Provincial Relations
Office in the Privy Council Office was requested to hire four or
five agencies without going through the normal competition
> So it would have seemed, based on your
earlier testimony, that in fact some direction was coming from
somewhere. In this case, you mentioned the FPRO, PCO in terms of
ad agencies. >
> Mr. Charles Guité: That's not a ministry,
those are public servants.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: So are you saying
that there was no interference at all from the...? You said
yourself that there was...you made the decisions about
selections of ad agencies. When we talk about PCO or PMO, we're
talking about another level of direction. That's what we're
trying to do as a committee. Where did you get your direction?
> Mr. Charles Guité:
> I got the direction--
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Did you do it on
> The Chair: Thank you. We're going to stop
it right there.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Can I answer that
question, because I think it's very important. During the
pre-referendum, and obviously during and after, Chuck Guité
didn't decide he's going to do this on his own. There was a
committee, for example, leading up to the referendum, and we sat
around the committee room and we said, okay, da-da-da, the
strategy, and we decided to hire agencies to help us, and I
won't use the war, but to help us fight the issue, and we
decided we're going to do that using a system that is well
defined in the contracting policy, and if you have it, Michael,
the one that lists the reasons we can go off target...
> We sat around, as a committee, and agreed
that we're going to have a competition and we're going to invite
ten firms, and the rules we have used, notwithstanding section
five, > "> a contracting authority may enter into a
contract without soliciting bids where the need is one of
pressing emergency.> ">
I think losing our country is pretty pressing. There's
another one here that we use. > "> The nature of the
work is such that it would not be to the public interest to
solicit bids.> ">
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: What was pressing
> The Chair: Ms. Wasylycia-Leis, we're
stopping right there.
> Mr. Charles Guité: In 1994 there was a
referendum coming up. I'm not going to start promoting--
> The Chair: Okay, we're going to pretty well
finish that, I think. Mr. Guité, you've been quoting from some
documents, can you ensure that the clerk gets copies of these
before the end of the day.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Mr. Chairman, this is a
government contract regulation, which is available.
> The Chair: Just ensure that the clerk has
them so we know what you're quoting from.
> Mr. Charles Guité: By all means.
> The Chair: I will again re-iterate that if
anybody has a cell phone, would they please turn it off. Ms.
Ablonczy, please. Eight minutes.
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary-Nose Hill,
CPC): Mr. Guité, let me continue where Ms. Wasylycia-Leis left
off. Who sat on this competition committee from your office?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Any agency competition
we had consisted of...are you talking about the specific
competition or competitions?
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: The competition
committee to choose the agencies that would assist the
government to win the referendum in Quebec.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I definitely sat on it.
I would definitely say that Andree Larose sat on it because she
was one of my employees who I had seconded to FPRO during the
referendum. The other members would be probably two or three
members from FPRO/PCO. To go for their names, I'd have to go
back to the file. What I can ascertain for sure is that myself
and Andree Larose, who was one of my staff members, seconded to
FRRO sat on that committee.
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Would you please, Mr.
Guité, go back to your records and provide the committee with
the names of the individuals who sat on the competition
> The Chair: Ms. Ablonczy, since he's now
retired, I think it's more appropriate that we make that a
request of the chair and we will get them from the government.
You don't have these records, Mr. Guité?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, I don't, and I have
no access at all to the government or to my previous employer.
I'm a persona non grata.>
> The Chair: Do you want the clerk to try and
get that information, Ms. Ablonczy?
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Yes, please.
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: This, of course, was a
very critical committee, as you've already indicated to Ms.
Wasylycia-Leis. Were there any political appointees on this
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: When these agencies
were selected, did they submit a proposal or make a verbal
> Mr. Charles Guité: What we did is we
selected ten agencies; now, that number could vary; it could be
ten, or twelve, or nine, but it was in the nine, ten, eleven
area. What we did is we prepared a scope of work of the day, and
there's a good example that I would not put it on file in case
we had an access to information. That scope of work was sent to
about ten or twelve agencies, and we said, based on the scope of
work, how would you meet this program? That scope of work came
back to the committee and we sat around the table and reviewed
them all and based on that input, we selected five agencies to
come in and give us a one hour presentation of a more
detailed...after having evaluated their initial input, we went
back to those firms and said, okay, expand that and come back to
us and make a presentation to the committee that will last one
hour. Based on that...in fact, there was more than that; I think
there was seven or eight that we called on the second go-around,
but only retained five at the end of the day.
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Was there any
political influence brought to bear on the selection of the
agencies that were used?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Mr. Guité, it's clear
that whatever system was used--
> Mr. Charles Guité: Not whatever system. It
was a system--
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: The system that you
described, Mr. Guité, was clearly open to abuse because of
course we already have one criminal charge laid against one of
the agencies, Coffin Communications, and so I'm wondering how
you would respond to the fact that the system allowed for the
fraud to the degree that criminal charges have now been laid and
more are expected.
> Mr. Charles Guité: The only comment I can
make here, first of all, there are about three questions there,
but I'll answer the fraud charge. I cannot comment on what the
RCMP has done or found, or whatever. All I can comment on is the
invoice I got from an agency, I was satisfied with that invoice.
If the agency has forged that invoice, or whatever, I have no
way of knowing that.
> Your other question--the one before the
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: I don't want to pursue
that at this time because of my time limitations. I would simply
point out that someone should have had a way of knowing if fraud
was occurring. That's what checks and balances are for, wouldn't
> Mr. Charles Guité: Let me give you a very
simply answer or example to your question.
> I buy a house and I tell the contractor to
build me a house and I say I want 2"x6"s in the wall,
not 2"x4"s. Three months later I move into my nice new
house. It meets all my requirements. A year later there's a
flood and I have to replace a wall. I take the wall apart and I
find there are 2"x2"s, not 2"x6"s. Is that
fraud on behalf of the contractor? Yes. Did I know it? No.
> Whatever the RCMP have found out and have
charged an agency, that's up to them to do it and at the end of
the day, we'll see what happens. I can't comment.
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Mr. Guité, I would
suggest that's what building inspectors are for and the owner
would prudently work with that. So I'm not sure if that analogy
is very helpful.
> Let me move to testimony the committee has
heard. The committee was told--has heard testimony--that in 1994
you began > "> interfering in the contracting process
by authorizing agencies to carry out work without a pre-existing
contract> "> . Is that true, Mr. Guité?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes. Let me explain,
though. It is not uncommon, depending on the situation, to say
to a company or a firm, not only in advertising or
communications, to start work without a contract. It's commonly
known as a verbal direction and then issuing a contract, two,
three weeks, three months, six months down the road and I think
the one that Mr. Cutler referred to--I think it was the
Department of Finance, if I recall rightly, on a Canada Savings
Bonds--I'm not sure. I would have to see the file to comment on
the specific contract.
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: So this only happened
> Mr. Charles Guité: That I can remember. I
don't know how many times it happened. I couldn't say. I'm sure
it happened more than once, but has it happened once, twice or
twenty times? I don't know. I would have to check the file. It
is not common practice to get agencies to do work without a
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Mr. Guité, also
according to testimony, you held a meeting on November 17, 1994
with the personnel responsible for negotiating sponsorship
contracts. You are alleged to have said that normal advertising
rules and regulations would no longer apply and that you would
discuss this with the responsible minister in order to change
the normal rules and regulations. Do you remember that
> Mr. Charles Guité: Not at all and a
minister would not have them put it into government policy and
procedures, policy but not procedures.
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Mr. Guité, the
auditor general's report, as you known, noted weaknesses in the
control and oversight mechanisms of the sponsorship
program--that's putting it kindly--and the lack of transparency
in its decision-making process. I guess my question is, as
executive director of the communications branch, what was the
nature of the relationship between you and the minister and his
office, because oversight clearly had to be exercised by
someone? Was it you or was it the minister?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I don't understand your
question. No, I really don't, what are you asking me?
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: I'm asking you who was
responsible for the weaknesses in the oversight and control
mechanisms that the Auditor General identified in the
sponsorship program? Was it you or was it the minister?
> Mr. Charles Guité: The minister had
nothing to do with it. But again, I disagree with the Auditor
General. There was a contract, there was work done, there was an
invoice, and it was paid. What's the oversight? And in the first
part of your question, the examples I've used.
> The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Ablonczy.
> Monsieur Thibault, s'il vous plaît, huit
> L'hon. Robert Thibault (Ouest Nova): Merci
beaucoup, monsieur le président.
> Monsieur Guité, il me fait plaisir de vous
rencontrer et je vous remercie d'avoir accepté de comparaître
aujourd'hui. Je regrette grandement qu'il y ait eu des attaques
personnelles pour vous et votre famille à ce sujet. Lorsque
vous avez comparu en 2002, malheureusement, votre témoignage à
huis clos a été donné aux médias. Ce témoignage n'aurait
jamais dû être divulgué, mais il l'a été partiellement et
c'est regrettable. Vous avez accepté de comparaître
aujourd'hui et vous avez été d'accord à ce qu'on libère entièrement
votre témoignage de 2002.
> Premièrement, j'aimerais vous indiquer que
j'admire grandement votre carrière. J'admire les objectifs que
vous voulez mettre de l'avant, mais j'ai des difficultés, comme
parlementaire et comme Canadien, de penser qu'il y aurait eu un
système en place où on aurait pu faire le transfert de fonds
du Trésor public à des agences du gouvernement ou à d'autres
organisations et que des agences de publicité aient touché des
commissions pour uniquement faire le transfert.
> Je reconnais que dans la grande majorité
des cas ou dans la grande majorité des sommes d'argent que vous
avez utilisées, nous avons atteint des objectifs et que,
probablement, ces transferts étaient légaux, mais on y
reviendra plus tard. Pour moi c'est une question d'éthique.
Quel était le système en place qui a nécessité cela? Je
voudrais qu'on touche à cela un peu plus tard, mais avant j'ai
quelques questions pour vous.
> Vous parlez de rencontres avec les
ministres et on a eu beaucoup de discussions ici sur la fréquence
de ces rencontres que je vous inviterais à clarifier. Vous avez
dit qu'avec M. Gagliano, vous vous rencontriez souvent de façon
mensuelle, des fois à quelques reprises par semaine, des fois
de façon hebdomadaire. En réponse à une question plus tard,
vous avez dit que ces rencontres n'étaient pas nécessairement
avec le ministre mais avec le Bureau du ministre. Souvent on va
interchanger les termes, le Bureau du ministre, les représentants
politiques du ministre et le ministre même. Est-ce que vous
pourriez clarifier la fréquence de vos rencontres avec M.
> M. Charles Guité: En moyenne deux, trois
peut-être par mois, le ministre lui-même. Le ministre lui-même
deux fois par mois. Souvent, souvent, souvent le matin, mon
bureau était situé juste en bas de la Colline ici, le matin je
passais souvent au bureau du ministre qui était dans l'édifice
ici, pour aller chercher des documents qu'il avait reçu pour
des demandes de commandite etc., mais je ne voyais pas le
ministre Gagliano. À l'époque, c'était Isabelle Roy qui était
là comme adjointe et qui faisait la coordination avec mon
bureau et le bureau du ministre. Mais il n'y avait pas de
rencontres spécifiques avec M. Gagliano à toutes les semaines.
C'est sûr que ce n'était pas à toutes les semaines.
> Hon. Robert Thibault: Mais c'était au
moins une fois par mois, des fois plus.
> M. Charles Guité: C'est sûr, monsieur
Thibault, que je rencontrais le ministre au moins une fois par
mois, sans faute, mais il faut faire attention parce qu'il y
avait des mois où le ministre n'était pas disponible.
> L'hon. Robert Thibault: En ce qui a trait
à M. Dingwall, vous avez témoigné que vous le rencontriez
> M. Charles Guité: Très rarement.
> L'hon. Robert Thibault: Mais vous
rencontriez le bureau du ministre.
> M. Charles Guité: Oui.
> L'hon. Robert Thibault: Qui était
l'assistant principal que vous avez rencontré?
> M. Charles Guité: Monsieur Kinsella.
> Hon. Robert Thibault: Et la fréquence de
> M. Charles Guité: À ce temps-là, ce n'était
pas fréquent. Je dirais même qu'il pouvait se passer deux mois
sans que j'aie de rencontres au bureau de M. Dingwall. J'ai
rencontré M. Dingwall très peu, comme individu.
> L'hon. Robert Thibault: Avant 1993, avant
l'arrivée de M. Dingwall et du gouvernement Chrétien, pendant
votre séjour à la Fonction publique, à l'époque du
gouvernement Mulroney--je ne vous demande pas de briser...
> M. Charles Guité: Non, je ne briserai pas
de confidentialité, je l'ai dit dans mon rapport. Je me
rapportais directement. Le groupe était très, très politique,
on avait des nominations politiques vraiment qui géraient le
groupe et on se rapportait. Moi je me rapportais
fonctionnellement dans ce temps-là au Conseil privé, je
faisais beaucoup affaire avec le Conseil privé et le groupe se
rapportait au sénateur Murray, Lowell Murray, qui était le président
du Comité en communications.
> L'hon. Robert Thibault: Et vous rencontriez
M. Murray vous-même personnellement ?
> M. Charles Guité: Jamais tout seul.
> L'hon. Robert Thibault: Jamais tout seul?
> M. Charles Guité: Non, on avait une réunion,
si je me rappelle bien, le jeudi matin dans ce temps-là parce
qu'il y avait des choses comme Meech Lake>
et The Oka Crisis puis Charlottetown Accord. Il y avait
un comité en place et moi je rencontrais toujours les mêmes.
Je n'allais pas toutes les semaines. Souvent, c'était la
personne politique de mon bureau qui y allait, mais souvent,
souvent je suis allé à ce comité-là et je me rappelle très,
très bien, il y avait Dave Gagné, qui était au Conseil privé,
il y avait moi, il y avait Peggy Binns. En tout cas, on
rencontrait le sénateur comme président du comité régulièrement.
Si je me rappelle bien c'était tous les jeudi matins.
> L'hon. Robert Thibault: Vous avez indiqué
que pendant l'arrivée de Mme Marleau à ce temps-là vous avez
eu l'instruction de faire affaire avec le bureau du premier
ministre. Ces instructions étaient du bureau du premier
ministre ou du bureau de Mme Marleau?
> M. Charles Guité: Du bureau du premier
> L'hon. Robert Thibault: Du bureau du
premier ministre. Vous faites référence à des exceptions que
vous avez avec le rapport de la vérificatrice générale, la vérificatrice
générale, dépendamment de comment on lit ce rapport-là. M.
Toews a indiqué au comité que 100 millions de dollars auraient
disparu. Les médias , dépendamment de comment on lit le
rapport. Pour moi, je vois ça comme 100 millions de dollars
qu'elle questionne s'il y a eu la valeur pour l'argent.
> M. Charles Guité: Je ne sais pas si c'est
la question directe que vous voulez me poser, monsieur Thibault,
mais, regardez, comme je l'ai fait tantôt, j'ai pris deux
exemples tantôt et je pourrais en prendre, il y avait, quoi, 1
200, 1 400 projets dans les quatre années où cela s'est passé.
Quand j'étais là, je ne me rappelle pas du nombre de projets,
mais je pourrais regarder ces dossiers-là. Et la vérificatrice
générale a fait une évaluation de combien de dossiers? Je ne
me rappelle pas si c'était 49, puis sur ça elle en a trouvé,
je ne sais pas, 29 ou 30 ou la moitié, 50 p. 100, puis ces 49
dossiers-là avaient des erreurs. Bon, cela veut dire que si tu
> In English an extrapolation of that you end
up that 98.9% of the time we were right, there was no problem.
So to me it's very simple, you cannot generalize, which is very,
very misleading and in this case, realistically, $100 million
cannot disappear into thin air.
> I'm not an auditor, but if I had access to
those files, I would not find $100 million that we could not
> Hon. Robert Thibault: Thank you, Mr. Guité.
> I have one last quick question. On that's
point, I think that's a very valid point, unfortunately, we
don't have time to develop it too much, but I think it's, as I
say, how you read the report.
> The last question I would have for you is
you mentioned before and today you doubted your word, but the
word of the war, that we were in a war and you talked about a
general and I know you're a former military person before
joining the civil service--
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, this morning
apparently I was a paymaster.
> Hon. Robert Thibault: The question I'd ask
you, when you embarked in this battle, in this war as the
general, as the principal man handling that organization, what
were the rules of engagement and who gave the rules of
engagement? Was it the minister, was it the Prime Minister, was
it the Prime Minister's Office, was it a committee?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Mr. Thibault, let me
start by saying I was one of the generals. Again, obviously,
everybody says > "> Chuck Guité, Chuck Guité>
"> . As I said earlier, it's impossible for me to run a
program like that without input.
> There was a lot of people around the table
during the Mulroney years, during the Chrétien years, who
planned the strategy and so forth. My role was to execute, to
issue the contract, send it to an agency and get the work done.
But I didn't decide personally this is what we're going to do.
It was decided in discussions with PCO, PMO, the minister's
office, depending on what time frame we talk about and in the
> Again, here, I don't want to, I guess, take
a cheap shot, but in the case of Madame Marleau, she didn't have
the feel for what we were doing, so I basically got a comment
from PMO, > "> Well, look, over for the next little
while, deal with us> "> , which I did. And I've met
Monsieur Pelletier at my request where I felt that some of the
stuff we were doing may have a political impact in la belle
province and what better person to go and talk to than the Prime
Minister's Chief of Staff; and I had that access.
> Now Monsieur Pelletier would not....I
didn't go there to talk about the weather. He had better things
to do than that.
> So there was input from a lot of people and
very important here, it's input, not interference.
> The Chair: Thank you very much.
> Monsieur Guimond, s'il vous plaît, huit
> M. Michel Guimond (Beauport-Montmorency-Côte-de-Beaupré-Île-d'Orléans):
Merci, monsieur le président. Monsieur Guité, à quelle date
avez-vous quitté la fonction publique?
> M. Charles Guité: Combien est-ce qu'il y a
de jours au mois d'août? Trente ou trente-et-un? Le 31 août
> M. Michel Guimond: D'accord. Vous avez, à
mon collègue, Michel Gauthier, répondu tout à l'heure, et je
voudrais juste reprendre rapidement la séquence, mais je
voudrais juste m'assurer que je l'ai bien comprise, la séquence.
D'une part, il y a un événement. Il y a attribution d'un
contrat à une firme, incluant un plan de visibilité,
production d'une facture et un produit de visibilité livré.
> M. Charles Guité: Oui.
> M. Michel Guimond: Est-ce que cette séquence
a été appliquée pendant tout le temps où vous avez assumé
la direction générale?
> M. Charles Guité: Si je me rappelle bien,
> M. Michel Guimond: Ça veut dire tout le
temps. Ça veut dire donc de quelle date à quelle date, je
pourrais dire? De quelle date à quelle date avez-vous assumé?
> M. Charles Guité: Le programme a commencé
en 1997, qui voudrait dire le premier avril 1997, jusqu'au 31 août
> M. Michel Guimond: D'accord.
> Je vous réfère maintenant au rapport de vérification
> M. Charles Guité: Quelle date?
> M. Michel Guimond: Le rapport de vérification
interne qui a été fait du 11 mars au 11 mai 2000, mais qui...
> M. Charles Guité: Je n'étais pas là,
> M. Michel Guimond: ...vérifiait, c'est écrit
là-dedans, « ils ont procédé à une analyse détaillée de
276 dossiers de commandites choisis parmi les 580 » et la période
de référence est de novembre 1997 au 31 mars 2000. Donc, de
novembre 1997 au 31 mars.
> M. Charles Guité: J'étais là, oui.
> M. Michel Guimond: Donc, de novembre 1997
au 31 mars. Lorsque ce rapport de vérification interne stipule,
et là j'en cite des conclusions, « il y avait peu d'évidence
documentaire afin d'étayer les décisions prises en 1997 et
1998 », qu'est-ce que cela veut dire?
> M. Charles Guité: C'est comme j'ai dit
tantôt. Sur le dossier, il y avait un contrat, il y avait une
facture et il y avait une assermentation ou un post mortem,
qu'on appelle, sur le dossier.
> M. Michel Guimond: Mais quand on parle d'évidence
documentaire, quand on parle d'avoir des documents qui
justifient un contrat, qui justifient une dépense d'argent payée
par les payeurs de taxes...
> M. Charles Guité: Comment avez-vous
justifié, monsieur Guimond, de mettre le mot symbole « Canada
» sur la glace au forum à Montréal ou au Centre... Cela
s'appelle quoi aujourd'hui? Centre Molson? Non, c'est Centre
Bell. Et, dans le centre, il y avait, je pense, si je me
rappelle bien, le mot symbole « Canada » autour des bandes en
haut. Tu sais, ça s'allume. Alors, quoi d'autre est-ce que je
peux mettre sur le dossier?
> M. Michel Guimond: Je comprends que vous ne
> M. Charles Guité> : Et tous les événements
qu'on faisait, les événements, c'est d'avoir une présence fédérale,
le drapeau du Canada, très visible. Je vais vous dire que j'étais
très, très fier quand on a fait le Grand Prix à Montréal
d'avoir autant de drapeaux du Québec que du Canada. C'est beau
de voir le Québec à côté du Canada.
> M. Michel Guimond: Lorsque le rapport de vérification
interne nous dit, « bien que l'approbation de la commandite
doit être fondée sur une évaluation positive de la demande,
seulement 25 p. 100 des dossiers vérifiés contenaient une
demande et peu d'entre eux portaient la preuve d'une évaluation
par la direction générale. » Seulement 25 p. 100?
> M. Charles Guité: C'est le même
commentaire que je viens de faire. Comment est-ce que je peux
mettre autre chose sur le dossier sur un événement?
> M. Michel Guimond: Non, mais il y a des façons.
Il y a des photos, il y a des...
> M. Charles Guité: Dans plusieurs cas, il y
avait des photos. Il y a plusieurs dossiers qui n'en avaient
> M. Michel Guimond: Quand la vérification
interne parle qu'il y a seulement 25 p. 100 des dossiers vérifiés
qui comprenaient une demande de commandites?
> M. Charles Guité: Est-ce que c'est les 25
p. 100 quand j'étais là ou les 25 p. 100 après? C'est ça le
problème, n'est-ce pas?
> M. Michel Guimond: C'est une très bonne
question. Mais je veux dire que de novembre 1997, ils vont vérifié
276 dossiers sur 580. Il ne faudrait pas être chanceux
statistiquement qu'ils sont tous arrivés après votre départ.
> M. Charles Guité: Non, c'est sûr.
> M. Michel Guimond: La loi de la
statistique... Puis, d'après moi, les vérificateurs internes,
eux, ils font des...
> M. Charles Guité: Cela veut dire que j'étais
seulement responsable pour la moitié.
> M. Michel Guimond: Vous avez une façon très
> Mr. Charles Guité: What can I say?
> M. Michel Guimond: Bien que la direction générale
doit faire parvenir un autre exemple de commentaires, bien que
la direction générale doit faire parvenir une lettre aux bénéficiaires
de la commandite pour l'aviser du montant approuvé, cela veut
dire que là on ne parle pas du logo au Canada, sur la glace.
Une lettre aux bénéficiaires pour l'aviser du montant approuvé
et de la firme de communications qui gérera la commandite dans
seulement 25 p.100 des dossiers vérifiés, il y en avait une.
Qu'est-ce que vous avez à répondre à cela?
> M. Charles Guité: Je ne comprends pas
votre question mais je pense que je sais ce que vous voulez
> Si on avait une demande de commandite, que
ce soit le Centre Bell, je pense, que M. m'a indiqué, que ce
soit le Grand Prix de Montréal, le Festival des canards à
Montmagny, ou whatever, on avait une demande. Cette demande
pouvait venir de trois manières: du bureau du ministre, de
l'organisation elle-même ou parfois de l'agence. Quelqu'un
approchait l'agence et disait: «Regarde, on a entendu parlé à
travers les branches, parce qu'on a commencé à être pas mal
visible, que le fédéral donne des commandites pour telle
chose.» Une fois que cela était fait, il y avait un choix à
faire: oui, on y va ou non, on n'y va pas. Il y avait une agence
qui était choisie qui allait faire l'événement et, l'agence
en discussion avec moi ou avec quelqu'un de mon bureau, on
disait: «Bon, pour ce montant, on veut telle visibilité». À
la fin de l'événement la visibilité avait été donnée.
L'agence certifiée et les organisateurs de l'événement ont
donné la visibilité qu'on avait demandé. On a payé la
> M. Michel Guimond: Une autre chose que le
rapport interne de vérification nous donne c'est ceci: «Bien
que les firmes de communication doivent fournir un plan de
visibilité», vous me l'avez dit tantôt, «qui décrit les
occasions pour le gouvernement d'être visible et de faire
passer des messages, > à peine 25 p. 100 des dossiers vérifiés
en contenaient un plan de visibilité».
> M. Charles Guité: Oui. Ici, je vais faire
> Je sais que,quand je suis parti et même
avant, j'étais là pour ce programme de 1997-1998, 1998-1999,
qui était une partie de l'année parce que je suis parti en
1999, quand le système a commencé--cela ne serait pas honnête
de dire le contraire--il y avait très peu, comme dirais-je, de
procédures en place. On n'avait pas défini de système d'évaluation,
on n'avait pas défini comment on donne à cet événement
versus cela. L'information que je recevais de Groupaction et
d'autres agences, «dans tel endroit, vous devriez être là»,
c'est sûr que la première année--je suis totalement d'accord
avec cela--il y avait très peu de documents sur le système. La
deuxième année que j'étais là, je pense que c'est moi qui,
avant de partir et peut-être huit ou neuf mois avant de quitter
la fonction publique, j'ai institué un système de post mortem
et de photos des événements.
> M. Michel Guimond: À travers tout ce que
les rapports internes de vérification ont démontré et ce que
la vérificatrice générale a trouvé, ne pensez-vous pas,
monsieur Guité, que la vérificatrice générale avait entièrement
raison de dire qu'il y avait des éléments manquants dans
chacun des dossiers, et que c'est là-dessus qu'elle juge qu'il
était impossible de savoir où est allé tout cet argent?
> M. Charles Guité: Non, c'est impossible,
monsieur Guimond, que la vérificatrice générale n'est pas
capable de trouver les factures pour les événements. Son
commentaire à l'effet qu'il y a de l'argent qu'elle ne peut
pas..., ce n'est pas qu'elle ne peut pas le justifier, elle ne
peut pas trouver cela. C'est impossible.
> The Chair:
> Mr. Guimond, I'm sorry, your time has
> Mr. Jordan, please, eight minutes.
> Hon. Joe Jordan (Leeds-Grenville, Lib.):
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
> Mr. Guité, I may pick up a little bit on
my colleagues. We had the executive director from VIA Rail here.
I asked him specific questions about Maurice Richard. So I'm
wondering, did you have the AG's report there? Can you...?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Hang on for a sec. I
was interrupted by legal counsel. Could you start your question
> The Chair: Please start your question
again. Let Mr. Jordan ask his question. Mr. Jordan has a
> Hon. Joe Jordan: We had Mr. Lefrançios
from VIA Rail. I asked him specific questions about Maurice
Richard. I want to ask you specific questions about the Maurice
Richard series. I'm wondering if you could get that sheet.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, I have it.
> Hon. Joe Jordan: Maybe what I'd like to do
is describe what I take from the AG's report and then give you
an opportunity to perhaps explain what appears to be rather
regular transactions here. Fair enough?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Go ahead.
