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House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cabinet.

Topics

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the hon. member for Ottawa--Orléans is the first member to rise in this House and ask a question about our public servants.

There are no current plans to outsource. There are no current plans to privatize. There are no plans at all to privatize. What we are working very hard on is building the best public service in the world. This process is about excellence. It is about delivering the kind of public services that Canadians expect.

I thank that member for his interest in it, and his continued pushing of me to do the right thing.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal by a Quebec physician, Dr. Jacques Chaoulli, who wants a parallel private health care system, which would destroy the public system. Now, ten senators, including Senator Michael Kirby, are intervening in support of this appeal.

Can the minister confirm who is subsidizing this intervention, and why these Liberal senators are supporting this attack on our public health care system?

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I want to confirm our government's commitment to the Canada Health Act and to each of its five principles.

As minister, I have had the opportunity to visit each of the thirteen jurisdictions, meaning the ten provinces and the three territories. Wherever I went, I recognized the strong support of each of my counterparts for the Canada Health Act. I can assure you that our government will continue to promote and defend this legislation.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is not one word about these despicable senators in his reply.

I have a supplementary question. The Liberal government is silent on the Romanow report, yet it stands by while Liberal senators support an illegal assault on the Canada Health Act.

I want to ask the minister whether he will ask his Liberal buddies in the Senate to stop attacking the Canada Health Act, to listen to Roy Romanow and to back off on using public money to subvert the Canada Health Act.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our commitment was in the throne speech. Our government is quite clear, and I will not begin to comment on actions that the Senate and some other courts and some other houses might be taking.

I do believe honestly that our job as a government is quite clear. It is in the Speech from the Throne. We will continue to promote and defend the Canada Health Act and will not begin to comment on actions by the Senate or any others.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday on television the Prime Minister said he knew nothing about the sponsorship scandal, even though he was vice chair of the Treasury Board. A quick look at the website for the Treasury Board says that it was Treasury Board's responsibility to approve the proposed sponsorship spending plans by public works and then to review the sponsorship program.

As the vice chair of the Treasury Board, the Prime Minister was paid to know what was going on. It was his job to know what was going on. Why did he not know what was going on?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, there was an internal audit in the Department of Public Works in late 2000. This led to an action plan to deal with some identified managerial problems. By late 2001 it became clear through investigative reporting as well as other means that this was beyond just ministerial problems. In early 2002 the then minister was removed from that job and specific programs were put in place to come to grips with bringing to end the problems that existed in the sponsorship program.

That led in an incremental way to the situation we have today with--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, he might have different questions than we have, but the Deputy Prime Minister just a few minutes ago said, “None of us knew about the details of the sponsorship program”. The Prime Minister said in his press conference last week, “A very few ministers, Quebec ministers, did know about the conduct of the sponsorship program”.

Both answers cannot be right. Did they all know? Did a few know? Did some know? How many knew?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let me say again that we are committed to getting to the bottom of this. The government is committed to finding out what happened here on behalf of the Canadian people.

I would ask the opposition perhaps just for a minute to stop slinging the mud, stop playing the partisan games and in fact join us in getting to the bottom of this on behalf of all Canadians.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is mistaken. It is not the opposition that is slinging the mud. It is the Liberal government that slung 100 million tax dollars that belonged to Canadian taxpayers right out the window.

The Prime Minister himself said a few Quebec ministers may have known more about the real dealings behind the scandal than he did. Who were they? Do they still sit in the cabinet? Could it be the president of the Privy Council with his deep connections with the Liberal organization in Quebec? Could it be the Minister of Health?

Why will these ministers not stand up and tell us what they knew and when they knew it?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, that is the worst kind of example of partisan mudslinging.

What we are committed to is getting to the bottom of this, finding out what happened. That is why the Prime Minister has called for a public inquiry. That is why we asked the public accounts committee to sit immediately. We are committed to finding out what happened.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Before we proceed with the supplementary question, I would remind hon. members that there is a little-used lobby just outside the doors at the far end of the chamber. Discussions across the chamber could perhaps be carried on out there so the rest of us could hear the question and the answer in the House.

