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 #111 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the government claim that the purpose of this measure is to improve the employment insurance program, considering that, as recently as yesterday, it voted against a minor improvement to the program, and that, last month, it rejected all of the 28 recommendations relating to the program that were made by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities?

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, the standing committee produced a report with a number of very good recommendations, some of which were taken into consideration in this budget to strengthen the independence of the EI commission, and to strengthen the independence and transparency in the way we set rates.

In addition, there have been a number of pilot programs put in place, including the best 14 weeks, to strike a balance between fairness and the right to work including the incentive to work, and to allow for increased benefit calculations.

HaitiOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, June 5, the Washington Post condemned the failure of the UN and Haiti's interim government, and called for the American government to consider dispatching more marines. Haitian press and observers are also concerned about growing insecurity, while the provisional electoral council could still postpone the elections.

What measures does the minister intend to propose at the Montreal International Conference on Haiti, on June 16 and 17, in order to try to improve the situation in this country that has already suffered too much?

HaitiOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I greatly appreciate the hon. member's interest in the situation in Haiti.

These are extremely difficult times for Haiti, which comes as no surprise. We had expected insecurity to increase as the elections approached.

Our government, like the rest of the international community and the members of the Organization of American States, through the General Assembly, has reiterated its support for the election process, which we hope to keep as scheduled. However, there is work to be done to ensure security, so that the elections can proceed smoothly.

HaitiOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of witnessing the disarming of the “chimères” of former president Aristide, former soldiers in the Haitian army and rebels, Haitians are witnessing an increase in the number and sophistication of weapons.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs intend to make it clear to our international partners that effective disarmament—essential to orderly elections—must take place?

HaitiOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, naturally, our government believes that disarmament is absolutely essential. The mandate of MINUSTAH, the UN mission, must be renewed by June 24. and should be reinforced. Canada is pleased to contribute 100 police officers to assist with policing.

MINUSTAH must not only carry out its military obligations but also assist the police. I believe that is a priority for the international community.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the public works minister denied his Liberal government paid $100 million in rent without a signed lease, but his communications director contradicted him, later admitting to the Ottawa Sun that there was no lease. She explained away the broken rules as nothing more than a bureaucratic snafu.

The minister has admitted the Liberal rent for nothing broke the law. One hundred million dollars is at stake here. Could he please define the meaning of snafu?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, snafu would be very easy to define. It is typically defined by the hon. member's questions every day on the floor of the House of Commons.

Yesterday the hon. member said there was no contract. As I told him yesterday, it was an irrevocable contract that was signed in 2001. The contract stated that the anticipated date of the commencement of the lease would be on December 1, 2003. The contractors lived up to their contractual obligations by delivering the building on time and on budget. The government believes in honouring its contracts and paying its bills.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member admitted, when he was caught, having broken the law and then the government just went ahead and cancelled the law. Unfortunately, it did not do so retroactively, meaning that the period of the infraction still has a $200 a day fine for a total of $118,000 owed by a Liberal member.

Will the Liberal government collect that money or will it just continue to say to taxpayers “snafu”?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Senate code of ethics was approved by this House in 2003.

Yesterday the hon. member referred to the new Senate code of ethics by saying:

Here you have a group of fat-cat unelected politicians who have a job for life and now we find out that they're policing themselves.

That is the same old Reform Party Senate bashing rhetoric that Canadians are sick of.

After decades of work, the Canadian Senate has a code of ethics and an independent Ethics Commissioner, and that is to be congratulated because it is good for the Senate and it is good for Canada.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Conservative Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, we all know what happens when public works fails to follow proper contracting guidelines. Ad scam happens.

On May 16 the Canadian International Trade Tribunal ruled that once again contracting guidelines were not followed for the federal relocation contract worth $563 million awarded last November. Instead of accepting the tribunal's decision, the government's response was to appeal it to the courts.

Why should Canadians believe that the government is cleaning up its act when it will not even respect its own tribunal's rulings?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, after the contracts were awarded a complaint was launched by the unsuccessful bidder. The tribunal rejected two out of the three grounds set out in the complaint. This is a common procedure.

My officials reviewed the CITT ruling and determined that the appropriate course of action would be to file an application for judicial review with the Federal Court of Appeal. We look forward to that running its course.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Lunn Conservative Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, once again we just get more spin and convoluted explanations.

The truth is that Canada is earning an international reputation for underhanded deals and contracting corruption. We need to correct this reputation now.

Liberals originally re-tendered the contract based on an earlier tribunal ruling but now that they do not like the findings of this ruling they decide to challenge it in federal court.

