House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would just say again that this file is with the RCMP. It would be inappropriate to comment on it or to prejudge the results.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Here is something else, Mr. Speaker. Now there is a new twist on the misuse of the minister's grant money. How about using grant money to buy a motorhome? That is what someone did from the Strathroy Community Resource Centre, an organization that is supposed to be “a proactive support system for adolescents”. We cannot find out how this motorhome generated jobs because our access request is past the legal due date.

I invite the minister to explain to Canadian taxpayers why they had to buy someone a motorhome.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question gives me a chance to update the House on the number of access to information requests my department has received this year. We are up to 602. I would remind the House that while we have had 602 in this first quarter, in all of last year we only had 531. We are working diligently to provide the information that has been requested. The department takes this very seriously and the answers will be forthcoming.

Cinar
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Income Tax Act gives the Minister of National Revenue all the powers necessary to shed light on allegations of tax evasion. We feel that, over the past six months, the Minister of National Revenue has had ample time to do his job regarding CINAR. A report must be forwarded to the Minister of Justice when an investigation seems to support the laying of criminal charges.

My question is simple. Did the Minister of National Revenue forward a report on CINAR to his colleague, the Minister of Justice?

Cinar
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, once again, as members know, I cannot comment on a specific file, because of the rule of confidentiality.

That being said, the mandate of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency includes a responsibility to ensure that the Income Tax Act is complied with throughout the country.

I want to assure this House that, whenever issues are raised and investigations must be undertaken, the department acts with great diligence and does an excellent job.

French Language Colleges
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rick Limoges Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced the signing of the Canada-Ontario agreement on French language colleges.

Can she tell us how this agreement will be beneficial to the development of the Franco-Ontarian community?

French Language Colleges
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have this question from a member from the Windsor area, an area in southwestern Ontario which, along with northern and eastern Ontario, will benefit from our investment in these three colleges, through the opportunity provided to Ontario students to be educated in their mother tongue wherever they live in the province. This is good for Canada.

Canada Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week both the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister promised to provide the documents with respect to the Minister of Finance's involvement in the tainted blood scandal now being investigated by the ethics counsellor.

Today we were told we would receive those documents. What did we get? Two pages for six years worth of board meetings and half of those pages were whited out. What is the government trying to hide? Why will it not provide the board minutes? What is it hiding?

Canada Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the ethics counsellor, following a very thorough investigation, has reported fully on this and confirmed what I have said, that there was no discussion on tainted blood at the CDC board.

All the pertinent documents were part of the ethics counsellor's report, including the ones to which the hon. member is referring. At the same time he knows that a thorough investigation is being carried out by the information commissioner to look into this whole matter. All of that will also be revealed in due course.

Canada Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know the ethics counsellor told the Department of Finance to release the board meeting minutes. It is not believable to have two pages of minutes for six years, and to have half of them whited out. That is not believable. What is it trying to hide?

Why will the government go to great lengths to make sure that these documents do not get out? It is very selective about what it releases. To wait six years for two pages is not believable. We want the board meeting minutes. Why will the government not release them?

Canada Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, those minutes belong to the private sector, but those minutes also dealt with everything about the subject in hand.

If the hon. member has any other questions, he could easily ask them of the ethics counsellor. He should see the ethics counsellor. That is the long answer.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, months after we first heard of the scandalous situation at HRDC, Canadians still do not have answers. The only transparent aspect of the whole mess is the government's mishandling of it.

That is why today the four opposition parties put out their own report calling for an independent public inquiry. Apparently the minister feels it is just ranting and raving. I can assure the minister that upholding the public interest is not ranting and raving. It is called getting to the truth. Why is the minister so afraid to hold a public inquiry to get at the truth?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it would seem that opposition members are still confounded by the fact that the government did its own internal audit; that the government made that audit, with all its shortcomings identified, public; and that the government is implementing a plan to fix the problem.

Let us remember that we presented a plan. The auditor general accepted it and is working with us to implement it. I would ask the opposition to work along with us so that we can fix this problem and continue to provide good service to Canadians citizens and improve our accountability to the taxpayers.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. I have constituents with disabilities who have taken an IT training course from a private company funded by HRDC. The company took their money but provided no accommodation for their disabilities, produced no graduates and found them no jobs.

How could the minister justify funding for-profit training companies that produce no graduates or jobs when non-profit public sector organizations—

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.