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House of Commons Hansard #204 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the internal audit that was conducted by my department in the year 2000 indicated that there were certain treasury board procedures that had not in previous years been respected. It was the recommendation of that internal audit that those deficiencies be corrected. During the course of the following months, those corrections have been made.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

June 12th, 2002 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to waste taxpayer money in an unprecedented fashion. Let us add up the money wasted on just two of the Prime Minister's cronies: $900,000 in the BDC loan, $451,000 in TJF grants and $224,000 in back taxes. That is nearly $1.6 million.

The audit says a visit by an HRDC Shawinigan official resulted in an inquiry whether HRDC ought to seek some recovery of the funds it had provided. How much did the government recover on behalf of Canadian taxpayers?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP have completed its review. The file is back with us and as always, we will look at it to see if there is a reason for assessing and establishing an overpayment

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, these businesses did not create jobs at all. They actually lost jobs.

Yesterday the minister admitted that another company, Placeteco, also received grants of $1.2 million and is now employing 47 people, another net loss of 123 jobs. If the Prime Minister keeps on helping his cronies, soon no one will be working in Shawinigan, not even the Prime Minister.

Why would the Prime Minister support businesses that were clearly not viable? Was it because they were his political friends?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the whole point of the exercise is recognizing that in some parts of Canada it is more difficult than in others to create jobs.

Perhaps the hon. member would like to ask the 47 employees of Placeteco who are still employed whether they think the investment was a wise one.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, with his ethics rules, the Prime Minister is trying to wipe the slate clean, as if manifesting a few good intentions for the future were sufficient to avoid having to face the music. The government is responsible for the sponsorship scandal, yet no one within this government has yet admitted any responsibility whatsoever.

How can the Prime Minister present new ethics rules for the future while continuing to sanction the behaviour of his ministers involved in wasting public funds, without laying any blame on anyone?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is inviting the government or others to draw conclusions before the police have finished their work, before the auditor general does her work, before departmental reviews are completed, before treasury board finishes its work.

I would indicate that we have launched a whole series of the appropriate examinations to find out exactly what transpired, to make sure that the problems are identified and then properly fixed for the future.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Works and Government Services think, by just focussing on the future, they can make everyone forget the millions of dollars that have been wasted greasing the palms of the Liberal party's cronies, when absolutely no minister, nor the Prime Minister, has yet admitted one iota of responsibility, as if the scandal had nothing at all to do with anyone within government?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we have indicated that we have found the practices identified in the past to be unacceptable and that we have launched the appropriate inquiries, investigations and corrective procedures to make sure that first, all those problems are thoroughly ventilated and second, that corrective action is taken so that they do not occur again.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the audit into Les Confections St-Élie inc. had this to say:

Actions taken by Élie...appear to have facilitated what may be misrepresentations made to HRDC required for the approval of grant money--

Misrepresentation is a serious charge.

Canadians want to know, did the Prime Minister know about the failed job creation record of his supporter when he pressured HRDC officials for this grant money?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let me try to explain again to the other side what actually transpired.

The department asked for a forensic audit on this file. It is because of the comments the hon. member has made that the file was referred to the RCMP. The RCMP has done a complete review of the file against the terms and conditions of the program, as well as other aspects and has found nothing untoward. End of story.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister still is not answering the questions.

The investigation into the Prime Minister's riding is now over two years old. In total there are or have been over 20 RCMP investigations into various sponsorship contracts or HRDC grants and it has already resulted in three criminal convictions.

Will the Prime Minister tell Canadians today how many more criminal convictions it will take before he orders a full public inquiry?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would think that member of parliament, more than anyone else, who supports the RCMP would take its conclusions as substantive and final.

I say again on this particular file that the RCMP fully reviewed it and found nothing untoward. That is the end of the story.

LiberiaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa.

A recent CBC news program highlighted the connection between the timber trade in Liberia and the brutal and destabilizing regime of the country's president, Charles Taylor. It also drew attention to the fact that Liberian timber processed in a third country is sold in Canada.

