House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, we now know that the Prime Minister and senior executives of two crown corporations enjoy special access to private health clinics.

The Prime Minister claims he pays with his health card. Guess what. I called the Prime Minister's clinic today to ask if I could get an MRI. I was told that absolutely I could get one in two weeks for $585 with a referral. The catch is my health card does not cover it.

Why is the Prime Minister deliberately misleading Canadians?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is again a baseless and groundless allegation.

When the Prime Minister acquires health services, he acquires them with his health card, consistent with the conduct and the practice of every other Canadian. Incidentally, he has never paid for an MRI.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, just before we leave this place for an election, it would be nice if the Liberals would come clean on health care. The truth is they have no position at all on private clinics. They are willing to turn a blind eye if it suits the Prime Minister's lifestyle.

My question is simple. Are there any other senior civil servants or cabinet ministers who are using the services of private clinics?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again, it is a groundless and a baseless allegation.

The fact of the matter is that when the Prime Minister acquires his health care, he does so like every other Canadian, using his health card for the services that are medically insured and covered by the Canada Health Act.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

May 14th, 2004 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, after having diverted $100 million from the sponsorship program to friends of the regime and their party, the Liberals did not hesitate to dip into the general revenue again by asking public servants to write the Liberal election platform.

It is all well and good for the Prime Minister to claim that things are going to change, but with him, do we not always get more of the same? Are the Liberals not incorrigible when it comes to appropriating public money?

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the public service is in place to provide service to the public. That is what they are called upon to do by the government.

When they advance policy ideas, the government weighs those policy proposals from the bureaucracy and eventually makes the ultimate decision about how to proceed.

The very good work done by the public service over the long term and over the last number of weeks has produced very powerful results. They include, for example, the proposal by the Minister of Veterans Affairs for a brand new way to deal with veterans benefits in this country and also the recent action by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to defend Canadian rights off the nose and tail of the Grand Banks.

That is in the public interest.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, this same Prime Minister who said he wants to change things asked ministers to put departmental staff to work to write tailor-made proposals for the Liberal election platform—all on the taxpayer's dime.

Will the government admit that the political direction to subsidize the preparation of the Liberal platform was given by the Prime Minister himself?

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely reject the allegation of the hon. member. In fact, what the Prime Minister asked us to do as new ministers was to work with our public servants to examine ideas, to talk back and forth about things that were challenging the departments in the continual search for improvement.

The goal in any government is to constantly put forward new and better proposals before the people of Canada.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has federal public servants working hard to create a campaign platform for the Liberal Party of Canada at low cost to the party, thus, once again, diverting public resources to basely partisan purposes.

Since public funds are involved, are we to understand that the government intends to make its campaign platform public before the election is called, or must we, once again, rely on the Access to Information Act to get a look at it?

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, in our system the public service—one of the most professional and the most competent in the world, I might add—has a mandate to support the government in its administration, in its governance.

I would like to give an example related to the circumstances described by my hon. colleague opposite. It is a very concrete example of governance in which we have been assisted. The allegation will not stick because we have just announced, barely two days ago, the creation of a Democratic Reform Secretariat, which has a web site and consultation procedures. All of this is part of the work that the opposition refuses to recognize. It makes no sense.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we have an exemplary public service, it must not be used for base partisan purposes as the Liberal Party is doing.

Nevertheless, since the government named Mr. Gauthier as special counsel to recover the millions of dollars from the sponsorship scandal, does the government intend to broaden Mr. Gauthier's mandate to make the Liberal Party pay the salaries of the public servants who have been requisitioned by the Liberal Party to write its bargain-priced platform?

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, I certainly reject any allegation of improper engagement in the public service. They did the job that they are always required to do.

On the recovery of funds, I would note today we had the announcement of the recovery of $147 million in an agreement with HP, which is the result of very proactive work on the part of the very same public servants. They should be congratulated on behalf of Canada.

Liberal Party of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, a recent appointee of the Prime Minister as the Liberal candidate referred to a vote for the NDP as a whisper, ignoring the fact that I seldom whisper, and neither do other NDP MPs for that matter, ignoring the election of progressive mayors in Toronto and Vancouver, the re-election of NDP governments in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the increase in proper support in other provincial elections, and of course what happened last night in Hamilton.

I ask the Deputy Prime Minister, does she think that turfing a progressive candidate like the former deputy prime minister and ignoring the steel industry had anything to do with this so-called whisper becoming a mighty big shout against the Liberals in Hamilton?

Liberal Party of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, indeed the government is very pleased to be attracting great interest and strong support across the country. In my own province, for example, I am very pleased that Mr. Chris Axworthy is running for the Liberal Party. In British Columbia, I am pleased to see that the former premier, Ujjal Dosanjh, is running. Dave Haggard is running.

I would think the hon. gentleman might want to check his list before he declares victory.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, in 1997, 15 in-shore, independent, low income, hook and line fishermen staged a protest fishery and the Government of Canada threw everything it had at them. It prosecuted them over five years of litigation; six of them ended up charged and among them all, they had a few hundred pounds of fish. But when the Portuguese have 65,000 pounds of fish caught illegally, what does the government do? It gives them a warning, albeit a stern warning.

My question for the government is, why the double standard? Why does the government pick on the hook and line, independent, low income, single business-minded--