House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was artists.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

The problem is, Mr. Speaker, that when he was health minister, he was sitting on cabinet committees that had dealings with companies owned by the Irving family which is clearly contrary to section 20 of the conflict guidelines.

It is like déjà vu all over again. Remember the scandal when the government House leader lost his job as public works minister because he was caught with the keys to chateau Boulay. Given that he lost his job, what sort of disciplinary action will the Minister of Industry face?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained to the member, I was minister of health at the time the visit took place. When I became Minister of Industry I spoke to the ethics counsellor. I told him all about the visit. I received his advice with respect to avoiding conflict in those circumstances. I have followed his advice completely ever since.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

October 10th, 2003 / 11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader will say just about anything and is implying that it is the Bloc Quebecois that is interfering when we ask questions about these new transitional measures that are designed exclusively to get votes.

I would like the government House leader to tell us what he thinks about the comments of Dany Harvey, coordinator of Mouvement Action-Chômage Charlevoix, who said:

It is a band-aid solution until we have an equitable system for all workers.

What will the government House leader say to Alain Lagacé from Action-Chômage Kamouraska, who says we are still under—

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of State.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the hon. member that this is not a vote seeking scheme. The government has not decided to say, at least not in recent days, that this program will conclude on Saturday. What we have done is defer it by a year.

This is the first step and it does not stop there because the government, through an action by the Prime Minister, announced the creation of a task force that will provide us with measures and suggestions for the long term with respect to seasonal workers. Therefore, it—

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île-d'Orléans.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has to understand that what we are asking for, and what the unemployed are asking for, are not little piecemeal reforms or changes that are pushed through on the eve of an election in order to buy votes.

What we want to know is, when will there be a real overhaul of the employment insurance program that will take into account the needs of the unemployed?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that this indignation is justified by the gesture that was made yesterday.

In the interest of giving more time to adjust to the new system, the government has chosen to once again extend the deadline for this transition. That is the first step—the first after all the previous ones.

Then, a second announcement was made, namely the creation of this task force to make additional recommendations with respect to seasonal workers.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is no surprise that the ethics counsellor has already come to the rescue of the Minister of Industry. There is only one problem. His argument does not hold any water.

The minister took a free family trip, compliments of the Irvings. The conflict of interest code clearly states that ministers and parliamentary secretaries are not to accept gifts worth more than $200. He sat in cabinet while dealings with the Irvings were discussed, violating the code.

When the former public works minister breached these rules he was fired. Why is the industry minister not held to the same standard?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have tried to make it clear when the trip took place and the role I played in government at the time. When my role changed, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor. He took into account all the circumstances. He gave me advice that I took very seriously. I followed it completely to the letter, and I continue to do that.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister remained in cabinet while discussions with the Irvings were held around the cabinet table. His excuse simply does not hold any water. He broke the rules and accepted a gift of over $200. The former public works minister lost his job for doing the same kind of thing.

Why is the industry minister not being held to that very same standard?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I am doing is following the advice of the ethics counsellor who has given that advice in light of all the facts that I have disclosed. It is advice which he believes will keep me from conflict. I have followed that advice and intend to continue to do so.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the agreement on the $2 billion for health was entered into by the federal government, Quebec and the provinces in February, the Minister of Finance has constantly been playing a cat and mouse game. The public has had enough of this unjustified waffling. The minister knows full well that the surplus will exceed the $5 billion required.

While the federal government is raking in money at the rate of $1 million an hour, as Quebec's finance minister Yves Séguin pointed out, does the Minister of Finance not think he should commit now to providing Quebec and the provinces with the $2 billion promised?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first, the hon. member could perhaps stick to what the provinces were promised at the time and to the terms of the agreement. I should read them because they have been completely distorted, and he knows it. The agreement reads as follows, and I quote:

The Government of Canada committed to provide up to an additional $2.0 billion for health for the provinces and territories at the end of fiscal year 2003-04, if the Minister of Finance determines during the month of January 2004 that there will be a sufficient surplus above the normal Contingency Reserve to permit such an investment.

That is what was agreed, and the hon. member knows it full well.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is despicable is that the Minister of Finance is making it sound like there could be a deficit, when the only real danger of running a deficit comes from a dramatic increase in the spending of the federal bureaucracy, which has increased by more than $3 billion in the past year, at the expense of what really matters to the public, health for instance.