House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was waste.

Topics

Auditor General's Report
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general has given a failing grade to treasury board. Here are some examples of Liberal misspending: a $36 billion surplus in the EI account, $20 billion more than required; 7,000 dead people given fuel rebate cheques; 1,600 federal prisoners given fuel rebate cheques; 4,000 people living outside of Canada given fuel rebate cheques; Sea King helicopters that spend 40 hours in repair for every hour of service; millions wasted on ill-conceived and poorly delivered programs at Health Canada; millionaire movie stars paying no tax, zero tax.

This is what happens when we have government spending by executive decree: billions wasted and no accountability.

Auditor General's Report
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Before beginning oral question period today, since it is a Wednesday I would encourage all members to be careful in their choice of words, both in answers and in questions.

This week the Chair heard, in one case, the expression “spreading those lies” and, in another, the phrase “dishonours our word”. Such language does little to raise the level of debate in this place. I ask for the co-operation of all hon. members in this regard.

With this gentle reminder out of the way we will now begin question period.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general has now confirmed graphically and painfully what the Canadian Alliance has been saying for over a year, and that is that this government, this group of Liberals, is quite possibly the worst bunch of money managers that the Canadian public has ever seen, through the sheer magnitude of dollars wasted, the worst ever.

If the Prime Minister and the finance minister were in a public company they would have been fired out the door.

To restore the shaken confidence of Canadians, will the Prime Minister please stand up and, at the very least, start the exercise by saying that he is sorry for presiding over the flushing of millions of Canadian dollars down the drain?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not think I will be the one who will be fired soon.

I want to tell the Canadian public that they know better than the Leader of the Opposition. When we started we had a deficit of 6.2% of GDP and last year we had a surplus of 2% of GDP. We have managed to do that within eight years. No other country in the world has been able to do that. We have reduced unemployment from 11.5% to 7%. I could go on and on and still keep--

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, no other country reduced its deficit by ripping dollars away from health care and the armed forces. That is how the Liberals did it.

The auditor general was very clear: our armed forces are not ready. During the war in Kosovo, we even had to borrow military equipment from Australia and spare batteries from Spain.

How long does this government plan on playing Russian roulette with our armed forces? When will our armed forces be getting the money they need to protect us?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am not really sure what the Leader of the Opposition is getting at.

In all of the missions Canada took part in these past few years, whether in Kosovo or in Africa as part of peacekeeping missions, the Canadian army has always done very well.

Everyone says that Canadian soldiers are among the best and that they always do the best work.

I do not understand why the Leader of the Opposition would want to take away from the good work of Canadian soldiers in the eyes of Canadians.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, those cheap insults do not carry weight with Canadians any more. We value our troops and that is why we are asking our government to value the troops.

We know the Liberal strategy. They tell their ministers, in a time of crisis like this, to just cover their eyes, put their heads between their legs, wait for the Christmas break and this will all blow over. Well Canadians are not going to put up with it this time.

The armed forces need to know, in the budget he is writing, whether there will be the extra $2 billion they need to protect our country. Will it be there?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have a special feeling because I feel the Leader of the Opposition is using this week to launch his campaign to try to keep his job.

As you appealed to me, Mr. Speaker, and to the House of Commons, I would like to be very nice. I would like to be extremely nice to him because we do not want to lose him.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the cheap political shots really do not help. On a serious issue like the Canadian military, the auditor general has identified waste and mismanagement right across government. For example, there was a $1.3 billion shortfall in operations and maintenance in the budget of the Canadian forces. She identified another $4.5 billion in the equipment budget of the Canadian forces over the next five years.

Will the Prime Minister promise Canadians that he will cut wasteful spending right across the departments so that the government can allocate the necessary funding to defence over the next five years?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock
Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, today the HMCS Toronto was deployed from Halifax. This is the sixth ship that Canada has sent out in Operation Apollo. Two thousand personnel have been deployed in this operation. The Canadian military is doing its job and doing it well. We should salute them.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian military is doing its job in spite of the government. The auditor general said that was exactly the kind of comment that should be taken with a grain of salt. She pointed out in her report that our air force needed to borrow parts and equipment from our allies in the war against Kosovo.

The government's cuts to defence, combined with waste and mismanagement across government, have gotten in the way of vital investments. Our troops can only carry this weight for so long.

Will the Prime Minister tell Canadians that waste will be cut and that at least $2 billion will be added to new spending for defence in the next budget?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock
Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I naturally thank the member for asking for more money for the military. Certainly that is being considered. The Prime Minister has indicated that it will be a security budget and that we will look at more funding for the military.

The military, whenever it has been asked, has done its job. The military should be praised, not denigrated as the member has said. The member should also take into consideration that the auditor general's report was written before September 11.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

December 5th, 2001 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the government is depriving thousands of seniors of the income supplement to which they are entitled, while it is massively dipping into the employment insurance fund, in short, while the poor are left to fend for themselves, it is promoting tax evasion for the rich by maintaining the agreement signed with Barbados. So much for the sharing of wealth.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his government's priorities are ill advised, as illustrated by the deliberate misappropriation of billions of dollars from the employment insurance fund?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that employment insurance is a government program and that revenues go into the consolidated revenue fund.

When the employment insurance fund is running a deficit, it is the government that makes up that deficit. This is the way it has been for a very long time and the system works very well.

This is why we were able to successfully restore sound financial management while preserving social programs.