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House of Commons Hansard #186 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cbc.

Topics

Division No. 322Government Orders

7 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Division No. 322Government Orders

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Division No. 322Government Orders

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Division No. 322Government Orders

7 p.m.

The Speaker

All those in favour will please say yea.

Division No. 322Government Orders

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Division No. 322Government Orders

7 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Division No. 322Government Orders

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Division No. 322Government Orders

7 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 323Government Orders

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed from February 19 consideration of the motion that Bill C-63, an act respecting Canadian citizenship, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The next recorded division is on the motion at the second reading stage of Bill C-63.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Kilger Liberal Stormont—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the House would agree, I propose that you seek unanimous consent that members who voted on the previous motion be recorded as having voted on the motion now before the House, with Liberal members voting yes.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there agreement to proceed in such a fashion?

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 324Government Orders

March 1st, 1999 / 7:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Division No. 324Adjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to elaborate on a question I raised with the Minister of Health on February 17.

In that question I raised the serious problem of the growing privatization of our health care system and an ever increasing slide into an Americanized two tier health care system. As part of that concern, I also raised the apparent tendency on the part of this government to stand by and let it happen.

This is an opportunity for the federal government to explain its position on the privatization of health care.

On February 17 I asked the government about the deplorable situation in Ontario where the entire health care program, specifically the home care program, has been opened up for competitive bidding.

I raised with this government the matter of federal public dollars going into private, for profit companies. I asked the government to ensure that not one penny of the new health care dollars in the so-called health care budget would go to line the pockets of for profit, and in many cases American owned corporations.

The parliamentary secretary's position in my view was quite shocking, quite deplorable. On behalf of the government she said to all of us that the federal government cannot and will not interfere with issues of delivery. She used jurisdictional arguments to avoid the issue and excuse the lack of leadership on the part of the federal government.

I ask for the federal government's policies on the matter of privatizing our health care system, notwithstanding the jurisdictional issues. We would like to know from the government what its position is on the matter of public dollars going to for profit, private health care companies.

Where does the government stand? How does it feel about this issue? What kind of leadership is it offering Canadians on this matter? Where is the vision of this government in terms of whether or not we will be able to uphold a publicly administered, universally accessible health care system? Does this government agree or disagree with Mike Harris, and for that matter any provincial government that is using federal public dollars to put into private, for profit health care delivery of our system today?

This is an opportunity for the government to clarify. We did not get much clarification from the parliamentary secretary in question period. We did not get much clarification throughout the budgetary process about where this government stands on the erosion of medicare and on the growth in the private sector ownership of our health care system.

We are now in a situation with well over 30% of health care spending being held in the hands of private sector companies. That is an amazing shift from years gone by. We also know that with this federal budget we will only achieve in five years time a federal share of up to 12.5%. That means very little will be done on the part of this government through this budget or any other subsequent measures to reverse this trend and to ensure that we have some ability to preserve medicare and to take this medicare model and apply it to the whole continuum of care.

Division No. 324Adjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise once again to try to clarify the issue for the member opposite. At first I thought that she did not understand. Now I am not sure that it is that she does not understand. I do believe that she is mixing, and perhaps deliberately, different concepts.

Division No. 324Adjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Please stay away from deliberating mixing.

Division No. 324Adjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, inadvertently. How is that?

The federal government, working in collaboration with the provinces and territories, achieved a historic national commitment on the future of publicly funded medicare. We have a written commitment from every premier and government leader from every province and territory in Canada, including Quebec, to uphold the principles of the Canada Health Act: universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility, portability and public administration.

They also committed that every penny of new dollars in the 1999 budget transferred from the federal government to the other jurisdictions would be used for health services. That guarantees the continued viability of a quality public, not private, health care system.

I spoke about provincial jurisdiction and I want to explain to the member what that means. The provincial government has the responsibility to see how its services are delivered. For example, doctors do not work for provincial governments. They are not provincial civil servants. Across the country lab services are provided sometimes by the ministry of health, sometimes by private sector corporations, sometimes by a municipality.

