This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industries.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, as far as the body of measures relating to employment insurance is concerned, the hon. member is well aware that we are currently looking at the various proposals made by the House committee or the Liberal caucus task force. We hope to make adjustments to certain EI measures, for seasonal workers in particular. We hope to be in a position to reach some decisions shortly.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, more words and more promises that have been broken time and time again. Meanwhile, two-thirds of the workers paying into the program are not able to get benefits when they need them and their families are facing hardship. That is the attitude of the government.

I would like to ask the Minister of Social Development about child care. As he likely knows, Australia is in the forefront of big box child care. Twenty percent of its child care is owned by one company. The problem is that quality suffers as a result.

Will the minister reassure Canadian families and clearly state that in Canada new child care money will go only to non profit centres--

Child CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Social Development.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in the House before, the challenge in front of us is to create a system of early learning and child care in every province and in every territory across the country. The challenge is to go from where we are now, where we do not have a system, to where we do create a system. At this stage in Canada, delivery is largely not for profit but there is also for profit. We have to focus on quality across the country in order to develop this system.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, on May 22, 2002, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said the following: “If there was some wrong in the administration of the program and people received money they should not have received they will be obliged to pay it back.” Here we are in 2005, three years later, and not one cent has been paid back to the taxpayers.

When does the Prime Minister expect the guilty parties to start paying this money back?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let us review some of the progress over the last year on this issue. First of all, the government and the Prime Minister have acted decisively by establishing the Gomery commission. We received the advice of our special counsel on financial recovery and will soon be moving decisively to act in this area. We have introduced whistleblower legislation. Treasury Board is moving forward to strengthen the Financial Administration Act and to change the governance of crown corporations.

We are addressing the issues raised by the Auditor General. We are moving aggressively and constructively to make a real difference and defending taxpayers' interests as a government. Those members cannot handle that so all they want to do is talk about Gomery.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister did not answer the question. What the government has not done is pay back taxpayers the dollars that it has withdrawn. That is the point.

Justice Gomery is making public the corruption that was at the heart of the sponsorship program. He is pointing out that the Liberals were in bed with dirty money. On Friday Jean Carle himself said that this was money laundering.

When will the Prime Minister's Liberal Party pay back taxpayers the money that it ripped off?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, Justice Gomery has not completed his report. Furthermore, we have established the new Comptroller General's function. We now also have a new independent ethics counsellor and new disclosure policies on travel and expenses. The Department of Public Works and Government Services has a new ethics and integrity package that has been recognized by the Conference Board of Canada as the best practice model for both the private and public sector.

The government is demonstrating respect for taxpayers. We are doing the right thing on behalf of Canadians. That party does not have any new ideas and does not want to talk about the positive aspects of what we are doing so it is focusing on Gomery.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the Liberal Party is still there. That is the biggest problem of all.

Today in the sponsorship inquiry we found out that Jacques Corriveau got a huge payback for not insisting that he get paid for work he did for the Liberal Party. He got millions of dollars in subcontracts through sponsorship money. Then Corriveau turned around and gave $47,000 back to Mr. Chrétien and the Liberal Party, $6,000 of which was not declared on Mr. Chrétien's election return. The transport minister said that dirty money will be repaid.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister guarantee--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, one would think as a former disc jockey the hon. member would stop sounding like a broken record on the floor of the House.

In fact, one would think that he would listen to what we have said on a daily basis, that we need to respect the independence of a judicial inquiry. Let Justice Gomery do his work and get to the bottom of this issue.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, as a former paint salesman, one would note that this man would know a lot about cover-ups.

We know that this Prime Minister signed off on the unity fund. We understand that is one of the reasons why the Liberals are waffling on this whole issue of getting to the bottom of this and ensuring that the money is paid back.

I want a guarantee from the Prime Minister because $47,000 went to the Liberal Party and to Mr. Chrétien's campaign. I would like his personal assurance that this money will be repaid.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that his attempts to whitewash the good work of Justice Gomery simply will not work.

The Prime Minister has acted decisively and courageously in appointing Justice Gomery, and in setting up the legal inquiry to get to the bottom of this issue. That is what is really important.

