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House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, while I did ask if they would return it as a government, the Liberals have rigged every rule in the book to benefit themselves. They have laundered thousands if not millions for ad scam. They rewrote election financing laws to get millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies.

The only way Canadians can be sure the Liberals are not campaigning with dirty money is to put the Elections Canada subsidy in trust. Maybe it is their intention to buy another election campaign using that dirty money.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister has always been clear on this and the party has been clear on this, that if funds were received inappropriately they will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer and we will do that when Canadians have all of the facts.

Any interim step to establish goodwill is a step in that direction but it does not achieve that transaction until we actually have all of the facts from Justice Gomery's own audit process. He is working with party auditors to achieve that.

We are cooperating fully because we want to ensure that justice is done on behalf of the taxpayer and on behalf of all Canadians.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the new Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development says she is a woman of principle. On April 13, she voted in favour of the establishment of an independent EI fund, a measure proposed by the Bloc Québécois to prevent the government from continuing to divert money from the fund at the expense of the unemployed.

Will the government honour the principles of its new minister by creating an independent EI fund right now, so that money for the unemployed can be set aside?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the government has made considerable changes in EI, including changes in the independence of the commission. I believe a report was tabled yesterday in the House dealing with these matters.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is the very question. Yesterday the government rejected all the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, recommendations Liberal MPs had voted for.

I put my question again. The new minister, this woman of principle, voted in this House in support of the establishment of an independent employment insurance fund to ensure that the government would not divert funds, as it had in the past to the tune of $47 billion. I am now asking whether the government will honour the principles of the new minister by creating an independent fund, yes or no. The question is simple, as is the answer.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, steps have been taken to make the fund more independent. Also, in the last budget an additional $300 million was applied in the general EI area. We now calculate the benefits on the best 14 weeks. It is much easier for workers on benefits to work without losing their benefits. We have extended the benefits in high EI areas where unemployment is over 10%.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, $300 million is peanuts compared with $47 billion in damages.

Three months ago, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities made 28 recommendations aimed at substantially improving the employment insurance program. According to advocacy groups for the unemployed, the current budget contains nothing of note for the unemployed. The government has turned its back on the committee's report.

Now that the Prime Minister has treated himself to a new Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, could he assure us he will give her free rein to correct the situation?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the minister is very grateful to the subcommittee for its recommendations. It is very grateful to the Prime Minister's task force of Liberals who made similar recommendations.

As I mentioned, the department has tabled a report on this matter. That report is now available to all members of the House.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the negotiations with the NDP, the Prime Minister once again wanted nothing to do with improving employment insurance.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether his human resources recruit negotiated only her own conditions of employment or whether she used the opportunity to negotiate the needs of the unemployed which she says she agrees with?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am here and pleased to answer questions on employment insurance, which is of great concern to the government. Matters such as this should be left to other forums.

I will repeat, EI has been improved by the government. The government, in the report that was tabled as recently as yesterday, makes even further improvements. We can be proud of what we have done and we continue to improve EI for the benefit of all Canadians.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Question Period

May 18th, 2005 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans because we have no Minister of Justice when it comes to the case of Maher Arar. The hon. member for Halifax is testifying at the Maher Arar inquiry today and we share her concerns.

Could the minister please explain how justice is served when the people who are demanding an open and public inquiry here are referred to the Deputy Prime Minister who oversees the very organizations that trampled on the rights of Maher Arar?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to a full and public inquiry while balancing the need for national security or international relations and the safety and security of police investigations.

This is a very important inquiry. I will not comment on the actual testimony before the commission, but it is important to let it do its work.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, pardon me but this is a little difficult for people to follow now. The Deputy Prime Minister is responsible for CSIS and the RCMP. The justice minister is responsible for protecting people's rights from being trampled upon, but he is standing aside in the Arar case. He is passing the responsibility over to the fisheries minister who then abdicates all responsibility and passes it right back to the Deputy Prime Minister, who, by the way, wrote the law that tramples on rights and civil liberties and who oversees the security organizations involved.

