This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #201 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was broadcasting.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, considering the updating of the government's strategy, simply in order to limit political fallout, and considering the seriousness of the Prime MInister's involvement, what other forum is there outside of an independent public inquiry that can provide us with the proper information on the extent and gravity of the situation, which involves the entire government?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the public inquiry is going on. That public inquiry is under the auspices of the auditor general, an officer of this parliament who enjoys the full confidence of the Government of Canada.

Reproductive TechnologyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the commodification of human life is a serious concern. The health committee was unanimous in calling for a prohibition on the patenting of humans as well as any human materials. Why has the health minister ignored her committee?

Reproductive TechnologyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, just yesterday we received the report of the Canadian biotechnology advisory committee and we will be examining its analysis and recommendations very closely in the period ahead.

Taken together with cases which are before the country's highest court, these issues have to be considered by the government and by the House. Therefore, I assure the member that we will be looking very closely at these recommendations to see what is in the public interest.

Reproductive TechnologyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is not an answer from the Minister of Health.

Yesterday the Canadian biotechnology advisory committee recommended that patents on human bodies should be prohibited at all stages of development. However, in January we were shocked to learn that Industry Canada had been issuing patents on human genes for years, so human life has become a commodity in Canada.

Is the government comfortable with that practice or will it do something about it?

Reproductive TechnologyOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we asked the advisory committee to look at this issue for that very reason. We want to ensure that our regulation reflects Canadian values and the public interest.

We have now received the report with recommendations. We will consider it. As I have told the hon. member, we will be certain to look carefully at all these issues in the public interest.

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

June 7th, 2002 / 11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, this country is surrounded by oceans. About 10 years, June 8 was declared oceans day at the earth summit in Rio. Tomorrow Canadians in their activities will be celebrating our oceans.

Could the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans inform this House and all Canadians what progress the government is making in its oceans agenda?

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Hillsborough his fine question. Over the past four years the Government of Canada has worked hard to promote sustainable oceans development through the Oceans Act. We have launched 21 integrated management pilot initiatives across the country and contributed to dozens of stewardship activities and international events.

I am quite proud of the work done by DFO employees, together with Canadians from all regions, to manage our oceans resource.

I ask the House and all my colleagues to join me in celebrating oceans day.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the story of the Virginia Fontaine treatment centre is a sad one. It is a story about the abuse of trust. It is a tragic tale of cruises, condos and corruption. It is a story about reprehensible people who use the plight of aboriginal people and young aboriginal children addicted to substances to line their own pockets.

Yesterday the government said that it had overpaid the provinces and it wanted all the money back. Therefore, in the interests of consistency, I ask the government this. How many of the dollars that were stolen from troubled aboriginal children has it recovered?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, my predecessor, as soon as it became known to him that there was an alleged misuse of public funds, took immediate action. We are now relying on two national firms of chartered accountants to conduct audits in accordance with professional standards.

It is very clear to us that this is indeed a troubling and difficult situation. We are acting expeditiously to ensure: first, that these kinds of things do not happen again; and, second, that--

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Portage--Lisgar.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not acceptable. There have been zero charges laid, zero dollars recovered, zero steps taken and zero demonstration that the government has learned anything from its past failures.

This week the government quietly reopened the facility. Aboriginal leaders I have spoken with have justifiable fears of recurrences.

In its haste to download responsibilities on to aboriginal communities without appropriate training, without appropriate safeguards in place, why is the government abdicating its responsibility to aboriginal children?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are not abdicating our responsibility. As I said, as soon as it became known that public funds may have been misused, action was taken. We are proceeding. We have taken two court actions against the Virginia Fontaine addiction centre.

Let me reassure this hon. member that we take this situation very seriously. We will do everything in our power to ensure that aboriginal children and others are not put at risk.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said in the House that a public inquiry was not needed. He said “We cannot be any more open than we are being right now”. Yet today we learned that the Prime Minister knew there were serious problems with the sponsorship program.

