This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-16.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development just said once again that Placeteco's $1.2 million grant was put to good use since the company's bills were paid. How can the minister say such a whopper when an internal memo from her own department, dated April 6, 1999, and obtained under the Access to Information Act, states “The employer, following the bankruptcy, no longer feels legally bound to justify the grant”?

Placeteco refuses to justify the grant, but all is well.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we do have the invoices that justify the grants and that is what is important here.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only does Placeteco refuse to justify the grant, but on page 2 of a report released just today, under the heading “The problem is serious”, the auditor general wrote “Large amounts of public funds were spent without the appropriate controls, making it difficult to know whether the funds were used as intended, spent wisely and produced desired results”.

Is it not time for the minister to tell us what happened to the $1.2 million and to produce her invoices, if she has any?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House believe it is important to invest in this particular region, the Mauricie in Quebec. We know that the hon. member for Trois-Rivières also feels it is important because he is receiving benefits from these particular projects.

There is another minister who said this about the area.

—is committed like never before to give priority to anything having to do with the Mauricie. Your region is not performing as it should, even though you have everything you need to succeed and to achieve the success that you deserve.

Who was that minister? It was Bernard Landry.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, in its first annual report released two months ago, the Amtrak Reform Council reported that Amtrak has not yet used a significant portion of the $2.2 billion subsidy from American taxpayers. Why should it? It is using its $1 billion subsidy from Canadian taxpayers. I am not sure whether it is from the corporate account or the humanitarian account.

Can the government please explain to the Canadian people why the single largest transportation investment that it has made has gone to the American, government owned Amtrak?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear here that the loan to Amtrak was not on humanitarian grounds. It is part of the corporate account of EDC. I can confirm to the hon. member that the loan to Amtrak was at the commercial interest rate against purchasing some Canadian goods and it is being repaid on schedule. I can also tell the House that the account is very well managed, it is helping Canadian exporters and it is making a profit.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

They should borrow from the bank like everybody else.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for South Surrey—White Rock—Langley.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, Amtrak has access to over $2 billion of American taxpayer money to run its operations and make capital purchases. It does not need additional capital.

Eighteen months ago, in response to a Canadian transportation committee recommendation, the Minister of Transport refused to restructure VIA Rail, denying it access to more capital.

Why is the priority of the government to improve the American transportation system rather than the Canadian transportation system?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I will have to repeat again that the EDC is there to promote Canadian exports. It is not there for transportation in this country. My colleague, the Minister of Transport, does a very fine job doing that.

The EDC has said time and again that it is supporting a loan to Amtrak at commercial interest rates in order to help Canadian exporters in that field. I am surprised to see that the Reform Party has now stopped liking profit.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

March 23rd, 2000 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, back in 1998, some Liberal MPs looked into the issue of gasoline pricing.

Their report stated that prices would go up if their recommendations were not followed. Yet the Minister of Industry did nothing.

How can the minister today be proposing another task force, when we would surely not be in the position of having to go back to square one two years later, commissioning yet another study to the tune of $600,000, if he had heeded the recommendations of his own colleagues?

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the preamble to the question is totally erroneous. First of all, I reacted promptly to the committee report, with several precise responses.

Second, we initiated a study as requested by the committee, as soon as was feasible, using a highly credible organization. The Bloc Quebecois claims to want the facts, but apparently does not want to hear them.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has been engaged in two days of intense negotiations with his provincial counterparts, working to reach a final agreement on a long term safety net program for all Canadian farmers.

Can the parliamentary secretary inform the House of any progress being made toward the objective of a national, effective and equitable safety net system that all farmers so desperately need?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Liberal

Joe McGuire LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, today is a great day for federal-provincial co-operation. It is also a great day for the agricultural producers of Canada.

After two years of negotiation, our agriculture minister plus his 10 colleagues from across Canada have agreed to a three year farm safety net agreement. The main components of this agreement are $665 million per year over the next three years for basic farm safety net funding plus $435 million per year over—

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Wanuskewin.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Maurice Vellacott Reform Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development talks about openness and transparency yet she continues to stonewall on releasing information.

The Reform Party currently has 30 important access to information requests on which her department is up to a month late. In other words they are 30 days beyond the point of providing that material to us.

Why is the minister not respecting the access to information requests?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I totally reject the allegations that the hon. member is making. After all, we have just released 10,000 pages of information to the House for the use of each and every one of the members of parliament. We are working hard to be transparent and open and we will continue to be. I would note that since the beginning of the year, we have received well over 300 access to information requests. We will deliver to the best of our ability. But I absolutely reject the allegation that we are not open and transparent.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Maurice Vellacott Reform Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, these requests are not very complicated. They are simple audits and these audits need only to be put on the face of a copier, no white-out needed.

Has the minister not learned from her mistakes? Many of these requests are for audits like financial integrity and assessing the operational environment of HRDC. Treasury Board has ordered that all departments release internal audits without requiring an access request.

Why is the minister breaking Treasury Board guidelines in addition to breaking the law?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Bras d'Or—Cape Breton.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill NDP Bras D'Or, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadian women have been suffering both economically and socially from the policies of the government since 1993.

The government's own EI report tabled yesterday by the Minister of Human Resources Development once again showed yet another discriminating policy of the government. Only 30% of unemployed Canadian women now qualify for EI.

My question for the minister is quite simple. Will the minister stand up for Canadian women and stop these discriminating policies and correct the devastating gender imbalance which her government has created?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, like all members on this side of the House, we always stand up for Canadian women.

I am glad to report that as a result of the changes to the employment insurance program, women are benefiting. They have benefited from the change to an hours based system. They have benefited from the small weeks program. They have benefited from the family supplement. Most of all, they have benefited from the fact that our economy is working. We see the unemployment levels for adult women in this country at the lowest they have been in a decade, at 5.8%.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, it would be a good thing if the minister read her own report.

The employment insurance report, according to the Minister of Human Resources Development, says that people are adapting to the 1996 Liberal reform. Last weekend, the Prime Minister and the Liberal caucus for the Atlantic provinces called for changes to employment insurance because that is why they lost members in the Atlantic region.

Does the Minister of Human Resources Development agree that there is a contradiction between herself and the Prime Minister of Canada as well as the Atlantic Liberal caucus? It would seem to be high time for changes to EI to be made once and for all.