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

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the human resources minister was asked to make public a copy of her master list of grants and contributions by riding. She continually denied that such a list existed.

However, the Toronto Star this morning tells a very different story.

Yesterday, Liberal MPs were given a copy of a riding by riding list.

Why did the minister tell one story to the public while giving Liberal insiders special information?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to report to you and to all Canadians that according to a media report I saw this morning, my harshest critic, the member for Calgary—Nose Hill, agrees that our six point plan is actually going to work.

I note she recognized that it was long overdue, but from the points she made I have the distinct impression she agrees that what we are doing is exactly the right thing. I would say that it must be a terrific day when we can agree on something as important as that.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to live in dreamland. I certainly never said any such thing.

The human resources minister also stated publicly that opposition members could not have a copy of a master list because no such thing existed while Liberal MPs were being handed copies of that very list.

I will ask her again: Why did the minister tell Canadians there was no list when she knew full well that right then one was going out to Liberal MPs?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I repeat again, there is no master list of all the grants and contributions that exist riding by riding. However, I have a feeling that by the time this undertaking is over, my department will be the master of making lists.

I have asked the people in my department to respond in a timely fashion to all requests from members of parliament and the media. I have also asked them if they would to look at all our data bases to is if there is a way to bring this information together in an effective way for the use of the members of the House.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the only group that ever gets information in a timely fashion is binder boy and Liberal MPs.

The human resources minister has been caught in still another cover-up. I am wondering if she can tell us what other information she is hiding that the public has a right to know.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize that in my department we have taken particular pains to be open with the public. That is why we made the audit public and why we make our performance results available to the House.

We have one of the largest and most active web pages in the government. The 459 projects, which have been of such great interest to the House, are on that web site.

I would just like to point out that it is the Reform Party which has said that our department has has one of the best access to information offices in Ottawa.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it would appear that there is a pattern here. The minister claims that she was told about her billion dollar bungle on November 17. However, on December 16 she stood in the House and pretended that all was well in her department.

Yesterday she appeared before the committee and denied that there was any kind of master list on the grants. Today we find out from the Liberal newspaper in Toronto that her colleagues were given a copy of just such a list.

Why does the minister not throw away her script and tell the truth?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of points that I would again like to make. First and foremost, a billion dollars has not disappeared. We know where it is.

I was just speaking to a group in Niagara Falls this morning called the Business Education Council. It partners with the Department of Human Resources Development and takes $2.9 million of our Canadian tax dollars and invests the money in youth and in helping citizens in that part of the country, who do not have opportunities for employment, to find opportunities for employment.

We know where the money is, but we will be improving and fixing our system so that we can confirm to Canadians the wisdom of our investments.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday this minister told the House of Commons the proper process of obtaining a copy of a list of grants.

I would like to know from the minister why Liberal bagmen, binder boy and Liberal colleagues can get copies of the list but the rest of the members of parliament cannot? Why does this minister not provide a copy of the list to all members of parliament? What is she afraid of?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid of nothing and we will continue to be open.

As I have said in earlier responses to questions, I have asked my department to look at the 40 different programs of grants and contributions that we participate in to see if there is a way of bringing that information together on a riding by riding basis, if possible, for the use of members of the House.

Bill C-20
Oral Question Period

February 11th, 2000 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader objects to having the legislative committee studying Bill C-20 travel to Quebec to find out what people there have to say. Yet a number of committees travel. We in the Bloc Quebecois understand that this may be necessary and we have never objected to committees being able to travel.

Can the government House leader tell us the reason he objects? Why is he opposed to the committee coming to Quebec and meeting with groups in various regions to find out what they think? It seems reasonable to me and I do not see why he would object.

Bill C-20
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member is perfectly aware that, in my letter to the House leader of the Bloc Quebecois and in what I have said to others, I did not mention prohibiting travel to Quebec.

We spoke about the fact that the committee had to hold its meetings in parliament. It is not prohibited in Quebec and allowed in another province. So, first of all, that is false.

Second, the member himself must remember the school board study. At that time, he did not even want to hear about a parliamentary committee on this issue, let alone have it travel.

Bill C-20
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, all the parties in Quebec City agreed that it would be debated in the National Assembly. There is a bad habit here of not recognizing what goes on in the National Assembly of Quebec.

The committee traveled, and if it is a question of travelling throughout Canada, not just in Quebec, I can tell him now that I have no problem with it. It was done for prisons, it is going to be done for the fishery, and it was done for free trade.

The government says that Bill C-20 is its priority. The government leader said so himself, I heard him on television. Why is there any objection, what are the reasons behind it? The government House leader's answers seem contrived.

Bill C-20
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing contrived about it, as the member well knows. I told him earlier. I even drew a comparison with another situation in the past where he himself did not want a committee for another initiative that was before the House.

Members, the House and Canadians should not think that committees automatically travel for all bills. That is not the case.

There are a number of bills where committees do not travel. Some bills are not even studied in committee. They are the exception, I agree, but nonetheless. Even that is not automatic.

We agree that the committee's proceedings should be televised and so forth. We have already said so.

Bill C-20
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the committees of the House travel a lot in fulfilling their responsibilities.

For example, when the foreign affairs committee was looking at circumpolar affairs, it went to such places as Russia, Finland, and Denmark.

Will the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons admit that travel to various communities enables committees to do a better job, that it is customary and normal, and that therefore the committee working on Bill C-20 on the future of Quebec and Canada should be able to travel to Quebec?