House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday the hon. member for Portneuf, who was accompanying the Liberal candidate in the new riding of Charlevoix—Montmorency, declared, as reported in the March 22 edition of Le Soleil , that “the greater Quebec City region wants us to take action before the election” regarding the situation of unemployed workers who are suffering because of the unjust employment insurance program established by the Liberal government.

We must wait no longer. We must help the seasonally unemployed workers of the Charlevoix and Haute-Côte-Nord region who, for the most part, are receiving no benefits at this time and who are having problems putting food on the table. While the federal government keeps piling up surpluses, workers in the seasonal industries are going hungry.

For a long time, the Bloc Quebecois has been proposing the creation of an independent employment insurance fund. Nevertheless, the Liberal government is pretending to seek solutions that we have already found.

Let the government do its work rather than mocking the workers by refusing to meet with them to settle their problems once and for all. I hope that the Liberals will unanimously support the motion by the hon. member for Charlevoix that would give seasonal workers a special status, no matter which economic region they live in.

Greek Independence Day
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, March 25, marks Greek Independence Day. It is a day when Canadians of Hellenic descent will be celebrating the anniversary of the liberation of their former homeland from 400 years of occupation under the Ottoman Empire.

In 1821 the Hellenes revolted against their oppressors and embarked on their successful war of independence. On this day Hellenes will commemorate a dark period in Greek history when Hellenes lived under the repressive rule of the Ottoman Empire.

On this day also, Hellenes will be celebrating and paying tribute to the courageous spirits of their ancestors who stood up against their oppressors and successfully fought in order to restore the democracy and freedom that was lost for so many years.

As Greek Independence Day is observed today, Greeks everywhere are especially proud as they look forward to celebrating the return of the Olympics to their homeland in Athens. They will once again be given the opportunity to host this great event that brings together all nations in the spirit of peace and democracy.

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Greek]

Adverse Drug Reactions
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, medication errors continue to claim the lives of Canadians.

Last week it was revealed that two dialysis patients lost their lives when they were given the wrong IV solution, potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. At least nine Canadians have been killed this same way in the last four years. Hospitals are taking steps to prevent this from happening again, but how many more lives have to be lost before Health Canada fixes this problem?

Up to 10,000 Canadians die each year due to adverse drug reactions. Less than 10% of those events are actually reported.

Last month I tabled a motion again calling for the government to consider mandatory reporting of all serious adverse drug reactions. The House approved my motion, but the government has still not moved toward mandatory reporting. Does a vote in this House not actually mean anything?

Men, women and children are dying because of medication errors. We can and we must do better. The problem will only get worse unless we act now.

Climate Change
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came into force on March 21, 1994. A decade after its adoption 188 governments, including Canada, are now parties to the convention and it is approaching universal membership.

The convention and the Kyoto protocol are important steps forward in the global effort to address climate change as laid out by the convention's ultimate objective, which is to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to a level that prevents man-made interference with the climate system.

The convention's objective provides us with a long term beacon to follow as we make the significant emission reductions and technological and behavioural changes necessary to properly address climate change.

We understand that we must plan to meet the Kyoto commitment in a way that produces long term and enduring results. That decision is a decision that all Canadians--

Climate Change
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saskatoon--Rosetown--Biggar.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General released her report which highlighted a number of significant problems in Canada's employment insurance program.

The program has a $43.8 billion surplus, a surplus created through the overcharging of workers. Workers who need to access the program get a busy signal 65% of the time. Those applying online have their forms filled out manually by bureaucrats after they apply.

Does the government care? No, the Liberals do not. If they did, I would not have been in committee this morning looking at empty seats on the government side before the meeting was cancelled by the Chair.

The committee has two parliamentary secretaries sitting on it. Where is the ministerial accountability? Shame on the Liberals for not showing up to discuss such serious issues.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

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

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in his 1995 budget the Prime Minister claimed he was going to eliminate waste and abuse. At the same time, he was converting unity moneys to a private fund dispensed on the signature of the Prime Minister.

Why did the Prime Minister allow this secret Liberal slush fund to exist under his watch?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the unity fund began in 1992. It was started under the previous Conservative government.

At the same time, the 1995 budget was the budget that ultimately led to the elimination of the Tory deficit.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Prime Minister to be clear on this because PCO officials have apparently confirmed the creation of this fund, disbursed on the signature of the Prime Minister in 1996, not in 1992, as the Prime Minister implied yesterday and today.

Can the Prime Minister be clear? Is he saying Mr. Mulroney also dispensed secret funds on his own signature when he was Prime Minister?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing secret. All of these moneys were expensed in the public accounts and in fact reserves were set up. Reserves were set up under the Tories and Liberal government.

The problem is that the opposition members are so full of innuendo and slander that they fail to understand what is a normal accounting procedure used by the Conservatives and the Liberals.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that for a fund we all know about, we have no lists of how the moneys were actually spent.

The PCO mandate was changed in 1996. Since then, nearly half a billion dollars have apparently been authorized on the authority of the Prime Minister.

Why did it take the Prime Minister nearly 10 years to eliminate this practice?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I have argued many times in the House that the opposition would profit from spending a little more time on the estimates. All of these funds are identified in the estimates. All the disbursements are identified in the public accounts.

If the opposition members would like me to walk them through the public accounts and show them where to find it, I would be more than willing to do it.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, this morning in the public accounts committee former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano had his credibility and testimony blown out of the water by a former projects manager, Huguette Tremblay, assistant to Chuck Guité at public works.

Gagliano's documentation is clearly even more important now with this powerful testimony that leaves his credibility in tatters.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will he explain why Liberal members of the committee are blocking attempts to examine all the pertinent documents that will lead us to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the committee is requesting information. Whatever is requested that is relevant to chapters 3, 4 and 5 of the Auditor General's Report will be provided.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that is not happening.

Madam Tremblay testified that Chuck Guité met weekly with Mr. Gagliano during his tenure as minister. She testified that contracts were rarely in writing; there was a lack of control; things were deliberately sloppy; and MPs were involved in the decision making process, including the current minister of the Privy Council.

What other current ministers were involved in the decision making of the sponsorship scandal and what did that minister tell this Prime Minister about his meeting with Gagliano?