House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it may be a free vote but it is pretty expensive for taxpayers.

Remember the HRDC grants that had to be vetted by the local party officials or the Liberal Party fundraiser who was convicted of influencing peddling in a cheque-swapping scheme, and we cannot forget the current ongoing RCMP investigation into the Liberal Party of Canada for its political donation scheme. It is about priorities.

We have been asking the government to find some money for the widows of veterans for ages. Instead of spending $30 million for a Liberal slush fund, does the minister not realize that same money would top up widows' pensions for 12,000 widows in the country?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, no one has mentioned any amount at all. The initiative in question is a private member's initiative that we vote on by a free vote in the House.

Insofar as improving benefits to our veterans is concerned, I ask the hon. member to support the excellent bill proposed by my colleague, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Bill C-50, which hopefully will be before the House either today or the day after. We hope the Alliance will finally vote for something that will help veterans for a change.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, Health Canada uses the services of young teenagers, paid $10 per hour, to entrap corner stores that sell cigarettes to minors, in violation of the Tobacco Act. A Saint-Jovite school council objected to this shocking practice.

How can the Minister of Health endorse a Health Canada practice that encourages young teenagers to become stool pigeons and pays them to entrap small business owners by encouraging them to commit an offence under the Tobacco Act?

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have a rigorous monitoring and inspection regime in relation to our tobacco control legislation. In fact it has been a longstanding practice. It is nothing new.

We do employ young people to ensure that those who sell tobacco products in their stores are obeying the law. This is only done after consultation with the parents of these young people.

It is quite amazing that the hon. member should suggest that we should not effectively monitor the enforcement of our tobacco control laws.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, Denis Choinière, a Health Canada employee, stated, “In Quebec, there are six thousand compliance checks each year by adolescents enrolled in school or a youth centre”.

Will the minister agree that it is shameful, unacceptable and intolerable, and that she is encouraging young people to act as stool pigeons? That is not the role of Health Canada. That is our opinion.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the role of Health Canada is to monitor and ensure the enforcement of our tobacco control laws. We are not encouraging young people to take up tobacco smoking. In fact one will find out that the young people we employ and their parents are some of the most vigilant in terms of being opposed to tobacco smoke.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

September 23rd, 2003 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, critics gave the original HRDC boondoggle scandal a big thumb's down and now Canadian taxpayers are being subjected to a painful sequel. Despite the minister's assertions that the problems in her department are confined to a few bad apples, it looks like we have a rotten barrel on our hands.

Now the police probe into federal job training projects is sweeping southern Ontario, I would like the minister to confirm that the infectious wrongdoing in her department is way beyond her control.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what I will confirm is that the Auditor General herself, and himself before, came in and looked at our plan and said that we were on track. We continue to ensure it is implemented.

I would also remind the hon. member that the point in question is about individual wrongdoing and that the department has already taken swift and severe disciplinary action up to and including firing. He would not want to engage in continued speculation because I am sure he wants the police to complete its investigation and get all the facts.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would also like the minister to accept some measure of personal responsibility for the problems in her department.

Political pressure by her Liberal colleagues has been pointed out as a factor in this issue. I am curious as to why the minister has failed to disclose whether her department's approval process was manipulated as a result of political string pulling.

Why has the minister still made zero attempt to depoliticize her $800 million grants and contributions program after all this time?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I prefer the hon. member depoliticize his questions and listen to the facts here.

Again, this is an issue of individual wrongdoing. We have already acted up to and including firing. The hon. member can go on the website and look at all the grants and contributions made by the Department of Human Resources Development Canada in his riding and in the ridings of all members of the House.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the preamble to the Oceans Act says, and I quote, “Canada promotes the wide application of the precautionary approach to the conservation, management and exploitation of marine resources in order to protect these resources and preserve the marine environment”. Thus, the minister has all he requires in order to act at Belledune.

By refusing to act on this issue, is the minister not proving his unacceptable cowardice to all the people of the Gaspé?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York South—Weston
Ontario

Liberal

Alan Tonks Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the application that has been referred to in Belledune comes under the New Brunswick environmental assessment act.

There is no trigger under section 46, as was pointed out before, that would require any action by the federal department at this time.

We take this very seriously but if there is any further action required it will be reviewed as necessary.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is a double standard operating here. When such things happen in Quebec, it is not the same.

The minister demonstrated much more caution and concern in northern Quebec, exactly where the risks were nearly nil, than in the case of Belledune, where there are highly toxic materials with a much higher potential for posing a threat.

What other reason but fear could explain the government's current hesitations in bringing New Brunswick into line?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York South—Weston
Ontario

Liberal

Alan Tonks Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this is a case in federal-provincial relations where “You're damned when you do and damned when you don't”.

There was an exhaustive provincial hearing. There were 36 qualifications in the application and that is presently in the hands of the New Brunswick assessment authorities. If they cannot meet the provisions that have been required they will not get a licence to operate the facility. That is where it stands right now.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, back to the Royal LePage scandal.

André Ouellet, the president of Canada Post, called the public works minister to inform him of wrongdoing in the tendering of the $1 billion Royal LePage contract. Of course that would have nothing to do with the fact that Ouellet has close family connections to one of the losing bidders. It would have nothing to do with that.

The public works minister keeps bragging about how he has taken control of corruption in his department. Why did it take a call from the president of Canada Post to bring this scandal to light?