House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was national.

Topics

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Let me repeat, Mr. Speaker. There is the Prime Minister, the biggest contradicter of the Canada Health Act. While he was minister of finance, he inflicted the deepest cuts in Canadian history to Canadian health care. Now he wants Canadians to rejoice because he may give some of it back.

The government says that it has a 10 year health plan. Where is it and will we see it before the next election?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are transferring $36.8 billion up to 2007-08. We have the health accord of 2003, which we are working on with the provinces at this time. We are trying to build on the health accord of 2003 for a 10 year plan that will last a generation.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, health care and Canadians cannot afford another 10 years of this government in health care. The Prime Minister's true colours came through when he was minister of finance. He decimated health care more than anybody else. He is the one to blame for the long lineups and the underfunding.

Health Canada is in worse shape today than it was under the previous government. The Prime Minister has made it harder to access disability tax credits.

When will the government reveal this much publicized health care plan for the next 10 years? Will it come before the next election?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, there are 34.8 billion of new dollars and another $2 billion in this year's budget. There is dialogue with the provinces in which we will be building, in cooperation with the provinces, a plan. We are working very hard at this very time because Canadians deserve certainly better than what the Alliance would like to propose to them. Canadians will pay for health care with their health cards, not with their credit cards.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1998, the Auditor General came up against a brick wall at Canadian Heritage in his attempts to find out what use was made of the $5 million spent by Option Canada. We still do not know who benefited from that money, but we do know that the funds allocated to Option Canada were allocated under the guise of official languages.

Can the minister confirm that the official languages program was used as a channel to conceal the payment of $5 million to Option Canada?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Louis-Hébert
Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the Option Canada situation referred to is past history. My predecessor has already answered all the questions concerning this matter. All documents are public and have been published.

If my colleague wishes to have more answers on all these options, I believe he is capable of looking for them in these public documents himself.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thought it would be a good idea to ask the minister, because she is the minister, but it seems she does not know.

This money was diverted from the Official Languages program.

Can the minister deny—and it is her own answer I am seeking—that in the list of projects funded by the secret national unity fund, $5 million that appeared in 1995-96 under the heading of “Canadian Heritage: Unity—Quebec Referendum” was never used to promote official languages but rather to finance Option Canada? Can she deny that?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Louis-Hébert
Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, my colleague seems to be very knowledgeable about where the money went. He probably has the relevant documents in his hands. I invite him to make them public so that we can all read them.

We replied to all these questions between 1995 and 2000. I believe all Canadians and Quebeckers got the answers they needed and can examine these documents, since they are public documents.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, even the Auditor General and her predecessor do not know where that money went and what was done with it.

It is the minister who is responsible for her budget. The fact that these events took place seven or nine years ago and that these millions may have disappeared does not mean that the government is no longer accountable.

I have a question for the minister. Have the $5 million taken from the official languages program been used to fund the love-in that took place in Montreal just before the referendum? This is what we want to know.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Louis-Hébert
Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat the exact same answer I gave before. These questions have been put over and over to my predecessor. The answers are all on the public record. The documents are available and they are relevant.

If hon. members have additional information, I urge them to make this information public, so that we can take a look at it.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is just unbelievable. I have never heard such an answer. It does not make any sense.

The minister is responsible. The government is responsible. Millions of dollars have disappeared. The Auditor General does not know where that money went. We think it was used to fund the love-in. We are putting a very clear question to the minister and the government. If they want to be transparent, let them prove it.

Where does the $5 million come from and was it used to fund the love-in held in Quebec just before the referendum? That is what we want to know.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, what I can say is that this government has never put in jeopardy the $17 billion in savings from Quebeckers for its political option. This government has always assumed its responsibilities and protected the unity of our country in an open and transparent fashion.

All the figures are in the public accounts. We have not jeopardized the $17 billion in savings from Quebeckers as these people have, in case their option was approved by Quebeckers, something which was supposed to be a mere formality.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We will now move on to another question. The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona.

Health
Oral Question Period

May 3rd, 2004 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals, when it comes to health care, are just unbelievable. The Minister of Health says that he does not want Canadians paying for their health care with their credit card. He wants them to pay for it with their health card. Yet over the last 10 years of the Liberal government, more and more Canadians have been paying for medically necessary services with their credit card under the watch of the Liberals.

What the minister said last week was not an aberration. In speech after speech these people will not say that they want to protect public delivery of health care.

I want to ask the Deputy Prime Minister this. Was the Minister of Health's speech on April 20, in which he basically said what he said last week, vetted by the PMO?