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House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was heritage.

Topics

Child CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, what I can say to the hon. member is that those discussions are ahead. That is why we are having the meetings. Everybody will be at the table, and this is the subject of conversations.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's child care system has been lauded by the OECD. This system was created in Quebec, for Quebeckers, in response to our needs and expectations.

Why does the Minister of Social Development not show respect for Quebec and why does he not state clearly that he has no intention of trying to intervene in the Quebec system on the pretext of investing money in a pan-Canadian, unified system?

Child CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we are very respectful of Quebec, respectful of jurisdiction, respectful of the Quebec child care system and respectful of the ambitions that it expresses. Those are very much the ambitions we are looking at and trying to express in the rest of the country.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 1, the provincial ministers responsible for child care will meet with the federal Minister of Social Development.

At that meeting, does the minister intend to offer Quebec the right to opt out with full compensation and immediately put an end to the injustice to Quebeckers, who are denied federal tax credits for child care, something which has cost us $1 billion so far?

Child CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, what I said in an earlier answer is that we will be having our conversations with the minister responsible in Quebec beginning on Monday and going on to Tuesday as the beginning of a longer process.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's report on child care is a monument to Liberal broken promises. In fact, what we have seen is a whole generation of children left behind. The first promise from the Liberal administration on child care was in 1993. Now we see absolutely nothing except the most recent revelation by the minister that what we will have are conversations.

Is that what we have with Liberal commitments, conversations? I thought we were supposed to have action.

Will the minister deliver today on the promise to bring in legislation around a pan-Canadian child care program?

Child CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, a national child care system is a very big ambitious endeavour. It is something that is akin to education 100 years ago and health care 40 years ago. It is something that will take a lot of work by everyone, a lot of work by the federal government and by the provinces.

That is why those conversations are taking place and why those conversations are very important. They are conversations that will lead to action and to the right kind of action.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting. When someone really feels that an issue is important, when a government feels it is important it takes action, which is why we had child care across Canada during World War II. What we are hearing now is that we probably will have to wait another generation, who knows how long, until this promise is kept.

Why should we have any faith? We have seen, in the case of the discussions with Newfoundland around the whole issue of the oil and gas revenue, that the statements of that administration are not worth the paper they are printed on.

The New Democratic Party of Canada in the election set out in writing our commitment to the people of Newfoundland. Will the Prime Minister honour his commitment to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind members of the House that what Premier Danny Williams asked for on February 27 of this year was that Newfoundland and Labrador would receive 100% of its offshore royalties, that the payments would be administered outside of equalization and the existing offshore accord, and that the payments would continue until Newfoundland and Labrador reached the same fiscal capacity as Ontario, thereby becoming a have province.

That is exactly what the Government of Canada is promising.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

October 26th, 2004 / 2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister keeps demonstrating a shameful failure to keep his word. Here is his rhetoric, “Parliament must again be where the great debates of our day take place”, but when it comes to important debate in Parliament over the Prime Minister's own involvement in the sponsorship program, he stonewalls. He waits until he is outside the debating chamber where he does not have to face his opposition. That is the reverse of what he pledged.

Why do the Prime Minister's deeds fail to match his words?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, first, the Prime Minister has acted decisively in terms of the sponsorship program, ending the program and moving to establish the Gomery commission. The government is cooperating fully with Justice Gomery.

Again, I cannot understand why the hon. member, a lawyer, would not understand the importance of the independence of a judicial inquiry.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, what Canadians want to know is whether their Prime Minister understands the importance of keeping his word.

Here are the facts. The Prime Minister made calls to lobby for sponsorship money for Serge Savard who is not his constituent and does not have a business in his riding. Serge Savard is the Prime Minister's golfing buddy and bagman.

Is it not true that the Prime Minister was not acting as an MP on behalf of a constituent when he made these calls on the sponsorship program but on behalf of a crony who raised over $1 million for his leadership campaign?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I find this discussion about Serge Savard very curious because the fact is the contributions to candidates for the Liberal Party leadership were posted, transparently and openly, on the website for all Canadians to see, whereas the leadership contributions for the deputy leader of that party, when he ran for a party that no longer exists, were not posted. Furthermore, that leader did not post the contributors to his leadership campaign.

