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House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me quote from the actual questions and answers, which I did not dream up. This was something the department came up with and I would like to quote verbatim. The staff said “Now we are being asked and told that we have to obey the Financial Administration Act”, to which the deputy minister has stated “We have to work within the rules, starting now”.

I would like the minister to stand and say why in the world she allows this to continue.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, this girl will answer as she has over the—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. If the hon. Minister for Human Resources Development would like to continue, I am sure that all of us will call each other by our proper titles, including the minister.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts. We have identified that we have administrative improvements to make in my department. We are implementing a six point plan.

I have had the opportunity to travel and visit offices where our employees are working their heads off to make sure this plan gets implemented and to improve the system on behalf of Canadians.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I refer to the questions and answers from the human resources minister's own department. The title is: “Responding to What We Learned from the Internal Audit Report”.

Question one reads: “We were told—not to lapse funds”. However, section 37 of the Financial Administration Act specifically states: “The balance of an appropriation that remains unexpended at the end of a fiscal year—shall lapse”.

Clearly what the department acknowledges it told its employees flies in the face of an act of parliament. Will the minister explain that please?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that we have identified that we will make improvements to our administrative process.

What we are doing now is implementing our six point plan, and we are making serious progress. When it comes to the work of the employees of this department I can tell that party that the men and women of Human Resources Development Canada are together in committing themselves to improving the process for the service of Canadians.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister has some serious explaining to do about what her own employees were told by the people in charge; that is to say, herself.

Clearly her employees were told not to lapse funds. They acknowledge that. The law says that is illegal. Can the minister explain why her own employees were told to contravene the law of the land?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what we have done together as a department is to build the six point plan that will improve the administration of our grants and contributions.

We will apply the Treasury Board requirements. We will ensure that our employees are trained and have the resources they need to do the job.

We are committed to improving our processes for the betterment of grants and contributions that make a difference in the lives of Canadians.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in spite of the repeated denials of the Prime Minister, Human Resources Development Canada officials maintain that the reason why the department is so poorly managed is that they are constantly subjected to political pressure in their work.

In view of this, how can the Prime Minister justify such political interventions by his government?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the issue of moneys transferred to ridings for job creation, it is provided that members for each electoral riding, both from the opposition and the government, must be consulted.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about more than mere consultations. In the series of investigations targeting Human Resources Development Canada, a frequently mentioned name is that of René Fugère. It would appear that he is well known by the Prime Minister. Mr. Fugère is the object of two investigations, one concerning the Auberge des Gouverneurs, in Shawinigan, and another concerning the Auberge Grand-Mère Inn, which received a $100,000 grant from the Department of Human Resources Development.

Is this not an illustration of what HDRC officials are condemning, namely that there all kinds of dubious political interventions?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in every case, the PQ MNA and the PQ government were consulted, and they approved the grants that helped create jobs in the riding of a PQ minister and a PQ member of the National Assembly.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to TVA, René Fugère, not content to act as the Prime Minister's representative, is also collecting fees as a lobbyist, lobbying Human Resources Development Canada in particular.

In this context, how can the Prime Minister deny political intervention in Human Resources Development Canada, as the departmental employees have decried, given his known closeness to René Fougère?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I wish to state that Mr. Fugère has never worked for me.

There is legislation on lobbyists. There is a claim that he was never registered, and we ourselves asked the ethics commissioner to look into this. This is an offence, not under the Criminal Code, but under an administrative law.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how the Prime Minister can say what he has just said in this House, when there is proof that René Fugère acted as a representative of the PMO in a regional tourism symposium, using the PMO address, the Prime Minister's telephone number, the Prime Minister's fax number, and what is more, had a letter from the PMO designating him as his official representative?

How can he say such a thing?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, he did act on one or two occasions—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

—on a voluntary basis as a replacement for someone in my office who was unable to attend. He was a volunteer. He was never paid by the Canadian government, by my office, to do so.

He is a strong party member from my riding, who works on behalf of business, who has represented the native peoples, who has represented others. This is what he does as a profession.

Scientific ResearchOral Question Period

March 15th, 2000 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Decoding the human genome is an important key to scientific and medical research. The profits of research into the human genome should be measured in human lives and not in dollars.

Will the Prime Minister follow the lead of Messrs. Blair and Clinton and assure us that the raw sequence of human genes is not for sale?

Scientific ResearchOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we know that this was a very important announcement by Prime Minister Blair and President Clinton. We also know that there is already a case before the courts in Canada that will address the question of trademarks with respect to the so-called Harvard rat.

Some questions are already before the courts. We will also consider the other aspects of the announcement by Mr. Clinton and Mr. Blair with respect to the continued protection of intellectual property.

Scientific ResearchOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I hope again that the Prime Minister will take the opportunity to indicate where he stands on this issue.

The Prime Minister knows that the WTO has ruled against Canada on pharmaceuticals. That ruling will mean another $200 million drained from Canada's health care system to the multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Is the government prepared to appeal that ruling, and what steps is Canada taking to ensure that the benefit of modern pharmaceuticals and of genetic research will be available to all human kind and not appropriated primarily for the commercial—

Scientific ResearchOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister for International Trade.

Scientific ResearchOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the WTO panel's interim report was provided to the parties on a confidential basis on March 3. We are in the process of carefully examining the report and provided comments to the panel on March 10.

It is very important at this stage to look at it very carefully and measure its implications. The panel is expected to issue the final report to all WTO members some time in mid-April.

Canada Savings BondsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

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

Why is the Minister of Finance supporting the Bank of Canada's decision to privatize the Canada savings bonds program?