House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Auditor General
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the cabinet make appointments based on the laws passed by parliament. We of course have some discretion on the appointments because we want to ensure that every part of Canada is represented.

We made a lot of appointments to increase the number of women on these boards that did not exist before. We make sure that a proportion of francophones are represented according to the population. We make sure that the people from visible minorities can have the occasion to serve their country on those boards.

Auditor General
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I just want to draw to the attention of members that we have stretched the limits on questions and answers throughout so far and I would ask for co-operation in ensuring we stick within the limits.

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

February 6th, 2001 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, as a result of questions we asked in the House yesterday, we now know that the industry department is demanding the $100,000 grant back from ARC. Obviously the funds were used improperly.

Can the Minister of Industry tell the House exactly what the problem was with this file? Why did the government demand this money back?

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, a routine audit of the program, as is done on a regular basis, demonstrated that some $98,000 worth of expenditure funds that had been transferred had not yet been accounted for. The department, taking routine measures, sat down with the receiving organization and came to an agreement to recover those funds. This is the purpose of the audit process when it is done on an ongoing basis.

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it seems like the auditor general and the routine auditors will have to work overtime to keep up with the government across the way.

The fact remains that $100,000 of grant money was misused by the same two men charged in two other cases of fraud and theft. If he will not ask the RCMP to get involved, will the minister table a full accounting of this matter with a complete explanation as to the improper use of taxpayer funds? Will he table it in the House?

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would be quite happy to invite the member to meet with me and I will give him a full briefing. I also would be happy to table before the House a full briefing.

Perhaps the member opposite does not realize it, but today he, and yesterday his colleague, mixed up several different files and several different organizations.

The fact of the matter is that the CCIP is a good program. Shawinigan was only one of 22 communities across Canada that received funding for this program. According to today's Globe and Mail , its own analysis shows that Shawinigan deserved—

Government Grants
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lotbinière-L'Érable.

Auditor General
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Lotbinière—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the auditor general's report, 25% of the boards of crown corporations are totally out of their depth, because the government appoints members according to political criteria rather than competency.

My question is for the Prime Minister. How can he justify the fact that, for his government, political allegiance holds more weight than professional competency, when the time comes to select people who will be administering billions of dollars through crown corporations?

Auditor General
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I invite the hon. member to take care in making such allegations. He must be aware that the government has appointed competent people from all over Canada as board members.

Is he telling us that someone like Julie Payette, the well known astronaut, ought not to be on the natural science board, that Dr. Dyane Adam ought not to be the commissioner of official languages, that Beverley McLachlin ought not to be the chief justice of the supreme court, that Phil Fontaine ought not to be a member of the Canada millennium foundation board?

These are the kind of allegations he seems to be making.

Auditor General
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Lotbinière—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, by making appointments on the basis of political allegiance instead of competency, is the Prime Minister not demonstrating that, for his government, it is more important to ensure that it has influence over the crown corporations by appointing Liberals, than that they be properly administered by appointing competent people?

Auditor General
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are things we do and one thing we do not do.

This was the case of the Parti Quebecois, which required Quebec representatives outside the country to formally declare that they were separatists or lose their jobs.

Here we appoint competent people. Certainly, we appoint Liberals, because there are far more Liberals in Quebec and in Canada than members of any other party.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, there has been much speculation that the Russian government is trying to sweep the Knyazev drunk driving case under the diplomatic carpet.

Ten days have gone by since this tragedy occurred and not only are there no charges in Russia against Knyazev, but there does not even appear to be a criminal investigation under way.

My question is, has the Prime Minister been in touch yet with President Putin to ask him personally to move the case along, and if not, why not?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as recently as this morning I received a communication from our embassy in Moscow confirming once again that in their discussions with the Russian foreign ministry it has been confirmed that they are living up to the commitments that they made previously.

To me there is an internal investigation going on. It will lead to the request for the relevant documents to be forwarded by Canadian police to Russian authorities, which would then enable charges to be laid.

At this point I have every reason to continue to have confidence that they will meet the commitments they have made to us.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will have to switch gears here to talk about the case of Canadian William Sampson who is sitting in a Saudi Arabian jail right now facing murder charges and, if convicted, the death penalty.

Does the minister have confidence that Mr. Sampson's confession was not coerced, that our officials will have immediate access to him and that in fact he will get a fair trial?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have been in contact with Saudi authorities. I have asked the ambassador to deal not only with my counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but also with the interior minister with a view to obtaining renewed consular contact with Mr. Sampson. I really have no basis upon which to judge the alleged confession, nor do we have information about the case.

We would expect and request that any Canadian accused of criminal wrongdoing would receive a proper trial before an impartial arbiter.