House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is trying to shift responsibility for the loss of control of the Department of Human Resources Development onto the department's officials. The person primarily responsible for this administrative bungle is the deputy minister, Mel Cappe.

How can the Prime Minister justify his promoting to the position of top government manager the very person who is responsible for the administrative mess involving billions of dollars at the Department of Human Resources Development?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about the employees of the department. I really wish she could have been with me when I addressed hundreds of employees in Ottawa and thousands across the country.

The employees of Human Resources Development Canada want a better system. They want the tools they need to provide a quality system to Canadians. The department is fully supportive of the initiatives that we are undertaking to fix this problem, and we will fix it.

Jean Lesage Airport
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Drouin Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport and concerns the privatization of the Jean Lesage airport in Quebec City.

Given that this issue was identified as a priority by economic agents in the region, will this agreement protect the 52 employees, who are doing an excellent job at the airport, and ensure its development?

Jean Lesage Airport
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, the government announced a financial agreement with the Société aéroportuaire de Québec. Negotiations on the legal and human resources aspects are continuing, but we do not anticipate any problems or major delays. In my view, the prospects for future development at this airport appear to be excellent.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

February 7th, 2000 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the human resources minister seems to be having a little trouble facing reality. In early August she received the damning internal report saying that her department was a mess.

Instead of getting to the bottom of this mess she stood in the House, smiled and told us everything was okay. In the meantime she doled out almost $1 million to her own riding, a riding that did not qualify under her own department's rules. The minister has been caught. Why does she not do the honourable thing and just resign, just quit?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I categorically reject everything in the hon. member's question.

When we look at the riding of Brant I want to confirm yet again that no rules were broken. The riding of Brant was identified as a pocket of high unemployment and therefore eligible for the transitional jobs fund and then again for the Canada jobs fund.

I want to point out that there were 250 projects across Canada that qualified for transitional jobs fund money where the unemployment levels were less than 12%, and half of them were in opposition ridings.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, in December the minister stood in the House, looked you in the eye and these cameras in the eye and said “Folks, everything is all right in my department”, despite the fact that she had on her desk an internal audit that said her department was a mess.

She now says “We are going to fix everything”. How can she say to the House and all Canadians that everything is okay? How can we believe her now after she misled the House in December?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

As much as possible I would like members to stay away from the word misleading because it sort of excites everybody.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I cannot resist pointing out the double standards of the members and the leader of the party that wants to abolish all these programs. I do not know about the critic. He made a mistake.

In relation to this member, on September 30, 1997, he wrote “I am pleased with the museum's development over the years and your support of this project will have a significant and long lasting effect on our rapidly growing community”. He wanted the money and now he is criticizing the government.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, rather than take responsibility for the findings of the HRDC audit the minister blames public servants. Our democracy depends on ministers taking responsibility, yet the government refuses to do so.

I remind the minister that the internal audit raised serious concerns about projects that were approved for political reasons and that a regime already exists of public expenditures. The problem is that the government has ignored it.

Given the extent of mismanagement and political interference, the minister simply cannot run away from her own responsibility. Will the minister do the honourable and the democratic thing and resign?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, they should stop a little bit of this double talk that is going on here. She talks about political interference and she is a member who writes all the time to the department to get money for her riding.

She has been successful. She has got money for the Learning Disabilities Association of B.C., the Vancouver Volunteer Centre, KidSafe Project Society, and the Boys' and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. That was successful political interference.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, as usual the Prime Minister is holding up a smokescreen. The issue here is the transitional jobs fund.

We have to say that the Canadian public is not fooled for a moment that this is some sort of administrative foul up. People see it for what it is, a Liberal slush fund.

In the last few weeks alone Canadians have watched in disbelief as a government stood ready to give millions to hockey millionaires and then millions to bank billionaires.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member is very close to my chair and I could not hear. The hon. member can begin her question again.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have to say again that the Canadian public is not fooled for a moment that this is some sort of administrative foul up. They see it for what it is, a Liberal slush fund.

In the last few weeks alone Canadians have watched in disbelief as the government stood ready to give millions to hockey millionaires and then millions to bank billionaires instead of students. It has mismanaged billions in programs that should be helping the unemployed, not the Liberal Party.

These misguided priorities of the Liberal government have lost the trust of Canadians. Will the minister resign? That is the right thing to do.