> Hon. Joe Jordan: My read of this, first of
all the thing that strikes me is that we've talked about
documentation, lack of documentation. The Auditor General says
here, she's referring to a business case, she's saying that from
her analysis she can find no up-front business case that would
have been used to justify this decision being a good or bad
decision in terms of policy.
> Essentially, you had about $4.7 million
given to this production company, L'Information Essentielle, to
make this series on Maurice Richard.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I was responsible for
$750,000 on that.
> Hon. Joe Jordan: Fair enough, but what we
had--then we'll get to that because according to this
diagram...you're saying $750,000 because it transcends your time
at CCSB. You left in August 1999.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes.
> Hon. Joe Jordan: But what we've got here is
a chart, and actually Mr. Boulay pointed out that this chart
sort of gives the impression this was happening simultaneously.
It wasn't, but Canada Post transferred about > $1.6 million
to this project.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Is that the Maurice
> Hon. Joe Jordan: Yes, according to the
chart. CCSB, over a number of years, transferred $3.4 million,
and you're saying you were there for $750,000 of that.
> Mr. Charles Guité: It's very easy. Look at
the dates here. In March 2000 I wasn't there. In February--
> Hon. Joe Jordan: No, I'm not denying that.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Which one do you want
me to answer?
> Hon. Joe Jordan: Let's start with was there
no business analysis done before this project was undertaken?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I forget when I
specifically got involved in that Maurice Richard project, but a
figure in there with which I disagree, and I don't know where it
comes from, where somebody from L'information essentielle says
> "> The executive director agreed to verbally
commit--.> "> Well,
you can't verbally commit funds. It's a government note to
funding that includes $7.5 million for a series on Richard, $1.2
to the millénaire, which I don't know what they're talking
about, and funding for a series called Innovation. I don't know
what that is either, but if I recall the specific issue or
sponsorship you're talking about, the Maurice Richard, I
remember very clearly Robert Scully, who is the president of
L'Information Essentielle coming to my office and discussing the
Maurice Richard series. I said to him, > "> Yes, this
is a very good series and I think we'll get a lot of visibility
certainly dans la belle province because we're talking about
Maurice, the Rocket, number 9, Richard.> ">
By the way, I used to know the individual very well. I
said to Robert Scully, > "> Robert, I can't see the
word mark being put on an event like that.> ">
He said, > "> VIA Rail wants to go but they've
got no money, or they don't have enough funding to do it.>
"> I forget
if it was during the current fiscal year or the fiscal year
after. I'm trying to recall here from memory the subsequent
discussion I had with Robert Scully, but subsequently I called
Marc LeFrançois who is the...and was chairman of the...I said,
> "> Marc, Scully came to see me. I know he talked to
you. They want to do this series on the Rocket. What do you
think?> "> He
said, > "> Chuck, I think we're going to get a lot of
visibility. We're going to get a lot of events around it.>
"> I said,
> "> Well, look if you want to go and get in on it,
go for it and I will make sure next year that one of the events
we sponsor will be the Maurice Richard series.
> Hon. Joe Jordan: Would you not define that
as a verbal contract?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No. I will tell you
what could have happened there. What I had said to Marc LeFrançois,
and I can get into the details of wanting to use the VIA Rail
logo because it has the word mark in it and VIA Rail is very
> Hon. Joe Jordan: Mr. Guité, can you just
stop there, please. There are two issues in my mind here. One is
the decisions around the policy and what was done and why it was
done. That's certainly a legitimate debate, but there's also how
it was done. I want to talk about how it was done because, at
the end of the day, I guess my question is what, in your view,
what did Lafleur, Groupe Everest, Gosselin do for their 12%
because it seems like they just passed the money on to the
> Mr. Charles Guité: Which question do you
want me to answer now?
> Hon. Joe Jordan: What did these advertising
companies on this chart do for their money?
> Mr. Charles Guité: As I said earlier in my
presentation, the ad agencies or the communications agencies
that were doing the sponsorship program--in those days well
defined in a Treasury Board policy--I had a staff of four
people, not like Communications Canada who had several hundred
and make the comment today, > "> You don't need
agencies.> "> The
only way to manage those projects was to do it through an
agency. In the case of VIA and Post Canada, you cannot--how
would I use the words here--I cannot transfer funds from CCSB to
Post Canada. To> do
that I have to go through Treasury Board because that's taking
funds from one portfolio, and even worse, to a crown
corporation. So there's quite a system to go in. By using an
agency, which I've done to every sponsorship we did, I used the
agency to get that money into VIA Rail, but that money didn't go
into VIA for their operation, it went in for a sponsor....
> Hon. Joe Jordan: Okay.
> But if the advertising agency is augmenting
your staff and providing some coordinating function to the
project, why wouldn't you have stayed with one agency? Why would
you have broken it up between agencies?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, if you look at
the timeframe, some of them were different years, and when we
reviewed the process at the start of the year, we looked at who
got what last year, who is getting what this year. You have to
remember, too, that the agencies in a program like that--and I
won't deny it--it's a fairly good commission. But I could use
again, and take up this committee's time for an afternoon, about
some of the work the agencies have done and lost their shirt.
Like any ad agency out there, there are some winners and some
losers, but at the end of the day, any business, your overall
success is at the end of the year. Some projects you make more
money, others you don't. I mean to say, > "> What did
they do?> "> They
probably made sure that it happened. They probably made sure
that we had the visibility at the events that were done leading
up to the Maurice Richard launching of the film, and I think
> Hon. Joe Jordan: Are those amounts industry
standards? Or are there industry standards on what the
commissions are in the advertising industry?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Very much so.
> I think, Mr. Chairman, if I could take two
> The Chair: No, one minute.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, one minute.
> The best thing that this committee could do
is ask the chairman of the ICA, the Institute of Communications
Agencies to come and make a presentation to this committee on
> The Chair: Okay. Thank you very much.
> Mr. Toews, please, eight minutes.
> Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC): Well, Mr.
Guité, if there were winners and losers on contracts, certainly
from what we've seen there were never any losers when it came to
the Government of Canada and taxpayers' dollars. These agencies
won every single time. There's no mistake about that. Maybe you
were a good negotiator as far as the agencies were concerned.
> I want to deal very specifically with
chapter 3, page 20, along the same lines of questioning as my
colleague asked earlier. We have here dealing with the 125th
anniversary of the RCMP, we have CCSB dealing with a number of
agencies, we have CCSB sending money to Lafleur in a separate
contract with a 12% commission, we have Media/I.D.A. with a 3%
commission, then another contract to Lafleur, then another one
to Gosselin and Media/I.D.A., and then another one to Gosselin,
so we have at least six different contracts and then it's split
up to the RCMP, Quebec division, and RCMP headquarters, and then
it eventually gets to the RCMP 125th anniversary.
> What the Auditor General has been saying is
it appears that these transactions are designed to hide the
source of the money. The Auditor General asks--and I think it's
a very good question--why wasn't the money just paid directly to
the RCMP and save $250,000.00 in commissions? Indeed, why wasn't
there one agency, one contract from CCSB to one agency to the
125th anniversary? Why this circuitous route ? I mean this looks
to me like money laundering. That's essentially what this looks
like to me. This is very suspicious. There is no legitimate
business reason to split up these contracts in this way.
> To paraphrase your former employee,
Huguette Tremblay said that you couldn't break any rules because
there were no rules, Mr. Guit> é.
> Now you're coming to us and saying, you
know, the documentation was all there, everything was there,
everything was fine. I don't know where the documents went.
> Mr. Guité, when Minister Dingwall saw you
and said, > "> You won't rat on them. You won't rat
on us> "> I
think he's right. You're not > "> ratting>
"> on them.
That's for sure. You're not > "> ratting>
anybody. Do you take us for fools to sit here and listen to your
nonsense? Why don't you answer these questions about why this
circuitous route with what should be a very straightforward
transaction, but which funnelled off $250,000.00 in commissions
through various contracts. Why don't you tell us about that?
> The Chair: Mr. Guité.
> Mr. Charles Guité: What is the question?
> Mr. Vic Toews: Why don't you tell us about
why you chose to secure this route in getting $250,000 in
commissions through six or seven or eight different contracts?
Why didn't the money go from CCSB to the RCMP with no agents, or
at least only one agent? Why?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Again, you've asked me
about four questions, but I'll answer a couple of them.
> The same comment applies to the RCMP as VIA
Rail, that we were talking about. I cannot transfer money
directly to the RCMP on the sponsorship program.
> Mr. Vic Toews: Why not?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Because that's the
rules. Let me finish.
> Mr. Vic Toews: That was the rule. So
> The Chair: No, no, Mr. Toews, Mr. Toews,
let him finish.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Let me finish. Yes,
> So if you transfer money from one
department to the other or the government gives money--in this
case it would be the government to the RCMP--it either has to be
through their funding or through a grant. The Sponsorship
Program was not a grant.
> Now, as far as using different agencies,
there were several events that went on during the RCMP 125th
celebration. Again, I'd have to refer to the files, but in the
case of Lafleur Communications, I think Lafleur Communications
looked after the ball that was organized in Montreal and some
events in the Quebec area.
> In the case of Gosselin--and, again, Mr.
Chair, I could be mistaken here, so I'd have to see the
file--there was a lot of promotion and a lot of promotional
items bought during the RCMP 125th celebration. In the case of
Gosselin, I don't know if anybody in the committee here
remembers--and I'm sure you'll see it in some of the
projects--we had a promotion program going with the hot air
balloons. There was the maple leaf, there was the drapeau du
Canada, and during the 125th anniversary there was the famous
RCMP montgolfières or hot air balloon that we also supported.
> Mr. Vic Toews: I don't doubt that there
were all kinds of programs. I'm wondering why you chose--
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no, let me finish.
> The Chair: Mr. Toews, just...Mr. Guité,
you can't go on and on. The question was why you tried
to...basically, the answer is, you're saying, each one had a
different role to play.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Exactly. That's it.
> The Chair: Okay.
> Mr. Toews.
> Mr. Vic Toews: Then, you disagree with what
the Auditor General said. And what she said:
> What is
particularly disturbing about these sponsorship payments, is
that each involved a number of transactions with a number of
companies, sometimes using false invoices and contracts or no
written contracts at all. These arrangements appear designed to
provide commissions to communications agencies, while hiding the
source of funds and the true nature of the transactions.
> What she's basically saying is that what
this is designed to do is simply to pay commissions to agencies,
it's not there to pay for legitimate programs. This is what this
is all about, isn't it, Mr. Guité?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, it's not. The
Auditor General's comment is wrong-->
> Mr. Vic Toews: She's wrong?
> Mr. Charles Guité: --and I illustrated it
very clearly in my opening comments.
> Mr. Vic Toews: Well...so you have five or
six different agencies that you contract with and you're trying
to coordinate the RCMP activities, but you do it through five or
six different contracts.
> Mr. Charles Guité: They were doing
> Mr. Vic Toews: Different activities. Why
couldn't you use one agency?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Because, as I said,
again, earlier, when we looked at the different allocations to
the firms, we didn't want it to go all to one firm.
> Mr. Vic Toews: And why didn't you want to
do it with one firm?
Charles Guité: So that they wouldn't get the majority of the
business. There was a guideline that says a company can only get
25% of a program.
> Mr. Vic Toews: There's a guideline that
says they only get 25% of the program.
> Mr. Charles Guité: It's very clear in the
communication policy or the contracting regulation--I can't
quote which one--that any company doing business with the
Government of Canada cannot have more than 25% of the business
> Mr. Vic Toews: So you split it up into
Lafleur, Lafleur, Gosselin and Gosselin.
> Mr. Charles Guité: In this case, they were
totally different activities.
> Mr. Vic Toews: But that doesn't get back to
the point. You said that a company can't have more than 25%.
Now, you've split it up into at least four different contracts,
two of them involving Lafleur, two of them involving Gosselin.
You're explanation makes no sense at all.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no, it does make
sense. The overall, the total business volume cannot exceed...if
the program was $40 million a year, one company cannot get more
than 25% of that program.
> Mr. Vic Toews: Right, but we're talking
about $1.7 million, we're not talking about $40 million.
Couldn't you give Lafleur $1.7 million so that it's handled in
an appropriate, transparent fashion, and then go to Gosselin for
another contract? What you're doing, you're splitting up all
these contracts, you're, in fact, hiding the source of the
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, I'm not.
> Mr. Vic Toews: We know that the RCMP wasn't
entitled to receive this. The RCMP commissioner says the RCMP
phoned you up, asked to buy the horses. You say that's not
> Mr. Charles Guité: That is not correct.
> The Chair: You're saying that is not
> Mr. Charles Guité: It's not correct.
> The Chair: All right. We're going to leave
it right there. My watch is about 6 minutes to 11. I'm going to
ask a couple of questions myself, Mr. Guité, then we're going
to break. We may break a couple of minutes early.
> The concern I have, Mr. Guité, when
listening to the last hour and a half or so, is that you tell us
that this was a bureaucratic process, that there was no
political involvement or interference. We also know from Mr.
Pelletier that this was the most important file on the Prime
Minister's desk and the Prime Minister said to the nation that
this was the most important file on his desk and I think the
nation agreed with him that this was the most important file on
you tell us that Mr. Pelletier never called you, you just went
to him, that you didn't discuss the details with the Minister of
Public Works who would have been the minister responsible for
implementing the program, the sponsorship program; and there was
very high political stakes on the sponsorship program going back
to your own words, as you know, in the previous testimony. It
doesn't seem that....I can't get the concepts clear in my mind
that the most important file on the Prime Minister's desk, the
most important file on the desk of the Chief of Staff of the
Prime Minister, the most important file for the cabinet of the
Government of Canada would not have any participation,
direction, knowledge, of what you were doing and why is that so?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, Mr. Chair, again,
I want to make very clear here, input versus interference. The
> The Chair: So tell us about the input.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes. There's no
question that the Prime Minister's Office, the minister's
office, PMO, were involved in the decision-making of the
sponsorship program. There's no question. I've never said...and
I think in earlier comments--
> The Chair: So what kind of decision-making
was involved then?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I had input. I'll give
you an example, I would meet, for example, with Jean Carle, at
PMO, because Jean Carle in those days was the Director of
Operations, I think, for the Prime Minister. So if we had
certain events going on, I wanted to know, for example, is the
PM going to be in that area? Because if we have two or three
events, we can make sure that when there's one happening the
PM's going to be there, he can be there.
> The other thing we coordinated very much
with the minister's office and we had input from the minister
was that at all events that we sponsored, can we have...would
they want to have somebody > "> political>
"> at those
events, which we could organize obviously, again, for more
visibility and so forth. So the minister's office, the Prime
Minister's Office, i.e. Jean Pelletier and Jean Carle had input
into the process. There's no question--
> The Chair: But you never talked to them?
They never called you and said....Now this is the most important
file in the Government of Canada. They never said >
"> Mr. Guité, come and see me and tell me what progress
are we making? Are we winning? Are we losing? Are we going
sideways? Are we off-track? Should we redefine--
> Mr. Charles Guité: We would discuss this
on a regular basis.
> The Chair: Who's we?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, with the
minister's office or the Prime Minister's Office--
> The Chair: No political people?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Pardon?
> The Chair: No political people?
> Mr. Charles Guité: What do you mean by
> "> no political people> "> ?
> The Chair: Nobody elected and no members of
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, the minister's
elected I think.
> The Chair: Well, you say > ">
minister's office> "> . I said the minister--
Charles Guité: I would meet, let's say, with the minister's
office and the minister, i.e. let's say once a month--
> The Chair: How about Mr. Chrétien? Did you
meet with Mr. Chrétien?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, I never met with
the Prime Minister, always with either Jean Pelletier or Jean
Carle. And I would brief them on how the events were coming
along. We obviously, not from my organization, but another
organization, either the political or whatever, we were seeing
the results of our impact in Quebec because we saw the
separatist movement going down. We saw the results. These things
were discussed with ministers that I worked with and PMO on a
> The Chair: So there was a serious act of
participation by the PMO or PCO, the Minister of Public Works
> Mr. Chuck Guité: PCO--
> The Chair: No, let me finish.
> There was an active engagement in the file
that they were all managing it, because this was the most
important file on the Prime Minister's desk. So that there was
an ongoing engagement, assessment, reporting, giving directions,
managing by the committee. Am I right in saying that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no.
> The Chair: I'm not. What--
> Mr. Charles Guité: I managed the files my
organization had. What I did is I briefed the minister's office
and PMO on the results we were getting.
> Now, I'm sure on several occasions the
minister said > "> Well, there might be this event
over here, that maybe we should consider that one or this
one> "> and
so forth, so they had input. But for them to direct me how to
manage the program, no. They had input into the events. They had
input into the agency allocations. >
> The Chair:
> Was there feedback, saying > ">
This is was we got. We're getting value for money here and value
for money there> "> ?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Sure.
> The Chair: You said > "> This is
value for money> "> .
> Mr. Charles Guité: Sure. The results, the
proof is in the pudding.
> The Chair: Okay.
> Well, just one final question on this note.
When you had these discussions about this is what we've
achieved, did they give you any direction to say > ">
We think we're off-track, value for money> "> ? Did
they ever tell you to change direction?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, as I said earlier,
they may have indicated that there are certain events coming up
that we should consider.
> The Chair: Okay.
> We're going to recess for 15 minutes.
> The Chair: Resuming our hearing.
> Mr. Tonks, you are next for eight minutes,
> Mr. Alan Tonks (York South-Weston, Lib.):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
> Mr. Chairman, through you, if I may.
> Mr. Guité, I would like to preface my
questions with a bit of an overview. I think that what the
Auditor General wanted to understand further was the extent to
which the rather elaborate procedural architecture was put in
place that allowed you to carry out what you perceived to be
your mandate, and that was to win the Separatist battle, if you
will, one that I would suggest is still going on by the presence
of our colleagues in the Bloc.
> Mr. Cutler, and you are familiar with Mr.
Cutler, who worked under your direction, had indicated that
there was a separation of the issuance of contracts, the
adjudication of contracts, the tendering, all of that part, and
there was a separation of that process to the evaluation and the
subsequent issuance of a contract. He indicated that you took
some exception to that, it wasn't perhaps going to your
satisfaction, and as of March, when concerns were raised out of
a meeting that was held, this was March of 1995, and I quote Mr.
> Mr. Guité had
acquired the authority to authorize advertising, advertising
related expenditures on behalf of Public Works. The earliest
example is the Group Everest contract. It clearly indicated that
Mr. Guité now had the authority to authorize the expenditure.
This development meant that Mr. Guité was in a position to
authorize the expenditures, select the agency, approve the terms
of the contract, and confirm that the work was performed, and
> Would you agree that this was the authority
that you had?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Alright. I could go through
other illustrations that indicated that you did, to Mr. Cutler's
satisfaction, exercise that kind of control, if you will.
> The audit that was done, in fact, found
that the concerns raised by Mr. Cutler-
> Mr. Charles Guité: Which audit?
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Both audits, the internal,
and the external audit.
> Mr. Charles Guité: The internal, there was
one in 2000, and there was one-
> Mr. Alan Tonks: I'm talking about 1996.
> Mr. Charles Guité: In 1996, okay.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: The internal audit, and the
> My question to you is, there appears to be
concerns that were raised at that time, the interpretation of
the financial process was being somewhat, in your words, bent.
Where did you get the authority to do those things? Did you take
that to Mr. Quail, and was the subject of the audit discussed
with Mr. Quail? Was there any action that was taken subsequent
to that that started to tighten up on those processes again?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Which question do you
want me to answer?
> Mr. Alan Tonks: You can answer it any way
> Mr. Charles Guité: Mr. Chair, I think it's
extremely important that I make a comment regarding Mr. Cutler
because it's important. I may add that there's a couple of other
witnesses that you've had here that are fairly questionable.>
> Mr. Cutler, and I read his testimony that
he gave here, clearly if I remember right-and I'm not going to
quote him because I don't have his testimony in front of me-said
that I wanted to fire him. Totally wrong. What I said to Mr.
Cutler was that he would be red circled, which meant that he
would stay in his position, but he could not go any further
because I didn't need that level of individual in my
> Mr. Cutler's statement that he's never been
promoted and so forth, well I met him in 1986 I guess as a PG-5,
we're now just about 20 years later, and he's still a PG-5. So
it had nothing to do with me.
> What's important here is that when I told
Mr. Cutler of the situation he went to the union. The union came
back, sat in my office with a witness sitting there and I
explained to the union what the process was in a red circling.
Subsequent to that Mr. Cutler fiddled with the files and I have
proof of that. I have a witness that will testify here to that.
> I called in the audit after Mr. Cutler's
accusation and one of my employees spent three months with the
auditors going through Mr. Cutler's accusations and they were
> The Chair: I'm going to stop there, Mr.
Guité. You've made an accusation against Mr. Cutler. Do you
have any documentation that you could submit to this committee
to support the allegation that you've just made against Mr.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Could you start your
> The Chair: I said, you've just made a
serious accusation about Mr. Cutler fiddling. I'm asking if you
have any documentation that would support your allegations.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No I don't have
documentation, but I have a person who used to be on my staff
who spent months with the auditors and would justify that files
have been amended after this incident.
> Now what's very important here, Mr.
Chairman, also, I had to have the locks on our offices changed
because Mr. Cutler was coming in at night. We found files on his
desk that he had nothing to do with, files that should not be on
his desk at that time were on his desk. So I was the person that
said to my deputy at the time, these are pretty serious
allegations that Mr. Cutler has made so let's have an audit. I
think that my staff that spent three, three-and-a-half months
with the auditors could justify what I have just said.
> The Chair: You're saying you called in the
> Mr. Charles Guité: I discussed it with the
deputy and said we have to have an audit. Obviously an audit is
always the decision of the deputy.
> The Chair: I'm just going to talk here, my
apology, we'll stop the clock here for you, Mr. Tonks.
> We're dealing here with a serious
allegation against Mr. Cutler. I'm reviewing here a letter from
Mr. Steinberg who was a senior auditor. It was addressed to Mrs.
Stobbe, the Assistant Deputy Minister, dated June 19, 1996. It
> The issue here is
one of policy and procedures which may in themselves be faulty.
However, individuals have tried to overcome these by taking
shortcuts or inventing methods which have led to wilful
alterations of documents which, if examined by an audit or
outside regulatory agency, would raise questions of probity in
the manner in which the department is fulfilling its duties and
obligations with respect to contracting.
> Now that is from Mr. Steinberg. So you're
saying that was because you instituted this audit, not because
the union did it on behalf of Mr. Cutler?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No. I think, Mr. Chair,
you have to be careful here. I, as an individual, can't request
an audit. There's no question. I'm quite sure that the final
decision to audit any part of a department rests with the Deputy
Minister. At the time of these allegations I was involved in
discussions with the Deputy or Assistant Deputy Minister I
reported to at that time and was well aware that the audit would
take place, but it wasn't me personally who called the audit. I
can't do that.>
> The Chair: You did not call the audit?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No I can't.
> The Chair: We'll leave that matter.
> Mr. Tonks, I'm going to return to you.
You've got about two-and-a-half minutes.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
> The reason for my questioning is that I
think the committee wants to understand better just the
accountability in the systems. Under the Financial
Administration Act and Treasury Board guidelines, it's the
accountability that protects against funds not being spent on
what they're supposed to be spent on. So I want to understand
that as a result of that audit, were you aware of what the audit
findings were at the time?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Definitely, because
what I would have to do as executive director or
director--whatever title I held at the time, director general,
it doesn't matter--as the person in charge of that organization,
I would have to respond to that audit. In other words, I think
the way it worked way back then, and I don't have all the
details, but there was an internal audit and then they called in
an external auditor, who was...I forget, but it was a private
> Mr. Alan Tonks: In 1996.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes. They came in and
did an audit.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Last question?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Now, what I have to do
as head of that branch or that sector at the time is respond to
that audit, with all the observations and a plan to make
> Mr. Alan Tonks: If I may just interrupt--
> Mr. Charles Guité: Let me finish. Once I
had done that, there was no major problems in the division.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: That's my point. That's my
> When the letter was sent up to Mr. Stobbe,
and in fact Mr. Marshall indicated that the same thing was
happening when the CCSB...there was no separation out--
> Mr. Charles Guité: Who's Mr. Marshall?
> The Chair: deputy minister of Public Works.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: He gave us a chart that
showed us how the usual administration of contracts should go,
and how it went under the regime that had been established.
> My question to you is, that you had weekly
meetings with Mr. Quail--
> Mr. Charles Guité: Not weekly, no.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: That's not what you said in
your testimony. You said, > "> There was a committee
chaired by Mr. Quail that you met with weekly> "> .
> Mr. Charles Guité: When was that? When did
I say that?
> Mr. Alan Tonks: You said that in your
testimony of 2002.
> Mr. Charles Guité: That meeting was not
the meeting about this. What I attended was the executive
committee meeting of the department, not a meeting to deal with
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Would it not have seemed
appropriate that something out of an internal audit and external
audit that said there were problems that were founded, that Mr.
Cutler had raised...? Would it not have seemed reasonable that
there would have been part of that meeting to discuss how the
changes were going to be made?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Not at that meeting,
no. The executive committee would not address that. The deputy
would address that directly with me.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Did he?
> Mr. Charles Guité: He sure did. I had to
give him an action plan of how to address those observations
that were made.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: But no changes were made,
> The Chair: but I'm still concerned about
the allegation you made about Mr. Cutler, Mr. Guité, and
especially I thought you said that you initiated the audit.
Again, I go back to the letter that I was just quoting from....
> Yes, Mr. Lastewka.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines, Lib.):
I've been trying to hear the words very clearly. Did he initiate
the audit, or did he talk to the deputy minister about
initiating the audit?
> The Chair: I think he said he initiated the
> Mr. Charles Guité: Let me make it very
clear, I did not, and I could not, initiate an audit, because
the only person who can decide to do that is normally the
> The Chair: Yes. Now, you've said Mr. Cutler
did not initiate the audit.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> The Chair: It was because of Mr. Cutler's
complaint that the audit was initiated.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Exactly.
> The Chair: That's a pretty fine division in
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no, it's not a fine
line, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Cutler accused myself and my
organization of wrong-doings, and I was well aware that there
was no wrong-doing. There is nothing wrong with back-dating a
contract when you have to, and the contracts were there, and Mr.
Cutler, who was > "> a problem employee>
"> , took off and started to build a file.
> When I look at his testimony--that he said
to this committee, I don't know when--I question it.
> The Chair: Now, you did mention that when
you sat down with Mr. Cutler, there was somebody else with you.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes.
> The Chair: Who was that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: It would have been my
secretary, who I think...1994, I'm not sure, because I've had
three from 1993 or before that. From about 1990 until I left in
1999, I had three executive assistants.
> The Chair: So when you were having a very
serious discussion with one of your senior employees regarding a
serious difference of opinion, by the sound of it, it's normal
that your administrative assistant would sit in on these
> Mr. Charles Guité: Definitely, I would
never meet the union with Mr. Cutler and not have a witness. I
can find out, Mr. Chairman, who that was. It was either Mme.
Tremblay or Denise Paquette.
> The Chair: All right, we can check that
> Monsieur Proulx, s'il vous plaît, huit
> Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull-Aylmer, Lib.):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
> Bonjour, monsieur Guité. Me Edelson,
bienvenue au comité. Merci d'être ici ce matin.
