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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

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, all the training in the world does not help when we are ordered to break the rules. Even the minister's own officials are saying that they were forced to break the rules.

This minister and her predecessor mismanaged millions of taxpayer dollars. Now we find out that much of it was done illegally. HRDC officials were told by their political masters to break the law.

Why do the Liberals think they are—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The question is out of order.

The hon. member for Témiscamingue.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour and deputy chair of the team in charge of organizing the next election, established yesterday by the Prime Minister, expressed her opinion on the current increases gasoline prices. She has adopted the idea already proposed by the Bloc Quebecois of suspending the excise tax of 10 cents a litre on gasoline and of 4 cents a litre on diesel fuel.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Could he tell us whether the federal government intends to do its share to give relief to taxpayers by suspending excise taxes on gasoline?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, just to clarify the record, the Minister of Labour communicated with the Minister of Finance with respect to raising the fiscal question.

I should point out to the hon. gentleman that the excise tax on gasoline is about 10 cents a litre. The excise tax on diesel is about 4 cents a litre, and particularly with diesel where the concern is concentrated, that tax has not changed since we have been in government.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, as a nation we are one of the largest exporters of fish products in the world and export to about 100 different countries. Last week in Boston, the famous Boston seafood show was attended by our minister and by representatives of our various provinces and Canadian companies.

Would the minister please update the House on how we are doing on exporting fish?

The side over there needs a lot of fish products. It would be good for them and would develop some of their brains too.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Miramichi for taking an interest in the subject.

I had the opportunity to visit the International Boston Seafood Show which, by the way, was started by Canadian companies and is now world renown.

At the International Boston Seafood Show I had the opportunity to announce our export figures. We have broken all records for our fish and seafood products which are at $3.7 billion, a $500 million increase over last year.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot hide from the fact that her own departmental briefing notes, the very papers that she uses for her departmental officials state: “We were told to be flexible. Now we are being told to obey the Financial Administration Act and Treasury Board guidelines. Why doesn't management make up its mind?”

In other words, officials were told that it was okay to break the rules and only after she got caught did the minister slam on the brakes. If the audit had not caught the minister red-handed, would she have ever stopped the rule breaking?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. member is incorrect in his assertions. I know him to be a proponent of strong public administration. That is why I am surprised he would not be supporting us to continue to have a system of service delivery that speaks directly to communities and individuals, and to work together to build a system of modern comptrollership that allows us to be even more accountable to Canadian taxpayers.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister still will not acknowledge what is in her own departmental questions and answers.

It is clear there was no intention to have HRDC officials abide by the rules. To have done so would have made it impossible to channel all these loans into Liberal ridings.

To quote the question and answer sheet again, “the rules are not new, they are just being enforced” from now on.

The minister obviously changed her mind about the rule breaking after she got caught. I will ask again, if she had not been caught red-handed, would she have ever changed the rules?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again the assertion is absolutely incorrect. The facts are these. We have agreed within the department that we are going to build a strong system of modern comptrollership to strengthen our management of grants and contributions. The plan is already at work. We are improving our system in order to better serve Canadians.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on November 17 Alberta made its plan known for privatization of health care. The Minister of Health at that time said “We are looking at it”. On December 13 the Alberta health minister confirmed its intentions. The Minister of Health stood in the House and said “We are studying that matter”. On March 2 Bill 11 was tabled. The minister said “We are studying it”. On March 13 the minister said “We are still studying the matter”.

On the most important issue facing Canadians, Canadians deserve an answer today from the minister. Does Alberta's Bill 11 violate the Canada Health Act, yes or no?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should rest assured that the government will do whatever it takes to protect the principles of the Canada Health Act.

With respect to Bill 11, I invite the hon. member to observe that the premier of Alberta himself is still talking about possible amendments to that bill. It has yet to receive second reading in the legislature. We have yet to see regulations which are referred to extensively in the bill.

If the hon. member has a legal opinion with respect to it now, I wish she would share that with the House.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is the minister who said he would act if Bill 11 violated the spirit and the letter of the law. It is absolutely clear. Bill 11 violates the spirit of the Canada Health Act.