For many years in different parts of the country home care services are provided sometimes by not for profit corporations, sometimes by corporate entities. Nursing homes are sometimes private, sometimes are not for profit. The same is true for ambulance services.

This is called a mixed economy. It is up to the provinces to decide how those services will be delivered. We do not tell them how. Even if we do not like it, there is nothing we can do or say about it.

Division No. 324Adjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.

Reform

Derrek Konrad Reform Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to see if I can get some answers to a couple of questions I asked on October 26.

I called on the government to initiate a forensic audit into the finances of the Hobbema reserve in Alberta which has been requested by rank and file members. The conditions those people live in were reported in the

Globe and Mail

. About 80% of the people on that reserve are living on welfare. Children are sleeping on mattresses in the basement of burned out houses. How does their leadership live?

I will quote a couple of instances. In the Saulteaux band in Saskatchewan the chief's salary and benefits for 1997 were some $200,000 tax free. He had a brother who was a band councillor and pulled out a salary of $149,000. We would think that this would be the head of a very large city.

The mayor of Prince Albert probably makes a quarter of that amount of money to manage 35,000 people. There are 1,050 people living on that reserve and they have an accumulated deficit of $1.8 million. I could go on to talk about the Stoney band and the Samson Cree band and others. That is the financial picture of the leaders of those bands and the Hobbema band is no different.

Living conditions on reserves have been historically unacceptable. We agree with that. If nothing changes, living conditions will continue to be unacceptable. In addition to the living conditions that are terrible, the so-called democracy is terrible. It does not exist.

Last year I travelled to four or five different meetings where I listened to rank and file members of different reserves talking about the democratic and living conditions on reserves. What has our government's approach been? It has transferred power to the local band councils without ensuring that local accountability measures are in place to safeguard the interest of grassroots band members. Historically Ottawa has intervened to protect its own interests but who has intervened to protect the rank and file band members?

Band members exercise their authority with little input, direction or support from Ottawa, so what did we ask for? We asked on behalf of band members that the government would conduct a forensic audit, not simply that it would do some different accounting but that it would find out if money was being well spent or poorly spent. That is one of the purposes of a forensic audit. You can find out if all the cheques add up but so what? That does not tell you how the money was spent and that is what we want to know. When we look at the kinds of salaries paid out to the leadership we think there could be a lot of money left over for houses if it were not so much.

These people are making serious charges. I think the money is there. The children are suffering. The need is urgent. My question concerns why the minister will not initiate the forensic audits that the people she is responsible for are calling for.

Division No. 324Adjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Liberal

David Iftody LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my formal response to the member's intervention, I listened very carefully to his words and I noticed he mentioned he is very concerned about aboriginal children suffering on reserve and that he is concerned about an apparent 80% rate of unemployment for some reserves which he quoted from the

Globe and Mail

Only a few moments ago he voted against Bill C-49 on land management which would allow first nations even in his own riding to provide access to resources and land and to bring investment into the community. This was in defiance even of the chief who was here today in the House observing these debates. So I question the legitimacy of these interventions in light of his comments on Bill C-49.

I will address in a more particular form some of his concerns with respect to audits. First nations prepare annual financial statements and have them audited by an independent and qualified auditor. Those are independent audits. Over the past 10 years we have made considerable progress in this whole process meeting auditing standards that are acceptable to associations of accountants across Canada. We abide by their accepted standards for auditing and we are addressing those problems on reserve.

I am pleased to report that those who are meeting the standards have risen recently from 57% to 82%. We have marginally around 16% to 18% of bands where there are some difficulties in the auditing practices. It is not, as the Reform Party would have the House and Canadians believe, a generalized problem sweeping the nation of Indian members misusing the money. In those cases where it does occur it is properly investigated.

Division No. 324Adjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7.33 p.m.)