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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was relationships.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I received a copy of an e-mail communication between the supervisor of an HRDC office in northern Ontario and other staff which raises question about the MP's role in awarding HRDC grants. The communication states:

I suspect that the MP will want some projects funded that will not meet the apparent objectives of the JCP.

The member in question is now a cabinet minister and former parliamentary secretary to HRDC.

This culture of political influence demands investigation, so I have a question for the Prime Minister. Will he appoint an independent public inquiry to get to the bottom of this mess?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as part of the program, the transitional jobs funding and indeed the Canada jobs fund, we felt it wise to include members of parliament who should know their communities, although I think we are going to find, as we just did, that many of them are not aware of the grants and contributions given to their ridings. Members who do know their communities can have a voice as senior elected federal officials in those ridings on grants and contributions and their application.

From our point of view that makes sense and I would think the hon. member would feel that way as well.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is ducking the issue. The question is whether or not projects were approved with members' involvement that do not meet the objectives of the program. The fact is that good programs are being poisoned now for political purposes.

I have forwarded a copy of this e-mail to the auditor general and asked that it be investigated. The political management of these funds is of huge concern to Canadians. Again, will the Prime Minister act in the public good and demand that there be an independent inquiry to get to the bottom of this mess?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I ask the hon. member where she has been in the last few weeks. There is an independent inquiry going on. It is being carried out by the auditor general, an officer of the House.

The hon. member ought to be wide awake when things are going on so she will know what is happening to deal with this serious situation in an effective and fair way, not the way she is handling it.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, once again Canadians are finding there is a direct contradiction between the propaganda that the Prime Minister is spouting about the HRDC scandal and what senior officials in his own department are saying.

The Prime Minister says $6,000 and senior officials say $90,000. The Prime Minister has constantly led Canadians to believe there was no problem. He has diminished and downplayed the amount of money that was not accounted for and the degree of misinformation that occurred. Who should Canadians trust, the officials who are simply doing their job and being asked to shoulder the blame, or the king of Shawinigan?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

We are getting more and more into nicknames. Please address each other as hon. members by referring to titles instead of by using nicknames. All that does is rile up the House.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to be able to clarify this point. I would reiterate that the Prime Minister is absolutely correct. Of the 37 projects that we are reviewing, 33 have been closed and we have identified an overpayment that we will try to collect in the area of $5,974.93.

With regard to the media article about the $83,000 that was portrayed as an overpayment, it is absolutely wrong. The official that the hon. member is referring to made that clear in a technical briefing today. Indeed the sponsor has multi-year contracts with the department and is advanced funds to assist with cash flow requirements.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, in documents released by HRDC a project in the riding of my colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche was listed as having been awarded $750,000 in TJF and the creation of 75 jobs. I can inform the House that the project, Atlantic Furniture Manufacturing, never did get off the ground. It never opened its doors and it certainly did not employ 75 people.

In light of yet another embarrassing blunder, how can Canadians have any faith in the misinformation recently released by the HRDC minister?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to confirm again for the House and for Canadians that 95% of the transitional jobs fund projects are still working, are ensuring that Canadians are employed, and are making a difference.

The hon. member has to appreciate that there are going to be some projects in areas that do not fulfil our expectations. We are talking about taking risk here. We are talking about going into communities where no one else will go. That is the job of the Government of Canada and that is what Canadians want.

Air IndustryOral Question Period

February 21st, 2000 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport. Since Pearson International Airport is in my riding of Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, many of my constituents want increased international air services for Canada with increased competition from overseas airlines.

Could the minister explain why the government is not doing more to help Canadian carriers get a large share of international air routes?

Air IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ with my distinguished colleague, but the air restructuring that we are going through has meant the opening up of more transborder routes to the United States and more international routes to Asia and to the Atlantic. Many of those routes will be going from Toronto as well as from the other larger cities across the country.

Last week I gave approval for Canada 3000 and Air Transat to fly to the United Kingdom and to Germany. There have been applications from Canada 3000 to fly Southeast Asian routes. There will be more and more choices and more and more competition that will be offered from Canadian cities on international routes.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Reform Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, the 1997 audit pointed out that there was political interference in the granting of transitional jobs funds. Bureaucrats said they had no choice but to approve the projects from the Prime Minister's riding.

How could the Minister of Human Resources Development expect to maintain the confidence of Canadian taxpayers when dollars are skewed and numbers are skewed as to the job creation figures? Is it simply to support, fill and augment the Prime Minister's political patronage trough?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member in the premise to his question is completely wrong. If he wants to talk about results then maybe he should look at the list of transitional jobs fund projects. If he wants to talk about it being skewed, indeed it is skewed in favour of opposition members.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I asked a very simple question of the Minister of Human Resources Development as to whether her predecessor had delegated his signing authority to his deputy minister, Mel Cappe.

The question is very easy to answer: it is either yes or no. I would ask her to answer me, unless she allows her predecessor, if he has the permission of the government to answer questions, to tell the House whether Mr. Cappe did or did not have authority to sign on behalf of the minister who headed the department at the time and who is now the Minister for International Trade.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, there is no requirement to undertake this, to create this delegation of authority. As I have said before, what is required is to ensure that the terms and conditions of programs and projects are undertaken. What is required is to make sure that the integrity of our programs, our grants and contributions is maintained.

From my point of view as Minister of Human Resources Development there is work I have to undertake to ensure that the administration of grants and contributions is improved, and I will do that.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, gasoline now costs 71.9 cents a litre in Bathurst, while diesel is at 79.4 cents a litre in Yarmouth, the highest level in ten years.

Canadians are discouraged and now truckers from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are protesting at the New Brunswick border against this drastic increase in the price of gasoline. Some of them even think they may have to hand over their trucks to the banks.

Will the federal government finally act, or will it wait until the situation becomes a national crisis?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the price of oil has actually doubled since last year. Taxes went up by only one cent.

This is not the problem for people buying gasoline. The problem is not taxes, but the fact the price of oil has doubled.

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, in 1995 the Minister of Finance introduced a new tax on gasoline of one and a half cents per litre. This was supposed to be a deficit reduction tax.

Now that the deficit has been eliminated, when will the government be removing this tax?

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I would urge the member opposite, who was part of a government which certainly did not reduce taxes but raised taxes when going into a recession, to wait for the budget which will be one week from today, when he will see what this government's priorities are in terms of future tax reductions.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw the attention of members to the presence in our gallery of Alain Richard, Minister of Defence of the French Republic.

Also in the gallery is the Hon. Anna Thistle, President of the Treasury Board, and the Hon. Beaton Tulk, Minister of the Department of Development and Rural Renewal, both of the House of Assembly of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, you will recall that, last Thursday, the Minister of Canadian Heritage accused me of stockpiling Canadian flags sent me by her department.

I seek the permission of the House to table these flags.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

This is not in order.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I do not in any way wish to question your ruling, but it seems to me that, as soon as consent is sought, the simplest thing—

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. Nothing has been used, named or said today with respect to the matter at issue. But, assuming that it had, is there unanimous consent for the hon. member to table these objects?