> Monsieur Guité, j'aimerais que vous
m'aidiez à essayer de comprendre le genre de délégation de
pouvoirs que vous aviez, ou les pouvoirs que vous aviez dans
votre poste. Ce que je comprends de votre carrière c'est que,
quand vous étiez en charge des commandites vous étiez
directeur général. Je suis surpris qu'un directeur général
ait eu la latitude pour faire des transactions de millions de
dollars, soit avec des corporations de la Couronne soit avec des
agences extérieures. Alors pouvez-vous essayer de m'aider à
comprendre le cheminement. Vous aviez quelle délégation de
pouvoirs, d'où cela provenait-il? Est-ce que c'est vous qui
preniez les décisions ou est-ce que c'était un sous-ministre
associé, un sous-ministre adjoint, le sous-ministre? Aidez-moi,
s'il vous plaît.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Thank you, Mr. Proulx.
> Delegation authority in a department, the
ultimate delegation, obviously, is with the minister. The
minister delegates to his deputy, his deputy delegates to his
ADMs, his ADMs delegate to the DGs, and the DGs delegate down
the line. Obviously, the delegation that I had in those days,
obviously, I had the delegation to spend those funds or to
allocate those funds because when I signed an invoice and I sent
it to finance for payment, I don't make the payment. The
Department of Finance--not Finance Canada, but the Department of
Finance within the department--makes the payment. The first
thing they will check, if I have signed an invoice for $20 or
$20 million, is has he got the delegation authority. On file is
a delegation card that says, > "> J.C. Guité ... has
this amount of delegation> "> . So if they paid the
invoice, obviously I had the delegation. That delegation would
come from the minister to the DM to me. It would come down the
> Mr. Marcel Proulx: When you get a
delegation of that sort, >
> Est-ce que le sous-ministre, le
sous-ministre associé ou le sous-ministre adjoint garde
toujours un droit de regard, une autorité? Ce que j'essaie de
savoir de votre part, monsieur Guité, c'est qu'on a eu M. Ran
Quail qui est venu témoigner avec Mme la sous-ministre qui a
suivi M. Quail. Ils sont venus nous dire qu'ils n'avait aucune
idée de ce qui se passait dans votre groupe de travail, dans
votre division, si vous voulez, et je les ai questionné sur ce
point en leur demandant: «Comment un groupe...?». Vous étiez
combien dans votre groupe de travail? Dix, douze, quatorze?
> M. Charles Guité: Non. Dans ce temps-là
l'organisation comprenait à peu près 12 personnes. Il y en
avait cinq ou six dans la publicité et les commandites, après
cela j'en avais quatre, je pense, du côté de la recherche.
Cela en fait à peu près huit ou neuf. Et on avait, c'est sûr,
mon assistante et peut-être deux commis. Alors on était une
douzaine de personnes.
> M. Marcel Proulx: Vous n'étiez pas dans un
édifice isolé, vous n'étiez pas un ministère isolé.
> M. Charles Guité: On n'était pas dans le
même édifice que le ministère.
> M. Marcel Proulx: Je comprends mais vous étiez
tout de même, vous faisiez partie du ministère.
> M. Charles Guité: Oui.
> M. Marcel Proulx: Est-ce qu'ils ont raison
quand ils me disent, ou quand ils ont dit au comité qu'ils
n'avaient pas de regard sur ce que vous faisiez, ils ne savaient
pas ce qui se passait, vous aviez l'autorité, vous faisiez ce
que vous vouliez?
> M. Charles Guité: Non. Premièrement je
vais faire le commentaire suitant. La plupart du temps où j'étais
dans ce poste-là, j'ai eu M. Quail comme sous-ministre qui a
donné beaucoup de support à notre orgfanisation. Mais de dire
qu'il n'était pas au courant qu'un de ses directeurs généraux
qui, à travers l'un des sous-ministres dépensait quatante
millions par année, et qu'il n'était pas au courant? Je ne
pense pas. Et même, j'envoyais régulièrement des listes de
projets, etc. au bureau du sous-ministre.
> M. Marcel Proulx: Avez-vous souvenir,
monsieur Guité de vous être assis, soit seul ou dans un groupe
de travail ou M. Quail était pour faire un rapport de ce qui se
passait. Vous pouvez avoir envoyé des rapports mais cela ne
veut pas dire nécessairement qu'il a eu vos rapports sous les
yeux. Mais avez-vous souvenance personnellement d'avoir fait un
rapport verbal ou d'avoir expliqué verbalement à M. Quail ce
qui se passait?
> M. Charles Guité: Oui, mais comme comité
non. Jamais je n'ai eu un comité où M. Quail était présent.
Souvent, lorsque je rencontrais M. Quail, comme on dit toujours
one on one, c'est sûr que j'expliquais un peu le programme.
> M. Marcel Proulx: De façon générale,
vous vous rapportiez à votre supérieur, qui était un
> M. Charles Guité: Administrativement oui,
mais fonctionnellement non.
> M. Marcel Proulx: Vous vous rapportiez à
> M. Charles Guité: Au ministre. Est-ce
qu'ils vous ont montré l'organisation lorsque j'étais
> little box that you kept referring to. That
was a little box, so administratively, there's no question. I
got very good support from the deputy, obviously my salaries and
my operating funds came out of the A base of the budget of the
department, but the deputy minister was not involved in the day
to day doings or ongoings of my organization. I basically
trucked along and briefed the minister and his staff on where we
were going; PMO when it was necessary.
> M. Marcel Proulx: Vous vous rapportiez au
ministre par choix du ministre ou par choix du sous-ministre?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Neither of the above.
> C'est sûr que je me rapportais au ministre
parce que c'était la façon de faire depuis toujours, rapporter
dans le sens op> érationnel et non administratif.
> M. Marcel Proulx: Dans vos notes, au début,
et vous y avez fait référence tout à l'heure, vous avez parlé
> the allocation to specific firms.
> en disant que cela provenait du cabinet du
premier ministre et des ministres. Qu'est-ce que c'est pour vous
> allocation to specific firms?
> M. Charles Guité: Il faut faire attention
que cela provenait...ça ne provenait pas.
> Lorsque je rencontrais soit M. Pelletier,
dans les années 1996-1997, alors que Mme Marleau était
ministre, et suivant cela c'était avec M. Gagliano, qui était
le ministre. Donc, lorsqu'on regardait la liste, moi j'arrivais
là avec la liste des projets qui donnait les évènements, le
montant recommandé, que j'avais discuté soit avec des
personnes de mon organisation, parce qu'à la fin de la journée,
il fallait arriver à un tel montant. Ensuite, il y avait les
commissions qu'on payait, les dates de l'évènement etc.
> M. Marcel Proulx: C'était dans la liste
que vous étudiiez.
> M. Charles Guité: Oui. Cette liste-là est
disponible. Alors, si monsieur le président veut en avoir une
copie, il n'a qu'à demander la question au ministère, ces
listes-là étaient faites à tous les ans.
> Alors, lorsqu'on révisait cette liste de
projets, par exemple, le 15 mars, parce que l'année fiscale
finissait et la nouvelle année commençait. Je m'asseyais au
bureau du ministre, et d'habitude son chef de cabinet, pour
regarder la liste. C'est sûr qu'on ne prenait pas l'allocation
du 40 millions de dollars. On se gardait toujours une marge de
manoeuvre entre 10 et 12 millions de dollars pour des
changements durant l'année. C'est sûr qu' il y avait là
l'input du ministre. On considérait combien pour telle agence,
est-ce que ce sont des bons projets, est-ce qu'on devrait faire
des changements etc.
> Durant l'année, à chaque fois qu'on
faisait une autre allocation, c'est à ce moment-là que je
rencontrais le bureau du ministre, soit le ministre lui-même ou
son chef de cabinet. Son chef de cabinet, c'était surtout
Pierre Tremblay. M. Bard, je l'ai rencontré deux ou trois fois
parce que j'avais presque quitté le ministère à ce temps-là.
Alors, il n'y avait pas de changement qui se faisait sans aviser
le bureau du ministre, car pour eux, au niveau politique, disons
qu'il y avait un évènement à Montmagny et que, par hasard, l'évènement
était annulé, le bureau du ministre aurait pu dire: « il va y
avoir quelque chose à Montmagny, alors on devrait s'assurer
qu'il y ait un représentant politique ».
> * (1145)
> The Chair: I'm afraid...very, very briefly.
> M. Marcel Proulx: Est-ce que les listes
mensuelles contenaient les mêmes informations que la liste
annuelle? Vous nous avez dit, et M. Pelletier nous a dit que
vous vous rencontriez avec M. Tremblay pour regarder les projets
parce que vous questionniez la pertinence. Est-ce que ces
listes-là contenaient les mêmes informations concernant la
description des évènements, les montants et les commissions?
> M. Charles Guité: Je ne le sais pas.
> The Chair: I'm going to cut you off, Mr.
Proulx. The answer was...
> Mr. Charles Guité: I can't remember if
those lists were the same.
> The Chair: Mr. Proulx, would you like us to
obtain these from the department?
> M. Marcel Proulx: Sure, thank you.
> The Chair: Okay. We will try...Mr. MacKay,
eight minutes, please.
> Mr. Peter MacKay
(Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
> Thank you, Mr. Guité, for being here,
along with your counsel.
> Much of what you've told us today, sir, has
cast a lot of serious aspersions on previous witnesses,
including your most recent comments about Allan Cutler. Mr.
Cutler was here. He brought extensive evidence with him. In
fact, we have four bound binders of documents and testimony that
Mr. Cutler presented to this committee. Yet when it comes to
much of what you're telling us today, you're just saying >
"> take me at my word> "> .
> There wasn't documentation in many of the
files according to the Auditor General. In fact, she went on to
say > "> The absence of documentation prevents us
from determining the extent or the appropriateness of
discussions. The files did not indicate their results>
"> . This was in her report. She said, later on in an
interview, > "> These methods were apparently
designed to pay commissions to communications agencies while
hiding the source of the funds> "> .
> Now, essentially, you've told us that the
Auditor General doesn't have any credibility when she makes
these claims and you illustrated in a couple of examples,
namely, the Blue Nose, that you couldn't put the Blue Nose in
the file. Well, nobody's suggesting that, sir, but you could put
invoices in there. You could put requisition orders. You could
put employment forms for people who worked on the file. You
could put in a bill of lading. There are all sorts of
documentation that could have and, I suggest, should have wound
up in some of those files.
> I would like to know from you why those
rules were deliberately flaunted by yourself and those involved
in the delivery of the sponsorship program?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I said earlier there
was a contract, there was an invoice. You just said there was no
invoice. You cannot...how do you issue a cheque without an
invoice? And there was an affidavit or a post mortem report on
the file. The Auditor General's comment and I'm not trying, Mr.
MacKay, to discredit the Auditor General, all I said in the
examples at the start, it is inaccurate. If I could have access
to those files and sit down with auditors I would show where
every penny went. It's impossible in the Government of Canada to
pay an invoice without...to issue a cheque without an invoice
and a contract.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Well, Mr. Guité, you're
given an opportunity now to do just that. You're telling us
you'd be willing to sit down with the Auditor General and help
locate where that money went and account for it. I think you
said earlier and correct me if I'm wrong, sir, you told us that
every penny of that $100 million could have and could be
> Mr. Charles Guité: Definitely.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Do you believe that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, I do.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: And when the Auditor
General tells us that there were invoices not in files and in
many cases the files were incomplete, the data wasn't there,
> Mr. Charles Guité: She is wrong and I'll
tell you why. How could we have paid...how could the Government
of Canada have issued a cheque without an invoice? Ask that
question to the Auditor General.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Well, we'll have that
opportunity, Mr. Guité.
> I want to ask you a specific question that
came from Madame Tremblay who I believe was an employee of
yours. She worked directly with you?
> The Chair: Just a moment, please.
> All right, Mr. MacKay.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: You're familiar with
> Mr. Charles Guité: Very much.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: In what capacity did she
work for you?
> Mr. Charles Guité: From 1986 roughly to
> Mr. Peter MacKay: So she worked closely
with you, she was in your office.
> Mr. Charles Guité: She was my--
> Mr. Peter MacKay: She was interactive with
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, let me answer
> She was my secretary, for a better term,
but as we call them executive assistants in these days, from
about 1986, 1987 to about 1991 or 1992. Then she became the
administration officer of my organization and when we merged
advertising and public opinion research sector with another
branch which became CCSB, she became in the job that she was
when I left which was in charge of the contract--
> Mr. Peter MacKay: > She worked regularly
with you, Mr. Guité, that's my point.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: And she would have had
knowledge of what was going on in the office, the day to day
operations of what was taking place, correct?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Now, Mr. Guité, aside
from the fact and I guess we'll agree to disagree on the premise
of whether those contract files were complete and whether
invoices were actually there--
> Mr. Charles Guité: They were when I was
> Mr. Peter MacKay: They were there. Well,
Mr. Guité, did you ever shred documents? Were you ever involved
in the shredding of documents?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I definitely have
shredded some documents and I can give you an example. They were
not documents pertaining to any files or project file.
> One invoice I can remember putting in a
shredder was an invoice that was received from one of the
sponsorship events we were doing and that invoice was addressed
to Mr. Pelletier. The reason it was addressed to Mr. Pelletier
is that sponsorship had gone PMO, back to me, back over to the
event and obviously the event organizer or the person--
> The Chair: (Inaud) only one document that
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Is that the only
document, the only time it happened?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I may have personal
notes or things like today, I would get back to the office and
> Mr. Peter MacKay: You're telling us today
you shredded an invoice.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Don't you feel that this
should have been in a ...? Was it a duplicate?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no, it was an
original invoice. What I did is I had either Mme. Tremblay or
somebody else call the organizer and say, > "> Look,
don't send an invoice to Jean Pelletier, send it to CCSB>
> Mr. Peter MacKay: I see. So you didn't want
that invoice to go anywhere else but to CCSB?
> Mr. Charles Guité: That's right, but they
cannot send an invoice to PMO. The PMO has no authority to pay
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Why wouldn't you just put
it in the file? Back to this issue of why there wasn't complete
documentation in the file. You say there was, but the Auditor
General completely disagrees.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I put the next invoice
on file, which was addressed to my organization.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Why would you shred it?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Why would I not?
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Well, Mr. Guité, it
seems to me that you felt it was just okay to chuck the rules--
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: --just to say we're not
going to comply with the regular operating standards that seem
to exist for everybody else.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I don't agree.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: You seem to tell us today
that you just ran your own show.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: You said in your final
paragraph in your submission here,
> Did the PMO and
ministers provide input on decisions with respect to specific
events that were sponsored and the allocation of specific firms?
> Absolutely. And you make a very fine line
in determining what was political input and what was political
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes. Quite a bit of
> Mr. Peter MacKay: I'm suggesting to you,
Mr. Guité, when you met with someone like Jean Pelletier or
your minister and they gave you input, that was political
influence, because you didn't want to wind up with a red circle
around your name, did you?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I don't agree with you.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: You don't agree with that
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: So you were able to
determine just on the word of whatever minister you were
speaking to, or whatever senior bureaucrat, and in the case of
Mr. Pelletier, the most senior bureaucrat in the government,
when they gave you input as to what sponsorship program should
be approved, what firms should be used to deliver those
services, you just took that as, > "> Well, they're
just giving me their opinion, and I'll just still make up my own
mind, independent of what these political masters are telling
me> "> .
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: That didn't happen?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: You were able to make
that judgment call on your own. You didn't have to follow any
other guidelines. You didn't have to follow the normal
procedures that were put in place, the checks and balances.
Those were chucked out the window?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no, we had a
contract in place, we had an invoice, we sent it to finance to
pay it, they paid it.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: But, Mr. Guité, the
Auditor General has said those contracts weren't fulfilled and
in many cases the government and the people of Canada were
billed for work that wasn't done. You haven't been able to cast
any light on how that happened under your watch.
> Mr. Charles Guité: The Auditor General has
not looked at the files and at the agency process. As I said
earlier, Mr. MacKay, when I was there, those files were there.
In 1996, when there was an audit done, the files were there.
There were comments made that documents were missing, and as I
said earlier to the chairman, there are individuals on my staff
who will verify that somebody screwed around with those files.
> Mr. Peter MacKay: Who did that, Mr. Guité?
You're telling us that you're a former military man yourself.
You're former military and you used the term, > "> We
were at war> "> , and there were other generals. What
we want to know is, who gave the orders, because you weren't'
> The Chair: All right, Mr. MacKay.
> Who gave the orders, Mr. Guité?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Orders for what?
> The Chair: You were saying somebody screwed
around with the files. Who screwed around with the files?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Mr. Cutler.
> Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
> The Chair: Order, order.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Mr. MacKay, I'll have a
witness if you want them to come here and testify--
> The Chair: No, no, we're not going to get
into that. No, no.
> Order, please, Mr. MacKay.
> Mr. Guité, you do say that the government
will not pay a bill without an invoice, and the Auditor General
confirmed that, and I think probably (inaud) confirm that. But
the Auditor General said these invoices were fraudulent
invoices. What do you say about that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Not that I was aware
of. Did the Auditor General say that? Quote, show me where.
> The Chair: Sorry, > ">
fictitious> "> was
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> The Chair: So, okay, it's on the record.
> Mr. Lastewka.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Thank you very much.
> Mr. Guité, I want to do a little bit of a
> The Chair: Ms. Ablonczy did tell me ...
what's that quote you've got there?
> Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: The witness may be
directed to page 21, paragraph 3.44, in which the Auditor
> The sponsorship
payments involving sometimes using false invoices and
> Mr. Toews read the same line to the witness
> The Chair: All right, the Auditor General
says > "> false invoices> "> .
> Mr. Charles Guité:
> How can you have a false contract?
> The Chair: Well, you can have a contract
that's quite false, Mr. Guité. I could write up a contract and
say that it has nothing to do with a business relationship and
say we're going to supply forces to the RCMP, for example, but
that's not the way it works, so you just say, that's the
contract. You already did admit that the contracts were
back-dated. You have said that already.
> Mr. Charles Guité: In 1994, I did say
that, and absolutely, but when I issued a contract to an agency,
the contract specified the amount of the sponsorship and the
event, and when that event was over, we paid the invoice. So
what's fraudulent about that? >
> The Chair: The auditor general says the
whole thing was a front and the work didn't appear to have been
done. That's the issue of the false
> Mr. Charles Guité: The work had been done.
> The Chair: Anyway, we don't seem to be
getting there, so Mr. Lastewka, please, eight minutes.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Could you tell me how
much time I've got left? Mr. Guité, I want to just summarize a
few items that you've mentioned in your report. You talked about
the AMG--advertising management group--starting in 1979?
> Mr. Charles Guité: In 1978, the Clark
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Then you talked about
that the group continued in the 1980's under Senator Murray with
> Mr. Charles Guité: There were the Trudeau
years between the Clark government and the Mulroney government.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Right, so this AMG
group, I guess we call it, continued on?
> Mr. Charles Guité: In the Trudeau years.
In the Mulroney years it continued on but added the POR--public
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: When was that added?
I'm not clear on that.
> Mr. Charles Guité: That was put in place
by the Mulroney government.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: So that's the polling
and research added to that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, which became
APOR--advertising public opinion research.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Okay. The group
starting in 1993-94, who were the members of that group at that
time, and were you a part of it?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I was there in 19--when
did the Mulroney government come in place. I became the director
of AMG/POR, I think, in 1989. It's in my opening document. I
think it was 1989 because they created the Canada Communication
Group and they could not take on APOR and AMG because they were
becoming a special operating agency, so that's when they
created, in fact APOR...it's in my introductory document.
> The Chair: Mr. Lastewka.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Okay, I'm following it.
You were part of the group in the early 1990's--1993-94? Was Mr.
Quail involved with that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I don't think he was
deputy then, no. In fact, in those days, it was Supply and
Services Canada, not Public Works.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Okay. When the program
of the sponsorship program was first initiated, were you part of
the design of the program?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Was Mr. Quail?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Hmm. You see, the
program, just so you understand how the process works, the
actual sponsorship activity started pre, during, and after the
referendum, before officially it became, in 1997. If I recall
correctly, the funding in those days was anywhere between...it
started off around $15 million and I think it went up to $20
million or $21 million, but I'm not sure here. I think that
money came under the Unity Fund.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: When you were involved
with the sponsorship program, what was your relationship with
> Mr. Charles Guité: Like any other
assistant deputy minister, I attended his executive committee; I
met with him on one-to-one at my request or his request. I had a
very good relationship with Mr. Quail.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Was he brought
up-to-date and involved in the progress of project approvals?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Repeat your question?
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Was he involved in the
process of project approvals under the sponsorship program?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Very little, if, in
fact, I would more intend to say, no.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Was he involved in the
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Was he involved in the
summary of final evaluations?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: You're leaving me the
impression that he wasn't involved at all.
> Mr. Charles Guit> é: No. What Mr. Quail
used to get from my organization was the list of events and
obviously, I may have met with him when he got the list, to
discuss it and so forth. The day-to-day operation of agency
allocation, event selection, post mortem and that, the deputy
was not involved in that.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: When you gave him your
reports-I think you mentioned it was on a monthly basis-did he
ever come back to you--
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, I didn't mention
that I gave him monthly reports.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: How often would he get
your reports then?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I think I would send
him the list once a year at the start of the year and then
probably an update halfway through as it changed.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: I guess it goes back to
my earlier question. It seems that he was absent a lot in the
> Mr. Charles Guité: He was not involved
very much in the day-to-day operation of my organization.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Basically then, it's my
understanding, he gave you full authority to run the sponsorship
program and from that point on maybe once a year or once a year
he got a report. He never questioned things, as the deputy
minister of the department.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: I find it strange that
a deputy minister would not be more involved in a program that
was one of the top programs for the government under his
department. Do you find that strange?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Not necessarily, sir,
because, as I said earlier, the advertising management group,
APORS, or at the end, CCSB, as far back as I can remember-I
wasn't involved in the Trudeau years but I was involved
definitely in the Mulroney government and, obviously, this
government-the AMG always reported either through a cabinet
committee, the minister's office. It always worked that way.
> Let me add that the other thing that is
very important here. During the Conservative years it was very
political. I had political appointees, named by the Prime
Minister's Office, to manage those two groups, and these were
very political people. The Chrétien government changed that. It
got rid of the political people. That's my famous comment where
I say > "> You're not going to rat on us; you won't
rat on them.> ">
There were no political appointees. It sure made my life
a lot easier.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: Is it as a result of
that you were given free wheel to operate and Mr. Quail just
> Mr. Charles Guité: No. In the operation
during the Conservative years I reported to Senator Murray
through PCO and so forth, so it was no different then except the
major difference between the Conservatives was the Conservatives
had political appointees on my staff and they, in fact,
controlled the process.
> Hon. Walt Lastewka: You mentioned earlier
that the committee should hear the association, I take it, for
the advertising companies. Why did you say that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes. When I left the
government in August 1999 I was approached by the ICA. In those
days it was called the institute of Canadian advertising.
Subsequently, when I was there for a year and a bit-and I'll
tell you why I'm not there anymore in a minute-they asked me to
go and work for them because they were having a bit of problem
with the access to the government and they were questioning the
way competitions were done and all that nice stuff, so I said to
the president of the day, who was Mr. Rupert Brendon, who is
still president, I think, > "> Rupert, I cannot
represent you in Ottawa or work for the association for at least
a year after I leave the government because I have a clause of
conflict of interest that I cannot work for any association that
I dealt with.> ">
Obviously, I've dealt with the industry for a good part
of my career, so I joined the ICA and Mr. Rupert and myself-and
I have a letter that I think I have with me so I can leave you a
copy-time and time again, we wrote to the government because
then I was obviously not a public servant anymore, and I wanted
to se> e the system become more transparent, open and so
forth on agency competition. Mr. Rupert Brendon wrote to the
President of the Treasury Board. He wrote to Mr. Goodale. He
never got an answer. He never got a reply, and I found out why.
It was because of Chuck Guité. I think it is very important
here that I explain why, Mr. Chairman.
> The Chair: Your time is up, but if you feel
it's important, you can finish that.
> Mr. Charles Guité:
> Mr. Boudria, who was the minister of the
day at that time, and the Canada Information Office obviously
reported to him at that time. Some people in Canada Information
Office said > "> Anything that Chuck Guité touched
is poison, don't touch it, and in fact, Mr. Minister, don't meet
with him> "> .
> Mr. Boudria, outside the House of Commons,
made a statement. I forget what, I would say I resigned from
ICA, I think in September 2000-01. Mr. Boudria came out of the
House of Commons and said > "> Chuck Guité, I may
have met him once. Who is he and why did he give $1,000 to my
campaign? I don't know. I don't know this guy> "> .
> Well, I think I know why Mr. Boudria didn't
last very long as a minister. He's got no memory. He doesn't
remember the dinner I had with him with a fairly profile hockey
legend during the Canada game. He doesn't remember that. He
doesn't remember that I organized a hot-air balloon ride in his
riding as part of the sponsorship program for his Highland
Games. He doesn't remember that. He doesn't remember a football
game in Montreal where he was going to do the first kick on the
ball. He doesn't remember his trip to Trois-Rivières to the
Grand Prix Trois-Rivières that was organized through the
sponsorship as a politicl guy to be there.
> He doesn't recognize, there were a couple
more I had but I forget them. So Mr. Boudria doesn't know me. He
doesn't know who Chuck Guité is. He's got an awful memory.
> The Chair: Thank you very much.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Based on that, Mr.
Chairman, I resigned from ICA because you can imagine I was
vice-president of government relations, representing the
industry, and the minister responsible for communications
doesn't know me and won't talk to me.
> The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Guité.
> Mr. Mills, please, eight minutes. Eight
minutes, Mr. Mills.
> Mr. Dennis Mills (Toronto-Danforth, Lib.):
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
> I'd like to begin by clearing up a
misconception around the Auditor General. The Auditor General
never said $100 million was stolen or $100 million was missing.
ON page 3 of chapter 3, she said > "> Over $100
million of the $250 million for the sponsorship program was paid
to communications agencies as production fees and
commissions> "> . She later added to that, when I
asked her, management fees, as well.
> My obsession, Mr. Guité, over the last
nine weeks on this journey has been the whole value for money.
It's very difficult for Canadians to understand, if you sponsor
an event, how do you decide whether you put $5,000 into an
event, or $100,000 or $1 million, whatever it is?
> My question to you is around that area of
value for money. Did you ever, in your execution of these 1,987
events over a number of years, or your portion of them, did you
ever ask those agencies or those sponsored events to ship
post-evaluation analysis to sort of ratify that the taxpayers
were getting value for their money?
Charles Guité: Initially, on the latter part of your question,
did we do a proper evaluation? Probably not, initially. There's
no question that when we decided when we were going to do....
> For example, let me use two ends of the
stick, here. We're going to do the Grand Prix in Montreal. We're
going to have an audience, a great audience. I'm sure that I
could not go into the Grand Prix in Montreal and ask for the
type of visibility I wanted for $25,000. Those events, like the
hockey arena, were in the $500,000, $700,000 sponsorship events.
> So obviously I knew that there was value
there. I know that people watching a hockey game are going to
see that wordmark, left and right, every time the puck goes over
it when the camera's on the ice.
> Now, if I had a request for sponsorship
of--let me think of a good one, here, and again, I'm not trying
to make a joke, here--but > "> La descend de canots
dans la rivière de la Mauricie> "> . I'm not going
to put $50,000 in that event. It was a good event. They applied
for it. They were going to have a launching of this river.
Descend la rivière, as we say en français, and they wanted, I
don't know, $5,000 or $10,000.
> Well, it's value for money. They were
promoting Canada on that event. They had wordmarks at the start
and the finish, and so forth. So obviously there was value for
> Mr. Dennis Mills: So perhaps I can ask my
next question then.
