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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was spending.

Topics

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, the payments that were made were part of a routine audit conducted by Industry Canada. It is part of the due diligence that our department does in reviewing Technology Partnerships' contributions. It was uncovered. We did identify $3.7 million in payments to intermediaries that are prohibited under the terms and conditions of Technology Partnerships. We have recovered every cent and we are broadening the audit as a pre-emptive measure to ensure that there are no further instances of improper payments.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, we expect that audit will be made public then. In fact, Technology Partnerships Canada has spent over $2 billion since 1996. Now we learn through the media that $2 million in forbidden commissions has been received by at least one lobbyist. This revelation has finally prompted an audit of this program, which this party has been calling for for years, yet the investigation remains incomplete and there is no word on when the audit will be completed.

It is starting to look like another sponsorship scandal or firearms registry fiasco. When will Canadians finally get the truth on this program? When will the industry minister finally come clean on this program, that over $2 billion--

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Industry.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, since I have been in the House I have heard a lot moaning and groaning and criticism of Technology Partnerships in spite of the fact that it has helped an awful lot of Canadian companies to become success stories, like Research in Motion.

We will complete the audit. I will produce a summary report by late September of this year.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend, a group of people from the coalition des Sans-chemise demonstrated in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region for justice in EI.

How can the Prime Minister, who has on many occasions made formal promises to the Sans-chemise, now continue to reject the proposals by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities that the unemployed be treated fairly and equitably?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, we conduct an annual monitoring and assessment of the EI program in order to ensure that it better meets the needs of Canadian workers.

I would happy to work with my colleague across the floor to look into this situation.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Sans-chemise ask the new minister to honour her previous stand and vote for Bill C-280, which was introduced by the Bloc Québécois to create an independent fund.

Is the minister going to persist in taking the direction she has chosen since becoming a Liberal and will she too betray these people who need her to defend them instead?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, in fact I think great steps have been taken in the last budget to strengthen the independence of the EI commission, the way it sets its rates, the independent actuary in the process, and the way it reports that information. I think great steps have been taken in the last budget to address those items.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, with respect to the choice of the Canadian Forces ombudsman, the Prime Minister, having promised greater transparency and more power for MPs, has said one thing and done another.

Will the Prime Minister agree that the screening process involving only representatives of the Privy Council, the PMO and the Department of National Defence is a perfect example of non-transparency and a continuation of the culture of secrecy?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the ombudsman position was advertised and applications were submitted. The selection process was open, transparent, correct and standard. All candidates were considered according to the usual procedures in our system. There was nothing different in our process.

I am confident that Mr. Côté, whom we chose, is an upstanding individual who will work conscientiously for the good of the Canadian Forces. I am certain that the committee will, after reflection, be convinced that this is a good appointment.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the committee has, in fact, reflected on this. How, despite the dissenting opinion of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, can the Minister of National Defence defend his decision to hire Yves Côté, who spent part of his career specifically representing DND interests and, what is more, was involved in narrowing the ombudsman's mandate when the position was created?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the members and I differ on this. I believe I have selected someone with great familiarity with the position, having been the one to define it, as well as with the workings of Canadian government. This is exactly the kind of person most suited to represent the Canadian Forces within the system.

Mr. Côté possesses the talent, integrity and professionalism required for this position. I will discuss this further with my committee colleagues, but rejecting this choice solely for political reasons is, in my opinion, really not acceptable.

Transfer paymentsOral Question Period

June 20th, 2005 / 2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Jean Charest said, “There must be a moment of reckoning on the issue of equalization payments”. We have been waiting for that moment for a long time. The only thing this Prime Minister has done with respect to the fiscal imbalance is unite the provinces against Ottawa.

When will the Prime Minister implement a national plan to resolve the fiscal imbalance issue for all the provinces?

Transfer paymentsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the allegation of fiscal imbalance, it should be noted that because of the decisions taken by this government over the course of the last 12 to 15 months, there will be a new revenue stream flowing to the provinces for health care and a variety of other programs totalling well over $100 billion over the next 10 year,s which is a major improvement.

In terms of the details of the equalization, we have established an expert independent panel of eminent Canadians to offer us advice on the distribution formula before the end of this year.

Transfer paymentsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister has done, for a man who is terrified of piecemeal solutions to Senate reform, is he has adopted absolute piecemeal approaches and has refused to take a systematic approach to the disequilibrium problem.

