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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was land.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the government's policy in respect of Iraq has been very clear for over a year. The Prime Minister totally supported the position we took. I think when we look at what is taking place in the Middle East today, we would all agree that position was the correct position to take.

The position taken by the Leader of the Opposition would have had us there with our troops, with the danger, with ourselves exposed to problems that were no part of Canada. The Prime Minister and the government are firmly correct on the position in Iraq, and we will remain where we always were in the best interests of Canadian people.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, once again the Prime Minister has not answered my question.

On one hand the Liberals are saying that the Conservatives are wrong to support President Bush's war in Iraq. On the other hand the Liberals are comfortable with the idea of the Prime Minister having appointed the biggest hawk in this Parliament as Minister of National Defence.

Can the Prime Minister explain why the Conservatives are wrong to support Bush's war, but his own Liberal Minister of National Defence is right to support the war?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the difference between the two is very clear. What the Leader of the Opposition wanted to do was send our troops to Iraq during the war. That is exactly what he said on the Fox network in the United States.

What our government wants to do, what our Minister of National Defence wants to do, is send our troops to Haiti to secure and maintain peace. He wants to send our troops to Afghanistan to secure peace. Our Minister of National Defence wants Canada to help these countries build their institutions. There is a fundamental difference between—

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Prime Minister. The hon. member for St. John's West.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance pleaded innocent to any wrongdoing regarding the issuing of contracts. He said that all the rules throughout the process were indeed followed.

How then can he account for the secret internal letter sent to him by his colleague David Dingwall stating that the minister's department had demonstrated a pattern of non-compliance with and avoidance of Treasury Board guidelines?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the specific letter that was referred to was one dated in March 1995 that talked about a certain polling activity that needed to be done in relation to the budget and the activities flowing out of the budget in the spring of 1995.

I explained at that time that there was an urgent reason why the work had to be done so the program could be administered properly, and that when the whole process was completed, the program was reviewed and received a favourable report from the Auditor General.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the minister brags about the speed with which government and even he himself dealt with issues regarding the contracting. He became the minister of agriculture on November 4, 1993. He was reprimanded for breaking the rules by the then minister of public works on July 25, 1995, 628 days later.

I am not sure of the minister's definition of speed, but how could this pretentiously cautious minister let his department get so far out of control?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. gentleman is referring to guidelines that came into place, not in 1993 but in the fall of 1994. Therefore the period of time that is being referred to here is a much narrower one than the hon. gentlemen indicates.

Also, the issue that had to be dealt with was not in 1994 but in the spring of 1995 in a very narrow window between the budget and spring seeding time.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister tried to mask his role in the government-wide contracting scandal by claiming that it was urgent that he hand untendered contracts to Earnscliffe.

When David Dingwall blew the whistle, the member for Wascana had been agriculture minister for 628 days. That is almost two years of being seized by urgency. That has to be hard on anyone.

Since the urgency defence has been blown, what excuse will the minister use today?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the letter that was circulated yesterday indicates very clearly what the timeframe was. The timeframe was the period of time around the budget in March 1995 and spring seeding time in 1995, which was only a matter of six or eight weeks.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, we know the Liberals are preparing to trot out their old scare tactics in the next election and they are off to a good start.

There are too many Canadians who are afraid that there is not a Liberal alive willing to follow the rules when it comes to spending taxpayer money.

Will the finance minister stop hiding behind his urgency defence and admit that he was a kingpin in the decade of Liberal corruption?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the case for urgency is laid out in very specific terms in the letter that was circulated yesterday. It indicates the argument very clearly.

It was important to make sure that a $1.6 billion program operated effectively. I am pleased to say that at the end of the program, after a review by the Auditor General, the report was indeed that it had been handled properly.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

April 21st, 2004 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, Edith Gendron, who works for the Department of Canadian Heritage, has just received an ultimatum to resign as president of the organization Le Québec, un pays.

Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage plan to intervene and call her departmental staff to order, on the basis of the 1991 Supreme Court ruling that confirmed public servants' right to legitimate political activities?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, this is a matter that concerns departmental human resources and, as such, is between the department and the employee in question. The department has assured me that the matter was being handled in compliance with all standards applicable to the public service of Canada.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the minister explain to us how membership in Le Québec, un pays would prevent Ms. Gendron from performing her duties properly, those duties being to administer programs to promote the teaching of French as a second language in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, to reiterate my position, I have given no directive in connection with this. It is most definitely a matter between the department and an employee, a human resources matter.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party is continuing its shameful policy of subsidizing Canada's largest corporations.

The Liberals recently gave Rolls-Royce Canada $30 million through Technology Partnerships Canada. This corporate welfare program has given $2.4 billion of taxpayer money since 1996 and has recovered less than 2% of that money.

This is completely scandalous. How can the government justify to hard-working taxpayers using this money and giving it to large corporations like Rolls-Royce?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, Technology Partnerships Canada is a program to help develop technology in Canada, which will impact all Canadians. Rolls-Royce is not the only one involved, there are a number of companies throughout the country, British Columbia included.

Whether in the west or the east, this is a program to help us remain competitive internationally. We are very proud of it.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the $30 million grant was given to Rolls-Royce to develop industrial gas turbine engines.

In addition, less than four years ago the government gave over $50 million to the same company, Rolls-Royce, to--wait for it--research and develop industrial gas turbine engines. Does it sound familiar? This was over $80 million for the same purpose. It has to be the Rolls-Royce of photocopying.

How can the government justify giving over $80 million of taxpayer money to one of the largest, most profitable international corporations and getting back less than 2% since 1996?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the member has the facts wrong. Those are two completely different projects. Two different technologies will be developed that will help other companies in the country to be more competitive and more innovative. I think they will be very good for the economy and for Canadians.

First, these are not contributions. They are like loan guarantees. The company will repay the Government of Canada.

The objective of this program is precisely that: for the government to share the risks of developing high technology with industry.

Music IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been advised by members of Canada's music industry that the funding for FACTOR, the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records, will expire on March 31.

The expiration of this fund will affect every facet of Canada's music industry, but individual Canadian artists will be affected the most.

What will the government do to provide sustainable funding to FACTOR to ensure there remains a launch pad for tomorrow's Canadian recording stars?

Music IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for giving me the chance today to repeat what I said publicly at the Juno Awards a few weeks ago.

At many round tables I heard the success stories surrounding FACTOR funding and also I heard about the worries surrounding the non-funding of FACTOR.

Let me be very clear. The government remains very committed to Canadian artists and I will ensure that they have the necessary tools to continue succeeding both nationally and internationally with sustained long term funding.

RCMP Pension FundOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety was quick to defend the commissioner of the RCMP when questioned about his potential involvement in the misappropriation of $4 million of RCMP pension funds. She said “There is no conduct on the part of the commissioner that needs to be investigated”. How does she know?

It is the duty of the minister to protect and defend Canadians' interests, including 4,000 RCMP pensioners. Why has the minister prejudged this investigation?

RCMP Pension FundOral 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, in fact there has been no prejudging of this investigation.

As I have assured the House on a number of occasions, there are no funds missing from the RCMP pension plan. In fact, the RCMP has called in the investigative assistance of the Ottawa police service. I think it is incumbent upon all of us at this point to let the Ottawa police service carry out its investigation.

RCMP Pension FundOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety has prejudged and prejudiced this investigation by publicly exonerating the commissioner of the RCMP.

In the past the minister has refused to comment on matters that are before the courts or that are subject to a police investigation. Why in this case did the minister whitewash this investigation before the inquiry was even completed?