House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are outraged that desperate Liberals have turned their guns on the Auditor General.

A Liberal member on the public accounts committee makes repeated efforts to distort the AG's concerns about the $100 million siphoned off to Liberal friendly ad agencies for little or no work. The President of the Treasury Board made an irresponsible statement in a bizarre attempt to minimize the $100 million figure. He hastily backed off when promised proof turned out to be a figment of his imagination.

The Prime Minister and the Liberal government have been caught red-handed in Liberal abuse of millions of tax dollars taxed from struggling Canadians. To escape justified anger, the Liberals are now trying to shoot the messenger by outrageous attacks on our respected Auditor General.

What does it say about a Prime Minister who engages in such disgusting tactics? Canadians will demand better in the coming election. The new Conservative Party is committed to cleaning up the Liberal mess. It cannot come soon enough.

Curling
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are celebrating the magnificent victory of Colleen Jones, Mary-Anne Arsenault, Nancy Delahunt and Kim Kelly on their gold at the women's world curling championships. Congratulations are also in order for the bronze won by the Canadian men's team, also from Halifax, of Mark Dacey, Bruce Lohnes, Robert Harris and Andrew Gibson.

For the Jones team there is no resting on their laurels. As the twice over world champions and six-time Canadian champions, they prepare to make their bid in Halifax to represent Canada at the 2006 Olympics.

Haligonians and all members of Canada's Parliament extend heartiest congratulations and thanks for putting Canada on top of the world.

Taxation
Statements By Members

April 26th, 2004 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Bloc Quebecois released the third report of the committee chaired by Jacques Léonard, this time on the evolution of federal transfers to the provinces and to individuals. There are two main findings.

When the current Prime Minister was the finance minister, transfers for health, education, and social assistance decreased in Quebec, while they continued to increase in other Canadian provinces. The same is true for individuals with respect to employment insurance.

Moreover, during that same time, the Prime Minister of Canada mismanaged the national debt by quickly paying down the federal debt—the least costly portion—thereby causing an increase in debt for the governments of Quebec and the provinces.

From this study and the two previous ones, it is quite clear that the current Prime Minister has contributed to financially choking Quebec and that year after year, under the federal system, Quebeckers are increasingly losing the ability to determine their own future.

New Minas, Nova Scotia
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the village of New Minas, Nova Scotia has a long history that can be traced back to 1604, but it is the explosive growth of recent years that confirms its attractiveness as a great place to live.

The National Post newspaper, however, chose to portray the village in a different way. In a recently conducted survey, the newspaper invited readers to name the “crappiest town in Canada”. Based on a single anonymous letter, it picked New Minas as the winner.

New Minas is the home to the challenging Ken-Wo golf club. It is home to the largest annual soccer tournament in Atlantic Canada and is known as Canada's soccer capital. It has an abundance of recreational facilities and over 300 commercial outlets for eager shoppers.

It is truly the residents who make this community great. Earlier this month New Minas feted its volunteers at a volunteer luncheon. I salute them for making New Minas a great place to live. The National Post newspaper would do well to retract its slam on this community and salute their efforts too.

Kelowna Citizens Awards
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to bring to the attention of the House the names of this year's outstanding citizen awards in Kelowna.

Woman of the Year, Beryl Itani; Man of the Year, Mel Kotler; Athlete of the Year, Sarah Charles; Team of the Year, the Kelowna Rockets; the Bob Giordano Memorial Award for sports volunteerism, Ken Wilson; Young Citizen of the Year, Rachel Leier; the Augie Ciancone Memorial Award for high school athletes, Katie Woodman and Kyle Murphy; KADAC honour in the arts, Roslyn Frantz, and in teen honours, Devin Roth; Organization of the Year, the emergency social services team; the Anita Tozer Memorial Award for outstanding community service, the city staff and firefighters of the emergency operations group.

Congratulations to all. They exemplify the heart and soul of our community. We thank them for their leadership and commitment.

Yemen Water Project
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I draw to the attention of the House the signing by a Calgary company, Canadian Nexen, of the first community water project in the Middle East under the UN secretary-general's new global compact initiative. The pilot project in the rural village of Rassib in Yemen will be a model for other communities.

