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House of Commons Hansard #257 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mmt.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member goes on so many fishing expeditions that it is very difficult to keep up with him most of the time.

As everyone knows, the chief of the defence staff is a distinguished individual who has served the country well. He will be leaving at the end of December. If the hon. member has any charges to level, I hope he will do it in the appropriate place.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we have strong evidence against at least two of the minister's senior officials, the chief of the defence staff and Lieutenant-General Boyle, who has denied the existence of documents which have surfaced with his signature on them.

Was the minister's helicopter press conference today a feeble attempt to divert the attention of Canadians away from yet more reports of corruption, deception and misconduct by officials surrounding the minister?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe my ears when I hear the hon. member from the Reform Party. He has been urging the government to re-equip the forces yet criticizes the making of this very key announcement of providing new search and rescue helicopters to the armed forces.

On the matter of the access to information inquiry, the hon. member knows the department came to the person who requested the information and stated there were some irregularities. An investigation was launched by the deputy minister and subsequently the military police were brought in. The information commissioner was apprised and fully concurs with the way we are handling the situation.

Here we have yet another attempt by members of the Reform Party to malign public officials who are unable to defend themselves on the floor of the House.

Blood Supply SystemOral Question Period

November 8th, 1995 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

A study prepared for the Krever inquiry once again indicates significant shortcomings in Canada's blood supply system. According to this report, we are apparently not yet protected from another contamination like the one experienced in the early 1980s.

Is the minister aware that, still today, as a result of her inaction, another tragedy such as was experienced in the early 1980s remains possible?

Blood Supply SystemOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why the Government of Canada struck the Krever commission to study the 1980s tragedy and to try to ensure it does not recur.

Mr. Justice Krever has commissioned all sorts of studies to help him decide what ought to be done. We continue to await his report and in the meantime we are taking all the steps we can to ensure the safety of the blood supply.

Blood Supply SystemOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister still be hiding behind evasions, behind the skirts of the Krever commission, when it is in her power to act now and prevent another tragedy? What we expect from her is not excuses, but action.

Blood Supply SystemOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have not waited for Justice Krever's report before taking steps to make the system safer. We have begun by stepping up, doubling even, the resources allocated to the Bureau of Biologics. We have begun to inspect blood donor centres on an annual basis. We also have a system for making inspection findings public.

Among other things, we have set up an advisory committee to help us continue to look at what is going on in other areas, in other countries, so that we may continue to be in the forefront with all new methods for increasing the safety of the system. We shall continue to take all of the steps necessary.

Nuclear WeaponsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs or for the parliamentary secretary.

Yesterday it was reported that Canada is withdrawing its co-sponsorship of a United Nations resolution seeking a stop to nuclear weapon tests.

Why is Canada withdrawing its sponsorship over the wording of the preamble when at the same time the Canadian delegation plans to vote for the resolution?

Nuclear WeaponsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Jesse Flis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the government has repeatedly stated in the House and internationally, Canada is deeply committed to early conclusion of the comprehensive test treaty which will prohibit all nuclear testing for all time.

A draft resolution dealing with the nuclear testing issue is currently being negotiated at the first committee of the United Nations. As the text now stands, Canada intends to vote in favour of the resolution.

While Canada had initially co-sponsored a draft resolution, we had made very clear that we had reservations about one of the paragraphs in the resolution that could have brought into question

the commitments made by nuclear weapon states at the 1995 NPT review and expansion conference.

Canada intends to vote in favour of the resolution, but it will not be co-sponsoring it.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of Industry about the misappropriation of funds at the Ontario Metis and Aboriginal Association.

In 1993 the minister's department was aware that its guidelines were being seriously broken and the association was declared insolvent by BDO Dunwoody.

How can the minister continue to leave President Henry Wetelainen in charge under these circumstances, especially since the minister said, on Goldhawk in June, that he would investigate and act?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member implies that I run the aboriginal capital corporation in question, which is not the case.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

You fund it.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Another member suggests that I fund it. The fact is that no funds have been advanced to that organization since 1991. The facts that are alleged to be improper on the part of the hon. member have been given to the RCMP for investigation.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Why did you not say that yesterday?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

I did say that yesterday. I am sorry you were not listening.