How can anyone believe that the government will clean up the mess in public works when political interference continues on the minister's watch on a regular basis?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again, these contracts were awarded in a fair, open and transparent process, a process that treated all bidders equally. It was overseen by an independent fairness monitor. The department chose a selection based on a combination of technical merit and price in order to get the best value for Canadian taxpayers while ensuring the delivery of the best possible services to Canadian public servants.

FisheriesOral Question Period

June 8th, 2005 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Monday the House debated Bill C-52, a bill to correct legal defects in the enforcement provisions for the regulation and management of the Ontario fishery and brought to the attention of the House by the Standing Joint Committee for Scrutiny of Regulations.

It now appears that the Conservative opposition is refusing to allow quick passage of this one line bill in a situation where orderly management of the Ontario fishery could be put at risk.

Could the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans advise the House of his position and that of the Ontario government on this situation?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-52 addresses the standing joint committee's concerns. It is supported by, among others, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, which I understand has written to members of the opposition urging them, in the strongest possible terms, to support the bill.

I urge all members to do the right thing, support the $500 million a year Ontario fishery and support Bill C-52 and the government's motion to oppose disallowance.

Foreign AidOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, today Stephen Lewis spoke to delegates on the millennium development goals. He said that the Liberals' failure to set a timeline for 0.7% of GDP going to aid undermines everything that Canada does around the world.

Every witness before the foreign affairs committee has expressed complete bewilderment that the Liberals have not set out a date to reach 0.7%, including the man who has just been appointed the president of CIDA.

The millennium development goals of 0.7% are not just about photo ops and funding for concerts. The goals are an honest commitment to improving and saving lives.

When will the Prime Minister make that honest commitment? What is the date that Canada will reach 0.7%?

Foreign AidOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Barrie Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member has mentioned, it is not just about the amount of money or the goals. It has a lot to do with the efficiency and effectiveness of the aid that we give.

Canada is committed to that effectiveness. We are committed to the 0.7% at a time when we are able to afford to do so. We have seen our aid budget increase 30% since last year. We have a government that is committed to doubling our aid budget by the year 2010. I think we are very clear on the priority we assign to international development.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's policy toward the environment seems to remain the same: that the solution to the pollution is dilution.

On April 29 of this year, a NASA booster rocket fell into the Grand Banks with two and a quarter tonnes of some of the most toxic materials known to humankind.

Will the weak-kneed government finally stand up for its sovereign protection of rights of our waters, demand the recovery of this booster rocket and insist upon environmental assessments of any future plans by the Americans?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly true that we need to decrease pollution and that is what we are doing. We are not only talking, as the NDP do, but we have taken action. For instance, PCBs have been reduced in the Great Lakes by 86%, mercury by 83% and dioxins by 84%.

We will continue to clean up to have a greener Canada and cleaner Great Lakes.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, first we had the sponsorship scandal and now we have a scandal within the scandal.

Yesterday the minister responsible for the PCO was forced to admit that the government was actually spending more money to coach witnesses appearing at the commission than what was being spent on the inquiry itself.

Why is the Liberal government spending taxpayer money coaching public servants when all we want is for them to tell the truth?

Why are witnesses being submitted to administrative harassment from former CSIS employees like Ursula Menke?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, this is gross disinformation of what was said at committee yesterday.

What was said at committee yesterday was that there was a coordinating unit in PCO to make sure all the responses from five government departments were made at the appropriate time and in a timely manner to respond to the requests of the Gomery commission.

Over 20 million pages of documentation have been given to the commission via this group, plus all the monitoring and all the help to the Crown counsel to prepare the witnesses so they are aware of their rights and their obligations. That is what was said at committee yesterday, not what the member is insinuating today.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister can refer all he wants to the quantity of documentation produced, but only a small part of this information came from the government. The documents are primarily from agencies that are accomplices of the government, and from the Liberal Party of Canada itself.

Will we finally know which law firms were retained to coach witnesses and how much they got out of the $40 million?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, first, the lawyers representing the Liberal Party have been paid less than those representing the Conservative Party at the Gomery commission.

But enough is enough. What the member is claiming today is just the opposite of what was said yesterday. The unit in the Privy Council Office responsible for coordinating the responses of five departments to the Gomery commission responded in a timely and accurate fashion to the requests of the commission, which is said to have resulted in more than 20 million pages of documentation.

If the member did not understand the answers, or if he refuses to understand them, he can check the transcript of yesterday's testimony.

Montreal Grand PrixOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the people of Canada are concerned about the unity of their country and the international image of their ministers. They want to know today who the lucky ones to fill the Liberal paddock at the Montreal Grand Prix will be.

They also want to know whether helicopters, boats or just plain limousines will be made available to the distinguished guests of Canadian taxpayers to join the jet set of car suppliers.