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast has the floor.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, first they claimed ignorance, then they blamed a dozen bureaucrats, then backroom operators blamed the Prime Minister. Now they are blaming the opposition for the culture of corruption and Liberal sleaze for which the government is responsible.

The Prime Minister said that he heard rumours about this. As finance minister, as senior minister in Quebec, as vice chair of Treasury Board, did he follow up on those rumours? Did he call any of the ministers responsible? Did he raise this at cabinet, or did he just bury his head in the sand because he did not want to know about the Liberal culture of corruption?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, part of the problem is in this environment where we have 30 seconds and it is easy to lay on the table some of these sleazy innuendoes. I understand that.

Tomorrow I understand we are going to have a debate in the House. I am going to have 20 minutes and the opposition will have 10 minutes to question me. I will come into this place and put some facts on the table. I am going to talk substantively about what has gone on. I will be very interested to hear what facts the opposition puts on the table, facts, not sleaze.

National DefenceOral Question Period

February 16th, 2004 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs says the government has not yet reached a decision on its participation in the U.S. Army's missile defence shield project. Yet the Canadian Minister of National Defence has indicated that there are interim contracts to the tune of $700,000 for radar tests during an exercise planned for this summer by the Americans.

In this context, how can the government continue to say that nothing has been committed, when it has sunk $700,000 already into the missile defence shield, even before anything has been signed?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I would like to emphasize once again that the government has made no decision on the issue of ballistic missile defence. The contract that was issued by Defence Research and Development Canada was intended to test high frequency surface wave radar. It was intended to participate in these missile detection trials with a particular emphasis on cruise missile detection. The nature of this radar is such that it looks over the horizon and does not look up.

I would urge the hon. member not to jump to conclusions.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the Minister of National Defence, who has just answered, that he himself wrote to his American counterpart stating that we would extend the Norad mission for the missile defence shield and that we would even share the costs. Today we learn that they are working on a project that will cost the taxpayers of Quebec $700,000. The amount of $700,000 is not peanuts.

Will the minister at last admit that he is interested in the missile defence shield, that he will be taking part in the project, and that it is already a done deal?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member got the figure of $600 million or $700 million. That is clearly not what is being proposed here.

As I indicated earlier, what is being proposed is to test a system that we have here in Canada, the high frequency surface wave radar system, that is going to be operational in August. We look forward to understanding all of its capabilities, but with particular emphasis on this business of cruise missile defence.

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, according to the CBC, the Firearms Act has not cost taxpayers just $1 billion; it is instead approaching the $2 billion mark. There are many costs still unaccounted for in that number.

The Prime Minister said that he was outraged by the waste of $250 million on the sponsorship program. The cost of the gun registry is now not 500 times over budget but 1,000 times over the original projection given to Parliament.

Why is the Prime Minister not outraged about that?

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let me be absolutely clear. We do not accept that number referred to in the report referred to by the hon. member. In fact, we have asked Radio Canada to provide us with its numbers and its calculations which to date it has refused to do.

Let me reassure the House that to date, the Canadian firearms program has not cost $1 billion let alone $2 billion.

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the cost benefit analysis of the gun registry has been kept a secret. The Auditor General blew the whistle on that. Trust for the Prime Minister is in free fall and he still keeps the gun registry reports hidden from Parliament.

The gun registry is closing in on $2 billion and the Prime Minister just orders another review. Look at the similarities of this and the sponsorship scandal. Ignorance is no excuse on this file. The Prime Minister wrote most of the cheques. He helped hide the most damaging reports. When will he take responsibility for--

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. House that since the Auditor General tabled her report in relation to the gun control program, we have accepted her recommendations and we have implemented her recommendations.

Full program costs, as the hon. member should know, were tabled last October as part of the justice department's performance report. I will soon table a complete response to the public accounts committee report on the program. A ministerial review of this program is underway.

We have been transparent in relation to the cost of this program.

Summer Career Placement ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gilbert Barrette Liberal Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, each year, students, businesses and other organizations in my riding show a keen interest for the summer career placement program.

Could the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development tell us what he intends to do with the program this year?