House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was municipalities.

Topics

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

October 2nd, 2003 / 2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, Saskatchewan bison, sheep and cervid farmers desperately need to sell their meat to international markets. The problem is that there is no federally licensed slaughter facility in Saskatchewan.

What is the agriculture minister going to do to help these Saskatchewan farmers market and export their products?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, we will certainly continue to emphasize and demonstrate to the purchasers of ruminant products around the world that we and our industry have been providing for the safety of ruminant products including those that the hon. member is referring to.

The provinces have provincially inspected plants. Those are privately owned. There are federally inspected plants. I do know that some of the owners of those plants are looking at changing the status of their plants to federally inspected plants. In so doing we will work with them to assist them in any way we can.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, border restrictions are a major problem, not just for selling their products but also for qualifying for compensation.

The compensation program demands that bison, sheep and cervid butchering happens at an approved facility, the meat is sold and that it is documented. With the glut of meat on the market right now producers cannot do this.

What is the agriculture minister going to do to ensure that these Saskatchewan producers are compensated?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not think that the hon. member is suggesting that slaughtered meat that is sold is not inspected and not slaughtered whether it be in provincially or federally inspected plants. I know she is not saying that.

However the business risk management programs are there. She could encourage those provinces that have not signed it to sign the agreement so that the money can be moved.

I will repeat it again. We have hundreds of millions of dollars to assist farmers as their incomes change because of circumstances like this. We would sincerely like to move that money to farmers.

Cinar
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, reliable information suggests that the RCMP has concluded its investigation in the CINAR case and that it has submitted a report to the Minister of Justice.

Since the government promised to report as soon as possible, I want to know whether the Minister of Justice received the RCMP report concerning CINAR and whether he intends to follow the recommendations in the report.

Cinar
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is referring to the answer I gave in the House a few days ago, I promised to say more the next day, which I did. He probably read Hansard , as we all do every day, and in light of his question, he knows that this is an RCMP case and that we will not be commenting on it.

Justice
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, a drunk 17 year old crashed his $70,000 BMW at 140 kilometres per hour while street racing, killing his passenger. He was convicted of criminal negligence causing death. The sentence was eight months open custody and four months of house arrest.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act police are hesitant to charge. Prosecutors are frustrated because judges' hands are tied for sentencing. These problems were predicted long before it became law. Why did the justice minister not listen to the front line justice personnel?

Justice
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, under the new justice system, judges have all the tools that they need in order that we have in place a good justice system. As we all know, it is possible as well to have an adult sentence.

As I said earlier there was a conference that just took place in the province of Quebec. The information that we have is that the implementation of the new criminal justice system is going smoothly. Indeed, it appears that we have in place quite a good piece of legislation with a nice philosophy as well for all Canadians.

Justice
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

It being Thursday, I think we have one additional question from the hon. member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I guess it is my duty today to ask the House leader what the business is for the rest of the day, the rest of this week and next week?

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I guess this is the supplementary question to the lead-off of her leader earlier this day. He wanted to know the business of the House as well.

I am pleased to inform the House that we will continue today debating the Alliance motion endorsing Dalton McGuinty's election platform, which we have been doing for the day. Later tonight Mr. McGuinty will be the premier.

Tomorrow we will resume third reading debate of Bill C-13, the reproductive technologies bill. When this bill is completed, we will then turn to Bill C-32, the Criminal Code amendments.

On Monday, should it be necessary, we would return to Bill C-13 followed by third reading of Bill C-36, the Archives and National Library bill.

We would then proceed to the report stage of Bill C-19, the first nations fiscal legislation. If necessary, I would then return to Bill C-32, the Criminal Code amendments, followed subsequently by Bill S-13, the census records bill.

I will be seeking also cooperation of colleagues across the way to further our discussion on Bill C-41, the technical corrections bill that we discussed informally earlier this day.

On Tuesday, we will debate the third reading of Bill C-17, the public safety bill.

Starting on Wednesday, I hope we will be in a position to deal with bills that have come out of committee, as well as dealing with any of the business just listed that has not been completed.

I would also like to indicate to the House that we have had conversations about the future of Bill C-38, concerning the use of marijuana. We also intend to put this bill before the House in the very near future.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with regard to funds spent by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for the fiscal year 2002-03 without authorization of Parliament.

