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House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would strongly recommend a reading of the Standing Orders by the hon. Leader of the Opposition. He will know that secret ballots are permitted now.

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they never happen. We will see whether the government supports this tomorrow.

The government has been giving an excuse that the reason we cannot do this is only the Prime Minister could strike a regional and gender balance in choices for committee chairs. This is a Prime Minister who has picked 59 out of 69 male committee chairs and has had two-thirds of committee chairs coming from a single province and in some cases provinces have not had committee chairs in the past nine years.

Does the government really believe that members of the House could possibly do a worse job of striking regional and gender balance by voting for committee chairs by secret ballot?

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is once again wrong. He is not doing very well today. He said that no chair of committee was elected by secret ballot. The chair of the environment committee was.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will not comment on those last ones as they were incorrect.

For nine years the government has delayed much needed funding for military personnel and equipment. Ongoing neglect for Canada's military is making it increasingly difficult to meet our international obligations.

The Prime Minister has stated that fulfilling Kyoto's international obligation is essential. Why will he not apply the same sense of urgency to the needs of the Canadian Forces?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, to say that we have not met our international obligations is absolutely false. We had 800 soldiers in Afghanistan who received huge praise from American colonels, generals and sergeants.

We had ships, nine at one point, operating seamlessly and leading the group in the Arabian Sea. Just last Thursday they captured a ship with five patrol vessels on the way to Iraq; not a bad day's work.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the arrogance is something else. It is a long way from the private dining rooms of the Royal Bank to the military mess halls.

Today marks the ninth anniversary of the cancellation of the Sea King replacement contract. For nine years the government has systematically neglected the needs of our military.

When will the government commit to providing our troops with the necessary revenues they need and stop all this poppycock?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I would acknowledge that it is a long way from Bay Street to Kandahar, but I am very glad I made that change.

As for the helicopters, 1,000 technical suggestions have been made by the companies. It takes a while to get everything moving. I am committed to moving this file as fast as possible and getting the best helicopter at the lowest price as soon as possible.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

November 4th, 2002 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite an e-mail message specifying that the firm the secretary of state wanted hired was Everest, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services insists that it was his department that awarded the contract. However, the minister forgot to mention that Everest had already been working for weeks before the contract was signed.

Will the minister not acknowledge that, according to the wishes of the former secretary of state, the dice were already loaded in favour of Everest well before the contract was officially awarded?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I have no idea what the preferences of any particular minister might have been at that time two or three years ago. The fact of the matter remains that the decision in this case was one that had to be made by those officials who were at the time in the Department of Public Works. They made the decision according to the procedures in place at that time.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know that the minister does not want to answer my question because, in all likelihood, he knows the answer.

However, I will ask him this: since he has said that procedures were respected, is it customary for a firm to begin work before a contract has been awarded? Is this acceptable under his department's guidelines? I would like to hear what he has to say.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the department works very hard to follow the guidelines and the policy principles established by Treasury Board for all matters of contracting, whether that is in the communications field or otherwise. I would note that because of the concerns that were expressed earlier this year, the Prime Minister instructed the President of the Treasury Board to review the governance framework for all contracting in the field of sponsorships and advertising. In due course the President of the Treasury Board will be making recommendations to strengthen the whole process.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, Everest was awarded the contract to organize consultations for the former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport on May 30, 2000.

However, the former secretary of state's tour began June 2 and 3 in Fredericton, only three days after Everest was awarded the contract.

Would the Minister of Public Works and Government Services still have us believe that Everest did not start work well before the contract was signed, as the former Secretary of State for Amateur Sport wished?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the quality of the consultation, given the short timeframe, is a matter of particular importance. I am happy to have the remarks on May 22 by this hon. member, the member for Châteauguay, who indicated that this was an excellent initiative upon which he wished to congratulate the government.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is mixing apples and oranges. It is possible that things were done properly. However, awarding contracts prematurely is another matter altogether.

Prior to the May 30, 2000 contract, Everest submitted a budget estimate in which it forecast that it would cost $60,000 to create an Internet site, a site that was launched on May 19, 2000 by the former secretary of state.

Can the Minister of Public Works affirm that Everest did no work prior to getting the contract, even though the site had been up and running for two weeks?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I have no personal knowledge at all of the matters that the hon. gentleman is alleging. He seems to have some concern with respect to dates and timing. I will inquire into those matters to see if there is anything that requires further clarification. However there is nothing before me at this time that would support the allegations he is making.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, in spite of the Minister of Foreign Affairs' assurances to the contrary last week, Canadians born in the Middle East are still required to provide fingerprints at the border. They are still being photographed and flagged.

The U.S. is targeting Canadian citizens on the basis of their country of origin.

Why is this discriminatory practice still going on?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have had the assurance of the U.S. ambassador to Canada that it would end.

As I said the other day, naturally, it may take some time for the administration or officials in the administration to act on broad policies, but I am confident that this practice will end, as we were assured by the United States. We have established a good relationship with the U.S. on this issue.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how the minister can be satisfied. He must know that a veteran INS inspector yesterday stated that the discriminatory inspections of Canadians born in the Middle East remains in force. I quote his words further, “Canada took what they wanted out of a conversation with Mr. Powell and came away believing that we were not going to do the security entry/exit registration on their citizens”.

We have a copy of the memo implementing the U.S. policy but nowhere can we find a memo cancelling that policy for Canadian citizens. Has the minister received such written information and if so, will he table it in the House?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I had a personal conversation with the ambassador who assured me that he had spoken to Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Powell and instructions would flow to end this practice. I believe that the ambassador had a similar conversation with the leader of the fifth party.

The ambassador of the United States has issued a press release stating that this practice is coming to an end. I have total confidence that the ambassador of the United States is stating to this country what is the official policy of the United States of America.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance gave contrary messages on bank mergers. Two weeks ago the Minister of National Defence announced his own unauthorized policy on defence spending.

Today the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration says it is wrong for the U.S. to apply what he calls racial profiling to Canadian landed immigrants from Commonwealth countries. The Minister of Foreign Affairs by contrast says the United States is perfectly entitled to make its own policies about Canadian landed immigrants.

Of these two warring ministers, who speaks for the government, or do neither of them speak for the government?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and I never enter into war. We are the best of collaborators on all these things.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration made a very good point saying that landed immigrants in this country are reliable because they are admitted to this country under very strict guidelines. We will continue to tell our American colleagues that fact.

It is also a fact however that the practice of visas is one that is followed. This is not a visa that is being applied to Canadian citizens. We must therefore respect what the United States is doing while at the same time drawing to its attention the nature of Canada, the nature of our immigration policies and the desire we have to have a free and open border between our two countries.

Committees of the HouseOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

You are better off with e-mails, Denis.

Committees of the HouseOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Committees of the HouseOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, rumours abound whether individual government members will be free to vote their conscience tomorrow afternoon regarding the election of committee chairs by secret ballot.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister allow a free vote for Liberal members of Parliament on this motion to make Parliament more effective? Perhaps while he is up, the Deputy Prime Minister could tell us whether that was the Prime Minister's idea or the idea of the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard.

Committees of the HouseOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member seems to be asking a question about whether or not secret ballots are permitted for the election of committee chairs. Perhaps his House leader, or former House leader who is very well versed in these issues could explain to him that they are already.

If he is inquiring otherwise on the well-being of our caucus generally, I can tell him that it is just fine.