> When the Auditor General's team came in
here...and we understand now that the audit of the 1.987 events,
there were 56 that were chosen from that envelope where she
extrapolated her analysis. Did you ever get a chance when the
auditors would come in and say, here is the way we find the
management of this file, and we don't feel that it's
appropriate, or we feel that the contracts haven't been >
"> papered> ">
properly, did you ever have a chance--or value for
money--did you ever have a chance to say to those auditors that
were doing this evaluation, your position on this file?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, and the reason for
that, Mr. Mills, is I wasn't there when the audit was done. The
only interview I had with the Auditor General was when the issue
came out around the Groupaxion reports. I agreed at the time to
meet with the Auditor General. They wanted to know certain
discussions on those files. At that time, not having access to
the contract or the files, I clearly indicated to the Auditor
General that the crown got value for money. But again the
Auditor General today is saying the files are not there. They
were there when I was there. Where did they go?
> Mr. Dennis Mills: Wouldn't the ad agencies
have had to have kept sort of backup documents on all these
> Mr. Charles Guité: Again, now you're
asking me questions that I have to check the contract
regulations, but I think an agency doing work on behalf of the
government has to keep documents and track of what they've done
definitely in their files. I can't verify that. I'd have to get
that checked out, but I think that's part of a contract, what I
call the fine...the details at the back of a contract.
> Mr. Dennis Mills: How much more time do I
have, Mr. Chair?
> The Chair: You've got almost three minutes.
> Mr. Dennis Mills: Yesterday we had the RCMP
here and they told us about the 700 events that they did over a
period of time across Canada. Would it not have been a normal
practice for your officials to ask the local village, town, city
to send a post-evaluation sort of report about the impact on
tourism, or whatever, the RCMP Musical Ride would have had in
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Bob Mills: People who come from that
industry or who have had the event happen in their town, they
know the impact, but in terms of an audit on value for money,
they need to see that, they need to know that the local
newspaper was involved, the local radio station, the local
television station, that hotels and motels were being filled.
How is that we never got all of that information backing up the
700 events of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Because that's the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police duty.
> I sponsored the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police--I forget the amount that the government put in there, or
the sponsorship program--mainly for the event that happened in
Montreal, le bal that happened in Montreal, and I think there
was definitely something in Quebec City, and then there were
some promotional items that were acquired, including some
horses. Again, you know, that's the only involvement.>
> Now, the other 699 projects or events that
the RCMP have done, I have no knowledge of what they even did,
so I can't have input or have anything on file for that.
> Mr. Dennis Mills: Thank you.
> Mr. Charles Guité: But what's important
here, too, Mr. Chair, is--I forget if I read it or heard it on
TV this morning in the early news--where the commissioner said,
> "> Well, we phoned Chuck to see if we could buy
horses.> "> If
I gave a sponsorship to the RCMP, the Montreal Canadiens, the
football club, I'm giving them money to make sure I have the
visibility that I negotiated. What they do with the money is
> Mr. Dennis Mills: A short question.
> The Auditor General made a statement that
Mr. Guité broke every rule in the book. What is your response
> Mr. Charles Guité: I haven't broke any
rule in the book.
> Mr. Dennis Mills: Thank you, sir.
> Thank you, Mr. Chair.
> The Chair: Thank you very much.
> He's got 20 seconds left. If you want to
share your time, if anybody wants to share...do so at the
> You did say there, Mr. Guité, that
whatever they did with the money was their problem, but you say
you always got value for money. That's a bit of a contradiction.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, it's not, Mr.
> I'll give you five examples if you want.
> The Chair: No, just give me one.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Okay, I'll give you
> I paid the Montreal Canadiens $500,000 to
have the Canada wordmark at both ends of the ice for a season
and the wordmark around the arena I think on what they call
their mobile board that goes around, and I think it also
included a couple of ads in their regular magazine. We
negotiated with the Canadiens de Montreal to have that delivered
to the crown, and it was delivered. Now, if the Montreal
Canadiens took that $500,000 and bought hockey pucks, that's
their problem. What I paid for is I paid to get visibility and I
> The Chair:
> Mr. Charles Guité: Is it different than
Pepsi or Coke?
> Not at all.
> The Chair: I did mention the other day that
I was an accountant in a prior life and that wouldn't fly with
me, I can assure you.
> Mr. Kenney, eight minutes.
> Order please, order please.
> We have now finished the first round of
four rounds. We're now back to the second one, where of course
it will be the Conservatives, the Bloc, Liberals, NDP and so on.
> Mr. Kenney, eight minutes, please.
Jason Kenney: First of all, Mr. Guité, you've given us three
different stories about who gave you leave to report directly to
Jean Pelletier in the PMO. First, under questioning to me, when
I expressed surprise that a mid-level bureaucrat would be
reporting to the most powerful man in the government, you said:
> "> Well that was the established process that had
been that way since the Joe Clark government.> ">
Later you said that the PMO called you to have a direct
contact with them when Madam Marleau was the minister because
she wasn't getting it, she wasn't playing the political game.
And you also said that you contacted Jean Pelletier on your own
accord. So I want to know which of these three stories is
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well I don't know what
the question is.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: The question is who gave
you leave to report directly to Jean Pelletier? Did you assume
that responsibility unto yourself? Or were you told to do so by
the PMO, as you earlier testified?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, let me--
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Or was that the
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well hang on. I'm going
to answer the first question.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Which of your many
versions of events is accurate?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I'm going to answer the
> When I met Madam Marleau for the first time
it was very obvious to me that Madam Marleau was not interested
in that file. When I came back to my office, not Jean Pelletier
or not Jean Carle, Chuck Guit> é called PMO. And I said to,
probably, one of the assistants in Mr. Pelletier's office that I
would like to meet with Mr. Pelletier regarding the appointment
of the new minister. And when I met with Jean Pelletier we
discussed the issue and he said > "> Look, Chuck, for
the next little while report to our office.> ">
> Mr. Jason Kenney: So now you're reporting
not to the minister, but actually to the Chief of Staff of the
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, exactly, yes. No,
you're right, yes.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: But you initiated this?
You didn't mention this to your deputy minister or your
minister, that you were now going to report to their boss' boss?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no. The minister of
the day, as she said in this committee, said > "> I
don't want to deal with Chuck Guité.> ">
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Now she didn't want to
deal with you, sir, because you weren't her deputy minister. She
wanted you respecting the normal reporting lines, isn't that
> Mr. Charles Guité: And that's fine. That's
what she wanted and she was right in that decision.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: So what you're really
saying, I take it, is that Madam Marleau wasn't willing to play
the same political game and see the rules being bent in the same
fashion that Mr. Dingwall, Mr. Gagliano, Mr. Pelletier and Mr.
Carle were willing to?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well she couldn't go to
Mr. Gagliano. The only thing she could compare it to was Mr.
Dingwall because the ones came after .
> Mr. Jason Kenney: And she wasn't as willing
to bend the rules in terms of reporting lines and so forth as
Mr. Dingwall was, that's what you're testifying?
> Mr. Charles Guité: That's exactly.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: When you say that Mr.
Dingwall told you that > "> you don't rat on us and
we won't rat on you> "> , what do you think he meant
> Mr. Charles Guité: He just meant exactly
that, that I wasn't going to give him information on the
previous administration and if the reporting structure of my
group stayed the same I would respect ministerial
> Mr. Jason Kenney: In other words, if the
rules were bent, if you were given political direction about how
to mismanage this program, that he wouldn't tell on you and you
wouldn't tell on him?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, he wouldn't give me
political direction. There's quite a bit of difference between--
> Mr. Jason Kenney: He wouldn't give you
political direction. Well, you've testified that you have faith
in Madam Huguette Tremblay, who was your assistant for several
years. You've promoted her. Obviously you had confidence in her.
She said, under questioning from me, when she appeared before
us, that very often when you would come back from the minister's
office > "> we were given directives as to which
sponsorship had been approved, so I mean, put one and one
> Mr. Charles Guité: Which minister?
> Mr. Jason Kenney: This was Gagliano.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, that's true.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: She went on.
> Mr. Charles Guité: But then you're
> Mr. Jason Kenney: I said > "> Do
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?> ">
She replied > "> It is my belief, yes.>
> Is that accurate? Was there political
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, that's her point of
> Mr. Jason Kenney: I'm asking you if you
share her point of view?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Is she right or wrong?
> Mr. Charles Guité: She's wrong.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: She's wrong about that?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Well she tells us that
sometimes you would refuse to approve a contract the minister's
office wanted and that you would overturn that decision. That it
was overturned by the minister's office, rather.>
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no. She may have
said that, but not concerning Chuck Guité, probably Mr.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Would you have us believe
that when you were meeting with the Chief of Staff to the Prime
Minister that he was merely providing general political advice
and coordination and suggestions? Isn't it true that when you
were meeting with--
> Mr. Charles Guité: Political advice,
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Yes, you said exactly
that. You wanted to know where the Prime Minister was going to
be, whether or not--
> Mr. Charles Guité: That's not political
advice, that's trying to find out what the Prime Minister's
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Oh I see, so coordinating
the programs that you were financing with the Prime Minister's
schedule was not political. That was just normal bureaucratic
routine was it?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no. All of those
events that we did, one of the things that we had input from the
Minister's office and the PMO's office is to let us know when
these events happen, and if we can, we'll have a political rep
or person at that event.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: We'll have a political
person at that event, but that wouldn't be political.
> Mr. Charles Guité: That is definitely
> Mr. Jason Kenney: So it is political.
> Well, Mr. Guité, can you get it straight
here for us. Did you ever say no when Mr. Pelletier offered
> Mr. Charles Guité: Definitely.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: You did say no.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Definitely.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Oh you turned him down
> Mr. Charles Guité: Definitely.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Like on what?
> Mr. Charles Guité: On certain events that
he wanted to do, or that came through his office. I can verify
that. You know where somebody would approach his office and say,
look, we'd like you to put the pressure on so we can get some
money. Not a lot of times, but several times I cut back to his
office, maybe not him personally, but after I got it from him
and got back to his office and said, look, here are the reasons
why we don't want to go to that one.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Well Mr. Pelletier
testified, even he was straight enough to understand, that you
would never say no to him. He said that you never declined to
finance a project that he proposed unless your budget had run
out of money in which case you would lobby him to get the budget
for CCSB increased. Is that not accurate?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I have approached him
to get more money on the budget, definitely.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: So you're telling us that
you told the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister basically on
certain files to go and fly a kite.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No I didn't tell him to
go and fly a kite. I evaluated the requests that came through
his office and said to his office, and maybe I sent a reply back
to his office saying we should not get involved for these
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Well, Mr. Guité, I'd
like to move to this question of how this money was...In your
opening statement you said that you had never received input
from the PMO, Gagliano, or Dingwall on the names, never
suggested the names or got involved in the agency's selection
process. I think you later amended your version of those events.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, never amended that
and never will.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: I see.
> Mr. Charles Guité: They have never got
involved in the agency selection process. There's quite a
difference between selecting an agency and allocating the
> Mr. Jason Kenney: So the fact that these
agencies were all major donors to the Liberal Party, some of
them, for instance, Group Everest, contributing over $100,000
over the course of five years of this program, is just a mere
> Mr. Charles Guit> é: What agencies do
with political parties is the agency's problem, not Chuck Guité.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: It's their problem.
> Sir, why is it that in all of these
sponsorship arrangements you used these agencies as filters for
this money rather than sending the cheques directly through? As
one example, the Maurice Richard series, why is it you spent
around half a million dollars in commissions to Liberal friendly
ad agencies for simply, according to the Auditor General,
passing a cheque on with no value added? Why didn't you just
send a cheque on directly through to L'information essentielle?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Can't do it.
> Mr. Jason Kenney: You couldn't do it. It
> Mr. Charles Guité: I think I explained
> Mr. Jason Kenney: Because you were so
scrupulous about not breaking rules.
> The Chair: Okay, Mr. Kenney.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I think it's important,
Mr. Chairman, that I answer that question.
> The Chair: Yes, you can answer this
> Mr. Charles Guité: There is quite a
difference between a sponsorship initiative and a grant. If I
sent the money directly to L'information essentielle, or
directly to the Montréal Canadiens, or directly to anybody else
with its sponsorship, it becomes a grant. I can not transfer
funds from a government portfolio to a private organization. It
has to be a grant.
> The Sponsorship Program was set up in my
organization to promote the visibility of Canada so it became a
program called the Sponsorship Program. The only way I could
facilitate that process in order to have access to all these
sponsorships was to go through an ad agency. I also had three
people on staff.
> The Chair: The definition of a grant, Mr.
Guité, is for the Government of Canada, pays and gets no value
in return and does not expect value for return. For example,
it's a grant that we pay out to many Canadians...the old age
security that we pay out every month is a grant because we pay
the money, there's no value comes back to the taxpayers of
Canada, the Government of Canada. That is a definition of a
> Now the notion that you couldn't send the
money to them directly because that would be a grant isn't
correct because you were, according to the Auditor General...at
least there might have been a 48¢ stamp or whatever, but the
concept was that you were saying there was value for money
received back to the Government of Canada either through the
advertising agencies, or by just plain award and so on.
> This was not a grant under any
circumstances even if you paid the money directly to the
organization because a grant says no value return to the
Government of Canada. There are many situations where the
Government of Canada pays out grants on that basis. Sponsorship
program, any way you slice it, wasn't one of them.
> Mr. Gauthier, s'il vous plaît. Huit
> M. Michel Gauthier: Monsieur Guité, dans
votre déposition de ce matin, l'avant-dernier paragraphe où
vous dites que, pendant que vous étiez directeur exécutif, «je
veux être très clair, je répète, très clair. Le bureau du
premier ministre, le ministres Gagliano et Dingwall n'ont jamais
suggéré de noms d'agence», c'est votre déclaration.
> Je voudrais simplement que vous
m'expliquiez le contexte de la lettre du 22 février 1995 qui a
été rendue publique et qui porte votre signature, destinée à
M. Kinsella, qui était du cabinet de M. Dingwall, et dans
laquelle vous lui dites, je me permets une traduction libre: «Je
vous fais suivre le rapport du comité pour for your review,
pour que vous le regardiez, and after...
> Le président: Monsieur Gauthier.
> M. Michel Gauthier: est-ce que c'est
> M. Charles Guité: Arrêtez, monsieur
Gauthier. Je suis au courant de la lettre.
> M. Michel Gauthier: > Vous êtes au
courant. Alors à ce moment-là, si vous êtes bien au courant
de la lettre que vous soumettez au ministre, au cabinet du
ministre, et que vous dites que cela doit être ratifié au plus
vite, alors demain sauf avis», comment vous conciliez les deux
affirmations à l'effet qu'ils n'ont jamais mis le nez dans la sélection
d'agences mais que, par contre vous prenez la peine de le faire
avec leur cabinet? Et quelle est la distinction entre les deux?
> M. Charles Guité: J'ai un document ici qui
> Appendix Q. I think the chair has a copy of
this. If I can refer to page 6 of that policy. And if you don't
> Si vous n'en avez pas une copie, je peux
vous en faire parvenir une. Cela va prendre juste une minute à
expliquer le processus.
> Quand on faisait une sélection d'agences,
il y avait un comité de deux personnes de mon équipe, deux
personnes du ministère et deux personnes su secteur privé. Il
y avait des entrevues, des présentations d'agences qu'on
appelle. À la fin de la journée, il y avait six agences qu'on
gardait, ce qu'on appelait le short list. La compagnie no 1, la
compagnie no 2, 3 4 ou 5, basé sur le pointage qu'elles ont reçu
durant la présentation. Dans la politique ou le règlement du
Conseil du Trésor, un ministre avait le droit de changer entre
la première ou la deuxième agence, si la différence était
moins que 10 p. 100.
> Cela veut dire que, disons que je me présente
comme agence et que j'ai 90 points. Vous vous présentez comme
agence et vous avez 88 points. Je suis premier. Le ministre
avait le droit, s'il le voulait, lui ou elle, de dire: «J'aime
mieux le numéro deux parce..», et je vais être un peu comique
ici, «parce que ce sont nos chums, on va prendre le numéro
deux». Je vous affirme que cela n'est jamais arrivé qu'un
ministre ait changé la décision du comité. Et dans la
politique, c'est écrit ici. Je ne l'ai pas en français mais si
vous avez des problèmes, je vais vous le donner en anglais:
> The selection
review committee will forward its recommendation and a summary
of its deliberations to the minister of the department or agency
> Cela veut dire que quand j'envoyais ces
lettres-là, comme dans ce cas-ci à M. Kinsella, c'était pour
le ministère de M. Dingwall. La même lettre a été envoyée
à tous les ministres, dans tous les ministères, chaque fois
qu'il y avait une compétition.
> M. Michel Gauthier: OK.
> M. Charles Guité: Mais la chose importante
c'est que je veux vous assurer qu'il y a un ou une ministre qui
voulait changer de numéro un à numéro deux. Et quand son chef
de cabinet m'a appelé, j'ai dit: «Est-ce que vous aimeriez
cela demain matin être dans le Globe and Mailou dans les
journaux du Québec: «Minister reverses this». Elle a dit: «Non,
on est mieux de laisser cela tranquille». Il n'aime pas le
Globe and Mail.
> M. Michel Gauthier: J'aimerais que vous
nous disiez, monsieur Guité, la chose suivante. Tout à l'heure
vous avez dit: «On garde dix ou douze millions dans le budget
chaque année. Je donne de l'input au ministre», entre autres,
et vous avez dit combien telle agence a eu. C'est la phrase que
vous avez eue. Pourriez-vous élaborer un petit peu plus,
toujours en concurrence de ce qu'on vient de dire?
> M. Charles Guité: Une allocation à quelle
> M. Michel Gauthier: Oui.
> M. Charles Guité: Comme je l'ai dit tantôt
ou plutôt ce matin, quand je rencontrais le ministre ou le
bureau du premier ministre durant les années de Mme Marleau, on
préparait une liste, mon organisation, pas moi personnellement,
mais les personnes de mon organisation. On avait 300 ou 400
demandes par année. On préparait une liste basée sur celle-là,
avec une discussion avec mon équipe que «cela ça paraît pas
pire», et on faisait une allocation entre 28 et 30 millions,
disons qui auraient > été approuvés, autorisés ou discutés
avec le ministre, et plutôt discutés avec le ministre au
commencement de l'année fiscale.
> Alors quand je rencontrais, soit M.
Pelletier, soit M. Gagliano--dans le temps de M. Dingwall ce n'était
pas le même processus--on regardait la liste ensemble avec son
chef de cabinet, moi-même ,et je ne me rappelle pas si j'avais
quelqu'un d'autre avec moi. Sur cette liste-là, on regardait «voici
les énervements qu'on va faire», et la liste indiquait l'événement,
le montant, le pourcentage de commission, s'il y avait de la
production, et l'agence. C'est sûr que dans ces discussions-là
si ministre ou M. Pelletier avait dit: «Regarde, cela paraît
pas mal pesant de ce côté-là». Excepté que d'habitude
j'avais assez de jugement entre les deux oreilles pour essayer
de diviser cela également.
> M. Michel Gauthier: Parce que les
> M. Charles Guité: Dans certains cas, il y
avait des petites agences qu'on avait gardées et ce n'était
pas vraiment égal, parce que c'était des agences qui n'avaient
pas le personnel dans leurs équipes pour être capables de
livrer un projet comme le Grand Prix de Montréal.
> M. Michel Gauthier: Dans le fond, vous référez
au pool. Il y avait six ou sept ou dix agences et, vous, vous
vous organisiez pour équilibrer pour que tout le monde en ait.
C'est ce que je comprends.
> M. Charles Guité: Exactement.
> M. Michel Gauthier: Pour éviter que le
chef de cabinet du premier ministre intervienne.
> M. Charles Guité: C'est évident. L'autre
chose, c'est sûr, comme je viens de dire, il y avait une ou
deux agences qui étaient des petites agences. Alors, c'est sûr
que je n'aurais pas donné, par exemple, le projet Bluenose à
une agence qui a un personnel de cinq ou six personnes.
> M. Michel Gauthier: D'accord. Il y avait
des dossiers plus simples comme d'aller porter le chèque à VIA
Rail. Ce serait plus facile. Ça ne prend pas une grosse agence.
Mettons que c'était des dossiers plus...
> Vous avez dit quand même, monsieur Guité,
vous avez dit que vous faisiez un équilibre. Ça, on peut
comprendre, ce n'est pas un mauvais souci. Le chef du cabinet du
premier ministre avait peu souvent l'occasion d'intervenir, mais
il est intervenu déjà.
> M. Charles Guité: Ça dépend ce que vous
voulez dire par intervenir. Moi, si je me rappelle bien...
> M. Michel Gauthier: Pour équilibrer.
> M. Charles Guité: Peut-être, oui. Mais,
moi, si je me rappelle bien, le seul temps que j'ai vraiment eu
des discussions avec l'allocation des projets pour l'année
fiscale, ça a été durant l'année et quelques mois que Mme
Marleau était ministre et cela veut dire que sur ce processus-là,
j'ai rencontré Jean Pelletier une fois, pour ce processus-là.
Dire que je l'ai rencontré à toutes les années--bien, toutes
les années, ça aurait été deux fois, parce que j'ai été là
deux ans--, ce ne serait pas juste, parce que ce n'est pas vrai,
ce n'est pas cela que j'ai fait. Je l'ai rencontré, par
exemple, sur d'autres choses, comme l'impact qu'on pourrait
avoir dans tels événements. Je l'ai rencontré une fois pour
avoir plus d'argent dans mon budget, parce qu'on manquait
d'argent. Si je me rappelle bien, je pense que j'ai une note sur
mon dossier indiquant à M. Pelletier qu'on avait besoin d'un
autre, je ne sais pas, 5 ou 6 millions de dollars avant la fin
de l'année. C'est là que je peux dire que souvent, M. Quail,
il n'aimait pas cela, mais je l'appelais parfois et je lui
disais « Monsieur Quail, on a besoin d'un autre 5 ou 6 millions
de dollars dans les commandites.
» C'était quand le budget était dans l'envergure d'à
peu près 30 millions de dollars. Parce que quand cela a commencé,
le budget a commencé à 15 millions de dollars, durant les années
du fonds, du programme Unité Canada, ensuite il est tombé à
29 ou 30 millions de dollars et, ensuite, il est tomb> é à
40 millions de dollars.
> L'autre chose très importante, c'est que
ce programme-là avait ce qu'on appelle en anglais un sunset
clause. C'était de l'argent que, moi, il fallait que j'envoie
à toutes les années une soumission au Conseil du Trésor et la
soumission qui arrivait au Conseil du Trésor était signée par
le premier ministre du Canada. Alors, vous voyez l'importance.
Je me rappelle...
> Le président: Merci beaucoup, monsieur
> Mr. Charles Guité: Just one second, if I
could just finish.
> The Treasury Board every year got this
thing prepared by my group, signed by the Prime Minister of
Canada. So obviously the Treasury Board Minister at one of the
events said I don't know if we want to approve this, and one
minister said well look at the bottom--it's approved.
> It's pretty obvious.
> The Chair: There you have it, approved.
> Mr. Tonks, eight minutes, please.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If
I get any further around here, you'll have to have me sworn in.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no. Let me make
this clear because it's important. The Department of Public
Works had several of what I would call--not > ">
would> "> , they were--executive committees. There
was the executive committee of ADMs, which I was part of. So
you'd have the ADM of personnel, of operations, of procurement,
and so forth. Then there was another executive committee on
personnel and so forth. I only sat on one which was the
Departmental Executive Committee--DEC, I think it was called,
yes, Departmental Executive Committee--and at that committee,
what the minister would do is brief his ADM on his discussions
with the minister and so forth, here are the priorities of the
department, and so forth. Then there would be a round table of,
you know, okay, Mr. Scobey, who was the assistant deputy
minister of finance, and he would give a briefing on the overall
budget of the department and so forth. The ADM of personnel
would give an overview on personnel matters and any big issues
coming up, or brief the rest of the committee members if there
had been changes in personnel out of Treasury Board and so
> When it came to Chuck Guité, I briefed
that executive committee on, you know, we've got five agency
competitions coming up with these departments, the sponsorship
program is going as planned, we discussed staffing, funding, the
ongoing operation of my group. I did not give a briefing at that
meeting, while there's that many activities going on in
sponsorship and so forth. So, it was the executive committee.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Okay, thank you. I just
wanted to clarify Mr. Quail never raised the issue.
looking at a document from the Internal Affairs Directorate of
June 17, 1996, which says:
> Allegations made
in relation to the contracting practices of the advertising and
public opinion research sector are founded. The documents
reviewed note that a number of files ...
> Sorry, the rest of it is that it delineates
instances where requisitions for goods and services had been
received and backdated and that kind of thing.
> Mr. Charles Guité: As I said earlier,
there's no question that in certain instances we backdated
> Do you have a copy of that audit, Mr.
Chairman, the 1996 audit?
> The Chair: Not in front of me, but it's
been circulated widely for the last month or more.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, but I think you
should ... if you have it, I mean, that audit was done while I
was there. There was an action plan to correct whatever
observations were made, and unless I left my memory in Arizona,
there wasn't that much .... There were some definite
observations that were serious observations in that audit and we
took corrective action to correct those observations.
> The Chair: Was there a follow-up analysis
or anything to suggest or confirm that this was done?>
> Mr. Charles Guité: It has to be, Mr.
Chair, because Mr. Steinberg, who I know very well, when he did
an audit internally, we--I, being responsible for that
organization--had to give him back an action plan. That was
brought up to the audit review committee which was chaired by
the deputy. When Mr. Steinberg did that quick internal audit,
after Mr. Cutler's accusation, then they called in another firm,
and I can't recall their name--
> The Chair: Ernst & Young.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Ernst & Young, they
came in and that's the firm that spent three months in my
organization, plus, and that's where it became very evident to
me and to my employee who was involved with the auditors to
review those files, that somebody had been tinkering with the
files. My comment that Mr. Cutler tinkered with the files, I
stand to that today.
> The Chair: My researcher here is saying
that the central recommendation of the Ernst & Young audit
was that, and I quote:
> It may be more
beneficial to all parties to incorporate the procurement of
advertising and public opinion research within the normal
procurement stream of PWGSC services.
> That was the central recommendation. That
was never implemented, I take it?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I don't think so, and
that would have been the decision of the deputy minister.
> The Chair: There was no reporting back to
Mr. Steinberg and the audit department that notwithstanding the
recommendations we're not going to implement these?
> Mr. Charles Guité: That would have been
done in the action plan because we have to respond to every
observation. A decision would have been made to leave it the way
it was, not by Chuck Guité, but by the deputy minister.
> The Chair: We certainly don't recall Mr.
Steinberg saying there was an action plan that said that the
central core recommendation was to be ignored. Does anybody else
> Mr. Charles Guité:
> No, Mr. Chair, I could be totally wrong,
here. All I'm saying is that when I was a public servant, when I
worked in Supply and Services Canada, if I was responsible in
organizing that and there was an audit, there had to be an
action plan sent to the auditor.
> The Chair: Yes, I believe there was an
action plan, but I don't think anybody followed up to find out
if the action plan was actioned on. That, I think, is the issue.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Could be.