Mr. Speaker, I realize that due process is sometimes seen by the Reform Party to be a bit of an inconvenience, but in this case I suggest it let the police do their work.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I point out to the minister that this organization has had a cash flow constantly throughout the years, despite the cutting off of federal funds. There are still moneys coming in from the previous loans portfolio and they are being mismanaged, poorly managed.

I ask the minister again if he will not cease and desist with this president running this organization to the detriment of the Métis aboriginal people they are meant to benefit.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the efficiency of the administration and the appropriateness of the conduct of the organization, the member is right that we have concerns about it. That is why I indicated to interviewers that we would be investigating it.

Not only has there been no additional federal money given to the organization, not only has the agreement with the organization terminated, but we are continuing to work with them to correct the administrative conduct if necessary. If necessary we will take whatever action is required to recover funds that were previously given to the organization.

There are two files at issue here. One is the allegation the member referred to earlier, which could lead to criminal charges. The other issue is with respect to the administration of the organization. He imputes to me powers I do not have, that of appointing the president of the organization.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of National Defence.

After making a big production of cancelling the huge EH-101 deal two years ago, the Minister of National Defence now goes ahead and buys 15 search and rescue helicopters, the same number the Conservatives planned to buy, without any guarantees they will be less expensive.

Since the minister refuses to say anything about purchasing combat helicopters, does this mean that, to make its policies more palatable to the taxpayers, the government is making these announcements piecemeal and plans to invest in a program as ambitious as the EH-101 deal?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, there were four major crown purchases that were called for in the white paper that resulted from the special joint committee's deliberations. The hon. member's party took part in that.

We announced the contract for the APCs some weeks ago, and now we have made the announcement of a competition for the replacement of the Labrador search and rescue helicopters, which are over 30 years of age and nearing the end of their life. This will be an open competition. We hope to examine new ways of financing that particular purchase, perhaps by leasing. The bottom line will be to save the taxpayers money.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is right when he says we were part of that committee, but the Bloc Quebecois proposed far more substantial cuts.

When we realize that the aerospace industry is mainly based in the Montreal region, what explanation does the minister have for the fact that, in the case of the 15 helicopters, there is no Canadian content requirement and that two months ago, the same minister

awarded, without tender, a $2 billion contract, for armoured personnel carriers to Ontario?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, one of the things called for in the white paper was to move to off the shelf procurements, and that means to get the best deal for Canadian taxpayers.

Unlike the hon. members opposite, I happen to know that Canadian industry is very competitive, especially in the areas of integrated systems and electronics. Many of those industries are in Quebec. I am sure many of those industries will have a chance to show to bidders that they are competitive and can be part of this particular contract.

With respect to the question of the absolute price, we cannot talk about an absolute price if we are to have a competition in which price is to be one of the principal determinants. However, I will guarantee that on the search and rescue helicopters it will be much cheaper than the price that was to be paid for the EH-101 for the same job. We have reviewed the specifications and have found out that what the previous government ordered was really too rich for even the application of search and rescue standards in the country.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, last summer the CBC was ripped by the auditor general for being bureaucratic, wasteful and inefficient. Today a leaked document suggests that the CBC will soon be put in charge of the administration of Telefilm.

Will the minister promise the House that he will not send the arsonist to put out the fire?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, at the time of the last budget it was announced that there would be a review of the mandates of the CBC, Telefilm Canada, and the National Film Board. We are on course. There will be a report and recommendations put on my desk at the end of this month. Only at that time will decisions be made. In the meantime, I am waiting for that report.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, to further make the point, in the recently released supplementary estimates the CBC helped itself to another $56 million over and above what it was budgeted for this year. It seems it is having a little trouble with this restraint thing.

How can the minister justify giving the CBC another $56 million when it has proven so wasteful in the past?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our colleague does not seem to understand how downsizing works. This surprises me, coming from his party.

The CBC is downsizing and there is a cost to downsizing. The economies will show this in the next few years. That is the way it works.