Mr. Speaker, I would like to recall the theme of today's opposition motion, which states:
That this House condemn the government for the poor management seen at the Department of Human Resources Development, particularly in the award and use of grants for partisan purposes, and that it recommend the creation of an independent public commission of inquiry, whose members will be appointed by the House, and whose mandate will be to inquire into all practices of that Department and to report to the House by September 19, 2000.
Everyone in Canada is now aware that the Minister of Human Resources Development is responsible for an administrative scandal relating to the funds available for all grant and contribution programs.
The first part of our motion relates to the poor management seen at Human Resources Development Canada. It may be worthwhile to remind hon. members that, according to an internal departmental audit, 87% of cases bore no indication of the supervision of officers dealing with projects, while 75% of projects receiving contributions had no indication of whether the expected results had been attained.
Particularly in the case of job creation programs, they are able to announce to us how many jobs they want to create, but unable in a single case to tell us whether the objective has been met, and particularly unable to indicate whether the business used the money for the planned purposes. This is a very concrete example.
It is also said that 70% of projects have no invoices or pay stubs to justify expenditures. In 36% of cases where funding was increased, no reason for the increase was given. For 36% of budgets in which there was money given in addition to the original amount, they were unable to justify the increase.
It will surprise no one that the Bloc Quebecois is today calling for an independent public commission of inquiry into the matter. From the day the minister made public the findings of the internal audit, instead of taking a responsible attitude and seeing to it that they got to the bottom of the whole situation, the Liberal government and the Prime Minister—who is very much involved in the problems at HRDC—had no other concern but to cover up the situation. They tried to conceal from Quebecers and Canadians the fact that, at HRDC, they had lost control of the management of all the jobs creation grant programs and all the grant programs aimed at helping handicapped people and fostering literacy.
The government is unable to say what was done with the money and what it wanted to do with it. It is hiding behind a six point program that should deal with the situation in the future, but refusing to get right to the bottom of what happened in the past.
For weeks, during oral questions period, the Prime Minister simply stated “There is no problem. The only problem involves $251”. Yet, we were talking about $1 billion. We have seen that when this Prime Minister wants to hide from realities, he is very good at doing so, but he has no right to try to conceal the fact from every Quebecer and Canadian.
Thanks to the probing by the opposition parties, we have learned, over the past few weeks, all about the $251 problem. For example, we have found a $150,000 grant that was supposed to go to the riding of Rosemont but ended up in Saint-Maurice. We still do not know what actually happened to the money. An investigation was launched further to the questions asked by the member for Rosemont.
The same thing happened in other cases brought to light by the members of the opposition. The Bloc Quebecois has exposed the whole story behind Placeteco, revealing how the company was managed and how the friends of the regime have benefited from the whole operation. We always have to force the minister to reveal the facts, one question at a time. She has a reactionary style of management.
Every time we manage to show her a file that has not been handled properly, an investigation is launched. This amount of $251 which the Prime Minister referred to again and again in the House lead to at least 19 RCMP investigations.