Can the secretary of state tell the House what Canada is doing to break the link between natural resources and conflict with particular reference to Liberian timber?

LiberiaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa) (Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, Canada is working with its G-8 partners to combat the wrongful use of timber resources.

Canada supports including wood in the UN sanctions against Liberia. Wood must not become a means of financing war.

Unfortunately, there has been no consensus at this time on this issue at the United Nations Security Council, but Canada will continue to push to support the inclusion of timber in the sanction regime, just like we did with diamonds.

The MediaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the heritage minister and the government House leader who promised us a reply on Friday.

Friday saw another urgent plea for the government to abandon its policies of unfettered media concentration. This plea came from 40 of Canada's greatest journalists sponsored by the Southam family. They want the government to consider tax incentives for media companies that preserve journalistic independence, measures to promote journalistic freedom and stronger tax policies to protect our culture from foreign ownership.

These things have to come from government. They are outside the terms of the standing committee study. Will the minister act on these pleas today?

The MediaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, while I fully understand and respect the concern of the hon. member about diversity of voices, I find it rather strange that an editorial which is written by an editorial board in Winnipeg and travels across the country is somehow more egregious than the fact that the previous owner of that paper used to put his own stories in and they were printed on a fairly regular basis as news.

La Soirée du hockeyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, I guess I have to just go back to the fact that we have some of the best minds in the country who feel otherwise. My supplementary question also is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

After 50 years La Soirée du hockey is slated to disappear. French Canadians deserve to be able to tune in and enjoy our national winter sport, but with the new contract between RDS and the Canadiens, many francophones will not be able to see our national sport in their own language.

Will the government bring all the parties together to make sure La Soirée du hockey will survive by covering other Canadian teams so francophones can see hockey in their own language?

La Soirée du hockeyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with the policy proposed by the hon. member.

I completely agree with the hon. member that it is incredible that La soirée du hockey will not be available in the French language across the country. That is why I am really pleased the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages has invited the participation of the CBC and other rights holders to look at this issue.

I hope they can come to a resolution. If they cannot come to a resolution, there may be a requirement for other interventions.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the privatization of the military supply chain is raising more questions than answers. We know it will affect 1,674 jobs. We know it will affect the economies of local communities. We know it could put at risk our national security.

Canadians need to have their say on this issue. Will the Minister of National Defence agree to delay signing any contract until the defence committee can conduct a full set of hearings on this issue? Will he agree to put the supply chain contract to a vote in the House of Commons?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, none of those contentions are correct. The whole idea of this project is to concentrate scarce resources on core military capabilities.

I might add that 100% of the affected permanent employees are guaranteed their jobs at no reduction in salary for a period of seven years. I do not have a job guarantee for even seven minutes let alone seven years.

La Soirée du hockeyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister acknowledges that millions of dollars have been stolen in sponsorship payments to promote Canadian pride in Quebec.

Yet, at the same time, Radio-Canada, a well respected federal institution in Quebec, may be losing La Soirée du hockey .

Nearly 25% of Quebec households and most French speaking households outside of Quebec will no longer receive this program for free.

Why was this stolen money not given to Radio-Canada, so that it could continue this 50 year tradition?

La Soirée du hockeyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the rights were negotiated by the CBC, but unfortunately, they decided to negotiate for the rights in only one language.

As a result, Radio-Canada managers have been called to appear before the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages to see how they can resolve this situation, which is completely unacceptable, not only for Quebecers, but also for the one million French viewers outside Quebec, who have the right to watch the game in the language of their choice.

Official ResidencesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, 24 Sussex is not the only official residence that the Prime Minister has used for partisan purposes. In the last federal election the Liberal Party of Canada used the Prime Minister's official residence at Harrington Lake to film Liberal election TV commercials.

Can the Prime Minister tell us if the Liberal Party reimbursed the National Capital Commission for this partisan Liberal use of the official residence?

Official ResidencesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I was at my residence, and had my picture taken. What a scandal.