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House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is quite the coincidence. Here is another example of how the government is controlling information.

The Bloc Quebecois has been trying for months to get information through the access to information process. In spite of repeated requests, complaints and questions in the House, we had to wait for the release of the auditor general's report to know what is really going on.

Does the minister feel that it is not in the public's interest to shed more light on this case of patronage?

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Beaches—East York Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I do not know from where the member gets his information. First, all the access to information requests are dealt with as expeditiously as possible.

Second, CIDA has a competitive system which we introduced in 1996 which was not in existence prior to our government coming to power. According to the auditor general, CIDA has made efforts to make its selection process for competitive contracts more fair and transparent under our government.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the Liberal record on HRDC is completely shameful. When the Liberals took office in 1993 they knew there were deep management problems in that department. A new audit in 1994 confirmed that. Just yesterday the Auditor General of Canada found more of the same, and I quote: “We found widespread problems. We found that controls had broken down”. He said that public money had been put at risk.

How can Canadians trust a Liberal government that let this mess get worse year after year?

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I must use this question to clarify something very important.

Time and again the leader of the Alliance Party has said that $3 billion has been wasted and that has been repeated by his party's members. I want the House to understand that when he says that he is saying that the $15 million we invest every year for the Canada student loans program is a waste. He is saying that the $1 billion we transfer to the provinces every year for labour market training is a waste. He is saying that the $100 million we invest in communities across the country for homelessness is a waste.

Members of that party will either stand up and say that they will cut these programs or they will come clean and say they do not know what they are talking about.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, is that not interesting? The auditor general yesterday had something to say about that kind of answer. He said “The government has continued to understate the problem”. He confirmed that his findings of widespread mismanagement went beyond the problems we already knew about. Are misleading, hiding the truth, and grossly mismanaging public funds the real Liberal values?

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what the auditor general did say is that the actions and plans address the deficiencies that we found in our audit. He writes that the “commitments in the action plan are being met” and that “corrective actions go beyond the six point plan”. He said that HRDC has corrective actions planned and being implemented in response to the problems identified in its 1999 internal audit and “the actions and plans also address the deficiencies we found in our audit”.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is trying to take advantage of Bill C-44 amending the employment insurance program to slip by us a clause that would enable the government to divert for its own purposes the employment insurance fund surplus which does not belong to it.

Can the Prime Minister explain to the House how he can justify to employees and employers this attempt to legalize a hold-up of the employment insurance fund?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member feels so strongly, as do we, about the issues involved in Bill C-44, he would join with us and pass the bill as quickly as possible.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister and the Prime Minister would like to see Bill C-44 passed quickly. We have no problem with that if the purpose is to do the right thing for the unemployed.

My question is a simple one: Are they prepared to withdraw this clause which will enable them to get their hands on the employment insurance surplus so that we can get this bill through quickly, in a single day if need be?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Finance and the auditor general have asked us to clarify how premiums are calculated. In the bill we have committed to do just that. In the interim, to ensure stability, we have identified the premium reduction for this year and the governor in council will do it next year.

Economic StatementOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has gone back to his creative accounting tricks but was caught yesterday by the auditor general. The auditor general said that the five year tax reduction plan announced in the last budget was overstated by $7 billion. The tax reduction is just not there.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. If the auditor general says the numbers do not add up, why should Canadians think that the numbers that will be presented this afternoon will add up?

Economic StatementOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I am sure if the auditor general had the opportunity to look at the economic statement put out by the official opposition, he would have verified that there is about a $25 billion black hole there which is totally unaccounted for.

I would suggest that hon. members wait for about 65 minutes. In a few minutes we will be hearing directly from the minister on this very important announcement affecting all Canadians.

Economic StatementOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general said yesterday there was a $7 billion overstatement in the tax reduction and the way that he presents his numbers are suspect. The auditor general said “In our opinion, this results in misleading financial disclosure”. It is a serious indictment. Why should taxpayers believe the numbers this afternoon, when the auditor general said that the last ones do not add up?

Economic StatementOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the minister will be tabling an economic statement which will, unlike the opposition, show timing, show exact numbers. They will all be there respecting Canadians' right to see what is open and what is evident. Unlike the opposition we are not going to hide and we are not going to fudge on the figures.

ShipbuildingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are seeing the end of the Liberal regime at this time.

The government has had seven years to meet its commitments. Among those it has not met is one it has neglected right from the very beginning of its mandate toward the shipyards.

Has the Prime Minister asked his Minister of Finance to include in the mini-budget he will be bringing down this afternoon the appropriate measures which Canada's shipbuilding industry has been awaiting for years now?

ShipbuildingOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it would be unforgivable for me to scoop the finance minister. I value my life and my friendship too much. I shall not do it.

HealthOral Question Period

October 18th, 2000 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. A few months ago Health Canada issued an advisory that the drug known as Prepulsid would no longer be available to Canadians from pharmacies by summer's end. It also said that patients who do not respond to alternative therapies could obtain it through a special access program. Yet today patients who need this drug cannot access it, cannot obtain it. My question is why? What is Health Canada doing about this?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in May of this year Health Canada took this particular drug off the market because of reported difficulties with cardiac problems.

We recognize that there are some Canadians who do not respond to alternative treatments or therapies. Health Canada is doing two things. First of all, it is trying to persuade the manufacturer to make it available on special access requests. So far it has not but discussions continue. Second, we have identified a generic form of the drug, Cisapride, that can also treat serious gastrointestinal conditions. I am happy to announce that a source of Cisapride has been identified and authorized release from this source is currently in progress.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general's report says that the budget plan 2000 amounted to a misleading financial disclosure. Since the auditor general condemns the last budget as being error ridden and rife with misconceptions, tax cut overstatements and spending understatements, will the Prime Minister admit that his Liberal budget creations have everything to do with electioneering and very little to do with truth?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, please stay away from words which might incite us. Please do that.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, for a party which has said that it was going to bring a new sense of respect toward all Canadians, it is not respecting Canadians when it brings out its economic statements and it will not put figures to it and will not put a timeline to it. That is not respect.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, here is the respect the Liberal government has for Canadian taxpayers: weaknesses in contribution agreements; amendments made without supporting rationale; payments made for ineligible costs and expenses; and payments made without having claims submitted. This is taxpayers' money. On top of that there is the building of fountains in the Prime Minister's riding.

How can the government talk about respect when the Liberals have earned nothing, no measure of respect? They are suspect. There has been no measure of respect in seven years of governing this country.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I would simply invite Canadians to compare the economic program that will be put forward in a couple of minutes by our finance minister with that put forward by the official opposition to see who is really respecting the rights of all Canadians and not just the elite.

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Finance will be bringing down a mini-budget in preparation for a possible election.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will the money for this mini-budget to woo Canadian voters come from unemployed Canadian workers, from the much talked about EI surplus?

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

No, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Finance's statement will help the unemployed and all Canadians. I ask that all members support this fine initiative for the betterment of the Canadian people.