> The Chair: You have 3 minutes and 59
seconds, Mr. Tonks.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
> Mr. Guité, you had given an overview just
a few minutes ago with respect to the agencies and how they were
selected. Up to this point we've had the impression that you
just pulled them, you selected the agencies arbitrarily. Can you
> I was interested, and I'm sure the
committee would be interested, there is an organization or an
entity called the Federal-Provincial Relations Office--
> Mr. Charles Guité: Which I think now is a
> Mr. Alan Tonks: All right. You know more
about it than I do. Could you illustrate for the committee what
the role was of that entity, and what direction they gave you
and how your department or your group interfaced with this
organization? The reason I ask that is that there's the
impression that there was no strategic direction other than very
political, in a hierarchical way, whereas there was this entity
that seems to come up every so often, at least it did in your
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, the
Federal-Provincial Relations Office, I used to know, maybe it's
not that, anymore, but let me give you my memory of that
organization. The Federal-Provincial Relations Office I think
was part of PCO initially. FPRO, I remember FPRO like yesterday,
were really federal-provincial relations. It would do things
like, if there was a major issue in agriculture, for example,
out west, FPRO would get involved in communication exercises and
so forth, how to deal with that.>
> During the referendum, obviously, who's
going to get involved in the communications is FPRO. They called
me up and they said > "> Chuck, we know what we've
got to do, you know what we've got to do. We have some staff,
but we're short of an expert in advertising, and communications
and promotion. Would you lend us an employee?> ">
After about a week of discussion, I had four people on
staff in that organization.
> I agreed to send Madame André-Larose who
was my right arm, left arm and two feet. She was really the next
person in line from me. André-Larose went over to FPRO. Then we
started obviously to plan on the strategy to fight the
> When, it must have been sometime in 1994--
La date du referendum, c'était quand?
> A voice: Novembre 1995.
> Mr. Charles Guité: So, November 1995 was
the referendum. So sometime in late 1994, 1995, Madame Larose
came back to our office, which was next door, by the way. FPRO
was at 30 Sparks, and I was at the old Birk's building on Sparks
Street, which is next door, just about. She came over one
morning, and she said > "> Chuck, they> ">
, they being FPRO, > "> want to get agencies on board
to get a strategy around la bataille> "> .
> The Chair: Mr. Guité, is this all relevant
to answering Mr. Tonks' question?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes, it is, because
he's asking me how the process worked. So we had a competition,
as I described earlier, how we invited firms and so forth.
> In the advertising world, once an agency is
in place, we used to put in place what we call > ">
standing offers> "> . So it means that standing offer
can run one year, two years, three years, five years. It can run
forever if you don't change it. Normally, after five years you
would review a standing offer, which we did in advertising.
> So those firms, during the referendum,
worked on that file. Obviously, we had some good results, but
> Mr. Alan Tonks: They were chosen through
this process at FPRO. Thank you.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Through this process,
but your question, though, I know where you're going. About
1996, before the sponsorship program officially started, we
re-competed, this time using a completely open process, i.e. not
using the claws that I could use during the referendum.
> We had a competition. I think we invited,
the record will show, again, there were 10 or 12 firms that
presented. Oh no, more than that because we retained 10, I
think. They became the standing orders for the sponsorship
> Obviously, the record shows that of the $40
million, $39.5 million, or not quite that much, was spent in la
belle province. That was the intent of the sponsorship. So we
used agencies on the list that were in Quebec.
> Mr. Alan Tonks: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
> The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Tonks.
> Ms. Wasylycia-Leis, please, eight minutes.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Thank you, Mr.
> I think I'm beginning to see why we're at
this impasse and the kind of problems we're having. It seems to
me, Mr. Guite, the things that you would consider normal and
appropriate and proper are the very things that many of us have
difficulty with in terms of fitting into that definition. I
think there's that same gap between what you believe and what
the Auditor General believes and what accountants believe, what
business out there wouldn't believe. You've said you think it's
acceptable to backdate contracts when appropriate in certain
> You have said that it's okay for
sponsorship dollars, once you've approved it, to go to anything
basically. It could be horses. Whether there's a new musical
ride or not in the case of the RCMP. It could be pucks. Whether
it has anything to do with advertising the actual event. It
could be in the case of the city of Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.
It could be buying pancake batter. So that's where we have a
> The third is that you don't see the need to
put in writing the scope of work. So this is exactly what the
Auditor General is saying is the problem. You have not
identified the criteria by which you judged the granting of
funds for the sponsorship program. Then you have no way to
evaluate it and then in order for any reasonable thinking person
in Parliament or across Canada, you don't have the answers to
whether we got value for money.
> So my question to you is, why do you have
such a different set of standards when it comes to
administration? Is it because you actually do think it's normal
or is it because as you've said in other times, that we had
exceptional circumstances that required exceptional
administrative actions like bending the rules? Or is it the fact
that this was just the way government was doing business when
you were in the Mulroney administration and then when you took
over under the Chrétien administration.
> The Chair: There's a number of questions
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well, Mr. Chairman,
exactly. I mean where do I start here?
> The Chair: Well you start with the first
one and move through.
> Mr. Charles Guité: What's the question?
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Did you consider
these abnormal ways of operating normal? Did you see them as
exceptional because of exceptional circumstances around national
> The Chair: One question at a time, Ms.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: No, it's one
question, three parts or is this the way he saw that this is the
way government did business. I mean there is a huge gap between
what you're saying and what many self-respecting auditor is
going to say in terms of this process.
> The Chair: Again, Mr. Guite.
> Mr. Charles Guité: What's the question?
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: You heard the
question and I think you're just trying to be difficult here.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no. I'm being
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Do you think your
way of doing business was normal or did you actually bend the
> Mr. Charles Guité: Under the circumstances
we were working under, they were normal and there was as I said
earlier and let me use your example of batter at a sugarbush for
pancakes. If an event came to the Government of Canada, not to
Chuck Guite, to the Government of Canada and asked for a
sponsorship. Why did they want a sponsorship? In order to carry
out that event. They need money to carry out that event. No?
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: You said yourself,
the sponsorship program ...
> Mr. Charles Guité: Hang on, hang on.
You're not letting me answer the question.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: To give visibility
> The Chair: One at a time.
> Mr. Charles Guité: You're not letting me
answer the question.
> So that organization, the little sugarbush
in wanted, let's use $25,000 for us to sponsor, for the
government to be a sponsor of that event. Obviously that
organization wants the money in order to carry out the event.
What I want as the Government of Canada is the visibility worth
$25,000 for that event. If they use that money that they've
received and it's to go back to the Chairman's comment a while
back, what they're going to do with that money obviously is
carry out that event. But I'm going to make sure that the
government has its visibility and that we did, madam, and the
results our proof is in the pudding.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: And that's we have
the biggest area of concern ...
> Mr. Charles Guité: Well there's not much I
can say there.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: All right then.
You can tell us what did Groupe Everest do for $67,826 when you
flowed a cheque through then to L'Information Essentielle for
Maurice Richard? What did you ask them to do? What did they do?
What value did we get for flowing that cheque, besides the cost
of the stamp?>
> Mr. Charles Guité: They probably used a
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Okay, besides the
cost of the courier then.
> Mr. Charles Guité:
> Again, what I said, I think, earlier this
morning, an advertising agency, or AOR, have loss leaders and
leaders, and if I look at the amount of work, or the amount of
product or value that the government received from the agencies
involved in this program, I can assure you, Madam, that the
government got value for money. I'll use a small example here.
> We do a $15,000 event in Quebec City and
Groupe Everest gets that sponsorship; and if you look at the
list of events that Everest did, you'll see a lot of them, there
was very little money, but they may have to send two or three
people to the event; no money. At the end of the day, what I'm
saying to this committee--and that's where I think it's very
important that a person like the president of ICA address this
committee--is agencies will make money on some, lose on others,
but at the end of the day, the Government of Canada got value
> It's easy to say to use one example and
say, well, they got $64,000 to put a stamp...if I was Everest, I
would turn around and I'd show you how much money I lost on six
events prior to that.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Well...
> The Chair: Ms. Wasylycia-Leis.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I can't add any more to
that, that's the
> The Chair: Ms. Wasylycia-Leis.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: With your
approach, there wouldn't be any need for auditors, would there?
Anything goes. And it just sort of balances out in the long
term; we don't need to know what the money was designated for;
we don't know whether it was spent on that; we don't need to
know if we got value for money; that's basically what you're
saying, and that's what the auditor general is saying.
> I guess the other rhetorical question to
this is, since you had such close contact with politicians and
Liberal cabinet ministers, why they went along with it. Why they
went along with this most bizarre, inappropriate way of managing
the books and practising in such, what I would consider,
> Mr. Charles Guité: I totally disagree.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: You disagree,
okay. Let me ask then, about advertising. Since part of this
whole study is chapter four as well as chapter three, could you
tell me what percentage of advertising contracts were eventually
rewarded to agencies who contributed to the Liberal party?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I have no idea.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: You don't know.
We're only talking about five agencies--Lafleur, Gosselin,
Groupe Everest, GroupAction--primarily, and you can't say how
this worked out? They were the only ad companies getting any
contracts in this whole period of time...there's a few others,
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no. You're talking
about advertising. Advertising companies that got work from the
Government of Canada work for departments. I don't know how much
they got from agriculture or national defence or finance.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Let's just talk
about it in terms of the sponsorship program, then.
> Mr. Charles Guité: The sponsorship
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Could you give us
a figure in terms of how you divided it up?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Get a copy of the list,
it's on the list. I can't remember if this firm got $2 million,
or $5 million, or $8 million, or $20 million. If you get a copy
of the list, very clearly on the list you'll get the program,
the amount, the agency, and so forth. But I can't sit here and
give you those figures, I don't know. I've been gone for five
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Last question
> The Chair: Last short question.
> Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Was there an
agency selection process, in terms of CIO? I'd like to get a
sense of the relationship. You worked very-->
> Mr. Charles Guité: Canada Information
Office, yes, okay. I can't remember.
> The Chair: Okay, we will stop there and
we're just about ready to break for lunch. Mr. Guité, I have a
question for you. Twice this morning you mentioned the Unity
Fund. How did the Unity Fund differ from the sponsorship
> Mr. Charles Guité: In a technical term,
Mr. Chairman, it would be obviously two different Treasury Board
submissions. The Unity Fund, I can't comment on that because I
don't know how the Treasury Board submission was...that was done
probably by PCO/FPRO, and the Unity Fund, obviously when we,
being the Government of Canada, did promotion or events pre,
during, and right after the referendum, up to when they
established the actual sponsorship fund, that, I assume. The
year of the referendum there is no assumption; it probably came
out of the Unity Fund. After that, it came out of some fund out
of, I would assume, Privy Council or FPRO, because I did not
have it in my budget. The first Treasury Board submission I
submitted was to create the program for 1997-98, which was, I
think, at $40 million, and then 1998-99 I prepared that
submission also because I was still the executive director.
> The Chair: That was to spend money from the
> Mr. Charles Guité: No. That was a separate
Treasury Board submission, for Treasury Board to allocate $40
million to a sponsorship program.
> The Chair: By this time, I think, you are
about the level of an assistant deputy minister.
> Mr. Charles Guité: That's correct.
> The Chair: As senior executive, not the
most senior but you're up there in the executive rank, you know
the appropriations process, you know the estimates process. I
presume by this time, you are aware of the contracting rules of
the Government of Canada. You're dealing with two issues: You
are spending money on the sponsorship program and you're
spending money on the unity fund.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Not at the same time,
> The Chair: Never at the same time?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> The Chair: Now, we know the unity fund only
was cancelled this past few months. It was running right up to
the end of 2003.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Mr. Chairman, once I
got the Treasury Board submissions for the sponsorship program,
in 1997-98, 1998-99, I have never got another penny from
wherever it came prior to that, which was probably unity fund.
> The Chair: So you were spending money on
the unity fund in which years?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I would think 1994-95,
> The Chair: After that, you didn't spend a
> Mr. Charles Guité: And maybe 1996-97.
> The Chair: But after that it ceased?
> Mr. Charles Guité: After that it was
definitely a separate Treasury Board submission.
> The Chair: Treasury Board submission.
That's not the point. I said, did you spend the money allocated
under the unity fund and the sponsorship fund?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No. No, I have not.
> The Chair: So the only moneys that you
spent was the sponsorship program?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes.
> The Chair: From 1997 onwards approximately,
you never spent a dime of the unity fund?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Not that I'm aware of,
but let me add one more caveat to that. I'm not sure of the
year--it probably was 1997-98--that we spent more than the $40
million. I can't remember the figure, but it might have been $42
million or $43 million, and I got the additional funding through
the regular department allocation.
> The Chair: Now was that the supplementary
> Mr. Charles Guité: I can't remember, Mr.
Chair. Probably when they did the supps, which we normally did
every year, I would advise the deputy of the day, who was Mr.
Quail, that the budget is over-expended.
> The Chair: Now did you have any discussions
about, I will spend this out of the sponsorship program, I will
spend this out of the unity fund? How did you differentiate
> Mr. Charles Guité: No. I never had both at
the same time.
> The Chair: So when you were spending money
out of the unity fund in 1994-95, and so on, you had no
> Mr. Charles Guité: I didn't have
> The Chair: So you had one or the other, but
> Mr. Charles Guité: No. Now having said
that, what the unity fund did with up to, I think you said last
year, I have no idea. They may have done other promotion things,
but never through my organization.
> The Chair: The work that you were doing was
by and large the same thing--you were buying sponsorship
programs. That's what you were doing.
> Mr. Charles Guité: Yes.
> The Chair: Did anybody ever say to you,
> "> Chuck, we're not going to use the sponsorship
program, we're going to use the unity fund--
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
The Chair: --and then from now, we're going to go back to
the sponsorship?> ">
Did you ever ask which budget you were spending money out
> Mr. Charles Guité: If I ever asked?
> The Chair: Yes.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No. I was spending out
of my sponsorship program.
> The Chair: By this time, you were up to ADM
level. Don't you ever ask: Which budget, what's my limit, how
much money do I have, what budget am I spending from?
> Mr. Charles Guité: Oh, I was well aware
what budget I was spending and what my limit was. My budget was
the sponsorship budget at $40 million. Period.
> The Chair: Yes, but you flip back and forth
between sponsorship and unity.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No, no. We never
flipped back and forth.
> Let me start again. In 1994-95, 1995-96,
1996-97, the sponsorship money--I shouldn't say sponsorship
because it was...I should say more in general terms, the
communication money--to promote the unity and the referendum
issues, and the post-referendum, more than likely came out of
the unity fund. When I made a submission to Treasury Board,
1997-98, 1998-99, it was a separate submission every year to
establish the sponsorship fund. Once that started, I never got
another penny from the unity--
> The Chair: Yes, but I think you said
earlier on, you spent money either out of the unity fund or you
spent it out of the sponsorship--
> Mr. Charles Guité: If I said that, I was
> The Chair: You could spend money out of
both funds at the same time?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> The Chair: I am confused.
> Order, please.
> There were two funds--the sponsorship fund
and the unity fund. You agree there were two funds?
> Mr. Charles Guité: I can't hear.
> The Chair: There were two funds. The
sponsorship fund, and the unity fund.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I had access to the
unity fund until 1996.
> The Chair: And up until 1996 were you also
spending out of the sponsorship fund.
> Mr. Charles Guité: It didn't exist.
> The Chair: Oh, it didn't exist. Okay.
> Mr. Charles Guité: It only became the
sponsorship fund in 1997-1998, 1998-1999.
> The Chair: After 1996, the unity fund
continued. It continued on until this fall, the unity fund
continued but you were not spending that money.
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> The Chair: You have no idea where that
money was spent?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> The Chair: You have no idea what it was all
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> The Chair: You have no idea of the criteria
for that fund?
> Mr. Charles Guité: No.
> The Chair: Okay.
> Two things.
> Mr. Charles Guité: I would assume, Mr.
Chair, that was controlled by PCO, by the way.
> The Chair: Okay. Two things.
> For tomorrow, the orders of the day are
that we sit from 9 to 1 p.m., but I think that it's appropriate
that we will suspend from 11.15 a.m. to 12.15 p.m., to allow the
members to go to Question Period, because Question Period on a
Friday is from 11 to 12. So rather than have a 15-minute break,
I think it's appropriate we have a one-hour break. At 11.15, it
will allow us to go to Question Period. We will miss members'
statements, but 15 minutes afterward will allow us > to come
> And secondly, Mr. Guité made mention of a
letter that was attached to his opening statement. It was
delivered in one official language, and when it's available in
both languages it will be distributed.
> We are adjourned until 3.30 this afternoon.
Chair (Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, CPC)): Good afternoon,
ladies and gentlemen. We are resuming the meeting as of this
morning. The orders of the day are as I read earlier on.
I mentioned just before we broke for lunch that once I had it
translated I would distribute the letter from Edelson &
Associates regarding Mr. Guité. That I believe has been
translated and has been delivered. I also understand there's one
or two copies of the blues of this morning are available, and
they have been electronically distributed to all members
that basis we are going to start with the next round. Madame
Ablonczy, we're back to you, eight minutes please.
Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC): Thank you, Mr.
Guité, who had the authority to approve payment of invoices for
Charles Guité (As Individual): I did.
Diane Ablonczy: I assume then that you're familiar with
section 34 of the Financial Administration Act which talks about
what needs to be present before payment is made. In each case
where you made payment on a contract, were the provisions of
section 34 of the Financial Administration Act complied with?
Charles Guité: Yes.
Diane Ablonczy: So there was always an indication that work
had been performed, that the payment had been made according to
contract, and that the work had actually been done?
Charles Guité: That's correct.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: Mr.
Guité, the Auditor General says this on page 28, paragraph
our view the public servants involved in administering the
sponsorship program did not discharge their
responsibilities with due care and diligence. There was
little evidence that anyone had verified the reliability
of the data on the invoices submitted by the communication
agencies. Furthermore, the files often lacked evidence
showing what work the communications agencies had done and
therefore had little support for the invoices paid.
your response to the finding of the Auditor General in that
paragraph, Mr. Guité?
Charles Guité: Very simple. When I was there, up until I
left in 1999, the files were there, there were documents on
file. After I left, she did the audit what, in 2003, which is
four years later. What happened to the files? I can't comment.
The files were there when I was there.
Diane Ablonczy: You did actually comment. Someone asked you
what happened to the files and who basically destroyed
documents, and I believe you did mention names. Did I hear
Charles Guité: I didn't mention anybody's name destroying
Diane Ablonczy: Mr. Guité, you're essentially saying then
that everything was up to snuff under your watch. Is that
Charles Guité: It depends how you define snuff.
Diane Ablonczy: Well, that you complied with the--
Charles Guité: What I said this morning, and I'll say it
again this afternoon, and I'll say it tomorrow morning--
Diane Ablonczy: I'm sure you will.
Charles Guité: --there was a contract, there was an
invoice. There was a proper contract and invoice, and I
certified that the product had been delivered as negotiated and
the invoices were paid.
Guité, when we heard from Mr. Cutler, he said that he raised
the following concerns about how things were managed under your
watch. He said that “authorizing agencies were allowed to
carry out work without a pre-existing contract”. He said that
contracts were regularly being backdated. He said that
commissions were paid for services apparently not performed. He
said that there were improper advanced payments. He said that
authorizations were not sought. He said that contracts were
being issued without prior financial authorization. He said that
there was no longer a negotiation of prices, or there was no
insistence on the established government contracting prices.
brought these concerns forward. As a result, there was an
internal audit in 1996. That internal audit concluded that his
allegations were well-founded. That's what the audit said in
to that, there was an external audit by Ernst and Young, who
found the same thing. Because of that, Mr. Gagliano said that he
ordered an audit in 2000, which essentially said the same thing.
Mr. Guité, in light of three audits, two in 1996, an audit in
2000, and I might add the audit in 2002 by the Auditor General
of three Groupaction contracts that “every rule in the book
had been broken”, how is it, Mr. Guité, that you can tell
this committee that everything was kosher under your watch?
Charles Guité: I'll make the comment again, and I think,
Mr. Chair, you may want to get a copy of the audit in 1996 that
was done. One of my staff members sat with the auditors for
three months reviewing the files. It was very evident that
somebody had tinkered with the files.
far as I'm concerned, I have not denied this morning and won't
deny that we did not backdate some contracts. Those are things
that happen, not regularly, but they do happen. So as far as I'm
concerned, I maintain my point of view that there was a
contract, there was an invoice, the product had been delivered,
the supplier of that work was paid in accordance with the
Chair: I'm going to just interject, here, if I may. You
mentioned the 1996 audit, but there were two. Are you talking
the Ernst and Young audit?
Charles Guité: Both of them. The internal and the Ernst and
Chair: Okay. Now, you're saying the documents had been
tampered with. Was that identified at that time?
Charles Guité: That was identified during the audit that
was done by the outside firm.
Chair: There's no reference to that in the audit.
Charles Guité: I don't know. I have no idea. I can tell you
that one of my employees who was a senior procurement person on
my staff at that time sat with the auditors for three months
going through those files. I don't know how much detail I got in
with Mr. Cutler this morning, but as you probably know, he was
removed from my office and sent over back to the department. I
in fact changed the locks on the door because Mr. Cutler was
coming in during the evening.
Chair: I find it rather strange that if the auditor said,
over there at the time the audit was going on and they were
auditing the files, and it became apparent that the files had
been tampered with, that there would be no mention of that in
Charles Guité: Talk to the auditors. Talk to my previous
Chair: Well, I guess we'll have to talk to the auditors.
can't get into a debate, Mr. Toews.
Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC): No, no, but just on the name,
the senior employee who sat with the auditor, so that we can
have that name so we can have that person subpoenaed.
Chair: Who was the person?
Charles Guité: His name is Mr. Mario Parent.
Chair: Mario Parent.
apologies, Ms. Ablonczy. You may continue.
Diane Ablonczy: That's fine, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Guité, the Auditor
General, on page 33, paragraph 3.122, concluded as follows:
remains of great concern that the Sponsorship Program was
ever allowed to operate in the way it did. Considerable
amounts of public funds were spent, with little evidence
that obtaining value for money was a concern. The pattern
we saw of non-compliance in the rules was not the result
of isolated errors. It was consistent and pervasive. This
is how the government ran the program. Canadians have a
right to expect greater diligence in the use of public
Mr. Guité, your evidence is that you were in charge. The
Auditor General's audit covered the period beginning in 1997,
when you were completely and utterly in charge, and yet this is
her finding. How do you explain that, Mr. Guité?
Charles Guité: I don't agree with the Auditor General's
Diane Ablonczy: Well, now, isn't that interesting, Mr.
Charles Guité: It's very interesting.
Diane Ablonczy: Here we have a civil servant who, by his own
admission, is not an auditor and we have the Auditor General of
Canada, who has been evaluated by a peer review of an
international panel as completely and utterly up to scratch as
an auditor, and you have the gall to sit here and tell us that
she's wrong, that she doesn't know her business.
Charles Guité: She hasn't looked--
Diane Ablonczy: Just how do you explain that kind of a
Charles Guité: She hasn't looked at all the files, as I
explained this morning in my first presentation. A hundred
million dollars has disappeared in thin air. Come on, let's get
Diane Ablonczy: That's not what she said, by the way, Mr.
Guité. She did not say that.
Chair: We will let the record stand as to what has been
Mr. Proulx, s'il vous plaît, huit minutes.
Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Rebonjour monsieur Guité. Monsieur Guité, il a été
allégué ou établi que certaines agences faisaient ce qu'on
pourrait appeler du double billing, dans le sens où
elles faisaient du recrutement de groupes, d'associations, de
municipalités, elles faisaient de la sollicitation pour des évènements
en leur chargeant un pourcentage. Ensuite, quand votre groupe
accordait une commandite, les agences se trouvaient à avoir une
deuxième commission à travers l'ouvrage qu'elles
entreprenaient pour le gouvernement du Canada. Étiez-vous au
courant de cela, dans le sens aviez-vous des doutes, puisque c'était
des agences qui soumettaient des demandes pour des groupes,
parce que cela a dû arriver que les demandes sont arrivées des
Charles Guité: On a eu des demandes soit d'un organisateur
d'évènements, soit d'une agence, soit du bureau du ministre,
soit du bureau du PMO. Si une agence avait une entente avec une
organisation, que l'organisation allait les payer, parce qu'elle
allait soulever une commandite, je ne le sais pas.
Marcel Proulx: Vous n'étiez pas au courant de cela?
Charles Guité: Pas du tout.
Marcel Proulx: Quand les agences se faisaient les représentants
d'un organisme pour obtenir une commandite, cela n'allumait pas
de lumière chez vous, à l'effet qu'ils auraient pu demander un
pourcentage ou une commission?
Charles Guité: Non.
Marcel Proulx: Alors, vous étiez d'aucune façon au courant
de cette pratique-là.
présentation de ce matin, à la page 9, vous faites référence,
vous dites :
que vous parlez du Procurement Policy du Conseil du Trésor?
Charles Guité: Oui, je pense que je vous ai référé à...
Marcel Proulx: Vous nous avez référé à cela ce matin,
alors pourriez-vous m'expliquer cela un peu plus. Je veux que
cela soit clair et je vous demande votre aide pour comprendre
exactement de quoi vous nous parliez ce matin. Vous nous avez
parlé, je pense, d'urgences ou de situations particulières.
Charles Guité: Je vais même vous donner le numéro de
politique. Monsieur Proulx, la politique qui a été revisée en
mai 2002--mais je suis certain que les mêmes conditions
existaient quand j'étais là--s'appelle
No, government contracting
regulations of the Financial Administrative Act, entitled
Sections on Bids.
Before any contract is entered into the contracting
authority shall solicit bids therefore in the manner prescribed
in paragraph 7--whatever paragraph 7 says which is probably a
whole set of rules
notwithstanding section 5 of the contracting
authority, the contracting authority may enter into a contract
without soliciting bids where the need is one of pressing
emergency in which delays would be injurious to the public
interests;--then it goes on to describe some of the things, and
then the other clause that I spoke of this morning,
nature of the work is such that it would be to the public's
interest to solicit bids.--and I think it was to the public
interest, and I would say it was a pressing emergency.
Marcel Proulx: That would be not to solicit bids, right?
Charles Guité: That's right. In fact what we could have
done was gone out and said “We'll take this firm, that firm
and that firm, end of discussion”, but in order not to do
that, to make it--and I think in my first testimony to this
committee back in 2002, if I remember rightly, and I won't look
it up but I think I can remember quite clearly, we invited about
10 firms and we retained 5. But really, I could have gone out
and said I'll take this one, that one and that one, based on the
we wanted to make sure that we had the best, so we invited 10
and through a selection process, through the scope of work and a
second presentation, we retained 5 agencies.
Marcel Proulx: Quand vous avez retenu les cinq agences c'est
là que vous avez appliqué le principe ou un des deux principes
qui vous permettait de ne pas aller en soumission, ou c'est plutôt
à chaque fois que vous leur donniez des noms propres?
Charles Guité: On a fait cela seulement une fois. C'était
durant le référendum. En 1996, si je me rappelle bien, on a
refait une autre compétition pour choisir des agences. C'est
sorti sur le système MERCSque vous connaissez, et il y a
eu, je ne sais pas, 35 ou 40 agences qui ont fait application.
Sur cette demande, cette compétition on a gardé, si je me
rappelle bien, 10 ou 12 agences qui sont devenues les agences
permanentes qu'on a mises en place. C'est ce qu'on appelle standing
offer. Et les agences ont continué à faire des...
Marcel Proulx: C'est là que vous pigiez les agences pour
remplir vos contrats.
rapport de la vérificatrice générale, la vérificatrice nous
parle de documents de justification qui manquent. Ce matin vous
insistiez pour dire--je pense que vous avez raison, monsieur
Guité--que sans qu'il y ait une facture, il n'y a pas de chèque
du gouvernement qui peut être émis. Il n'y a personne qui émet
de chèque sur un coup de fil. Cependant c'est facile d'avoir
une facture qui dit «pour services rendus, 55 000 $».
