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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, welcome to son of ad scam. We are barely through the first sponsorship scandal and now we are into the prospect of the Liberals spending another $100 million, this time not to save the country, but to save the Liberal Party.

I want to ask the Deputy Prime Minister, why does she think it is appropriate for Canadian taxpayers to pay to save the political derrière of the Liberal Party?

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we have a further question on this issue of $120 million advertising strategy which simply does not exist.

What I have said before to the House is that there has been a moratorium since March 15 on new placement of government ads until June 1. That in itself will lead to a reduction next year. In addition to that, there is a 15% reduction equalling about $12 million in this coming year of the overall advertising budget, together with a new competitive process for an agency of record and vastly revamped criteria to ensure competitiveness and transparency.

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, we agree that the government does not appear to have a strategy, or if it does, it is a pretty chaotic one.

The minister claims that there is no such advertising proposal on the table. Can he tell us in the House today that there will be no government funded advertising on behalf of the Liberal Party before the election is called? Can he give us that commitment now?

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the government advertising policy, as set out under the new criteria, has been followed largely in the past but is being strengthened immensely during this moratorium period to ensure that the people of Canada know the public services that are available, that there are public notices for hearings and such. If there are medical or safety emergencies, Canadians can be told about them.

Going forward, there is a highly competitive and transparent process for all advertising which relates to the policy initiatives of the Government of Canada.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

April 19th, 2004 / 2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks back the immigration minister made a big to-do about changing the way people get appointed to the Immigration and Refugee Board.

She boasted, “I’ve now swept away the old appointment system at the IRB”. Here we are a month later and guess what? She has just appointed a new IRB member and reappointed three others under the same old system.

Why can the Liberals not be trusted to keep their word?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that making changes to the appointment process of the IRB is extremely important. It is also very important that we continue the process. We currently have delays and we are trying to speed them up. We do not want further delays. Some people have been reappointed for a one year period in order to keep the system working and decrease the backlog.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, here is what the minister told Canadians weeks ago: “The government is now delivering on its commitment”. She called her announcement back then a mighty wind of change.

The former chair of the IRB said it was all Liberal hot air. The former chair of the IRB said that nothing had changed. He called Liberal IRB appointments “the continued plaything of political deception”.

The minister told Canadians the system had been fixed. Why do we now find out that it is still the same old patronage system?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I would like to invite the member to sit in on a few of these hearings and look at what the new test is all about.

It is extremely important that the people who do the interviews have the proper skills, and that we enhance them in any way that we possibly can while they are making life and death decisions on people who want to stay in Canada. The hon. member should just watch and see what is happening.

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the ethics commissioner has said that the rules are clear. All federal full and part time appointees on government tribunals, agencies or boards, should not engage in any political campaign activities. If they wish to engage in such activities, they should resign.

In light of this, how can the Prime Minister justify breaking his own conflict of interest rules by permitting federal board appointee Norm Whalen to head up the Liberal campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the named individual has resigned from the board on which he was serving.

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again we see Liberals acting when they are caught.

The Prime Minister should have known about this quite some time ago. Mr. Whalen not only heads up the Liberal campaign, he raised $100,000 for the Prime Minister's leadership campaign and sat on the board.

Why does the Prime Minister turn his head for a measly $100,000?

Liberal Party of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me make it absolutely clear. Not only has Mr. Whalen resigned from the board on which he was sitting, but another named individual has also stepped down.

It is fair to say that Mr. Wilson is making more widely available and more widely known to all interested parties the rules that he has promulgated in relation to participation on boards and political activities.

We should applaud these two individuals who have chosen to do the right thing and step down.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry came to Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay to say that the softwood lumber crisis had led to only 200 jobs being lost in our region. This is quite simply unbelievable.

Is the Minister of Industry not seeking to play down the impact of the softwood lumber crisis on Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, when everyone knows that this crisis affected 2,948 direct jobs?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the Minister of Industry was in Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay quite recently. In recognition of the difficulties still facing many communities as a result of the softwood lumber crisis, the program has been extended to March 31, 2005.

In Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, 39 projects have been approved to date, for total contributions of over $4.69 million, allowing 150 new jobs to be created and 334 to be maintained.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber crisis has cost Quebec 10,219 direct jobs, including 2,948 in Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, and the situation continues to get worse.

Is the minister aware that the loss of 3,000 jobs in Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay is equivalent to the loss of 30,000 jobs in greater Montreal alone?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I think that the minister is well aware of the problem. This is one of the reasons why she went to meet people in the Saguenay, sat down with the local stakeholders and committed to seeking solutions with them.

Genetically Modified OrganismsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, while Europe was putting into force its rigorous regulations on labelling and GMOs, Canada adopted a voluntary standard on the labelling of GMO products.

How can the minister explain that, contrary to what is being done in close to 40 countries, the federal government did not side with Quebec and Canadian consumers but rather preferred the report of the Canadian General Standards Board, which is proposing voluntary labelling of GMOs?

Genetically Modified OrganismsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Yes, Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government does take very seriously the health and safety of Canadians. That is why we have worked with this standards branch in order to bring in a standard that in fact allows Canadians access to the information they need to make decisions on the food they eat.

Genetically Modified OrganismsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, close to 90% of Quebeckers want to know what they are eating. Yet, Canada is accommodating the industry, at the expense of greater transparency, as demanded by consumers.

How can the Minister of Agriculture claim that the new voluntary labelling standard for GMOs will help meet consumers' wishes for mandatory labelling?

Genetically Modified OrganismsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

In fact, Mr. Speaker, Canadians can have the assurance that the food they eat is not only some of the highest quality but some of the safest food in the world.

We managed, through these groups, to have a number of groups come together. It was due to the recommendation of all the different groups that came together that we have a voluntary labelling system that allows Canadians the opportunity to know what is in their food.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, public servants say that in the mid-1990s the finance department orchestrated a sole sourced advertising contract to the Prime Minister's friends at Earnscliffe. The contracts were wired to favour his friends at Earnscliffe.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will he now admit that he knew about questionable contracting practices for years while he was finance minister and did nothing about it?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, everything that is on the record with respect to that particular issue would indicate that the former minister of finance and his office constantly argued for more competition, not less.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the government promised to get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal. Now the government is blaming everyone from Chuck Guité to the Auditor General herself.

Public servants say that the Prime Minister's friends at Earnscliffe were favoured with contracts from the Department of Finance. The records are clear on that point.

Why should Canadians believe that the Prime Minister knew nothing about the favours that his friends at Earnscliffe received?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the record in fact does not show what the hon. member alleges.

The various memos have been referred to in the House. Those memos indicate, first of all, that the minister's office argued for more competition, not less, and that those same members of the minister's staff argued for more competition sooner, not later.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is ridiculous because what the Prime Minister's buddies at Earnscliffe got were wired contracts where they were the only firm to bid on them because the tender was arranged that way.

How can the Prime Minister expect anybody to believe that he will get to the bottom of the current Liberal sponsorship scandal when back in 1994-95 he was breaking the rules of the finance department to make sure that tax dollars went to his political friends at Earnscliffe?