House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

John McKay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as you know, these foundations have been tremendous successes for the Government of Canada, including the millennium scholarship foundation.

The statements are audited. They are supervised by boards of exemplary Canadians. As I have said in the past, Parliament has the supervisory jurisdiction. If Parliament wishes to call into question the concern raised by the hon. member, it may do so.

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I guess much of the success is for the friends of the Liberals.

In the past five months ambassadors, crown corporation heads, IRB judges, the ethics commissioner and now the heads of these foundations have all escaped scrutiny.

The Prime Minister has thrown out the window his promise to give Parliament a role in these appointments by unilaterally appointing hand-picked people and placing them in charge of billions of dollars.

Why is it so hard for the Prime Minister to keep his promise and subject these appointments to parliamentary oversight?

Government Appointments
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.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, it is remarkable that the Tory members would ask us to honour what we have committed to doing when they have refused to endorse the plan we have tabled. On the action plan we are referring specifically to a role for Parliament in the prior review of appointments. They have refused to adhere to this plan. Now they claim they want to have the plan respected.

The process is going on with committees to establish a process by which this review will take place. The lists of positions to be filled are being provided to committees. Committees will have the opportunity to do the job as scheduled in the action plan that they still refuse to adhere to.

Canada Health Infoway
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true.

Two years ago we asked a simple Order Paper question about one of the $9 billion off the books foundations, Canada Health Infoway. We asked, how much money does the president make? The government basically told us that it was none of our business, that it was an internal matter.

Why is the government refusing to let taxpayers see how their tax dollars are being spent at Canada Health Infoway? Why is it hiding this information?

Canada Health Infoway
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that Canada Health Infoway is an outstanding institution from the Government of Canada. It has been making the right investments across the country in all of the provinces, helping to modernize our health care system and adapt it to the reality of the 21st century using the appropriate information technology that exists. This is the role of Canada Health Infoway.

Canada Health Infoway
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we did not ask about the role. We are asking specific questions about why that foundation is not transparent.

In that same Order Paper question, we asked if Canada Health Infoway was following government contracting policy. We were told no, because it is not part of the Government of Canada. That is also the reason that the Auditor General cannot look at the books.

Why should taxpayers fund foundations when taxpayers must completely surrender control once their cheques are cashed? Why?

Canada Health Infoway
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

John McKay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I direct the hon. member's attention to the budget of 2003. If he reads the budget, he will notice that foundations will be required to provide plans annually to the minister responsible for administering the funding agreement and that the annual report for each foundation, including relevant performance reporting and audited financial statements, were provided to the minister.

The hon. member has access to all of these reports, all of the appointments. He may pursue those at his leisure.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

May 5th, 2004 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, gasoline prices are skyrocketing, and all the government is doing is siding with the oil companies.

My question is this: While gas prices are set by a small group of oil companies, to the detriment of the consumer, how can the government justify the fact that the only thing it did last year was to reduce the tax burden of those oil companies by $250 million?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, allow me to ask the hon. member a question in answering the question.

Some time ago Quebec put a pricing commissioner in place to check the price of gasoline. What difference has it made to the price of gasoline in Quebec? That will answer the question of what difference it would make in Canada.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has a number of tools at its disposal.

First, it could have instituted a real investigation into a potential lack of competition in the oil market. That it did not do, or at least not seriously. Second, it could establish a petroleum monitoring agency, as the committee recommended. That it did not do.

How can it justify to those who are listening and who are being strangled by the oil companies that the only thing it did do is reduce the taxes on companies that are already raking in huge profits?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

This is incorrect, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member for Roberval is not presenting all the facts. The Competition Bureau has, on a number of occasions, carried out investigations to determine exactly what was going on in the market. The parliamentary committee has done the same. At the present time, everyone agrees that the price hike is the result of a drop in inventory, coupled with a rapid rise in crude oil prices. That is what everyone is saying right now, with the exception of the member for Roberval. He needs to face up to reality. The Competition Bureau will continue to do its job.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, following a unanimous motion by the Quebec National Assembly calling on the federal government to recognize and correct the fiscal imbalance, the Prime Minister's best response was to suggest that Quebec raise its taxes in order to fulfill its responsibilities.

How can the Prime Minister make such a suggestion when he has the money, he has been accumulating a surplus, and he need only transfer this money to solve the health care problems without anyone having to pay one cent more?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brome—Missisquoi
Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis Minister of State (Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne, the words “cooperation” and “partnership with the provinces” occur 14 times. In his letter, the Prime Minister referred to his desire to assure the National Assembly that the Government of Canada is determined to develop a new partnership with the provinces and territories that will emphasize the interests of Canadians.

In this country, there is only one taxpayer, paying at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, and hoping that the elected representatives can agree among themselves.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, strangely—

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.