Canadians want an answer. Since the minister is spending more time developing slogans than on actually developing a response to save medicare, will he act today? Will he give Canadians a timetable for when he will have completed his analysis? Will he state clearly that medicare is a program that will be preserved at all costs? Will he say no to Ralph Klein?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we will do what is required to protect the Canada Health Act.

Let me remind the hon. member that she can make a real contribution to preserving medicare by working with us to renew it for the 21st century rather than aligning herself with the forces on the right who would destroy medicare. I wish the New Democratic Party would work with us toward making the long term changes that are necessary, rather than playing into the hands of the Reform Party and others who would destroy medicare in the country.

René FugèreOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Progressive Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, René Fugère had a close working relationship with the Prime Minister. He represented the Prime Minister at events. Yet the Prime Minister would like us to believe that he does not know this unregistered lobbyist.

Would the Prime Minister come clean and admit that he knows Mr. Fugère and that he has been using the Prime Minister's name to advance his business career?

René FugèreOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of people in Canada who know Jean Chrétien. I have been elected 11 times in Saint-Maurice. I have been the member of parliament for Saint-Maurice since 1963. A lot of people have worked for me and I know a lot of people in my riding. I am grateful that they keep electing me.

The more questions I am asked like that, because I am doing my job as a member of parliament to create jobs, the more votes I will get in the next election.

René FugèreOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Progressive Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are starting to know the Prime Minister and the actions of his government through the HRDC debacle.

René Fugère advised HRDC that he represented the Opitciwan sawmill when it was negotiating with HRDC. Fugère was not registered at the time as a lobbyist.

Will the Prime Minister ask the RCMP to investigate the lobbying activities of his friend René Fugère?

René FugèreOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that we do not ask the RCMP to investigate anybody. What will happen is that the assistant deputy registrar general of Canada, who is responsible for registrations under the Lobbyists Registration Act, will ensure that it is complied with. Where there is failure to comply, the appropriate action will be taken.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Liberal Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, members in the House are well aware of the tough times that farmers in Canada are facing. One of the pressures is cost recovery fees. Can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food update the House with respect to cost recovery fees and how it pertains to his portfolio?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's question. It gives me a chance to remind everyone of the government's commitment to agriculture.

Not only is there the $600 million a year to support farmers but there is also the $2.3 billion we put out in support in the last 18 months to farmers. A week ago I announced another $83 million to cover the debts and to allow the Canadian Grain Commission to freeze its mandatory fees until 2003.

I am pleased to announce today that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will freeze mandatory fees until at least the end of 2002.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

March 15th, 2000 / 2:55 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister's own officials are asking her, “How are we supposed to know how flexible is flexible?”

When she instructs her officials to not follow the law, did that flexibility only apply to the Prime Minister's riding or did it apply everywhere?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the employees of the Department of Human Resources Development Canada have never been instructed not to follow the law.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the Placeteco issue, the trustee appointed by Human Resources Canada, Gilles Champagne, had a responsibility to protect the $1.2 million from HDRC. He did not do so and his own client, Claude Gauthier, benefited from that money.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Is the government's refusal to order an investigation into Placeteco not related to Gilles Champagne, whom the Prime Minister himself appointed to Canada Post's board of directors, in 1996?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, on a number of occasions in the House I have accepted that the creation of trust funds in this particular file was inappropriate. The department was advised to close the trust fund. It did that.

I would remind the hon. member that in the case of this particular project, it was not only the Government of Canada that was a partner. The company itself invested $5 million and it was HQ, headquarters, the Government of Quebec, that also agreed that this was a wise investment.

Scotia RainbowOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill NDP Bras D'Or, NS

Mr. Speaker, question after question about the mismanagement of public funds by the government and Scotia Rainbow have resulted in a series of inconsistent answers.

There are inconsistencies about how many jobs were created and inconsistencies about how much government money. The fact is after $20 million in government subsidies, Scotia Rainbow is now in receivership.

Will the minister now attempt to clear the air of this fishy smell and agree to a forensic audit?