House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, my answer is very long. No.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we all remember René Fugère, the guy who is under police investigation for being an unregistered lobbyist. We also remember when René Fugère, the Prime Minister's body double, worked with the Prime Minister's favourite Shawinigan lawyer, Mr. Gilles Champagne, to create an illegal trust fund that benefited a third prime ministerial crony in the Placeteco Inc. deal.

At the conclusion of this session, would the Prime Minister care to explain once again why HRDC was forced to break the rules that then benefited his close friends?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we remember that party talking about $3 billion being missing. We remember that party talking about $1 billion being missing. We know now that is not the case at all.

We remember members of that party talking about the fact that they are not interested in supporting Canadians in need. They said that through grants and contributions we are wasting taxpayers' dollars to support young people who want to find employment, to support Canadians with disabilities, to support Canadians who want to improve their literacy. We remember that and so do Canadians.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, we really wish the hon. minister would do more than just remember and actually fix the problems in her department.

A full one-third of those who donated to the Prime Minister's personal election campaign ended up getting grants, contributions or contracts from his government, in other words, from the taxpayers of Canada. Was that because the other two-thirds just did not donate enough?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to use this occasion to say how hypocritical those people are. They have a little problem in their own party where it is evident that some people are trying to steal the leadership while they sit there and do nothing. That is the only problem they have to deal with and they do not know what to do.

We had problems and we have solved them. That is why at the end of this session we can say that when we started, unemployment was at 11.5% and now it is down to 6.6%. When we started, there was a $42 billion deficit and the Minister of Finance has informed me that he now has a very big surplus.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the solution proposed by the Prime Minister regarding parental leave reflects his vision of Canada.

He is proposing a two-tier system and a duplication of programs that will only, as evidenced by years of experience in other areas, generate useless costs and inefficiencies.

Does the Prime Minister not agree that, together, we could negotiate to use the money contributed and create a simple and comprehensive program, strictly for the benefit of Quebec's young families?

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a program that has been working for 30 years. Everyone was very pleased that, thanks to this government's good management, we were able to extend the period from 6 to 12 months.

Again, it is very easy for the Premier of Quebec and others to want to implement good policies with money provided by the federal government.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, is the Prime Minister giving us a demonstration of the inflexibility of Canadian federalism, by stubbornly refusing to take into account the interest of young families?

Does he realize that this is all that matters here, now that the time has come for this government to get along with Quebec?

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if they truly care about Quebec families that are not covered by employment insurance, let them take their responsibilities and create a new program with their resources.

We have responsibilities toward those who contribute to employment insurance. We use the money that they put into it to help these families. If those who are not covered by the employment insurance have problems, let the Quebec government assume its responsibilities.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

June 15th, 2000 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, we all know that last August, HRDC officials were in full damage control mode over a billion dollar boondoggle audit. Their communications department had prepared an action plan to handle the crisis and officials were hunkering down for the coming storm. The minister was obviously terrified of the consequences of this audit becoming public.

Was it that fear of the public finding out that prevented the minister from telling Canadians about the audit for a full six months after it was completed?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I can only be amused that after six months we are still back where we started.

I can say that again we see unsupported allegations being repeated and repeated and repeated. Repetition does not make things true.

If those members would take the time to actually look at the facts where indeed we made the report public, where we have taken action to improve the administration of the department and where we have defended and strengthened grants and contributions in this country, they would see that things have been done. We have taken leadership and we are doing the right thing.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Reed Elley Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the minister finds so funny about missing $1 billion. The Minister of Human Resources Development waited until two days after we submitted an access to information request before she announced the existence of the billion dollar bungle audit. She then tried to postdate the acknowledgement of our access requests.

Was the minister more ashamed about her billion dollar bungle or her attempt to cover it up?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that it is the hon. member who should be embarrassed.

First, here again he reiterates the falsehood that $1 billion is missing. It is not. He reiterates the fact that they think the access to information request spawned the audit. It did no such thing. That was discussed in this House many months ago. Again we see the reiteration of falsehoods and misdirection.

Those members talk about draft reports. If they would take the time to look at the facts, to see the progress, to see the actual results of the work, they would understand that things have been taken into hand and are in much better shape today than they were.

Francophone Athletes
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport is loudly praising his exploits as a minister.

Yet the Commissioner of Official Languages has given him a really poor grade on his report card. She has even told him that he has a lot of homework to do in order to foster equality of opportunity for francophone athletes.

Given the relatively short career of athletes, and the fact that coaches can work for 10 to 20 years, would it not be normal to require that the latter be bilingual?

Francophone Athletes
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Secretary of State (Amateur Sport)

Mr. Speaker, I can understand the hon. member's frustration. Yesterday she was questioning my credibility and today she is looking for some for herself.

Clearly, in the past ten months, with all the concrete actions in which we have been involved, there is one thing I can say: ask any athlete, regardless of their coach, and they will say one thing for certain: we are “on the right track”.