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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

AcoaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Gander—Grand Falls Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

George Baker LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, the federation's report today looks somewhat similar to the Reform-Alliance agenda. It wants to cut all regional funding agencies. It agrees with the flat tax. It says that medicare is too expensive. It says that EI should be done away with. In fact, if we asked the federation or the Reform-Alliance to pass judgment on ACOA it would be like asking Count Dracula to manage the blood bank.

AcoaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton North Alberta

Reform

Deborah Grey ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let me make it clear. What we would like to do is end the abuse and let Atlantic Canadians oversee their own situation and not send money to Ottawa. This government confiscates Canadians' money through high taxation. It assigns the money to one department. It transfers it to another department, like the Business Development Bank, then it kicks it out to companies that do not need it and calls it job creation.

Why is this government's job creation limited to bumble, fumble and boondoggle?

AcoaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Gander—Grand Falls Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

George Baker LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member listed off a group of large businesses that received grants under ACOA. This is absolutely correct but it was under the Tory administration when all those grants were given to all the companies listed. I wonder if the Leader of the Reform-Alliance today still wants to unite with the Tory Party when it has a record like that.

AcoaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton North Alberta

Reform

Deborah Grey ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, he said that I listed off businesses. I would now like to list off some labour unions. It seems that the federal government would like to spread the cash around. It is not just limited to huge corporations and more government.

How about the Canadian Auto Workers? How about the New Brunswick Federation of Labour? How about the teacher associations and the teamsters. Jimmy Hoffa would be proud of that.

Why is the government handing taxpayer money out to groups that do not need it?

AcoaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Gander—Grand Falls Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

George Baker LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, here they go again. They want to cut out all regional development agencies in rural Canada. They are opposed to any assistance at all to our fishermen. They are opposed to assistance to our farmers in western Canada, not one penny.

This Liberal Party will fight this anti-rural Canada attitude on the part of the Canadian Alliance Party.

AcoaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that minister would know a farm if he saw one.

Yesterday the minister responsible for ACOA told the House that the first thing the Liberal Party did with that agency was to discontinue the practice of giving out grants. Access to information documents show that ACOA handed out 123 grants totalling $12 million between 1996 and 1999; grants, not loans.

Does the minister not know the difference between a grant and a loan? Maybe he should spend more time looking after his department and less time on his drama lessons.

AcoaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Gander—Grand Falls Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

George Baker LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate to the hon. member that when the Liberals took over the first thing we did, on the suggestion of the auditor general, was to change all grants and all forgivable loans to simply loans.

For the last five years we have been giving only loans which have to be paid back. That has been the case for every business, every commercial enterprise. The grants were given under the Tories.

AcoaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is very interesting. Under access to information, I have a list of 123 grants given out by this government in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, 72% of the funds disbursed by ACOA were in the form of non-repayable grants and contributions. What is more, 35% of the loans the minister talks about issued by ACOA have been written off over the past 10 years. It only gets worse. In the last two years the default rate has risen to 50%.

Why has the minister continued the abuse of taxpayer money under ACOA under his watch?

AcoaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Gander—Grand Falls Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

George Baker LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, on the write-off question, which the hon. member says is 34%, the actual write-offs contained in the public accounts show that since 1995 the write-off of loans by the Government of Canada is 0.4%. Since 1987 the write-off has been 4.2%.

If the opposition party does not start doing its homework it will be written off in the next election.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources Development said that she had had audits done in the Modes Conili file and that all was perfect.

We have here two letters from the two companies concerned, namely Paris Star and Modes Conili, which prove beyond a doubt that jobs were indeed transferred.

How can the Prime Minister justify his government's wasting $700,000 in public funds for the simple transfer of jobs?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we had allegations about this project and it was investigated by officials. As a precaution, payments were halted as we conducted the investigation. Ultimately the allegations were shown to be unfounded, the project continued and 162 people are working today because of this project.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the same treatment they gave the file of the transfer of a project from the riding of Rosemont to the riding of Saint-Maurice, the Prime Minister's. They said “Those are allegations. We have checked. Everything is fine”.

How can the Prime Minister tolerate ministers saying such things here in the House when there is evidence to the contrary and, inevitably, there is a police investigation, very often in his own riding? What is going on?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, for two days in a row we have explained what happened within the department on this project. If the hon. member opposite has other information I urge him to bring it forward.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that $719,000 was paid out for no reason to the firm Modes Conili Star, since 100 of the 118 employees covered by the job creation grant were transferred to the firm Paris Star.

How can the government once again waste over $700,000 of public funds to subsidize the creation of jobs that do not exist, when a memo from the department shows that the same people were transferred from Paris Star to Modes Conili Star, their names and social insurance numbers being the same?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the Paris Star company went bankrupt and those workers were laid off. Naturally another company will pick up experienced workers rather than have to train others.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Prime Minister reiterated his total confidence in his Minister of Human Resources Development.

Should he not be eating his words today, since, once again, it appears that the Minister of Human Resources Development has for no reason paid out $700,000 in public funds to a firm for jobs that already exist?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Bonnie Brown LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, that money was not spent on jobs that already exist. That money was spent to hire 162 workers who did not have jobs and who are working today because of this program.

National DefenceOral Question Period

May 9th, 2000 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, an independent report released today documents shocking incidents of intimidation, cover-up and harassment of women on Canada's military bases.

These women face not only abuse, but military officials who, in too many cases, will not help them.

What will the government do to help abused military spouses? Will the government act urgently on the report's recommendations to make sure that military spouses receive the support they deserve?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the reports are disturbing. The violence that is talked about in these reports is unacceptable. I know that the vast majority of the men and women in the Canadian forces are good, family supporting, law-abiding people. However, we must ensure that these particular cases are dealt with.

We do have family resource centres that help people in stressful situations and help to weed out domestic violence. We will make it quite clear, up and down the chain of command, that this abuse will not be tolerated.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, these women are under attack and the government refuses to take decisive measures to help them. These women are in crisis. Their families are in crisis. These communities are in crisis.

Will the government put an end today to the policy of containment and concealment? What will the government do to ensure that officers recognize their duty to protect not those who would shame the Canadian military but to protect these abused women?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is no such policy of concealment. We want to make sure that there is fully accountability in the system and that these people are given the kind of support they need.

We have family resource centres with social workers who deal with these issues. The boards of directors of these family resources are controlled by the spouses. We put some $17 million a year into these 42 resource centres.

We must make it clear. The chief of defence staff and I will be meeting soon to develop an action plan so that it is quite clear that this abuse will not be tolerated.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I was informed yesterday that there is a Canadian soldier stationed at CFB Cold Lake and possibly 13 other soldiers on base who have contracted tuberculosis.

Will the Minister of National Defence confirm in the House that there is presently an outbreak of tuberculosis at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of that but I will look into the matter and give the House the appropriate answer.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the source that got in touch with me was both clear and firm in stating that tuberculosis was spreading across CFB Cold Lake.

The men who are at Cold Lake, Alberta were at one time stationed at CFB Borden with the Kosovo refugees. The minister should have been briefed some time ago about the very serious TB threat in Kosovo.

Why is the minister not 100% certain that there is not even a single case? He should know—

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.