February 25, 2000

BQ

Monique Guay

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, all those attending the Sommet de la Jeunesse in Quebec City, including the Quebec Liberals, reached consensus on the necessity for the Government of Quebec to repatriate the entire policy of parental leave.

In order to avoid distortions and waste, the Government of Quebec therefore asked the federal government to comply with the Emploment Insurance Act, which calls for the right to opt out with full compensation.

As is his usual habit, the Prime Minister said no. In so doing, he is saying no to the Government of Quebec, to the Liberal Party of Quebec, to the social and community organizations of Quebec, and the families of Quebec in particular.

Of course, keeping that program in Ottawa lends political visibility to the Liberal Party. They ought to have learned their lesson from the Human Resources Development Canada scandal: when visibility overrides public interest, it is a two-edged sword.

We are asking this government to put the interests of Quebec families before its partisan interests.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Parental Leave Policy
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LIB

Karen Kraft Sloan

Liberal

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan (York North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in last fall's throne speech the government made very significant commitments to increase the well-being of our nation's children and to undertake measures that improve the health of our natural environment.

Monday's budget will be the true measure of the government's commitment to both the children's agenda and to the ecological agenda.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Budget
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NDP

Angela Vautour

New Democratic Party

Ms. Angela Vautour (Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, PC)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the people of Beauséjour—Petitcodiac who are irate at the high gas and fuel prices.

It would seem that the federal government is once again turning its back on hard-working Canadians.

Not only has the high fuel tax hurt the trucking industry, it has also hit low income families especially hard, many of whom cannot handle any extra heating costs.

In 1995 the Liberal government raised gas taxes by 1.5 cents per litre as a means to lower the federal deficit. The deficit is gone. Can the government explain why the fuel tax still remains? Because of such extra taxes the Department of Transport enjoys a surplus in excess of $6 billion per year, mostly due to fuel tax revenue increases.

Today I urge the Liberal government to take action immediately and lower fuel taxes to help all Canadians through this very difficult period.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Fuel Taxes
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LIB

Sophia Leung

Liberal

Ms. Sophia Leung (Vancouver Kingsway, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, last week I was pleased to attend the Chinese Canadian Heritage Foundation inaugural gala in Vancouver. The gala raised money for the Chinese Canadian Heritage Foundation, which will be dedicated to preserving, recording and promoting Chinese Canadian heritage for all Canadians. This is the true spirit of Canada's multicultural society.

I would like to thank the co-chairs, Dr. Jan Walls and David Choi, the donors and the many volunteers who made this event a success.

The efforts of the foundation will let all Canadians know of the invaluable contributions which Chinese Canadians have made to our great country so we will have a better understanding and appreciation for each other.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Chinese Canadian Heritage Foundation
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LIB

Andrew Telegdi

Liberal

Mr. Andrew Telegdi (Kitchener—Waterloo, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in May 1998 Industry Canada made a $5.7 million investment under Technology Partnerships Canada in Research in Motion, RIM, Advanced Wireless Technology to develop the next generation of RIM's two-way messaging products.

The result is the small hand-held device called the Black Berry. This device was selected as the ultimate mobile computing tool of 1999 by Info World magazine for providing easy and timely wireless access to e-mail.

RIM, founded in 1984 in Waterloo, is the world leader in wireless technology. RIM is a great example of Canadian companies that compete and win on a global scale. Not only do we get back the $5.7 million investment, we also get royalties. Technology Partnerships Canada also helped in the creation of hundreds of new jobs.

I congratulate Research in Motion and Industry Canada.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Technology Partnerships
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REF

Jim Gouk

Reform

Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, Monday is budget day. Canadians will see some tax relief from one hand, while the other hand takes it back with new taxes.

Reform's solution 17 proposal would reduce taxes to a single flat rate of 17%; real tax relief which would remove two million low income Canadians from the tax rolls.

Opponents claim that our plan would slash needed social programs. This is nothing more than fearmongering by those who want to keep our taxes higher than they need to be.

By reducing wasteful government spending Canadians could have these tax breaks and rebuild underfunded social programs at the same time.

A case in point is VIA Rail. VIA Rail exists only through the provision of huge government subsidies, subsidies which the government is now proposing to increase to $500,000 a day.

The private sector has already taken over former VIA Rail money losing operations, which now operate without subsidies. They pay taxes, they bring in tourist dollars and provide unsubsidized jobs for Canadians.

It is time for the government to stop its wasteful spending habits and provide real tax relief to Canadians.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Budget
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LIB

Bill Graham

Liberal

Mr. Bill Graham (Toronto Centre—Rosedale, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to draw attention to the fact that the 25th Canadian Forces Supply Depot, located in Montreal, has been successful in obtaining international certification for the quality of its environmental management system.

It had already earned international certification for its processes, and now it is one of a select group of Canadian organizations meeting both of these important international standards.

The 25th Depot is the largest military logistics centre in Canada and warehouses more than 2,000 hazardous products. Thanks to the efforts of staff and management, the Depot has developed an appropriate environmental management system, based on hazardous goods monitoring, staff training and adherence to legal requirements.

