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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

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman continues down a very confusing path.

What the documents indicate, what the Prime Minister has said, and what others have said, not just today, but over a long period of time, is that there are four contracts being discussed here: one that predated the existence of the government; two that were extensions because a new process was not put in place; and a fourth that was issued under a competitive process.

That is what the evidence indicates and those are the facts.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, here is what the documents really show. Public works investigated and found that the finance minister, the current Prime Minister, had acted contrary to cabinet approved guidelines.

That is what they found in 1995. They said this was simply unacceptable. The truth is starting to come out about how the Prime Minister led the way in breaking and abusing contract rules.

Is it not true that the Prime Minister was very comfortable in--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Finance.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me refer to the very document that the hon. member has in her hand

Contract No. 1 was issued in September 1993, before this government came into office. Contract No. 2 was issued by the Department of Public Works. Contract No. 3 was issued by public works. Contract No. 4 was issued by public works.

The process was administered by the appropriate department.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, that was a good try, but here is what the investigation by public works really found out.

Tenders for finance department work were written with a clear bias to the one firm favoured by the current Prime Minister. Other firms just quit bidding because they figured out it was all rigged. So, in order to give pork to his cronies, the Prime Minister broke all of the accounting rules laid down by the cabinet.

The Prime Minister claims to want to clean up this mess, but how can he do that when he is standing in the rubble of all the rules he broke himself?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. member is being a little selective. In the very document she is referring to there is a clear indication that there was considerable confusion with respect to the administration of some of the rules.

Let me just add one quote, “Within our own department”, that would be the department of public works, “we have at least three sectors that can issue contracts for public opinion research and each sector probably has a different definition of what is public opinion research”.

It was that very confusion that we were trying to resolve in favour of competition.

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's Minister of Health, Philippe Couillard, stated yesterday that accepting Canadian standards or being accountable to Ottawa in matters of health was out of the question.

Faced with such clear words, how can the Minister of Health still imagine that it is right to demand accountability from the Government of Quebec in the matter of health care, when it is not the federal government's responsibility to provide health care and when all its interventions only complicate the situation?

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I had an opportunity to talk with Minister Couillard after the speech I gave in Toronto yesterday. He was completely comfortable with what I had to say.

I agree completely that it is not our place to impose conditions on the provinces. The way we want to work is to develop a plan with the provinces by setting objectives they would agree to themselves, in a completely transparent way. No government is asking for accountability from another, but the point is to be transparent vis-à-vis our citizens, within our own jurisdictions.

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, there was one man who was unhappy with the health minister's actions and that was Jean Charest. He said, “Health is the Quebec government's responsibility. It makes good sense, and for that reason, there is no question about making compromises”.

Does the government realize that the blackmail it is perpetrating with respect to Quebec and the provinces is done at the expense of the ill, and that they are the ones who will pay the price for the federal government's obsession with sticking its nose into other people's business?

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, what our government wants is partnership with the provinces. We want to play a supporting role to permit the provinces to carry out the very important responsibilities they have toward Canadians. We intend to work with them.

There is no question of conditions. There is no question of accountability. There is no question of one level of government being accountable to another. It is a question of each level of government being accountable to the public, in a completely transparent way.

Older WorkersOral Question Period

April 21st, 2004 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, last fall, Whirlpool employees gave the Liberal member for Montmagny-L'Islet a plan to create an older workers assistance program, the funding for which would be provided by the employees, employers, Quebec and Ottawa.

Can the Minister of Human Resources Development tell the House if his Liberal colleague for Montmagny-L'Islet passed this plan on to him? Since time is of the essence, as the plant will close on May 14, when does the minister intend to follow up on the workers' request?

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to realize today that the member opposite has taken a page from the Liberals. That is wonderful.

Pilot projects have been implemented. We are currently analyzing the results of these pilot projects. Obviously, if the results are positive, decisions will be made and the necessary measures taken to provide people with long term programs.

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is time to change the record; he played the wrong one in answering my question.

During the 2000 federal election, in answer to a question on the POWA, a Liberal minister told the workers at Beloit in Sherbrooke, “In a changing society, we need a program to help with the transition”. That minister is now Prime Minister.

