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House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, on October 27, 1997, Human Resources Development Canada had the hon. member for Rosemont approve a project to create 106 jobs in his riding.

On December 16—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, on October 27, 1997, Human Resources Development Canada had the hon. member for Rosemont approve a project to create 106 jobs in his riding.

On December 16, 42 jobs were approved by HRDC. On April 9, 1998, the file was transferred to the Prime Minister's riding and, five days later, the sum of $165,984 was paid out in the Prime Minister's riding.

Are we to understand that the reason the project dates have disappeared from the minister's new lists is simply to prevent us from making such discoveries?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have made the comments about the individual project, and my officials continue to look at it.

The hon. member makes reference to the list. We have provided to the House an unprecedented volume and scope of information at the request of members of the House. That information is available. It should be used. If there continue to be questions on individual projects we will answer them.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claimed that there was only an overpayment of $250 in this whole issue. This week, he increased the figure to $5,960 for the whole country.

Today, February 24, 2000, at 2.35 p.m., does the minister realize that we are not talking about $5,960 for all of Canada, but an amount of $165,984 earmarked for the riding of Rosemont that disappeared only to resurface somewhere in the Prime Minister's riding?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we know where the money has gone. We are following up on this particular project.

As we have promised, we have provided information to the House so that members of parliament who are interested can understand where federal tax dollars are going and how indeed this money has helped the citizens in their communities.

Health CareOral Question Period

February 24th, 2000 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, since taking office the government has increased spending on corporate welfare, pork barrel spending and patronage for its big business friends, but at the same time has cut health care spending by two-thirds or $21 billion.

Given that Canadians think health care is a more important priority than corporate welfare, why has the government and the Minister of Finance placed a higher priority on corporate welfare to companies like Wal-Mart than on health care spending for Canadians?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, this is absolute nonsense. Transfers to the provinces for health care are now at an all time high.

Having said that, Reform is the party which has advocated massive tax cuts for the rich. That is the party that in the past has called for eliminating all subsidies in terms of equalization, getting rid of all subsidies for farmers and actually cutting health care. They cannot have it both ways.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the only way the minister could answer the question and justify the government's increased spending on corporate welfare and cuts to health care is by misrepresenting, I am sure incidentally, the position—

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Let us be very clear. We want to get low income people who are below the poverty line off the tax rolls and we want increased spending on health care.

Why does the government continue to place a greater priority on corporate welfare for its big business friends than on increased spending for health care and tax relief for working families?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the Reform Party flat tax, let me quote:

But which side of the argument would you choose...The side that appears to spend the bulk of future surpluses on better off Canadians, or the one that bows to middle income earners and leaves more room for debt reduction and health spending?

That is from the Edmonton Journal of February 2.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, up to now the Minister of Human Resources Development has been unable to identify the criteria for awarding grants under the transitional jobs fund.

I would ask the Minister of Human Resources Development if the criteria were developed by riding or region, in writing, or were they based on flexibility or oral instructions to officials?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have said on a number of occasions that there is a certain flexibility in the transitional jobs fund that has allowed it to respond to local issues.

It is because of that flexibility that we have transitional jobs fund projects and Canada jobs fund projects in the ridings of many Bloc members of parliament.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have here a document from a Department of Human Resources Development office in downtown Montreal, which indicates that the minister is unaware of what is going on in her department, because this document mentions to two criteria: job creation in a priority sector and the creation of a minimum of ten jobs. Many projects do not meet these two criteria.

Will the minister recognize the increasing importance of revealing the criteria used to award grants?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again let me say that there is a degree of flexibility in the transitional jobs fund and the Canada jobs fund so that local officials can respond to local needs.

Surely that party is not suggesting that all the decisions should be made in Ottawa. Surely that party recognizes that the Government of Quebec has been involved in all the decisions on those projects.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the HRD minister gave a Toronto group called CANDO $1.15 million in taxpayer cash, and $100,000 of that cash went directly into the pocket of a CANDO employee.

The president of CANDO says that repeated attempts to get the minister's department involved in recovering the money have been ignored. Why did the minister promise to investigate fraud and recover taxpayer money but did absolutely nothing when asked?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let me confirm for the House that CANDO has already referred the matter to the police. The matter concerns an employee of the organization and as such it is inappropriate for me to say anything further.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, CANDO had to refer the matter to the police because the minister would not do a thing about it.

Even when the minister was alerted that the local HRDC office response was to take the money from one account and put it into another to cover the missing cash, there was absolutely no response from the minister.

Again, why did she promise to protect taxpayers and to look into this matter when she did absolutely nothing when asked?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member that this is a matter about an employee of the company itself. The company has referred the matter to the police and the police are investigating.

CinarOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government has got us used to the policy of “Not guilty unless caught in the act”.

Now the refrain seems to be instead “Apologies accepted, you are forgiven, provided some money found its way into my coffers, of course”.

My question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Can she tells us whether the government plans to enter into a repayment program with CINAR so that this company will not be faced with legal proceedings later, having acknowledged that it was guilty of fraudulent actions?

CinarOral Question Period

2:40 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, obviously, and I think that everyone in this House is well aware of this, one of the fundamental principles of taxation is the confidentiality of records. Under the Income Tax Act, CINAR's files are confidential.

Now, to pick up on what the hon. member was alluding to, there is a program of voluntary disclosure in place, one of which I as Minister of National Revenue am particularly proud, and it is part of the initiative for fairness. It enables us to provide better services to all taxpayers. Access to this voluntary disclosure program requires exactly that: voluntary disclosure.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—Assiniboine, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the premiers of Manitoba and Saskatchewan today announced additional help for farmers who have been struggling with low returns from their crops. Would the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food tell the House the amount of assistance involved and some of the details?