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House of Commons Hansard #45 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parks.

Topics

National Unity FundOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, during the referendum period, if I recall correctly, the Government of Quebec, a PQ government, spent money on the Le Hir studies, for example, and we all know what happened to them. It spent money on helping to create sovereignist, indépendantistes, and separatist movements all over the place.

We do not need any lectures from them because we were defending our country.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, following an access to information request, the Bloc Quebecois obtained briefing notes from the then heritage minister, who confirmed that Official Languages Program funding had indeed been diverted to Option Canada. We know where the money came from, but we still do not know where it went.

Can the Prime Minister talk to his friend, Claude Dauphin, who was in charge of the Option Canada program, and ask him where the $4.8 million from Option Canada went? It is simple.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, that question has been asked in the House many times and we have answered it.

In 2000, all the documents relating to this issue were made public. I invite the members opposite to refer to those documents.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence and it is about the star wars missile defence program.

Today we learned that Canadian troops have been trained on missile defence equipment, despite the fiction from the government that no decision has been made.

How many times does the government have to get caught before it realizes that nobody believes it has not already made up its mind and hopes to hide the truth from the Canadian people until after the election?

Will the Liberals finally admit that the star wars missile defence scheme is a done deal and that their star wars policy is identical to the star wars policy of the Conservative Party on my right?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the opposition is drawing conclusions from news stories written by people who either do not know or are not interested in the facts.

I was able to confirm the facts this morning in a conversation with our Canadian representative at Norad, General Findley. He informed me that the so-called training that has been referred to was actually a simulation exercise for decision makers so that these decision makers could get a better understanding of the potential impact of BMD on Norad. It was not, and I stress very strongly, it was not operational training.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, there are some other facts as well. One fact is that the U.S. missile defence agency has a budget line for space based programs. An additional fact is that a former United States assistant secretary of defence said missile defence “is really star wars two”. Another fact is that Russia has already tested a hypersonic weapon capable of penetrating any missile defence shield.

Does the government have the courage to stand up today and say no to missile defence or is it happy to have the same policy as the Conservative Party to my extreme right?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have been through these stale arguments from the NDP before and I expect I will be called to answer on these questions again.

Let me repeat. We are opposed to the weaponization of space. The Prime Minister has said that on a number of occasions. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has said that and I have said that. The NDP members still do not get it.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the unity fund honey pot was kept so secret it was not even disclosed to the Auditor General. Just because the Liberals give a program a patriotic sounding name and blow a lot of hot air around, it does not mean the millions it cost are justified.

If these programs were so good, why not put them right out in the open so Canadians can see that for themselves? Is it not true that the Liberals hid this multi-million dollar spending because they knew it would not stand up to public scrutiny?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, maybe the easiest way to answer the question is to say no, it is not true.

What I did when I went through the preparation of this list was track each one of these transactions, verify it against the Treasury Board submission, and identify it in the public accounts. These were reported.

Had the member been doing the work that an opposition member is required to do and go through the estimates year after year, she would have seen all of this. None of this was hidden.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, even the Auditor General did not know about this program because the Liberals hid it.

The government says the money was all duly reported and duly transferred. Big deal. Cheques were written and someone kept the cheques in a file, but that does not mean the spending was the right thing to do.

What the Liberals did not keep was their word to Canadians to provide good and honest government, as they hide behind weasel words like “duly recorded” and “duly transferred”.

Why do the Liberals not finally admit that this was just another secret Liberal slush fund?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think if members were to check, they would find that most Canadians are quite interested in unity and their country.

I would like to ask the member opposite, is she concerned about the fact that we invested in human rights promotion, the Queen's jubilee, and the Terry Fox youth centre, all of which were invested in by this program and duly reported?

Whistleblower LegislationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, in committee yesterday a public service integrity officer, Edward Keyserlingk, trashed the whistleblower bill. Among other things, he observed that Bill C-25 was missing an independent investigative body, had no mechanism for reporting to Parliament, and provided no protection against reprisal for whistleblowers.

I ask the minister, will he amend the bill to add these provisions which Professor Keyserlingk has highlighted?

Whistleblower LegislationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, first of all, we will let the committee do its job.

