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House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was care.

Topics

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, the misappropriation of funds the government and the Liberal Party are allegedly involved in occurred in the regions, and in particular that of the Prime Minister of Canada.

My question is for the minister responsible for regional development in Quebec. Was he aware of these allegations, and if so, what measures did he take to stop influence peddling in the Federal Office of Regional Development in Quebec?

Rcmp InvestigationsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalSecretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development—Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no, I was not aware.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

October 3rd, 1997 / 11:35 a.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, in question period yesterday it was obvious the government has no grasp of the situation involving the use of Canadian passports by attempted assassins. First it told us they were forged, then maybe they were stolen. The department has not seen them yet. This government has not told this House anything concrete about this issue.

We have a real name and a real passport. Will the government tell us what it is doing about this or should we just call the media?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am trying to discern what the member's question is. I can only deduce that he is responding to the allegations about the fact that a Canadian passport was used.

We have said they are forgeries. Signatures were forged, false photographs were used. We are now having this individual work and co-operate with us to determine exactly how it happened.

I can guarantee to this House that Canada was not in complicity with any act of assassination or criminal attempt.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have a Canadian, Mr. Ron Reddy who has called us. He has called the embassy over there. He has been told to stay in his hotel room. We talked to him last night in Amman. He says that the situation is very tense over there. This government has shown little regard for the safety of Canadians.

This morning we have received over two dozen phone calls in our office alone from concerned Canadians about the safety and integrity of this travel document. Can the minister tell these Canadians and any Canadians travelling internationally what he is doing to prevent this—

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the first thing I should report to the House is that we contacted the hon. member's office for information about all these calls and we have yet to receive any of that information.

I am quite happy to respond to any specific request when I receive it and I would ask the hon. member to give it to me.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works.

The issues raised by the ongoing investigation into allegations of influence peddling throws the whole federal government contract award process into question.

Can the public works minister give us the assurance, beyond all doubt, that he has taken every measure possible to prevent all influence peddling in the award of government contracts?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I can assure this house and my hon. colleague that all government contracts are awarded by public tendering, open to all. The hon. member and all Canadians can put in a bid, they can even use the Internet to do so, and I can assure you that there is no influence peddling and that it is all done by the book and in accordance with the law.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary.

Given that 37 percent of all federal contracts, totalling $3.2 billion in 1995, were untendered, does the minister not recognize that this approach opens the door to all sorts of abuse, including strong possibilities of influence peddling?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, yes, it does happen, in an emergency or for security reasons, that we award what is called sole source contracts.

However, I should point out to the hon. member and to the House that, when we took office in 1993, 50 percent of government contracts were awarded that way, compared to only 35 percent today. And we will keep reducing this number.

National RevenueOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I tabled an affidavit by Mr. Dennis Coffey, a 25-year customs investigator, in which he confirmed allegations of fraud, nepotism and abuse in the Department of National Revenue. The minister has repeatedly denied these allegations. He must have some pretty compelling evidence to offhandedly dismiss Mr. Coffey's claims.

Has the government conducted an investigation into these troubling allegations, what evidence does it have if any, and will it table such evidence in the House today?

National RevenueOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

London West Ontario

Liberal

Sue Barnes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. The member opposite should very well know that any matter before the Public Service Commission Appeal Board will not be disclosed in this House because it is inappropriate to comment on it at this time.

National RevenueOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, these are publicly made allegations, publicly reported in the newspapers about fraud, corruption, nepotism and abuse in the department. Surely the government takes that seriously enough to investigate those independent of the appeal happening.

Does the parliamentary secretary deny we have learned that Mr. Coffey has alleged that Marvin Goodman, a senior customs manager, authorized the use of a government office at 1 Front Street in Toronto for his sister to run a dress shop rent free.

What does the government think of this? Does it think it is appropriate for government officials to be using government office space for the personal financial benefit of members of their families?

National RevenueOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

London West Ontario

Liberal

Sue Barnes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, allegations that Revenue Canada gives preferential treatment to any courier company in this country are false and unfounded. Right now there is a risk management system that has been in place and is supported by all courier companies.

If any member of this House has any evidence that we should be investigating, let them place it before us and we will investigate.

War CriminalsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Today, the media are reporting that a committee appointed by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has stated that Canada makes it too easy for war criminals to enter the country.

Can the minister tell the House how many war criminals her department has currently identified in Canada?

War CriminalsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me to correct the facts. The statement was not made by a committee appointed by the minister. It is found in a report written by an officer to his director. The officer is a member of the department's war crimes section.

This shows that we do have a departmental war crimes section, where an inventory of about 300 suspected people was made, and I emphasize the word “suspected”.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The United States have announced that they will challenge our dairy production system before the World Trade Organization, on the grounds that we subsidize our dairy product exports.

What measures will the minister take to protect Canada's dairy industry?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to congratulate the member for her election to the House. I look forward to working with her which she has already shown enthusiasm to do.

The government and the dairy industry are already putting a strategy together to deal with the section 301 challenge that the United States has put on a track toward the WTO. If that challenge does go through the whole process and to a final panel, we will use those strategies to defend the dairy industry as we did in the NAFTA panel. I remind everyone Canada received a unanimous decision in our favour. We will again defend the Canadian dairy industry vigorously.

National RevenueOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, customs staff were pulled away from inspecting planes for drugs and contraband so that Federal Express shipments could be fast tracked. The Minister of National Revenue says that they want more facts. We have a statement on legal stationery confirming that Dennis Coffey will provide sworn evidence exactly to this effect.

How many kilos of cocaine and pounds of pot were smuggled into Canada because planes from Jamaica went uninspected?

National RevenueOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

London West Ontario

Liberal

Sue Barnes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, Revenue Canada is responsible at the customs border points. Between the border points we have RCMP co-operation. A lot of our information is intelligence based. We work co-operatively on our anti-smuggling initiatives. There are money and resources behind this and Revenue Canada works on assessing high and low risk and will not be letting smugglers know how we do this in this House.

National RevenueOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, speaking about higher risks, how about high priorities in terms of sisters of employees and whatnot making money on the taxpayer in that department?

We have learned that one of the top officials of the Minister of National Revenue is trying to gag Mr. Coffey, threatening him with disciplinary action and making these allegations public before the appeal board. In fact the government has the letter. We tabled it yesterday.

If Mr. Coffey's evidence is not true then why is the minister and his staff trying to shut out and shut up Mr. Coffey? Why are they doing that?

National RevenueOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

London West Ontario

Liberal

Sue Barnes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate and hopefully it will be clearer this time. The employee in question has filed an appeal with the Public Service Commission Appeal Board that he was inappropriately denied an acting appointment.

While this appeal is ongoing we will not be commenting on the particulars of this case no matter how many times members of the opposition ask.

LabourOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

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

In what the front page of the New York Times calls “a child labour victory”, the U.S. Congress is set to ban the importation of goods made by bondaged child labourers.

In light of the fact that there is an estimated 15 million children working in Southeast Asia and in light of the fact that the APEC conference seeks to increase our trade with these countries, will the minister use the weight of his office to pass comparable legislation that would outlaw the importation and sale of goods manufactured by child labour?

LabourOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, while I compliment the member on question, I would like to remind him that last year we set up a special fund to encourage Canadian enterprises and organizations to come forward with a series of initiatives to deal with the importation of products made by child labour.

Second, we are now working with the ILO to come up with a new draft convention dealing with children working in hazardous industries.

Third, as he probably knows, Canada is one of the few countries which has passed legislation that gives us the right to prosecute Canadian citizens who go abroad to exploit children.