House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-20.

Topics

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Oakville
Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, anyone who has anything to do with business in his or her lifetime knows there is always an element of risk.

I would like to compare the statistics for our projects with those of the private sector. According to Statistics Canada, about 23% of new ventures do not pass their first birthday, whether because of bankruptcy or closure. The statistics for our projects are that 95% do pass their first birthday, so we compare rather favourably.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, every day, as we read the documents from Human Resources Development Canada, we reach the conclusion that the more we analyze them, the less we find in them. It is not normal for the taxpayers to be learning bit by bit that nothing is going right at Human Resources Development Canada any more.

When will the government finally decide to show respect for taxpayers by instituting a public and independent inquiry?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Oakville
Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we respect the taxpayers and that is why we are so proud that 95% of our projects are successful. That is a better record than that of the private sector.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Earth Canada lost millions of dollars over the past four years. However, the fortunes of Earth Canada became greener when the cronies of the Prime Minister, Mr. Fugère and Mr. Champagne, came on board. Mr. Champagne came to Ottawa and secured access to a $10 million line of credit.

I ask the Minister for International Trade, who did the Prime Minister's crony meet with?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the opposition has not forgotten me today because I can tell him that the opposition has its information completely wrong once again.

It is simple and clear. Earth Canada has not received one cent from the EDC. If the opposition had any sense of responsibility it would withdraw the terrible allegations its leader made in the House yesterday. I understand why the CCRAP party would continue to look for another name after making this kind of monumental mistake.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, we see that the minister's approach today is to huff and puff and try to blow this scandal away, but it will not work.

The minister must know and remember René Fugère, because when he was HRD minister he cut cheques for $1.5 million for projects involving him. Champagne comes to Ottawa and secures approval for and access to a $10 million line of credit.

The minister ran away from this question yesterday, so I will ask him to confirm for the House today whether he has ever met with Mr. Fugère or Mr. Champagne.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, Earth Canada had preliminary discussions with the EDC and members of the opposition can check with people at the EDC any time they want. They can go to them because the institution is at arm's length from the department. Those preliminary discussions needed many more steps before allowing a line of credit of $10 million. Those are the facts. The opposition is completely wrong.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is refusing to answer a number of embarrassing questions by hiding behind the investigations that are underway. However, Placeteco is not being investigated. We note that the trustee appointed by HDRC for a trust that does not meet Treasury Board requirements happens also to be the lawyer of the person who received the funding that went into the trust.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister not find this situation somewhat disturbing?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member did not give notice of her question. I will check the facts and the basis for her question, and gladly get back to her as soon as possible.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find the reaction of the Deputy Prime Minister really disturbing. This is the third time we have put this question in the House and the third time the minister has refused to answer.

I put my question to a former Solicitor General of Canada, a man of experience. Does he not find it unusual, disturbing and dangerous that one person is both Mr. Gauthier's lawyer and the HRDC trustee?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Oakville
Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, there was a mistake made on this file by an official and trust funds were created. It turned out to be a fortuitous mistake because after that Placeteco signed a three-year agreement with its employees and a five-year contract worth $8 million with Bell Helicopter. The company has 69 people working for it. Perhaps this person got the idea of trust funds from the premier of Quebec.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

March 3rd, 2000 / 11:40 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, when he was human resources minister the trade minister wrote more than $1.5 million worth of cheques for projects of Mr. René Fugère.

Just what is it about Mr. Fugère that allows him such easy access to the public purse? Did the minister ever meet with Mr. Fugère?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I find it absolutely incredible that they would repeat in the House allegations with not a shred of substance. The facts are clear that the EDC has not extended a line of credit to Earth Canada.

If the member wants to ask me any question I will gladly answer. However, he is asking me a question on something about which there are absolutely no facts.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I believe the substance of the question was, when did the Minister for International Trade first meet with René Fugère? He has very cleverly evaded and danced around that question. He avoids the Earth Canada connection with Petrobras.

Are the magic words that open the doors to federal funds “Hello, I am from Shawinigan”?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, ministers do not sign off on these kinds of applications. There has not been any line of credit extended to Earth Canada. The member can ask people at the EDC about the relationship between Petrobras and Earth Canada. They are private sector companies. I am telling the member that the EDC has not extended a line of credit to Earth Canada.