House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we can see right through the Prime Minister's little game. In Washington, he will not talk about the missile defence shield or the expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Why? Because he has already made up his mind. As for softwood lumber, he was looking for an agreement at any cost. Fortunately, the NAFTA ruling was issued. As regards the mad cow issue, he is looking for a solution that will benefit western producers, while letting Quebec producers down.

Can the government deny that the whole purpose of the Prime Minister's trip to Washington is a good photo op with George Bush and nothing more?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada is on the job every day defending and promoting the interests of Canadians. On occasion, that means going abroad and visiting foreign leaders in foreign capitals. I am very pleased to say that Canadians are extraordinarily proud of the Prime Minister on the international stage advancing the interests of Canada in the most dignified of manners.

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 27 the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness injected $690 million into the new national security policy. Over $300 million of this will be used to protect the marine sector.

I would like the Minister of Transport to tell the House whether this $300 million will be used to pay for the new security measures that will be required in ports as of July 1, 2004.

Port Security
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the $308 million that was announced this week by the Deputy Prime Minister to enhance marine security will enable our ports to better detect, assess and respond to marine threats. These initiatives complement the new regulations, the ISPS code, which we will meet by July 1.

As I have stated over the last couple of days, the government is working with effective marine stakeholders to ensure that their plans will be approved by July 1. I have committed to assisting marine stakeholders to ensure that they will meet the security requirements.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am tempted to ask the Liberals another question on their position on health care but it seems that they are just making it up as they go along. One day it is publicly funded, the next day it is for profit and the next day it is public delivery. We cannot keep track of it.

I will go back to the Minister of National Defence on star wars. He criticized the Conservatives and the New Democrats for having a position on star wars and national missile defence. Could he tell the House why he believes Canadians do not deserve to know the true Liberal position until after the election?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the NDP keep exaggerating on this issue. It has used the figure of $1 trillion, for instance, in terms of the cost of ballistic missile defence. It keeps using this term star wars. I have to say that star wars is a 1980s concept, just like Ed Broadbent.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the public works minister continues to insist that he only cancelled that $1 billion contract with Royal LePage based on the CITT ruling.

There is a clause in all government contracts saying that if bribery or fraud is discovered in the initial awarding of the contract, then that company is not allowed to re-bid. Public works officials are alleged to have accepted bribes, and allegations of corruption have swirled around this contract from the very start.

Therefore, is that not the reason the minister cancelled this contract and why is he letting his friends at Royal LePage re-bid on this $1 billion contract?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is making some pretty wild accusations here about bribery. The opposition has heard me say before that the Canadian International Trade Tribunal found some parts of the evaluation criteria that it thought should be redone or were questionable. That was actually looked at.

There were also, as I have said, some allegations that there could have been bias involved by members of Public Works and Government Services staff. To address that issue we did an internal investigation. There was a potential appearance of bias--

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously passed a motion yesterday, saying that it would:

—formally ask the Government of Canada to review the Employment Insurance Act in order to eliminate the inequities currently found there in with regard to the particular situation experienced by the seasonal workers of Québec.

Does the federal government intend to act on this unanimous motion of the National Assembly before the election is called?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey
Ontario

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (Student Loans)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's comments are completely unfounded. He knows full well, as do all members of the House, that the Prime Minister, the minister and members of the Liberal caucus are fully engaged in this file. I am here to say that once we have an opportunity to review all the facts, the minister will make the appropriate recommendations.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

April 29th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday of this week, in answer to a question from the hon. member for Calgary Southeast, I gave the following answer:

--all the contracts that have been awarded to Earnscliffe or any company providing services to the government are either already in the public domain or accessible for review.

That is true with very few exceptions with respect to national security. I went on, though, to suggest that the hon. member consult the Contracts Canada website, but I must say that if there was the impression that all contracts are on the website, that is not so. I have checked into this matter since and have found that after three years, contracts are taken off the website. Also, while most contracts go through Public Works and Government Services, there are some departments that do contracts directly and they do not at this stage go on that website.

I would like to refer to the 2004 budget, wherein the Minister of Finance committed that all departments will:

publicly disclose all contracts entered into by the Government of Canada for amounts over $10,000 with only very limited exceptions, such as national security.

If one goes to the website of Contracts Canada, one will see clearly that it only lists contracts for three years. It is a very expensive system and the files would become too great, but the site says that for additional information, such as for contracts prior to three years before or perhaps by some other department, the website does give, in bold, an information number to be followed.

I just wanted to make sure that there was no misunderstanding about how many contracts were on that website, and for how long, but they are publicly accessible if they are not already in the public domain, and of course the access to information provisions make them accessible subject to very few exceptions.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure the hon. member for Calgary Southeast will appreciate the minister's clarification.

On the same point of order, the hon. member for Prince George--Peace River.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the entire House, in addition to my hon. colleague from Calgary Southeast, is relatively reassured by the minister's apology, but I would ask that in the future when he makes such a clear statement he ensures that it is accurate in replying to colleagues.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, you and hon. members may recall that the question came with respect to a contract which had not been introduced to me previously and no questions had been asked about it. It was not clear in an immediate way what the contract was referring to.

I do take the hon. member's point that we must try to keep our information as accurate as possible, but we are talking about complex issues of files on websites and off websites and accessible in various ways. The important thing if there is a potential for misunderstanding is that hon. members, as I have attempted to do today, stand up and clarify the issue as soon as possible.