House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Government Programs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members may know from the report I tabled with the budget, we are moving to a management accountability framework that is designed to hold deputies and senior executives accountable for results, not simply for processes. They will be judged according to their success on delivering on a range of indicators, including gender equity.

Millennium Partnership Program
Oral Question Period

December 13th, 2004 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been appalled by the Liberal government's sponsorship fund scandal. Now we are learning about the suspicious handling of the Liberals' millennium fund, including improper documentation and a potentially politicized approvals process.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Some $500,000 was earmarked for an internal audit of the millennium fund. Was the audit done? If so, where is it? If not, why not?

Millennium Partnership Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I answered this question last week. In fact, the millennium program worked extremely well. It was run by a former deputy prime minister of the House, the Right Hon. Herb Gray, who served Canadians extraordinarily well through almost four decades of public service. As a tribute to this fine Canadian, I reject the premise of the hon. member's question.

Millennium Partnership Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, without its promised internal audit or program review, there is no evidence that this program met its goals, no evidence that the money was properly spent, and no proof that this was anything more than another Liberal slush fund.

The Prime Minister has claimed that he will lead a more transparent and accountable government. Will the Deputy Prime Minister ask the Auditor General to look into the millennium fund or should we simply cut out this middle step and send it directly to Justice Gomery to sort out?

Millennium Partnership Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, an independent millennium bureau actually oversaw the work of the program. It was led by the Right Hon. Herb Gray. The program worked well, supporting community based celebrations across Canada.

In fact, the program does not need to be reviewed now as it is over because the last millennium is over. If the hon. member was not aware of that, I am glad to inform him of that.

Through the millennium program the Government of Canada was proud to help Canadians from coast to coast to coast celebrate the closure of the last millennium at the dawn of an exciting new one.

Millennium Partnership Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has an awful record of being scandal ridden. In the unity fund, there were $725 million unaccounted for. In the sponsorship scandal, there were $250 million unaccounted for. Now the millennium bureau has $150 million for which the accounting is absent, deliberately hidden by Gagliano and his Liberal gang.

Does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe that, as finance minister, he knew nothing at all about this hidden Liberal slush fund?

Millennium Partnership Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, Treasury Board conducted audits of the workings of the millennium partnership program. These audits noted in the reports that there was a very detailed and clear explanation of how its budget was spent and why. The millennium program was operated properly and helped Canadians from coast to coast celebrate the new millennium.

Millennium Partnership Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, the millennium fund operated much like the sponsorship fund. The Prime Minister claims that he knew nothing as the finance minister about existing slush funds that had no transparency or accountability to taxpayers: $725 million in the unity fund, $250 million in the sponsorship scandal, and now another $150 million in the millennium bureau. There is a disturbing pattern of hiding information and misleading Canadians.

Is the Prime Minister keeping Canadians in the dark on purpose or is he admitting his incompetence and inability to manage taxpayers' money?

Millennium Partnership Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the millennium program was actually operated by an independent bureau under the leadership of the Right Hon. Herb Gray. There were audits conducted and those audits found that the money was directed appropriately. The Government of Canada was proud to play a positive role in helping Canadians and Canadian community based organizations celebrate the new millennium from coast to coast to coast.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, a story recently appeared in The Vancouver Sun claiming that Canada's recidivism rate was nearly four times higher than the official figure issued by Correctional Service Canada. The story exposed the fact that if the number of convicted criminals who returned to a federal or provincial jail within two years of leaving federal custody was taken into account, the rate actually increases to 37%. It is clear to me that these statistics have been manipulated in order to make it appear that our prison system is reforming hardened criminals.

Will the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness admit that the statistics are flawed and it is time for a serious review?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I too reject the premise of this question. Our statistics are straightforward and report recidivism rates of those who leave federal institutions within a certain period of time.

We should be working more closely with our provincial colleagues and collecting statistics in relation to those who are released from provincial institutions as well as federal institutions. If the hon. member is suggesting that this would provide a more complete picture to Canadians about recidivism, I would of course agree with him.

Governor General
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Werner Schmidt Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

Canadians agree with the opposition. The government must practice proper spending control, including the Governor General. The $417,000 reduction to the Governor General's budget is not unreasonable. Only an office with the heart of Scrooge would cut a children's program.

Why would the Governor General threaten to cut children's programs at Rideau Hall on the eve of the Christmas season? Why not exercise fiscal responsibility instead of spite?

Governor General
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, it is passing strange that the member would raise that question with me when it was he and his party who cut the Governor General's budget. I stood up in the House and tried to warn them of the problems of making such a large cut in the last quarter of the year.

We have cut 10% with three months to go, some $400,000. When she cannot lay off staff, the Governor General has a great deal of difficulty maintaining programs. I warned them of that. Despite that fact, they went ahead with the cut. I hope the Governor General can find ways to accommodate this. Frankly, that is what happens when the House makes irresponsible decisions.

International Cooperation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the level of international aid accorded by the federal government is being criticized. In a recent report, OXFAM denounced the lack of effort by Canada, which spends the equivalent of 0.26% of its GDP on aid, while the UN target is 0.7%, or nearly three times what Canada is currently spending.

After missing the mark for over 30 years, how can the Prime Minister continue to maintain that Canada is a leader in international aid?

International Cooperation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Burlington
Ontario

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member very much for her question. She knows that the government has considerably increased the ODA budget.

We also want to improve the situation year after year. I hope that the Minister of Finance is listening, because I think there is a great need in the world.