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

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as the finance minister has mentioned, we are in the middle of a series of processes unparalleled, I think, in the modern history of this country in terms of getting to the bottom of the circumstances around the sponsorship grants.

If any members opposite have any evidence that money that was said to be paid was not paid, then they should bring it forward through one of the processes and, particularly if they are alleging criminal activity, to the RCMP's attention. That is where these processes should be carried forward, not through wild accusations in the House.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, as for wild accusations, I have proof and I would like to table it. I would like the minister to look at it. The minister should pick up his own chart. It says for the Downtown Truro Partnership, $5,000, and here is a cheque stub for $3,625. Where did the money go? Why did he keep this money from Truro?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the process which the hon. member opposite was deriding earlier is the very reason why we have this in place: so this sort of information can be brought forward. Let us see then what went to commissions, what went to promotional activities, and what was misappropriated, if possible. That will go to the police. We look forward to the hon. member bringing the information forward so that we can get to the bottom of these issues together.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

March 22nd, 2004 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just announced $680 million for cattle farmers, but this assistance excludes cull cows, which is a problem mainly in Quebec.

How can the government announce such substantial assistance without any help for Quebec farmers faced with the cull problem?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Sydney—Victoria
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mark Eyking Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. The cull cow program is in process and taking place now. We are getting all the inventory of all the animals across this country and we are going to start rolling out the cheques. I also would like to tell the hon. member that this $1 billion program we announced today will also have money in it for dairy farmers.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary just talked about a $1 billion program, but on television the sum announced was $680 million. It would be nice to get the facts straight.

Quebec's farmers have already denounced the help that is currently available, since they can only get compensation for two-thirds of the animals they slaughter.

How does the government explain to farmers that it did not deign to improve assistance for cull, when these farmers are in an extremely difficult situation? Is this government trying to say that Quebec farmers do not count?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Sydney—Victoria
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mark Eyking Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food)

Mr. Speaker, Quebec farmers do count. They produce the most dairy products in this country. We are going to be there to help them with the cull cow program. We are going to be there for them. This $680 million is for beef producers only. There is $1 billion altogether but it is for other farmers besides dairy and beef.

Immigration and Refugee Board
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week a whopping 278 charges were laid in the case of an Immigration and Refugee Board judge who put entry to Canada up for sale as part of an organized crime bribery scheme. The judge was a Liberal patronage appointee with close ties to a Liberal cabinet minister.

Just one day before charges were laid, the Liberals announced cosmetic changes to the IRB appointment process, yet this IRB corruption was well known for more than a year. Was last week's announcement not just a cynical Liberal attempt at damage control?

Immigration and Refugee Board
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. Clearly since 1989 when the IRB was set up, it has been used by both Conservatives and Liberals as a point for patronage. That ended on March 16. I announced a variety of changes to the system. The system will be merit based. I look forward to any suggestions the member has as to how we can even strengthen that process.

Immigration and Refugee Board
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I can assure Canadians that the next Conservative government is going to clean up this patronage mess.

Last week's announcement was little more than the Liberals' 1995 system recycled. The minister and people appointed by the minister will still run the show. Parliament is still sidelined, except to review the minister's choice for head of the IRB, something the government can do anyway. The government has just reappointed eight IRB judges under the old rules.

If the new changes are really so good, why were they not brought in before Liberal patronage crimes came home to roost?

Immigration and Refugee Board
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, for the information of the hon. member, we started using what they call an enhanced skills set process some time ago and I have been looking forward to making this announcement for at least the last two months.

Multiculturalism
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning, Mr. Doudou Diène, the United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, reported on his visits over the past two years to Canada, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

My question is for Canada's minister of multiculturalism. How is this government addressing the issues on Canada that were raised by the special rapporteur?

Multiculturalism
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, Canada welcomes the report of the special rapporteur and we will give special consideration to its recommendations and its conclusions.

Many of the issues that the special rapporteur raised are not unknown to us and are no surprise to us, because we know that we have work to do in Canadian society through the multiculturalism program, which is designed to address those issues. Combatting racism remains a priority of the government and of all Canadians. Therefore, my top priority is an action plan against racism.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, just like Jean Chrétien, the present temporary Prime Minister is failing to provide adequate funding to sustain our military. In December 2003 at DND headquarters, he said, and I quote, “If you send troops abroad you should send them with the best equipment”.

Yet Canada's army, navy and air force are facing a funding shortfall of up to half a billion dollars just to meet basic day to day requirements. How much money can our hard-pressed, overextended military expect in tomorrow's budget?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the budget, so I cannot answer the hon. member's question, but I can say to him very clearly that the throne speech indicated we would provide the training and equipment necessary for the Canadian Forces.

We are also in the process of doing an international policy review which covers defence and which will provide us with a strategic plan to move forward. I am looking forward to the results of that strategic plan because I think it is going to be vital for our investment plan for the forces in the future. Having said that, I will say as well it is important to keep in mind that we are proceeding on a number of important projects.