House of Commons Hansard #201 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has already been quite upfront about his interest in projects that are in the best interest of his riding and the surrounding area.

There is a process which the hon. member can follow if he wants documents and I would suggest he make use of it. That is what it is on the books for.

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, if there is nothing wrong with these deals the government should release the documents.

An alternative would be to use section 11 of the Auditor General's Act to direct the auditor general to conduct an independent audit of the grants and loans to Duhaime and Thibault.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister show some courage, show some integrity and ask—

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I want the hon. member to please go directly to his question. It is not a question of courage.

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Markham, ON

Will he ask the auditor general to independently review these questionable projects? Anything less smells of a cover-up to protect the Prime Minister.

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member is abusing the process of the House of Commons in this question period to make unwarranted assertions.

The PQ member of the assembly was interviewed by TVA Mauricie today about this very issue. He said:

<“No, no, no, there can be no favoritism”. He went on to say “Mr. Chrétien did exactly the same thing I did in Quebec City, that is within the standard government programs with specific criteria we made sure our ridings got their fair share”.

That statement by the political enemy of the Prime Minister speaks for the Prime Minister's integrity and the integrity of the process.

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister of human resources told me on February 4 that he only approves job creation grants if the applications meets “all the standard eligibility criteria”.

The grants he handed out in the Prime Minister's riding have been to individuals with criminal convictions, shady pasts and a documented track record of financial mismanagement and business failure.

Is this the minister's definition of standard eligibility criteria?

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the innuendoes of the member are not very appropriate for discussion in the House. We will try to restore some kind of stability in this place and look at what really took place.

The Prime Minister, who is also a member of parliament, is doing a great job for business development and job creation in his riding. In this case every one of the criteria was indeed met.

According to regional studies there is a shortage of hotels in that region which has a great potential for tourism.

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Duhaime's own business consultant told this government before it gave him a nickel that his hotel was improperly managed, had huge mortgage debts that it could not afford to pay and had an additional $350,000 in unpaid bills. Yet this minister gives Duhaime hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. How can he explain that?

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, that very project was also supported by the Quebec government, a Péquistes government, that has also put money into it. It has been supported by the city of Shawinigan and the mayor.

This morning a provincial member, a Péquistes in Shawinigan, certainly no friend of the Prime Minister in Saint-Maurice, when asked about this very project, said:

<“No, no, no, there can be no favouritism—It must be understood that, if the Prime Minister had created some special program, that would be a whole other matter”. But he says “He did exactly the same thing I did, that is within the standard government programs with specific criteria we made sure our ridings got their fair share”.

That is what the hon. member for Saint-Maurice did. He did his duty.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

March 22nd, 1999 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the report released by the Minister of Human Resources Development on Thursday strikes a real blow at the employment insurance plan.

Women and young people are victims of discrimination. We already knew that, but we had to await the report. We waited, and now it is confirmed.

The Minister of Human Resources Development has had ample time to consult the report. Will he be proposing changes to the employment insurance plan in order to eliminate the discrimination against young people and women, since the plan has a large surplus and he therefore has the means to do so?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I certainly want to be sure that women have fair and equitable access to the employment insurance plan. That is one of the priorities of our government.

I can assure you that I am concerned by the figures that we saw in last week's report, but it would be premature to jump to the conclusion that there is discrimination, as the member for Québec has stated.

There may be fewer women drawing employment insurance benefits in the past year because two jobs in three created in 1998 went to women.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has had the report for three months. If he needed additional information, could he not have checked it in the meantime rather than stall for time on the backs of young people and women by calling for study after study?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of study after study. I am saying that if indeed women have been rejected by the employment insurance system because the access requirements are too severe, that call us into question as the government, and we will have to do something.

However, if the labour market was more generous to them, and more women found work, I am saying this is a whole other reality, which will involve other actions by the government.

But the member for Québec has, for the last three years, been saying in the House that women are being penalized and that they do not have the same maternity benefits as before. Despite the 4.6% reduction in the birth rate, however, maternity benefits remain unchanged. What does the member for Québec say to that?

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the minister is answering the crucial question today in this Duhaime affair.

Why did the Prime Minister not disclose his conflict of interest with the business associates in his own riding?

This is not about helping the community, it is about helping former business associates and friends get an inside track to government grants and government loans. That is the conflict of interest.

Why did the Prime Minister not disclose the conflict of interest, remove himself from those negotiations and let the grants go to the people who deserve them instead of friends and business associates?

Building Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that every one of the criteria of the transitional jobs fund has been respected, that this project has also been supported by the provincial government as well. It was also supported by the provincial member.

The mayor of Shawinigan was there. Some people were asking the Prime Minister to do more. The Prime Minister has been doing his job to make sure the Government of Canada, with the regular program is has, would help in his riding as it did in the riding—