This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

ChechnyaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked a sad anniversary indeed.

On February 23, 1944, Stalin ordered the deportation of the Chechen people. Exasperated by this unsubdued people's constant rebellion against Russia and threat to its territorial integrity, Stalin decided to impose on them his “final solution”. He meted out similar treatment to other peoples, including the Qatari people, who never recovered from it.

On the pretext that the Chechens were collaborating with the enemy, 450,000 people, mostly women, children and the aged, were deported and spread through central Asia and Siberia. The men were at war with Germany. The international community kept quiet out for fear of damaging relations with Russia.

Truly, history repeats itself. The Chechen people, accused of terrorism today, are once again the victims of a dirty war. Although it has very politely raised its voice, the international community continues to put its own interests ahead of—

ChechnyaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Compton—Stanstead.

Refugee IdentificationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, in early winter, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced a pilot project whereby all refugee claimants would be issued identification cards. These cards would allow better access to social services.

There are advantages to this initiative, but I am perturbed the minister did not reveal this project to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. She had ample opportunity to do so when she appeared before the committee on November 24. That was just under a week before she announced this initiative. I find it hard to believe that the minister was not informed of the plan when she was at committee.

The identification of refugees could be a costly measure for taxpayers. I find it strange that the minister said nothing when she had the opportunity to do so.

When will the minister be informing the House on the progress of this pilot project?

Federal GovernmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, since their re-election in 1997, the Liberal members have banished democracy from the House of Commons. Elected representatives of this country no longer have freedom of speech.

There have already been 62 gag orders in the House. This is a sad record in the annals of Canadian political history. Of these, three were for the purpose of preventing Quebecers from expressing their views on the future of democracy in Quebec.

Every effort was made to ram through, without consultation, Bill C-20, a bill with no other purpose than to subjugate Quebec, as Claude Ryan has pointed out.

Democracy in this parliament has given way to arrogance and scorn, the trademark of the Prime Minister and his henchmen, including the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

In the next referendum, nothing will prevent the people of Quebec from making the break once and for all with this federal government, and they will do so by means of a democratic vote. That is clear.

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian truckers are facing a crisis as rising fuel costs are causing many to actually lose money every time they put their rigs on the road.

When questioned about the truckers' plight, the Prime Minister responded that it was not his problem, despite the fact that the federal government is collecting 15 cents on every litre of fuel.

Last year the federal government collected over $4.5 billion in fuel taxes, yet it only put $150 million back into Canada's highways.

Despite this massive surplus, the federal Liberals are refusing to provide any tax relief to our struggling truckers, even on a temporary basis. The Prime Minister would rather build fountains in his riding and give grants to companies like Wal-Mart and Videotron than provide tax relief for our truckers. Why? Because tax relief does not give the Liberals the opportunity for a photo-op.

Hopefully, the government will come to its senses before Canada's truckers—

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending NDP Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, thousands of farmers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are in dire straits this winter due to circumstances beyond their control. There are international subsidy wars going on and while our federal government has not supported our farmers, the Europeans and Americans have supported theirs.

This morning the federal Liberal government took a baby step in the right direction. After months of lobbying by the premiers of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and by our federal NDP caucus, the premiers and the Prime Minister announced $400 million in additional assistance to agriculture.

I want to welcome this announcement. Every bit helps. But having said that, it will not solve the farm income problem. What our farmers need is a long term program which will kick in and support their income every time it drops disastrously, as it has in the last two years.

We welcome this morning's announcement, but it does not get the federal government off the hook. There is a lot more to be done.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

February 24th, 2000 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government would love to distance itself from the billion dollar bungle at the Department of Human Resources Development, but unfortunately it is the government which gave it the money.

Since the government was elected the auditor general has repeatedly expressed concern about mismanagement of grants and contributions by this department.

After all of these revelations of mismanagement, waste and political interference, does the government still support spending millions of taxpayer dollars on the discredited Canada jobs fund?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government supports programs that help disabled people. The government supports programs that help students. The government supports people who need training and job experience. We support those programs, unlike the NDP.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Herb Gray Liberal Windsor West, ON

They should be supporting them. They are not and that is why they are doing so poorly.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, these programs help none of these people and these answers are an insult to the House of Commons and the Canadian people.

