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House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was oil.

Topics

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has already admitted that there was some political direction behind the sponsorship scandal. The Liberal tactics in committee just do not hold up to scrutiny. Just as the committee closes in on the political leaders, it is shut down.

Can the government deny that it is trying to lull the public's curiosity and that its real strategy is to call an election before the public can figure out exactly what happened in the sponsorship scandal?

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, that opposition member, other members of his party and members of the opposition did not want to hear from Mr. Guité. They did not want to hear from Mr. Quail. They did not want to have the Auditor General back. In fact, they filibustered instead of having the Auditor General back.

The Auditor General was very clear in her advice that there were no moneys stolen. The $100 million amount is a track we are following making sure that all the invoices and all the events have been documented. That has been tabled by the committee and more documents will be tabled by the committee.

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles-A. Perron Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2002, the GM plant at Boisbriand closed its doors, causing a net loss of 1,300 direct jobs in Quebec. Today we have learned that the government may be planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the Oshawa plant.

Can the minister confirm that, basically, the government dumped Boisbriand in favour of Oshawa?

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that GM closed its plant in Boisbriand when it did. At that time, in fact, the ministers of the Government of Canada made every effort to try to support the situation, but GM made a business decision.

Since then, naturally, the automotive sector in this country has been evolving, and we know that in Quebec there has been very significant economic fallout for suppliers, too, and not necessarily with respect to assembly plants.

In the budget, our government said it would work on a strategic framework for the entire automotive industry across the country.

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles-A. Perron Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Ottawa, there is no money for Quebec, but there is some for Ontario. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister tells us that a tripartite agreement is being worked out for the Oshawa plant.

Can we have a guarantee that the same amount of money will be allotted for Quebec as for Ontario, in order to create new jobs in the Basses-Laurentides region?

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is concerned about economic development in all areas of the country and is using the economic strengths in every sector and in every region of the country. Quebec receives its fair share. The Bloc need not pretend they are victims of yet another federal machination; it is not true.

Quebec gets by very well economically, like most provinces do, and the Government of Canada will always be a partner to the businesspeople and Government of Quebec in stimulating economic development.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the facts are that the Liberal members on the public accounts committee are blocking the work of the committee. They have used their majority to vote against an opposition motion calling for more information, information that may shed light on the scandal. There are many witnesses still to come.

Why is the Prime Minister ordering his members to shut down the committee?

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the public accounts committee has heard many witnesses. The public accounts committee has been trying to focus in on what happened.

We have three and a half feet of paperwork. The Prime Minister released information, cabinet documents that had never been released before. All the information is there.

On a day like today, when the public inquiry commissioner makes his announcement, to have that member say that we are shutting down the public accounts committee is totally ludicrous.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know why the Liberals are trying to shut it down. It is because it is not playing well in the province of Quebec for the government.

Let me quote one of the prominent Liberal members in the province of Quebec. He said, “People who are active in the party in Quebec now are not representative of the mainstream.The Liberal Party in Quebec is a collection of has-beens”.

Who said that? It was Jean Lapierre, the guy who is running the Liberal campaign in the province of Quebec.

The reason the Liberals want to shut this committee down is that it is not playing well in Quebec and it is not playing well in the rest of Canada.

Why will they not let us call the rest of these witnesses, the witnesses who can get to the bottom of the scandal, like the Prime Minister promised Canadians?

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me make it perfectly clear. There is a public inquiry in place. There is a special counsel in place. Any items that have to be referred to the RCMP have been referred to the RCMP. The responsibilities of the public accounts committee, as very clearly explained by the Auditor General, are to find out what happened and make recommendations to the House on how to proceed in going forward. That opposition party is the one that has tried to stop the Auditor General from coming to the committee.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think anybody who has followed the hearings and listens to that response will know the member has some challenges in terms of communicating the truth.

The fact of the matter is he said that all the information is there. If that is true, why did the member and his colleagues vote against the release of the Gagliano papers? Why did they vote this week against the release of notes taken about what the Prime Minister knew and when he knew it about ad scam?

