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House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

AsthmaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Liberal Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is World Asthma Day, a day that we need to recognize.

This disease leaves 12% of Canadian children and 8% of Canadian adults struggling to breathe and 300 million people of all ages and all ethnic backgrounds worldwide suffering.

The Lung Association is working with health professionals in Canada to educate those with asthma. It continues to be a major cause of hospitalization for children.

The best way to manage this disease is by individuals being actively involved in their own treatment.

The global burden of asthma to the health care system, to the patients and their families is increasing worldwide. In many countries the prevalence of asthma is rising 20 % to 50% every 10 years.

Further research and funding is needed to identify the factors responsible for increased prevalence rates, to study the primary prevention of asthma and to support increased education in the area of asthma management.

On behalf of The Lung Association I thank my fellow colleagues in the House for their time and attention to this most important health matter.

Remember, when we cannot breathe, nothing else matters.

Health CareStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the federal Liberals are sowing confusion and dishonesty on health care.

The health minister spoke about what is allowed under the Canada Health Act, but the Prime Minister forced him to recant.

The Prime Minister said that he opposed chequebook medicine, but nobody is advocating that.

The Prime Minister said that he is not going to play politics with health care, but he is trying to demonize the Conservatives with false allegations.

The Prime Minister wants a mandate just to negotiate an unseen 10 year deal to save health care, but he has been neglecting the five year deal that is already on the table.

Canadians want clarity and honesty on health care. The Conservative Party of Canada is committed to universal public health insurance, regardless of ability to pay. We recognize that the issue is not delivery, but access.

We have endorsed last year's health accord as a good faith agreement to move forward on health reforms. The Conservative Party of Canada is prepared to make additional investments into health care, investments which are affordable and within a fiscal plan.

The Conservative Party will put the patient first. It is time for new leadership on health care.

Hospice Palliative CareStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Hospice Palliative Care Week, a time when we recognize the vital role of hospice palliative care in our communities. Each year 160,000 Canadians require end of life care and with our population aging, the number is expected to rise.

Hospice palliative care programs give patients more control over their lives, manage pain and symptoms more effectively, and provide support to caregivers. The recent introduction of the compassionate care benefit by the government is an important initiative that supports families caring for loved ones who are gravely ill.

Many hospice palliative care programs are supported by charitable giving such as Lissard House, a hospice for terminally ill cancer patients located in my riding of Cambridge and established through a generous donation by Val and Sheila O'Donovan.

As we reflect during National Palliative Care Week, I would like to thank the countless caregivers, volunteers and professionals.

Racial DiscriminationStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, when I came to Canada in 1977, I found myself on many occasions a victim of racial discrimination. At that time it was widespread in Canadian society.

Since that period I have noticed tremendous improvements in Canadian society as the evils of discrimination were exposed, but the battle is far from over. There continues to be pockets where hidden discrimination or systemic racism as it is known, rears its ugly head.

My colleague in the Senate, Senator Donald Oliver, has raised the alarm of systemic discrimination in the public service. The statistics are discouraging. While minorities make up 13% of the Canadian population, only 7% of the federal public service comprises visible minorities, as he pointed out.

I commend my colleague, Senator Donald Oliver for raising this issue.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I see the government is planning a dirty advertising program, but we are still trying to clean up the dirt from the last advertising program.

Liberal members are trying to sweep the sponsorship scandal under the rug by discrediting the Auditor General, accusing her of misleading Canadians, jumping to conclusions and even self-aggrandizement. As one newspaper said today, the Auditor General's “strength in the face of these cowardly attacks remind us all of our duty as citizens and voters: the duty to speak out when something is not right; the duty to demand real answers instead of political excuses and spin”.

Is it still the government's position to attack the credibility and integrity of the Auditor General?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is not now and never has been the policy of the government to attack the credibility of the Auditor General. However, on the credibility of the Leader of the Opposition, we may have some questions.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the $13 million man already questioned her credibility on television.

The Auditor General stands behind her report that every rule in the book was broken. She said that the entire quarter of a billion dollar program was suspect. Liberal members still want to cover it up. The judicial inquiry has not begun, but Liberal MPs want to shut down the public accounts committee with 72 witnesses left to be heard and no answers.

Why is the Prime Minister instructing his members to shut down the investigation by the public accounts committee?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

It is quite the opposite, Mr. Speaker. What in fact the government wants and what the Liberal members on the public accounts committee want is to have as many witnesses as possible. They want to have an indepth review. At the same time the government has created a commission of inquiry under Mr. Justice Gomery and has brought in special counsel to seek as much recovery of the money as possible.

