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House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-20.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, anyone who has anything to do with business in his or her lifetime knows there is always an element of risk.

I would like to compare the statistics for our projects with those of the private sector. According to Statistics Canada, about 23% of new ventures do not pass their first birthday, whether because of bankruptcy or closure. The statistics for our projects are that 95% do pass their first birthday, so we compare rather favourably.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, every day, as we read the documents from Human Resources Development Canada, we reach the conclusion that the more we analyze them, the less we find in them. It is not normal for the taxpayers to be learning bit by bit that nothing is going right at Human Resources Development Canada any more.

When will the government finally decide to show respect for taxpayers by instituting a public and independent inquiry?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we respect the taxpayers and that is why we are so proud that 95% of our projects are successful. That is a better record than that of the private sector.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Reform Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Earth Canada lost millions of dollars over the past four years. However, the fortunes of Earth Canada became greener when the cronies of the Prime Minister, Mr. Fugère and Mr. Champagne, came on board. Mr. Champagne came to Ottawa and secured access to a $10 million line of credit.

I ask the Minister for International Trade, who did the Prime Minister's crony meet with?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the opposition has not forgotten me today because I can tell him that the opposition has its information completely wrong once again.

It is simple and clear. Earth Canada has not received one cent from the EDC. If the opposition had any sense of responsibility it would withdraw the terrible allegations its leader made in the House yesterday. I understand why the CCRAP party would continue to look for another name after making this kind of monumental mistake.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, we see that the minister's approach today is to huff and puff and try to blow this scandal away, but it will not work.

The minister must know and remember René Fugère, because when he was HRD minister he cut cheques for $1.5 million for projects involving him. Champagne comes to Ottawa and secures approval for and access to a $10 million line of credit.

The minister ran away from this question yesterday, so I will ask him to confirm for the House today whether he has ever met with Mr. Fugère or Mr. Champagne.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, Earth Canada had preliminary discussions with the EDC and members of the opposition can check with people at the EDC any time they want. They can go to them because the institution is at arm's length from the department. Those preliminary discussions needed many more steps before allowing a line of credit of $10 million. Those are the facts. The opposition is completely wrong.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is refusing to answer a number of embarrassing questions by hiding behind the investigations that are underway. However, Placeteco is not being investigated. We note that the trustee appointed by HDRC for a trust that does not meet Treasury Board requirements happens also to be the lawyer of the person who received the funding that went into the trust.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister not find this situation somewhat disturbing?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member did not give notice of her question. I will check the facts and the basis for her question, and gladly get back to her as soon as possible.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find the reaction of the Deputy Prime Minister really disturbing. This is the third time we have put this question in the House and the third time the minister has refused to answer.

I put my question to a former Solicitor General of Canada, a man of experience. Does he not find it unusual, disturbing and dangerous that one person is both Mr. Gauthier's lawyer and the HRDC trustee?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, there was a mistake made on this file by an official and trust funds were created. It turned out to be a fortuitous mistake because after that Placeteco signed a three-year agreement with its employees and a five-year contract worth $8 million with Bell Helicopter. The company has 69 people working for it. Perhaps this person got the idea of trust funds from the premier of Quebec.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

March 3rd, 2000 / 11:40 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, when he was human resources minister the trade minister wrote more than $1.5 million worth of cheques for projects of Mr. René Fugère.

Just what is it about Mr. Fugère that allows him such easy access to the public purse? Did the minister ever meet with Mr. Fugère?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I find it absolutely incredible that they would repeat in the House allegations with not a shred of substance. The facts are clear that the EDC has not extended a line of credit to Earth Canada.

If the member wants to ask me any question I will gladly answer. However, he is asking me a question on something about which there are absolutely no facts.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I believe the substance of the question was, when did the Minister for International Trade first meet with René Fugère? He has very cleverly evaded and danced around that question. He avoids the Earth Canada connection with Petrobras.

Are the magic words that open the doors to federal funds “Hello, I am from Shawinigan”?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, ministers do not sign off on these kinds of applications. There has not been any line of credit extended to Earth Canada. The member can ask people at the EDC about the relationship between Petrobras and Earth Canada. They are private sector companies. I am telling the member that the EDC has not extended a line of credit to Earth Canada.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned from the list obtained on September 9, 1999, under the Access to Information Act, that a $20,000 grant had been given to Moustiqu'Air Top Net, to create 25 jobs.

Then, in the list provided by the minister on February 15, we discovered that the grant was in fact in the amount of $200,000, to create 27 jobs. We also know that Moustiqu'Air Top Net went out of business.

When will the government realize that the information provided by the Department of Human Resources Development is not at all reliable and that only an independent public inquiry can shed light on this issue?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I could not hear the name of the project to which the member referred. Therefore, I cannot answer. If the member will contact me afterward, I will look up the information and I will be happy to pass it on.

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, each week three babies die inexplicably of sudden infant death syndrome, commonly known as SIDS. Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health tell the House what the Government of Canada is doing to reduce the incidence of these tragic and devastating deaths?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies Québec

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Mississauga South for his question.

Although the specific cause of sudden infant death syndrome remains unknown, we do have some knowledge of certain risk factors. Babies who sleep on their tummies have an increased risk of SIDS compared with babies who sleep on their backs.

Last year Health Canada launched the “Back to Sleep” campaign.

In French, the theme of this awareness campaign is “Dodo sur le dos”. We recommend that infants be raised—

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver Island North.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government has admitted to nine RCMP investigations into HRDC goings on. The media is now reporting that there are more than nine police investigations. We know that at least two of them are in the Prime Minister's riding.

I would like to know from the minister, where are the other investigations?

Where are the investigations?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we are only aware of nine investigations. I am sure the hon. member does not want to put anyone on this side in the position of perhaps saying something and interfering in a police investigation. I cannot imagine that the hon. member would want more information which might interfere in the securing of justice in this case.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development never divulges any information in the House unless she has been caught. She revealed the internal departmental audit only after we asked for it under access to information legislation. She released a riding by riding list of grants and contributions only after she had been caught giving them to her own Liberal MPs. She told us about nine criminal investigations in the House yesterday after we had cornered her.

I ask her once again, where are the remaining police investigations taking place?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, police investigations are carried on at arm's length from the government. Unless the hon. member wants to somehow say things which will prevent the police from carrying out their work and not permit the investigations to have a proper outcome, I do not why he is asking these kinds of questions.

If he wants to get information, the appropriate thing to do would be to go to the appropriate police force. If it thinks they can release information, I am sure they will do it. In the meantime, he should bear in mind that these are not charges. They are not trials. They are apparently investigations carried on at arm's length from the government. Let him go to the police and see what they have to say.

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister and it concerns the government's responsibility for the budget in the country.

These estimates allocate an extra 10.7% in spending for the Senate. That is up 29% over the last three years. That is $5 million for 104 senators, compared with $20 million extra this year for health care spending for a million people in the province of Saskatchewan.

Can the Deputy Prime Minister explain this new Liberal definition of balance where 104 unaccountable and unelected people get an extra $5 million and a million people in Saskatchewan get an extra $20 million for health care?