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House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gst.

Topics

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Madam Speaker, I have enjoyed listening to the comments by my hon. counterpart from South Shore, Nova Scotia. Would he care to comment on how he would reconcile several of the points he has made during his debate on endangered species with legislation recently passed by the Government of Nova Scotia, which is the same party as his.

I would also suggest that he consider the high regard with which that legislation is held throughout Canada. It is considered to be a model. In so being considered, it is a rather stringent piece of legislation. Could he share his insights with us in that regard?

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Madam Speaker, I will go back to what the hon. member from the Bloc party stated about jurisdiction. We talked a bit about jurisdiction and the importance of recognizing that in the federal legislation. What I was actually talking about was that the fatal flaw in this piece of legislation is that it really does not understand jurisdiction and, therefore, will not protect species at risk.

The legislation passed in Nova Scotia is certainly important legislation but it is provincial legislation. We need to look at a federal comprehensive plan that will encompass all the ingredients of species at risk legislation. This means that most of it will be under federal jurisdiction but that we also have to recognize where there is provincial jurisdiction.

One of the critical flaws in this legislation is that it does not recognize jurisdiction and it does not compensate nor fully understand the obligations, responsibilities and needs of landowners. I say that as a farmer, as a forestry operator and as someone who has come into contact with species at risk. I understand what it is like to have a contract to cut a couple of hundred or couple of thousand acres of land and to all of a sudden discover there is a heron's nesting ground or an eagle's nest.

I do not believe there is an operator out there who wants to abrogate the law, to break it or to put more species at risk in danger. People are responsible but we need the legislation that gives them the tools to do that.

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure today to be here to debate Bill C-33, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada.

Before I begin my comments, I want to point out that I am personally involved in agriculture in my riding of Selkirk—Interlake. I am a cattle rancher and holder of several thousand acres of land, which is necessary for our cattle operation in that area. As a result, I am not totally unbiased in the debate today. However, I would like to point out that as cattle ranchers and farmers in the Interlake area of Manitoba, we are totally dependent on having an environment that is sustainable for the wildlife around us and sustainable for the agricultural pursuits in which we happen to be involved. In my case that involves cattle. In order to produce cattle we need a good environment with good grasslands, good forestry and a clean water supply.

Having made my position clear, I want to go on with some comments with regard to this specific bill. The summary, as put forward by the minister, states that the purpose of this enactment is to prevent Canadian indigenous species, sub-species and distinct populations of wildlife from becoming extirpated or extinct and to provide for the recovery of endangered or threatened species. It also encourages the management of other species to prevent them from becoming at risk.

People need to know that this legislation covers every biological diversity in the country except bacteria and viruses. For instance, it includes our continental shelves off the shores of our coasts and the biological organisms that are contained therein, such as fish species and shellfish.

When we talk about the minister having a certain amount of say and authority over this, we can look back to when I was on the fisheries and oceans committee where we saw that the government's management of the cod fishery and the fishery off the coast was less than desirable. The basic problem at that time was that the government had a political agenda to deal with that was more important to it than what was happening in the oceans.

What we saw was that the information, reports and critical analysis that were being put forward by the scientists to the minister were not being relayed to the general public where they would have received attention from individuals, environmental groups, fishermen and from all concerned people who would have said “Hold on a minute, what you are ignoring here you should not be ignoring. The reports from the scientists should override political considerations”.

The bill establishes the committee on the status of endangered wildlife in Canada. It is to be an independent body of experts responsible for assessing and identifying the species at risk.

The idea is great. I believe that is what should be done. However, we have to remember, as we do with all things involving animals, trade and certainly the protection of species, that this should be totally science based and should not go running off, as I mentioned with regard to the fishery off the east coast, into political decision making.

Science is fine and dandy, as long as the science, the reports and the analyses that are put forward are accessible to the public. They should be totally and unreservedly put out for public scrutiny, not only by people with lay knowledge of the issues, but also other scientists.

What we have seen with government paid for and sponsored studies is that quite often this science based information is not available for general public scrutiny. As a result, it gives the minister an opportunity to deal with the information, to keep it secret, or to put out little snippets that help support his or her particular point of view. That will make this legislation less than perfect.

I would like to see that the minister not have the final authority with regard to the endangered species list, but in fact that there be a requirement in the bill that all the information be made public so that various NGOs, for instance the Canadian cattlemen, the farm lobby groups and the environmental groups, have an opportunity to come to each and every MP and say that this particular species should or should not be on the list and convince members of the House, all 301 of us. I think the list could be brought to the House for approval as opposed to the minister simply saying “I think these are fine, and this one should not be on the list” for reasons that are not clearly in the public interest.

