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House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, you will remember René Fugère. He was the fellow who arranged for some TJF grants for the Auberge des Gouverneurs and the Auberge Grand-Mère . The trouble was that he was an unregistered lobbyist and for his work he got an ongoing investigation by the RCMP.

Why, when this same fellow, René Fugère, came along after the HRD minister's department twice rejected the application for another grant, was it suddenly manna from heaven and the minister's department approved a grant application from the Prime Minister's buddy?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, in this particular case we will obtain the details and provide them to the House.

I want to be clear that in all of these undertakings the intention was to create jobs to support Canadians in an area of high unemployment. In all of these undertakings the province of Quebec had to agree with the undertaking, and it did.

The federal government was but one partner in these undertakings. There are many others. Fundamentally, they have made a difference in this riding and in so many others of high unemployment. Canadians understand that.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the big question is, why did two applications in a row get turned down by the minister's departmental officials in HRD, but when Mr. Fugère came along it was pennies from heaven? That $300,000 was given even though the application had been rejected twice before.

While the minister is investigating she could look at a memo from August 3 which details how Mr. Fugère went on to say to the local human resources department in Shawinigan that he had another deal that he would like to talk to them about as well. Could she tell us what that deal is?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member again that in all of these undertakings the Government of Canada is but one partner. In the context of community development there are provincial partners, there are local partners, there are private sector partners. As a result of these undertakings Canadians who otherwise would not have an opportunity are working.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question as well has to do with Placeteco, which is still not under investigation at this time, but could be sooner than the government thinks.

The minister hired a consultant to review the Placeteco file. The consultant's report was damning, revealing a good dozen discrepancies.

My question for the minister is a very simple one. Why did her department go ahead and pay the grant anyway?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again and again we have talked about individual projects in the House, and we will continue to talk about individual projects so that this House appreciates and understands the investments we are making.

I want to remind this hon. member that the federal government is but one partner. Madam Harel would have been an approver in this case. We must appreciate—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The Minister of Human Resources Development Canada.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was just saying again that the government in the province of Quebec would also have had input and would have supported the program.

It is clear that the undertakings we have engaged in are focused on ensuring that Canadians have opportunities for work.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Hec Clouthier Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my great riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke we have one of Canada's super bases, CFB Petawawa.

I would like to ask the obviously ebullient Minister of National Defence to expand upon the government's renewed commitment to the brave Canadian men and women in our military as expressed in yesterday's scintillating budget.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's budget was good news for the Canadian Forces.

There was a very clear commitment by the government to strengthen the capacity of the Canadian Forces to do their jobs, to help improve the quality of life for our troops, to help make sure they get the equipment they need to do the job, to make sure they get training and education and leadership development programs.

I want to thank the hon. member, members of SCONDVA and members of the finance committee for their support.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Reform Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, now back to reality. René Fugère is an interesting guy. He can make bureaucrats do a reversal with the mere mention of his name. He can make public money available where none existed before. He can make ministers become interested in projects they ignored before.

Why is it that Mr. Fugère has all of the qualities of the Prime Minister?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is not in my riding. This is in another riding. There was a letter written to support the project, which I will read:

In light of the importance of these jobs for the Obedjiwan people, and as the member for Champlain, I recommend this project under the transitional jobs fund.

And it is signed: Réjean Lefebvre, regional president, Bloc Quebecois, and secretary treasurer of the national caucus.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Reform Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, then why was it rejected twice? It seems that René Fugère really does well when he gets out—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Reform Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister says that it was so good, then why was the project rejected twice?

René Fugère seems to do really well when he gets out and about in Ottawa. He does particularly well at HRDC, and we know he is not fond of registering his lobbying activities.

My question is for the HRD minister and it is very simple. Has she ever been lobbied by René Fugère?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

The BudgetOral Question Period

February 29th, 2000 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians heard with disbelief and profound disappointment that the government's response to the health care crisis is a one time only, $2.5 billion supplement, spread over four years, divided between health and education. Canadians wanted and expected from this government a lifelong commitment to medicare and all they got yesterday was a one night stand. This budget has been universally dismissed as—

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, with respect to health care, this budget has been universally dismissed as a half measure, a band-aid, anemic, paltry and a morsel. Canadians can see it, patients can see it, health care advocates can see it and the premiers can see it. Why can the minister not see it?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is the fourth budget in a row in which the government has increased health care transfers to the provinces. Last year's budget was the largest single investment this government ever made and it was in health care. Over the last two budgets there has been a 25% increase in transfers to the provinces for health care.

In addition, the Minister of Health has asked his colleagues to meet with him to look at the development of longer term solutions within the context of the protection of universal health care. When that happens this government will be there.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, what is clear from this budget is that the government has replaced bracket creep with privatization creep. It is absolutely clear that the paltry initiative on health care in this budget is being interpreted as an open invitation for the likes of Klein and Harris to privatize, Americanize and downsize our public health care system.

Can the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Health not see that this budget leaves the door wide open to private, for profit, two tier health care?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, to lend an air of reality to this discussion the member should know that every year public spending on health in Canada is about $60 billion. This government transfers to provinces a total of $40 billion, so naturally we are playing a major role.

The measures announced yesterday are intended to assist provinces with urgent short term needs. As the Minister of Finance has just observed, I want to work with my colleagues in the provinces on a long term plan. A long term plan will involve long term financing and this government will be there to do its part.