What kind of government has no justice minister for Maher Arar?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well what has happened and why it is my responsibility to answer questions in relation to this matter. He also knows that we have a responsibility to balance the important interests in this matter, the interest in openness, the interest in a full and complete inquiry and the interests of protecting Canada in terms of national security or international relations and the security and safety of police work.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to suggest that things must wait for the Gomery report before people can make up their minds about ad scam wrongdoing. Clause k of Gomery's mandate prevents him from telling who is responsible.

Yesterday government bureaucrats admitted they were not waiting for Judge Gomery's report to implement reforms to the system. Why should Canadians have to wait to make a political judgment on the government?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the circular logic over there is almost laughable. I know I am not allowed to say that was a stupid question because you chastized me once. That was an obtuse question.

The fact is that if we were not taking action, Canadians would have every right to be angry at us. We are doing the right thing by taking action and changing our processes to ensure better value for Canadian taxpayers, more open and competitive processes and accountable and transparent ones.

She is out to lunch if she actually thinks she makes any sense with a question like that.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I encourage hon. members to be judicious in their choice of language. The hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians would like to make some changes too in the government over there and they need the opportunity to do that.

The Prime Minister told Canadians on national TV that only Gomery could tell who was responsible for the organized ad scam scandal, but all the while he knew that clause k explicitly prevented Gomery from naming names.

Day after day televised evidence leaves no doubt that the stain on our nation's honour was put there by the Liberal Party. Gomery's report will just be a summary of facts we already know.

Is it not true that the government is just inventing excuses to hold off the day of reckoning?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, those members are attacking the mandate of Justice Gomery in another attempt to try to smear the work that he is doing. They realize that when he reports to Canadians, Canadians will have a balanced review and analysis of all the facts and that will be exactly the opposite of what they provide to Canadians on a daily basis on the floor of the House of Commons. Those members amplify and magnify the testimony that suits their particular partisan position.

Canadians want the whole truth and they trust Justice Gomery to give them exactly that. His mandate provides him with every opportunity to do that.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, a top Liberal has given sworn testimony at the Gomery commission that many court appointments in Canada have been based on political consideration and merit plays a secondary role. As long as the Liberal government controls the process, the political pedigree of any candidate will be the overriding consideration.

The Minister of Justice has stubbornly refused to turn the matter over to an independent body for examination when he knows Gomery has no jurisdiction. What is he afraid it will uncover?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the body is not controlled by the Liberals. It is an independent body. It was the same body that the hon. member presided over. It was good enough for him when he was the attorney general of Manitoba and it is good enough for us when we are the Government of Canada.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister understands perfectly well the distinction between an independent body and the body that controls federal judicial appointments. The denials of the minister are simply not enough. An independent investigation is needed to clear the air. It is more than a coincidence that predominantly Liberal Party loyalists get appointed to the bench, including the minister's former chief of staff.

Why does the minister refuse to put into place a transparent public process that actually limits political patronage?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the member earlier referenced Gomery and the work of Justice Gomery. It is important to realize that recently constituents of the hon. member started receiving householders that he sent out. In that householder he said:

--we in the Conservative Party, believe that more testimony must be heard. And we believe that the Canadian public deserves a chance to hear, understand, and evaluate this evidence. This will obviously take some time. Our party is not interested in the electoral calculations of the Bloc Québecois, nor do we wish to have any part of pre-empting further evidence...We will not allow the separatists’ dangerous, narrow electoral agenda to dictate that of the entire country.

That is what he said--

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot.

Transfer PaymentsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the budget implementation bill is unacceptable to Quebec. It does not include any measures to eliminate the fiscal imbalance. Yet, Jean Charest and Benoît Pelletier expect the federal government to provide better funding for post-secondary education, something which, in their opinion, would be a first step in solving the fiscal imbalance issue.

How can the government explain that its budget does not include any solution to the fiscal imbalance, even though it recognized its existence in the throne speech?