House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agency.

Topics

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-60, an act to establish the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and to repeal and amend other acts as a consequence, as reported (with amendment) from the committee; and of Motions Nos. 31, 32 and 33.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

February 3rd, 1997 / 3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was about to indicate that, if no one else speaks, debate on Group No. 10 is completed and we can move on immediately to Group No. 11.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to an order made Thursday, December 12 1996, all questions on the motions in Group No. 10 are deemed to have been put and the recorded divisions deemed demanded and deferred.

The House will now proceed to consideration of motions in Group No. 11.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, since Group No. 11 contains but a single motion and that motion comes from the government party, I wonder if it might not be appropriate to ask my colleague to speak first. I would then speak after him.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
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3:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The parliamentary secretary is not on his feet.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
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3:50 p.m.

Essex—Kent
Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the government does support Group No. 11, the technical amendment to Bill C-60. The amendment ensures that any money authority appropriated to existing departments, food inspection, health or other departments will be transferred to the agency early in 1997.

This is a technical amendment which is necessary for the parliamentary budget to be put in place. There is absolutely no question that when an agency is being set up it needs funding. It will be receiving its funding from the Departments of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Health and from other moneys which have already been put into the budget.

Some questions brought forth by the opposition suggest that new money is being placed within the system. That is totally not accurate. We have reassured everyone that the funding in this case is a technical amendment which will allow the moneys which have already been allocated in government departments to go into the agency so it will have funds to operate. As a result, we need to have the amendment passed.

I would again reassure everyone here that we are not talking about new money coming into the system. We are talking about transferring already approved funding into the new agency.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Secretary of State, I think the motion in Group No. 11, Motion No. 34, is just window dressing.

The minister is trying to recover sums of money and use them again, as he sees fit, in the agency's operations. I keep coming back to the setup we have with the president and the vice-president of the advisory board appointed by the party in power. You will agree that since the past offers no guarantees for the future, we cannot support this motion.

I am reminded of the lieutenant-governor your party appointed, yes, your party, Mr. Speaker-

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleague, I am the Speaker, and as such, I have no party.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
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3:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I should say that our friends recently appointed a lieutenant-governor in the person of Jean-Louis Roux and soon found this was a mistake. To err being human and to recognize the fact divine, the lieutenant-governor managed to step down from this prestigious position at the right time, but that will not always be the case.

Here, the chief executive of the food inspection agency will have a very sizeable budget. For two years regular hiring practices will be suspended. The president will be able to hire and fire at will. This is a very serious matter.

He will be given a sizeable sum of money. If surpluses are a problem, less money should be given to ensure there will be no surplus, if that is what the Secretary of State is saying. Give them a very small operating budget so they will have to come and ask for their monthly allowance to operate the agency, at least during the first year.

Since the government's aim is to recover costs sooner or later, we will then be able to better manage this new parapublic agency.

Since it is always the end users, that is to say the consumers, who end us paying for this government's famous promises, I would ask my colleagues to be very vigilant. By creating this agency, we are really opening the door to abuse, to the risk of shameless public spending by the government.

In the hope of saving $40 million, we are running the risk of spending much more if my fears are confirmed. I hope the government will allay my fears by improving the appointment process, by appointing to the posts of president and vice-president or as one of the 12 members of the advisory committee not the best

Liberals in Canada but the rare gems, those who have the skills, the experience needed.

The past is not always an indication of what the future will be like. The Airbus affair, for example, will probably cost in the end, as we will eventually find out through the information access commission, God knows how many millions of dollars as a result of mistakes, of ignorance, or even because they tried to pull a fast one on the Conservative Party. How much will Canadian taxpayers pay in the end? We will never know how much money was paid to the 29 legal experts who worked to defend the Minister of Justice.

On the other hand, we know how much the Mulroney group must have spent because there will be an agreement, soon I believe, to pay the people who worked on the former Prime Minister's defence team. It was, of course, the first time a government went before a court of law with false, hastily prepared charges in order to obtain information from the Swiss government, charges which came from the General Solicitor and the Minister of Justice and which tarnished one man's reputation. I hope the present Prime Minister will not be treated the same way. You will not remain in power for the rest of your life. When you cross over to the opposition side, I hope the party that will take your place will not treat this Prime Minister the same way-

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I remind the hon. member that he must always address the Chair, and not other members. If he has something to add, he can say it.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, you are absolutely right. I was wrong in addressing directly the whip of the official opposition. I must address the Chair, Mr. Speaker.

In closing, we are debating the last group of motions aimed at improving Bill C-60 and we, in the Bloc, do not think MotionNo. 34 put forward by the government side is an improvement. Consequently, we will vote against it.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to an order made Thursday, December 12, 1996, all questions on the motions in Group No. 11 are deemed to have been put and the recorded divisions deemed demanded and deferred.

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred divisions on the motions at the report stage of the bill.

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
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4 p.m.

The Speaker

The votes stand deferred until tomorrow.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-57, an act to amend the Bell Canada Act, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Bell Canada Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin for Minister of Industry

moved that the bill be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to.)