House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Bill C-20
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have already explained all of this to the hon. member across the way. Not all committees travel. The hon. member is well aware of that. It is not automatic for travel to be connected with every bill. The hon. member is also aware of that.

The hon. member's party asked us “Can we have a somewhat broader definition in order to hear witnesses?” We said “Yes, provided, of course, that it does not hold up the bill in question”. “Can the committee be televised also, so as to make the information available to the greatest number of Canadians?” Again, we said yes.

In the opinion of the government, the best place to deal with this bill is here in parliament.

Bill C-20
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to get back to the matter of committee travel.

Just a few days ago, the government majority on the foreign affairs committee pleaded the case for authorization of a trip to Asia, to the Caucasus, in order to establish a policy on that region.

Why would travel be necessary for that committee, yet superfluous for the one addressing the future of Quebec and of Canada? It seems to me the argument is not reasonable and does not hold water. The minister knows very well that it does not.

Bill C-20
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear the hon. member speak of this whole matter, of what is reasonable and what is not.

The government introduced the bill in the House in December. It has been before the House since then. Who was it who spent all their time tabling press clippings in the House instead of debating the bill? The Bloc Quebecois. Is this reasonable? Who is it who spent all their time tabling motions to hold up the debate? The members across the floor. Is this reasonable? No.

The government has been reasonable. The ones who have not been reasonable in this matter are the opposition.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

February 11th, 2000 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development, and it has to do with the so-called master list.

It seems to me that either the master list exists and the minister is refusing to reveal it, or the master list does not exist and the leaflets that binder boy was passing to the Prime Minister originate more in his old rat pack imagination than anywhere else.

Why does the minister persist in refusing to reveal this master list? Why does she insist on questions on the order paper and access to information? Why does she not just come clean with all the information now as she apparently has done with the government House leader?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I assume from the hon. member's question that he would like a master list that would cover all the grants and contributions that are supported by my department. That is 40 different programs. Some of them can be managed and focused riding by riding but for others we just do not have data riding by riding.

As I indicated earlier, I have asked my department to look at these 40 different programs to see if there is a way of bringing the information together so that members of parliament can have it in a consolidated fashion for their ridings. I would be glad to continue to report to the House on this as we make progress.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, if that kind of information does not exist in that organized fashion then how did the government House leader have that kind of information about Winnipeg Centre? He had everything that ever went into that riding, including the salaries of HRDC employees who work in that riding.

Does the minister not realize that it is not a question of the credibility of the Liberal Party or the Liberal government, it is the credibility of government per se as a positive instrument for job creation that is at stake here? She should be concerned about that. Not everybody is. We are, she is. Why will she not act in a way to restore the credibility of government as a job creating agent and provide this information?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with the hon. member. Indeed that is why, when I received the results of this internal audit, I took it seriously and why I made it public so that Canadian people could understand that in the context of the operation of my department there is work that we can improve upon.

I could not agree more with the hon. member that grants and contributions from my department are a fundamental way that the government partners with individuals and communities in the country and engages in ensuring that we do not leave anyone behind so that we can all benefit from the greatness of this country. I am taking it seriously and indeed that is why—

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to choose her words very carefully. Truth and accountability have been absent during this scandal.

Yesterday I asked the minister a question about when she was aware. She pretended to be even unaware that a problem existed. I ask her one more time when she was first aware of problems in the transitional jobs fund in her department.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member asked when I was made aware of problems in transitional jobs fund, as you know and as the House knows, I was answering questions about the transitional jobs fund almost on a daily basis from time to time. I was very aware of issues in the transitional jobs fund and I was forthcoming in my responses. If the member checks Hansard he will see that I identified circumstances, administrative challenges in particular projects.

When we talk about the transitional jobs fund, it was one of the first areas of interest to which I turned my attention upon becoming minister.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I guess she still was not aware. The minister seems to indicate that the TJF information is secret.

The Canadian public is kept in the dark about the biggest case of government mismanagement in history, and yet Liberal MPs were privy to all this dirty detail yesterday. Could this be because companies in the minister's riding that cannot be identified received $11 million in HRDC funding? How about some truth or consequences from the minister and the government?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what makes this issue so difficult for members of the opposition is that they will not take the time to understand the difference between the internal audit and what it represented and a particular program, the transitional jobs fund. They should spend some time on that.

With regard to the hon. member's particular question about grants and contributions in my riding, I am glad to say that the numbers he is speaking about are numbers that were provided to individuals in my riding for training, for fee payers, but because they are individuals the Privacy Act stops us from listing them name by name by name.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister wants us to believe that only $251.50 was misspent. What a joke. Let us see here: a $100,000 overpayment to McGill University; $200,000 to a bankrupt water bottling company; and $1 million to a bankrupt Panda Aircraft. Let us not forget the $600,000 to Shawinigan crony Pierre Thibault who was a confessed embezzler.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. Is not the real reason he is trying to dodge this boondoggle that his fingerprints are all over it?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I see Rick Anderson's fingerprints all over the unwarranted question of the hon. member. No wonder that party is going down the tubes. He cannot even write his own questions any more.

The Prime Minister has acted perfectly properly in these matters. He has not personally involved himself in the decision making which, as far as we are aware, has been carried out according to the rules.

In any event, the audit in question does not show misappropriation. It does not show a basis for allegations of criminality and, furthermore, the audit methodology is being followed up by the auditor general in his own report. That is the answer for the hon. member.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, what a waste. The little guy from Shawinigan has turned into the little guy that shagged the taxpayer. It reminds me of a modern day story I saw in a film where a modern day Dr. Evil sent out his evil henchmen to take and then bungle $1 billion—