House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We want to have a little order in the House. We are listening to questions and answers and while I am sure the Minister of the Environment appreciates all the assistance from the other side, we do not need this much noise if we are to hear the answers and the questions.

The Chair must be able to hear in case somebody says something out of order. It could happen. So we do not want to have this kind of disruption.

The hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre has the floor.

Student Loans
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on another topic, but a question of importance to many Canadians. My question is for the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

The Speech from the Throne has indicated that a review will be taking place of the Canada student loans program. The Prime Minister has appointed a parliamentary secretary responsible for the student loans program.

Would minister to tell the House if the review will extend to reducing the existing debt load for the many thousands of students who are currently heavily indebted--

Student Loans
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Student Loans
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to answer such a question. The member opposite has been very much engaged in promoting the issues of students and post-secondary education.

I am delighted to address the fact that, yes, we are addressing that concern specifically. My parliamentary secretary responsible has been travelling the country to look at the ways in which we can engage to reduce the debt through interest relief and others.

However, I want to point out to the House that the Government of Canada spends in excess of $1.6 billion a year in student loans to help out 350,000 students--

Student Loans
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Homelessness
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister claimed that he did not cut affordable housing when he was finance minister. In actual fact he did not just cut affordable housing, he abolished the whole program.

Now we are living the consequences of 250,000 people who are homeless in Canada while $10 billion were shovelled out the back door in tax cuts.

Does the Prime Minister really expect anyone to believe that he has suddenly found his heart when what he is really trying to do is rewrite history because he knows that his decisions are the cause that put people on the streets homeless in the first place? It is his responsibility.

Homelessness
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott Minister of State (Infrastructure)

Mr. Speaker, the throne speech demonstrates quite clearly our commitment to affordable housing in Canada. That is what the Prime Minister spoke of yesterday. We are making that plan now, and we are going to continue to invest in affordable housing in the country.

Homelessness
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, what commitment? The fact is the Liberals abolished the program in 1995. In fact they have only spent 7% of what had actually been committed in previous budgets. Ontario alone is still waiting for 9,800 units.

Why should anyone believe this Prime Minister or this government when they cannot even deliver the housing to which they have committed? How many poor people have to die on the street before this housing is delivered?

Homelessness
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott Minister of State (Infrastructure)

Mr. Speaker, we announced a billion dollars. We have had agreements of $680 million, there is more to come, and we will see her next week.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

February 24th, 2004 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said that only a few Liberal ministers knew enough about the sponsorship slush fund to get hooked on the free flow of cash.

The environment minister clearly knew how to get his fix. The President of the Privy Council, the ministers of health, industry and finance all have the sponsorship monkey on their backs. His whole front bench is loaded with slush fund junkies addicted to doling out these illicit funds.

How does the Prime Minister really expect us to believe that the environment minister was the only one with access to these funds?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the House might be interested in knowing that in the riding of Edmonton—Strathcona, in the year 2003-04, les Jeux francophones de l'Alberta received $5,000. That is in the hon. member's riding.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

The difference is, Mr. Speaker, I had nothing--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We have to have some order. The hon. member for Edmonton--Strathcona has a supplementary question and everyone is going to want to hear it.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about over $100 million for Liberal friends and that is something this side of the House could have nothing to do with when it came to cabinet ministers knowing how to access the money.

The Minister of the Environment was in on the sponsorship slush fund. His staff was in on it. His Liberal friends were in on it.

The Prime Minister has said that anybody who knew about this should do the right thing and resign. The Minister of the Environment is defying the Prime Minister by not resigning. Will the Prime Minister do what is necessary and fire that minister?