In terms of the Auditor General, Mr. Speaker, the fact is that if you talk to the President of the Treasury Board what you will find is that he has brought in a fundamental reform on the way in which government controls its spending. He has done that in very close consultation with the Auditor General.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I think that study cost $13 million.

The Liberals are trying to discredit the Auditor General, to interrupt the work of the committee, and to tell their candidates it is nothing more than bad management. Initially, the Prime Minister pretended to be scandalized. The people of Canada continue to be scandalized.

Will the Prime Minister tell us the whole truth on the sponsorship scandal before calling an election?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I am sure the President of the Treasury Board appreciates the generous assistance being offered from the opposition benches with his answer, but we are entitled to hear his answer, not everyone else's suggestion for the answer.

The hon. President of the Treasury Board has the floor.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am not certain what they are so afraid of.

In response to the member's question, the information we have been trying to correct is the false information that has been put on the record by members of the opposition. The Auditor General herself has tried to correct that on three separate occasions.

The reality is the Auditor General said, as has been said elsewhere, that she never said that $100 million was stolen, despite the repeated assertions by members of the Conservative Party.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, somebody needs to state the obvious. Those questioning the integrity of the Auditor General are some of the same people most responsible for the sponsorship scandal: Gosselin, Guité, Lafleur, Gagliano. All of the same individuals who are intimately involved in the sponsorship scandal have the audacity to smear Sheila Fraser. Her report uncovered $250 million in misspent money. How many Liberal friendly firms have their snouts in the trough benefiting?

The real question remains, is the Prime Minister questioning the veracity of the Auditor General's report?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

The answer to the question, Mr. Speaker, is no, absolutely not.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Finally an unequivocal answer from the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker.

There is no Canadian in the country better equipped to tell Canadians what happened in the sponsorship scandal. Sheila Fraser knows, yet the Auditor General told us yesterday, “at the end of the day we still don't have an explanation for why essential controls failed and why there was so little oversight”.

The Prime Minister is not going to wait to get to the bottom of this, as he has promised. What Canadians really need to know before an election is, who took the money and where did it go?

Sponsorship ProgramOral 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, if only the opposition would instruct its members to stop trying to cover it up, frankly. We have been trying, over and over again, to get to the bottom of this.

There have been repeated attempts to get to the facts, which have been thwarted by the opposition. There is a very simple test for this. If the member is so convinced of his position and the facts in this case, let him step outside of the chamber and restate it.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. With luck, it will be a lot quieter from now on.

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie. We could do with a bit more order, please.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

May 4th, 2004 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we will try to continue inside the House.

Quebec's labour unions, and the CLC are unanimous: there must be overall reform of the employment insurance program, and not just the limited changes advocated by the Prime Minister.

Rather than applying a band-aid solution and crossing his fingers that it will last for the election campaign, will the Prime Minister take his cue from the unanimous recommendations of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, simply pigeonholed by the Liberals more than three years ago, and initiate a thorough reform of employment insurance?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I have already said on a number of occasions in the House that we are in the process of studying the interim report by the Liberal task force. We are also involved in a process of hearing the positions of the various House committees. We are going to take the necessary steps to address the concerns expressed by them.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is most unfortunate.

The unions feel that implementation of the recommendations made in 2001, supported and signed off on by the Liberals, would be a step in the right direction toward a comprehensive reform of the EI system, including the establishment of a self-sustaining fund that could no longer be raided by the government. Even three years later, however, the Prime Minister is still refusing to take that first step.

Claiming as he does a desire to govern, could this Prime Minister reach a decision, despite his seeming inability to make decisions? He is the poster boy for indecision and—

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, perhaps there was a question, but I only heard unreasonable comments.

We have to look at the whole issue in the proper context. Of course, this is not an issue that unions want to discuss with a view to settling it. I am in the process of reviewing specific projects and programs. I will make the necessary decisions in due course.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the numerous representations that we have made on behalf of employment insurance claimants, this government is unfortunately only interested in their problems during election campaigns.

How can the Prime Minister, who made commitments a long time ago to the victims of employment insurance cuts, justify that he is still not in a position, just before the election, to announce a comprehensive review of the employment insurance program? He could have done it for the past six months, but he did not. Why?