The issue with regard to government scientists, which has been brought forward quite extensively, is the fact of muzzling reports which they put forward. I have mentioned this, that there should be clear guidelines in the legislation to ensure that those reports are automatically made public.

Wildlife in Canada is the property of the crown and is subject to provincial jurisdiction. The animals, birds and fish species that are not are the ones that migrate from province to province or cross international boundaries, those of the United States and Mexico in particular, but also right through the whole Americas. As a result, there is a federal responsibility for these species. Environment Canada, through the Canadian Wildlife Service, has a mandated responsibility to conserve these migratory birds and their habitat through the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Canada Wildlife Act.

Just as an example of man not being the know-all and the be-all when it comes to the management of species, there has been considerable depredation of habitat, particularly nesting habitat in the Arctic with regard to the snow geese, the white geese, that have become so numerous that the balance in nature has been upset to the point where the species itself is destroying the habitat, which will ultimately end up in starvation and death among the newborn birds in the north.

Part of the problem is the efforts through various groups and governments to restrict and prohibit hunting. With man being so populous and numerous in the world today, hunting is part of the overall management control of a species. I think there should be less negativity put forward with regard to hunting which would help keep these species in check.

There has been talk and there will be some changes to the hunting legislation with regard to the snow geese which will allow for a greater harvest of those birds, which can be used for food.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation, along with other farm groups, has been lobbying and putting forward information concerning predator damage and crop damage from migratory birds, as well as other issues. I would like to point out on behalf of farmers that they put out a broader message. They proposed in 1998 that the national agriculture stewardship program provide critical direction while we make the decisions we are currently involved in. They anticipated that the program would prove to be a model for other programs addressing environmental needs.

To show the broad thinking of farmers and their representatives, they say, for example, that there should be funding for endangered species recovery plans and we should be providing broader incentives to landowners to maintain and enhance habitat and biodiversity. That brings out the point quite clearly that our farmers, ranchers and other people engaged in agriculture do think of the bigger picture and are not simply thinking of production and profit.

One issue put forward by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture with regard to essential components was that it wanted to ensure that conditional 100% compensation would be provided. Among the 11 recommendations, it wanted to see that there be permanent and flexible fiscal management from year to year.

Working with agriculture, with the landowners, with the forestry industry, with the fishermen on the oceans, on our Great Lakes and on the freshwater lakes of the prairies, co-operation is the key and the essence to making any endangered species legislation work.

The legislation put forward by the minister is lacking in that it does not state specifically that the federal government has a total commitment to working in co-operation with the provinces and the landowners. The provinces are mentioned in the legislation, as well as landowners, but the specifics of how and when and under what circumstances compensation would be paid is important. As we have seen so many times, co-operation with the provinces does not work.

The last couple of points I will make are with regard to the specific policy of the Canadian Alliance. We are committed to protecting and preserving Canada's natural environment and its endangered species and to the sustainable development of our abundant natural resources for the use of current and future generations.

The Canadian Alliance maintains that for any endangered species legislation to be effective it must respect the fundamental rights of private property owners.

In my riding, on the very lake where my ranch is located, North Shore Lake, it is my understanding that we have a species which is at risk at this time called the piping plover. North Shore Lake has risen to such high water levels that the shoreline where they nest and feed is actually under water, with only a small portion remaining. This brings to the forefront the fact that all of us are affected, no matter where we live in this country.

The federal government has the responsibility to do what it can to preserve habitat. In order to do that it has to have the co-operation of the landowners. It also has to provide the necessary funding in the case of North Shore Lake for an outlet to that lake, which is non-existent at this time, to maintain the water at a lower lever so that these endangered piping plovers can nest and reproduce.

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Madam Speaker, I have a serious question to ask the member who just spoke. He did a great job in his presentation. However, before I ask the question, I remember reading not long ago on the Internet a dilemma: What does one do if one finds an animal that is an endangered species eating a plant that has been defined as being endangered? It is one of those deep thoughts to ponder.

My serious question pertains to a question that one of my farmer friends in my constituency asked. He wanted to know, if he could somehow be shown, either directly or indirectly, to be responsible for the danger and perhaps the killing of a member of an endangered species, and if he could lose his farm over that, because the proposed fines are of the magnitude that would basically put the farmer out of business, what would be his recourse?

