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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, last night we learned that there is a special government list of companies seeking government funds and that this information gets sent out to the government's regional ministers and the local MPs whose ridings are affected. That means the prime minister must have known about the $600,000 grant proposal by Videon. Then of course Videon made this $5,000 donation to the Liberal Party when it never had done so before.

Let me ask the prime minister this. When he went to cash that $5,000 cheque, did he not smell a conflict of interest?

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there should be a little respect for the truth. The $600,000 program is going toward the creation of jobs and will be paid when the jobs have been created. Also, the company that is building the hotel is not Videon. A person by the name of Thibault who lives in the riding told the press that he never heard about a company called Videon.

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister talks about a little respect for the truth. We have to watch him from this side every single day, so we certainly understand what he talks about.

Videon is a parent company of Auberge des Gouverneurs which is building the hotel. We know that. The transitional jobs fund lets people in the riding know what is happening. This means that the prime minister would have been informed. This means that the prime minister as the local MP for that area would be allowed to lobby the minister for that $600,000 grant.

The prime minister is digging himself deeper and deeper. Let me ask him how in the world he is able to plead ignorance on more of these shenanigans in Shawinigan.

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member has her facts absolutely wrong. She is not listening. The builder of the hotel is Mr. Thibault. He has a franchise with the hotel chain but the builder and owner have nothing to do with the Auberge des Gouverneurs. Mr. Thibault told the media a few hours ago that he has never heard of the company Videon. This should be enough for the hon. member to shut up.

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Political ContributionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I cannot wait for Wednesday.

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance.

The auditor general has just confirmed that the contribution rate for employment insurance was just pulled out of a hat, and is a matter of pure chance.

When will the Minister of Finance put an end to the amateurism he has shown to date in the way he is administering the employment insurance fund and setting the contribution levels?

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is well aware that the contribution level is set according to the economy, the government accounts, and a combination of various data. We are adhering exactly to established procedure.

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general states specifically that there is no procedure and that the minister is flying by the seat of his pants, for example by excluding, since January, half the people who would have been entitled to employment insurance and no longer are, thanks to him. That is the situation.

I wish to ask this question of the Minister of Finance. Does the minister realize that his haphazard approach greatly penalizes the companies and workers who make the contributions, and the unemployed, who are truly unemployed, not just sort of unemployed?

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the facts speak for themselves. When we came to power, there was a $6 billion deficit. Today, there is a surplus. When we came to power, the rates of contribution were going up, year after year. Since we came to power, they have gone down from $3.07 to $2.90 and it has been announced that they will drop to $2.80 in November.

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, today the auditor general devoted three chapters of his report to the Atlantic groundfish strategy. TAGS failed in its own stated goals of downsizing fisheries capacity and retraining fishers in response to the Atlantic fisheries crisis. Even the auditor general said that the government was at best naive about the failed results of TAGS.

How can the prime minister defend a program that the auditor general has pronounced to be such a failure?

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let us put this into context for two seconds. TAGS can also be put into the same position as the two major problems we had with the two floods, the one in the Saguenay and the one in the Winnipeg area. When we think of what happened in Manitoba and in the Saguenay and that they were crises, the crisis in the fish community was the same thing. We met that crisis with a program that was put in place to help 40,000 people who had no income. I think that is what a government should do.

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, floods are something that are natural disasters that one cannot predict. In 1994 there were too many fishers and there were too few fish and the Liberal government promised a program to end all programs. Today in 1997 there are too many fishers and too few fish and a Liberal government with egg on its face and an Atlantic wipe-out to prove it.

Will the prime minister commit to never again buying the votes of desperate fishers with programs that breed dependency?

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let us put a few facts on the table.

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Nault Liberal Kenora—Rainy River, ON

Pay attention, you might learn something.

Out of the 40,000 people we were working with, some 15,000 were adjusted out of the groundfish industry. Maybe the auditor general does not accept that as a move in the right direction but we think that is a long way down the road to restructuring an industry that has totally collapsed.

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière, QC

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

The auditor general reveals that 7,500 trucks carrying hazardous waste cross the border between Quebec and the United States alone, without any federal control.

How does the Minister of the Environment intend to put a stop to this unacceptable negligence by her government, which, we must remember, puts people's health and safety at risk?

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, since April when the auditor general's information became knowledge to my department, officials have put in place measures to try to combat the weaknesses that were outlined by the auditor general.

We consider the import and export of hazardous waste to be a very serious situation. I will be looking further into this issue to make sure the necessary improvements are put in place.

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, how does the minister intend to meet her responsibilities in the future, when only yesterday she announced that staff will continue to be cut in her department?

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the staffing cuts that are occurring are a result of the 1996 program review. It has nothing to do with our department's ability to refer to the auditor general's comments about the import and export of hazardous wastes and we will be doing everything to respond to the concerns raised by the auditor general.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

October 7th, 1997 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in question period the minister of Indian affairs bragged about the level of accountability to aboriginal people. Today the auditor general gave us the straight goods.

Over $1 billion is spent on aboriginal health care each year, yet the auditor general states that the government has insufficient information on how two-thirds of its programs are working. Given that the auditor general refers to the status of aboriginal health as a tragedy and a crisis, what concrete steps is this government going to take to ensure proper accountability for the $1 billion that is spent every year on aboriginal health care?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, whenever responsibility for an aboriginal community is turned over to a First Nation, it is done on the basis that that community will not only have responsibility for administering the program, but for accounting for it as well. The agreements that are entered into with First Nations ensure a level of accountability.

There is no doubt we have things to learn from the auditor general's report. We will be looking at it very carefully. I assure the hon. member that chief among our priorities will be the accountability of First Nations for the money that is spent.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general's report shows clearly that there is no accountability.

On another subject. As if there is not enough heartbreak stemming from serious social problems on reserves already, we learned today that the department of Indian affairs is complicit in facilitating prescription drug abuse.

The auditor general states that in one three-month period, 15,000 people went to three or more pharmacies, 1,600 obtained more than 15 drugs and over 700 people had 50 prescriptions in one three-month period. Since the government has known this problem has existed for 10 years, why has it done absolutely nothing about it?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not so. Over the last 10 years we have worked assiduously to put systems in place to deal with the kind of problem the member has referred to. I will give two examples.

First, it was the system of gathering information put together by Health Canada that allowed the auditor general to come up with the analysis in his report.

Second, by the end of the current calendar year, after years of work, we are going to have a point of sale system in place that will let pharmacists know that there is a problem with the prescription. That is going to help with this problem.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the government would ensure that no one would use a Canadian passport for unacceptable purposes, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs responded in a similar vein.

Are we to understand from the Prime Minister's response that Mossad is authorized by the Canadian government to use Canadian passports for purposes other than terrorism?