Mr. Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice may be aware that section 16 of the Parliament of Canada Act states that every person who gives, offers or promises to any member of the Senate any compensation for services relating to a proceeding, contract, claim or controversy before the Senate is guilty of an indictable offence.
Does the Minister of Justice believe the PM's former chief of staff may have committed this crime when he gave Senator Duffy $90,000 as part of a cover-up deal?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, once again, it will come as no surprise to my colleague, the member opposite, that I reject much of the premise of his preamble.
Let me just say this: The Prime Minister was not aware of this reimbursement until after it became public through media reports. The chief of staff has tendered his resignation. There are two independent authorities looking into this matter. We will allow them the time to do their work and we will await their findings.
Mr. Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would like to try again with the Minister of Justice.
Let us remind ourselves that the PMO handed out $90,000 to keep a senator quiet. We have another provision that is relevant; Section 119 of the Criminal Code states that any person who offers an office holder any money, valuable consideration or employment in respect of anything done or omitted by that person in their official capacity is guilty of an offence.
Does the minister agree that the Prime Minister's former chief of staff may have committed this crime?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, once again, I reject much of the premise of the question from the member opposite.
Let me say a number of things. One, the Prime Minister became aware of this issue last week after media reports surfaced. Right now, there are two independent authorities looking into this matter. Let us give them the opportunity to do that.