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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the EI fund is contributed to by all workers and all employers in Canada.

As I said earlier, it is my understanding that the provincial program they want to put into place requires more contributions by employers and employees. That is up to them.

We have our program, and if they want one that is more specific, they can add very easily onto what we are already doing. The families of Quebec will be very nicely covered, with both the money from the federal government and the money from the provincial government. We are going to respect the jurisdictions of both.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, privately, the Prime Minister's own colleagues are telling us that they are interested in seeing the federal program brought in line with the Quebec one, when it is in place.

Could the Prime Minister commit to agreeing to negotiate with Quebec and could he state here in this House that the federal government will agree to join with the Quebec program, once it is in place, as his colleagues and certain of his ministers would like him to?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a program in place. Let them join with ours, and improve it. They are welcome to do so.

They have our permission. There is no problem. We each have our own jurisdiction. If they feel our program is not satisfactory, then let them adjust it. They are responsible for social programs in Quebec, just as other provinces are responsible for theirs.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

It is clear that, for this government, money comes before people and profits come before quality of life.

Yesterday, we had proof of this again. The Minister for International Trade stated in committee that trade agreements had nothing to do with human rights.

Does the Prime Minister agree with his minister's surprising remarks?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the minister said and what we are saying is that programs and economic and trade problems must be negotiated in this context.

There are other forums for the other issues. We firmly believe that if we have trade relations with other countries whose systems are not as good as ours, we are in a better position to influence them than if we were to completely isolate them . This is the case with many countries.

We always refer to human rights, but we try to create jobs for them and for us.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, whether it is labour, environment or human rights, the government is all for it as long as there is no teeth and no enforcement. Listen to what the trade minister said:

Can we deprive countries of South America of one of their assets which is cheap labour?

Cheap labour is not an asset. It is deprivation. It is exploitation. It is human misery. Such conditions should not be applauded; they should be condemned.

Will the Prime Minister agree that labour, the environment and human rights must be essential elements in any trade deal involving Canada?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the hon. member and all Canadians that the Government of Canada takes this issue very seriously.

Our goal is to ensure there is a coherent approach with the ILO on labour, with UNEP on the environment, with the IMF and the World Bank. We want to get these groups all talking together to ensure that these issues are in the forefront of the international agenda.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, increasingly the spectre of a legal battle between Quebec City and Ottawa on the question of parental leave is raising its head. It is not up to the judiciary to decide whether the federal system is working well, but rather the electorate.

Could the Prime Minister of Canada not follow the example set by his Minister of Finance, who agreed with his provincial counterpart and found a common ground they could agree upon, or should we quickly replace the Prime Minister with his Minister of Finance?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we gave Quebec the opportunity to negotiate a number of years back. They left the table. We have a federal program that applies to all Canadians. I think the people in Quebec are happy to have a federal government that looks after their social problems.

Oddly enough, when the federal government wants to do something, what does the Government of Quebec want? It wants the money from the federal government so it can distribute it. I think that the electors are better served when they know that their money is distributed by the government that collected it.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the specifications for replacement of the Sea King helicopters were signed off two months ago by DND and then sent to the Minister of National Defence, who I understand has also signed off and forwarded them to the Prime Minister's office.

Would the Prime Minister inform the House today what is holding up the final approval of these specs? Is it because the Prime Minister does not want to have the Cormorant as part of the tender process?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, my answer is very long. No.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we all remember René Fugère, the guy who is under police investigation for being an unregistered lobbyist. We also remember when René Fugère, the Prime Minister's body double, worked with the Prime Minister's favourite Shawinigan lawyer, Mr. Gilles Champagne, to create an illegal trust fund that benefited a third prime ministerial crony in the Placeteco Inc. deal.

At the conclusion of this session, would the Prime Minister care to explain once again why HRDC was forced to break the rules that then benefited his close friends?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we remember that party talking about $3 billion being missing. We remember that party talking about $1 billion being missing. We know now that is not the case at all.

We remember members of that party talking about the fact that they are not interested in supporting Canadians in need. They said that through grants and contributions we are wasting taxpayers' dollars to support young people who want to find employment, to support Canadians with disabilities, to support Canadians who want to improve their literacy. We remember that and so do Canadians.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, we really wish the hon. minister would do more than just remember and actually fix the problems in her department.

