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House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

RailwaysOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

RailwaysOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think we should look at this proposed consolidation of the railways as a great opportunity for a great Canadian company. Obviously there are ramifications to the transportation policy that have to be examined.

I do not think it is particularly wise or acceptable to have Canadians go to Washington for the surface transportation board hearings all the time. I think we have to find some way here in Canada to formalize hearings on the particular merger. Perhaps that is through the standing committee. I will have a chat with my good friend the chairman of the standing committee about that in the next few days.

RailwaysOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, we would certainly welcome an opportunity for the Standing Committee on Transport to hold hearings on this and to hear from Canadians in Canada about the possible ramifications of this merger.

While I am talking about railroads, there was speculation before the budget that there might be more money for VIA. Nothing has come forward so far.

Could the Minister of Transport tell us what the status of the future of VIA is and whether there will be more money going to VIA Rail?

RailwaysOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as you know there has been extensive debate and analysis of all the options on the future of passenger rail transportation.

The standing committee talked about the renaissance of passenger rail. The government is committed to the renaissance of passenger rail. Very shortly I will be making an announcement that will guarantee passenger rail service we can be proud of for future years.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

March 17th, 2000 / 11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, it has been two years since the government announced its hepatitis C compensation package. Sadly not one cent has flowed to the compensation victims, not a nickel. The lawyers have been paid. Can you believe it? The lawyers have been paid but not the victims.

My question for the minister is, what excuses is he now offering up for this dismal performance? Will he personally intervene to make sure that these victims get their compensation?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have been before the court urging it to ensure that those cheques go to the claimants as soon as possible.

I want to remind the member that this settlement was only possible because the government went to the provinces, went to the claimants, and proposed to spare them even longer litigation.

We want those cheques in the hands of the claimants as soon as possible.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, in your former life as a teacher you often heard the excuse, “The dog ate my homework”. That is a dog ate my homework excuse if I have ever heard one.

We do not want platitudes. We want action. What is the minister going to do specifically? Tell us, the Canadian people, what he is going to do to make sure that these victims are compensated. The lawyers got paid. Why can the victims not get paid? In the meantime in the last couple of years 40 victims have died without any compensation for them and their families. How long is this performance going to continue?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what we have done. After years of inaction by a Tory government, this government went to the table with the provinces and found a solution. We found a solution. We put $1.3 billion into a settlement for tens of thousands of victims. The court has now approved that. As soon as the court gets the administrator to mail those cheques, which I believe will be in the next short while, they will get money they never got under the Tories.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, HRD was warned that the Iris sock grant would be a job killer and it certainly was.

Within weeks, two firms in the same sector had to shut their doors. Yet with two of their competitors out of business, Iris socks still could not deliver on its promises.

Iris created less than one-half of the 3,000 jobs promised. In fact, Iris did not live up to its half of the bargain. When Videotron did not deliver, it had to pay back $200,000. Why has the minister not demanded that Iris hand back $3 million of taxpayers' money for its broken promise?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again this is a file we have talked about in the House before. As I indicated, it became clearer as we worked with the company that because of circumstances at the plant there were not going to be the original number of jobs created. Instead of investing the $8.1 million that was originally anticipated, $5.9 million was invested and 1,440 people are working in that plant who otherwise would not be working.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, we hear the minister saying that they talk about this a lot, but we have noticed in the last several months there have not been very many answers. I hope the Liberal delegates at this weekend's convention do not get the same kind of treatment from the minister.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

Order.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I guess the answer is that the Liberal delegates probably will not get to ask questions of the minister.

We know the HRD department gave Iris Hosiery $6 million. We know that the industry association—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We are going to hear the question.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that we hit a nerve pretty solidly over there today.

We know the HRD department gave Iris Hosiery $6 million. The minister just told us that. It was scaled back to $6 million. We know that the industry associations advised against it. We also know that Iris Hosiery gave the Liberal Party $21,190.

If Iris gave $21,000 in donations to the Liberal Party, if this was incidental, why did HRDC go ahead and give that money against the advice of industry associations?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member makes reference to Liberal delegates. I can tell him that the Liberal delegates at the convention, like Canadians, have been watching what has been going on in the House. I can tell him that Canadians have been able to separate politics from substance.

Canadians understand what this issue is all about. They know that we are taking the issue of administrative management on grants and contributions very seriously in my department. They also know the importance of grants and contributions in the lives of Canadians. They also know that the puff and blowery that is coming out of that side of the House is nothing more than plain politics.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, since I asked my question, I sent the letter from her department to the minister. She sent it to her assistants in the Liberals' lobby, and they returned the letter to her. I imagine she has an answer by now.

Could she tell us whether Placeteco is being investigated, yes or no?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that there is no investigation under way. I will also attempt to advise the hon. member why this memo was sent to him.

Again I will confirm that there is no investigation. I will repeat my answer that the investments in Placeteco have created and supported 159 people, ensuring that they have an opportunity and that their headquarters, the Government of Quebec, agreed that this was a wise investment.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have a bit of a problem. Did yesterday evening's revellers—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

There is another problem. How is it that the department is telling us—because the minister told us to contact the HRDC grants and contributions response centre, which thanked us for our interest in the HRDC grants and contributions program; very kind of them—that Placeteco is under investigation? Could she explain the misinformation?

In other words, is her department lying in response to the opposition? Is there a directive from the minister to have—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Human Resources Development.