He said that perhaps there would be a series of unintended consequences from the bill, that when farmers make sure that the margins of their sloughs and so on become totally uninhabitable so that those endangered species do not even go there, there will actually be less available land for endangered species than there is now.

I would ask for my colleague's comments on that, if he has some knowledge of it.

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, with respect to one endangered species eating another endangered species, I would say that we in the House have the audacity of man. We think that we are all-knowing, wonderful and can figure everything out. Mother Nature runs Earth. Many people believe that global warming has more to do with nature than it does with man.

To a certain extent, species have always become extinct, will always become extinct, and while we are on this Earth we have to get along and preserve what we can while we are here. However, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that we can preserve every species forever, with unlimited resources being thrown at them, while there are children who are starving.

With respect to habitat, in many provinces there are wildlife management areas that have been set up, operations like Ducks Unlimited, which in my riding foster areas known to be the main wildlife tourist destinations in Canada. Farmers and agricultural people are providing habitat, including the saving of sloughs on the prairies.

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member will still have seven minutes of questions and comments when we return to debate after question period, if he so wishes.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, since it took office the Ontario government has slashed the budget of its ministry of the environment by 42.5%.

Regional enforcement staff were cut from 2,400 to 1,500. Water quality monitoring facilities in the province were reduced from 700 to 200. The closing of three regional labs further reduced the ministry's analytical abilities.

Furthermore, the Ontario government cancelled 400,000 tests it had been conducting yearly, downloading this service to municipalities. The axe of the Ontario government also fell on the drinking water surveillance program which reported regularly on municipal drinking water quality.

The result is that the network of water testing laboratories, water scientists and laboratory technicians who knew how to manage clean water in Ontario has been broken up. What a shame.

Prostate CancerStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning I participated in the second annual Vancouver run and walk to raise funds in support of prostate cancer research.

I am rising today to thank members of parliament from both the Canadian Alliance and the Liberal caucuses, as well as some of our staff members, who through their generous contributions helped me to raise the third highest amount in pledges for that event.

One man in eight will get prostate cancer during his lifetime while the number of men who die from prostate cancer each year is about the same as the number of women who die from breast cancer. Yesterday's event was an important part of the countrywide effort to raise public awareness about prostate cancer and to raise more money for research.

Once again I thank everyone on the Hill who contributed to the total on my pledge sheet, with a special thanks to those who put aside their partisan differences when they dropped their cheque in the mail. Together we can make a difference.

Amyotrophic Lateral SclerosisStatements By Members

June 12th, 2000 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Liberal Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that June is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, awareness month.

This form of sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rapidly progressing neuromuscular disease that leads to total paralysis and eventual death, generally within three to five years of diagnosis. In Canada, some 2,000 people have this devastating disease.

Since 1977 the ALS Society of Canada has been supporting research, developing and distributing educational materials, promoting public awareness, and in partnership with regional units providing ALS patients and their families with medical equipment and support.

Today the ALS Society of Canada is concluding its annual conference in Ottawa. I encourage members to welcome the society and hear its message.

I pay tribute to this volunteer society.

Transportation Of GoodsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, a study on the transportation of goods in Quebec conducted in the context of the work being done under the aegis of Transport Canada will take stock of the Canadian transportation network.

Canada is divided into six regions, one of which is Quebec. Two thirds of the funding for this study comes from the federal government and one third comes from Transport Québec. There were two main findings.

The road network in the Montreal area is incomplete, which is probably the most acute problem right now for the Quebec transport industry. The railway in Quebec is underutilized and therefore could transport goods. Intermodal rail transport is used little in Quebec, whereas it is growing rapidly elsewhere in North America.

The governments of Canada, Quebec and municipalities will have to give priority to the funding of conservation projects and developing of rail and road networks, which could be done in conjunction with the private sector.

Als Society Of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is ALS awareness month. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a fatal neuromuscular disorder that kills two to three Canadians every day. Ninety per cent of ALS patients die within five years of their diagnosis and most rely on family members for care.

The ALS Society is here today on the Hill to ask the government to ease the pain by investing in home care and granting compassionate leave to caregiving family members. It hopes that the new CIHR will mean increased funding for ALS research to ensure that we build on recent breakthroughs and find a cure for this devastating disease.

SyriaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have sympathy for the people of Syria during these days of mourning following the death of their president Hafez Assad. Bashar Assad, son of the late leader, will be faced with the task of bringing stability to his country and the region in the event he assumes the leadership of Syria. We hope he has the strength and vision to reform and modernize his country's government and economy.

