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House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. Members are entitled to give answers and ask questions without interruptions of this kind. I know that hon. members will want to be very careful in the choice of words they use.

AgricultureOral Question Period

February 11th, 2000 / 11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

We learned today, in the midst of a desperate situation for farmers, that the Saskatchewan government terminated its 40% share of funding in the joint federal-provincial agricultural assistance program.

Will the 60% federal share continue to be given to our farmers? What is the minister doing to secure a new nation-wide program on farm income to help our farmers?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the Saskatchewan government, even though it signed an agreement to participate with a 40% portion to assist its farmers in a targeted method, has been asking to withdraw.

I have given it the opportunity, if it wishes to withdraw. I have guaranteed the farmers that the federal money will be targeted to those farmers with serious difficulty. If the Saskatchewan government wants to send money to farmers whether they need it or not, for whatever reason, to do that it will now have the opportunity to discuss that with the producers.

We will target our money and we will continue to improve the criteria for the 1999 program.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, when an automobile manufacturer finds a flaw in a sample of vehicles, then all of the vehicles are recalled and the fault is corrected.

A one-half per cent sample of the files in HRDC has shown an 80% rate of accountability failure. It is statistically valid to conclude that about 24,000 of the 30,000 files have faulty administration or documentation.

How can the Prime Minister reduce this to $251.50?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member, as usual, is wrong in his assertions. The Prime Minister is saying that 37 projects are being audited. So far there is a question of $250. More projects are being audited.

The general point is that the sum of $1 billion of projects from which the sample was extracted was found by the audit report to be the subject in some cases of administrative problems. They did not find misappropriation. They did not find political interference. The six point program of the hon. minister of HRD to correct the problems has been heartily approved.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Prime Minister and the hon. House leader love to refer to all of the grants received by the opposition ridings, as if to imply that we are part of the problem over on that side.

I would ask the hon. Prime Minister if he would show me an opposition riding in which business cronies and criminals got millions of dollars, just as they did in the Prime Minister's riding when he interfered with the process.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's premise for his question is totally wrong.

The Prime Minister has not interfered with the process. The decisions were made by officials according to the rules. I hope that is the case in the hon. member's riding and others, where Reform and other opposition members pleaded in writing for support from these programs. They pleaded, they begged, and now they are saying they do not like the programs. What a double standard.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of HRD.

Can the minister explain why in May 1997 the Liberal member representing Vancouver East qualified for a TJF, and why two weeks later, after the federal election, there were no further funds to this riding, which is very poor compared to the minister's own riding which did get funds? Even the website that the minister is so proud of says that TJF is available in northern Ontario only.

How does the minister explain these glaring contradictions?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize that the hon. member represents one of the poorest and most challenged regions in this country, Vancouver East.

I would like to recognize that we invest significantly, and I think very wisely, in that area and we will continue to do so.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has not answered the question about the contradiction.

I know that my riding is not an exception. That is why we in the NDP have repeatedly demanded in question period, in committee and on the order paper a full disclosure from the government.

Yesterday the minister said to the leader of the NDP that she could make it easy for us all if she put a question on the order paper. Well, we did, before that.

But the real question is, why is this minister making it so hard to get public information and full disclosure?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, my intention is not to make it difficult, and as I have said on numerous occasions today, given the conversations that we had yesterday at committee, I have gone back to people in my department and asked them to look at the 40 different grants and contributions to see if they can pick the information out, put it together in some kind of reasonable fashion, which then could be provided to members of parliament for their use.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour NDP Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, can the minister of HRD tell the House how many TJF projects were publicly announced by regional ministers without the recommendation in support of the projects from the elected member of parliament from that riding?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, that too sounds like a question for the order paper.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I must say that I agree.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour NDP Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the only losers in this scandal are the people living in high unemployment regions.

I believe that this program can work if we take the political influence out of it. I myself learned through the media that the regional minister at the time had approved and announced $80,000 in TJ funds against my own recommendation. That company has since then closed and no jobs were created.

We need job creation programs, but we do not need the abuse of the government. What will the minister do to make sure the abuse stops?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again, when looking at the transitional jobs fund, the hon. member herself I think recognizes the importance to her region which that program has had.

We believe that there is a way in which to work in ridings with community members, with the support of members of parliament and others, to make sure our investments are wise and continue to provide opportunities for those who need opportunities.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

In 1997 the minister appointed a panel of distinguished Canadians, led by former House Speaker John Fraser, to monitor a major program of change initiatives within the Canadian Forces. Recently that committee reported its findings.

What is the minister's reaction to this important report and, in particular, what is going to be done to continue the professional development of officers in the Canadian Forces?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the report from members of the monitoring committee, which I appointed a couple of years ago, is most welcome. It clearly indicates that reforms are taking place.

We asked them to monitor over 300 reforms that came from the Somalia commission and numerous other reports on change to the Canadian Forces. They said such things as: “We believe that the reform program is gaining momentum. The department and the Canadian Forces have substantially met the goals of the reform measures”. It is a very positive report.

Those recommendations which are still outstanding—

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a copy of our access request for the infamous audit for which the minister tries to avoid taking responsibility. This request is dated January 17, 2000 and was delivered by courier to the department.

On the 18th the minister announced that she would be holding a news conference to discuss something, and on the 19th, in the interest of transparency, she made the audit public. I wonder if these dates are merely a coincidence. Is that what the minister is trying to tell us?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I understand the question.

Let me say that the whole undertaking was one which began with the receipt of the internal audit, which I took very seriously, and I directed the department to make it a priority, with an undertaking to make the report public so the Canadian people would know that we have opportunities to make significant improvements and to assure Canadians that we are going to fix the problems.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, in August, when she took over the department, the minister discovered she had inherited an administration that was coming out of the Middle Ages. This, at least, is the excuse she is giving to exonerate herself.

Who then must be held accountable for the administrative mess in her department: the current deputy minister or the minister's predecessor, who is now the Minister for International Trade?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again, I am the minister who received the report of the internal audit. I am the minister who is going to fix the problem.

Public WorksOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Last week the Barrett Commission in British Columbia urged the federal government to finally join in assisting the owners of leaky condominiums who face average repair costs of $25,000 per unit.

When will the minister finally join the Government of British Columbia in responding to this economic and social disaster with grants, with tax relief and with no interest loans to the province of British Columbia? When will he finally listen to the people of British Columbia?