Four years later, can the Prime Minister tell us what concrete measures he has put in place to ease the transition for workers over age 55 who lose their jobs? When will he finally fulfill the promise he made in 2000?

Older WorkersOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the results speak for themselves. This is not just about transitional measures. The best program is a job. Are there jobs in Quebec and in the region? Yes, obviously. For example, last year in Canada, we created 157,000 jobs for older workers, 43,000 of them in Quebec. I see these as positive results, but the Bloc is playing to the gallery.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister tells us that he followed the rules for awarding contracts. That is not so. This was not a public tendering process, but a government policy for bending the rules and awarding contracts to Earnscliffe.

How can we trust this Prime Minister who breaks the rules in order to put taxpayers' money in the pockets of his friends like Earnscliffe?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. gentleman is misreading the documents. The documents indicate that the Prime Minister and his staff argued for greater competition, not less. They argued for it sooner rather than later. A more competitive system was finally assembled and put into place in the fall of 1994. A competitive contest was held, and it was under that basis that the Earnscliffe contract was awarded.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the documents show that rules were broken. They were broken by Alfonso Gagliano, the Minister of Finance, and the Prime Minister himself.

Why is the Prime Minister unable to show leadership and ask Canadians to forgive him for having broken the funding rules and putting money in the pockets of his friends at Earnscliffe? Why does he not show leadership and simply ask for forgiveness?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the series of contracts with respect to Earnscliffe have been thoroughly discussed in the House, not just in the last number of days but in fact many years ago. They are probably the most exposed and debated contracts in the history of contracting in Canada.

All the evidence that has been referred to in the memo that is before the House now is completely consistent with the information given before. The first contract predated the government, the next two were extensions while a competitive process was assembled and the fourth was issued on the basis of a competitive process.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is refreshing to have a Minister of Public Works and Government Services who has a firm grasp of the obvious and who agrees with his predecessor, David Dingwall, that the Prime Minister's contracting practices with Earnscliffe left a bit to be desired.

I would like to give him another opportunity to confirm that he agrees that this matter should be referred to the ad scam inquiry being led by public accounts.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the public accounts committee is looking into issues of contracting with respect to advertising and sponsorship. Opposition members are suggesting, through these documents that they have raised in reference in the House, that this has something to do with it. If that has something to do with it, they should put it before the committee, make their arguments and put their questions to the author of the memo they are referring to, who will be appearing before the public accounts committee. It is that simple.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

It looks like that minister will have as long a political future as certain Liberal candidates in Burnaby, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. First there was the $137,000 handout to his shipping empire that turned out to be $161 million. Then he professed to be shocked about Liberal ad scam corruption happening right under his nose. Now he is outraged that leaked documents show how he broke contracting rules to shovel tax dollars to his friends at Earnscliffe.

How exactly does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe that he had nothing to do with and knew absolutely nothing about breaking the rules to benefit his buddies?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman persists in trying to turn all the facts upside down and on their heads. The fact of the matter is the information being referred to by him in this memo does not establish at all what he is alleging.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

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

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Research is key to a cure, and the Canadian prostate cancer research initiative is a national leader in supporting innovative cancer research.

It is my understanding that there had been a commitment from the Department of Health for the annual funding of $10 million supporting this research. Will the minister commit to ensuring that the department goes through with this funding?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the five years of funding for prostate cancer research that began in 1999 was a fixed period initiative that provided the necessary boost to increase Canada's capacity in this area.

This government is now taking an integrated approach to cancer control that aims to reduce the incidence, mortality and morbidity of all cancers rather than focusing on a few particular tumour sites. In 2002 the CIHR was created to support health research. In 2003-04 the CIHR allocated almost $8 million to prostate cancer research.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister whose Liberals constantly criticize Conservatives for things that his Liberal government supports.

Could the Prime Minister explain why Canadians should be afraid of the Conservative leader for supporting Bush's war in Iraq, but be comfortable with his Liberal defence minister, appointed by him, who fervently maintains that invading Iraq was the right thing to do? Could the Prime Minister explain this absurd contradiction?