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House of Commons Hansard #42 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was date.

Topics

South AfricaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer Canada's sincere congratulations to South Africa on its third democratic national elections and to President Mbeki's African National Congress, re-elected in a landslide victory.

Canada congratulates the people of South Africa as they mark the 10th anniversary of freedom and democracy's triumph over apartheid rule. This is a historic opportunity to celebrate the end of apartheid and to reflect on the last 10 years.

South Africa faces huge challenges ahead, including poverty and unemployment, high levels of violent crime, and an HIV-AIDS epidemic. However, the ANC has vowed to bring all South Africans a share in the nation's wealth.

Ten years ago many people predicted bloody ethnic violence or autocratic rule in South Africa, but Nelson Mandela's “rainbow nation” has emerged as Africa's most powerful economy and one of its most stable democracies. I express congratulations on behalf of the people of Canada.

General ElectionsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is a day when the Prime Minister should practise what he has been preaching since usurping the throne. He could do something no prime minister of Canada has ever done, and that is to begin eliminating the democratic deficit.

The majority of Canadians support the concept of setting a specific date for all future general elections. That is why we on this side and all supporters of the Conservative Party of Canada want this simple but democratic reform.

It is not democracy in action when a prime minister can call an election any time on any day that gives him political advantage. Even Tom Kent, the Liberal guru and former adviser to the Prime Minister's father, says we must have fixed election dates.

There was a rumour that the Prime Minister was prepared to support the motion for fixed election dates. That was until he heard Earnscliffe found out we were talking about fixing the election dates, not the results. He should ignore Earnscliffe, do the right thing and support this motion today.

HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, a Montreal organization called HIV-AIDS Alert has calculated that costs related to AIDS will add $37 billion to our health care costs by 2014. This calculation was based on a study of Health Canada statistics.

Our health care system is on the verge of collapse due to rising costs. In Saskatchewan, health care expenditures represent 40% of total government spending.

A recent Globe and Mail article outlined how the Immigration and Refugee Board processes applicants with AIDS and HIV. An immigration lawyer suggests that of gay applicants those who are HIV positive tend to have a higher rate of acceptance.

Why is the board giving people with infectious diseases priority and preference? The role of the board is to protect Canadians and screen applicants who pose a danger. SARS demonstrated the importance of screening everyone coming to this country who may pose a danger of spreading disease.

Considering this purported preferential treatment for HIV positive applicants, I know that the impact on Canadian health care will test negative.

ChildrenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the last 10 years I have worked hard to alleviate poverty for mothers and children in this country. Today the Liberal government's commitment to Canada's children is more than $13 billion a year.

That commitment includes: assistance for over three million families through the Canada child tax benefit; the early childhood development agreement to help improve and expand early childhood development programs and services; maternity and parental benefits through employment insurance; the child care expense deduction for parents who work or study; and the new child disability benefit for low income and modest income families.

Children who grow up in poverty are at great risk of not being able to fulfill their potential. We must do everything in our power to ensure that Canadian children have every chance for a healthy, secure and happy life.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I hear the Prime Minister continuing to beat his election drum, but the Liberal Gong Show is also continuing.

In the decade that the Prime Minister has been at the helm, he has gutted health care and national defence, and yet is now spending $6.5 billion per year on consulting contracts for firms like Earnscliffe. That is the equivalent of the taxes from all the taxpayers of New Brunswick.

Why does the Prime Minister value funding consultants ahead of funding things like health care and national defence?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member might want to take a look at some of the speeches he made in the House and some of the policies that he endorsed in the Reform Party, in terms of the drastic scorched earth policies he recommended in health care and scorched earth policies in our transfers to the provinces. If it were up to that member, we would have withdrawn from the entire Canada health policy. That is what he is doing.

In terms of his question, this is one of the areas at which the President of the Treasury Board is looking. We are on top of the situation.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will understand that the Prime Minister attacks me because he cannot defend his own record.

We have a government mired in scandal and corruption, yet still unable to follow even the most basic ethical guidelines. Cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries had 120 days after being appointed to file asset declarations, yet six ministers and nine parliamentary secretaries failed to comply with conflict of interest guidelines.

Why is the Prime Minister unable to enforce even his most minimum ethical standards on his own cabinet?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that every member of our cabinet and every parliamentary secretary is very conscious of the need to follow the highest ethical standards.

The reason that I attack the hon. member's record is because he is desperately trying to hide it. The fact is it is a matter of public record. It is in Hansard . Canadians will certainly know about it if they do not know about it now.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

April 27th, 2004 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will also be looking for those asset declarations conforming with conflict of interest guidelines, if they actually exist, for this cabinet.

