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House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was foreign.

Topics

AgricultureStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

David Kilgour Liberal Edmonton Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, our chicken farmers in B.C. are facing the very worst: birds with a seriously contagious virus have been found in 31 farms in the Fraser Valley and about 950,000 infected birds have been destroyed thus far.

Even birds from uninfected farms within a one kilometre radius of an outbreak are being slaughtered in an aggressive effort to end the spread of this terrible virus.

At times like these, farmers in Abbotsford, Mission and the rest of B.C. need to know that the rest of the country stands with them shoulder to shoulder.

Ethics CommissionerStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Bernard Shapiro has been chosen by the Prime Minister as the new ethics commissioner. His personal credentials seem impressive but we are singularly unimpressed with the method of appointment and the restrictions on his role when it comes to addressing ethical breaches of cabinet ministers.

The Prime Minister talks about the democratic deficit and giving more power to members of Parliament but in this very important matter, MPs are relegated to being as impotent as the furniture in this place.

Cabinet ministers are shielded from parliamentary and public scrutiny. Questions about ministerial misconduct will still be dealt with behind closed doors, just like in the old Chrétien days. Where is the direct reporting to Parliament on this one?

This whole exercise is just another example of appearance over substance. The Liberals want to have it appear as though they are addressing the deep ethical deficit in this government but they are unwilling to do anything substantial about it.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, April 18 to 24 marks National Volunteer Week, an occasion to recognize Canadians who devote their time and efforts to their fellow citizens. These dedicated volunteers are living examples of the value Canadians place on caring for their communities.

With increasing demands on people's time, it is important to salute the efforts of those who fit participation and service to others into their busy schedules. The Government of Canada supports volunteering through its Canada volunteerism initiative.

From boardrooms to soup kitchens, volunteers serve our communities in many ways. They coach our children, visit the elderly and help new Canadians adapt to our society.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to thank Canada's 6.5 million volunteers.

BurmaStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the government of Burma for the prosecution and the subsequent sentencing to death of nine Burmese workers on charges of high treason. The charges brought against these individuals are on the grounds of making contact with the United Nations International Labour Organization.

One defendant received the death sentence for having been found to be in possession of a report of the ILO on forced labour in Burma. I had the honour of working on the ILO document, as did the Minister of Labour for Canada.

The prosecution of individuals for making contact with the ILO is a violation of fundamental human rights. We highlight the blatant hypocrisy of the Burmese government that pledged to work with the ILO to stamp out forced labour while prosecuting individuals on the grounds of treason for making contact with a UN agency.

The Burmese authorities must drop the charges of high treason against these workers and ensure that they are released from prison.

I urge our Minister of Labour and our Minister of Foreign Affairs--

BurmaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie.

World Book and Copyright DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, “Lire, un plaisir qui se partage”, is the theme Quebec has chosen for World Book and Copyright Day.

The Bloc Quebecois wants to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the authors whose works, often a critical view of society in the form of novels, short stories, poetry or other genres, immortalize thoughts, eras, and epochs. Through their works, these writers inspire reflection, feed our imaginations, and allow us to dream.

If literacy is the sword of emancipation of individuals and peoples, reading is what keeps that sword sharp and instills a taste for escape and freedom.

But if literary works are to blossom, there must be protection for authors and respect for their creations. That is why the Bloc Quebecois is fighting to have these rights recognized and has, for years, proposed the abolition of all obstacles to the democratization of reading. In fact, its first move was to call on the federal government to eliminate the GST on books.

This day is an opportunity for the Bloc Quebecois to encourage—

World Book and Copyright DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The member for Lanark—Carleton.

HealthStatements By Members

April 23rd, 2004 / 11:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, six years ago the federal and provincial governments signed agreements to provide care, not cash, to those who contracted hepatitis C through the blood system before 1986 or after 1990.

