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House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I simply challenge the question of the leader of the NDP. This is simply not true. There has been complete support for the public health service by the Government of Canada. We are investing 36.8 billion new dollars over and above what we have been investing. We are committed to a public health system in Canada.

We will be working with the provinces to maintain and enforce the Canada Health Act and promote the five principles of that act.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, just over 20 years ago medicare was threatened by extra billing and user fees. When I was going after the then minister of health, Monique Bégin, to do something about extra billing and user fees, she did not get up and say “We are not going to promote user fees and we are not going to promote extra billing. We are just going to allow them”. She brought in legislation to deal with it.

That is what we want the government to do with privatization. It should do something about what is happening to medicare and just not say that it will not promote it.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are working cooperatively with the provinces that deliver health care in the country, that have embarked upon some difficult reforms. They will find this government on their side, not trying to put a stick in the wheel of progress but help them and support them in their effort for reform, for innovation, for the best health system in the world.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, helping the provinces with health care? That is the same government that cut $25 billion. I think the minister will understand that the provinces are just a little suspicious of the Liberal government.

Earnscliffe got a untendered contract. There is no news there. What is news is that Earnscliffe got a contract based on false information.

It appears, according to a government contract, that Earnscliffe Research and Communications has exclusive rights to the perception analyzer. Department of Justice Canada intends to award a sole source contract to this firm. It turns out that Earnscliffe does not have the sole source rights to this.

Given that the information was faulty, why did the government give it the money? Taxpayer money should be held with a little more esteem than that.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is true that Earnscliffe received a sole source contract for this technology, which was understood at the time by the Department of Justice to be technology owned solely by Earnscliffe.

The government prefers to have contracts competitively bid for in all cases where it is possible. An advance contract award notice was posted on the website so that anyone who might have challenged its sole source to that technology could have done so. None did so, and so the contract was completed.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, Earnscliffe got over $33,000 from taxpayers, and somebody lied. Either Earnscliffe lied by saying that it had exclusive rights to this technology or, frankly, maybe the government did not do its due diligence. However the bottom line is that it got a contract on pretences that it had sole source access to this perception analyzer technology.

Taxpayers want to know why it got the contract. They were not the only people who had access to the technology. Earnscliffe got over $33,000 in taxpayer money and we want to know why. Is it because it is best friends of the Prime Minister? Could that maybe just be the case?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is a very straightforward issue. The contract requirements were posted on the advance contract award notice. There was a preliminary opportunity for any other company that had access to this technology or wished to bid on the contract to do so. None did and so the contract was completed.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

The minister has been half right, Mr. Speaker. It is very straightforward, very straightforward money from the government to its buddies at Earnscliffe, breaking the rules based on a lie.

Given that someone lied about Earnscliffe having the only rights to the so-called perception analyzer, maybe the minister could help us analyze the perception that the government is breaking the rules to benefit its cronies at Earnscliffe.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member perhaps did not listen to the answer to the other hon. member's question. The point was that this was put on the government website for the advance contract award notice, so that anybody who had access to the technology and wished to bid on the contract could have come forward and done so. None did.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, here are the facts. The Prime Minister's brains trust at Earnscliffe gets an over $30,000 contract for sole source access to technology that anybody can rent, including the department itself, without giving Liberal hacks a cut.

Given that this contract was based on a lie, will the government demand to get its money back from the Prime Minister's millionaire friends over at Earnscliffe?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the facts are these. Services were required from a specialized source. An advance contract award notice was put on the government website. No other competitors came forward. The contract was awarded to the company that was available. Services were provided for money on behalf of the public of Canada. This was not a sole source contract. It was an advance contract award notice, which is a competitive process.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister indicated to President Bush that he would agree to allow Norad to coordinate the missile defence shield plan. However, he says he disagrees with the weaponization of space.