I would like to refer to the recommendations of the working group on the disclosure of wrongdoing in the workplace, article 3.3, which talks about independence. It states:

To ensure such independence, we recommend the Office become an agent of Parliament, and be accountable to Parliament either directly or through a Minister.

I agree with that.

Whistleblower LegislationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday in question period I pointed out that Bill C-25 contained no provisions whatever for disciplining persons who engaged in reprisals against whistleblowers. The minister responded by telling me to take a look at clause 9.

Clause 9 of Bill C-25 contains provisions for disciplinary action, including termination of employment, but this is for whistleblowers themselves who make disclosures to the public service integrity commissioner without getting prior departmental approval.

Would Bill C-25 not have mandated the minister to fire Allan Cutler for not asking Chuck Guité's permission to go public?

Whistleblower LegislationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, the hon. member has everything mixed up. In terms of sanctions, obviously, we are talking about reprisals against whistleblowers. This is a bill to protect whistleblowers. It can go as far, in fact, as firing the person who attempts reprisals against the whistleblower. So what he has said is completely wrong.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, although the Supreme Court has recognized the right of public servants to engage in legitimate political activities, Canadian Heritage has just dismissed Édith Gendron. The Vice-President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada has described this dismissal as a political trial, particularly since a number of managers at Heritage are actively involved in the Liberal Party and their activities are unrestricted.

What will it take for the Minister of Canadian Heritage to call her departmental employees to order, speak out against the injustice done to Ms. Gendron, and take the necessary steps to reinstate her in her position as soon as possible?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bourassa Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say again what I have been saying from the outset: this is an internal matter involving the Department of Canadian Heritage.

To set the record straight, what the member is referring to is the June 1991 Osborne decision. In it the court pointed out that there was a convention under the Constitution recognizing the neutrality of public servants as essential to the principles of responsible government.

When a conflict arises between personal interests and public interest, the resolution should give precedence to the public interest.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's inaction smacks of a double standard. The Minister of Canadian Heritage cannot allow such a double standard; she must ensure that her departmental employees are treated fairly and equally.

Does the minister intend to intervene forcefully with her departmental staff so that not only common sense but also the rights recognized by the Charter of Rights and the Supreme Court prevail?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, on a number of occasions, the minister concerned as well as the minister answering today have repeated that this is an internal matter and is the responsibility of human resources at Canadian Heritage. That said, Ms. Gendron has recourses available to her. These are readily accessible and I assume she will avail herself of them.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister expressed his openness to an amendment to NORAD, a prerequisite to Canada's taking part in the missile defence shield. The decision to support this amendment must be made in June, after the election, but in time for deployment this fall.

Is this not more proof that the PM has already decided that Canada will take part in the missile defence shield and that he does not want that decision known before the election?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has indicated very clearly that there are two key decision points here. One is in relation to the possible amendment to Norad and the other is a final decision on missile defence, which will be taken this fall.

The potential amendment to Norad does not in any way prejudge the final outcome of this decision.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the government recognize that, in this case, the authorization last October by Lieutenant General Findley for Canadian soldiers to take part in a two-week military exercise related to the missile defence shield is still more proof that Canada's participation in this plan is already a given?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there were two elements to the so-called training that occurred last October. One was a simulation exercise on missile defence, the likes of which has been conducted on a regular basis going back a number of years because that is one of the things that Norad does.

The other, as I indicated to my hon. colleague from the NDP, was a table top exercise for decision makers so they could understand the potential impact of ballistic missile defence on Norad.

They were not operational training.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

April 30th, 2004 / 11:35 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday the Minister of Public Works and Government Services said “all the contracts that have been awarded to Earnscliffe or any company...are either already in the public domain or accessible for review”. Yesterday he admitted that was not the case but that the information could be obtained elsewhere by calling the 1-800 number. That is not true either.

What is the minister trying to cover up by providing incorrect information to the House?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, first, I did not correct myself yesterday. I explained by providing clarification because the day before yesterday an hon. member from the other side misquoted my answer on Tuesday, which this member has properly referred to.

I said that the services they are providing to the government are either already in the public domain or are accessible for review, and they are. We have access to information. We have direct inquires to my department. We have access to the Canada Contracts website. If the member has a specific question, give it--