Why do they not want to hear from Warren Kinsella? Why do they not want to hear from the representatives of Groupaction or Lafleur Communications before issuing their whitewash report? Why are they jamming out a report--

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that they are afraid of any synopsis or any interim report. It is not unusual for a committee, after working for nine weeks like the committee has, to issue a synopsis of the testimony that has been held. If there is a report to be put out of it, it is an interim report. The question is why do they not want to have the report? Because the report requires Canadians to see it.

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a suggestion to the government that it get a stronger member to answer these questions.

This is pathetic. The fact of the matter is that we released a summary of evidence three weeks ago. These have been public hearings. Canadians know what evidence has come to the committee and they know that no critical findings have come before us. They know there are over 90 witnesses yet to be heard from. They know we have not yet heard from the major ad agencies. They know the government voted against a motion to release the Prime Minister's notes on this issue.

Why the cover-up? Why will the Liberals not let Canadians get to the bottom of this? What are they afraid of?

Standing Committee on Public AccountsOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear. Part of the problem in the public accounts committee is the politicization of that committee by that party and the opposition members not wanting to get to the root cause of the problem, not wanting to take the testimony that they have heard and put it in a synopsis report and make that available for Canadians. The sooner we get that to Canadians, the sooner Canadians will understand that they have tried to politicize the complete committee and not get to the root cause of the problem.

Job CreationOral Question Period

May 7th, 2004 / 11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a very important question this morning for the Minister of Finance.

As we all know, Statistics Canada has today released its figures for last month. Can the Minister of Finance tell this House whether or not jobs were created in the past month? If so, how many? We all want to know.

Job CreationOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see the strong gain in employment for April. There are 50,000 new full time jobs. The unemployment rate is now at 7.3%, the lowest rate since September 2001. This comes at a time when the participation rate in the Canadian labour market is leading all of the G-7 countries.

Today's report, along with healthy business and consumer confidence, continued momentum in residential housing markets, and low interest rates, bodes well for economic growth in Canada.

EmploymentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals give away more jobs than they create.

HRDC let Swiss workers come in to build the Halifax Chronicle-Herald printing press when there were 80 local millwrights available outside looking through the gates. It gave work permits to 50 foreign iron workers in B.C. when there were 200 available on the job board. Then it let technicians from India dismantle the Gold River pulp mill when the whole town was out of work and looking for jobs.

It seems that any company that does not like paying fair Canadian wages can get a permit from HRDC to bring in foreign workers. I ask the government, will it put an immediate freeze on foreign worker permits until it can be proven--

EmploymentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Speaker

Order. The hon. Minister of Social Development.

EmploymentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Verdun—Saint-Henri—Saint-Paul—Pointe Saint-Charles Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member, is he against equal opportunity for everyone? I would also like to ask the hon. member, is he against immigration?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the increase of HIV-AIDS within the aboriginal community is a huge health concern.

It is very disturbing to know that the government cut by 10% the core budget of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. This flies in the face of a standing committee report that called for more than a doubling of funds for the Canadian AIDS strategy.

Where are the government's priorities really? Is it more political window dressing on health care, or real resources and financial support to help our front line organizations, like the network, do their jobs and save lives?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have had for more than 10 years now an AIDS strategy in this country. We must say that we are very impressed with the network that we developed with the NGOs and their partners and the stakeholders in the industry.

It is a budget that has been stable over the years. Clearly, I hope very much that our government will be in the position to invest more money in that program down the line. I can tell the member that it will certainly be an important priority of ours because we are very pleased with the very good work of the stakeholders on the HIV-AIDS strategy.

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the Prime Minister's hypocrisy in his use of private health care.

Let me be very clear. Will the Deputy Prime Minister admit that the Prime Minister goes to a clinic that accepts not only patients covered by public health insurance, but also accepts private payment for health services, yes or no?

HealthOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, the clinic to which the Prime Minister goes is publicly accessible. In fact, it is listed on Info-Santé and it is listed with local CLSCs for anyone who needs health care in the downtown Montreal area.

The Prime Minister obtains his health care the same way we all do, which is by presenting his health card. I want to reiterate here this morning, the Prime Minister does not have an executive health plan.

HealthOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the House will note that the Deputy Prime Minister did not answer my question because the clinic does accept payment for private health services and services privately delivered.

The hypocrisy is this: How does the Prime Minister justify going to a clinic he claims his government does not support?