We have a government notable for widespread mismanagement and incompetence, yet nothing changes. The President of the Treasury Board said last year, “My God, if 96% of executives are getting merit pay to reward superior performance, then obviously something is wrong”. Yet this year the government rewarded 93% of executives with bonuses. Nothing has changed.

Does the Prime Minister really think this is the way to clean up his mess?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, now it is bureaucrat bashing. They are doing a tremendous job. We have one of the toughest, and we should be proud of our bureaucrats.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is a far cry from the rogue bureaucrat label the Prime Minister thrust upon us.

The Prime Minister can make all kinds of wild allegations about what people said when they were in opposition. This Prime Minister has been there for a decade. During that time as finance minister, he hammered health care, he cut defence, he opposed student debt initiatives and waffled on parliamentary reform, all the while his government had consulting contracts that hit a whopping $6.5 billion.

Does this not show that the Prime Minister's real priorities are to funnel money to Liberal friendly firms, not to meet the needs of average Canadians?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. The reality is that this side of the House does not make accusations or decisions absence evidence. Ever since my assuming the role of President of the Treasury Board, we have been examining each one of these. We have announced a series of reviews in the budget, looking at each one of these elements. We will come forward with evidence upon which we will make responsible policy choices.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Allegations, Mr. Speaker, this coming from the minister who made something up on national television. It is a virtual black hole on that side of the House when it comes to fiscal management.

At the end of the week, Canadians are going to have to file their income tax--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I am sure the hon. member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough appreciates all the help with his question, but we do have to be able to hear what he has to say. He has the floor.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, at the end of this week, Canadians are going to have to file their income tax, and at the same time they can watch members live at the public accounts committee trying to explain how over $100 million of their hard-earned tax money has gone missing.

The government is consulting firms at the rate of $6.5 billion a year. The government is looking for a fourth mandate. Why all the waste?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I said, if the member for incomplete documents would have examined those consulting contracts, he would have found things like the service contracts for doctors who serve children in the north. He would have found contracts with engineers who look at rebuilding infrastructure across the country. He would have found contracts for information technology. These are good solid service contracts going to Canadians to provide services to Canadians.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the media but no thanks to the government's bad faith, the amounts granted and the events funded by the national unity fund since 2000, to the tune of $300 million, are now public knowledge. Unfortunately, we still do not know how much money was spent between 1992 and 2000, including during the referendum period.

Since all the information after 2000 is contained on a single sheet of paper, what is the Prime Minister waiting for to make the other pages public, if transparency truly is his goal?

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has already said that it is certainly prepared to make public all this information as soon as the list is complete. We simply do not want to give information bit by bit. We want the information to be complete. When it is, it will be made public.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is complete, the figures for six years are on a single page, and the same goes for the rest of it too. That is why the Bloc did not take any chances when told that this information was going to be made public within 48 hours. We applied for access to information on March 25, and were told by the Privy Council yesterday that further consultations needed to be held for another month before documents that already exist could be made public.

Instead of inventing reasons to delay, could the government at least be honest enough to admit that its true intention is to disclose nothing at all? That is the truth.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was very clear. This information will be provided as soon as it has been compiled. We do not want to provide information bit by bit. We want to provide a complete list that includes all the projects.

It would be useful for the Bloc members to explain their objections to the use of these emergency funds. Do they have something against the Games of La Francophonie or the world track and field championships? Do they have something against national parks and historic sites? Do they have something against the Year of La Francophonie in Canada?

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, like everyone else, I am very interested in knowing that the Minister of Health does have the list. That is what we want. Let him table that list. If one wants to be transparent, then one provides information. He does have it, so let him produce it.

With my question, he will know what we object to. We would like to know whether the $4.8 million for Option Canada, money which has to all intents and purposes disappeared, came from the $85 million spent in a certain year. The Auditor General tells us that neither its source nor its destination was known. What we want to know is whether it came from that budget.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, like everyone else in this House, I have access to this very clear information on projects funded from that contingency reserve. When the compilation is complete, it will be made public.

In the meantime, the Bloc Quebecois has access to partial information, as do we. I find it most interesting that the Bloc Quebecois would be opposed to supporting francophone minorities, to the summer second language bursary program, to the Katimavik program, to promoting human rights—

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Roberval.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Really, Mr. Speaker, this is a pitiful show. The Minister of Health is a pitiful sight.

I will give him an example. As far as the vanished $4.8 million is concerned, all the Prime Minister has to do is pick up the phone and call his buddy Claude Dauphin in Quebec City, who was his right hand man and the head of Option Canada, and ask him the source of the $4.8 million, and particularly what was done with it, since this is taxpayers' money. That is what we want to know, and he must be capable of doing that.