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House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firefighters.

Topics

Grants And ContributionsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard answers from the minister and the government before. They say they cannot comment because there is a police investigation and blah, blah, blah. They keep going on like that but they could at least answer this.

While they were twiddling their thumbs and the police were doing their investigative work, doing the good work they are supposed to, why did the minister not at least ensure that no more money went to people who were already charged with theft and fraud?

Grants And ContributionsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again I would suggest the hon. member is presuming the outcome of an investigation.

Let us be clear. As I said on a number of occasions, the government takes very seriously the investments we make in communities right across the country, but if there is ever any evidence of misuse of Canadian tax dollars we send it to the appropriate authorities for investigation.

Grants And ContributionsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, eventually, in July 2000, Mr. Pépin was actually charged with fraud and theft. He had been investigated all spring.

We could ask ourselves why. Why would the government give another $5 million grant, this time from Industry Canada, to a guy who has been charged with fraud and theft?

The better question is not why. The question is where. Where did it take place? It took place once again in the Prime Minister's riding. Why is it that whenever the Prime Minister's riding is involved, even if someone has been charged with theft and fraud, the money just keeps getting ladled out by the federal government?

Grants And ContributionsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Liberal

John Cannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member is just not listening. I think the minister not once, not twice, but three times has said repeatedly that with the situation and the position it is in it is inappropriate to answer. Hopefully they are professional enough to understand that.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all know that the government is enjoying huge budget surpluses, including a surplus of over $30 billion in the employment insurance fund, something which the Bloc Quebecois has been condemning for months.

In the context of the World March of Women, is the government prepared to make a formal commitment and follow up on women's claims by ensuring that the surpluses in the employment insurance fund are used only for employment insurance purposes and that women will finally get what they deserve?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, like many of my colleagues I am looking forward to meeting with those who are representing women on this very important march and looking forward to hearing directly from them about their demands.

I would say to the hon. member that he need not look too far for our record in support of Canadian women. First and foremost let us remember that since 1993 the unemployment levels for women working in the Canadian marketplace are the lowest they have been in 25 years.

In addition we have made focused investment, not only using EI money but through the national child benefit that goes directly to low income earners.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I met with the women's delegation. These women did not share the minister's opinion. They condemned the government for being driven by vote-seeking motives with its employment insurance reforms, on the eve of a general election. Two thirds of unemployed women do not qualify for benefits.

I am asking this government and particularly the Minister of Finance, who is about to lower the tax rate on capital gains for the wealthy, the following question: Could they not get moving and take concrete action to meet the needs of women, considering that two thirds of those who are unemployed and who paid premiums are not getting any benefits? There are no words to describe this situation.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, had the Bloc Quebecois leader listened to the minister, he would have heard her list a whole series of measures taken by the government, and the minister in particular, for the benefit of women.

Also, in other areas, including measures to improve employment, support for universities, help for single mothers and so on, the leader of the opposition will know that this government is fully aware of the plight of women.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we know 75% of single parents are women, and they taxed federally even though they earn less than $35,000 a year.

As the Bloc Quebecois is advocating and as we know that billions of dollars are accumulating monthly in his coffers, would the Minister of Finance agree to relieve these families of having to pay taxes after his mini budget is tabled?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no need to await the budget or the upcoming economic statement, one needs only look at the February budget to see that we substantially increased help to Canadian families.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the National Council on Welfare, 42% of older women living alone are poor. This is totally immoral when the government is floating in billions of dollars in surplus.

Could the Minister of Finance simply promise right now in the House of Commons to respond to one of the demands of the world march of women and substantially increase old age security benefits? That is easy enough.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the women's cause is one that is very important to this government. This is why a number of ministers, including the Minister of Finance, intend to meet their representatives tomorrow. This will certainly be one of our topics of discussion.

Women's RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, every day Canadian women are paying the price for Liberal choices. More and more women and children are forced to use food banks. More and more go without adequate child care. More and more live in substandard housing.

Yesterday 50,000 women, on behalf of millions across the country, came together and said that is not good enough. When will the government recognize that investing in women and children must take priority over investing in hotels and golf courses?

