House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was petitions.

Topics

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

I have a supplementary question, Mr. Speaker.

At age 77 Mrs. Fleming has recently been admitted to hospital with cancer. Will the hon. minister admit there is a sense of urgency to this matter?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

National Arts Centre
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

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We have been informed that the hasty departure of the National Arts Centre's director general, Mr. DesRochers, has cost taxpayers over $350,000. On January 14, the board of directors decided to spend this staggering amount to fire Mr. DesRochers before his term had expired.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister not think that this $350,000 pay-off is a shameful waste of public funds?

National Arts Centre
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Mississauga East
Ontario

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is aware, Mr. DesRochers was appointed by the National Arts Centre's board of directors during the previous government's mandate, and the decision to fire him was made within the powers granted to the board of directors.

The details of his contract are confidential. As the hon. member knows, it is inappropriate to comment on an internal management decision since the National Arts Centre is, as she knows very well, an independent crown corporation.

National Arts Centre
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a little surprised to hear about the confidentiality because, although the director general is appointed by the board of directors, his salary is determined by the governor in council. So I am a little surprised about the confidentiality.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister not agree that this kind of waste could further undermine Canadians' trust in government institutions?

National Arts Centre
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, it is obviously the government that determines salaries by order in council. It is also obvious that the Prime Minister has already ordered a review of all salary levels set by order in council to ensure that Canadian taxpayers' money is not wasted. It has already been done.

Mining
Oral Question Period

February 21st, 1994 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Natural Resources.

On February 10 the bodies of the two miners who had been trapped underground at the Macassa Mine in Kirkland Lake were recovered. These men died as a result of a severe rockburst that occurred on November 26, 1993. Unfortunately such occurrences happen all too frequently and are extremely difficult to predict and to prevent.

Is the minister prepared to allocate funding toward research and study of rockburst occurrences in order to reduce or prevent such tragedies in the future?

Mining
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, let me thank my colleague for his very important question and let me take the opportunity publicly in the House to express my deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost loved ones in the unfortunate rockburst at the Macassa Mine in Kirkland Lake.

Since 1984 my department has been actively involved in rockburst research. In 1990 funding for that program was extended for another five years in the amount of approximately $10 million.

Let me say to the hon. member that my department and I understand the importance of this research to the safe future of mining in the country. Therefore I have every reason to believe my department will continue to be involved in this important area and continue to fund research in relation to rockbursts.

Fisheries And Oceans
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Cummins Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The Peat Marwick audit requested by Treasury Board of the expense accounts of the deputy minister of fisheries and oceans and his assistant deputy minister of policy absolves them of any wrongdoing. Yet, as the report acknowledges, they could not seem to manage their expense accounts in a careful and prudent manner.

Would the minister tell the House if the manner in which the deputy and his assistant have managed their expense accounts and have in fact managed taxpayers' dollars is consistent with his expectations for the management of his ministry?

Fisheries And Oceans
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member would want me to be absolutely crystal clear in the major findings of the report which was conducted entirely outside government, not by the department of fisheries, not by Treasury Board, but as the member pointed out by Peat Marwick Thorne and by the chief forensic auditor of that firm.

The major findings were two: first, that all of the travel in question had been authorized by the minister of the day and, second, that all expenses claimed were in compliance with Treasury Board guidelines.

Fisheries And Oceans
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Cummins Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the terms of reference in the Peat Marwick report were: "The goal of the review was to determine whether the deputy minister and the assistant deputy minister had respected government travel and hospitality policies, not to excuse their conduct".

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Would the minister not agree that to offer an opinion as to the appropriateness of the deputy minister and the assistant deputy minister's conduct goes beyond the terms of reference of the audit and beyond the capabilities of the auditor?

Fisheries And Oceans
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the hon. member that it is quite extraordinary to have an audit conducted by an outside auditor, by a chief forensic auditor, and to have such a straightforward conclusion arrived at.

It is my view that once the conclusion is arrived at-and we are dealing with senior public officials-it is then the responsibility of members of Parliament and the responsibility of those who made allegations which caused this investigation to occur in the first place either to accept the advice of an independent auditor or to bring new evidence forward.

We ought not to call into question the reputations of long serving public servants for our own political advantage at any given point in time.

Mining Exploration
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Deshaies Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the mining sector, one of the most important in terms of jobs and economic benefits, is currently in a very serious situation. In 1987 the federal government decided to reduce its fiscal effort regarding flow-through shares, which were designed to boost mining exploration. This unfortunate decision, which was denounced among others by the Quebec government, is a major cause of the serious problems experienced by this sector.

My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Does the minister agree that a recovery of the mining exploration sector can only occur by increasing flow-through shares to 133 per cent?

Mining Exploration
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. Let me say that ours was the only party in the last election that produced a mining policy. In that policy we are committed in the coming years to review a number of options which we hope will once again make the mining industry a viable and profitable one.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance and is inspired by Mr. Earl Christenson of Oshawa, Ontario.

Many Canadians are suspicious that senior bureaucrats and politicians favour eliminating the lifetime $100,000 capital gains exemption because they have already taken advantage of it.

Will the minister quell this public cynicism by committing to preserve this one-time $100,000 exemption.