La vérificatrice générale, je pense, ou j'interprète,
d'ailleurs je n'interprète pas tant que cela parce qu'il y a
des endroits où c'est très clair, c'est ce qu'elle demande, c'était
qu'elle ne trouvait pas de pièces justificatives. Ce matin vous
nous avez parlé, soit de post mortemou d'affidavit.
Qu'est-ce qu'il y avait dans ces rapports de post mortem?
Je pense que des témoins se sont référés à cela en parlant
de «rapport final». Il y avait quoi dans ces rapports, M. Guité?
Charles Guité: Dans certains cas, il y avait des photos de
l'événement, des photos de la visibilité qu'on avait. Dans
d'autres instances, on avait un rapport écrit qui donnait,
certifiait que la visibilité négociée au commencement de l'événement,
avait eu lieu, que l'événementr avait eu lieu et que la
visibilité était présente.
Marcel Proulx: Vous êtes en train de me dire, monsieur Guité,
qu'il en existrait de ces rapports-là...
Charles Guité: Oui.
Marcel Proulx: Dans tous les dossiers?
Charles Guité: Non, pas nécessairement tous les dossiers.
Il y a certains cas... je vais vous donner encore un exemple. On
va prendre le fameux club de hockey à Montréal. Je n'avais pas
besoin de rapport dans le dossier pour certifier que le mot,
symbole du Canada , et l'événement durant toute la saison de
hockey le mot «Canada» était sur les affiches à l'intérieur
Marcel Proulx: Maintenant que vous savez ce que la vérificatrice
générale a dit, je jurerais que vous vous diriez maintenant
que ça vous prendrait une photo.
connaissance, monsieur Guité, est-ce que vous ou quelqu'un de
votre personnel, vos employés ou des sous-ministres avec qui
vous avez travaillé ou pour qui vous avez travaillé, ou un
ministre ou des ministres de la Couronne, est-ce qu'une de ces
personnes-là, vous inclus, aurait bénéficié financièrement
des contrats d'agences, des contrats de publicité ou des
Charles Guité: No.
Marcel Proulx: Merci.
you, Mr. Chair.
Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Proulx.
Before we move on, Mr. Guité,
you mentioned in your opening statement, I will quote:
always followed the processes as per Treasury Board
guidelines. The one exception was during the referendum of
1995 where we used exceptions as provided by the
you invoked that exception by saying it was one pressing
emergency. Is that correct?
Charles Guité: That's correct.
The Chair: Okay, now
I'm looking at the rules. It does say an exception is:
need is one of pressing emergency in which the delay would
be injurious to the public interest.
Then it goes on to say:
which I just quoted:
pressing emergency is a situation where delay in taking
action would be injurious to the public interest.
Emergencies are normally unavoidable and require immediate
action which would preclude the solicitation of formal
bids. An emergency may be an actual or imminent
life-threatening situation, a disaster which endangers the
quality of life or has resulted in the loss of life, or
one that may result in significant loss or damage to Crown
light of that definition, government definition of your
“pressing emergency”, how do you qualify, since you said you
always followed TB guidelines? Square that circle for me.
Charles Guité: No, no, except in the case of selecting
agencies for the referendum, we followed the guidelines. Again,
I don't know what document you were reading from.
Chair: I was reading from page 59 of the Contracting Policy,
which is 227 pages long, from the Treasury Board of Canada.
Robert Thibault: I believe that document is the one that we
referred to earlier this morning that it was requested that
copies be obtained for members. Is that the one that the
committee receive copies that we were talking about earlier this
Chair: I'm not sure.
Robert Thibault: Is that the same document that the witness
was quoting from this morning?
Chair: This was supplied to me by the Research Branch of the
Library of Parliament.
Robert Thibault: Is it the same document that...?
Chair: I'm not sure. I can't remember. Pardon? Yes, the
clerk believes it's the same document.
Robert Thibault: I think that we did ask that it be
furnished to the committee. I find it strange that the chair
would have it and that members wouldn't.
Chair: As you can see, my researchers here have stacks, and
stacks and stacks of documents. They seem able to pull out the
page that we need.
Robert Thibault: They're the committee's researchers.
Chair: Well, this is true. No, they will supply these to
you, as well.
So anyway, Mr. Guité:
emergency may be an actual or imminent life-threatening
situation, a disaster which endangers the quality of life
or has resulted in the loss of life, or one that may
result in significant loss or damage to Crown property.
does your waiver of the rules, because it was a pressing
emergency, fit with that when this emergency lasted for about
two or three years?
Charles Guité: At least.
what you've got to understand, here, when I sat around the table
with FPRO, PCO people and my staff, the nature of the upcoming
referendum was of emergency. Without reading between the lines,
here, the other one that you failed to mention “the nature of
the work is such that it would not be in the public interest to
Chair: That's correct, the other one was....
Charles Guité: I'm not going to sit here, Mr. Chair, and
read every comma of the policy.
Chair: No, I'm just asking you to tell me--
Charles Guité: No, no, let me finish. You asked a question,
I want to answer it.
sat around at a committee table with some very knowledgeable
people from FPRO, PCO and my organization. We decided to carry
this competition the way that I have described to the Auditor
General, to this committee in 2002. Again, today, I stand by how
we did the competition.
Chair: Okay. But you still didn't answer my question, since
there's no loss of life and stuff like that at stake, how you
felt you could bend the rules, avoid the rules or whatever?
Charles Guité: There are 16 reasons in here, which you just
read, about building falling down and losing life and so forth.
All I'm saying to you is there's also reasons in here that you
have a competition without bid when it's the public interest. I
think winning the referendum was in the public's interest.
Chair: You said there's a dozen ad agencies out there, I
think, that were federalists, that we don't work with NDP, if
they're Conservative, or Liberal, as long as they're federalists
versus separatists, and you identified these. It only takes a
couple to three weeks to do a complete bidding process. This
went on for a couple or three years.
Charles Guité: No, it took about a week.
Chair: It took about a week. Okay, a proper process might a
couple or three weeks. I was being generous. I still feel how
you couldn't do a bidding process because there wasn't actually
an emergency until a week before the referendum.
Charles Guité: No, I disagree with you. I think it was an
emergency and I think that, at the end of the day, the interests
of the public, the costs to this country, would have been
enormous if we had split up the country.
Chair: And it goes on to say, “If you do use any of the
exemptions, it should be fully justified on the contract
file”. So I presume it was fully justified on the file?
Charles Guité: I would assume that the competition file
that's there, there would be notes.
Chair: Did you prepare the notes as to the justification for
avoiding the contracting policy?
Charles Guité: We're talking 1994, Mr. Chairman. I don't
know. I'd have to see the file.
Chair: Do you remember?
Charles Guité: I do not.
Chair: You do not remember?
Charles Guité: No. And I can't say I put notes...I probably
would have put notes on the file, there's no question, because
every competition we had, as long as I was executive director of
that branch, we have a complete competition file. So the record
would show, and not only my comments, but the comments of all
the committee members.
Monsieur Desrochers, s'il vous plaît, huit minutes.
Desrochers (Lotbinière—L'Érable, BQ): Merci, monsieur le
monsieur Guité. Depuis le dépôt du rapport de la vérificatrice
générale, le 10 février dernier, Paul Martin a affirmé à
maintes reprises qu'il n'était pas au courant du fonctionnement
du Programme des commandites. C'est exact?
Charles Guité: Je ne peux pas faire de commentaires pour M.
Martin, mais si c'est ce qu'il a dit, c'est ce qu'il a dit. Moi
je ne le sais pas.
Desrochers: On a nommé plusieurs ministres qui sont
intervenus soit par recommandation soit par influence. À votre
connaissance, est-ce que Paul Martin est intervenu pour exercer
une influence quelconque pour l'attribution d'un contrat ou d'un
Charles Guité: Monsieur Martin, personnellement, non. Son
bureau oui et à plusieurs occasions.
Desrochers: Dans quels dossiers? Est-ce que vous avez des
Charles Guité: Je n'ai pas d'exemples précis dont je
puisse me rappeler, mais je pense qu'il y avait plusieurs
contrats avec une compagnie locale, la compagnie Earnscliffe.
J'ai eu des interférences du bureau du ministre qui était en
ce temps-là, le ministre des Finances, M. Martin, mais M.
Martin personnellement non, son bureau oui.
Desrochers: Quel genre de remarques vous faisait-on,
Charles Guité: D'essayer d'influencer la décision.
qu'aujourd'hui, si quelqu'un demandait l'accès à l'information
pour tous les contrats qui ont été attribués à cette
compagnie-là, vous seriez surpris. Je pense qu'il y avait un
autre ministre qui avait essayé de faire une interférence pour
la même compagnie, qui était M. Goodale. Je m'en rappelle très
bien parce que c'était devenu, comme on dit, a hot issue entre
les deux ministres. J'ai les documents, soit avec mon avocat ici
aujourd'hui ou je les ai à la maison.
des documents que je pourrais vous fournir.
Desrochers: À ce sujet-là?
Charles Guité: Oui.
Il faut faire attention ici. Je ne suis pas certain si les
documents sont spécifiquement pour cette compagnie-là, mais je
peux vous montrer des documents qui ont été envoyés du bureau
de Paul Martin, demandant d'ajouter des compagnies etc.
commentaire que je veux faire ici c'est que le ministre ou son
bureau pourrait se retourner et dire: « on voulait
seulement que ce soit plus compétitif ». La raison
importante ici, c'est que jamais un bureau de ministre ou son équipe
devrait faire des contacts avec les fonctionnaires qui émettent
Desrochers: Lorsque vous avez reçu des appels téléphoniques
du bureau de M. Martin, est-ce qu'on disait: « M. Martin
me demande ceci, M. Martin me demande cela? » ou si on
disait tout simplement: « j'ai comme mandat de vous
demander ceci? ». Comment se passait les échanges entre
le bureau de M. Martin et vous, monsieur Guité?
Charles Guité: Je vais vous dire une discussion, soit téléphonique
ou dans le bureau du chef du cabinet...
Desrochers: Pouvez-vous nommer le nom du chef du cabinet à
Charles Guité: Oui, il me semble que c'était Terry
O'Reilly et le commentaire qu'elle a fait assez ouvertement,
Chair: Are your questions in relation to the sponsorship
chapters 3, 4 and 5, or are you kind of meandering off in a
different direction here?
Desrochers: J'attends une réponse M. Guité. J'ai le droit,
je pense, monsieur le président?
Guité, j'attends votre réponse.
Charles Guité: Je ne sais pas où j'étais rendu, mais je
me rappelle qu'une fois, soit au téléphone ou personnellement
avec cette dame, son commentaire était :
I quote, “Well, Paul would prefer” Alors, who's Paul?
Desrochers: Monsieur Guité, vous dites que vous avez des
documents. Est-ce que vous seriez en mesure de les déposer ces
Charles Guité: Oui.
Desrochers: Pour démonter que carrément il y avait de
l'influence et de l'ingérence de M. Martin dans le contrat de
Charles Guité: Faites attention, il s'agit du bureau de M.
Desrochers: Du bureau de M. Martin. Merci beaucoup.
Guité, je reviens avec votre déclaration initiale sur le
contexte de la campagne référendaire. Vous disiez que vous étiez
l'un de ces généraux. Les autres, c'était qui?
Charles Guité: Les personnes des relations
interprovinciales. Je ne me rappelle pas du nom en français,
mais c'est le FPRO. Les relations fédérales-provinciales.
Les noms qui étaient impliqués dans ce dossier-là, il y avait
dans ce temps-là, je pense, Marc Lafrenière, il y avait bien sûr
une personne de mon équipe que j'avais prêtée au système, il
y avait Howard Balleck , je pense, qui était là. Il y avait
aussi une dame, dont je ne me souviens pas du nom, que je
connais très bien, mais son nom m'échappe.
Desrochers: Est-ce que Mario Lague était là?
Charles Guité: Dans ce temps là, je ne sais pas si Mario
était avec le...Qui est le ministre responsable des relations fédérales
maintenant avec les provinces?
Desrochers: M. Pettigrew.
Charles Guité: Je ne sais pas si Mario était avec M.
Pettigrew dans ce temps-là ou si le département existait. Si
je me rappelle bien, Mario, dans ce temps-là, était impliqué
dans la machinerie.
Desrochers: Quand vous nous dites, monsieur Guité, que vous
avez pris une semaine pour identifier une dizaine d'agences, qui
vous a soumis le nom de ces agences-là? Est-ce que cela s'est
fait dans une recherche?
Charles Guité: Cela s'est fait dans le comité, soit avec
moi, Mme Larose et les personnes du FPRO. C'est sûr,
comme vous le savez, je connais l'industrie assez bien.
Desrochers: Vous vous êtes assuré que ces agences-là
fassent bien le travail. Vous étiez sûr en faisant appel à
Charles Guité: Oui et comme on le dit souvent en anglais :
« You don't get the devil to work for you. »
C'est sûr qu'on ne voulait pas avoir une agence qui avait des
tendances à supporter le parti séparatiste au Québec. C'est
normal et même beaucoup d'agences que je connais au Québec, et
pas nécessairement les agences, il faut faire attention ici,
soit des dirigeants d'agences ou des personnes dans les agences
sont reconnus comme pour supporter la cause séparatiste. Alors,
c'est sûr qu'on n'engageait pas une agence, pour défendre le
Canada uni, qui était de l'autre côté de la Chambre, qui était
séparatiste. C'est normal.
Desrochers: Vous nous dites en même temps, que lorsque vous
avez démarré le Programme des commandites, vous avez fait
appel également à des agences.
Charles Guité: Après le référendum, oui.
Desrochers: Est-ce que les agences québécoises qui avaient
travaillé, qui avait fait leur travail, à ce moment-là, ont
été privilégiées dans votre sélection?
Charles Guité: Non, mais c'est sûr que lorsqu'on fait une
compétition d'agences, une des choses qu'on prend en considération,
si vous regardez dans les directives du Conseil du Trésor--je
ne m'en rappelle pas encore--je sais qu'il y a cinq ou six items
qu'on évalue. Un des items est l'expérience dans tel secteur
des communication, soit publicités, commandites, etc. Sur les
cinq firmes qu'on avait retenues durant le référendum, je ne
me souviens pas encore exactement, mais je pense qu'il y en a
deux ou trois qui ont été requalifiées à la deuxième ronde.
Je peux nommer les agences : il y avait Groupaction, qui avait
fait un très bel ouvrage durant le référendum. Dans le cas
d'Everest, je ne suis pas certain si cette agence était impliquée
dans le référendum. Je pense que oui, mais encore il faudrait
que je vérifie les dossiers. Je ne suis pas certain pour BCP
non plus. Ensuite, les autres, dans ce temps-là...Publicités
Martin, je ne suis pas certain.
Murphy, please. Eight minutes.
Shawn Murphy (Hillsborough, Lib.): I have a couple of
issues, Mr. Guité, that I want to pursue a little further. I'm
intrigued with your small department and the way it operates,
what I classify as, outside normal government operations. You'd
expect to see a much more direct reporting relationship from
your department to the deputy minister, the non-minister. Did
the deputy minister ever try to reign your department in or try
to get more control over your department?
Charles Guité: No, I wouldn't say. They used the words
“reign in,” I don't think so. I think that the deputy of the
day, and how I talked, let's say, the period of Mr. Quail....
No, I think that Mr. Quail was aware of what was going on. He
was aware that I was meeting with the minister's office on a
he aware that I was meeting with the PMO? Maybe not, I'm not
I briefed the deputy on the actual activities of my shop, my
briefing was basically “the sponsorship program is going well,
we're achieving the objectives that were set out”. To say that
he reigned me in, no.
Shawn Murphy: When Minister Quail appeared before this
committee, he--and I'm summarizing his evidence--basically said
that he didn't really realize the provisions of the Financial
Administration Act were not being complied with, and that the
Treasury Board guidelines were not being complied with. He
basically said that he was more or less outside the loop.
Charles Guité: I can't hear you.
Shawn Murphy: He basically said that he was outside the
Charles Guité: Maybe he was.
Shawn Murphy: But he never tried to get in the loop, as far
as your department is concerned?
Charles Guité: No, I don't think any more than that.
the end of the day, the Department of Finance, the ADM was Mr.
Stobbe at the time.... My invoices were sent there. They were
paid. If it was such a red flag, how come it wasn't flagged
Shawn Murphy: I was curious about your answer this morning
that when you wanted an increase in your departmental budget,
you approached Mr. Pelletier.
Charles Guité: Yes.
Shawn Murphy: That would certainly be extremely unusual for
normal government operating procedures. That must have drove
your deputy , did it not?
Charles Guité: Not necessarily because he was probably not
met qualify that. If I prepared a submission to the Treasury
Board for $40 million, and that submission had the Prime
Minister's name, basically recommending that it be approved,
obviously the process of getting that done involved myself. No
Treasury Board submission will go to the minister's office
without going through the proper channels of the department no
matter who prepares it. From there it came back to my desk. I
took it to the PMO to have the Prime Minister sign it.
because of demands and sponsorships were going to increase, I
had to request an amendment for additional funding through a
supplementary estimate, obviously that Treasury Board submission
was approved by the Prime Minister of Canada, I would go there
if I wanted more funding.
must say very clearly here that when I approached Mr.
Pelletier--and I think it was on one or two occasions--for
additional funding, he said, “Chuck, we don't have any money
in the system to do it”. I think that's the year, and again I
can't recall if it's 1997-98 or 1998-99, that in fact Mr. Quail,
through the allocations of the department, gave me the extra
money to cover those projects.
Shawn Murphy: Will you agree with me that you would probably
be the only person within the Government of Canada at your
level, whether it was an EX-4 or associate deputy minister,
going right to the office of the Prime Minister to seek
budgetary increases for your particular department?
Charles Guité: I would say that's fairly accurate.
Shawn Murphy: The second issue with Mr. Quail, Mr. Guité,
going back to these so-called industry standards--and you've
spent your lifetime in this industry--this commission that you
see in the sponsorship program, is it your evidence that was
consistent right across Canada, the other larger firms, firm,
that they would deal with these situations with the same
commission rate and on the same basis?
Charles Guité: In the industry?
Shawn Murphy: Yes.
Charles Guité: Yes, by all means. You've got to remember
here that you're talking 1990, well let's say the 1990s and
let's carry it to when I left. When I left the government, the
industry standard was starting to change a bit. What happens in
the private sector now and I speak now because having worked
with the ICA for a year and a half until Mr. Boudria helped my
career come to an end, we were looking at the government because
in the private sector ... and to this day I think I would say 35
or 40% of the industry still works on a 15, 17.65%, that is 15%
on the media and 17.65% on production.
there's a tendency now to go to fees and I'm trying to think of
the term here that Mr. Rupert Brendon and I who is the president
of ICA discuss quite a bit, it's results oriented. For example,
they will charge fees and then based on the result of that ad
campaign or that promotion or that sponsorship, there's some
bonus payable depending on the results. So there's a kind of
three systems right now. There is the commissions, there is the
fees in commission because some agencies and clients will work
on both. They'll pay fees on certain things, commission on
others and then there's the results type of orientation.
give you an example. For example if, I don't know, company ABC
promotes the Tim Horton coffee.
Chair: Let me just say, all cellphones off in this room
please. I was heard that a former chair said if a cellphone
rings, whoever's got it is out of this room and not coming back.
So maybe we'll have to start implementing ...
Dennis Mills: Maybe I'll turn mine on.
Chair: Please do, please do.
Charles Guité: No but anyway to finish your answer, Mr.
Murphy. I shouldn't say I know for sure. In discussions I've had
as a Vice-President with ICA, there is some advertisers that
will pay agencies on commission, some on fees and some based on
the results. An example would be, for example I was saying Tim
Horton. If agency ABC is doing a Tim Horton promotion for I
don't know eastern Canada because I think it's broken down into
sectors. They may say look, if that campaign generates that much
volume of business to the Tim Horton donut stores, well then
there's a little bit in there for commission.
mean those things would not be enormous but they would be an
incentive for the agency doing that campaign obviously to track
it and do it right and use the right mediums and so forth.
the standard and I repeat again to this committee would be very
important to have a person like the chair of ICA to address this
committee. I don't want to make a general statement here but
it's not an easy business and it's not a pie in the sky. There
is some real benefits of promotion, of sponsorship, of
Shawn Murphy: Mr. Guite, we have the situation where there
was an audit in, I guess two audits in 1996, an internal audit
in 2000 followed by the Auditor General's audit. Despite what
you say there is a ... I sense a certain element of
documentation missing, there were files that you would expect to
see in government operations. Now your particular circumstance,
were you ever officially reprimanded or disciplined as a result
of any of the findings in these audits?
Charles Guité: No, never and in fact, I got performance
bonus every year based on my ... the management of my shop.
You've got to remember that I did more than just sponsorship.
Shawn Murphy: And who would approve that performance bonus?
Charles Guité: Normally the deputy minister. But you've got
to remember that the last two years I had a staff of 250, 300
Chair: Okay, thank you very much, Mr. Murphy.
Toews, please, eight minutes.
Vic Toews: Mr. Guite, when Ms. O'Leary called you from Mr.
Martin's office, what exactly did she say to you in respect of
Charles Guité: She asked me to come and meet with her which
I did and then we discussed the competition, how it was being
held. She had asked for certain changes and I said I can't do
that. You can't be three-quarters of the way through a process
and change the rules. In one instance which my legal counsel I
think has a copy, I did receive a memorandum from somebody from
the staff. I don't think it was Miss O'Leary asking to add these
other firms to an agency selection process if I remember right.
having said all that ...
Chair: I have a point of order here.
Shawn Murphy: Mr. Chairman, I don't object to this line of
questioning at all, but I just want to point out to the Chair
why we're here. We're here to investigate chapters 3, 4 and 5 of
the auditor general's report, and if we're going to go down this
line, I think we have to do a couple of things. First of all we
have to report that these contracts which I understand they've
all been investigated by the auditor general before--they've
been looked at, examined and I think we have to get into that.
we have to basically admit that there is nothing further on
these chapters 3, 4 and 5 that we should, and the third issue,
Mr. Chairman, once you go down this road, once the worms are out
of the can, sometimes it's hard to get them back. Where are you
going to close the door here?
course--and again, I don't have any problem with it, but I'm
just throwing some caveats. It started with the Mulroney
government. Do you call Mulroney to testify in the committee? Do
you call some of the cabinet ministers? Where does it end, Mr.
Chairman? We'll leave it up to you, but again, I'm not objecting
Chair: Your points are very valid and I was going to ask Mr.
Toews, that we are doing chapters 3, 4 and 5 and where is the
Vic Toews: All right. Now I understand that this is either a
sponsorship, advertising or public opinion research contract, is
that not correct?
Charles Guité: That's correct.
Vic Toews: Well, that's the relevance.
Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, Lib.): Mr.
Chairman, on the same point of order, Mr. Guité referred to
some documents that he had and he offered to table documents
relating to this issue. I'm wondering if you wouldn't ask him if
it's possible that they be tabled right away that they can be
distributed to all members of the committee so that we have the
benefit of seeing those documents.
Chair: I will do that. I asked him to table document this
morning which the clerk has distributed, I believe, or copies
are currently being made of some pieces.
was going to make reference this afternoon and thought I would
do it at the end but if you want it done now, I'll ask him to do
Guité, you've been making reference to some documents. If you
would like to give them to the clerk we'll try and get copies
made as quickly as possible--are they in two languages or in
only one language?
Charles Guité: I think they're only in one language.
Chair: Well I won't be able to distribute them today if
they're only in one language. I was able to deal with Mr. Guité's
letter from his lawyer this morning because I was able to have
it translated. I was able to deal with the rules regarding
contracting because we got that off the web in both official
languages, but we have an issue that we deal with two languages
in this room, and therefore, unless I can have them in two
languages I don't feel that I should be distributing them. So
that deals with documents.
Vic Toews: Mr. Chair, maybe then I can defer that line of
questioning and move onto another one. If Mr. Guité is going to
bring that forward in the next week or so, we'll have it then
and we can recall him later on.
Chair: Mr. Guité, if you leave the documents with us we can
get them translated and circulated and we can call you back at a
Vic Toews: I think that would be a good idea. I'll defer
that line of questioning.
Charles Guité: On that issue, Mr. Chairman, I will leave
you a copy because we only have the one copy and I want mine.
Chair: The clerk will make a photocopy and we'll give your
copy back, then we will have it translated and we'll have it
circulated. Is that okay?
Vic Toews: Will the clock start now?
Chair: You have one minute.
Vic Toews: Well, Mr. Chairman,my line of questioning--I want
to refresh your memory, Mr. Guité--
Chair: Order, please.
Toews, you have the floor.
Vic Toews: Thank you.
day that you met Minister Dingwall, the day that you kept your
job because he said you wouldn't rat out on the new government,
that day that stands out in your memory in the same way that the
assassination of JFK stood out in your memory, it was a
memorable day for you--in your own words. Now the meeting that
you held took place in Minister Dingwall's office, and when he
came around the desk and extended his hand to you, you and he
were the only people in the office at that time?
Charles Guité: No, his executive assistant was there, Mr.
Vic Toews: Mr. Kinsella.
the minister's office would have been in the same building as
Charles Guité: No, no. That meeting took place at Place du
Portage Phase III, I think, where the Public Works Minister
normally has his office. My office used to be on Sparks Street.
Vic Toews: All right. When you came into the minister's
office, there would have been a receptionist, there would have
been a number of offices, including Warren Kinsella's office.
You would have walked by Warren Kinsella's office when you came
to see the minister?
Charles Guité: That's correct. But let me tell you how the
minister's office worked.
Vic Toews: I'll get into that.
Chair: No, he confirmed Mr. Toews' question, then he wanted
to elaborate. But he confirmed the question. Mr. Toews, finish
Vic Toews: You walked by a number of offices, various people
would have gotten to know you over the years, would they not?
Charles Guité: No, because this was the first time I was
meeting the minister.
Vic Toews: Okay, the first time.
subsequent to that did you go to the same office to meet with
Charles Guité: In most cases, yes.
Vic Toews: In most cases.
Charles Guité: On a couple of occasions I think I met him
on Parliament Hill, I think his office was in the West Block.
Vic Toews: So there would have been numerous other people
who would have seen you come and go. Including the receptionist
for example would have seen you come there, would have seen you
appear on the number of times and those receptionists, and even
Mr. Kinsella, could basically verify the number of times that
you came to see Mr. Dingwall. Is that correct?
Charles Guité: If he could? If Mr. Kinsella could?
Vic Toews: Yes.
Charles Guité: I would think so. Because I've never met
with the minister without his assistant there.
what I want to make clear here. When you arrived at the
minister's office at Place du Portage, there was a waiting area.
And as most meetings with ministers you were booked to see him
at 2 p.m. but you might see him at 4 p.m., and you waited
Vic Toews: Yes, so your presence was known.
Charles Guité: That's right. When I walked in let's say
from the reception area to the minister's office, I definitely
went by several other offices within the complex, or the context
of the minister's office.
Vic Toews: Now, think very carefully about this. Because,
could there have been weeks in fact when you came to see the
minister where you would have been at least three or four times
a week in coming to see the minister on sponsorship or
Charles Guité: Not in the case of Mr. Dingwall, no. Because
the program didn't exist then. The program started--
Vic Toews: Why were you seeing Mr. Dingwall?
Charles Guité: Because we were doing sponsorship with the
unity money, which was .
Vic Toews: So you're not there on the sponsorship, you're
there on the unity fund. But to go to see Mr. Dingwall on the
spending of the unity fund you'd see him maybe three or four
times a week sometimes?
