House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was new.

Topics

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the Native Women's Association of Canada launched its national campaign “Sisters in Spirit” to raise awareness and to demand action about the tragedy of over 500 aboriginal women who are missing or murdered in Canada.

The exploitation, murder and violence against aboriginal women, sex trade workers, and poor women is increasing at an alarming rate, but the government has failed to act. The 61 missing women in Vancouver's downtown east side, the closure of women's centres, and deepening poverty and violence all point to an ongoing failure of public policy.

The government shows its real intent in the federal budget. So what is it to be, the rhetoric of the debt or the real and desperate need of aboriginal women?

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21, is a time to express our solidarity for this campaign. Federal New Democrats will not allow these sisters to be forgotten. We will demand accountability from this government and its miserable record that has hurt so many women in Canada.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

March 22nd, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to the answer from the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development given on March 9, regarding employment insurance.

The minister's answer to the question by my colleague, the member for Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, clearly shows the incredible lack of interest by the Liberal government in the fate of seasonal workers in Haute-Côte-Nord and Charlevoix.

These citizens have had more than enough. They have gone so far as to block traffic on route 138 in order to be heard and show the federal government just how exasperated they are. Yet, these workers are only asking for what they are owed: the $45 billion that was stolen from the employment insurance fund.

These workers have to cope with a gap every spring and the minister keeps saying that there are already training funds to help them. Nonetheless, does he not see that these funds do not meet their needs?

The minister has to open his eyes once and for all. He has to see that the current employment insurance system does not correspond in any way to the reality of seasonal workers.

In conclusion, I invite the minister to meet with these unemployed people and explain his reasons for not giving them what they are owed.

Harrison McCain
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great New Brunswicker and a great Canadian businessman, Harrison McCain, who passed away last week at the age of 76.

He was one of four brothers who grew up in Florenceville, New Brunswick. In 1956, they started what today is an international food processing enterprise that employs more than 18,000 people on four continents. Its annual sales exceed $6 billion. McCain's French Fries is a household word around the world.

Today, the small rural community of Florenceville, on the Saint John River, and the headquarters of his company, McCain Foods, mourns his passing.

On behalf of all members in the House, I extend my deepest sympathy to his entire family and to the community of Florenceville. Harrison McCain's success shows to all Canadians the product of hard work, vision and determination.

The Prime Minister
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the first 100 days of office of the new Prime Minister have proved that everything old is new again. Despite spending 10 years preparing for the role and despite spending 10 years organizing to oust Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister's agenda for the first 100 days is reduced, reused and recycled.

All 23 items of legislation being debated in the House are bills that were authored and championed by his predecessor, Jean Chrétien.

The Prime Minister promised to address the democratic deficit, yet he delayed the opening of Parliament by three weeks and then only six days later his government invoked closure to cut off debate in the House.

The real legacy of this Prime Minister is that for each day the Prime Minister has sat at his desk, $1 million went missing from the taxpayer and into the Liberal ad scam coffers.

With the election of the new Conservative leader, it is clear that we are in the twilight of this tired, old, and scandal ridden government. The first 100 days of the Prime Minister could very well turn out to be the first of the last for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Bill C-250
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Leader of the Opposition on his historic victory this past weekend. He has proven that he has the support of those within the Conservative Party of Canada. Now it will be his challenge to reach out and secure the support of all Canadians. Many social conservatives have trusted his leadership and hope he will continue to provide alternative social policy.

I would also like to address the current situation regarding Bill C-250. There is a movement in the Senate to delay the passage of this contentious bill. I would urge that other place to fulfill its role and provide real sober thought on this bill.

I ask the government to allow Canadians to have their voices heard on this issue. Many Canadians feel that the bill will seriously infringe upon the rights of freedom of speech and religion. The government should cancel the passage of this bill until after an election, allowing Canadians to consider this issue as they cast their votes.

Homelessness
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been to the temporary Out of the Cold winter shelter many times in my riding and have seen the challenges faced by those who find themselves homeless.

In my riding, the Cambridge Shelter Corporation and the Cambridge Kiwanis Village Non-Profit Housing Corporation have come together to address this challenge by building and operating The Bridges. This permanent shelter facility, with transitional housing units and a drop-in centre, needs the support of the entire community to succeed.

I call upon the caring people and businesses in my riding of Cambridge to demonstrate their support by donating to the “Who Cares?” campaign. Let us all work together to make a difference in Cambridge by donating to the “Who Cares?” campaign.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I have to ask if anything happened while I was away. Two years ago my first questions as Leader of the Opposition were on Liberal waste, mismanagement and corruption. Two years later, we have no answers. Two years later, we have more Liberal waste, mismanagement and corruption.

My question is simple and it is for the Prime Minister. How long until Canadians get answers to who is responsible and the truth behind this Liberal sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, on behalf of the government, let me congratulate the hon. member for his ascension to the leadership of his party and welcome him back as Leader of the Opposition. May he have a long and compelling career in that role.

As the hon. gentleman will know, beginning on December 12 the Prime Minister has taken a series of very decisive actions, beginning with the total cancellation of the sponsorship program, the expedition of the work of the public accounts committee, the appointment of a public inquiry, and a number of other steps in order to ensure that, indeed, Canadians get the answers they deserve.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the member can talk about decisive steps, but Canadians are entitled to the truth. They do not have the truth today and they want the truth.

The Prime Minister was clear. He said that there had to be political direction. Mr. Gagliano said last week that it was not him. Who was it? Was it the former finance minister? Was it the former vice-chair of the Treasury Board? Was it the former senior political minister from Quebec? All are innocent, yet the money is gone.

Where in the government did the political direction come from?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been very clear to ensure that all answers are in fact provided in the proper way and after thorough investigation.

In addition to the steps that I announced earlier, the Prime Minister has also appointed a special counsel for the recovery of money. He has moved to discipline the behaviour of crown corporations. He has announced a new system to select crown corporation directors, chairs and chief executive officers. He has implemented advertising reform measures to ensure transparency in competition and we have in fact cut the budget for advertising.

The Prime Minister is acting on all fronts.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we do not want process. We want answers. I will ask again.

The Prime Minister made it very clear, stating “There had to be political direction”. Mr. Gagliano says it did not come from him. All the Liberals are saying “Not me, not me”.

Who will be held responsible, and when will Canadians find this out?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that both process and substance are important. This government has put in place the steps through a very detailed series of investigative measures that will make sure that first of all, process is followed, and second and equally important, that Canadians receive all of the answers that they are anxious to have.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, this weekend the Minister of Heritage described the sponsorship scandal as nothing but an opposition attempt to sully the reputation of the government. This is absolutely false. Her words notwithstanding, the scandal is a real problem and one on which Canadians expect some real answers before the election.

Does the Prime Minister also believe that the scandal does not exist?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the quotation to which the hon. gentleman refers, but I want to assure him that this government is taking this matter very seriously. That is obvious by the actions we have already taken, the most elaborate and detailed investigation ever conducted.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, in a recent illegal Liberal fundraising letter, the Prime Minister referred to the ad scandal as an unfortunate set of circumstances. It is reminiscent of the classic Chrétien “maybe a few million were stolen”.

For the average Canadians filling out their income tax forms next month, this is a huge problem. The minister of heritage's and the Prime Minister's flim-flam attempts to say that this is not a big deal shows contempt for Canadians' concerns and cash.

Will the Prime Minister unequivocally commit to getting to the bottom of the ad scandal before an election call?