How can the Deputy Prime Minister justify the Prime Minister telling us that he wanted to provide all of the information to the House in response to our questions, when in fact, for two years, he did everything possible to ensure that this affair did not become public knowledge? Such hypocrisy.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as a consequence of the internal audit that was commissioned by Public Works and Government Services Canada, corrective actions were taken.

As a consequence of further irregularities being found, the department instituted corrective actions. We now have a management framework review by the treasury board. We have a review by the public accounts committee. We have a complete review by the department itself. We have a formal review by the auditor general in addition to investigations that have been referred to the RCMP.

AcoaOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, could the Minister of State for ACOA explain to us how Atlantic Canada is attracting new investment and why the Alliance members are so wrong when they claim that the defeatist attitude in Atlantic Canada impedes economic growth?

AcoaOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Gerry Byrne LiberalMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Beauséjour—Petitcodiac is very right to be proud of the performance of Atlantic Canada.

While the Canadian Alliance is spreading a tale of defeatism about Atlantic Canada, myself, the four Atlantic premiers and 65 business people were in New York City. We talked to New York City business people who were looking to invest in Atlantic Canada. Those people told us that Atlantic Canada had one of the most entrepreneurial climates that they had ever seen. They are very proud of Atlantic Canada.

We are carrying on that winning relationship. It has been reinforced that Atlantic Canada is a fabulous place to do business.

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, this week 34 ministers of the Organization of American States, pledging to collectively fight terrorism and increase security across the western hemisphere, signed an anti-terrorism agreement. Canada was not one of the signatories.

I ask the Deputy Prime Minister this. Why did the government neglect to sign the inter-American convention against terrorism?

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I had the occasion and the pride to represent our country at that meeting. I made it clear to all the participants at the meeting that Canada will sign that agreement. As was put to me by the secretary general of the organization itself, Canada is ensuring that we have everything in proper order in our own house before we do so.

We will get this through cabinet. This agreement will be signed. We have full co-operation with every nation in the Americas in the fight against terrorism.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, for two years the Prime Minister's office knew of the problems with the sponsorship program. As soon as the internal investigation was launched in 2000, the PMO could have put an end to the shenanigans.

However, the Prime Minister's close advisers preferred to spend their energy covering up the affair instead of ordering a real administrative reform and dealing with the guilty parties.

How can the Deputy Prime Minister, who is strangely silent in defence of the Prime Minister today, still say that an independent public inquiry is not necessary, when clearly it is the only way to truly find out what really happened, and more importantly, who was pulling the strings?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

Noon

Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, since the first internal audit in 2000, corrective action plans have been taken. There have been numerous referrals to authorities and the auditor general is involved.

The new Minister of Public Works and Government Services has been decisive in his initiatives and actions. In addition, he has been respectful of the House of Commons by being forthright and constructive in his answers.

Members over there should be proud and Canadians should be--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fundy--Royal.

Species at Risk ActOral Question Period

Noon

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, the environment minister has tabled 11th hour amendments on critical habit and scientific listing closer to the Progressive Conservative position. However the minister also knew if he did not, the Liberals likely would have voted down his bill, not only costing the bill but likely his cabinet position along the way.

If the minister is willing to table amendments, why will he not table amendments to have more clarity with the compensation regime? Why is the minister still willing to sell out rural Canadians and Liberal backbenchers by not providing more clarity about when we compensate and when we do not?

Species at Risk ActOral Question Period

Noon

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the hon. member's support for the amendments that were tabled yesterday.

It is important to recognize that there is some difference here. The issue of compensation has been looked at closely. We had an excellent study done by Dr. Peter Pearse, professor emeritus of resource economics at UBC.

The difficulty of outlining in advance the rules for compensation proved to be beyond our ability to handle at this time. After we have had some experience with the process that we have put in place in the bill, we expect we will be able to put in clear rules for compensation.

Species at Risk ActOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

Order, please. During oral question period today, the hon. member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve used a word that I did not quite hear. I believe he said hypocrisy.

I can only advise hon. members that hypocrisy, as they all know, is quite foreign to this place and I would urge greater caution in their choice of words in question period in future.