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House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was natural.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is so disturbing about the Modes Conili scandal is that the minister turned a blind eye to obvious wrongdoing. His own employees alerted him to the fact that workers were simply transferred from company A to company B, but after a so-called investigation he rejected the only obvious conclusion that no jobs had been created.

The government is covering up the investigation report. Why would that be?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong again. The government is not covering up any report. The government undertook a report in 1977. I seem to recall being told that it did not show anything to act upon at that time.

However, as the parliamentary secretary said in the House, new information was received on Tuesday. It was reviewed on Wednesday, and promptly the government itself referred the information to the RCMP. That shows our intention and our commitment to having things done properly.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the government is not covering up the report, why do members of the House not have it? We have asked for it. Why was it not tabled? It is being covered up and the Deputy Prime Minister knows that full well.

The minister must have hired Inspector Clouseau for that investigation because it only took a reporter two phone calls to have enough evidence to spark a police investigation. The minister was obviously too negligent or incompetent to check out the same officials that a reporter did. Or, did he have his own reasons for not investigating properly? Did the need to show job creation and get a fat campaign donation override the—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Prime Minister.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, from the insinuations and innuendos in the question it is obvious that Inspector Clouseau wrote that question and is the chief of the Reform research bureau. They ought to get someone better to prepare the questions, if not to ask them.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is a serious matter. There are questions that the government is not answering about why clear evidence was ignored and $750,000 of Canadian taxpayer money were given for job creation when everyone could have told them that there were no jobs being created.

It has been a week of shame for the Liberals. They have once more been exposed to having wrongdoing in the HRDC department. How much more has to surface before the government does what Canadians have a right to expect and remove those responsible from cabinet?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, in 1997 after officials expressed some concerns we did investigate the particular case but the conclusion was not as obvious as the member opposite says.

The conclusion was that there was no indication of wrongdoing. It is the information that has come to light of late, at the beginning of this week, which we have passed on to the RCMP.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, HRDC conducted its investigation more than two years ago but Canadians have yet to see the results.

The parliamentary secretary said that the investigation cleared the way for human resources to cut a cheque for three-quarters of a million dollars. Either the government cannot be trusted to investigate itself or it cannot be trusted to accept the recommendations and findings of its own investigation. Why will the government not release the report on the HRDC investigation?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, once a subject has been handed to the RCMP it is not appropriate to start talking about all the details of the particular case. That would jeopardize the investigation, and I am sure the member opposite would not want that to take place.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

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

Mr. Speaker, I was under the impression that the Deputy Prime Minister said the government was not hiding anything. The parliamentary secretary said:

That money was spent to hire 162 workers who did not have jobs and who are working today because of this program.

That is 100% incorrect. It is a testament to the kind of misinformation that the government has been giving all along. The government will not release the report on its own investigation, and both the minister and her loyal secretary have made a policy of toying with the facts—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. parliamentary secretary, if she wishes to respond.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we are sharing with the House the information that we have as we have it. That is why we have sent this information to the RCMP and the particular story is in its hands now. It is the appropriate authority to deal with it.

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

May 12th, 2000 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Government of Canada, the mandate of the Canada Information Office, the CIO, is to inform Canadians and Quebecers about federal services. Since 1996, the CIO has had an annual budget of $20 million.

Can the Minister of Public Works tell this House what amounts were spent by the CIO in Quebec and in the other Canadian provinces?

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is asking a very specific and detailed question. We will be very pleased to provide her with that information if it is available, but this is not the kind of detailed question that can be immediately answered in the House, without previous notice.

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the media are telling us that BCE Média's name was used by the CIO.

Can the Minister of Public Works confirm here in the House that this story about using BCE Média's name is an exception at the CIO and at Public Works Canada?

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Mississauga Centre Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada uses advertising to inform Canadians about government programs and priorities, so many of the programs that are financed through this program are in co-operation with other governments.

As far as detail as to how much is spent and in what direction it goes, I cannot provide that at this time as the Deputy Prime Minister suggested.

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services told a parliamentary committee that Services Canada and 1-800-O-Canada were federal resources for informing Canadians about federal programs. Today, it is only too clear that the CIO will fund just about anything.

If these two services inform Canadians, why is the CIO needed? And if the CIO informs them, what are the other two services for?

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Mississauga Centre Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that members of the Bloc Quebecois are concerned about this issue.

These programs are being used in Quebec. They are being used to inform Canadians across the country as to what is being done with government services, what we are spending our money on. We are informing Canadians of how the government works for them and I am surprised that he would object to that.

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is quick to defend the Canada Information Office.

Will the minister admit that, in addition to being a waste of public money, the CIO does a rather good job of serving the interests of the Liberal Party of Canada?

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

No, Mr. Speaker.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, the big oil companies that are earning record profits are now threatening to hold consumers ransom in their fight with the government over sulphur levels in gasoline.

The government should be protecting consumers and our air quality and supporting the latest environmental technologies, but the responsible departments cannot even agree on their bottom line. Meanwhile, consumers who are already being gouged now face shortages at the pump, independent retailers face bankruptcy, and gas prices are set to rise by yet another 10 cents a litre. Why are the oil companies and the government holding consumers up for ransom?

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has it all wrong. We are not in any collusion with the oil companies. In fact, I have to say the government generally agrees with the tone of the hon. member's concerns.

The fact is that the health benefits of what the oil companies have been proposing are not good enough. My colleague, the Minister of the Environment, has said quite consistently that the oil companies would have to propose something that protected the health of Canadians to the same degree or better than the current regulation.

He also said that the regulation was about protecting the health of Canadians and that any proposal by the oil companies would have to demonstrate that there could not be any exception to the protection of health.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is a question of competence. The Liberals' left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Meanwhile, record gas prices could rise even further.

The government and the oil companies have had years to work on these problems. Here were are down to the wire. Both sides have dug in their heels and consumers are supposed to pay for the Liberals' incompetence.

A litre of gas costs 78 cents in St. John's today. They can little afford it. Do the Liberals really want to be the ones on guard when gas hits $1 in Newfoundland, or will they finally agree that it is time to establish a federal energy price review commission?

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what is funny about this is that the member comes the province of Saskatchewan where his own party has been in power for a number of years. We know that pricing at the retail level is entirely within the jurisdiction of the province. His own party refuses to take any such action in the province from which he comes. Why does he not call his own government in the province of Saskatchewan and ask it if it wants to regulate prices in that province?

In the meantime, I have to wonder about the tone of a question that seems to put emphasis on a clean environment yet still wants even cheaper gasoline when Canada, second to the United States, has the cheapest gasoline of any developed country.

HighwaysOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport. The minister recently announced a $175 million program to address rural roads in western Canada.

Will the minister extend that $175 million program to rural highways in eastern Canada which also suffers from bad highways and has to compete as well as the western provinces?