Charles Guité: No.
Vic Toews: Never?
Charles Guité: Don't think so, no.
Vic Toews: Never. Would it ever have been maybe once or
twice a week for a period of time?
Charles Guité: No. Definitely not, no.
Vic Toews: So you're saying the most you would have seen him
at any one time?
Charles Guité: In the years of Mr. Dingwall, depending of
the issue of the day, i.e. where we were with the file, some
weeks I may have seen his office twice. But not very often and I
did not meet with Minister Dingwall or his chiefs of staff on a
Vic Toews: All right. But some weeks you would have seen him
up to twice a week.
Charles Guité: Yes, that could happen.
Vic Toews: Now, the other point that I just wanted to back
on. That is you told this committee, in answer to my question,
that the reason you had to split up the contract, and that was
on chapter 3, page 20, is that you had to keep the agencies
piece of the action under 25%.
got a lot of problem with that answer. Because it seems to me,
let's say a company has 30% of the action of the contracts, you
divide up that 30% into five different contracts, you give it to
the same agency. It still works out to 30%, doesn't it?
Charles Guité: I don't know what your question is.
Vic Toews: Well you said to me, when I brought this issue up
to you, you said--
Charles Guité: Just a second, please. I think what you're
probably confusing here--
Vic Toews: Let me just clarify, just so that we both know
what we're talking about. In respect of the diagram on page 20
when I said Lafleur-Media, Lafleur-Gosselin, Media-Gosselin, you
told us that you broke up those contracts so that it would be
under 25%. How does breaking up a big number, let's say 25%,
30%, 35%, into different contracts and giving it to the same
agency reduce it in any way?
Charles Guité: Because the Treasury Board policy of the day
was very clear--and I'm sure that it's still on record--a
company not strictly taking into account the sponsorship, a
company like Gosselin or Lafleur or whoever, could not do more
than 25% of the total business volume. It could be National
Defence, it could be sponsorship, it could be Health Canada.
Because we had to in those days report, I think, every three
months to Treasury Board the name of the company, how much
business they have, if, for example, company A was very close to
the 25% volume of all the government communication, I may have
to say, “Well, we can't send that sponsorship there because
that's going to take them over the scale”. So I might send it
over to another firm.
Vic Toews: And is that what you did here?
Charles Guité: That's correct.
Vic Toews: That's what you did here. So, basically, you were
avoiding the rules. You were bending the rules.
Charles Guité: Why was I bending them?
Chair: Okay. Time, time, time, time, time.
we're going to Mr. Thibault. Mr. Thibault, eight minutes,
Robert Thibault: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
monsieur Guité. J'ai une couple de questions à vous poser.
Boulay a comparu devant le comité, il a indiqué que dans la
pratique, certains dossiers ou pièces justificatives pour les
dossiers étaient tenus par les agences de publicité, que c'était
leur responsabilité contractuelle et qu'il n'y aurait pas nécessairement
des pièces justificatives, ou tous les rapports ne seraient pas
nécessairement envoyés à votre service ou à Travaux Publics.
Est-ce qu'à votre idée, à votre connaissance, elles le font?
Sinon est-ce que vous pouvez corriger?
Charles Guité: Si j'ai bien compris la question, je sais
que dans tous les contrats que la Couronne émet à une
compagnie, comme par exemple Groupe Everest, il y a une clause
dans le contrat qui indique que la compagnie devrait garder les
Robert Thibault: Et pas nécessairement en faire une copie
à Travaux Public.
Charles Guité: Non, pas nécessairement.
Robert Thibault: La vérificatrice générale, si elle est
allée vérifier les dossiers à Travaux Publics, n'a pas nécessairement
vu les pièces justificatives qui auraient été dans les
dossiers des agences.
Charles Guité: Non. Ce que je pense c'est que, soit que je
l'ai vu dans une des séances avant aujourd'hui dans ce comité,
si je me rappelle bien, soit que je l'ai lu ou que j'ai vu lereplayde
Robert Thibault: De M. Boulay ou de la vérificatrice?
Charles Guité: Je pense que c'était une partie du témoignage
de M. Boulay. Dans un certain cas, il a indiqué qu'il y avait
des vérificateurs qui s'étaient présenté chez Groupe
Everest, qui avaient vérifié des dossiers et qui avaient trouvé
tous les documents, les pièces justificatives chez eux.
Robert Thibault: Oui.
Charles Guité: Alors il me semble que chaque compagnie a
fait la même chose.
Robert Thibault: On a quand même, je pense, de la
documentation maintenant. Cela n'est pas nécessairement pour
tous les dossiers, mais pour certains dossiers dont le Groupe
question. Dans le rapport de la vérificatrice, dans les témoignages
qu'on a eus, il y a la question des contrats avec des agences de
publicité qui auraient été majorés par vous en négociation
avec eux, j'imagine, à des montants substantiels. Parfois on
parle de la question de Canada Morgage and Housing, la Société
d'hypothèque et de logement du Canada, d'un montant de 800 000 $,
je pense, majoré de 800 000 $. Est-ce que vous pouvez
faire un commentaire surla façon dont cela aurait pu arriver?
Charles Guité: Non. Monsieur Thibault, il faudrait que je
regarde ce dossier-là. Le dossier de la Société d'hypothèque
du Canada, si je me rappelle bien--encore que je peux me
tromper--ce n'était pas des fonds du système, du budget des
commandites. Dans ce cas-là, si je me rappelle bien quand M.
Colet qui était au Bureau d'information du Canada a
rempli ce poste à la Société canadienne d'hypothèque, bien sûr
il me connaissait très bien, on travaillait beaucoup ensemble.
On a travaillé ensemble sur le référendum, etc. Quand il est
arrivé là, il n'y avait pas d'agence de publicité en place.
Si je me rappelle bien, M. Coleta transféré l'argent chez
nous, de la Société canadienne d'hypothèque à chez nous et
je l'ai remis. On a engagé Groupe Everest, si je me rappelle
bien. Mais il me semble qu'il y avait d'autres compagnies dans
Robert Thibault: Dans la lettre que vous avez fait parvenir
par l'entremise de votre avocat au comité et qu'on a justement
eu aujourd'hui, habituellement les lettres sont lues dans le
compte-rendu. Celle-ci ne l'a pas été pour une raison ou
l'autre et on l'a seulement reçue aujourd'hui. Vous y indiquez
que vous avez eu le sentiment qu'on vous traitait comme si vous
étiez un fugitif. Est-ce que alors que vous étiez aux États-Unis,
c'était votre temps normal de vacances et que vous êtes revenu
au temps normal?
Charles Guité: Je ne comprends pas votre question, monsieur
Robert Thibault: Vous indiquez dans votre lettre, ou la
lettre de votre avocat, que vous étiez traité comme si vous étiez
Charles Guité: Oui.
Robert Thibault: Est-ce que cette vacance était prévu à
l'avance et est-ce que c'était votre temps normal de vacance?
Est-ce que vous avez changé vos plans?
Charles Guité: Non. Depuis que M. Boudria a fait son
commentaire, depuis que ce comité-ci a été mis sur pied,
c'est sûr qu'il n'y a pas beaucoup de compagnies ou de
personnes qui veulent faire affaire avec moi. Alors, l'année précédente,
on a passé, je pense, trois mois dans le Sud. L'hiver dernier,
on a passé presque tout l'hiver au Texas et en Floride encore
un peu. L'année passée, on avait planifié et on a maintenant
acheté une propriété en Arizona parce qu'on va passer tous
les hivers en Arizona. Alors, ce n'est pas une vacance depuis
que j'ai pris ma retraite. J'aime mieux plus 20 que moins 20.
Robert Thibault: Merci.
we're going to Mr. Mills, but before we move there the clerk has
had copies made of the relevant portion of the Treasury Board
Secretariat's Contracting Policy which will be circulated in a
both official languages and a link to the pool policy, which is
over 100 pages in length, will be sent to the members' offices.
So we're now in a position to distribute that, which will be
Contracting Policy - Part 3 of 31, dealing with exceptions and
so on and we're able to distribute that now.
that will be done.
LeBlanc, a point of order.
Dominic LeBlanc: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
just wondering, I see the clerk got the document that Mr. Guité
referred to, but it was only in one language. In the past, at
this committee, sometimes you've asked for unanimous consent,
Mr. Chairman, if the document could be tabled, although it's now
in one language, and it could be translated thereafter. I'm
wondering if you'd do the same in this case?
Chair: The contracting policy that I'm going to distribute
is in both languages.
Dominic LeBlanc: I was referring to the document that Mr.
Guité had referred to that was only in one language.
Chair: Yes, okay, that portion is being distributed because
it is in both languages.
was, in the past, asking for unanimous consent. I was doing that
from the chair. There have been some objections by some members,
but since one member is now asking that it be distributed in one
language and one language only I will again ask is there
unanimous consent that we distribute in one language? And if the
answer is not then we will not.
a point of order.
a yes or no.
Desrochers: Un point de clarification, monsieur le président.
On a parlé
de tellement de documents ici. Nous en avons un en français,
10.2 Exceptions: Politique sur les marchés. Est-ce que c'est de
ce document dont mon collègue, M. LeBlanc, fait référence?
LeBlanc, je m'adresse par le biais de la présidence.
starting “Exceptions to the contracting policy...” I believe
are in both official languages and being circulated.
we're talking about are the documents that Mr. Guité has given
to the clerk which I said I cannot distribute until such time as
they are translated. I have now had a request by a member that
they be distributed even though they are in one language only
and therefore I'm seeking is there unanimous consent? And if
someone says no then that will be the end of it.
there unanimous consent?
Michel Gauthier (Roberval): Monsieur le président, il y a
une confusion quant au document. C'est une politique
gouvernementale qu'a déposé M. Guité. C'est ça? On ne sait
plus de quel document vous parlez. On voudrait bien vous aider,
mais on ne sait plus...
me go through this again.
Contracting Policy Exceptions 10.2 has been distributed in both
official languages. The issue is documents brought by Mr. Guité,
which I have in front of me, and one is a memorandum to Bruce
Young regarding Earnscliffe Research and Communications and the
Government of Canada and others and these documents are only in
said I would not distribute them because they are in only one
language. There has been a request by one member that I
circulate them. I have therefore asked is there unanimous
consent that they be circulated in only one language? Yes or no?
Michel Gauthier: Oui, monsieur le président, compte tenu
que vous ayez demandé la traduction, elle sera fournie
rapidement quand même.
Chair: No, there's quite a stack of documents. It will be
Monday at the earliest I expect or maybe tomorrow. Doubtful
tomorrow, but Monday.
Michel Gauthier: Déposez-les, monsieur le président. On en
a besoin pour travailler. Alors, vous pouvez les déposer.
Then there is unanimous consent. I'll have the clerk make copies
and have them distributed within about half an hour or so.
Mills, four minutes.
Dennis Mills: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Guité, I'd like to have some explanation, your explanation
around this issue of backdating invoices. I'd like you to try to
explain the condition or your view of how you would justify or
reflect the oral commitments that you gave to people over the
phone or worked on already. Just explain to me this whole issue
of backdating of invoices.
Charles Guité: First of all, you can't backdate an invoice.
You can backdate a contract.
Dennis Mills: Fair enough. That's what I meant to say.
Charles Guité: That's fine. I think that's what you meant
me explain how the system works. It's not only in
communications, or advertising or sponsorship. In this case, in
sponsorship, I don't think it ever happened. I think they
referred to one instance.
a government employee or contracting officer, it could be me, it
could be one of my contracting officers, and the case that I
want to use here as an example, I think it was the Canada Bonds
series in the fall of 1993. In those days, we only advertised
Canada Savings Bonds, I think from October till the end of
November. It was a very short period.
obviously, with the Chrétien government being elected in
November, if I recall correctly--
Chair: October 25.
Charles Guité: --October 25, so they wanted obviously to do
a campaign on the Canada Savings Bonds. They needed an agency to
called me and I said “Yes, we have agencies that are on a
standing offer. We could use our current agencies”. Because of
the urgency, the paying of that campaign was not done by Chuck
Guité in sponsorship, it was done by the Department of Finance.
So myself or one of my contracting officers, either Mr. Parent,
could have said to the agency “Go ahead and start the work and
we'll get a contract in place”.
may have worked two months, three months on this contract. In
this case it could have gone five or six months. By the time the
campaign is over, an invoice arrives at the Department of
Finance to pay for the campaign. The Department of Finance says,
well, as I've been saying all the way along “I can't pay it,
there's no contract”.
are only two ways that you can now pay that invoice. You can do
what you just said, you can backdate a contract. What would be
identified on that contract, normally it would read “As per
verbal direction of October 10, 1994, we've given direction to
this company to go ahead with this work, therefore you can pay
other way you can do it is what is called in a system, a
“confirming order”. A confirming order is a little more
complex because it has to go through a whole bunch of legal
steps. So we could have said to finance “No, we're not going
to issue a backdated contract, we think it's your
responsibility, go through the confirming order process”.
That's a very, very long process. It needs all sorts of legal
input and so forth.
once an agency in good faith has delivered the Canada Savings
Bonds and the Department of Finance didn't want them to wait
another three, four, five months to get paid. So we therefore
backdated the contract, which is quite legal and done, not on an
ongoing basis, but it's done more than once and fairly regularly
in many, many instances, not only in communications.
Dennis Mills: Thank you very much.
you, Mr. Chair.
Chair: Okay, thank you very much.
I'll go to Mr. Lastewka. Mr. LeBlanc, are you splitting your
Dominic LeBlanc: Yes.
Chair: Okay. Mr. Lastewka, for four minutes.
Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines, Lib.): Yes, with Mr. LeBlanc.
have a question that I wanted to get at. It's concerning the
arrangements that you had with your advertising firms. You were
kind of the kingpin of the sponsorship program. You had a number
of advertising agencies.
relationships with the advertising agencies, you had mentioned
earlier that you had visited the agencies. I would expect that
from time to time. You were involved with the sponsorship events
to go to events. What kinds of gifts, or favours or freebies
might you have gotten over that time when you with the
Mr. Charles Guité:
very many. I may have gotten a bottle of wine at Christmas or
another gift. It could have been an agenda, or things like that
but I never accepted gifts from agencies. And maybe this is the
area that I've heard, I think either again through the media,
that I got a trip around the world. Then it was a trip to
California and then I think they might have got Japan in there
I retired there was no question, there was a fairly nice
farewell party put on for my departure from the government.
There were a lot of public servants there that I've worked with
for some 34 years. There were a lot of people from the industry,
not necessarily all advertising. There were some from Public
Opinion Research, there were some from public relations firms,
and there were gifts given to me when I retired. They varied
from a cowboy hat signed by a lot of people who I don't even
know, even though I got the cowboy hat because everybody knows
I'm a bit of a western guy. I love horses and riding and so
was given a trip to Las Vegas from an agency and I think either
the same night or the night after, I said to the Deputy of the
day, who was Mr. Quail, “Ran, don't worry. I'm not going to
take this trip” because I thought that was not acceptable and
to this day I have not taken that trip.
I'll be very, very honest here. The president of the agency
called me two years ago and I'll never forget the letter--and I
tried to find it yesterday but I couldn't find it--at the bottom
it had, “the gift was four days to Vegas, hotel included and
airfare. P.S. No gambling money” and the agency called me, oh,
a year ago and said, “Chuck, when are you going to take your
trip?” and I said to the president of the agency, “Never”.
the gifts that I have received, like I say, a bottle of wine
here or a bottle of wine there but nothing that would contradict
the conflict of interest guidelines.
Walt Lastewka: Was the atmosphere not, in the advertising
business, that gifts be offered many times? Did your refuse
gifts during the time of the sponsorship program?
Charles Guité: No, because I think the agencies that I
dealt with wouldn't offer me a gift that would not be
Walt Lastewka: Why do you say that?
Charles Guité: Because I know most of those agencies very
well. You've got to remember that I have not worked with those
agencies for five or six years. Some of those agencies go back
to 1984 so some of these people I know very well and over the
years I can't remember an agency offering me something that was
out of line that I would have to say, “No, I can't take
Walt Lastewka: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The Chair: Mr. LeBlanc, s'il vous plaît, quatre minutes.
Dominic LeBlanc: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Guité,
for your answers to so many questions.
wanted to touch, if I could, Mr. Guité, on two particular
issues. One may be just a clarification. Earlier you mentioned
Mario Lague in the context to a question from a colleague
across. I don't know if there may be some confusion as to Mario
Parent who I believe worked with you.
Lague, my information is, joined the government only in June,
1997 at FPRO or as it then was, Intergovernmental Affairs when
Mr. Dion was the Minister, so I just didn't want there to be
Charles Guité: No, no, I think the question was not... When
we talked about Mario Lague, that's who I meant and as I said,
I'm not sure if Mario Lague was in PCO or FPRO or M. Dion, and
in retrospect, M. LeBlanc, I think you may be right that Mario
Lague joined the government when Minister--
Dominic LeBlanc: Dion was--
Charles Guité: --Dion became involved or became a minister
and so forth, but I know Mario very, very well because I worked
closely with him when he was at PCO.
Dominic LeBlanc: Anyway, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just
didn't want there to be some confusion about that.
Guité, I was hoping you could explain to us and correct a
popular misconception that the various agencies that the
Government of Canada used, be it for advertising or for the
sponsorship program, either when it was done from the Unity Fund
or subsequent to the actual creation of the program, there seems
to be considerable confusion in many people's minds that these
agencies were selected other than by an open public process. You
referred to the MERX system. Now leave aside the exception which
my colleagues went on the pre-referendum context.
you go back to the advertising and management group, when you
first became involved in this file in government, and tell us,
for example, when Senator Murray was involved. Were agencies
chosen by public open competition? How, typically, were agencies
of record selected, either in advertising or in sponsorship?
Charles Guité: How far back would you like me to go? I can
go back as far as when I started the job which was about 1989 I
Dominic LeBlanc: Please, please.
Charles Guité: But I think in my opening comments I
described in very broad terms how the system worked under the
Mulroney government. It was very clear then how it worked. We
had ... agencies were prequalified by a list, a questionnaire
that would fill in. When it came time to have an agency
competition, the chairman of the MG which was a political
appointee would go down the list and pick five or six or seven
firms to come and do the presentation for a competition. Once
that was done, obviously that political appointee was not
involved in the process because of again the procurement
guidelines of the government.
committee in those days consisted of again two people from my
staff, two people from the department or three, I forget, three
from the department and it was chaired by a private contractor.
At the end of the day, we had the competition no different than
we did it now except now we don't have ... now we're totally
open whereas before you were limited by the list that you were
given by these political appointees.
Dominic LeBlanc: When you say before, you mean before, in
the Conservative government.
Charles Guité: That's right. The system changed to what I
would call more open or totally open when the Liberal government
got into power and what they did, they took away the political
appointee and when I think it was Mr. Dingwall in one of his
minutes I've read talked about the policy and there was no
policy before. No, there was a lot of policy before they were
there. What happened when we changed the policy, it used to be
right in the policy, that AMG would have on staff two regional
advisors appointed by the political system.
Dominic LeBlanc: Thank you, Mr. Guite.
The Chair: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur LeBlanc.
MacKay, please, eight minutes.
Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, CPC): Thank
you, Mr. Chair.
Guite, what you're telling us then is that it went from one
process of being, to use your word politicized, to a process
where essentially you made the call after the input from various
political consultations whether it be with Mr. Pelletier in the
Prime Minister's Office or another minister. They gave you
input. Then you made the decision.
Charles Guité: Absolutely ...
Peter MacKay: You consider that to be de-politicizing.
Charles Guité: Absolutely not. What your mixing the whole
process here, Mr. MacKay.
agency selection process under this current government has been
the most open since I've been in that job. I'll tell you why
because when we changed the policy that Mr. Dingwall referred to
when he was here, yes the policy was changed. If you read it
today, we had I think from about 1994 when a new policy came in,
initially when the Liberals came in, we had to advertise the
agency competition in what we call trade magazine, a marketing
magazine. There's one en francais I think called a ...
would advertise that a department let's say Health Canada is
looking for an ad agency. Any agency could raise up their hand
and say I want to be considered. Then we would send them a
questionnaire and we'd say okay, you've got to have a creative
department on staff. You've got a media planning division and so
forth. That lasted about I would say, I'd have to check it in
the record, but I would say about a year.
as we wrote the new policy--we being the Government of
Canada--and policies obviously of communication like that would
involve myself, PCO, Treasury Board and so forth. I remember
trying to argue with Treasury Board that there's no way we can
put an agency selection on MIRCs and Treasury Board said, Mr.
Guite, they're going to be on MIRCs.
Peter MacKay: All right. That's your assessment of how ...
Charles Guité: No, no it's not my ... that's how it works.
Peter MacKay: I see.
Charles Guité: So now all agencies are on MIRCs.
Peter MacKay: I want to move on to another question.
referred earlier in your evidence the response to Mr.
Desrocher's question about a phone call or perhaps several phone
calls you received from a Terry O'Leary. Is that correct?
Charles Guité: That's correct.
Peter MacKay: Ms. O'Leary was working at the Department of
Finance at the time.
Charles Guité: She was chief of staff to the minister.
Peter MacKay: Chief of staff to Paul Martin.
Charles Guité: If I recall correctly, yes.
Peter MacKay: And when she called, was she giving you this
so-called input on contracts that were under your purview at the
Charles Guité: Yes.
Peter MacKay: So she was giving you advice as to what she
felt or what the minister felt should be the awarding of
Charles Guité: No, no. The advice in one case and I think
that I've given the documents to the Chair. In one case somebody
from the minister's office wrote and asked to add these agencies
to a competition which we obviously refused to do because the
process had already started.
Peter MacKay: So was the letter a follow-up to the phone
call? I want to be clear on that.
Charles Guité: You know, I can't remember.
Peter MacKay: The memo that you provided, at one point, page
3, section 7, it says,
agree it makes the most sense for the strategy to be
developed by Ginko/Groupe Everest in collaboration with
the market researchers, rather than another ad agency. In
addition, Ginko/Groupe Everest should also serve as
project manager/co-coordinator for the public relations
firms which are appointed.
input from now-Prime-Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff to
you on who should be hired to do the work and who the contract
should be awarded to. Correct?
Charles Guité: Requesting that we do that, yes.
Peter MacKay: Yes, they're requesting that you use Groupe
Everest. Was that the only time that you recall that the Prime
Minister, the then-Finance-Minister's office, called to give you
input on such a contract decision?
Charles Guité: On advertising, that's the only one I can
recall, but I remember having calls on research.
Peter MacKay: On research and awarding of contracts for
Charles Guité: No, that we should include, for example ...
what's their name again?
Charles Guité: I think I said earlier this morning, the
minister, being Minister Dingwall, received a letter from Mr.
Goodale asking to exempt him from the policy, and we said no.
Peter MacKay: I'd like to just stay focused if we could for
a moment on this call from Ms. O'Leary. Did she indicate at any
time, was the call directly with you?
Charles Guité: Yes.
Peter MacKay: Did she indicate at any time that she was
calling on behalf of the minister?
Charles Guité: I think I said earlier, she referred,
“Paul would be happier if...”.
Peter MacKay: “Paul would be happier if...” a certain
firm was used, mainly Everest.
Charles Guité: No, no, “...if you would concern ...”.
No, I'm not talking about the Everest file now. I'm talking
about research, Earnscliffe.
Peter MacKay: Okay, you're talking about research.
Charles Guité: In the case of the Everest file--
Peter MacKay: And it was Earnscliffe specifically?
Charles Guité: Yes.
Peter MacKay: So, Ms. O'Leary from Paul Martin's office
called and said, “Paul would prefer if Earnscliffe was used to
do this research”?
Charles Guité: Exactly. The memo that I've given you
today--I can't remember who Bruce Young is--but I don't think
that's from Minister Martin's office. This one. Here we go here.
a memo here from Terry O'Leary that went to ... I think that's
the one you were referring to, Mr. MacKay?
Peter MacKay: That's the memo. It's dated, so that we're on
the same page, May 30, 1994. In the opening line, it starts:
wanted to outline some suggestions from myself and the
minister regarding the proposal for the 1994 retail debt
she says “the minister”, you're saying that was Paul Martin.
(Inaud.) her department, the Department of Finance.
Charles Guité: Well, who did she work for?
Peter MacKay: Right. So it was Paul Martin, you would agree?
Charles Guité: I would agree.
Peter MacKay: Okay.
Guité, in reference to the issue of awarding of contracts,
there was a letter allegedly written by you in September--or,
I'm sorry, I want to be very clear on this--a letter written in
June 1999, in which it is alleged that you instructed
Groupaction Marketing that if they had money that was unused or
unaccounted for in the delivery of a program or a sponsorship
program, if there was unused federal funds, that they should
simply continue to use them for ongoing work, and not return the
money if it wasn't used for specific purpose.
Charles Guité: I'd have to see the letter, Mr. MacKay, and
Peter MacKay: All right. I'll give you a little context.
amount of $330,000 to Salon du plein air, Quebec City. This was,
as I understand it, a fishing and gaming show. The allegation
was that the gaming show didn't happen, therefore, the money
wasn't used for that purpose. You wrote to them allegedly and
said, “Don't return the money, just do some other work”.
Charles Guité: No, no, no.
Peter MacKay: You're saying that didn't happen?
Chair: Just a minute, Mr. MacKay, let him answer.
Guité, you've got the floor.
Charles Guité: I did write the letter. Obviously, if I
signed it, I wrote it.
Peter MacKay: I haven't seen the letter. I'm just asking if
you wrote the letter, I haven't seen it.
Charles Guité: Where's the letter if you haven't seen it?
Peter MacKay: I'm referring to coverage of this in the Globe
and Mail in September 2002.
Charles Guité: End of discussion. I have no idea of what
you're talking about.
Peter MacKay: Oh, you have no idea of what I'm talking
about. You just said you had a letter, Mr. Guité. You said you
signed the letter.
hon. members: Oh, oh.
Chair: Mr. MacKay, just a second, just slow down a bit.
MacKay, you made some allegations based on .... Do you want to
give a copy of that article to the clerk, first of all--
Peter MacKay: Sure.
Chair: Just let me finish.
Peter MacKay: Okay, Mr. Chair.
Chair: You are quoting from a newspaper article which
suggests that Mr. Guité had written a letter. Just because he
is referring to a newspaper article, Mr. Guité, if you have
knowledge of the letter, you will speak about the letter. You
can't say because it's coming from a newspaper article, you
don't have to speak about it.
Mr. Charles Guité:
definitely will speak about it, Mr. Chairman, because I remember
the incident, or the occasion or whatever.
year was that, Mr. MacKay, 1997?
Peter MacKay: The letter was allegedly written in June 1999.
The article that I'm referring to, just for context, is
September 19, 2002, Globe and Mail.
Charles Guité: Now, do I remember that specific letter? No.
Do I remember the incident? Yes. I'll tell you how it worked.
were doing that year, if I remember right, several outdoor
shows, one of them being, the one that I referred to I think was
in Quebec City.
Mr. Peter MacKay: Salon du plein air.
Charles Guité: Yes, that would be in Quebec City, I think. That event was
cancelled. What I remember discussing, and again if I had the
file, I'd be more specific. What I remember discussing either
with Groupaction, was to take that money and give us more
visibility in the other events.
Peter MacKay: You wrote to Groupaction--
Chair: Mr. MacKay, your time is finished.
Peter MacKay: --let me finish this line of questioning, Mr.
Chair: No, no. Your time is finished, but I will finish this
thing. So you're saying automatically a contract was a contract,
but don't worry about the contract. Take the money, spend it
where you think it's better.
