House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was system.

Topics

Hurricane Juan
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, such destruction has not been seen in my community since the Halifax explosion of 1917.

After hurricane Juan subsided, thousands of trees lay across roads and on people's roofs. Trains lay in water and boats sank or were blown on to public sidewalks. Our much loved public gardens in the heart of our city were ravaged.

Thousands of people and businesses have suffered massive losses but one thing is clear, like the past tragedies that have struck our region, communities have come together to tackle the challenge of rebuilding. Neighbours, military personnel, emergency crews, paramedic staff and municipal workers are working together to make as quick and as smooth a recovery as possible.

My colleagues for Sackville--Musquodoboit Valley--Eastern Shore and Dartmouth extend our sympathies to the families of those lost to the hurricane and pledge to continue working with all concerned parties in a spirit of co-operation and community to ensure that all Nova Scotians can return to their daily lives.

Richmond Hill
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce that the town of Richmond Hill in my riding of Oak Ridges was awarded a five-bloom rating out of five for its 2003 communities in bloom program with a special mention for floral display. This places Richmond Hill in first place at the national level among cities of its size.

The results were announced this past Saturday at the national awards ceremony hosted by the city of Stratford, which honoured competing municipalities from each province and territory across the country.

The Richmond Hill communities in bloom committee was commended by the judges for creating an organization that consolidates so many diverse groups in the town and believes that it is now an important operation in the vitality of the area.

Richmond Hill also received high standing in the 2001 competition, with a special mention for its efforts in the area of historic restoration.

These awards speak for themselves and I invite all to see Richmond Hill, a community that combines volunteerism, dedication and a sense of pride in all that it does.

Séminaire de Nicolet
Statements by Members

September 30th, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Guy Carignan Québec East, QC

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday, September 27, I had the great pleasure of taking part in the bicentenary celebrations of the Séminaire de Nicolet, my alma mater.

Seven hundred alumni attended the event to share memories, socialize and celebrate the 200 years that this, one of the oldest and noblest educational institutions in Quebec and Canada, has been making its influence felt.

Over those 200 years, generous and devoted educators have shared their knowledge and counsel with generations of young people who have developed into the elite of our society.

Over those 200 years, the Séminaire has held a vital place within society, acting as a beacon and a guide for its advancement.

Over those 200 years, it has promoted religion and art in all of its forms, as indicated by its motto, “ Religioni et bonis artibus ”. Equally, it has promoted and defended the French language and culture in Quebec and Canada.

All of this has been accomplished within an atmosphere of faith, devotion and love.

And it can all be very aptly summed up by the motto of my graduating year, 1963: “ Omnia vincit amor ”: Love conquers all.

Hurricane Juan
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Mr. Speaker, hurricane Juan smashed into the coast of Nova Scotia on Sunday evening, leaving behind a wake of damage and destruction.

Trees that survived the Halifax explosion were uprooted, leaving behind a jungle of debris. Record winds downed power lines and lifted roofs.

Unfortunately two lives were lost as a result of this vicious storm: a paramedic working in the line of duty and a gentleman from Enfield. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.

Communities and their emergency teams have responded quickly to begin the challenge of the massive clean-up. They have the assistance of 600 armed forces personnel. Residents are pulling together in their neighbourhoods to clear away hazards and cope with power outages.

Juan was the storm of a lifetime for many Nova Scotians but, in true Nova Scotian style, his aftermath can and will be overcome.

Natural Gas
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, the North American supply and demand of natural gas should be a real concern to consumers because of the potential for price spikes over the winter months. There is enough supply in the ground for the long term but what we need from the government is a commitment to a transparent and consistent approach to regulatory policies and principles, one that encourages investment and allows the industry to bring known reserves to market to meet the growing demand and provide price stability and avoid a short term supply crisis.

The construction of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline is crucial for the supply of natural gas in this country. I encourage the government to do whatever it takes to move this project forward.

The Canadian Gas Association is recommending a national round table for the natural gas industry which would help maximize the potential of this strategic resource. I would encourage the government to assist the industry with the creation of this round table and participate where appropriate.