We congratulate the staff of the 25th Supply Depot on obtaining this certification.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canadian Forces Supply Depot
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REF

Jay Hill

Reform

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, we have obtained documents that show that the Prime Minister's office and the human resources minister's office were both intimately involved in the renewal of an HRDC grant to Les Confections Saint-Élie.

These documents outline a meeting between Denise Tremblay of the PMO and Robert Theriault of the HRD minister's office. That meeting discussed whether or not an HRDC grant should be renewed for that textile company in spite of the fact that the company did not reach its agreed upon job targets.

Why were both the Prime Minister's Office and the human resources minister's office so personally involved in this particular case?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Herb Gray

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I do not have the information on this specific project. I would be happy to try to get it for the hon. member. I am confident that any of the allegations made by the hon. member suggesting some improprieties are not well-founded. If he wants to place similar questions again, I will ask the parliamentary secretary if she has information that she can provide to the House at this time.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Jay Hill

Reform

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, we will be happy to provide the information for the deputy prime minister.

Yesterday the human resources minister argued that a textile manufacturer moved from a city with a textile industry to a city with a fountain industry because it could not find a location in Montreal. An hour later the president of the numbered company contradicted her. He said that it was not because they could not find a location in Montreal, but rather, that the move was made for business reasons.

Did the Prime Minister's special support of Les Confections Saint-Élie have anything to do with the moving of jobs from Rosemont to Shawinigan?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Bonnie Brown

Liberal

Ms. Bonnie Brown (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the House that HRDC officials are looking into this matter. If any irregularity has taken place, HRDC will take the appropriate action.

The company's decision to relocate was a business decision and it had every right to make that decision as 75% of the total investment was its private money.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Jay Hill

Reform

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, 25% was not.

A no name textile company applies for a grant in Montreal. It ends up in the Prime Minister's riding, a place not exactly famous for its textile industry. Now there are questions about whether or not 3393062 ever actually set up a textile plant.

Why were high level staff from the PMO and the HRD minister's office so personally involved in decisions of this nature?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Bonnie Brown

Liberal

Ms. Bonnie Brown (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this is a very strange comment for a member from a party which has an ongoing love affair with the private sector.

We in the government believe we have a role in participating in the creation of economic opportunity for people, particularly in areas of high unemployment. We are building the workforce for the 21st century and we will continue to participate with private sector partners who are willing to leverage our money.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Val Meredith

Reform

Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, it is the taxpayers who are concerned about where their money is being spent.

We know there was a meeting on September 2 involving a top local HRD official, the minister's own assistant and the Prime Minister's assistant. We know they met to give funding to Les Confections Saint-Élie, which had fallen 25% short of its job creation commitments as required under the TJF.

Why did the minister and the Prime Minister pressure the local HRD official to make a payment contrary to the signed TJF agreement?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Herb Gray

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is making a totally unwarranted allegation when she uses the word pressure. I challenge her to get up and show proof of pressure. If she does not have it, and I do not think she has, she should withdraw those unwarranted allegations.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Val Meredith

Reform

Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, we are also interested in what else the Prime Minister's assistant, who is known for interfering in TJF projects, talked about at that meeting. We know a new request for funding came for Les Confections Saint-Élie a month after HRDC had broken the rules and had approved the final payment for that initial grant.

Did Les Confections Saint-Élie receive any further funding from HRDC as a result of that meeting?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Bonnie Brown

Liberal

Ms. Bonnie Brown (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I will have to get back to the member on that particular question. I do not know if the contract was amended.

However, I do know that TJF had 30,000 projects across the country and they have a 95% success rate, which is better than the private sector working in the open market. Statistics Canada reports that of the start-ups of new businesses, only 77% are still alive after their first birth date.

Our success rate with our partnerships of government and the private sector are actually more successful than those in the private sector alone.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I received additional information on this unbelievable matter concerning the ridings of Saint-Maurice and Rosemont.

For one thing, the file was not transferred to Shawinigan, but remained in Montreal. On March 5, 1998, the owner of the company met with officials from Human Resources Development Canada, in Montreal, and told them that the premises located at 5800 Saint-Denis Street were no longer available and that he was looking in other regions of Quebec, including Beauce, to get closer to the American border. As we know, that person's company ended up in the riding of Saint-Maurice, in Shawinigan.

Can the Deputy Prime Minister confirm these facts?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Herb Gray

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm what the hon. member claims to be facts. Are these facts or his own suppositions?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister will soon be in a position to differentiate between facts and suppositions, and I can hardly wait.

He will admit that the businessman who decided to get closer to the U.S. border by going to Shawinigan is definitely not good in geography.

On March 15, 1998, 3393062 Canada Inc. signed a lease with Confections Saint-Élie Inc. By the way, the name of that company sounds familiar. Oh yes, it is located in the Prime Minister's riding.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister confirm these facts?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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February 25, 2000