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House of Commons Hansard #63 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was yea.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that this so-called draft report was an extensive plan which showed that in August the department was ready, willing and able to release the audit.

Even the minister admits that she was finally clued in in November, but it was only after an opposition access request in January that the virtues of transparency suddenly became apparent to the minister.

Why did she stick to the strategy of hiding the audit as long as she could?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I reject everything that the hon. member has said. Her thesis is completely wrong.

I had the pleasure of going to Calgary last week and visiting some very important projects which received grants and contributions in the member's own backyard: programs to get young prostitutes off the street, programs to help young people who have not had the chance to get a full time job to get a job.

Perhaps since the hon. member will not go to visit those programs she would come to my riding. She would understand then why Mr. Marshall of Duchess Foods said: “I believe the attack of the Reform Party is strictly based on political considerations and not—”

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Québec.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, Claude Gauthier, the owner of Placeteco, told an official he did not need to account to Human Resources Development Canada on what he did with the $1.2 million grant.

What measures has the minister taken to get Claude Gauthier to account not to the National Bank, not to lawyer Champagne, not to the office of the Prime Minister, but to the Department of Human Resources Development?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we have reviewed these projects on a number of occasions in the House.

I reiterate that these projects have created employment for people in areas of high unemployment. I reiterate that the Government of Canada is but one partner in these projects and that it was strongly supported by its kissing cousins in the Government of Quebec.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, under Treasury Board rules, once Placeteco came under the protection of the Bankruptcy Act, the $1.2 million grant should have been returned to Human Resources Development Canada, and not put in trust.

How does the minister justify the grant to Claude Gauthier being considered an inheritance rightly going to the new owner, who bought Placeteco for a dollar?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again in the House we talked about the issue of the trust funds. I made it clear that there was an inappropriate administrative strategy undertaken by my department. Those trust funds were closed. The programs are still functioning and people are working.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, a while ago the Prime Minister said this whole affair was about $251.50. “No big deal” he said.

Now this rot has spread to ACOA, Indian affairs and CIDA. Today there are 19 separate police investigations, three in the Prime Minister's riding alone, all over a missing $251.50.

That is the government's story. Is it sticking to it?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, speaking of stories, the hon. member ought to get his story straight because he is totally wrong in what he is asserting.

The Prime Minister was talking about 37 cases that had been referred for further inquiry. These arose out of the 459 in the initial audit. He was talking about the information he had at that time when he spoke about money that needed to be recovered. He was totally correct when he spoke of $259, based on the reviews that had been carried out, until that point, of the 37 cases.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, rumour has it that the Prime Minister recently got a parrot. The only thing it can say so far is “Open up, it is the police”.

There are now 19—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Medicine Hat.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are now 19 police investigations, three in the Prime Minister's riding. The minister says she wants to be transparent. Here is her chance. My question for the minister is: How many police investigations are under way, how many have already taken place and how many are pending?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, with reference to the Department of Human Resources Development Canada, I have been forthcoming with this House. Other than the press release that was issued by my department last Monday, things are as they have been.

CinarOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned that, following the payment of royalties of close to $1 million to Érika Alexandre, a fictitious name, a repayment agreement was signed by CINAR and the Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques. Quebec authors are not pleased with this agreement, far from it. Now, the revenue minister recently suggested that CINAR might be able to avail itself of the voluntary disclosure program.

Will the Minister of National Revenue, who is surely aware of the sanctity of copyright and will therefore want to prevent this whole matter from being discreetly stifled, pledge to ensure that CINAR cannot avail itself of the voluntary disclosure program?

CinarOral Question Period

2:35 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, two weeks ago, when I was asked about this issue, I said that when we are referring to a specific case, namely CINAR, we must respect the fundamental principle of Canadian taxation. The file at Revenue Canada—and this is important for all taxpayers—is a confidential file.

As for the issue of voluntary disclosure, there is indeed a voluntary disclosure program at Revenue Canada. As suggested by its title, disclosure must be voluntary. I invite opposition members to contact the department for more information on what is a voluntary disclosure. They will find out.

CinarOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue seems to be have been hit by the same virus as his seatmate, the Minister of Human Resources Development. He is hiding behind the argument of confidentiality so as not to answer the questions from the opposition.

I will therefore direct my supplementary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Given the scope of incriminating facts that keep accumulating in the CINAR affair, what is the minister waiting for to order a public, independent inquiry?

CinarOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the very first day that allegations were made, I went straight to the RCMP. They are conducting the investigation.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, under access to information we received an extensive communications plan developed by HRDC to handle the release of the internal audit on the billion dollar boondoggle. It includes strategic considerations, story lines, media strategies and timelines. It was dated August 30, 1999.

After a week off to consider the facts, why is the minister still spinning the same story?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, because our story is the truth.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, the department-wide action plan in August dealt with the controlled release of the internal audit if an access to information request was received. Communication plans talked about release strategies and the need to equip the minister with questions and answers, question period cards and media lines.

Does the minister honestly expect us to believe that she only learned about this audit on November 17, as she stated in the House?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let us review the facts again. This was a draft communications plan. It is normal for the communications officials in a department to prepare communication strategies.

This was being prepared and the audit was not even completed. It was not forwarded to me and, as I have said earlier, I would not have expected it to be.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 3, the Minister of Human Resources Development received the report she had commissioned from a Toronto firm in the matter of the redirecting of a grant from the riding of Rosemont to the riding of the Prime Minister.

How can the minister, who boasts of her clarity in this matter, continue to refuse to make public this investigation, which was paid for by the public and out of the public purse?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member makes reference to the Rosemont files. As he knows, on Monday last the department issued a press release saying that this had been referred to the RCMP. As such, the questions would be presented to them.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

March 13th, 2000 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The floods in Mozambique have taken their horrific toll in recent weeks and now we have reports that heavy rains and mudslides have displaced land mines in what is already one of the most heavily land mined countries in the world.

What is Canada doing about this threat to the lives of so many distressed people?