Under this agreement, $55 million was given to the Ontario government. However none of these funds have yet been allocated to the delivery of health care services. Instead, the Ontario government insists that it is still studying the problem. As a result, some people, who have been disabled with hepatitis C and can no longer work, are being forced to pay out of their own diminished income for health care.

I would invite Health Canada to investigate this lack of cooperation and, if it cannot induce the province to act on its word, to claw back the transfer and instead provide the funds directly to hepatitis C victims.

The fact that Canadian citizens contracted hepatitis C through the blood system is a national tragedy. The fact that 15 years later there is still no enforceable national standard for assistance to these victims is an embarrassment and a shame.

HealthStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a well-known fact that our national health care system is a cherished legacy that the Liberal government will never abandon.

Through its ongoing support of our national health care system, the Liberal government helps women maintain and improve their health. For example, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research bring together the best researchers from across Canada to study the issues of concern to women. We also provide stable, ongoing funding to the Canadian breast cancer initiative and provide funds to improve pre-natal nutrition, food safety, food supplementation and to support referral and lifestyle counselling.

In areas of concern to Canadian women, such as primary care, home care and access to drug coverage, the Liberal government is helping to accelerate changes to the health care infrastructure.

In budget 2004 the Prime Minister committed an additional $2 billion in funding for health care, bringing the annual federal contribution to public health spending in Canada to $36.8 billion, about 40% of the total.

The Liberal government is proud to support health and health care and women issues as a priority.

High School GraduationsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, during the graduation season I would like to share with my colleagues the lessons I share with the students during the ceremonies. It is entitled “Everything they need to know about life I learned from Noah's Ark”. The lessons are as follows:

Number one: Don't miss the boat.

Number two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.

Number three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.

Number four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old someone may ask you to do something really big.

Number five: Don't listen to the critics, get on with the job that needs to be done.

Number six: Build your future on high ground.

Number seven: For safety sake, travel in pairs.

Number eight: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

Number nine: When you're stressed, float a while.

Number ten: Remember the ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by professionals.

Number eleven: No matter the storm, when you're with God there is always a rainbow waiting.

I send my congratulations to all the grade 12 students who will be graduating this summer.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, Earth Day was celebrated yesterday and let me present a bright and simple idea for this occasion. It is called the compact fluorescent light bulb.

Last month our government launched the one tonne challenge. It is a campaign to directly engage Canadians in making environmentally friendly choices and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are an ideal solution to reducing energy consumption. One such light bulb will use only one-quarter of the electricity required by a standard bulb. It will also last up to 10 times longer.

If we replaced just one regular light bulb in every household in Canada with one of these compact fluorescents, we would save $73 million in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gases by almost 400,000 tonnes. This would be equivalent to taking 66,000 cars off the road. This is literally a bright idea.

I urge fellow parliamentarians to lead by example and install one fluorescent light bulb in every house in the country.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, what a tangled web we weave. First, the Prime Minister pretended to be as clean as the driven snow when it came to government contracting, advertising and polling, but the testimony from Chuck Guité today and yesterday at the public accounts committee confirms yet again, along with documentary evidence, that this Prime Minister was up to his neck in political interference to steer government contracts for polling and research to his friends at the Earnscliffe Group.

How can Canadians trust this Prime Minister to get to the bottom of the ad scam when in fact, going back 10 years, he was so clearly involved in breaking the rules to benefit his political friends?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth.

I think that first of all we need to clarify the record. This has nothing to do with sponsorship. What we are talking about here is an issue around advertising in the Government of Canada at a period of time between 1994 and 1995. In fact, if we look at the document, if we look at the record, nobody interfered on behalf of Earnscliffe. Nobody interfered on behalf of anyone.

If hon. members have read the documents I have, it is pretty clear that during this period of time, anyone working for the then minister of finance was arguing for a more competitive process, a--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

That is utterly ridiculous, Mr. Speaker, a more competitive process that ended up with only one firm putting in a bid: Earnscliffe. Why? Because it was a rigged contract. Why? Because the Prime Minister and his buddy the finance minister wanted to make sure that tax dollars got steered to their shadow leadership campaign over at Earnscliffe.

