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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

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a few minutes ago I quoted the auditor general, who said that the Minister of Human Resources Development had taken the steps necessary when she put her six point program in place to ensure that any abuse would be corrected.

He said that one of the department's problems was its desire to provide very quick service to the public and the fact that files were not totally complete as the result. However, he said that no politician or public official had tried to benefit from all of these transactions or succeeded in doing so. The member should recognize this if he is at all honest.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the subject of recognizing things, should the Prime Minister not be recognizing the fact that it was only after some ten interventions in the House, after he denied it and the Minister of Human Resources Development denied it, that the government was forced to face facts and, to avoid totally losing face, ordered investigations, including an unprecedented four in his own riding?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I know they are incapable of establishing anything clearly and so they try to make people guilty by association.

The auditor general has said that no official either in my office, or in the department or any of those involved, including myself, had any involvement in these files. This is what the auditor general said and he thanked the minister for setting up a program that works. He is very satisfied with what we are doing now. I can see that the Bloc Quebecois is rather discouraged by the situation.

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. He will be aware there are reports that the staff of a certain medical treatment centre in Manitoba, funded by Health Canada, are now not on their first but on their second cruise ship event this year disguised as professional development.

I wonder if the Minister of Health could tell us just what on earth is going on: two cruises in a year in the name of professional development while the place is shut down and people who need treatment are not getting it.

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I find these allegations just as troubling. I share the member's concern.

We have been informed orally by the president of the foundation in question that there was no Health Canada money used for those purposes. Notwithstanding, I have asked the deputy minister to carry out a forensic audit.

I can tell the member and I can tell the House that if it is found that any public money was used for these purposes we will demand its return.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer, but it is not only through government programs that money is wasted. It is also through various tax loopholes.

The Minister of National Revenue will perhaps be aware that in the case called project loophole, pursued by a person from Winnipeg by the name of George Harris, the federal court has now ruled in his favour, once more in spite of federal government obstruction on this matter.

Could the minister give us the assurance that the federal government will stop obstructing this and finally account for how it allowed a particular family to get away without paying $700 million in taxes?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I can say first that there is no obstruction at all from the agency. Second, it is a very important matter. It implies some question of confidentiality, so it concerns each and every taxpayer.

I would like to say as well that the case is pending in court. We are in the process of proceeding within the timeframe we have as per the legislation.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to pursue the issue of secret deals made by the government which were raised by the auditor general's report. In particular I want to refer to Downsview Park. The auditor general said:

Normally, when a new Crown corporation is established with unique operating characteristics, it receives a mandate from Parliament through legislation establishing a parent Crown corporation.

Instead in the Downsview case the Prime Minister acted by order in council. Will he tell the House of Commons what he was trying to hide when he kept the Downsview corporation away—

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we did not try to hide anything. The creation of this corporation was undertaken in a manner which was consistent with the role and authority of parliament as expressed through legislation governing crown corporations.

Downsview Park does not receive any appropriations from the Government of Canada. Almost all revenues for the development of the park are generated by leasing lands adjacent to the park.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general says during 1999-2000 national defence spent approximately $4.8 million. Is that nothing?

My question is for the Minister of National Defence. Because the auditor general said that those funds were not a valid charge against the national defence budget, why did the Minister of National Defence let that money be spent on purposes that were invalid? Will he stop those practices and get the money back to national defence?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, all those moneys were spent on legitimate purposes. This property is still in the ownership of the Department of National Defence. There are defence uses on that property. There has been for quite a number of years moneys paid from national defence for the upkeep of those properties to the corporation responsible for managing the entire site.

There was a sum of money that went through one of the accounts, a vote 1 account from parliament which was the wrong account. Funds have stopped going from that account. We have asked for a business plan, but the funds have all been spent on legitimate purposes.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

October 18th, 2000 / 2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, people have said to me just get used to the fact that in question period the Prime Minister will not respond and he will resort to insults and all kinds of negative associations. I will never get used to that but I will ask the questions.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

And so I will ask the question. The auditor general says things have been done wrongly. The information commissioner says things have been done wrongly. In a rare moment of unity all the opposition parties are saying things have been done wrongly. The media, bless their hearts, are saying things have been done wrongly. Canadians are saying things have been done wrongly.

Will the Prime Minister simply stand and either say he has done nothing wrong or apologize?

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said and I repeat that with an administration, either the government of Alberta or the Government of Canada, yes sometimes there are problems and we try to resolve them.

Let us look at what we have done in the last seven years, look at the record of this government. When we entered office the country was bankrupt and there was unemployment.

I will talk to Canadian people about what we have done in the House of Commons. We will go there. The hon. member challenged me to talk to the Canadian people. Very soon we will talk to the Canadian people. They will know the values of the Liberal Party and that party over there which proposes to eliminate any good programs that help the poor in Canada.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, our budget program will help the poor and will take 1.4 million low income Canadians from having to pay federal taxes at all. His will not do that.

He talked about administration and doing a few things wrong. Only a handful of cases were even reviewed by the Prime Minister in terms of HRD. I think it was 76. It launched 12 RCMP investigations. Is the RCMP wrong, or will you simply stand and apologize?

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I ask members to direct their questions to the Chair.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have had programs. It will be very interesting to go to the people because we are proud of all these programs.

The Leader of the Opposition said he wants to scrap them. All I want to know from the Canadian people is whether it was wrong for us to have spent $48 million every year on literacy programs.

Was it wrong to spend $318 million devoted to training for the aboriginal community? Was it wrong to spend $334 million for youth employment programs? Was it wrong to spend $220 million on programs for people with disabilities? Those people over there do not care about the poor and the—

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Repentigny.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the dark saga is still unfolding.

In his report, the auditor general mentions a blatant case of patronage. I am referring to Groupe SM, which was awarded a CIDA contract without going through the bidding process, which is in violation of the rules.

Does the Minister for International Cooperation justify this preferential treatment by the fact that between 1994 and 1999 Groupe SM contributed $90,000 to the Liberal Party of Canada?

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The question is out of order.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Repentigny may put his supplementary.