House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was kyoto.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the project known as Attractions Canada is now in the final year of its previous commitments and it will not be renewed.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the final year was 2001, but in 2002-03 it got another $3.5 million pledged to it, so the problem is that the Liberals have created a system that funnels tax money through their friends' ad firms and then back to the Liberal Party.

Why will the minister not just stand today and say that all of these self-serving programs are gone forever, not delayed, not set aside, not under review, but gone once and for all?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I have indicated that the Attractions Canada program is now in its final stages of initially a five year period. That period has virtually now expired and it is not my intention to renew the program.

École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
Oral Question Period

December 9th, 2002 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Agriculture claims that December 9 is not an important date for the École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe, does he not realize that he is contradicting the assistant dean of the faculty, Mr. Dallaire, who is categorical on this issue? According to him, the school must have all the information today to meet the deadlines imposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, in order to clear this up once and for all, I would like to read from an e-mail of this morning from Dr. Don Simmons, director of the education and research division, American Veterinary Medical Association.

In response to your request, the AVMA Council on Education, the accrediting body for schools/colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States and Canada, require accredited programs to submit annually an interim report addressing the 11 Standards for Accreditation. The 2002 reports are due in my office by January 20, 2003. This date is later than usual because the Council meets in late spring this year, rather than earlier. I hope this information will be useful.

École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is because the veterinary school must prepare that report. Unlike the government, it will not have it done by Groupaction. The minister should realize that.

When the minister tells us that veterinary colleges are all in the same situation, he is again mistaken. The cut-off date for Saskatoon is 2003. For Prince Edward Island, it is 2004. For Guelph, it is 2009.

How could the minister claim that everyone was in the same boat, when the École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe, which now holds partial certification, must begin writing that report today to get back its full certification at some point in time?

École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, it is a known fact, and it is clarified in this letter as well in what is said, that every year each veterinary college has to submit information to the accrediting association. Every college has to do that every year, and for Saint-Hyacinthe and for any of the colleges, that does not have to be there until January 20, 2003.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the scandals plaguing the Liberals have left the government's reputation as competent managers in tatters.

This latest unbelievable twist has the Minister of Public Works forming a quick response team to look into the mismanagement in the sponsorship program. However, the minister tables only the Reader's Digest condensed version of the report, and this incredible quote is from the minister himself, as he says, he did not release the full report because it raises “questions, allegations, suspicion”. Well, duh.

The minister promised transparency. Why has he broken that promise by helping to cover up the real problems in his department?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, there is indeed no cover-up. The quick response team was put together to review every one of the files that was under question, about 721 of those files altogether. The team prepared a final report. That final report described the nature of the problems, such as overbilling, for example, that needed further investigation.

That final report was released on the 10th of October, together with a statement by me indicating that in every case these allegations were being followed up and the appropriate action would be taken, whether that was a reference to the police or a recovery action or a reference to the Department of Justice or whatever. Each one of them is being pursued.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is good at editing; he is not so good at auditing.

Let me read what the complete report actually says: there is “systemic and egregious overcharging”. There is an “extreme nature of...overbilling”. There is “no” final “report or post-mortem”. One lucky advertising executive charges 10 hours a day, 365 days a year, for a total of $625,000.

We have had boondoggles from the government. We had the gun fiasco last week. It goes on and on. Is not the real reason the minister does not like to talk about the full report is that the rot from the government goes from one end of that front bench to the other?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. What the hon. gentleman has referred to are the questions, the allegations, the suspicions, that have been raised by the internal review team. That review team recommended that these matters be referred to auditors for time verification audits to determine whether or not the allegations were founded. That is in fact the exact action that we have taken.

École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's attitude as far as the École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe is concerned is not only inexplicable, but also absolutely regrettable. Regardless of what the minister may think, a report of that magnitude is not going to get written overnight between January 19 and 20. The process needs to start today, if the American association's deadline is to be met.

Is the minister aware that, thanks to his behaviour in this matter, Quebec will no longer be able to turn out accredited French speaking veterinarians in the very near future? It will be all over. And he will be the one responsible.

École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, speaking of attitude, I can tell you the attitude of the caucus and the government has been one all along. Not only do we want to help the veterinarian college at Saint-Hyacinthe achieve its accreditation, we have been working on that all along and we intended to work on that because we know the importance of not only that veterinary college in Canada but all veterinary colleges in Canada.

École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, they have been doing a good job all right. They are supposed to have settled this problem two years ago, and Quebec has already done its part. It has already put in $41 million. Moreover, the minister has been misinformed on this issue, and continues to be misinformed.

How is he going to explain to the people of Saint-Hyacinthe and the rest of Quebec that, faced with an urgent situation and despite the $41 million Quebec has contributed as its share to save the accreditation of Saint-Hyacinthe, he is doing nothing and is allowing the veterinary school to die? How is he going to explain that?

École de médecine vétérinaire de Saint-Hyacinthe
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, all I can say is that this caucus and the members of the government are showing a lot more mature attitude on this than the hon. member has been recently.