House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sex.

Topics

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I received a copy of an e-mail communication between the supervisor of an HRDC office in northern Ontario and other staff which raises question about the MP's role in awarding HRDC grants. The communication states:

I suspect that the MP will want some projects funded that will not meet the apparent objectives of the JCP.

The member in question is now a cabinet minister and former parliamentary secretary to HRDC.

This culture of political influence demands investigation, so I have a question for the Prime Minister. Will he appoint an independent public inquiry to get to the bottom of this mess?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as part of the program, the transitional jobs funding and indeed the Canada jobs fund, we felt it wise to include members of parliament who should know their communities, although I think we are going to find, as we just did, that many of them are not aware of the grants and contributions given to their ridings. Members who do know their communities can have a voice as senior elected federal officials in those ridings on grants and contributions and their application.

From our point of view that makes sense and I would think the hon. member would feel that way as well.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is ducking the issue. The question is whether or not projects were approved with members' involvement that do not meet the objectives of the program. The fact is that good programs are being poisoned now for political purposes.

I have forwarded a copy of this e-mail to the auditor general and asked that it be investigated. The political management of these funds is of huge concern to Canadians. Again, will the Prime Minister act in the public good and demand that there be an independent inquiry to get to the bottom of this mess?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I ask the hon. member where she has been in the last few weeks. There is an independent inquiry going on. It is being carried out by the auditor general, an officer of the House.

The hon. member ought to be wide awake when things are going on so she will know what is happening to deal with this serious situation in an effective and fair way, not the way she is handling it.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, once again Canadians are finding there is a direct contradiction between the propaganda that the Prime Minister is spouting about the HRDC scandal and what senior officials in his own department are saying.

The Prime Minister says $6,000 and senior officials say $90,000. The Prime Minister has constantly led Canadians to believe there was no problem. He has diminished and downplayed the amount of money that was not accounted for and the degree of misinformation that occurred. Who should Canadians trust, the officials who are simply doing their job and being asked to shoulder the blame, or the king of Shawinigan?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

We are getting more and more into nicknames. Please address each other as hon. members by referring to titles instead of by using nicknames. All that does is rile up the House.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to be able to clarify this point. I would reiterate that the Prime Minister is absolutely correct. Of the 37 projects that we are reviewing, 33 have been closed and we have identified an overpayment that we will try to collect in the area of $5,974.93.

With regard to the media article about the $83,000 that was portrayed as an overpayment, it is absolutely wrong. The official that the hon. member is referring to made that clear in a technical briefing today. Indeed the sponsor has multi-year contracts with the department and is advanced funds to assist with cash flow requirements.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, in documents released by HRDC a project in the riding of my colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche was listed as having been awarded $750,000 in TJF and the creation of 75 jobs. I can inform the House that the project, Atlantic Furniture Manufacturing, never did get off the ground. It never opened its doors and it certainly did not employ 75 people.

In light of yet another embarrassing blunder, how can Canadians have any faith in the misinformation recently released by the HRDC minister?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to confirm again for the House and for Canadians that 95% of the transitional jobs fund projects are still working, are ensuring that Canadians are employed, and are making a difference.

The hon. member has to appreciate that there are going to be some projects in areas that do not fulfil our expectations. We are talking about taking risk here. We are talking about going into communities where no one else will go. That is the job of the Government of Canada and that is what Canadians want.

Air Industry
Oral Question Period

February 21st, 2000 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport. Since Pearson International Airport is in my riding of Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, many of my constituents want increased international air services for Canada with increased competition from overseas airlines.

Could the minister explain why the government is not doing more to help Canadian carriers get a large share of international air routes?

Air Industry
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ with my distinguished colleague, but the air restructuring that we are going through has meant the opening up of more transborder routes to the United States and more international routes to Asia and to the Atlantic. Many of those routes will be going from Toronto as well as from the other larger cities across the country.

Last week I gave approval for Canada 3000 and Air Transat to fly to the United Kingdom and to Germany. There have been applications from Canada 3000 to fly Southeast Asian routes. There will be more and more choices and more and more competition that will be offered from Canadian cities on international routes.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, the 1997 audit pointed out that there was political interference in the granting of transitional jobs funds. Bureaucrats said they had no choice but to approve the projects from the Prime Minister's riding.

How could the Minister of Human Resources Development expect to maintain the confidence of Canadian taxpayers when dollars are skewed and numbers are skewed as to the job creation figures? Is it simply to support, fill and augment the Prime Minister's political patronage trough?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member in the premise to his question is completely wrong. If he wants to talk about results then maybe he should look at the list of transitional jobs fund projects. If he wants to talk about it being skewed, indeed it is skewed in favour of opposition members.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I asked a very simple question of the Minister of Human Resources Development as to whether her predecessor had delegated his signing authority to his deputy minister, Mel Cappe.

The question is very easy to answer: it is either yes or no. I would ask her to answer me, unless she allows her predecessor, if he has the permission of the government to answer questions, to tell the House whether Mr. Cappe did or did not have authority to sign on behalf of the minister who headed the department at the time and who is now the Minister for International Trade.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, there is no requirement to undertake this, to create this delegation of authority. As I have said before, what is required is to ensure that the terms and conditions of programs and projects are undertaken. What is required is to make sure that the integrity of our programs, our grants and contributions is maintained.

From my point of view as Minister of Human Resources Development there is work I have to undertake to ensure that the administration of grants and contributions is improved, and I will do that.