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House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Women's MarchOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first let me say there is no doubt this is a very important measure, and we support it 100%.

Next, it may be seen from past budgets that we have always taken the needs of women into account, and we certainly intend to do so in the future.

Women's MarchOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is clear from the Minister of Finance's response that there is a need for specific measures.

Here are some that women have proposed: increasing international aid to .7% of the GNP; unconditionally transferring to Quebec money intended for parental leave, so it may be universal; and providing the provinces with major funding to develop daycare services.

Could the Minister of Finance tell us what kind of commitment he is prepared to make for the women of Quebec and Canada?

Women's MarchOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I consider the hon. member to be making representation with her question. It was well put, and we will give it due consideration.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, two years ago the government was handing out student loans. Two years ago the government was handing out grants and contributions. The only thing that has changed in the last two years is the minister.

Why is it that in the last two years we have seen her department increase bad debt write-offs by 700% under her leadership?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again I point out to the hon. member that the files to which he refers are sometimes six or seven years old and sometimes even older than that. As part of good management we look at the files and determine at what point we write off the debt.

Let me say that on this side of the House we continue to be committed to helping Canadians across the country by ensuring that they can benefit from our new and growing economy. On that side of the House it is absolutely clear that is seen as being a waste. I would ask those members how they face their own constituents who are involved in these programs and benefiting from them when they are calling them a waste.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, forgive me for challenging the minister but she does not exactly have a stellar record on these issues. The only thing we can do is refer to the numbers. The numbers do not tell a very good story: from $50 million two years ago in bad debt write-offs to $344 million today. That is a horrible record by anybody's standards, maybe even hers.

How can she justify that type of huge increase in bad debt write-offs under her leadership? She is responsible.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I think the record will show that I have taken responsibility for the administration of my department. I think the record will show, as will progress reports, as will the voice of the auditor general, that this government takes very seriously accountability and management of taxpayer dollars.

I would encourage the hon. member to look at the facts, to look at the progress reports and to recognize the changes that have occurred in my department, and to give credit where credit is due.

ShippingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the 1993 election campaign, the Prime Minister came to the Lévis shipyard and pledged to act quickly to help the marine industry. Seven years later, on the eve of another election campaign, nothing has been done.

What does the Prime Minister have to say to the workers who are here today to hold him accountable?

ShippingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is well aware that the bill is being reviewed by the Standing Committee on Finance.

Also, we have had consultations with interested stakeholders from across the shipbuilding industry, including shipbuilders, shipowners and workers. We have received many suggestions and we can look at them. Let us also not forget that there is an excess capacity of about 40% in that industry. That is the fundamental problem.

ShippingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, when he is in trouble, the Minister of Industry always resorts to nice rhetoric and endless consultations.

How can the minister reconcile his grand speeches to marine workers with the fact that he, along with other Liberal members, did not support my bill, which essentially seeks to help the marine industry and its workers?

ShippingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the real question from the Bloc Quebecois and the Progressive Conservative Party is: How much of the taxpayers' money do they want to give, through subsidies, to an industry that has an excess capacity? They are only interested in subsidies, and that is the fundamental problem.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, forgive me if I am wrong but I imagine that if you were a minister of the crown responsible for administering billions of dollars and you had a report saying that all of a sudden write-offs under your responsibility have increased by nine times, or 700%, you might just take the time to find out why.

It is clear this afternoon that the HRD minister does not know why there is a ninefold increase in write-offs in her department.

Can she explain to us precisely why there is this huge, aberrant increase in write-offs that are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member might want to ask his own leader for some details on that.

I note that when the leader of that party was a provincial MLA he was happy to welcome $20 million in loan guarantees from the Alberta government for Fletcher's Fine Foods in his riding, saying that it would boost local jobs. Unfortunately this undertaking did not come to fruition. It went bad and the government of Alberta was left with a bill for $14 million. I wonder if it wrote that off.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is so weak that she does not even know how to evade a question properly. It is unbelievable.

We are asking serious, straight questions about a serious, sober matter regarding a ninefold, 700% increase in write-offs in her department. By responding with obvious evasions like that, she is indicating that she does not know what happened to the missing money.

Can she tell the House why there was a ninefold increase in write-offs costing hundreds of millions of dollars to Canadian taxpayers? Can she tell us, yes or no, with no evasions?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what I am trying to point out to the hon. gentleman is that in the process of governing and making investments there are from time to time overpayments. There are from time to time bad debts, whether it be in the Government of Canada or in the government of Alberta.

On this side of the House we will not stop investing in young Canadians. We will not stop investing in the Canada student loan program for people who want to get an education and participate in the economy. We know that is the right thing to do. On that side we know that they will not accept it.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Human Resources Development Canada has listed the amount of $165,984 under the heading “Losses of public money due to an offence, illegal act or accident” in the 1999-2000 public accounts.

Since this amount corresponds exactly to the amount received by the company which moved from the riding of Rosemont to the Prime Minister's riding, will the minister confirm that this is indeed the same company, 3393062 Canada Inc.?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a number of occasions, when it comes to that particular file, it is under investigation and it is inappropriate for me to comment further.

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Fontana Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in recent days, to our great regret and sorrow, we have witnessed the resumption of violence and death in certain areas of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

We all fear that the recent hostilities will impede the negotiations toward a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. The hopes and prayers of millions of Canadians and people around the world are with Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat to give peace a real chance for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House what is Canada's reaction to the disturbing developments in the Middle East?

Middle EastOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank the member for a very timely question.

I want to tell the House that yesterday I issued a statement on behalf of the government in which we condemned all acts of violence, especially those that affected vulnerable civilians. The same message was repeated in the security council by a representative. We have also given the same message to the representatives of the Palestinian authority and the government of Israel.

In particular, we urge all parties to refrain from any unilateral action that would provoke further violence or further disruption. In that case I have to say the visit of Mr. Sharon was ill timed and ill considered in this context.

I also want to report to the House that through our office in Ramallah we are providing assistance for emergency medical aid and are considering other forms of humanitarian aid.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

October 4th, 2000 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the public accounts of Canada under illegal offences and illegal acts, there is an amount for $165,984 that was paid out by the Department of Human Resources Development. The statement says it was paid to a promoter not having met his or her requirements under the TJF program in the province of Quebec.

Could the minister please tell us who received this money under fraudulent pretences from the Government of Canada?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I just answered that question.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, grants are public knowledge. Beneficiaries or recipients of grants are public knowledge.

The minister already said today that she makes sure that every effort is made to collect this money, including laying criminal charges if necessary. Therefore I think that we are entitled to the name of this person from the minister. I ask her again to come clean and tell us who has been defrauding the Government of Canada.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, there are parts that the hon. member who asked the question earlier made reference to in the context of Rosemont. The House knows that that file is under investigation and as such I will not make further comment.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending NDP Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

Eighty billion litres of toxic discharge from the Adams mine threatens clean water in Ontario and Quebec and it seems that the minister simply does not care. Toronto will vote on this contract this week.

In March the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development received a petition from a first nation to protect its water. Six months after that request and three years into this project, why is there no federal environmental assessment?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how many times I have to tell the New Democratic Party that we are bound by the law and constitution which respect the division of responsibilities between provincial and federal governments.

I would point out that the concern expressed with respect to Quebec was in fact dealt with by a Quebec report. I quote the press release of the Quebec government which said:

According to this analysis, the project will have no significant environmental impact on Lac Témiscamingue if the conditions of the Ontario Minister of the Environment's certificate of authorization are met by promoters.