The fact is the Liberal Party is open and transparent in terms of the contributions but that party is not.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is the last person in the House who should be lecturing anyone on integrity.

For weeks the Liberal government has said that we must cooperate with the Gomery inquiry. This weekend Justice Gomery appealed to members of Parliament to be more open in giving answers and cleaning up this Liberal mess.

The Prime Minister said that he would be honest. Justice Gomery wants us to have answers. Therefore, when did the Prime Minister know that his office was making phone calls to secure money for his fundraiser, Serge Savard?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that party was wrong three times last week in question period. That was a mistake made on a day to day basis discussing the testimony before Justice Gomery.

We should wait for the truth and for Justice Gomery to table his report so that Canadians and the House of Commons will have the answers we need to move forward.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the minister is making his own mistake by persistently failing to answer the simplest of questions.

Last week the public works minister stood in the House and specifically referred to specific constituencies and projects that were under the sponsorship program, but when it comes to the Prime Minister he has selective amnesia. How convenient but he cannot have it both ways.

Again, when did the Prime Minister know that his office was making phone calls to secure taxpayer money for his own personal fundraiser? When did he know?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I think there is something more deep-seated in the Conservative Party's contempt for Justice Gomery's work. I think it reflects a greater contempt for the independence of the Canadian judiciary, in fact reflected by their justice critic's description of the situation when he said that there was a lot of distrust in general toward the judiciary right now and that it was leading a lot of people to be very fearful of giving powers to the judiciary.

Further, their own leader said that he agreed that serious flaws existed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that there was no meaningful review or accountability mechanisms for justices.

They should let Justice Gomery work and have some respect for the independence of the Canadian judiciary.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we were amazed to learn from the Gomery commission that the Liberal government, via the Canada Information Office, had paid $600,000 from Canadian unity funding for the design of a logo that has now disappeared without a trace.

How can we explain to the public watching that the government has paid $600,000 for a non-existent logo? Is this not just a repeat of those three Groupaction reports that were never produced yet cost the government $500,000 apiece?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the commission has a broad mandate to obtain all the answers it needs. We support Mr. Justice Gomery one hundred per cent. It is very important not to prejudge his work. I look forward to seeing his report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister was reading from the wrong page of his briefing book. The logo is nowhere to be found, but we have found contracts for its design, and the buddies of the Liberal Party of Canada were indeed paid for it. The contracts in question went to: BCP, a Liberal Party contributor of $123,000 between 1996 and 2003, Everest: a contributor of $174,000, Compass: $6,000, Vickers & Benson: $102,000 and Palmer Jarvis, a contributor of $125,000 to the Liberal Party of Canada.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again the hon. member is commenting on day to day testimony. We are cooperating fully with Justice Gomery. We are not afraid of the results of his work. In fact, we are looking forward to having his report and moving forward.

However we are not waiting for Justice Gomery's report to in fact make differences and positive changes in the way we are operating as a government. We are making positive progress.

Our ethics and integrity package in the Department of Public Works and Government Services is in fact the best practice model by the Conference Board of Canada for both the public and private sectors. We are making a real difference, not just trying to make a point.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not just seasonal workers living in Canada who find it unfair to pay premiums without qualifying for benefits. Thousands of Mexican agricultural workers and their employers are contributing in excess of $11 million annually to the employment insurance fund, but these workers do not collect any benefits, because they go back to Mexico once their contract is over.

Could the Minister of Human Resources tell us whether the Prime Minister raised the issue of premiums with the President of Mexico?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for mentioning the success of this program. Of course, he wants to point out that thousands of seasonal workers who come here to work take money back home when they leave. The hon. member is well aware that, under the Employment Insurance Act, a person who is out of the country cannot collect benefits.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister did not understand my question.

Will the federal government stop making Mexican workers pay employment insurance premiums when it is perfectly aware that these people do not qualify for benefits, as is the case for students, women and others?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, in order to collect benefits, a person must be out of work, reside in Canada and be unable to work.

Yesterday, the President of Mexico wanted to say that he really appreciates the fact that this program for seasonal workers in agriculture is so successful. He wanted to thank Canada for this opportunity.