How can he claim to disagree with the weaponization of space and yet agree with having Norad coordinate the missile defence shield plan? Is that not saying one thing and meaning another?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is in error. In fact, we have not committed to a Norad amendment at this point. The Prime Minister made it clear in Washington last week when he indicated that there are two decision points here, one in June or July with respect to a possible Norad amendment, and the other to follow in the fall.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the Prime Minister himself not causing confusion in the missile defence shield file? Will he admit that his mind is made up and that he does not want to make his decision public before an election? That explains his ambiguity on this issue.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are in the process of discussing with the Americans some very complex topics related to missile defence. No decision has been made. I repeat that with respect to the Norad amendment.

With respect to the hon. member's assertions about the weaponization of space, I think we have dealt with that question many times in the past, but let me say again that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I and the rest of the government are opposed to the weaponization of space.

Air CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the company involved in the rescue of Air Canada proposes to dispose of almost all its subsidiaries in favour of a new holding company to be called Air Canada Enterprises. As a result, these subsidiaries would be in an arms-length relationship with Air Canada and no longer required to respect its obligations, particularly the obligation to provide service in French and the one relating to the location of its headquarters.

Can the Minister of Transport confirm to us that the obligations imposed on Air Canada and its subsidiaries will continue after restructuring?

Air CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would expect that Air Canada would continue to meet its obligations under the Air Canada Public Participation Act and any other applicable legislation.

Air CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, to paraphrase the Prime Minister, let us be clear. The restructuring of Air Canada might involve disengagement from its responsibilities under the Official Languages Act and its obligations to Montreal.

Will the government make a clear commitment that the conditions on head office location and official languages will continue to apply not only to Air Canada but also to the new holding company, Air Canada Enterprises, and all of its subsidiaries?

Air CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, again, I would expect that Air Canada would meet all of its obligations under the Air Canada Public Participation Act and all applicable legislation. What the hon. member is describing is in fact what is in the Air Canada Public Participation Act.

FoundationsOral Question Period

May 3rd, 2004 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1997 this Liberal government began to transfer billions of dollars to foundations. By 2003, around $8 billion was sitting in foundation bank accounts.

Even if foundations do good work, the Auditor General has raised serious concerns that these billions go out every year with no ministerial oversight, no accountability, no access to information and no review by Parliament.

Why do we keep finding out that these Liberals cannot be trusted to manage tax money?

FoundationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what is true is that this government has founded a lot of very important initiatives through foundations. If we speak to people like Bob Birgeneau at the University of Toronto, he will tell us that the foundations have put the universities back in the game for research and innovation. This has been a tremendous innovation on the part of this government in the access of Canadians to important research funds.

FoundationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

How does the government know that, Mr. Speaker? The Auditor General says there is no independent, credible review and evaluation of this envelope of spending.

That is $8 billion in spending and no credible review, so how can the government say this is well spent money? We do not know. The respected C.D. Howe Institute studied these transfers to foundations and titled its report, “Hiding the Good News: Ottawa's Book-Cooking Is a Troubling Sign for the Future”.

Is this not yet another example of behind the scenes Liberal manipulation of public money?

FoundationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, one wonders how to respond to that question in a credible fashion.

These are audited statements. They are readily available. Anyone who cares to read about the statements can read the statements. They are accessible to everyone in this chamber and they are accessible to the Auditor General. If she has any questions, I am sure she will raise them.

FoundationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that these foundations are beyond the reach of both Parliament and the Auditor General. For instance, $1.2 billion has gone into the Canada Health Infoway, which is now on its fourth CEO since 2001. I would think there should be some red flags going up.

Given what has happened in the sponsorship scandal, why does the Prime Minister not let the Auditor General audit these foundations?

FoundationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a rather impoverished understanding of what is within the purview of Parliament. Everything is within the purview of Parliament. If Parliament wishes to review the books of foundation X or foundation Y, it can be done, with or without the Auditor General. So also can the Auditor General call for a review.