Women's RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member of the investment that the government has made in support of Canadian women. First and foremost, let us look at the doubling of parental benefits from six months to twelve months.

Second, let us look at the $2.5 billion that will be invested in the Canadian child tax credit which goes directly to low income families, many headed by women.

Let us look at the recent changes to employment insurance where we will not claw back from women who choose to stay home with their children. There are a number of investments specifically directed at Canadian women.

Women's RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadian women are not buying the government line. Women finally got to meet with the Prime Minister yesterday, and do we know what they said? They said it was a waste of time.

Women have been waiting for seven years for the Prime Minister to take them seriously, for the government to take action against poverty and violence. When will the government get beyond the publicity stunts and begin to address the real needs of women?

Women's RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let us continue on with the commitments of the Prime Minister and the government to women. Let us look at the Canada study grants where we recognize that single women want to go back to university, to study and to improve the livelihood of themselves and their children.

Let us look at our self-sufficiency project where we are offering earnings to ensure that women who take work have sufficient income to support their families.

Let us look at the changes to the Canada pension plan that look at the different work patterns women face in the workplace. There are more indications of our commitment to Canadian women.

National DefenceOral Question Period

October 16th, 2000 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister and it is about helicopters.

There are concerns that the bidding process has been rigged to rule out the EH-101. Last week that company formally asked the Government of Canada to “order complete documentary disclosure of all documents in the possession or control of the Department of National Defence or Public Works Canada” that are relevant to the matter in question.

The Deputy Prime Minister knows this file very well. Will he cause all those documents to be published this week and not let them be hidden?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the statement of requirements put out by the Canadian forces, by the Department of National Defence, has been in fact adopted by the government. That is the basis on which we are proceeding with this procurement. It is an open and fair procurement.

We intend to follow that process to get the best helicopter to meet the operational requirements of the Canadian forces and to do it at the best price for taxpayers. That has always been our aim and throughout this process that will continue to be how we conduct ourselves.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is a scandal that has already cost the lives of Canadian pilots. It is a scandal now in that the bidding process is regarded by at least two of the participants as being rigged.

There has been a formal request following the rules that the truth be told, the documents be published. Why does the Government of Canada continue to hide the facts of this issue? Why will it not tell the people of Canada and the Parliament of Canada the truth on the helicopter bidding process? Why will it not table the documents now?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the government has started a very open and transparent process. As a matter of fact, we immediately issued a letter of interest so that everybody in the industry could comment.

We believe that our process is open and transparent. There is one firm that decided to ask the CITT for comments, and therefore we are waiting for the comments of CITT. We believe this is the right process to get the equipment for a very good price.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, today another of the HRD minister's little secrets was exposed.

In January she denied our access request forced her to expose the billion dollar boondoggle. She claimed she came forward because she is committed to openness and transparency. Even as she spoke the words she was hiding a huge, costly mistake with CPP and OAS T4s.

How can Canadians trust a minister who talks openness and transparency but practises secrecy and cover up?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows the department has a legal obligation to ensure that Canadians have their T4 slips in their hands by the end of February.

This year we found an error on an information insert that was to accompany the mailing. The department took corrective action to ensure, first of all, that Canadians did get their T4 slips on time and, second, to make sure that no misinformation accompanied that mailing.

I sincerely regret that an error was made, but I can inform the House that the incident was fully reviewed to ensure that it would not happen again.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad the minister did not see fit to come and inform the House a lot earlier about this mess.

In fact the information commissioner just released his report, which was a scathing indictment of the government's tendency to secrecy and to cover up. It is entitled “Access—A Right Under Siege” and begins “Mayday—Mayday”. He says that the PCO ignored orders for full protection of records; failed to fully comply with orders; and in one case non-compliance persisted until after two federal court judges had ordered the PCO to comply; withheld records claimed to be privileged; and refused to answer questions under oath. Why is the government—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. government House leader.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member raised the Privy Council Office because the report in fact says that special mention and genuine praise for its accomplishments came despite a 67% increase in the number of requests, and that PCO devoted the energy and resources necessary to clear up a significant backlog of cases and established procedures and practices to prevent the delay problems from recurring in the future.