House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Bill C-20
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Beauséjour—Petitcodiac.

Fête Nationale Des Acadiens
Statements By Members

March 15th, 2000 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would underscore today this government's lack of respect for the country's Acadians.

It is an insult to find that, for the second consecutive year, the Fête nationale des Acadiens is not acknowledged on the Canadian Heritage 2000 calendar. And yet, in 1999, Acadie hosted the francophone summit, and the Acadian flag was flown everywhere.

The Prime Minister campaigned among these same Acadians, who gave him their support, and today he is refusing to recognize them.

While this government is trying to convince Quebecers to stay in our country, it continues to show a lack of respect for the Acadians of this country. That is unacceptable.

I demand that the Minister of Canadian Heritage recognize the Fête nationale des Acadiens of this country and that she make a public apology. This government forgets that the Acadians helped build this country.

August 15 is the date of the Fête nationale des Acadiens of this country.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have obtained documents that show HRDC officials regularly flaunted the Financial Administration Act and Treasury Board guidelines because their political masters interfered. Departmental questions and answers were prepared in response to the fallout of this damning internal audit. Staff said “We were told to be flexible and responsive and not to lapse funds. Now we are being told we have to obey the Financial Administration Act and Treasury Board guidelines”. How inconvenient.

Why was this government operating for years outside the law?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I would urge members today to please choose their words very carefully.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as is becoming usual, I categorically reject the allegation made by the hon. member.

Those members are not interested in dealing with facts, so let us review them again. We received an internal audit which said that we could improve our administrative practices with regard to grants and contributions. I asked for a tough response. We are now implementing that response.

I am glad to say that as of yesterday we closed the 37 accounts that we were reviewing as a result of the audit. Of the overpayments identified, the majority has been collected, and $600 is yet outstanding.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, she is not out of the crisis yet because very recently her own employees have resented the fact that she continues to blame anybody but herself. In fact, they have resorted to taking out radio ads to defend themselves.

They were told to play with the rules. They were told not to pay attention to details like the law. Breaking the Financial Administration Act carries with it a five year prison term, but in HRDC it had become routine.

What laws will the minister and the government not break for their own political gain?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we do not break the law.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is one girl's opinion. I would like to quote from her own employees.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I would prefer, my colleagues, if we called each other by our regular titles.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me quote from the actual questions and answers, which I did not dream up. This was something the department came up with and I would like to quote verbatim. The staff said “Now we are being asked and told that we have to obey the Financial Administration Act”, to which the deputy minister has stated “We have to work within the rules, starting now”.

I would like the minister to stand and say why in the world she allows this to continue.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, this girl will answer as she has over the—

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. If the hon. Minister for Human Resources Development would like to continue, I am sure that all of us will call each other by our proper titles, including the minister.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts. We have identified that we have administrative improvements to make in my department. We are implementing a six point plan.

I have had the opportunity to travel and visit offices where our employees are working their heads off to make sure this plan gets implemented and to improve the system on behalf of Canadians.