A full one-third of those who donated to the Prime Minister's personal election campaign ended up getting grants, contributions or contracts from his government, in other words, from the taxpayers of Canada. Was that because the other two-thirds just did not donate enough?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to use this occasion to say how hypocritical those people are. They have a little problem in their own party where it is evident that some people are trying to steal the leadership while they sit there and do nothing. That is the only problem they have to deal with and they do not know what to do.

We had problems and we have solved them. That is why at the end of this session we can say that when we started, unemployment was at 11.5% and now it is down to 6.6%. When we started, there was a $42 billion deficit and the Minister of Finance has informed me that he now has a very big surplus.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

June 15th, 2000 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the solution proposed by the Prime Minister regarding parental leave reflects his vision of Canada.

He is proposing a two-tier system and a duplication of programs that will only, as evidenced by years of experience in other areas, generate useless costs and inefficiencies.

Does the Prime Minister not agree that, together, we could negotiate to use the money contributed and create a simple and comprehensive program, strictly for the benefit of Quebec's young families?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a program that has been working for 30 years. Everyone was very pleased that, thanks to this government's good management, we were able to extend the period from 6 to 12 months.

Again, it is very easy for the Premier of Quebec and others to want to implement good policies with money provided by the federal government.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, is the Prime Minister giving us a demonstration of the inflexibility of Canadian federalism, by stubbornly refusing to take into account the interest of young families?

Does he realize that this is all that matters here, now that the time has come for this government to get along with Quebec?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if they truly care about Quebec families that are not covered by employment insurance, let them take their responsibilities and create a new program with their resources.

We have responsibilities toward those who contribute to employment insurance. We use the money that they put into it to help these families. If those who are not covered by the employment insurance have problems, let the Quebec government assume its responsibilities.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, we all know that last August, HRDC officials were in full damage control mode over a billion dollar boondoggle audit. Their communications department had prepared an action plan to handle the crisis and officials were hunkering down for the coming storm. The minister was obviously terrified of the consequences of this audit becoming public.

Was it that fear of the public finding out that prevented the minister from telling Canadians about the audit for a full six months after it was completed?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I can only be amused that after six months we are still back where we started.

I can say that again we see unsupported allegations being repeated and repeated and repeated. Repetition does not make things true.

If those members would take the time to actually look at the facts where indeed we made the report public, where we have taken action to improve the administration of the department and where we have defended and strengthened grants and contributions in this country, they would see that things have been done. We have taken leadership and we are doing the right thing.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Reed Elley Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the minister finds so funny about missing $1 billion. The Minister of Human Resources Development waited until two days after we submitted an access to information request before she announced the existence of the billion dollar bungle audit. She then tried to postdate the acknowledgement of our access requests.

Was the minister more ashamed about her billion dollar bungle or her attempt to cover it up?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that it is the hon. member who should be embarrassed.

First, here again he reiterates the falsehood that $1 billion is missing. It is not. He reiterates the fact that they think the access to information request spawned the audit. It did no such thing. That was discussed in this House many months ago. Again we see the reiteration of falsehoods and misdirection.

Those members talk about draft reports. If they would take the time to look at the facts, to see the progress, to see the actual results of the work, they would understand that things have been taken into hand and are in much better shape today than they were.

Francophone AthletesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport is loudly praising his exploits as a minister.

Yet the Commissioner of Official Languages has given him a really poor grade on his report card. She has even told him that he has a lot of homework to do in order to foster equality of opportunity for francophone athletes.

Given the relatively short career of athletes, and the fact that coaches can work for 10 to 20 years, would it not be normal to require that the latter be bilingual?

Francophone AthletesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalSecretary of State (Amateur Sport)

Mr. Speaker, I can understand the hon. member's frustration. Yesterday she was questioning my credibility and today she is looking for some for herself.

Clearly, in the past ten months, with all the concrete actions in which we have been involved, there is one thing I can say: ask any athlete, regardless of their coach, and they will say one thing for certain: we are “on the right track”.