Canadians want action on this affair, not excuses. They want the mess at HRD to be cleaned up. They want these questionable files to be put out of the control of people in the department. They want ministers and those responsible removed from their positions and they want the suspension of these programs before more damage can be done.

When is the government going to stop protecting incompetent ministers and start protecting Canadian taxpayers?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have protected Canadian taxpayers by eliminating the $42 billion deficit, by bringing down the unemployment rate from more than 11% to 6%, by having record low interest rates and again today record low inflation. We have protected taxpayers by cutting $16 billion from the tax rolls, and we will have further cuts according to the Minister of Finance. That is how we protect taxpayers, not with the empty rhetoric and false innuendoes of the Leader of the Opposition.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I ask members to stay away from the word false.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have the ingredients of a bad movie. We have the tip of an iceberg that could sink the government over mismanagement. We have a captain of the Titanic blindly sailing to the iceberg. We have a minister of human resources over the bow of the ship saying “I can fly”. But it will not fly with Canadian taxpayers.

The only question left is: Would such a bad movie qualify for a federal government grant?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the nerve of the Leader of the Opposition. He is the captain of the Titanic , now renamed the Reform Party.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is Gone With the Wind . The Minister of Finance says this boondoggle is actually about job creation, but the government does not have a sweet clue as to how many jobs actually get created. He says it is about helping the needy, and yet Wal-Mart happens to be part of that category. We know that he likes to help the little guy. I will tell the House who he helps: the friends of the little guy from Shawinigan.

I am going to ask a specific question, and for once I would like a specific answer. Does the finance minister agree with the $200,000 taxpayer grant for the musical fountain in the Prime Minister's riding?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has stated his support for the programs administered by the HRD department because of what they do to enable Canadians to have better lives.

The hon. member is the first mate on the Reform ship Titanic . The first mate does not care about helping people to have better lives through training, through job experience, through permanent jobs. She ought to change her optics.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I can see the program now: “Fountains for a Better Life”, as if anyone is going to believe that.

The finance minister may sniff at $200,000 of taxpayers' money, but to Canadians that is a huge amount of money. They can make fun of it, but that is a lot of money.

The finance minister said that he supports the old style government job creation schemes and now the Deputy Prime Minister has agreed with that. It is nothing but shame that should be heaped on them for that.

I would ask again, does he agree with the Prime Minister's claim that this boondoggle of $200,000 for the fountain—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if I am not mistaken, the program was supported by the local municipality and the provincial government, which were not supporters of the Prime Minister. The project did some positive things for the community in the short run, and in the long run in terms of the tourist strategy.

I think my hon. friend should check her facts. She would then have a different view of this project and the other projects of the Human Resources Development Department in her area and all across Canada.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources Development told me that she was prepared to answer my questions after doing the necessary checks.

Let us return to the case of the riding of Rosemont. How does the minister explain that the company moved before April 9, 1998, that it received a grant on April 14 of the same year, and that the local HRDC office and the company's owner confirm that it moved to the riding of Saint-Maurice, the Prime Minister's riding, and received a grant in the amount of $165,984?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as promised, I asked my officials to look into this file and I can confirm these facts to the House.

In December 1997 the department approved a project under the transitional jobs fund for $165,948 to create 42 jobs in the riding of Rosemont. Relevant community partners were consulted, including the province and the local MP. The company discussed with the Montreal centreville HRDC office its difficulty in finding a suitable location in Rosemont. The local office agreed to fund the project as long as jobs would still be created in an area of high unemployment.

The company then located to an area of high unemployment.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a very simple question. Of all the luck that it should be impossible to find a place to locate a textile industry in Montreal. Montreal is the textile capital of Canada. Better to head to the pulp and paper capital in Shawinigan, but that is another story.

That having been said, how is it that the lists she has given us dated February 15, 2000, show the project as being located in the riding of Rosemont, not in the riding of Saint-Maurice?