The gap between what Ontarians give to the federal government and what they get back has grown by several multiples since the Prime Minister took over the finance ministry in 1993. Ontario's fiscal imbalance now amounts to thousands of dollars per family per year.

Could the Prime Minister explain how cutting side deals with individual provinces is better value to taxpayers than having a comprehensive national agreement to end the fiscal imbalance?

Transfer paymentsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Ontario's contribution to national programs is naturally quite large because Ontario is the largest and wealthiest province within Confederation. It is a province that has the largest number of the highest income taxpayers.

At the same time, over the last period of time we have increased transfer payments to benefit Ontario both in terms of health care and a variety of other transfers. Most recently was last Friday with major announcements having to do with the transfer of money to support cities and communities in Ontario of $1.8 billion.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the sun is shining in Manitoba and North Dakota and it is starting to dry up. We are only a matter of days away from the opening of the Devils Lake diversion. This weekend North Dakota Governor Hoeven challenged Canada and said that if we want a sand filter as recommended by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we should put out the $20 million to buy it.

Since the government has been unable to convince the U.S. to make a joint referral to the IJC, will it take up Governor Hoeven's challenge, work with North Dakota and protect Manitoba's waterways?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, obviously we are working with North Dakota. We have many allies in North Dakota who think that the outlet should not be opened as long as there has not been a proper environmental assessment. We are building on this in order to make sure that the best thing will be done. We will not go ahead without having all the assurance that the biotic quality of the water will be protected.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, that is a little hard to believe because the fact of the matter is the government has been in power for over a decade and nothing has happened. Lake Winnipeg is the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world. When this diversion is opened, Lake Winnipeg will be impacted on in a very major way.

Will the government stop neglecting Manitoba's waterways and do something concrete to ensure that this diversion will not open until a proper environmental impact assessment is done and not just talked about?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this is precisely why the Minister of the Environment and I have been working very hard. I am grateful to the Prime Minister who has discussed this issue with President Bush. We have been a team. The file is being reviewed by the Council on Environment Quality. Our officials have met twice to obtain exactly what it is that we want to have for the IJC. Should we not get it that way, we will get it through these negotiations. We will have been meeting exactly the objectives we had in mind when we started.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Friday was a great day for all Ontario communities. The government delivered again on a new deal for cities with the signing of a gas tax deal with $1.8 billion for Ontario and a public transit agreement worth $310 million. The mayor of Mississauga called this deal monumental and I completely agree with her assessment.

Could the Minister of State for Infrastructure and Communities tell us whether all parties in the House are listening to their communities and supporting this deal?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley West Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure and Communities)

Mr. Speaker, the new deal agreements we signed for Ontario on Friday are fantastic news for communities large and small. The deal delivers new funding and new respect to the province's communities. That is why the mayor of Toronto called it “a huge, huge victory”.

Unfortunately the official opposition has consistently worked to undermine that success by opposing funding for transit which cities need badly, and by treating municipalities as stakeholders instead of partners. That is not good enough and Ontario's communities know it.

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, whether it is fighting poverty at home or abroad, the government leaves a lot to be desired.

My question is for the finance minister, who after years of Liberal back loading budgets is now attacking Europe for back loading its budgets on foreign aid.

I know it is a lot to ask a Liberal to be consistent or take responsibility for their actions instead of attacking others, but here goes. If the finance minister does not support Canada keeping our promise on foreign aid, why did he run for a party that pretends to?

International CooperationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, indeed the Government of Canada must keep its promises on foreign aid. That is the very reason we are careful about making those promises and make sure the performance lives up to the commitment.

Bob Geldoff has said that we should focus on debt relief, doubling aid, improving the terms of trade and reducing corruption. The Government of Canada is hard at work on every one of those things. We are completely consistent with the international objective.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is not honouring its international covenants on social and human rights at home.

UNICEF has rated us 19 out of 26 on child poverty. Last month Statistics Canada under-reported the level of poverty by 750,000. That is a number as big as the population of Winnipeg. Last week in its scathing report the National Council of Welfare said that our social safety net is in tatters.

Will the Minister of Social Development commit today, at the very least, and finally to end the clawback of the national child tax benefit supplement for our most at risk--