House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is encouraging because the Truscott case, as we know, has been a festering wound on the psyche of this nation and casts a shadow over the entire criminal justice system.

The case against Truscott was based on ambiguous, circumstantial and inconsistent testimony from children, impossible medical analysis of the murder victim and Mr. Truscott himself.

It seems obvious that the irregularity surrounding the investigation and subsequent trial and the new evidence warrant a full inquiry. In the pursuit of justice and public confidence, will the Minister of Justice commit to conducting a full public inquiry upon receipt of Mr. Truscott's application?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I hope the hon. member knows that we take any allegations of wrongful conviction very seriously. If such allegations are submitted to me by Mr. Truscott or his lawyer, we will review them expeditiously and seriously.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, nowhere in the minister's six point plan is there mention of protection for HRDC employees who want to blow the whistle on unethical behaviour, but according to the audit seven out of ten employees in her department felt that they could not expose that type of behaviour without fear of reprisal.

If the minister is so concerned about cleaning up the problems in her department, why is there nothing in her plan to protect employees who want to expose that kind of wrongdoing?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, my approach would be to encourage employees to come forward with areas where we can improve our undertakings.

I want to remind the hon. member that it was the department that identified shortcomings in the internal audit and we made it public. I would ask the hon. member opposite if he thinks that his daily chastising of the department for coming forward and taking action to make improvements is helping to encourage employees to come forward in the future.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, make no mistake. I blame the minister for the problems in the department, not the employees.

Seventy per cent of the people in her department fear that they will lose their jobs if they expose wrongdoing in her department. This is a department that handles tens of billions of dollars every year and every protection should be put in place to protect taxpayer money. How does the minister expect her plan to work if employees are afraid to expose wrongdoing in her department?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let me point out that employees were not afraid to expose areas for improvement. That is what these audits do.

From our point of view the strength of a government can be seen in its ability to be transparent and accountable. We are doing that, but I would say to hon. members opposite every day pointing fingers at the Department of Human Resources Development Canada and its employees, undermining their confidence, undermining the relationship they have with communities, is destructive. It is debasing and building on the negative, and that is not appropriate.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Once again, the microphones are on two desks. Sometimes it is difficult to hear the answer either from the minister or the question from the other side. I appeal to members.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, our questions for the Minister of Human Resources Development concern the payment of a grant of $1.2 million to Placeteco in the Prime Minister's riding, and no other business.

We know that $1 million was paid to the bank and $200,000 cannot be accounted for. These are our questions.

I would ask the minister whether her main mistake in this matter involves the conflict of interest arising from the threefold role played by Gilles Champagne, the friend of the Prime Minister, who is the government trustee, a creditor of the company and the lawyer of the individual purchasing it—

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Human Resources Development.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I will go through it again and I will say to the House that indeed we reviewed this file. We have undertaken, along with our partners, to ensure that the invoices that were required to satisfy the investments made have been obtained.

We also know that employees are working in this undertaking as well as its former sister company in Trois-Rivières. From our point of view, continuing to invest in this undertaking is the right thing to do.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about Trois-Rivières. The minister is intentionally mixing the files. We are talking about Placeteco. That is quite clear.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

An hon. member

P-l-a-c-e-t-e-c-o.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Placeteco got $1.2 million from the government. That is what we are talking about.

My question to the minister is: Where did the $1.2 million go? Where are the invoices? Where is the truth in this matter?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.