I know that the hon. member's experience as a disc jockey has helped shape complex Conservative economy policy. For instance, I am sure he contributed to the great idea to help Nova Scotia with a new equalization plan that would reduce Nova Scotia's equalization share by $6 million per year. That is disc jockey economics.

Clothing and Textile IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of textile plants have closed down recently. Industry representatives denounce the fact that garments manufactured from Canadian textiles cannot enter the U.S. freely, despite NAFTA.

Does the government plan to enter into negotiations with the U.S. authorities with a view to doing away with this practice, which is inconsistent with the spirit of NAFTA and limits access to the U.S. market by garments made of Canadian fabric?

Clothing and Textile IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government has in fact been quite active on this file. It has over the last number of years contributed significant sums of money to the adjustment faced by industries and workers.

On December 14, 2004 the minister announced something in the order of $90 million on the partial elimination of tariffs; $50 million additional moneys to the CANtex program for diversification for both the industry and the workers; and a further five-year extension to the duty remission program. Those in and of themselves are substantial build-ons of previous announcements from the years 2002 to 2004.

Clothing and Textile IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Textiles Institute has described these measures as insufficient and incomplete. While the textile and clothing industry is struggling to survive, it is totally incomprehensible that the Canadian government is adding insult to injury by imposing additional taxes on the import of garments manufactured with Canadian textiles.

Why is the Canadian government restricting access to its own market for textiles manufactured here? Why?

Clothing and Textile IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said in the previous answer, the file has been very active with the Government of Canada. Indeed, the caucus on this side has represented to the government the concerns of the industry and that has precipitated the previously enunciated programs.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

February 8th, 2005 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the difficulties experienced by the unemployed are not just all in their heads, and the recent closures in the textile and apparel industries are unfortunately a perfect example. The reality is that, with such closures, hundreds of older workers close to retirement are facing a bleak future.

Instead of making cosmetic changes to EI, does the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development intend to follow the advice of all the members in the House who are recommending that she implement an older worker assistance program?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, our government already extended existing pilot projects for older workers. In cooperation with the provinces, we have added the necessary funding. I believe that the workers affected by the closure of these mills will receive assistance from the Canadian and Quebec governments.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about pilot projects, as the minister said in her answer. The Prime Minister made a commitment in front of thousands of people during the leaders debate by promising to review the 910-hour EI eligibility rule, which unfairly penalizes young people and women in particular.

Can the Prime Minister tell us when he will follow through on the promises he made during the leaders debate and abolish the 910-hour rule?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, I already answered this same question from the hon. member for Chambly—Borduas last week. My answer remains the same: I am fully aware of what my leader said during the leaders debate; we are currently considering all the possibilities; we hope we will be able to make some decisions in the near future.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, recent leaks to the media reveal that the government is under pressure from the United States to send troops into Iraq to train the local military.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that his government refused to send Canadian troops to Iraq two years ago and that decision stands. This, of course, is not in concert with the facts. Canada had and has troops serving in Iraq.

Is the government embarrassed by their presence? Is that why it says one thing and does another?

Why does the Prime Minister refuse to acknowledge our highly respected service men and women serving in Iraq?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was asked yesterday whether we intended to send troops to train in Iraq and he said “absolutely not”. That is exactly the decision of the Government of Canada.

This is an old story. We have always honoured our commitments to our allies for those very small number of officers who are serving with either British or American contingents. They have been there since before the Iraq war. We have always honoured our commitments. We continue to honour our responsibilities to our allies. We are not sending troops to Iraq.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is time to show some pride in our fighting men and women.

The Canadian Forces had and have members serving with allies in Iraq. Some of these members are operating at the highest level of command. The Prime Minister, by trying to hide those facts, is ignoring and even dishonouring these troops.

Why can Canadians not take pride in their performance?

The Prime Minister claims to care about our military and yet he will not acknowledge and honour those who he puts in harm's way. Why not? It is outrageous.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is trying to create a secret de Polichinelle, as we say in French. It is ridiculous. This has been discussed in the House a dozen times and has been the subject matter of many newspaper articles.

We are very proud of our officers who are working with our American friends. We honour our commitments to our allies. We have always honoured our commitments to our allies. It is perfectly consistent with our principal decision that we are not serving in Iraq as a part of an occupying force in Iraq.

The Prime Minister has made it clear that we have no intention of going anywhere near that.