House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a number of occasions, when I discovered that these trust funds had been created I asked the officials to look at them closely. I would like to quote from a letter from my deputy minister to me on this very issue wherein she wrote:

While the creation of a trust fund as a mechanism to flow funds is unusual, it is not prohibited by the Financial Administration Act. Our management approach on learning of such issues is remedial rather than punitive unless there is evidence of fraud or theft, in which case we refer the matter to the police for investigation.

In this case there was no indication of fraud or theft and, as I said before, if they have information then let them bring it forward.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the information comes from the minister's own employees. She says she is going to look at the information closely, but she is not lifting a finger to do anything about it. She takes it as an opinion instead of doing something about it.

We do not ask these questions just to watch the minister blush. We want an answer to these questions because she has not answered why there has been a policy of violating an act of parliament that has gone untouched by her department.

Why did she not inform the police? Was it because she was afraid of being caught, or was it that she was trying to protect the Prime Minister?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again all I can say is this is more Reform mythology. In all these undertakings what we see is members of that party talking about in the first instance $3 billion missing, and that is not the case. Why do they not say that? They then said $1 billion were missing. That is not the case. Why do they not say that?

In this case we have closed the trust funds and taken action, yet they persist. If they have information then bring it forward or else—

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

An hon. member

Shut up.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Brant, ON

—admit they are wrong.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Of course the word shut up is not parliamentary, but I told members about open microphones.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, several aspects of the Placeteco affair remain rather troubling. A sum of $1 million was used to pay off a National Bank of Canada loan; $200,000 is still unaccounted for.

Will the minister tell us whether she intends to call for an investigation into Placeteco?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again we are talking about a file that has been discussed in this place on a number of occasions: on June 10, 1999; on November 4 and 5, 1999; and on March 13 and 15, 2000.

My officials have confirmed, as I have said to the House, that the moneys invested in Placeteco were for expenditures that were according to the terms and conditions of the program. Again I say in this case we are one partner and this undertaking was supported by the Government of Quebec.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a bit surprised by the minister's answer.

She told us to get in touch with her department for information, which we did. They told us that they could not give us the information about Placeteco that we requested because the project was currently under investigation.

I would like to know who is telling the truth: departmental officials, who tell us that the project is under investigation, or the minister, who tells us that there is no investigation, or perhaps she does not know? Who is telling the truth in all this? Why is it that we are being told that the project is under investigation?

It is her department that has answered us. I will send her the letter. She tells us there is no investigation. Who is telling the truth?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have answered questions almost on a daily basis on this file. I say again that the expenditures to this company were according to the terms and conditions of the transitional jobs fund program.

This program has created employment opportunities for Canadians who otherwise would not have had them. I say again that we are but one partner and this undertaking was supported by the municipality, by the company, and by headquarters of the Bloc Quebecois, the Government of Quebec.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, this gets harder and harder to understand.

On the one hand, the minister does not know that Placeteco is under investigation and, on the other hand, her department tells us that it is. I will read her the letter again: “In response to your request, we are unable to send you the information you requested because this project is currently under investigation”.

Will the minister tell us whether there is an investigation under way, yes or no?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am standing here answering questions on this particular file. We have talked about this undertaking and again we find we have an investment that is ensuring that people in the province of Quebec are working when they otherwise would not be.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister presents a sorry spectacle.

Either the officials' information is inaccurate, or the minister has completely lost control of her department.

Does the minister intend, yes or no, to have Placeteco investigated, now that we have provided her with all the facts?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to give an answer and I am glad to say that in the case of Placeteco we have a transitional jobs fund that is according to the terms and conditions of the program.

Employees are working where they would not otherwise. In fact, as is usual in all these cases, we are one partner and this was viewed to be an appropriate investment in the province of Quebec for the people of that province.

Railways
Oral Question Period

March 17th, 2000 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been quoted as saying that one of his goals has been to prevent the Americanization of Canada. To me this sounds passing strange for someone who allowed a major piece of Canadian infrastructure, the CNR, to go from being wholly owned by the Canadian people to being largely owned by American shareholders.

That being said, we now have another proposal before us which is the proposed merger between the CNR and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads.

I want to ask the Minister of Transport, given the many concerns that have been raised about this, how does the government propose that this issue be dealt with, both in terms of process and in terms of some of the concerns that—