This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was defence.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a letter from Ontario environment minister Mr. Newman to Minister Anderson, Ontario has still not—

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I assume the hon. member is referring to the hon. Minister of the Environment, and I know she will want to do that.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a letter from the Ontario environment minister to the federal Minister of the Environment, Ontario still has not officially supported the Canadian commitment for an emission cap in the transboundary region.

Would the minister tell the House what he intends to do with the Ontario coal burning power plants to make sure they achieve that cap since it is now part of the Canadian commitment to the United States?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the draft agreement calls for a 50% reduction of nitrous oxide emissions from Canadian coal powered plants in Ontario, and a 70% reduction of nitrous oxide emissions from American plants during the smog season, May through September.

I have some doubt, and at this point I cannot say exactly what Ontario will do, as there is some ambiguity in its positions, but I can assure the hon. member that we expect the Ontario government to co-operate with the coal powered plants it owns. If it does not, federal legislation will be used to make sure we meet those targets.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the week after David Dingwall was appointed a minister of the crown, he said “I want the government to rent space in the building at 338 Charlotte Street”.

Other competitors were denied the opportunity to bid because the contract was drawn so narrowly. We paid $200,000 a year more in rent than what was an adequate rent. It turned out after all that we did not even need the space so we let it to someone else.

Why is it that every time the auditor general reports, we get these smelly contracts which seem to produce public money for private gangs?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, first concerning the bidding process, my department had an internal audit and the matter was dealt with. As a matter of fact, in the internal audit concerning that space, the auditor general cited that ACOA had potential partners but that those partners did not come through, and that was the problem. Now the government of Nova Scotia is renting most of the space.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I like these internal audits. They lead to places.

Let me give another example. The Canada Communication Group was privatized in 1997. It is now owned by St. Joseph Corporation. The auditor general told us in 1997 that it was given a privileged advance arrangement, in other words a sweetheart deal, because it could go five years in business with no competitive bidding.

What is the connection between privileged advance arrangements and the fact that in the last two years CCG and St. Joseph donated $30,000 to the Liberal Party?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I think that question is out of order as it does not appear to relate directly to the competence of the government.

The first part of the question concerning the contract with the crown corporation may be in order and the hon. Minister of Public Works may choose to answer that part of it.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, St. Joseph printing, like any other printing company, had to bid for the contract. It was an open process and therefore the company had no sweet deal. As a matter of fact it complained that we were too hard on it.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Mancini NDP Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the minister back to the deal cut in October of 1995 among ACOA, Public Works and the Liberal government of Nova Scotia, all of whom leased the space in Sydney at 30% more than the market rate from a golfing buddy of the Prime Minister.

The key provincial Cape Breton cabinet minister at the time is today the minister of ACOA. Why would the government enter into such a dubious deal? Is this the kind of questionable conduct we can expect from the new minister?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I said, during that time my department had an internal audit on that matter and all the questions were dealt with. As a matter of fact the auditor general in his report quoted the internal audit.

The question of the transparency was dealt with and everything was done according to treasury board policy.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill NDP Bras D'Or, NS

Mr. Speaker, in Cape Breton, Liberal values mean contracts offered to golf buddies of the Prime Minister: a friend under RCMP investigation who got ministerial help arranging a sole source contract from ACOA that saw hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on renting empty offices. These are the values laid out in the auditor general's report today.

Will the new unelected minister for ACOA be responding to these documented abuses before Canadians are forced to go to the polls?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I can continue on and repeat the same thing. Everything was in order. Everything was done according to the rules. The department had at that time an internal audit and confirmed that everything was done according to the rules in terms of space. The partners for that space did not come through and ACOA was able to rent the extra space to the government of Nova Scotia.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Internal e-mails to NRCan show that the heritage minister intervened on behalf of a company to permit them to manufacture less energy efficient refrigerators for 18 months beyond the current regulation in the guise of protecting jobs.

Yet Camco's own internal documents, which I have here, show that it will be sourcing those same refrigerators from the United States 18 months from now anyway. This is a very precarious precedent for industries and companies who invest in environmental technology due to governmental regulations.