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today the Auditor General released her report on the former Privacy Commissioner.

The most disturbing finding about Mr. Radwanski is his treatment of employees. Employees apparently worked in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. There was a reign of terror. They were afraid to come forward and there was little or no protection for staff for trying to correct wrongdoing.

My question for the Prime Minister is simple. Does this not illustrate better than we ever could on this side why the Canadian Alliance and many others are demanding whistle-blower protection legislation and is it not about time this was introduced in the federal public service?

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, we are following a step-by-step approach to protect whistleblowers who signal wrongdoing in the public service.

Two years ago, a policy was issued, and a Public Service Integrity Officer was appointed and asked to table a report to Parliament, which he did 15 days ago.

We welcome the recommendations in this report, and a working group will issue its final recommendations in January 2004 on this matter. Parliamentarians will have the opportunity to provide government with their own recommendations.

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, while the government takes year after year to study this, employees are being abused. This should end right now and the government should be bringing in whistle-blower protection.

The Privacy Commissioner is just one example of an office that is appointed without the scrutiny of Parliament.

While in office, Mr. Radwanski apparently exhibited a blatant disregard for the rules and the law, a blatant disregard for employees, for taxpayers and for the reputation of Parliament itself.

In the future, will the government at least listen to the Auditor General and commit to a full parliamentary review for all appointees?

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the case of appointees of the House of Commons like that, we seek the approval of the opposition parties. In this case, like the others, we wrote to all the leaders. There was some comment and we had input from members of Parliament who approved that recommendation. He was questioned by the senators at length. There was a vote and it was approved 49 to 7. He is an officer of the House of Commons and the committee of the House of Commons has done its job on this file.

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we should not just be asked for a few comments in the elected House.There should be a full parliamentary review of the actual appointees.

Mr. Speaker, today, the Auditor General's report noted, “a major breakdown of controls over financial management and the abuse of the public treasury. Appointments are not subject to review, there are few controls on spending and no one is accountable to the taxpayers or Parliament”.

What disciplinary measures is the government planning to take to prevent similar abuses in the future?

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons has adopted a new provision, Standing Order 111(1), which currently requires appointees or candidates for an appointment such as that to appear.

This is not a government position, but rather a position answerable to the House of Commons, and the candidate is selected with the approval of the House of Commons. A parliamentary committee can review the work done by the appointee, which is exactly what happened in this instance. The committee tabled its report and the Auditor General tabled her report yesterday, pursuant to the Standing Orders. The entire House has a role to perform, and it performed it satisfactorily in this instance.

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the report of the Auditor General today reaffirmed that a culture of corruption and entitlement pervades the highest levels of government. The report points out that the Treasury Board failed Canadians by not taking action when signs were obvious that there were huge problems within the Privacy Commissioner's office.

Let me ask the President of the Treasury Board, will she act now to ensure that the Treasury Board rules are followed, or is she going to let this happen again?

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I think that the member for St. Albert should stop saying there is corruption in all government and follow the advice of the Auditor General. Let me quote what she has said:

While the behaviour of the former Privacy Commissioner and some executives was clearly unacceptable in this case, it is by no means the norm. Using this case to tarnish the reputation of the staff of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the entire federal public service would be unfair--

That is what he is doing.

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams St. Albert, AB

I pointed out yesterday, Mr. Speaker, how widespread the problem is. Yesterday the Public Service Commission reported in its audit of George Radwanski's office that it was the worst case of mismanagement that it had ever seen, but it knew two years ago about the problems and did absolutely nothing. Talk about ethical malaise.

My question for the minister responsible for the Public Service Commission is, whose head is going to roll over there because staff intimidation and a reign of terror should have been stopped by the Public Service Commission long ago?

Former Privacy Commissioner
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, why does the member for St. Albert not know that the Public Service Commission does not report to me? The Public Service Commission reports to parliamentarians. I think that parliamentarians through the government operations committee play a very important role here. We should thank all the members of that committee who have raised issues. This is an issue for all parliamentarians.