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House of Commons Hansard #202 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was compensation.

Topics

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I share the point of view of the Deputy Prime Minister, and he shares my point of view of course, that Canada's industry and the Government of Canada will indeed prevail at the WTO and at NAFTA. We all have to work for a clear win at WTO and at NAFTA.

In the meantime, my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development, has ensured that her department will reply and respond well to the needs of our individuals and our communities, and we are monitoring that very closely. We are also working with the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Industry to find solutions.

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

June 10th, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, while they are still planning and not reacting, they are hanging the families out to dry in this indifference. They seem to be content with the ignorance and they show equal indifference to the auto industry.

The auto industry is vital to the economy of Ontario and all of Canada. It has seen well over 15,000 jobs disappear in the past two years with more to come. Earlier this year the Canadian auto workers put forward a comprehensive strategy for the federal government to take action and protect auto jobs and the industry in Canada.

Will the minister take action to address the facing crisis or will he stand idly by as with the softwood lumber where he has done the exact same thing?

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the member has only 35 seconds to put his question but he should give us a break because I am afraid that I missed some of the words.

What I would like to reiterate to the House is that as far as the trade policy and trade negotiations are concerned, we have a very skilful team that is really promoting Canada's interest. We have been having a good stretch, including the exemption of steel from U.S. action. We will continue to do the same thing on softwood lumber.

I think our trade policy is going very well.

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure both the member for Windsor West and the Minister for International Trade appreciate all the assistance they are receiving from other hon. members, but it is tough for the Chair to hear the questions or the answers when there is this much assistance offered at the same time.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week the new Minister of Public Works and Government Services said that government programs had been systematically abused and that abuse may well be systemic. Parliament and Canadians deserve to know how many RCMP investigations are underway.

This is not a hypothetical question. This is a serious question. How many RCMP investigations are currently underway?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again, I do not intend to speculate upon what the police may or may not be doing. From time to time issues arise that raise legal questions. The proper officials within the Government of Canada refer those matters to the RCMP. It is up to the RCMP to determine whether it will investigate or not and I will not impinge upon its work.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is frightening to think that the minister does not know the answer to that question.

Contracting scandals, RCMP investigations, auditor general investigations, corruption covers that group of lads over there like scum on a pond. How many referrals to the RCMP and the auditor general will it take to make the government concede to our demand for a full and accountable, by the way, public inquiry into all government contracts?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would of course for political reasons love to match the hon. gentleman's inflammatory rhetoric, but I am dealing with a serious problem in a serious way.

I have been asked by the Prime Minister to solve the issues in this portfolio. I intend to do so and I am not going to allow idle speculation to interfere with the process.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, every time there is a new revelation of misdeeds involving advertising and sponsorship the Prime Minister shrugs his shoulders and says “These things happen”. The minister of public works speaks in calm tones and defends his predecessor's half measures.

For weeks we have been asking for a freeze on all discretionary ad contracts. What is the government afraid of and what is it covering up?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again with respect to the action that I took last week, I want to make it clear that where my department as the contracting agent either on behalf of itself or on behalf of any other government department or agency new advertising business to the firm Groupaction will not be entertained.

We are examining business that is caught in process on a case by case basis and we are making it abundantly clear to all other government departments what our position is.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, another day, another cover up. Canadians are losing track of all the contracts, all the scams and all the players. We know this much. Taxpayers send their hard earned money to Ottawa and this gang ships it by the millions to its Liberal pals.

The RCMP has been called in to look at more and more cases and files. Canadians deserve a full public inquiry. Why will the government not order one?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, a full departmental review is underway by my department. The treasury board will be conducting an examination about management frameworks and governance system having to do with sponsorships, advertising and polling. The public accounts committee is holding meetings and hearings. Wherever matters involve legal questions, references are made to the police. Of course the auditor general will be conducting a government-wide inquiry with all the powers that she has under the Auditor General Act.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the facts indicate that not only is the public works department involved in what has now become known as the sponsorship scandal, but even the Prime Minister's entourage and office are in it up to the neck.

When it is possible to show that the problem, far from being limited to the public works department, goes all the way up to the Office of the Prime Minister, is it not legitimate to think that the only credible way left of getting to the bottom of this is through an independent public inquiry?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the events of the year 2000 show that the department of public works itself instigated the internal audit. That internal audit section of the department is described as excellent and courageous by the auditor general.

The work was done. Following the work, an implementation plan was developed to address the deficiencies that the internal audit discovered. In the spring of the year 2000 the process was reviewed again to make sure that the steps that needed to be taken had in fact been taken.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Deputy Prime Minister think that a piecemeal inquiry could get to the bottom of this, when it is clear that what we have here is an organized system, a system which the Prime Minister knew about and encouraged?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, when the auditor general appeared before the public accounts committee last week, the auditor general said it was her hope that by the time she had completed her next audit, between now and the year 2003, she would be able to report that there were problems but that the government had proactively addressed them. That is my hope as well and I intend to deliver.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, there has been plenty of time since the question was first asked and not answered for an assistant to pass the minister a note with the answer to a simple question.

There is no speculation here. It is not a subjective question. It is an objective question. How many investigations are underway by the RCMP on these government scandals? How many? It is a number question. How many?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I have dealt with that question. References have been made to the RCMP. Only the RCMP will know which investigations they are undertaking.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, it is easy to understand that there were so many he lost count.

Here is a different question. The federal government spent $333,000 to sponsor a hunting and fishing show in Quebec City. The event was cancelled. It did not happen. My question has two parts and it is very simple. Who got the money and what did they do with it?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, for reasons similar to the ones expressed in the question, that matter has been referred to the RCMP and I have taken steps today to begin the process of recovering the money.

International AidOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Cooperation. Last week the tragic collapse of the Zeyzoun dam in northern Syria resulted in numerous deaths and the evacuation of thousands of people from several flooded villages in the area. Will the minister indicate what action the Canadian government has taken in response to this calamity?

International AidOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Essex Ontario

Liberal

Susan Whelan LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada is concerned about the collapse of the Zeyzoun dam and we would like to extend our sympathies to the victims of this disaster.

We would also like to commend the government of Syria and the local Red Crescent Society for their prompt action in addressing the needs of the victims of this disaster.

Today I am announcing that Canada, through CIDA, will be contributing $50,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross to support the efforts of providing basic food, shelter and other needs to the over 8,000 Syrians who were left homeless.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, VIA Rail's operation loses $165 million every year, which is paid for by the Canadian taxpayer.

Recently it was disclosed that VIA Rail was a $1 million sponsor of a film production of the life of Maurice Richard.

Why is a government operation, subsidized by taxpayers in the amount of almost half a million dollars a day, spending $1 million it does not have to sponsor the production of a hockey film?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, there were questions about this file that troubled both me and my officials. The appropriate steps have been taken to invite an inquiry by the RCMP.