In rural Yemen only 17% of the people have access to safe water. Hygiene practices are poor. Sanitation and waste disposal facilities are inadequate. Children are particularly susceptible to water-borne diseases.

The agreement was encouraged by the government of Yemen and was signed in Sa'ana on April 24. Canadian Nexen will contribute up to $1 million U.S., and the UNDP up to $500,000 U.S.

As a corporate citizen, Canadian Nexen sets high standards for Canada and the world. Now it is taking the lead in making the UN's global compact initiative a reality, fighting poverty and improving the basic health of thousands of people in a part of the world where Canada can make a significant difference.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada recently launched the One-Tonne Challenge, which calls on Canadians to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne, or roughly 20%.

The challenge is to think about the little things we do each day and the more important choices we make less often, such as buying a new lawnmower. Until May 2, Home Depot stores across Canada, through the Mow Down Pollution campaign by the Clean Air Foundation, are offering Canadians the opportunity to get rid of their old gasoline mower and receive a rebate of up to $100 on the purchase of an electric, push power, or low emission gas mower.

In so doing, they will be taking a step toward meeting the One-Tonne Challenge.

University of Ottawa
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not mention an event as important as the 50th anniversary of the University of Ottawa's civil law program.

Last week, some 350 graduates of this program gathered together in the capital to mark this important milestone in the history of the university.

The most illustrious graduates of this program include of course the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and her colleague, Michel Bastarache. A total of 13 provincial and federal current ministers are graduates of the University of Ottawa's civil law program.

I would invite hon. members to join me in urging Dean Louis Perret to continue the excellent work that has produced such fine results.

National Unity Fund
Oral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals' secret national unity fund was revealed last month, the Minister of Finance assured this House that it amounted to only $40 million per year. However, we have learned today that the federal government actually spent twice the finance minister's original estimate.

My question is simple. Why did the Minister of Finance mislead this House regarding the size of this secret fund?

National Unity Fund
Oral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, it was my understanding that the estimate put forward was an approximate average. The amounts used varied from year to year. These programs were administered within existing departmental programs and the money was obtained through submissions to Treasury Board.

National Unity Fund
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, more money, just like CSL all over again.

It is clear that this so-called unity fund was used when the Liberals wanted to hide questionable spending from Canadians: $4.5 million to top up the sponsorship program; $3 million for ministers to campaign in western Canada; $4.5 million to supposedly fight Quebec separatism in Europe, now all double the amount the minister claimed.

Why does the Prime Minister not simply come clean and admit to Canadians that the unity fund was a secret Liberal slush fund to hide questionable spending?

National Unity Fund
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this reserve was absolutely not secret. The very first time questions were put to the Prime Minister in the House by the member for Roberval, the Prime Minister acknowledged its very existence.

It has been very helpful. It helped the battlefield of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. It was a very solid investment to promote bilingualism in New Brunswick. It helped les Jeux de la Francophonie as well. It has done a lot of good in prolonging and extending some very legitimate programs in this country.

National Unity Fund
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if it was so legitimate, it would have been front and centre in the government's spending reports for the last 10 years.

Over the last 10 years the Liberal government has funnelled about half a billion dollars into the unity slush fund. That is in addition to the quarter billion dollars on the fraudulent sponsorship program; $1 billion for HRDC boondoggles; approaching $2 billion for the gun registry fiasco; and of course the money that went to Canada Steamship Lines. On all of these things, the Prime Minister claimed he knew nothing about the way the spending was going.

Why did the Prime Minister not speak up when all of these questionable cheques were being signed in the first place?

National Unity Fund
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I was just drawing the attention of the Leader of the Opposition to the great work of this reserve used by the prime minister to help bilingualism. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? The Conservative leader, the real alliance leader, will not tell us whether he supports bilingualism. He will not tell us whether he believes that doing that promotion in New Brunswick was a good or a bad thing, so much so that the member from Calgary does not want that guy to become the prime minister of Canada because--

National Unity Fund
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough.