House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was missiles.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, as has been asked, the member should not use his position in the House to impugn the credibility or attack unfairly someone else.

The simple fact is that if the commission of inquiry wishes to interview Mr. Lague, we have made it very clear that it can interview him and it can interview any other Canadian who may have knowledge as to this affair. All it has to do is call him.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, we are hardly doing something that has not already been done by a senior Liberal in the Globe and Mail two years ago.

The Auditor General has in fact already questioned Mr. Lague about this. She asked about the poor record keeping at the Privy Council Office from 1998 to 2003.

Why has the Prime Minister re-hired staff that had intimate knowledge of the sponsorship scandal, just as he has reappointed cabinet ministers with obvious knowledge of what was going on and put them on the council? Will the Prime Minister admit he has made a mistake in this most recent hire?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Lague was an assistant secretary of cabinet. He also assisted in helping various cabinet committees. One of them was the communications committee. He was not involved in other matters, and he was not involved in the management of the sponsorship file.

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he wants to get down to real business. How can he expect us to take him seriously, when this very morning the Liberal majority on the Standing Committee on Finance refused to apply retroactivity, in the event that the equalization agreement is renewed several months past its expiry date, thereby depriving Quebec and the provinces of financial resources, which they need precisely in order to get down to real business?

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the equalization program is a very valuable federal program at about $10 billion a year. The largest beneficiary province in the country is the province of Quebec. That is a natural part of the cohesion that holds this nation together. I can assure the hon. member that when the renewal package is concluded, it will be retroactive to April 1 of this year.

Regional Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rick Laliberte Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, critical issues of economic development and infrastructure in the mid-Canada region require innovative partnerships. The Canada-Saskatchewan northern development agreement is certainly a partnership to build on.

Just this week the first projects for northern Saskatchewan were announced by the northern development board totalling $2.7 million. Can the minister explain how these projects will advance the economy of this region?

Regional Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul
Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question and for his continuing concern for this region.

Indeed the eight projects announced by my department under the Canada-Saskatchewan northern development agreement will increase for northern communities the number of jobs created, the number of skills development programs available, particularly in the hospitality and tourism sector, the number of accessible transportation routes for freight and people, as well as the number of aboriginal employment development counsellors. All of this will lead to a more sustainable economic picture in that part of this beautiful country.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, 200 seasonal workers on the North Shore demonstrated their anger yesterday by blocking highway 138. The protesting Sans-Chemise have been hit hard by the softwood lumber crisis and the seasonal nature of their employment, and no longer have access to employment insurance. They cannot understand why the government is doing nothing, when once again this year the EI fund has recorded a $3 billion surplus.

When will the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development understand that now is not the time to reduce contributions, but rather the time to improve the program?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, this is obviously a cause for concern, but the EI program is dedicated to finding solutions to such problems.

The other component of my department is working on finding long term solutions. This of course means that all local, regional and provincial resources must be focussed on seeking lasting solutions, because it is obvious that economic diversification must be encouraged, if only—

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Minister for Human Resources and Skills Development, but oral question period is now over.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Monte Kwinter, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services of Ontario.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

February 19th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, it being Thursday, I would like to ask the government House leader what the business is for today, tomorrow and of course into next week.

We also would like to make sure that the leader lets the House know in detail what legislation will be brought forward and if it is going to be in the same form as it was when it was first presented.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, we will continue with the debate on the opposition motion.

Tomorrow, we will consider report stage of Bill C-15, respecting international transfer of offenders, followed by a motion to refer to committee before second reading Bill C-19, respecting corrections.

On Monday, we will call report stage of Bill C-10, respecting cannabis. If this is completed, we will return to business not finished this week.

Tuesday and Thursday of next week shall be allotted days. The business on Wednesday will depend on progress that may be made in committee and I will communicate directly with my friends opposite when this becomes more clear.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Roberval on a point of order.