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 referendum.

Topics

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is getting funny because she talks about the Liberal slush fund. Here is what she wrote to the minister of this department on June 24, 1999, in relation to summer career placement programs in her riding: “This additional funding was sorely needed. Additional jobs mean more opportunities for students and community agencies”. I agree with you, Madam.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I ask all hon. members to address their remarks through the Chair.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal research department's has been working overtime. Earlier in question period in response to a question from the member for Madawaska—Restigouche the minister said “I had to improve the audit”.

Was changing the date on the cover page only part of the improvements to the audit? I suggest changing an audit is illegal. Why was the minister trying to hide the truth about when she received the report?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am not trying to hide anything. I made the report public, for heaven's sake.

From my point of view the appropriate thing to do when you get information that says there are problems is to let Canadians know so that Canadians can appreciate the significance of the undertaking and they can also measure the impact of our results.

I am going to be looking forward to presenting on a quarterly basis the results of our reviews, the information that we get on the improvements that these undertakings are going to hold. There is nothing to hide here. We are going to fix the problem and it is not going to exist after.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, if there was nothing to hide the minister should have been in here in November explaining what was wrong in her department.

This morning at a press conference we heard from the same HRDC officials described by the minister as being in the dark ages. Over the course of this scandal the minister has blamed everyone from the previous minister to the press.

Would the minister now have Canadians trust the same officials she claims created the problem to investigate themselves? Before the minister resigns will she embark on a full, impartial, independent investigation into this scandal in her department?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it was the internal checks and balances of the department that brought this information to my attention. It was my review of the audit that suggested we had to take it seriously. It is the response of the department that is now going to fix this problem.

We are going to make the results of that work public to Canadians so that they can measure our results. That is what Canadians want. That is the responsible thing to do.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister's department had an audit that showed severe mismanagement of public funds last summer. Yet all through the fall she kept giving Canadians the clear message that everything was as it should be, everything was under control, everything was being done that should be done.

In December, after the minister acknowledged that she saw the audit, she again kept giving the clear message that everything was fine, that everything was under control and that there was no problem. How can we tolerate anything less than this minister's resignation?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again, there is nothing that I said previously in the House that was misleading. I stand by that.

We are talking about accountability. When this hon. member goes back to her riding I wonder what she will say to the taxpayers who ask her why she did not know that tax dollars were being spent in their riding and why did she not know that $7 million was invested in community undertakings. Her answer will be that she had no idea where the money went, but that she hopes it did some good.

I can tell her that that money has done good and it has made a difference in the lives of the citizens of Calgary—Nose Hill.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently, the current Minister for International Trade, who used to be the Minister of Human Resources Development, was telling the minister responsible for Emploi-Québec how to run job programs.

Will the minister, who has the arrogance to tell others how to do their job, now have the decency to answer questions from the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on how he did his job?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am the minister who received the results of this audit. I am the minister who has taken this seriously. I am the one who is committing to Canadians that we will implement a plan to ensure that this issue is fixed and that our programs will have the integrity that they are depending on.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I would remind members that questions are addressed to the government and not to a specific minister.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Boris Trajkovski, President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

February 7th, 2000 / 3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Earlier today the hon. member for Athabasca raised a question of privilege in the House. In effect, in his question of privilege he mentioned the hon. member for Wentworth—Burlington. The hon. member for Wentworth—Burlington is now in the House. Is the hon. member aware of what was said earlier today? He has signalled that he is aware of what was said earlier today.

I would ask the hon. member if he could please address this question in which he was personally named.