House of Commons Hansard #204 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Immigration
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the new regulations announced by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration yesterday indicate that the government has no plans to clear the backlog of applicants waiting to get into Canada, other than to support retroactivity.

With no new resources for the department and a lack of personnel to complete application processes, the immigration system stands to bog down into both old and new application chaos.

The minister said his department can “walk and chew gum” at the same time with regard to processing the backlog of applicants while still taking in new ones. Just how big of a wad does the minister need to have before Canada chokes on it?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us recap the latest Shawinigan shakedown.

Two failing Shawinigan companies that did not qualify for taxpayers' money suddenly qualified after lobbying by the Prime Minister. The internal audit said the Prime Minister met with Les Confections St-Élie.

Will the Prime Minister explain to us why he thought it was necessary to meet with this company that the RCMP are still investigating?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, first let me explain to the hon. member that this is not new. This is old news. Let me recap for him the facts once again.

This project received support from the government of Quebec on January 24, 1997. The project was approved by my department on March 7, 1997. Our agreements terminated in March 1999.

The hon. member will know that I answered detailed questions on this file in the House during the spring of 2000. My department asked for a forensic audit to review this file on February 25, 2000. The file was referred to the RCMP in March of that year. It has come back saying there is nothing untoward in this file.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the reason it is news is because we received the audit on Monday.

The audit showed, interestingly enough, that the Prime Minister was to meet with this company accidentally. It was set up by one of his riding individuals.

Why was it necessary for the Prime Minister to meet accidentally with Les Confections St-Élie?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member should ask a number of his own colleagues who made direct representations to me in support of transitional jobs fund projects in their own ridings.

As the hon. member knows, members of parliament did have a role to play in that program. As he also knows, when we are talking about the transitional jobs fund, investments were made right across the country, the majority of them in opposition ridings.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was really interested in what the Prime Minister was doing in his riding.

Was the Prime Minister aware that this company was facing bankruptcy and was ineligible for government funding when he met with the owner? Yes or no?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, in answer to the hon. member's first question, what the Prime Minister was doing was acting as a responsible member of parliament.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the human resources department's own independent audit claimed that phoney companies may have been set up in the Prime Minister's riding just so they could defraud HR grant money. Yesterday the HR minister confirmed that the most egregious of these grants is still under RCMP investigation.

Could the Prime Minister confirm whether he or any of his staff have been questioned by the RCMP regarding this shady grant file?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let me emphasize something the hon. member has said himself. It was the department that commissioned the forensic audit. It was because of the information in the audit that the files were referred to the RCMP. The RCMP has done its work. It has concluded in two files that everything was in order and those files have been dropped. There is a third file that the RCMP is continuing to review and it will do so without my intervention.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the House will note that the Prime Minister did not answer that very serious question.

Independent auditors said:

There may be a web of interacting individuals and companies involved in the formation of companies created largely to fraudulently benefit from the HRDC job creation branch.

One of these grants is now under RCMP investigation.

Why will the Prime Minister not admit that by bending the rules for his friends he may have ended up aiding the defrauding of HR grant money?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the hon. member why he just does not pay attention to the facts. It was because of that precise indication in the forensic audit that the files were referred to the RCMP. Can he not accept the fact that the RCMP has reviewed the files and in two cases found nothing untoward and dropped the cases? There is one that is still under investigation. If he has questions about that file he should put them to the RCMP.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

June 12th, 2002 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has not solved anything with his ethics rules. In fact, while he said he wanted to restore public confidence, he completely missed the mark by going after his rival in the Liberal Party. Yet, it is clear that what is really undermining this government's credibility is the sponsorship scandals, which the Prime Minister is stubbornly refusing to go after.

If he is serious when he says that he wants to rebuild public confidence, why does the Prime Minister not do what he should have done two years ago when he was alerted to the problem and launch a public inquiry to get to the bottom of all of the abuses under the sponsorship program?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat for the seventh, eighth or tenth time. At the request of the opposition, the auditor general is examining all of these cases. A few of them have been referred to the police for investigation.

We responded to the request of the House of Commons that we ask the auditor general to examine these cases. She is doing so, and we await her recommendations.

In the meantime, the minister has suspended the program. He is in the process of changing the system. He will have an announcement, I hope, in the next few days.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government changes ministers more often that the system.

In attempting to neutralize the leadership hopefuls with his ethics rules, the Prime Minister has done nothing to keep scandals from recurring. He has done nothing to prevent his ministers from continuing to intervene on behalf of Liberal cronies.

How does the Prime Minister explain his refusal to order a public inquiry, when his new ethics rules do absolutely nothing to prevent the abuse committed under the sponsorship program from happening again in the future?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. gentleman that before the Prime Minister's announcements yesterday he already instructed the President of the Treasury Board to review the governance system and the management system with respect to all advertising, all sponsorships and all polling. That was before yesterday's announcement and it is proceeding under the President of the Treasury Board.