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House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was artists.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, for the good health of our federation, I urge the leader of the Conservative Party to agree that the commitment was to give $2 billion additional above the contingency reserve if a surplus exists. He should not distort the agreement because then he is not helping the federation.

HealthOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the incoming prime minister is the one who has put these provinces in this position. It is imperative that the provinces know if stable health care funding is going to be made available. The question is one of priorities, not politics.

The Naylor report released this week had very harsh words for the government in the way that the SARS crisis was handled, saying it was marked by a lack of leadership and a lack of collaboration between levels of government.

Will the government commit to work with the provinces on developing a national strategy to deal with a SARS outbreak, should that happen, and will it commit to a health emergency contingency fund?

HealthOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we said that we want to work with the provinces. That is why we have asked for a review of what happened about SARS. It is our duty to identify for public health what is the federal responsibility, what are the provincial responsibilities and how we may work together to help in this difficult situation.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to re-engage the Minister of Industry with respect to the contract given to Lockheed Martin for the Canadian census.

Yesterday the minister said on the way out of the House that the trade agreements made him do it. He knows that the trade agreements did no such thing. The trade agreements do not force the government to contract out the census to anyone.

I want to ask him why he is hiding behind the trade agreements. While he is at it, if he takes the trade agreements so seriously, can he tell us why the government does not take arms control treaties seriously enough that it is participating in star wars and negotiating with the Americans over NMD? If it took those treaties seriously--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the hon. gentleman has just said, the project in question does indeed fall subject to the rules of the NAFTA and the WTO. Industry participation, according to the rules of the trade agreement, were sought by a letter of interest.

The RFP was published on the Merx system from September 4, 2002 to the closing date of November 4, 2002. Proposals were received. The proposal from Lockheed Martin was judged to be the best of those proposals at the best price. It was indeed adjudicated by an independent third party.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the trade agreements do not force the government to put out an RFP in the first place. This is something that could be done by the government, by Statistics Canada. There is no need to contract it out in the first place and the trade agreement does not force the government to do that.

I want to ask the minister in charge, does he not think that the knowledge by Canadians that this is going to be done by a big American multinational will cause them concerns about confidentiality and about privacy? Does he not expect that there will be a lot less compliance with the census than there has been in the past? Given the mistake that the government is about to make, will it rescind this contract immediately?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, there are in fact stringent provisions in the contract to ensure that the security of Canadians is properly respected and that the whole process with respect to the census is conducted with complete integrity.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the guest book at the lavish Irving fishing lodge must read like a who's who of the Liberal caucus. Yesterday we learned that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence was flown into the lodge on the Irvings' private jet. Now we know that the Minister of Industry and his family also enjoyed the Irvings' generous hospitality, first class, first hand, free of charge.

Federal conflict rules forbid ministers and parliamentary secretaries from accepting gifts worth more than $200. Clearly this gift was worth more than $200. Why did the industry minister break the rules?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the trip took place in the summer of 2001 when I was minister of health.

Once named Minister of Industry, after I was made Minister of Industry I informed the ethics counsellor of all the particulars relating to the trip. He gave me advice with respect to how I should conduct myself to avoid conflict and I followed his advice to the letter.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

The problem is, Mr. Speaker, that when he was health minister, he was sitting on cabinet committees that had dealings with companies owned by the Irving family which is clearly contrary to section 20 of the conflict guidelines.

It is like déjà vu all over again. Remember the scandal when the government House leader lost his job as public works minister because he was caught with the keys to chateau Boulay. Given that he lost his job, what sort of disciplinary action will the Minister of Industry face?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained to the member, I was minister of health at the time the visit took place. When I became Minister of Industry I spoke to the ethics counsellor. I told him all about the visit. I received his advice with respect to avoiding conflict in those circumstances. I have followed his advice completely ever since.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

October 10th, 2003 / 11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader will say just about anything and is implying that it is the Bloc Quebecois that is interfering when we ask questions about these new transitional measures that are designed exclusively to get votes.

I would like the government House leader to tell us what he thinks about the comments of Dany Harvey, coordinator of Mouvement Action-Chômage Charlevoix, who said:

It is a band-aid solution until we have an equitable system for all workers.

What will the government House leader say to Alain Lagacé from Action-Chômage Kamouraska, who says we are still under—

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of State.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.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 say to the hon. member that this is not a vote seeking scheme. The government has not decided to say, at least not in recent days, that this program will conclude on Saturday. What we have done is defer it by a year.

This is the first step and it does not stop there because the government, through an action by the Prime Minister, announced the creation of a task force that will provide us with measures and suggestions for the long term with respect to seasonal workers. Therefore, it—

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île-d'Orléans.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has to understand that what we are asking for, and what the unemployed are asking for, are not little piecemeal reforms or changes that are pushed through on the eve of an election in order to buy votes.

What we want to know is, when will there be a real overhaul of the employment insurance program that will take into account the needs of the unemployed?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that this indignation is justified by the gesture that was made yesterday.

In the interest of giving more time to adjust to the new system, the government has chosen to once again extend the deadline for this transition. That is the first step—the first after all the previous ones.

Then, a second announcement was made, namely the creation of this task force to make additional recommendations with respect to seasonal workers.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is no surprise that the ethics counsellor has already come to the rescue of the Minister of Industry. There is only one problem. His argument does not hold any water.

The minister took a free family trip, compliments of the Irvings. The conflict of interest code clearly states that ministers and parliamentary secretaries are not to accept gifts worth more than $200. He sat in cabinet while dealings with the Irvings were discussed, violating the code.

When the former public works minister breached these rules he was fired. Why is the industry minister not held to the same standard?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have tried to make it clear when the trip took place and the role I played in government at the time. When my role changed, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor. He took into account all the circumstances. He gave me advice that I took very seriously. I followed it completely to the letter, and I continue to do that.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister remained in cabinet while discussions with the Irvings were held around the cabinet table. His excuse simply does not hold any water. He broke the rules and accepted a gift of over $200. The former public works minister lost his job for doing the same kind of thing.

Why is the industry minister not being held to that very same standard?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I am doing is following the advice of the ethics counsellor who has given that advice in light of all the facts that I have disclosed. It is advice which he believes will keep me from conflict. I have followed that advice and intend to continue to do so.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the agreement on the $2 billion for health was entered into by the federal government, Quebec and the provinces in February, the Minister of Finance has constantly been playing a cat and mouse game. The public has had enough of this unjustified waffling. The minister knows full well that the surplus will exceed the $5 billion required.

While the federal government is raking in money at the rate of $1 million an hour, as Quebec's finance minister Yves Séguin pointed out, does the Minister of Finance not think he should commit now to providing Quebec and the provinces with the $2 billion promised?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first, the hon. member could perhaps stick to what the provinces were promised at the time and to the terms of the agreement. I should read them because they have been completely distorted, and he knows it. The agreement reads as follows, and I quote:

The Government of Canada committed to provide up to an additional $2.0 billion for health for the provinces and territories at the end of fiscal year 2003-04, if the Minister of Finance determines during the month of January 2004 that there will be a sufficient surplus above the normal Contingency Reserve to permit such an investment.

That is what was agreed, and the hon. member knows it full well.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is despicable is that the Minister of Finance is making it sound like there could be a deficit, when the only real danger of running a deficit comes from a dramatic increase in the spending of the federal bureaucracy, which has increased by more than $3 billion in the past year, at the expense of what really matters to the public, health for instance.