House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

Oil Industry
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians believe that our commercial oil industry was born in Alberta.

Next Saturday at the Oil Museum of Canada in the village of Oil Springs, the site of Canada's first commercial oil well, author Patricia McGee will launch her new book entitled, The Story of Fairbank Oil, a chronicle of the Ontario birth of Canadian and world production of crude oil.

The oil business was born in Lambton County in southwestern Ontario in the 1850s. The technology and manpower of that time were exported to a country then called Persia where Lambton County residents opened these oil fields.

Ms. McGee's book traces the story of the Fairbank family which for 124 consecutive years has sold Lambton County crude to Imperial Oil, a company also founded in Lambton County.

One hundred and thirty-nine years after its founding, the Van Tuyl and Fairbank hardware store in Petrolia is poised to become a national historic site, a fitting recognition of the importance of the Fairbank family in the world oil--

Oil Industry
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lethbridge.

Health
Statements By Members

February 25th, 2004 / 2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, today the Canadian Medical Association launched its national health access campaign, calling on governments to act now to ensure Canadians have timely access to quality health care.

CMA president, Dr. Sunil Patel, noted that one of the easiest ways for the federal government to relieve the pressure on an overstretched system would be to fully reimburse or zero-rate the GST now paid for health care services. Correcting this historic oversight was the reason I presented a private member's bill addressing this issue.

Zero-rating health care services will help hospitals and other health care institutions groaning under the weight of ever increasing capital costs. Currently, the GST paid by hospitals alone would fund the purchase of some 25 MRI machines. Zero-rating all health care services would result in an infusion of $210 million per year, reducing waiting times for needed care.

The CMA points out that this is in keeping with the recent announcement regarding the GST and the new deal for cities. Now is the time for a new deal for health.

Black History Month
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today in honour of Black History Month.

This is a time to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous nation we know today.

It is also an opportunity for the majority of Canadians to learn about the experiences of black Canadians in our society and the vital role this community has played throughout our shared history.

The Brampton library celebrates Black History Month with special displays at all four library branches. As well, local students will also take part in a variety of Black History Month activities. For instance, secondary students from across the region of Peel will gather at the Peel board's HJA Brown Education Centre today to take part in overcoming obstacles, a forum celebrating Black History Month.

I therefore invite all my colleagues in the House to join me in recognizing the black community's contributions to Canadian society.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal sponsorship mess did not become a government program until December 2002, when Liberals were caught by the Auditor General. Before that time it was a secret Liberal slush fund.

Why was this fund used to benefit Liberal friends and ad companies?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's review that commenced in March 2002 was referred to her by the government to look into the program.

I would like to quote from a letter from the member of Parliament for Red Deer on December 12, 2001, to the minister at the time, Mr. Gagliano, asking for support for a program in his riding at that time. Six months before the member said there was no program, he wrote to the minister.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister who makes this claim, let me quote the Privy Council Secretary who said this under oath. Kathy O'Hara said, “The sponsorship program actually wasn't a program until December 2002”. That is her quote, the PCO Secretary.

How many cabinet ministers accessed this fund before December 2002?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we know that many MPs in the House, from all parties, have referred constituents to this program. Whether it was a formal program, whether it was an informal program, it was operating and representations were made to it by members of Parliament. We also know that many valid important festivals were funded through this program in many of our ridings.

The problem is in the middle, in the passage of the funds and the taking of commissions. It is not that any member of Parliament might make representations on the part of a constituent--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, here is the way the slush fund worked. No application was necessary. Only Liberal friends need to apply and no commission payable, it has already been skimmed.

Do members know what they tried to do? They put $5,000 into my own riding. The difference is I did not get a kickback. Why did Liberals get kickbacks?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the government, through the Prime Minister, in December of last year cancelled the sponsorship program. The first act of the former minister of public works in May 2000 was to cancel the program, put a moratorium on it, until the commission problem was fixed.

We have valid festivals often being funded. We have valid representations by members of Parliament from all parties. We had a problem in the middle and that is why we have a public inquiry.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about the merit of those who received the money. We are talking about the process of how they got it. It was corrupted.

The government's line that this slush fund--

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough has the floor. We have to be able to hear the question. How can the minister respond if he cannot hear the question?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, my reference is the government decides who gets the money. The Liberals line that the slush fund was available to all Canadians is nonsense, as is the assertion that it followed a normal practice. When Jamie Kelley applied for his $50,000 grant the program did not exist, according to government officials.

Would the Prime Minister then tell us how $50,000 made it into the hands of a supporter of the Liberal Party from a program that did not exist and how--