House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was appointments.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not approve all the speeches of my ministers before they make them. We have some freedom on this side. Perhaps it was the case when he was the minister of foreign affairs that he had to check every word with the leader of that day, but that is not the case today.

The Minister of National Defence, like any other minister, has the right to look at his department and to make some comments on that department. We permit a dialogue with the public, a dialogue within the caucus and a dialogue with the House of Commons for members of cabinet.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Guide for Ministers notes, and I quote, “Ministers cannot dissociate themselves from or repudiate the decisions of their Cabinet colleagues unless... they resign from the Cabinet”.

Yet, the Minister of National Defence clearly dissociated himself from his government's policies on defence funding.

With a leadership race approaching, could the Prime Minister tell us whether the other ministers are equally free to ignore the basic principles of ministerial responsibility?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a minister like the Minister of National Defence may discuss problems he has identified in his department as well as the possibility of improving it. Nothing is absolutely perfect in any department. There is always room for improvement.

If the minister said he wanted to make improvements to his department, good for him. I hope he will make good improvements. If he is successful, he will be a good minister; if not, he will be in trouble.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

October 29th, 2002 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want a clear answer about what the government's plan is for health care. Will the government rearrange its priorities, or will Canadians pay more taxes?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I think the government has been very clear that we are committed to working with the provinces and the territories and all Canadians to ensure that we have a high quality, accessible, publicly financed system. As Minister of Health, I have indicated that in fact new dollars will be required. Upon determining what the quantum of those new dollars will be, the federal government will be at the table to do its fair share.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the health minister said, “My preference is always to look at the surplus dollars or reallocation from within”. What is it going to be, reallocation or more taxes?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I think our main priority at this point, and certainly mine as Minister of Health, is to work with my provincial and territorial colleagues to ensure that we have a plan for the renewal of our health care system.

There is no one, I would hope, either in the chamber or in the country, who believes that we will be able to renew and sustain our health care system by simply putting more money into it. Will new money be required? Yes. Will we be there to do our fair share? Yes, but let us focus on the renewal of our health care system.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works has answered that, in the case of the contract awarded to Everest, neither the Minister of Canadian Heritage nor the former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport interfered.

Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage not find it unusual for departmental officials to make decisions on their own concerning the recommendation of a company when they do not know it or its qualifications to fulfill a contract? She is the one responsible for these officials. I would like to hear from her whether it is normal for departmental employees to act in this way without her knowledge?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, I have no way of knowing the basis upon which a particular department makes a recommendation. Often when the department requisitions a call-up against a list of pre-qualified suppliers, they make a suggestion or a recommendation. It is not unusual. Again, I would emphasize that it is not up to that department to make the decision. It is up to the Department of Public Works to make the decision and that is what happened in this case.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport, and present Minister of Immigration, tells us that he did not intervene in the choice of Everest.

Yet senior departmental officials at Heritage are saying the opposite: that he suggested to them that Everest was the firm he wanted. One or the other is not telling the truth.

I am asking the Minister of Heritage, who is responsible for her department until proven otherwise, whether she has summoned her senior officials in order to ask why they are laying falsehoods at the door of the secretary of state. If the Minister of Immigration is not the one who lied, then they must be the ones who did.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again I think the hon. gentleman is directing his attention in the wrong place. Departments can make whatever recommendations they wish to make. Obviously that is valued input into the process but the final decision is taken by the Department of Public Works which has the contracting authority.

I would also point out that under the direction of the Prime Minister, the President of the Treasury Board has been working on a set of new recommendations about the governance framework for advertising to make sure that in the future the system is accountable, transparent and achieves value for the taxpayers' money in every case.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister seems very confused. Over the past several months he said in response to questions that the military is getting all the money it needs. Then in his speech last Friday, the minister said that the military has been starved so badly that it cannot protect the safety of our citizens and the sovereignty of our nation. That is what he said.

Could the minister explain how the government can spend enough money and not enough money all in the same week?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in my humble opinion the confusion is more on that side of the House. What I said in my speech was very clear, that yes, the government had invested $5 billion in future years into the military and yes, the government at the end of the day will be deciding on the priorities. However, in my humble opinion I submit respectfully that more resources for the military might be one matter the government might consider.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, speaking of confusion, the minister does not know Vimy from Vichy. He does not know that Canadians fought and died at Dieppe. He is the minister who wants to sell the tanks and keep the generals. Now the minister said that the military has enough money and not enough money and he said it all in the same week.

How can Canadians believe anything that comes from the mouth of the minister?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that particularly in this post-September 11 world, in a dangerous world, we are dealing with important subjects when it comes to the military and equipping our men and women to go into harm's way. Cheap shots from the gentleman across the way do not really help the cause.