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House of Commons Hansard #45 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development is in denial.

Earlier today she admitted that on November 17 she discovered the reality of the audit that showed the huge waste in her department. However, on December 16 in this place she said “No moneys flowed until the appropriate approvals were in place”.

Why the contradiction? Why did the minister stand in her place and misrepresent the facts? Why did she not tell the truth?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, there is no contradiction. If the hon. member would put it in the context of the questions asked, he would see that the questions from his own party were in reference to specific projects.

I stand by my words in the House.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, weasel words will not save this minister from accountability. Speaking of which, in 1991 the Prime Minister said “When we form the government, every minister in the cabinet will have to take full responsibility for what is going on in his department”. He said “If there is any bungling in the department, the minister will have to take responsibility”.

Why has the Prime Minister broken his word? Why has he not held the human resources minister responsible for the bungling in her department and for misleading the House? Why was the minister—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I ask hon. members to please not use the word misleading. I find the question out of order. If the minister wants to answer it, she may.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, my ministers and I always take responsibility and that is exactly what we are doing at this time. The auditor general is working with senior bureaucrats of the department to make sure that the audit is done professionally. And that is exactly what is happening.

There were 37 cases where, in the mind of the auditors, there were some difficult problems. So far, out of $12 million, they have identified $251.50 in overpayments and we will collect it back.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister's credibility would improve if he were to play a different tape.

Why would we believe that the problem is fixed and that it boils down to $200,000 and change, when there are at least 30,000 cases to be examined? At least 80% of the 459 cases already looked at were problematic.

The Prime Minister should change tapes and tell us what is really going on in this department.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, part of the strength of our program is that we will be reporting to Canadians on a quarterly basis on the information that we receive on implementing the program and on the results which that program is going to have.

I am going to be at committee tomorrow. We will be talking about the results to date. I will be before Canadians on a quarterly basis talking about the results as we continue.

This is an open process and we are going to fix the problem.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

For several weeks now, consumers and truckers have been angered by the price of gasoline at the pumps, of diesel and of heating oil in Canada and in Quebec.

Consumers are right and want to know why the price of gasoline is continuing to climb and why governments are doing nothing about it.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to say that the member is right to raise an issue that is very important to him—

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

This does not seem to be an important issue for Reform Party members, Mr. Speaker.

First, I would say that, if there is a problem at the retail level, it is up to provincial governments to take action. Second, I have read the media reports from his riding, which say that diesel prices have jumped from 42 cents a litre to 78 cents a litre.

I am sure that the Minister of Natural Resources would agree with me that an explanation is in order and I would like—

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

February 9th, 2000 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the HRD minister has been working on a six point plan. She bungled a billion bucks. She spent five months trying to cover up the audit. She stood in this House and pretended that everything was just hunky-dory. She tried to blame her bureaucrats. Now we find that the TJF is some kind of photo-op.

Clearly the next logical step is for her to resign. Where is she now, at step five and a half?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. I received the report of the internal audit. It said that we had significant problems in the administration of our grants and contributions. I took that seriously. I demanded that we build a strong management plan for implementation. That is now being implemented and we will be reporting to Canadians on a regular basis until the problem is fixed.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the human resources department is the Bre-X of the government. Instead of the ore being salted, the taxpayer has been assaulted.

A small sample audit of one-fifth of the department's activities found 87% of the files unsupervised and 15% with no record of application. If it were a CEO making this announcement the stock would be through the floor and he would be fired.

Why should Canadians tolerate anything less than the minister's resignation?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, forgive me but I do not think anybody on that side of the House has actually read the internal audit.

What it talks about are administrative challenges in the department's paperwork. We are taking it seriously because we have to have the foundation strong to support very important grants and contributions that are invested in ridings in all parts of this country.

We are taking this seriously. Canadians want the problem fixed and we will do that.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we have all heard of the Book of Kells. The Liberal House leader is the chief scribe of the book of baloney. The Prime Minister knows it is the book of baloney or else he would share it with us, table it and let us have a look at the contents of the book.

I have my own book of facts and my book says that EI cuts took $20 million out of my riding last year, yet we did not qualify for a single penny of transitional jobs fund money.

I ask the Prime Minister, under what kind of perverse set of rules do rich ridings like Edmonton West and Brant qualify for transitional jobs fund money when my own riding qualifies for not one red cent?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member realized yesterday that he did not know his riding had received more than anyone else. He should check that. He knows it is available. Some programs apply in some ridings, other programs apply in others. But in fact, the member's riding did pretty well. He was shocked to know that he did not know what was going on in his riding.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely horrifying to me that this man who sells himself as the champion of clarity in this country really is the grandmaster of obfuscation. He is the Prime Minister of misinformation and he is hiding behind—

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. Go directly to the question.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is simply this: If the transitional jobs fund is not a Liberal slush fund, then why is it that rich Liberal ridings with far lower unemployment rates than my riding qualify for millions of dollars in benefits? My own riding—