The Auditor General's report on the officer of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which was tabled in this House this week, reports at section 110:

Each year, every organization in the federal government must submit its financial statements, which ultimately are tabled in Parliament as part of the Public Accounts of Canada. Organizations must prepare these statements in accordance with the government's stated accounting policies as contained in Receiver General directives and Treasury Board guidelines. The financial statements must present the organization's financial position at year end and details of its spending. Moreover, the statements must present the information completely, accurately, and fairly.

Section 111 of the report states:

We found that despite these requirements, the preparers of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner's financial statements for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2003--the Director, Financial Services, the Chief of Staff, and the Executive Director--knowingly omitted about $234,000 of accounts payable at year end. The false financial statements were submitted in June 2003.

Section 112 of the same report goes on to state:

The effect of the omission was to mislead Parliament by creating the impression that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner had spent only the amounts authorized by Parliament for the 2002-03 fiscal year...

Marleau and Montpetit state at page 697:

No tax may be imposed, or money spent, without the consent of Parliament.

Marleau and Montpetit also state at page 704:

--appropriations are always made with a time limit; the spending authorization provided under an appropriation act expires at the end of the fiscal year to which the Act applies.

Since the Financial Administration Act prohibits any payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund without the authority of Parliament, where did this money come from?

The money was spend in the fiscal year 2002-03 without the consent of Parliament.

The last sentence in section 112 of the Auditor General's report states:

The Director, Financial Services told us the chances had been slim that the strategy of deferring liabilities to the new fiscal year would be uncovered because the Public Accounts statements had not been audited in a long time. We found the discrepancy during our audit and brought the matter to the attention of the Interim Privacy Commissioner, who ensured that immediate corrective action was taken.

The Interim Privacy Commissioner has assured us that immediate corrective action has been taken and the expenditures in excess of the amounts authorized by Parliament are to be included in the Public Accounts of Canada for the year ending March 31, 2003, when they are tabled in this House at a later date.

The question is for the President of the Treasury Board who must rectify the problem that the main estimates and supplementary for the year 2002-03 which have already been approved contain no mention of the $234,000 omitted by the former privacy commissioner. Since we cannot have multi-year appropriations, the government must solve this procedural and constitutional problem of obtaining Parliament's approval for funds that were spend in 2002-03.

We just cannot accept gross mismanagement and falsification of financial information as a rationale for the government to spend money that has not been appropriated by Parliament.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I will endeavour of course to verify with officials of the Treasury Board to ensure that all the information provided to this House was factual and correct. Beyond that we do know there is a report of the Auditor General regarding how this office was administered during a certain tenure, and we know what she had to say about that and even the advice that she sought elsewhere in that regard.

Obviously on material of that nature, we would not be able to comment but we will nevertheless endeavour to verify to the extent that any information made available to the government was transmitted to this House with the greatest amount of reliability, which is our duty as a government.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

It is not clear from the point of order raised by the hon. member for St. Albert what steps, if any, he wishes the Chair to take in the circumstances, but I can say this to the House. I am sure that the President of the Treasury Board was thrilled to hear the hon. member's point. To ensure that this whole matter is brought to her attention, as I believe it has been as a result of the report of the Auditor General to which the hon. member for St. Albert referred in his remarks, the government House leader has indicated that the matter will be looked into.

If additional submissions to the House are required in respect of this matter, I am sure we will hear from the President of the Treasury Board in that regard. If not, and the matter is in fact looked after in some other way, I am sure we will hear about that as well.

I am certain the hon. member for St. Albert, with his usual diligence as chair of the public accounts committee, will ensure that this matter is investigated as thoroughly as necessary to ensure that there is no wrongdoing. The hon. member has power to correct these things and I know he will exercise those powers judiciously properly to ensure that the matter is remedied and rectified. He can count on the assistance, I am sure, of the government House leader, of the President of the Treasury Board and, of course, of the Speaker in dealing with the matter should it be necessary to return to the House for further assistance.

In the meantime we will let events take their course and watch them with greater interest now that we have had this point brought to the attention of the House. As I say, the President of the Treasury Board, thrilled as she is, will the matter with great care here on in, I am quite sure.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.