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

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, this morning I released, along with representatives of the other opposition parties, a unanimous report on the scandal at Human Resources Development Canada.

Considering that light still needs to be shed on many HDRC files, including Placeteco, will the government agree to set up a public and independent inquiry which, in the opinion of all opposition parties, is the only way to restore the public's confidence in Human Resources Development Canada?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the work of a standing committee provides a wonderful opportunity to advise and inform the government, to advise a minister in a department, in this case mine, on improving its operations.

I have had the chance to take a cursory look at the majority report. I see it begins to look at the six point plan and to provide information. When I look at the minority report however, I see that the opposition has been unable to get beyond the rantings that we see day after day in the House. To tell the truth, I am really disappointed in that.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, enough is enough. The waste of public moneys at Human Resources Development Canada has lasted long enough. All the parliamentarians on this side of the House are unanimous in demanding clear, fair, transparent and consistent rules to put an end to the Liberal system of granting favours to their buddies.

Will the government regain a sense of honour and act as it is being asked to by all opposition members and by the public?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would agree. Enough is enough. We have heard day after day the rantings and ravings of the opposition on this issue. Canadians have identified, as has the government, that we have a program that we are implementing to improve our system.

Canadians would appreciate, I am sure, the opposition working with us to do what the auditor general suggests is so important, to find a way of providing good service to citizens in this country and at the same time balancing that with an appropriate accountability structure for taxpayers.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP has been investigating CITEC, a company based in the Prime Minister's riding, since February.

An audit released last week reveals irregularities in the management of the $2.8 million grant from the Canada jobs fund. In spite of these disturbing facts, Human Resources Development Canada intends to give CITEC an additional $5 million.

Is the Prime Minister wasting public money strictly because that money is going to his riding?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, with respect to funding, we have received a letter from CITEC requesting a continuation of funds. The department will be reviewing this and will report when it has a response.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, we were not surprised to learn that the directors of CITEC have close political affiliations to the Prime Minister. One of the men, Mario Pépin, is a veteran Liberal Party organizer in the PM's riding. What is surprising is that these men paid themselves large salaries and generous stipends. They invested $2 million of the grant money in high risk funds and nobody knows where the interest is.

How can the Prime Minister just turn a blind eye to these activities and approve his friends' blatant abuse of spending taxpayers' money?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, again, the way the question is worded I would judge that it does not deal with the administrative responsibility of the government. If the hon. minister wants to respond, I will permit that.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, only to say that as the hon. member points out, this file is with the RCMP. It would be inappropriate to comment further on it or to prejudge the results.

Banking Services
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the public is scandalized by the billions of dollars in profit being made by the banks every year.

Despite banking fee packages, the six major banks in the country have recorded a $140 million increase in their revenue from service charges in 1999. Yesterday, the Royal Bank announced a 30% hike in certain charges, and this is likely to affect people with small amounts of savings in particular.

My question is a very simple one, directed to the Minister of Industry. When will the government be sending a clear message to the banks that these practices are totally unacceptable to consumers?

Banking Services
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as you know, bank service charges are set by the private sector.

That said, in our new fiscal policy, we are in the process of putting in place measures aimed at consumer protection.

Banking Services
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is planning to introduce a bill in the near future that will allow bank mergers, among other things.

Is satisfying the major Canadian banks the minister's sole objective, or will he also be taking advantage of the opportunity to ensure that consumers have access to affordable banking services?

Banking Services
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member across the way had studied the policy set out by the government back in early June, he would have seen we are in the process of creating not only an ombudsman position but also a consumer protection agency, which would have answered his question exactly.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

April 13th, 2000 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have heard today another example of how the human resources minister allows Canadians to be ripped off. Two lucky friends of the Prime Minister, both already with comfortable incomes, used grant money to give themselves $3,000 unearned a month plus a handsome bonus for attending board meetings.

The minister has some explaining to do. Will she tell Canadians why taxpayers were forced to foot the bill for this kind of profiteering?