Charles Guité: No, no. Not where you think it's best. I had
input in where that money was going to go.
give you an example of this. Salon du
plein air in Quebec was cancelled. There were I think two or three
Salons du plein air happening in Quebec. There was one in
Montreal, there was one in--I was going to say Rivière-du-Loup,
but it wasn't Rivière-du-Loup--my direction to the agency of
the time was “Give us more visibility in those other
Chair: So the contract was ignored and you wanted to do
Charles Guité: No, it wasn't ignored.
Chair: The contract said “This is what we're going to
do”. That didn't happen. So what happened from that point
Charles Guité: I asked for more visibility in other events.
It could have been more than one event, not necessarily just
Chair: Okay. So the contract that you had was not fulfilled.
So rather than cancelling the contract, not paying out the
money, you just said “Well, we'll spend it in another way”.
Charles Guité: No, not “Well, we'll spend another way”,
“We'll get more visibility in other events”.
Chair: Well, that's another way, isn't it?
Charles Guité: Well, fine.
Chair: Yes, that's another way. The contract would have said
“I engage you to advertise the Government of Canada at this
particular location at this particular time”. It didn't
rather than saying “That's the end of it, we'll keep the
money”, and so on and so forth, the contract was not
fulfilled, you said, notwithstanding that, we'll just spend the
money in another way, at another location at another time. Is
Charles Guité: I'll repeat. If I recall correctly and I'd
have to see that file, that my direction to the agency at the
time was to get more visibility in other events.
I can't make any further comment because I would have to see the
Chair: Okay, well a very, very quick closing comment here,
Peter MacKay: Well, Mr. Chair, just in relation to this, I
think we've seen another example of how reluctant a witness Mr.
Guité is. When he is asked a question--
Peter MacKay: --if I could just finish, Mr. Chair. When he
is asked a question, he immediately upon hearing that it's in a
newspaper article, and he previously said yes, he remembers the
letter, and that if he signed it, he must have written it. I'm
looking on the wall, here, Mr. Chair, and it says “The spirit
of the printed word”, sitting right above your head.
problem here is the spirit of the printed word was completely
out the window. Everything was done orally. There were no
written documents. There were files that weren't complete. That
seems to be the entire problem here today.
Chair: Well, thank you, Mr. MacKay. You've got your comments
on the record.
Lastewka, you've got a point of order now.
Walt Lastewka: Well, it's very simple and long, Mr.
Chairman. I think we're here to question the witness--
Chair: Well, this is true.
Walt Lastewka: --instead of attacking the witness. I think
these questions should be put and the answers should be sought,
not the attacks and everything else that goes with it. Mr.
Chairman, I think you have a responsibility to this committee.
Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Lastewka.
Dennis Mills: On a point of order, Mr. Chair.
Chair: Just before we deal with your point of order, Mr.
Lastewka, we are dealing with the Parliament of Canada where
varied opinions are entitled to be stated here. This isn't an
academic process, here. This is the Parliament of Canada where
many different opinions are entitled to be expressed. He just
expressed an opinion.
Mills, you have an opinion, you have a point of order.
Walt Lastewka: We're here to question the witness.
Dennis Mills: On this reference to the spirit of the printed
word that Mr. MacKay talks about--
Chair: Well, that's a concept. Yes.
Dennis Mills: --I think that most members of this committee
would realize that the fairness and accuracy of some of the
reporting that has gone on with this file over the last two
months could be challenged.
Chair: Well that's kind of away from...how it's being
reported here is nothing that I have any control over. I just
say that this is the Parliament of Canada where everybody has an
opinion. Therefore, in addition to asking questions they are
entitled to state their opinion as to the quality and the
confidence of the answer.
Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.): I'd
like some clarification both from the witness and from you, Mr.
Chair. When the whole question that Mr. MacKay asked, if I'm not
mistaken, the blues may correct me, said that you wrote, say to
Mr. Guité, you wrote a letter concerning the salon derurure and
at one point Mr. Guité said I don't recall. He said, well your
signature is on it.
Peter MacKay: Absolutely not.
Chair: Order please.
Marlene Jennings: Excuse me, Mr. Guité said, if my
signature is on it then I wrote it. I also assumed that Mr.
MacKay had a copy of the alleged letter in hand when he then
said, it's a newspaper article which makes reference to the
I think if I'm correct, the witness assumed and in fact asked,
may I have a copy of the letter you're referring to? Is in fact
that what happened because you did not clarify it to my point of
Chair: What I suggest is we wait until tomorrow morning, you
raise that as a point of privilege if what you think is correct.
We will have the blues at that point in time.
Madam Jennings, it's your turn.
Marlene Jennings: Merci.
Guité, contrairement aux commentaires que je viens d'entendre
de la part de M. MacKay--je n'étais pas présente, ce matin, à
cause de mes fonctions à un autre comité--j'ai révisé les
transcriptions de votre témoignage, ce matin et comme vous le
voyez, je suis présente depuis que le comité a recommencé à
15 h 30. Je trouve que vous avez une mémoire phénoménale,
compte tenu que vous soyez retraité du gouvernement depuis
plusieurs années. Deuxièmement, selon vous, vous n'avez pas eu
accès aux dossiers sur lesquels vous avez travaillé depuis que
le Programme des commandites a débuté en 1997.
revenir sur quelques points de votre témoignage de ce matin.
talking about the Auditor General's report, you said very
clearly on page 58 that you were not trying to discredit the
Auditor General, but that in some of the examples you were able
to show that the Auditor General's conclusion was not the
conclusion that you drew because you had access to possibly
information and files that the Auditor General did not have
access to. When I say information, I give you the example, you
yourself say that for some of the sponsorships, the visibility,
it would have been difficult to have something in the file, if
there's a word mark on a skating ice rink or something like
that, I believe those were your very words. So it's clear that
if the Auditor General audited that particular file, the Auditor
General would not be in a position to see that there was value
for money. I'm pleased that you clarified that you're not trying
to discredit the Auditor General, but that you're trying to
complete information that you feel she may not have had at her
the question of the interest earned, for instance, Everest
Group, in the corporate account from the time a cheque was cut
from CCSB, or from the government, was deposited in their
corporate account they then cut a cheque to the ad agency, for
instance, or to the event organizers. The Auditor General had a
problem with the fact that there was interest earned on that
Mr. Boulet who came here from Everest explained very clearly
what that interest was and in fact the contracts that were
signed never addressed the issue. Therefore, legally that
interest could very well belong to Everest Group, but they
decided not to go the legal route before the courts and simply
paid it back not to make an issue of it. But that was an issue
of the Auditor General.
you at any time discuss that with the Auditor General when she
presented you with at least part of her report?
Charles Guité: No, absolutely not. In fact I haven't read
Monsieur Boulet's testimony. But I would assume, if I can
remember right, it seems to me that there was a clause in the
contract with the AOR, because it is one of the bigger contracts
that we issued.
Marlene Jennings: Agency of record, correct.
Charles Guité: They would place millions of dollars on
Media. If I recall correctly, now I could be wrong, there was a
time delay that when Groupe Everest received the money they had
to pay the Media--
Marlene Jennings: Within five days.
Charles Guité: In how many days?
Marlene Jennings: Five days, according to Mr. Boulet.
Charles Guité: Which I think is probably appropriate. It
never came to my mind, and now that you mention that, that an
agency like the AOR could receive $5 million-$6 million today
from the government, keep it for five days, and then pay. Well,
if I had $5 million in the bank for five days, I'd be happy.
Marlene Jennings: But it's not just that.
Charles Guité: No, let me finish. I definitely wasn't aware
that was the case. But then in now thinking of Chuck Guité
having left the government. If I have a business and I receive
money on a valid contract and I have a clause that says you're
going to pay party number three within five days and my company
ends up making a profit by doing that, is that illegal? It's not
in a contract, I don't think so.
Marlene Jennings: That's the point I wanted to make.
Charles Guité: And Mr. Boulet says he returned the money?
Marlene Jennings: He returned the money because they felt
the legal fees to fight the government after the 2000 audit,
etc., it would have cost them more than the $100,000 and
something of interest that they earned over the years.
other thing is that it's not just the cheque gets cut by Media
IDA or by Everest within the five stipulated days. Once it's
received by say the event organizer--
Charles Guité: They may not cash it for another three days,
or five days.
Marlene Jennings: Exactly. Now, I want to go to another
issue where you were hammered, unjustifiably in my view, on the
question of Treasury Board rules where no one company could be
awarded more than 25% of all government contracts. And that's
why you say that you kept track, I assume you had a computerized
Charles Guité: No. We did, and we had to report, if I
Marlene Jennings: Every three months.
Charles Guité: --on a quarterly basis to Treasury Board.
Marlene Jennings: That's right, every three months.
when you saw that an agency was coming close to the 25% of all
government contracts awarded say from January 1 to March 31,
then say if you were awarding a contract on March 30 and you
knew that there was $100 million of government contracts out
there and one particular agency had received, to that point,
$24,999,000.99, you wouldn't award it in order to respect and
apply the rule. Is that correct?
Charles Guité: That's correct, because we had to report to
Marlene Jennings: Exactly. Now, in the next quarter, if
another $100 million of all government contracts went out, then
that almost 25% that agency had of the first quarter would now
be reduced to 12.5%, in which case they would then be admissible
under the Treasury Board guidelines for another contract.
Charles Guité: Not within the same year.
Marlene Jennings: Not within the same year. Even if they
were no longer at 25%.
Charles Guité: If I remember correctly, and again I'd have
to check--and the policy must still be there, exists on file
somewhere--it read that no one firm will get more than 25% of
the total government business volume within a one-year period.
So, if an agency, let's say from January--and I think in a
document somewhere I saw a couple of days ago--if the government
did $150 million in advertising, one agency could not get more
than 25% of that.
Marlene Jennings: Over the entire year.
Charles Guité: Over the entire year, including sponsorship,
including research. Because some companies do all, they'll do
sponsorship, research and advertising. So at 25% they were
basically cut off. So an agency in fact could get cut off. The
fiscal year starts April 1, by the end of July we know the
forecast is going to by xyz, they're up around 24%-25%,
that's it, folks.
Marlene Jennings: Okay. Thank you.
Chair: Ms. Jennings, thank you very much.
Jordan, please, eight minutes.
Joe Jordan (Leeds—Grenville, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Guité, I just want to go back to the Maurice Richard file. This
morning I asked about the rationale behind using the agencies
when we're essentially giving money from CCSB to the production
company to make the movie. In response to that you said in the
case of VIA and Canada Post you can not and you said, and I'm
quoting here, how would I use the words, “I can not transfer
funds from CCSB to Canada Post. To do that I would have to go
through Treasury Board because that's taking funds from one
portfolio, and even worse to a crown corporation”. What would
have been the problem with going through Treasury Board? Is it a
Charles Guité: No, it's not a timing issue. That would mean
that if I did that for Information Essentiel, why wouldn't I do
that for every other sponsorship? Go directly and avoid the
agency. The answer is very simple. We were doing I forget how
many events a year when I was there, it was in the high hundreds
and I had a staff of four in advertising and sponsorship. On the
sponsorship file I think I had one and a half person. So
obviously in those days the decision was made that we would do
the sponsorship through the auspices of an agency in order to
ensure that the visibility was taking place and once we
installed--I think six, seven months after we started--the post
mortem/picture, I didn't have the staff to send out to these
what I was trying to explain this morning, there are different
rules about transferring funds in the government from one
department to another or a department to a crown corporation,
and it's not impossible. It's done and I'm sure it's done, not
regularly, but it's done often enough. It's not a matter of
delay. The problem here was basically lack of staff and I think
I said it this morning, Communications Canada I think they're
called now--I guess they're not called anything as of April 1--
Joe Jordan: I think I'm getting that but I'm just wondering
could CCSB have transferred the money for the production for the
Maurice Richard series directly to the production company, or
are you telling me that the advertising agencies did more than
just pass that money through?
Charles Guité: No, because then it would have become--how
would I explain that? Te money that was allocated for
sponsorship would go through an ad agency normally the way you
do sponsorship and for me to transfer that money directly to
Information Essentiel would have been a totally different
process. Otherwise, as I just said earlier, why would I use an
agency at all for any of those sponsorship programs? Why
wouldn't I transfer it all?
argument here has always been and always will be that the
agencies in doing those events for the Government of Canada-no
question, on some of them, made a nice profit. On some of them
they broke even and on some of them, they lost their shirt. Over
all the Government of Canada got value for money and I will
stick with that if I'm here for six months.
Joe Jordan: Let's hope that's not the case.
terms of the exceptions then, you talked about the procurement
policy, there are four exceptions, and you cited the third one,
the nature of the work is such that it would not be in the
public interest to solicit bids. Then a further explanation of
that of exception C, “should normally be reserved for
dealing with security considerations or to alleviate some
significant socio-economic disparity”--I'll jump ahead but the
thing I'm interested in here--“this exception should be
invoked only with the approval of senior management as delegated
by the contracting authority”.
that decision to invoke that made by you as a senior manager?
Charles Guité: No, I think it was made by the
committee--myself, people from FPRO. Obviously one of my senior
people who was seconded to FPRO was involved in that decision
but it wasn't Chuck Guité is going to do it this way. No. I
think it was discussed around the table. And again, if we're
going to split hairs on those rules, you say security,
confidentiality, whatever. I think--and I'm trying to avoid
using that famous phrase--the issue we were dealing with at the
time justified very well and I believe we did the right thing.
Joe Jordan: Mr. Guité, just on that point and I'm not
necessarily disagreeing with you but it is sometimes problematic
to see things historically through a lens of something that
happened in the mid-1990s--
Charles Guité: Yes, 20/20 hindsight.
Joe Jordan: I asked this of Mr. Pelletier when he was here
and he touched on it, and you touched on it a little bit this
morning. What exactly were we trying to counter with this
program? What was going on in Quebec? And you don't need to get
into the debate, but what was the other side doing that gave
rise for the need for us to do something? You mentioned
something about using the casino. What were you trying to
Charles Guité: Again, I think there are about three
questions there and that's fine, because they all relate to one
what we did pre-referendum--during the referendum, i.e., the
months leading up to it, obviously, we were very concerned with
what the gouvernement du Québec was doing, advertising the
“Oui” versus the “Non” for the fédéral, and so we did
all sorts of promotions in Quebec during that time. Now what
were they? There were a lot of government ads running in Quebec.
The famous billboards that we bought and ran government ads
guess my question is, what was the other side doing?
Charles Guité: Who?
Joe Jordan: What was the other side doing? What was their
Charles Guité: Well, the other guy was promoting the yes
side of the separatists.
the second part of your question is then, why did we carry on
with that? Well, if you remember the night of the referendum, I
remember it very well and I mean, I'm sure people from the Bloc
remember it very well, but on an obviously different side of the
remember the following morning the Prime Minister of Canada of
the day, who was Mr. Chrétien, said that we will never let this
happen again. We'll do whatever is possible that it never
lost the referendum by what, 1%, give or take? I mean, I won't
go into the details of my involvement in the few days before the
to make a long story short, after the event , the day after the
referendum, based on the Prime Minister's comment, there was a
lot of discussion around the table. “We have to get a new set
of dishes, folks” and one of the areas that was discussed was
that the federal government is not present enough in Quebec.
There are too many Québécois, Québécoise who don't know that
in every village and every city there is a lot of federal money,
i.e., there's a post office, there's a department and so forth.
discussions with this FPRO/my organization/PMO/minister's
office, the idea of carrying on with the sponsorship program
that had worked fairly well during the referendum was initiated.
And I think again I'll refer to the comment I made this
morning--this was supposed to last I think up until 1999 or 2000
and that program would then be off the table because if you did
a survey today on people in Quebec who would separate from
Quebec versus stay with Canada, I think you'd find a different
response. It won't be 49% and I think mes amis québécois et québécoises
realized that it's a good family, it's part of a good family, we
advice to the Québécois would be, make sure you're well
represented in Ottawa at the next election.
Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Jordan and Mr. Guité and
the clerks are passing around some motions that we will just
wrap up our day with.
Guité, there's no need for you to remain. You are excused but
we will see you here at 9:00 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Charles Guité: At 9:00 o'clock tomorrow morning?
Chair: At 9:00 o'clock tomorrow morning, yes.
Charles Guité: And what's the schedule tomorrow, Mr.
Chair: The schedule is 9:00 to 1:00 but we will break from
11:15 to 12:15--
Charles Guité: For question period?
Chair: --for question period.
witness is excused and we're going to deal with three motions by
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis and...what have you got there?
Vic Toews: I have a motion as well.
Chair: Is that a notice of motion?
Vic Toews: Yes.
Chair: Okay, I'll get to it. I already have the notice of
motion by Ms. Wasylycia-Leis. We'll deal with that and I'll
accept your notice of motion and then we'll wrap up, okay?
Vic Toews: Okay.
Chair: Do we have everybody here?
were motions distributed by Ms. Wasylycia-Leis. There are three
a second. Would these cameras please move. This meeting is not
get to you in a minute, Mr. Toews, if we can just get a little
bit of peace and quiet here
motion from Ms. Wasylycia-Leis Tuesday, April 6 that the
committee request Public Works and Government Services Canada to
provide a detailed breakdown of the disbursements made under
contract EP043-9-0037 with respect to the sponsorship of the Pan
Am Games in Winnipeg in 1999. Of particular interest are the
details of $1,591,420 in production costs.
Wasylycia-Leis, speaking to your motion briefly.
Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP):
briefly, it's critical that we get some details pertaining to
this particular sponsorship file. It's particularly relevant
given the comments today by our witness, Mr. Guité, who has
suggested, in fact, that a pavilion was built, that a Canadian
pavilion was designed and built for the Pan Am Games. My
understanding is that's not the case, that simply an existing
building at The Forks was redone in terms of the actual theme
around the Pan Am Games.
Speaker, I'm looking for details, not broad costs. I'd like a
breakdown of the production costs.
Chair: Okay. That's very good, Ms. Wasylycia-Leis. We've
been asking for all kinds of information, and I think that we'll
agree to this one too.
The Chair: Moving on
to the next motion, Tuesday, April 20,
the Standing Committee on Public Accounts call on the
Honourable John Gomery of the Superior Court of Quebec or
someone on his behalf to appear before it to update the
committee on the progress of his commission of inquiry as
it relates to the Auditor General's November 2003 report.
to your motion, briefly.
Judy Wasylycia-Leis: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
would ask for the support of the committee with respect to this
motion. I think that it's critical we get an update from either
Judge Gomery or someone on his behalf to inform us about his
plans for conducting an independent judicial inquiry into the
would hope that committee members would support this because I
think that it will enlighten our work and help to ensure that we
aren't stepping over each other's toes, and that we have a sense
of the fact that this is an inquiry in place that can do the
work our committee is not equipped to do.
Chair: Thank you very much, Ms. Wasylycia-Leis.
Joe Jordan: Mr. Chair, I guess I have a bit of a problem
with this. I think that we need to maintain the independence
between the two processes.
public inquiry, from what I've read in the paper...there is
going to be some kind of an update given publicly. There's
certainly a lot of attention on this.
we want to make sure we're not interfering with what each other
is doing, but we managed to accomplish this informally with the
RCMP. I think that, unless there's a pressing problem, we pursue
that informal process. Calling a Supreme Court justice here is a
precedent that I think we want to give some thought to.
Chair: Ms. Ablonczy.
Diane Ablonczy: As so often happens, Mr. Chairman, I find
myself in complete agreement with Liberals opposite.
hon. members: Oh, oh!
Diane Ablonczy: I do question whether it would be wise for
us to examine the head of the commission, so to speak. Mr.
Chairman, I would appreciate having some words of wisdom from
our legal counsel on that point.
Chair: Mr. Walsh.
Rob Walsh (Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, House of
Commons): Mr. Chairman, I believe there were some
discussions with the mover of the motion with regard to the very
point Ms. Ablonczy is now raising. For that reason, the words
“or someone on his behalf” were inserted in anticipation
that the commission counsel or co-counsel would attend, much
like the RCMP officer did, and just apprise the committee of
where things are going with that inquiry, and perhaps enable
this committee to be sensitized to where there may be points of
impact, one with the other, that it might be helpful to be aware
Chair: I think that in light of that, Mr. Walsh, we should,
perhaps, wait until the inquiry is up and running before we
actually move down that road.
going to call the question. All those in....
more intervention. Monsieur Guimond.
Michel Guimond (Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île-d'Orléans):
Merci, monsieur le président.
entièrement d'accord avec le commentaire fait par M. Jordan à
l'effet que cette motion, si elle ne peut être retirée par ma
collègue du NPD, elle devrait à tout le moins être défaite
pour les mêmes raisons que nous devrions préserver l'indépendance
entre le judiciaire et le législatif. Nous sommes une « créature »
de l'appareil législatif. Nous sommes un prolongement de la
Chambre des communes, en tant que comité, et nous devrions
garder notre indépendance par rapport à la Commission d'enquête
du juge Gomery.
Chair: I give Ms. Wasylycia-Leis the final short comment.
Judy Wasylycia-Leis: I realize I don't have much support for
this motion; however, I want to suggest to the committee that
this motion, by no stretch of the imagination, suggests that we
lose any sense of independence.
me just say, Mr. Chairperson, the intent of this motion is to
reflect on the fact that it is today day 72 since the Prime
Minister struck this independent judicial committee. It has yet
to report, it has yet to begin to hear witnesses. We have become
the only game in town and yet we are not designed to be a court
of law, nor are we designed to follow the money.
I had assumed, Mr. Chairperson, that it would have been a
constructive addition to the public focus on this whole critical
issue to at least have an update, not from necessarily the
judge, but from the office to hear the plans. Or perhaps maybe
we should be asking the Prime Minister, then, to tell us what
the heck he has set up this inquiry for if he had no intention
of making it a reality.
Chair: Okay, thank you very much. And I'm not going to hear
any more on this. I think you answered your own question. The
last thing we'd ever want to do is to bring someone in here to
the commission of inquiry to chastize them for the lack of
progress. That is not our role. Therefore, I'm going to call the
those in favour of adopting the motion?
Chair: Moving onto the third one: That the Standing
Committee on Public Accounts call on Ms. Donna Achimov, former
employee of Public Works and Government Services Canada, to
appear before the committee.
Marlene Jennings: Just a point of clarification, and perhaps
Ms. Wasylycia-Leis or the clerk can, does this Donna Achimov
already appear on the master witness list?
Chair: You don't believe so? She does not believe so. And we
did have an agreement that it would be checked.
Marlene Jennings: You know what, Mr. Chair, one of the
things we requested, that KPMG is supposed to be doing, is
ensuring that any new motion that comes in does not duplicate a
motion that has already been adopted by this committee. So I
would think that the logical thing is a motion comes in with the
name of somebody to appear as a witness, one looks at the master
list, that this committee unanimous adopted, and, if the name is
already there, says, “This is out of order. The person is
already there”. If the name's not there, then says, “It's in
order because it doesn't appear”. So I don't think the answer,
“I don't think so”, is adequate.
Chair: The clarification that I have is the subcommittee on
witnesses did actually interview Ms. Achimov--
Marlene Jennings: I know, I was there. That's not the point.
Chair: --and the decision was made the person would not be
called; therefore, she was not on the list. But it does not
preclude someone bringing the motion forward.
Marlene Jennings: I understand that. That was not the
question that I asked.
Chair: I know. I said it was not on the list.
Marlene Jennings: The question I asked was: we have a master
list we approved. Is this name on the list, or no?
Chair: And I have been advised that it isn't.
Marlene Jennings: So the answer is either a categorical
“yes”, in which case this motion is out of order, or it's a
categorical “no”, in which case the motion is in order.
Chair: And the answer it's not on the list--
Marlene Jennings: Thank you.
Chair: --therefore the motion is in order.
Vic Toews: Well, I'm just a little surprised here at Mrs.
Jennings' concern about calling witnesses without approval from
KPMG. I thought, in fact, KPMG was going to be giving us a list
of the witnesses, how we are going to be calling them--
Marlene Jennings: Do not misstate my words, please.
Vic Toews: --and then we--
Chair: Madam Jennings, please.
Marlene Jennings: Do not misstate what--
Chair: No, Madam Jennings, Mr. Toews has the floor.
Vic Toews: What I'm very concerned about is I thought all
the witnesses were going to be put on a list by KPMG and the
steering committee would deal with this.
couple of days ago, Mrs. Jennings walked in--
hon. member: Yesterday.
Vic Toews: Yesterday--with a list of witnesses, to recall
hon. member: On particular dates.
Vic Toews: On particular dates. So I assume now that we have
somehow abandoned what we had all agreed at the steering
committee. Mrs. Jennings comes in, sets her own agenda, and now
we have to start scrambling about putting these on.
just wondering, Mr. Chair, if we could, in fact, have KPMG bring
forward a list before we start approving all kinds of witnesses.
Chair: That is very good, Mr. Toews. Yesterday, I received a
notice of motion from Mrs. Jennings, and, of course, at that
point, when we discussed the notice of motion, as we're
discussing Ms. Wasylycia-Leis, these points are valid.
the name is not on the list because it was removed from the
list. Ms. Wasylycia-Leis would like the name put back on the
list and I was going to call the question.
Chair, your misstating the facts. The name was not removed from
the list. There was a list which was a master list, which
combined Ms. Ablonczy's numerous motions with a list of
witnesses, and a motion that I had with a list of witnesses, and
that is the only list of witnesses that this committee has
don't have a problem with Ms. Wasylycia-Leis' motion as long as
I'm assured that it's not a duplication. I've just been assured
categorically by one of the clerks that this name does not
appear on the master list.
when you say it was removed from a list, you're not stating the
Chair: The decision was made by the steering committee
Marlene Jennings: Not to put the name on the list.
Marlene Jennings: So it was not removed from the list, it
was never on the list.
Chair: Well, the question, I'm going to call the question on
the motion as circulated.
Chair: Okay. Order, order. We're just going to get out of
here with one final.... Can I have your attention, please, for
one final...? Order, please, Mr. Toews. Mr. Toews, can I have
your attention, please? Madam Jennings, can I have your
attention, too, please? Okay, Mr. Jordan, can I have your
attention, too, please? Thank you.
is a final motion that we deal with every year. This has got
nothing to do with chapters 3, 4 and 5 of the Auditor General's
report. The Treasury Board has requested permission from the
public accounts committee to waive the publication of the
details related to ex gratia payments for the fiscal year ending
March 31, 2004, be granted for the following: the Merchant
Marine veterans, heating fuel rebates, payments made to resolve
claims rising from the Indian school system; on the provision
that the gross amounts for each and the total number of claims
are reported to Parliament in the Public Accounts of Canada.
that rather than having individual names, individual amounts, we
have the gross amount and the number of claims only.
Mr. Toews. We do this every year.
Vic Toews: Is it a good idea?
Chair: It is a good idea.
Vic Toews: All right.
Chair: The motion will be moved by Mr. Jordan.
Chair: The meeting is adjourned.
I'm sorry. Hold it. Mr. Toews gave me a notice of motion.
Mr. Vic Toews: Yes. I
just want to give you notice of motion:
pursuant to its study of chapters 3, 4 and 5 of the
November 2003 report of the Auditor General of Canada, the
Standing Committee on Public Accounts call the following
witnesses: Monday, May 3, 2004, Mr. Jean Carle; Tuesday,
May 4, 2004, Honourable Don Boudria; Wednesday, May 5,
2004, Honourable Ralph Goodale; Thursday, May 6, 2004, Mr.
Chair: It is received as a notice of motion. Give it to the
clerk. It'll be translated and distributed.
the meeting is now adjourned.
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