We want to encourage Syria to go forward with economic, political and social reform. We wish all the parties well and urge all the countries involved in the region including Syria to be realistic and generous in the peace process.

At the onset of the 21st century the world is looking to strengthen efforts to eliminate terrorism. There is an opportunity for the new leader of Syria to help make major strides in this regard. The world will welcome such efforts and the rewards will be plentiful, not only for Syria but for the international community in coming years.

CadetsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a few comments about the efforts and enthusiasm of thousands of young people in hundreds of communities across Canada.

On Saturday more than 70,000 cadets, their instructors and supporters actively demonstrated their concern for the environment by working to improve and beautify their corner of our great land. Armed with rakes, shovels and brooms, the cadets showed their appreciation for the communities that have given them so much.

Cadets Caring for Canada is one of the largest activities of its kind. Through their initiative and hard work these young Canadians are making their mark. Despite their youth, or maybe because of it, they understand the importance of good citizenship and co-operation.

I ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating the cadets for their dedication and ingenuity. They are planting the seeds for a proud future.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I call attention to a bylaw recently passed by the city of Woodstock in my riding. The city has enacted an idling bylaw that restricts non-essential vehicles from idling for more than five consecutive minutes. Woodstock's goal is to reduce harmful air pollution and illness that arise from this pollution while also ensuring that we have a cleaner environment.

It is measures like those taken in the city of Woodstock that will assist Canada in reducing emissions and reaching its Kyoto commitments. I congratulate the city council for those measures and Mr. Doug Steele from the CAW Local 636 for his work on this issue.

I also urge other communities across our country to enact similar bylaws to protect our environment. Woodstock is setting a fine example of how to think globally and act locally in solving our environmental problems.

Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has a certain, shall we say, flair for words. Remember when he joked with the protesters who had been blasted with pepper spray:

Usually it is the rubber chicken dinner, but when we come out west we have beef, sometimes pepper steak.

He left them laughing with that one, so he took his show on the road where he told an appreciative audience:

I don't know if I am in the West, South, North or East Jerusalem right now.

That was a special moment for his media handlers, I am sure. Then there was that very sombre moment when he told those high school kids:

There's one place I go to in Ottawa regularly and every day there is a man who is unfortunately and obviously sick. We just sit with a chair at the corner of the street.

It seemed a little less sombre when we found out that homeless person did not actually exist.

This past weekend the Prime Minister, our very own Ann Landers, encouraged a reporter to get herself pregnant, telling her:

You know, you might have benefited from that. No? Gee, it's time! Because you're a nice girl, you know.

It is up to families to decide when and how many children to have and how to take care of them. It should not be dictated by misdirected government policy, not by unfair tax regimes and certainly not by a prime minister's musings.

EducationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am greatly concerned about parts of the Ontario bill 74, the so-called education accountability act. This omnibus legislation contains sections which seriously undermine good education in Ontario schools. I am shocked by the parts which make extracurricular activities like sports, arts and field trips compulsory teacher duties.

In sports alone this will cost our children thousands of volunteer hours. Think of the time involved in weekend tournaments and fundraising to make them possible. How effective is a reluctant coach? How effective is a reluctant field leader?

Good teaching depends upon enthusiasm and personal commitment. One cannot legislate volunteerism. Bill 74 is undemocratic, draconian legislation by an anti-democratic Queen's Park government.

Hundredth Birthday Of Sister Bernadette DebloisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, in Beauport, have a special reason to celebrate, since Sister Bernadette Deblois turns 100 this month.

Bernadette, who was born in 1900 in Saint-George-de-Beauce, became a nun because of her faith and her desire to help her fellow human beings.

In 1920, she decided to spend her life teaching young people. She was a teacher or a school principal for close to 30 years, at the elementary level. Later on, she fulfilled various duties within the congregation, while maintaining a special interest in teaching young people with difficulties. She also spent 10 years supporting the work of the St. Vincent de Paul fathers, at the Patro.

Sister Bernadette is very spry. She swam until the age of 98, she is funny and she faces each day with serenity. Even though she is now more fragile than she used to be, she remains free and liberated, and maintains absolute confidence in the Providence.

What else could we wish you, Sister Bernadette, if not health and the love of those who surround you? You have heard it one hundred times, but I will say it anyway: happy birthday Sister Bernadette.

Women's RightsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, one step forward, two steps back. That is how women feel today. Just on the heels of the UN special conference on women, where women have been working so hard to move the equality agenda forward, up pops the Prime Minister with his flippant remark about nice girls getting pregnant.