I want to know, why is it the Prime Minister can pretend to be completely innocent of the wrongdoing that happened in ad scam when he was into it up to his neck, steering government contracts and violating government rules in order to do so?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

I can only say again, Mr. Speaker, that nothing could be further from the truth. Let us in fact look at the record. First of all, this has nothing to do with the sponsorship program. Everybody should keep this in mind.

Then, again, when I look at these documents from 1994 that people keep referring to, all these documents speak to a desire on the part of those working for the then minister of finance to open up the process, to have a more competitive process. In page after page of copies, nowhere is Earnscliffe mentioned in any of these documents. In fact, one of these documents goes so far as to say that if there are any other firms that have indicated--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

That is just plain wrong, Mr. Speaker. Documents tabled by Mr. Guité do refer to Earnscliffe Research, and of course the documents we tabled earlier this week show that the Prime Minister was up to his neck in trying to break the rules.

Is it not interesting that yesterday we heard testimony that Terrie O'Leary, the then finance minister's chief of staff, called Mr. Guité and met with Mr. Guité at the finance minister's office? Scott Reid, the Prime Minister's spokesman, denies that these meetings ever happened. Where did Mr. Reid come from? Earnscliffe Research. Why is the Prime Minister's own denial man denying his connections to the very firm that he came from?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, again let me clarify the record. No one in the Prime Minister's Office has ever said that Terrie O'Leary did not meet or speak with Mr. Guité, but what the Prime Minister's Office has made clear is that at no time--no time--did Terrie O'Leary intervene on behalf of Earnscliffe.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister was so innocent, why did Public Works rap his knuckles? Why did public works say his actions were completely unacceptable? The fact is that the Prime Minister did try to intervene in the process and it was improper, and he did get his knuckles rapped because it was improper. How does the Prime Minister's supposed anger over ad scam square with his direct interference in advertising contracts?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Again, Mr. Speaker, it is outrageous that hon. members of the House would make allegations like that.

As I have said, first of all, let us go back to the basics. This has nothing to do with the sponsorship program. Let me go further and say this: that which was done by the staff of the then minister of finance was all about ensuring there was a more open process, a more competitive process with names of companies which the then minister's office wanted added to ensure that the taxpayers of Canada got the best possible service.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, interference in contracting is interference in contracting. It does not matter which program is at issue.

If all of this was so innocent, why did the documents that were leaked this week show that there was such a rigging of the process that only Earnscliffe could qualify? That is what public works found; not what we found but what public works found. Public works castigated the Prime Minister for it and said it was inappropriate that he rigged the system in favour of Earnscliffe. Yet the Deputy Prime Minister--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill I think may have been here yesterday when I suggested that the use of the word “rigging” had more to do with sailing and we would not be using it in relation to members of the House in arranging matters. The hon. member for Calgary Southeast came close on that, but the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill I think has stepped over the line, and we will not have that. I would urge hon. members to use appropriate caution in their remarks.

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister may respond.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Again, Mr. Speaker, all contracts that are in question here were let in an open and transparent way. All requests for proposals had criteria and in fact the whole import of any involvement on the part of the then minister of finance's office was to ensure that more firms were able to bid so that in fact they could be assured that the taxpayers of Canada got the very best quality product for their money.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the sponsorship scandal, Charles Guité has confirmed that the system that allowed the worst abuse of public money was dreamt up at the highest echelons of the government. Mr. Guité said that his role was to do as he was told and that it was not him, but the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister's Office that decided to run the program that way.

Will the Prime Minister, who says he wants to get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal, now have the courage to take the blame and admit that the political direction, whose existence he himself has acknowledged, came directly from Jean Chrétien's office?