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House of Commons Hansard #192 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was life.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday 40,000 British Columbians spoke out against Gordon Campbell's horrifying vision of B.C. It is a vision where one cannot afford to get sick or attend school and where even the basic right to assistance is being destroyed.

Why is the Minister of Health not supporting the people of B.C. to stop the destruction of our public heath care system. Is the government now so gutless that it will not even defend its own vision and mandate for health care as set out under the Canada Health Act? Why will she not defend our public health care system?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the five principles of the Canada Health Act are fundamental to our health care system and the renewal of our health care system. My officials are monitoring and working with the officials in B.C. to ensure that the restructuring which takes place in the province of British Columbia does not violate the five principles of the Canada Health Act.

Let me remind the hon. member that all of us, federal, provincial and territorial ministers of health and governments, are working hard on behalf of our residents and citizens to renew our health care system and to have a health care system that is there for everyone when they need it.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the health minister really gets it. Canadians expect this government and this minister to act. They wonder when the health minister, after four months of inaction, will finally engage in the critical health debate of the day.

Today the health care in Canada annual survey came out. It shows that three-quarters of Canadians believe now that medicare is underfunded. Seventy per cent actually say they would pay more in taxes for the necessary changes to health care.

Canadians are willing to do their part. Will the Minister of Health do hers?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. members knows, if she put aside the rhetorical flourishes, we are very much involved with the renewal of health care, along with our provincial and territorial colleagues, other stakeholders and those who use our health care system. In fact the Romanow commission is concluding its national consultations with Canadians everywhere.

Senator Kirby and his senate committee are consulting with Canadians and others in relation to the future of health care.

In fact in September of 2000, the Prime Minister and the first ministers entered into an accord with $21.1 billion new dollars for health care.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

May 27th, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, in a cynical effort to shift attention away from the unethical conduct of his ministers, the Prime Minister has simply shuffled the deck. The hasty changes in cabinet leave Canadians more suspicious about the Liberal government. It should dawn on the minister that the issue of public trust, real and perceived, has not been addressed.

Would the renewed government House leader clear the air once and for all and simply table the sequentially numbered cheques. This will allow Canadians to judge for themselves whether the minister's weekend at Boulay's was paid for prior to the scandal breaking?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, one is sometimes still surprised by the extremes to which this member will go.

Clearly, the minister has not only indicated the process by which he paid for the stays at the cottage, but it is not his cheque. Nor does the hon. member across the way have any right to see any of the other cheques in the cheque book of minister's daughter-in-law. Really that goes beyond the pale.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is nothing compared to the extremes that this member and this government will go to avoid accountability.

In keeping with the usual practice, in November 1996 Jean Carle, then the Prime Minister's director of operations, and Chuck Guité attended a meeting with Molson Indy organizers where the government's sponsorship program was discussed. True to form, the government later awarded a sponsorship program of $850,000 to Molson, including a 12% commission to Lafleur.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister explain why the PMO's office was involved at all? Is that the regular practice. Since 1996 have there been other meetings with other sponsorships by Mr. Carle or--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I have no personal knowledge of the matters that the hon. gentleman alleges. I will certainly make inquiries and see if I can provide any further information.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, this morning's news confirmed that there have been other abuses of public funds. The figure is in fact over $150,000. What is more, these funds generated $20,000 for the Liberal Party of Canada, from the coffers of the company that was awarded the contract.

Can we count on an RCMP investigation into this company, or can we not?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I presume the hon. gentleman is making a reference to the Coffin matter. He did not specify in his question if there was an item in particular to which he was referring.

Let me say that if there are any facts that come to my attention that merit a reference to the RCMP, the auditor general or any public authority for investigation that reference will be made.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, 70% of Canadians think that federal politics is corrupt and the government and the Prime Minister are missing its opportunity to right that imbalance. Yesterday's cabinet shuffle half step does not suffice to clean up the reputation of the government or our federal political institutions. Canadians deserve better.

The government can do better by opening up the process of the investigation to make it an open public inquiry. Will the government have an open public inquiry and, if not, what is the principled argument against hiding this damage from the Canadian public so that it can know what their government has been doing?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, the preamble of the member's question is not news. It would be news if he got up and said that the shuffle was adequate, so I guess there is no surprise there.

I again ask if the auditor general is not independent who is? If her reports have not been made public, what reports have been made public? In fact, all the discussion in the House and the actions that we have taken have been in response to the thorough, independent work of the auditor general herself, fulfilling the tasks assigned by law to her office. Why duplicate it?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, when he lost the job of minister of public works, the government House leader happily declared “At last, I will not have to answer any more questions”, referring to the contracts handed out to firms run by friends of the Liberal Party.

Does this expression of relief not indicate that there are still many questions unanswered, and that the next minister will have his work cut out for him explaining how and why there are so many ties between ministers of this government and firms run by their friends, which receive all sorts of generous contracts?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, if the member wishes to ask questions of substance, he may do so, and we will answer them.

It is a basic rule of this House that the minister responsible for the department is the one who answers.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, is this statement by the former minister of public works not just more proof that, if we are really to get to the bottom of this whole affair, what is needed is a public inquiry, with more powers than those available to the auditor general?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general, who prepared the report in question, is already independent. She does excellent work.

We have responded and we are continuing to respond to the auditor general's recommendations.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, while it is a good thing that the RCMP is now investigating Groupaction, Canadians cannot be confident that there will be no political interference. Judge Ted Hughes called for legislation to ensure no political interference with the RCMP, but the government rejected it.

Will the solicitor general do the right thing and act on Ted Hughes' recommendations, assuring Canadians that this government will not interfere with the Groupaction investigation as it did with APEC, Shawinigate and Airbus?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. colleague is well aware of what the APEC report indicated.

My hon. colleague is also well aware, and as I have indicated many times in the House, that as solicitor general or as the government we do not get involved in police investigations.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians must have confidence that the RCMP can do its job and that includes doing its job with respect to investigating the government in suspected cases of wrongdoing without the fear of reprisals or interference.

I therefore ask the Deputy Prime Minister: Will he immediately launch a full public inquiry to clear the air over the corruption allegations?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, I know that the Alliance Party is a big spender, but I do not really see the basis for spending millions and millions of dollars to duplicate the work of the auditor general, who has proven her independence, who has proven the thoroughness of her work and whose recommendations the government is taking seriously and upon which we are acting.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Pillitteri Liberal Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

A campaign was organized at several Canada-U.S. border crossings this week to increase awareness of the punitive duties that have been imposed on our lumber producers and to dispel the myths spread by the very active lobbyists in the U.S.

Could the minister please tell us if the Canadian government plans to assist the Canadian industry in its efforts to increase awareness of the unfair hardships that the U.S. lumber industry has imposed on it?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to announce today that the Government of Canada will provide $20 million over the next few years to support our industry in its awareness building campaign in the United States.

The objective of this campaign is to inform and educate key segments in the United States about the punitive impact that these duties are having on them and their interests.

This measure complements the recent $75 million announcement made by my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources. The government will work with its industry.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period I raised the matter of Coffin Communications and the similarities between that case and Groupaction. This missing work was uncovered by an internal audit, money went to the Liberal Party, and the deal was signed off on by the very same civil servant.

Given that the facts in the case are practically identical, will the minister reconsider his earlier response and agree to refer this matter immediately to the RCMP?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of speaking to Ms. Fraser earlier today and I will be meeting with her later this week, and beyond the all encompassing work being undertaken by the auditor general my officials are again reviewing all of the files in relation to the sponsorship program.

I assure the hon. gentleman that if there is any information presented to me that merits a reference to the RCMP, that reference will be made immediately.