The minister is not concerned about jobs in Alberta for which she makes regulations. Why are jobs in Hamilton more important than jobs in Alberta?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Timiskaming—Cochrane Ontario

Liberal

Ben Serré LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the government must strike a balance between our environmental goals and job creation and economic development. We believe it is very important to save 300 jobs for Canadians.

TransportationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general has identified many inconsistent and unfair practices in dealing with Canada's airports. Toronto gets a $185 million rent reduction right out of the blue, while documents from the ministry of transport show that Moncton airport will be in a deficit position for 20 years.

Why does the minister have a special deal for the airport in his own area and nothing for anybody else? Why the double standard? Why the special treatment?

TransportationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the hon. member that the devolution of Canada's airports was one of the most successful programs initiated by the government.

It is a program that has improved quality, has put management into the hands of local entrepreneurs, has responded to the needs of local communities and has given the kind of investment that the public sector would have had to pay for but is now being paid for by users.

The regime that has been put into effect is an accountable one and one that has had uniform application across the country. It has been tough in negotiating some of these deals because airports have not liked the fact that we have to be consistent. This has been consistent.

Economic DiversificationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Réginald Bélair Liberal Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Veterans Affairs, who is also the minister responsible for western economic diversification and for francophonie.

The Commissioner of Official Languages has just released her 1999-2000 annual report. In connection with economic development, the commissioner acknowledges the efforts of Western Economic Diversification in helping to bolster linguistic duality and the vitality of francophone communities outside Quebec.

Would the secretary of state share with us how his department obtained such results?

Economic DiversificationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalSecretary of State (Western Economic Diversification) (Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, first of all, allow me to thank the commissioner for her report.

We followed a very simple formula. We went out into the francophone communities and listened to the people. We asked them what their priorities were. We were able to provide them with some funding, modest amounts, yet important.

The women and men in those communities went ahead and implemented their plans, with highly successful outcomes.

We shall continue with the same approach.

Grants And ContributionsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the information commissioner has been bullied by the government but fortunately he has not bowed out. The auditor general is being swept aside as if his reports were not important, but they are. We hear from HRDC about the thousands of grant applications that have been handled incompetently, with money being used questionably. We see from the auditor general on the CIDA grants that a $6.3 million contract was approved contrary to the rules.

Is there nothing that this Prime Minister will not do to help his friends?

Grants And ContributionsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say at this moment that when a person is in public administration all sorts of problems can occur.

Because the Leader of the Opposition was a senior minister from Alberta, I would like to refer to what the report of the auditor general of Alberta said specifically about human resources. It showed that human resources programs were always a challenge for any government.

I am sure the government of Alberta appreciates the report issued last week by the auditor general on the human resources and employment departments.

In looking at the departments' skills development program, the auditor found evidence of significant overpayments. He also found that the controls within the departments were not adequate to ensure proper record keeping—

Grants And ContributionsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Berthier—Montcalm.

Information Commissioner's ReportOral Question Period

October 17th, 2000 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have seen it in question after question. The government has decided to attack the public's right to information.

The commissioner even told us in his report that the career advancement of his employees was threatened in no uncertain terms.

Will the Minister of Justice tell us whether she intends to launch an investigation in response to these serious accusations by the information commissioner?

Information Commissioner's ReportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the allegations made by the information commissioner are very serious. I would presume that if he has evidence to back up those allegations he will be making that available to me. I would ask that he make that available to me, to the President of the Treasury Board and to others so that we can follow up on the information he has.

HousingOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week the unelected minister for Nova Scotia announced funds for the homeless in the Halifax-Dartmouth area. This is the same announcement, of the same money, the government made over eight months ago.

It is starting to get cold out and in Canada homeless people die on the streets every winter. In Halifax-Dartmouth we need youth and women's shelters. We need qualify affordable housing now.

Why has the government held up funds for over eight months? Was it so that the unelected senator could re-announce the money on the eve of an election? Why are the Liberals playing pre-election politics with the lives of the homeless?