House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canada lands is under an act of parliament and it reports to the Parliament of Canada. It will follow the instructions of the House of Commons. Its operation has to be managed in this fashion. When the annual report is ready it will be tabled according to the requirements of the House of Commons.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, three years ago the auditor general investigated the abuse of expenses at the Canada Labour Relations Board and that caused the chairman to be fired. In the eight years up to that audit, the board spent an average of $200,000 a year in travel, but last year that soared to almost $1 million. That is on top of the airplane tickets that were paid out of another budget.

My question is for the Minister of Labour. Why is she continuing to let this board waste money on itself because it seems to be treating Canadian taxpayers like a bottomless pit of cash?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Moncton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know that there is a new chair of the Canada Industrial Relations Board in place. New members have been put on that board from the employer and employee side. The board is doing very well and the chair of the board is best placed to respond to these issues.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the best place to respond is right here in the House. That new chair is no better than the old chair, because it is the old board members who still have not been fired or turfed off the job who are spending the $1 million. It is not the new board members, it is the old ones who are still hanging around, cleaning up the files and cleaning up the desks. The auditor general said that they are taking an inordinate amount of time to do it.

This board has gone bananas. It is out of control. I ask the minister right now, will she fire and terminate the old board members now before they suck all the money out of the Canadian taxpayers?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Moncton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we did keep some part time members because of the backlog. We wanted to make sure that the people who were waiting to come before our board would come before the board as soon as possible.

I would like to inform the hon. member and the Canadian public that two former members of the board have now finished their work.

Economic Policy
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have supported the Bloc Quebecois motion, thus approving the claims made during the march of women. Unfortunately, that support did not translate into concrete measures in yesterday's mini-budget.

How can the Minister of Finance not provide anything for daycare services, social housing, employment insurance and old age security, considering that they are part of the demands he claimed to support earlier this week?

Economic Policy
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that, in budget 2000, indexation was reintroduced, increasing all the benefits to which she is referring. At the same time, we increased by $100 the national child tax benefit, which will bring the increase to $300 by July 1.

Economic Policy
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister claims that he is helping people facing an increase in heating oil costs. I checked and I found that, while older people will see their heating bills go up by $500 or $600 this winter, the minister will only give them a measly $125.

How can he claim to be helping them? Should he not have made it a priority to allocate more money to help these vulnerable people?

Economic Policy
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have some difficulty understanding why Bloc Quebecois members are asking these questions, when they will not ask the same questions to my counterpart, the Quebec Minister of Finance.

For example, our tax on diesel fuel is 4 cents, while in Quebec it is 15.5 cents.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian taxpayers are paying for more than two dozen public servants to go on cruises.

While this government is spending our money on cruises, we continue to pay more taxes than ever before. This is the second time such a thing has happened.

Why did the minister wait for this to hit the headlines before looking into it?

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I made our position clear yesterday. We have been given an explanation by the people concerned, who say that they did not use public funds for that purpose. We have begun an investigation nonetheless. I am going to disclose the facts. If public funds were used for the purposes described by the hon. member, I am going to call for the money to be paid back.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is classed as a professional retreat and this is the second time it has happened this year.

The audit only took place after the story was released in the press, which leads us to believe that it is a constant theme, that many of these ministers have no idea what is happening in their departments.

Just who is it that the taxpayers are treating here, the clients or the staff?

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, first, I have just told the House the man said that he did not use public funds. We will get an audit and Health Canada will report the results of that.

On the subject of audits at Health Canada, the member should be reminded that last year when we released audits from all Health Canada MSB programs for first nations and Inuit health, it was found that over the last two years less than 2% of the total programs audited required further follow up, representing .08% of the total value of first nations' health spending. That is a record that I will defend any day of the week.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

October 19th, 2000 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister took refuge behind the auditor general's report and said that no politicians or public servants had benefited in any way from the cases under investigation in the Department of Human Resources Development.

Today, does the Prime Minister have anything to say to the House or to the assistant to the auditor general, who took the trouble to point out that the auditor general had never said anything in his report that the Prime Minister could hide behind and that, what is more, there had been frequent political interference in the Department of Human Resources Development under the former minister, who is now the Minister for International Trade? What does he have to say?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I spoke with the auditor general about his report. I asked the auditor general if he thought money had been lost. He said “No, the department knows where the money is”. I asked the auditor general if he thought money had been stolen. He said “There is no malfeasance. This is not about money being absconded”. I asked the auditor general if he felt the administration was outside the management control framework. He said “Yes”. I said “That is what we found in our internal audit”.

That is why we have implemented a very comprehensive plan to deal with it and why the auditor general has given us an unqualified endorsement of that plan.