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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister of Canada toured Quebec telling everyone, in every television station, how angry he was about the sponsorship scandal and how he would be doing everything in his power to reveal the truth. The Deputy Prime Minister has repeated about ten times now that they have nothing to hide. I have a test for them. All I am asking for is one little piece of information.

Who are the ten ministers in your gang who paid $270,000 for a $27,000 study? That should be easy to answer.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General, in her review of public opinion research, has identified a small number of cases where the government rules with respect to this were not followed. We have accepted that criticism. Changes have been made and that will not happen again.

However, it is not a matter of hiding something. It is a matter of a small number of cases in a program which the Auditor General has said has been generally managed very well, but the criticisms are accepted and changes have been changed.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, these are absolutely pitiful answers we are getting.

First, the Prime Minister said, “I will do everything in my power to ensure that Quebeckers know the truth about the sponsorship scandal”. Yet, we cannot get an answer from the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, who is saying any old thing. No answer is forthcoming from the Deputy Prime Minister. And none either from the government House leader, who is hiding behind the public inquiry.

My question is the following. Will the public inquiry not be exactly what we feared it would be, that is, an excuse for the government not to say anything before the election, to keep the information well hidden, even that which is most readily available?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, in recent months, the Bloc Quebecois has called for public inquiries for everything. Now that one has been launched, they are trapped. They cannot figure how to get out of this one, because the inquiry will get at the truth. They do not know how to cope with that. So, they just keep asking questions and assuming answers.

We would rather let the process get at the truth.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister repeatedly blew off answering questions in the House and instead kept referring to the inquiry.

What she failed to mention, however, was exactly what the timelines were on this public inquiry. Canadians deserve to know the timelines. They deserve to know that the inquiry will be held in a timely manner. Canadians deserve answers and they deserve the truth.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. What are the exact dates for the start and completion of the public inquiry into the sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member may know, the terms of reference and the exact mandate for the inquiry are being discussed now with Mr. Justice Gomery and will be released very soon, dare I say within a day or two.

However, let me reassure the hon. member, but even more importantly all Canadians, that this inquiry will be timely. This judge will do a thorough job. This judge is independent and I know that he will take this task seriously. He will act expeditiously, but he will take the time--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Crowfoot.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government is notorious for pulling the plug on public inquiries or ignoring the findings or recommendations. There was Krever, Somalia, APEC, Airbus, and the list goes on.

In light of these examples, what assurance do Canadians have that this latest inquiry will in fact be completed in a timely manner and the truth not buried until after an election?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this independent inquiry will be conducted in a timely and thorough fashion. This inquiry is about the Prime Minister's commitment to ensure that we know all the facts in a timely fashion.

HealthOral Question Period

February 17th, 2004 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

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

The avian flu has become a major concern in many areas that are involved in the poultry industry. My area of Brampton Centre is the home of one of Ontario's largest poultry processing plants.

Considering the fact that the flu has now been detected in the U.S., could the minister inform the House what measures are being taken by the government to assure that the health of Canadians is not at risk from the avian flu?

HealthOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the bird influenza strain in the United States is different from the strain that has infected human populations in Asia.

United States officials have indicated that there is no threat to human health and that measures have been taken to stop the spread in the poultry population.

I can assure the House that Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are continuing to monitor the situation closely.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week the Atlantic premiers expressed concern over the pork-barrelling taking place at ACOA. Liberal MPs have expressed the same concern, sort of like infighting at the trough.

Has the minister ordered the Auditor General to investigate the questionable projects approved by the former minister?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Liberal

Joe McGuire LiberalMinister of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, ACOA examines all projects very thoroughly. It does due diligence on every project and every project must follow all the criteria that are laid out.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, that is utter nonsense.

The former minister of ACOA pork-barrelled the agency. His own members complained about it because some 50% of the funding was taken by one riding.

The former minister in fact spun out the story that this was being investigated by the Auditor General. Speaking to the Auditor General's office today, it was confirmed that it was just a story spun out by the minister himself. There is no audit.

Will the minister conduct an audit, yes or no?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Liberal

Joe McGuire LiberalMinister of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, the program that was put in place to alleviate the hurt on the closure of the cod fishery was based on need. Approximately 50% of the need happened to occur in the former minister's riding and 50% of the need was addressed in that way.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers and francophones are tired of hearing excuses from those who enjoy insulting them. Excuses, now that the harm is done, are too easy. Now, a minister of this government has joined those making insults.

Does the Prime Minister, who said yesterday that his minister's words were unacceptable, intend to set an example by demanding the minister's resignation?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi LiberalMinister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, after hearing of this early this morning, I issued a statement apologizing for the comments I made last week immediately following the Auditor General's report.

I want to thank my friend on the other side of the House for allowing me again, in the House, to speak to my colleagues on this side, my friends on the other side, and my colleagues in the Bloc Quebecois, with whom we have had a marvellous relationship.

I am sincerely sorry for having made those comments last week.

Western Economic DiversificationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, Okanagan University College recently received $1 million in funding from Western Economic Diversification for its applied trace analysis facility and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.

Could the minister explain how these two projects will advance the economy of the region?

Western Economic DiversificationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan LiberalMinister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, the wine industry is vital to the economic prosperity of the interior and in fact the whole of British Columbia.

The advanced instrumentation and the research facility being funded at the Okanagan University College by my department, as announced by my colleague, the Minister of the Environment, will enable advanced research and innovation and thereby lead to increased production of grapes and the production of the highest quality of wine and thereby make the wine industry in the region very competitive in the world market.

It is about building a 21st century economy.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Independent

Ghislain Lebel Independent Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, in May 2003, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts had asked the President of the Treasury Board to have all foundations scrutinized by the Auditor General and made subject to the Access to Information Act.

In October of the same year, the current Minister of Industry refused this request.

In the light of what we know now, and given the Prime Minister's conversion to the theological virtues of truth and honesty, can the President of the Treasury Board now—

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. President of the Treasury Board.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think the member raises an important point.

If I understood his question, it is relative to the applicability of some of the oversight mechanisms of the private foundations. Some concerns have been raised about that, concerns that I raised as the chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations.

I can tell the member that we have a process in place to examine governance in the largest scope possible of looking at these alternative service delivery mechanisms.

I invite the member to join us and work with us because we think it is time to review these mechanisms.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Alvin Curling, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.