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House of Commons Hansard #2 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was program.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the opposition member for giving us the opportunity to remind the House and Canadians that in the health accord of 2003 we have been dealing with pharmacare and home care.

This is the reason we have guaranteed $34.8 billion over the next five years. It is precisely to meet the needs that Canadians have.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week's audit of the Virginia Fontaine Addictions Foundation revealed that Health Canada paid $1.2 million in perks, including $153,000 for jewellery purchased while on Perry Fontaine's Caribbean vacation and an additional $8,000 for two tombstones. Perhaps there was a plan for a funeral for transparency and accountability.

This audit raises serious questions of departmental incompetence. I would like to ask the minister, will he immediately call for a full public inquiry?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as we know, Health Canada has already launched a forensic audit. We have contacted the RCMP over this very matter. We have launched a civil litigation to recover the public funds. We have fired the officers who were responsible for this misconduct.

In the interest of openness and transparency, Health Canada has posted an executive summary of the forensic audit on its website. That is for absolute public accountability and we will continue to behave that way.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister will have trouble convincing Canadians he is clairvoyant. He has already addressed the problems that were only revealed last Friday when this audit was released.

If the minister is so confident that his controls are effectively in place and protecting Canadians, perhaps he could explain to the House how it is that Health Canada could approve Phil Fontaine's request and use $1 million of Virginia Fontaine money to fund a hockey school.

Will the minister immediately commit to launching a full public inquiry into the Virginia Fontaine debacle, or failing that, explain why he wasted $2 million on his department's audit which he is choosing to ignore now?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let us not confuse issues here.

Health Canada funds a variety of programs through the national native alcohol and drug abuse program. Its program in hockey and sport was in line with its prevention and promotion strategies.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, agriculture is a cash flow business like any other. Due to a single case of BSE, that lifeline has been cut. AIDA, CFIP and now CAISP are all Liberal programs that failed to deliver and do little to address a crisis like BSE.

Why does the new agriculture minister carry on the old Liberal tradition of advancing programs that never reach the farm gate?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I am certain there is not a member in the House who does not feel for the farmers, the farm families and indeed the communities across this country impacted by the BSE situation.

The Government of Canada takes this situation very seriously as evidenced by the work of the Prime Minister and other ministers on this, to work toward getting that border open.

In the meantime, these are difficult times for Canadian farmers and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the impact this is having on them is not an impact that will remove them out of the industry.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the new minister claims he is a big listener and another committee will be structured; however, the industry out there is more interested in what he will do. Actions speak a lot louder than weasel words.

The head of the Alberta Cattle Feeders' Association said yesterday that his industry can survive another 45 days under the Liberal government. The clock is ticking.

When will the minister announce his new plan and the budget to go along with it? When will he do that?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, what the Government of Canada did first and foremost was to sit down with the industry to get an understanding as to where it saw the role of the federal government.

We then took the responses from the industry which told us that we needed to get out to market Canadian beef around the world. This is why I, along with one of the member's colleagues and another one of my colleagues went to Japan. We went to Korea and Washington.

In fact, in Washington, we received agreement from the governments of the United States and Mexico to work together on a North American strategy. This is an issue for all farmers in North America and it is one of--

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Roberval.

Speech from the ThroneOral Question Period

February 3rd, 2004 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne, there is absolutely nothing on the terrible softwood lumber crisis, nothing on the mad cow crisis, and nothing on the EI fund. The government is using the poverty in which many of our fellow citizens live to justify its education and early childhood initiatives.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, by taking $45 billion from the EI fund, he was and remains the biggest creator of poverty in Canada because he denied thousands of families the bare minimum to survive?

Speech from the ThroneOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know of course that there is no such thing as a surplus in the EI account.

All of those moneys have gone for a series of programs. Many of them have gone to help out the poor, for skills development, to provide benefits in periods of unemployment, and to develop skills for students, unemployed workers, et cetera.

They have gone for a series of items that the member will acknowledge have gone to community building to provide employment and sustenance when it is needed.

Speech from the ThroneOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did this Prime Minister make the poor poorer, but he made the rich richer. Canada's big five banks pride themselves on having saved $2 billion by using tax havens approved by the former finance minister. The latter saved his own company, CSL International, more than $100 million in Canadian taxes by means of tax agreements signed by the finance minister.

How can we trust a man who says he wants to help the poor when all he has done in the past is to make them poorer and add to the wealth—

Speech from the ThroneOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.

Speech from the ThroneOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are a variety of measures that I am examining now as we prepare for the 2004 budget, measures that will improve the fairness and the integrity of our taxation system, both as it applies within the country and as it relates to external tax treaties. I will take the hon. gentleman's question as a sincere representation that this is one area that we should look at, and I undertake to do that.

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's Speech from the Throne mentioned the word fishing only once in a passing manner. Not a single time was the fishery mentioned as a whole.

What priority is the government and the new minister going to give this renewable resource that affects so many Canadians?

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member had actually read or listened to the speech, he would know that it does include a mention of oceans, a cornerstone of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

I invite my hon. colleague to read the speech and to inform himself about Canada's ocean strategy and the new oceans action plan. I think that an honest assessment of these would show that the government has a forward looking plan for the management of activities in all of Canada's oceans.

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am very familiar with the government's plan for oceans.

While the minister was recently flying over the Grand Banks stating that more resources are necessary to protect our fishery, his chief officials were silently meeting, planning to reduce his staff and his departmental employees by 600. How can the minister explain these conflicting initiatives?

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the information that my hon. colleague is purporting is inaccurate. There are no such plans.

Like every other department, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is assessing all of its policies, programs and expenditures to ensure that resources are well managed and that they are well aligned in support of these important objectives of our department. This is good management and a responsible use of tax dollars. We are going to keep on in that vein.

RegulationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the excellent Speech from the Throne yesterday and the excellent speech by the Prime Minister today, we unfortunately heard very little mention of the government's modernization of its regulatory system.

Therefore, I would like to ask the President of the Treasury Board this: Is he prepared to tell the House today that the government remains committed to modernizing the regulatory system and that the advisory committee, under the able chairmanship of Dr. Gaétan Lussier, will continue its work?

RegulationsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Glengarry--Prescott--Russell for the work he has done on this file over the last few years as chair of the cabinet committee on regulations.

The work of that committee has been transferred to Treasury Board. In naming a parliamentary secretary to work with Treasury Board, the Prime Minister has given him special responsibility for smart regulations.

We indeed will be proceeding with this file and I will look for the member's involvement.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the CSL scandal is rife with duplicity and deceit right from the get-go. After originally stating that the Prime Minister spoke to the ethics counsellor a few times, it turns out that he had over 33 conversations.

How does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe that he did not know how much money he received from his own government, how much money went from coffers that he controlled into companies that he owned? How does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to accept his word on this important issue?

Canada Steamship LinesOral 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, let us talk about that new party with its old ways, throwing mud and trying to attack character instead of going to substance.

We took hours and days and weeks to work on an answer, a few hours within which those members asked for an inquiry. They were not even concerned about the contents. All they were concerned about was the political aspect of it. Shame on them.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, after all of those hours and research, evidence that is turned over to the opposition that is repeated in the House of Commons, in a court of law they call that perjury when it is not correct.

The Prime Minister has talked endlessly about--

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.