What kind of progress is that? How can the country's highest ranking politician be so cavalier and insensitive to women's daily struggles for basic equality, justice and fairness?

Whether it is the Prime Minister sticking his foot in his mouth or UN officials denying women the right to breast feed at a women's assembly, it is clear that women have a long way to go.

The CLC Women's Conference kicked off today and it is a good thing too. Its theme, rise up, act up, takes on new meaning in the face of the Prime Minister's silly comments. The Prime Minister should head on over to that conference and get a little gender sensitivity training.

As we prepare for the World March of Women 2000, the rallying cry for this event has never rung more true. In more ways than one it truly is time for a change.

National Public Service WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, June 11 to 17 is National Public Service Week. This is an opportunity to celebrate the professionalism and sense of duty of the women and men who chose to be at the service of Canadians, thus contributing to our quality of life.

This week is also an opportunity to pay tribute to the wisdom, skills and talents of the members of the Public Service of Canada.

I am pleased to join the Prime Minister in thanking the members of the Public Service of Canada in each department and organization across the country.

Their dedication benefits us all. Thanks to these competent women and men, Canadians can rely on quality services everywhere in Canada.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today once again to make the House aware of the problems associated with the proposed EI boundary changes. Under the proposed changes people will have to work 595 hours as opposed to the 425 hours currently required. These same people will receive benefits for 18 weeks, a reduction from the present 28 week benefit period.

Seasonal employees and responsible employers will be hurt under the new system as proposed by the minister. I am not for a minute suggesting that we go back to the days when unemployment insurance was a good alternative to working, but I am suggesting that the minister take a close look at what the department is attempting to do and reconsider it. It will cause many difficulties in the workplace.

National Public Service WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of National Public Service Week.

It is important to pay tribute to the untiring efforts of the 208,000 men and women in the federal public service who, in one capacity or another, are helping to improve the quality of life of Quebecers and Canadians.

In recent years, the federal public service has undergone many changes and is engaged in a daily effort to improve the quality of the services it provides. It has seen its share of the many government cutbacks. And it has waged and won some major battles, such as the one on pay equity.

Being a public servant is no easy matter. These men and women face many challenges, and the pressures under which they work are perhaps underestimated. The qualities they must demonstrate include integrity, flexibility and innovation in serving the public, and they must exercise these qualities as part of a huge organization.

Today, the Bloc Quebecois wishes to offer its sincere congratulations to the men and women in the public service on the excellence of their work and the co-operation they show.

Stroke Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is Stroke Awareness Month. This year's theme is creating awareness about the warning signs of a stroke.

Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in Canada. Some 40,000 to 50,000 new strokes are reported annually. Symptoms include sudden weakness, numbness, paralysis, dizziness, severe headaches, vision and speech problems. Early detection and treatment are extremely important for stroke patients.

Mr. Walter Gretzky is a recovering stroke patient and a spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. He is currently delivering his message to Canadians: “Know the signs of an oncoming stroke, get treated and take advantage of new treatments”.

In recognition of Stroke Awareness Month, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has unveiled a public service campaign with Mr. Gretzky that aims to raise awareness about this very serious illness. I encourage all members of the House to become aware of the signs of stroke and to spread the word.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Edmonton North Alberta

Reform

Deborah Grey ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have always known that HRD grants and contributions are more about political benefits to the Liberals than they are about grants of genuine benefits to Canadians. A briefing book to the minister really puts it black and white. Let me quote from it:

—the Minister's Office contacts MPs to ask...if they would like to present the grant cheque to the organization. A copy of each project summary is also provided to Senator Fairbairn's office.

If they really are not about scoring political points, why are MPs and a Liberal senator keeping tabs on them?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would be very glad to have the hon. member make the same kind of announcement in her own riding but of course, we know that party is not interested in these grants and contributions. It does not want to help Canadians improve their levels of literacy. It does not want to help Canadians who are disabled to find work. We know that is the case but if the hon. member would like to do it, I would be thrilled to provide her with the information.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton North Alberta

Reform

Deborah Grey ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals talked about this when they were in opposition because they did not get any of the glory.

This briefing book was not prepared just for the fun of it. It was the result of a specific request by the minister in August of last year. Instead of having her department clean up the billion dollar boondoggle mess, she had it put together lengthy briefing notes on how to get more publicity for her handouts.

Why was the minister so concerned about publicity and so unconcerned about the billion dollar bungle?