House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firefighters.

Topics

Women's Rights
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let us continue on with the commitments of the Prime Minister and the government to women. Let us look at the Canada study grants where we recognize that single women want to go back to university, to study and to improve the livelihood of themselves and their children.

Let us look at our self-sufficiency project where we are offering earnings to ensure that women who take work have sufficient income to support their families.

Let us look at the changes to the Canada pension plan that look at the different work patterns women face in the workplace. There are more indications of our commitment to Canadian women.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister and it is about helicopters.

There are concerns that the bidding process has been rigged to rule out the EH-101. Last week that company formally asked the Government of Canada to “order complete documentary disclosure of all documents in the possession or control of the Department of National Defence or Public Works Canada” that are relevant to the matter in question.

The Deputy Prime Minister knows this file very well. Will he cause all those documents to be published this week and not let them be hidden?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the statement of requirements put out by the Canadian forces, by the Department of National Defence, has been in fact adopted by the government. That is the basis on which we are proceeding with this procurement. It is an open and fair procurement.

We intend to follow that process to get the best helicopter to meet the operational requirements of the Canadian forces and to do it at the best price for taxpayers. That has always been our aim and throughout this process that will continue to be how we conduct ourselves.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is a scandal that has already cost the lives of Canadian pilots. It is a scandal now in that the bidding process is regarded by at least two of the participants as being rigged.

There has been a formal request following the rules that the truth be told, the documents be published. Why does the Government of Canada continue to hide the facts of this issue? Why will it not tell the people of Canada and the Parliament of Canada the truth on the helicopter bidding process? Why will it not table the documents now?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the government has started a very open and transparent process. As a matter of fact, we immediately issued a letter of interest so that everybody in the industry could comment.

We believe that our process is open and transparent. There is one firm that decided to ask the CITT for comments, and therefore we are waiting for the comments of CITT. We believe this is the right process to get the equipment for a very good price.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, today another of the HRD minister's little secrets was exposed.

In January she denied our access request forced her to expose the billion dollar boondoggle. She claimed she came forward because she is committed to openness and transparency. Even as she spoke the words she was hiding a huge, costly mistake with CPP and OAS T4s.

How can Canadians trust a minister who talks openness and transparency but practises secrecy and cover up?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows the department has a legal obligation to ensure that Canadians have their T4 slips in their hands by the end of February.

This year we found an error on an information insert that was to accompany the mailing. The department took corrective action to ensure, first of all, that Canadians did get their T4 slips on time and, second, to make sure that no misinformation accompanied that mailing.

I sincerely regret that an error was made, but I can inform the House that the incident was fully reviewed to ensure that it would not happen again.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad the minister did not see fit to come and inform the House a lot earlier about this mess.

In fact the information commissioner just released his report, which was a scathing indictment of the government's tendency to secrecy and to cover up. It is entitled “Access—A Right Under Siege” and begins “Mayday—Mayday”. He says that the PCO ignored orders for full protection of records; failed to fully comply with orders; and in one case non-compliance persisted until after two federal court judges had ordered the PCO to comply; withheld records claimed to be privileged; and refused to answer questions under oath. Why is the government—

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. government House leader.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member raised the Privy Council Office because the report in fact says that special mention and genuine praise for its accomplishments came despite a 67% increase in the number of requests, and that PCO devoted the energy and resources necessary to clear up a significant backlog of cases and established procedures and practices to prevent the delay problems from recurring in the future.

International Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, ten years ago Canada made a commitment to the UN to increase its international aid budget to 0.7% of its GDP.

Many countries have met this objective. Canada, however, has cut its budget, which was barely one-third of the objective it agreed to in 1990.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Given that 70% of those living in poverty on this planet are women, does the government intend to respond to the demand of the 2000 World March of Women and substantially increase its international aid budget?

International Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Beaches—East York
Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, in the last budget the government increased considerably the budget for CIDA both in terms of the baseline as well as increases for the next two years.

There were $175 million put aside for the highly indebted poor nations as well. In addition I have just announced a redirection of moneys within the department for a total over five years of $2.8 billion to assist in specific areas of poverty in countries to focus the programs more. We are doing a great job in the department. The government has in fact increased the budget.

International Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, these are fine words, and sound much like what the Minister of Finance said at the IMF meeting on September 25.

But bilaterally, all the Minister of Finance managed to do was write off $600,000 owed by Bangladesh.

On the occasion of the World March of Women, what is the Minister of Finance waiting for to follow up on the general statements he made in Prague with respect to debt relief for poor nations?

International Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad that the member, on behalf of all Canadians, has raised this issue.

Canada went one step further. Canada suggested that all bilateral debts of heavily indebted nations should be forgiven. It was Canada that was a step ahead of the others. Canada showed leadership and will continue to do so.

Report Of Information Commissioner
Oral Question Period

October 16th, 2000 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the information commissioner's annual report there is a section called “All Talk—No Action”. The report says the government's palpable animosity toward the “right of access” is no more apparent than in the disconnect between talk and action in the matter of reform of the Access to Information Act. It would prefer to dole out information by grace and favour in well digested mouthfuls.

How can the government say it is committed to openness when the information commissioner has so thoroughly condemned the actions of the government?