October 4, 2000

LIB

John Manley

Liberal

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the real question from the Bloc Quebecois and the Progressive Conservative Party is: How much of the taxpayers' money do they want to give, through subsidies, to an industry that has an excess capacity? They are only interested in subsidies, and that is the fundamental problem.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Shipping
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REF

Jason Kenney

Reform

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, forgive me if I am wrong but I imagine that if you were a minister of the crown responsible for administering billions of dollars and you had a report saying that all of a sudden write-offs under your responsibility have increased by nine times, or 700%, you might just take the time to find out why.

It is clear this afternoon that the HRD minister does not know why there is a ninefold increase in write-offs in her department.

Can she explain to us precisely why there is this huge, aberrant increase in write-offs that are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member might want to ask his own leader for some details on that.

I note that when the leader of that party was a provincial MLA he was happy to welcome $20 million in loan guarantees from the Alberta government for Fletcher's Fine Foods in his riding, saying that it would boost local jobs. Unfortunately this undertaking did not come to fruition. It went bad and the government of Alberta was left with a bill for $14 million. I wonder if it wrote that off.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Jason Kenney

Reform

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the minister is so weak that she does not even know how to evade a question properly. It is unbelievable.

We are asking serious, straight questions about a serious, sober matter regarding a ninefold, 700% increase in write-offs in her department. By responding with obvious evasions like that, she is indicating that she does not know what happened to the missing money.

Can she tell the House why there was a ninefold increase in write-offs costing hundreds of millions of dollars to Canadian taxpayers? Can she tell us, yes or no, with no evasions?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, what I am trying to point out to the hon. gentleman is that in the process of governing and making investments there are from time to time overpayments. There are from time to time bad debts, whether it be in the Government of Canada or in the government of Alberta.

On this side of the House we will not stop investing in young Canadians. We will not stop investing in the Canada student loan program for people who want to get an education and participate in the economy. We know that is the right thing to do. On that side we know that they will not accept it.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, Human Resources Development Canada has listed the amount of $165,984 under the heading “Losses of public money due to an offence, illegal act or accident” in the 1999-2000 public accounts.

Since this amount corresponds exactly to the amount received by the company which moved from the riding of Rosemont to the Prime Minister's riding, will the minister confirm that this is indeed the same company, 3393062 Canada Inc.?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a number of occasions, when it comes to that particular file, it is under investigation and it is inappropriate for me to comment further.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Joe Fontana

Liberal

Mr. Joe Fontana (London North Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in recent days, to our great regret and sorrow, we have witnessed the resumption of violence and death in certain areas of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

We all fear that the recent hostilities will impede the negotiations toward a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. The hopes and prayers of millions of Canadians and people around the world are with Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat to give peace a real chance for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House what is Canada's reaction to the disturbing developments in the Middle East?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Middle East
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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank the member for a very timely question.

I want to tell the House that yesterday I issued a statement on behalf of the government in which we condemned all acts of violence, especially those that affected vulnerable civilians. The same message was repeated in the security council by a representative. We have also given the same message to the representatives of the Palestinian authority and the government of Israel.

In particular, we urge all parties to refrain from any unilateral action that would provoke further violence or further disruption. In that case I have to say the visit of Mr. Sharon was ill timed and ill considered in this context.

I also want to report to the House that through our office in Ramallah we are providing assistance for emergency medical aid and are considering other forms of humanitarian aid.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Middle East
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REF

John Williams

Reform

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, in the public accounts of Canada under illegal offences and illegal acts, there is an amount for $165,984 that was paid out by the Department of Human Resources Development. The statement says it was paid to a promoter not having met his or her requirements under the TJF program in the province of Quebec.

Could the minister please tell us who received this money under fraudulent pretences from the Government of Canada?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I just answered that question.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

John Williams

Reform

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, grants are public knowledge. Beneficiaries or recipients of grants are public knowledge.

The minister already said today that she makes sure that every effort is made to collect this money, including laying criminal charges if necessary. Therefore I think that we are entitled to the name of this person from the minister. I ask her again to come clean and tell us who has been defrauding the Government of Canada.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, there are parts that the hon. member who asked the question earlier made reference to in the context of Rosemont. The House knows that that file is under investigation and as such I will not make further comment.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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NDP

Dennis Gruending

New Democratic Party

Mr. Dennis Gruending (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

Eighty billion litres of toxic discharge from the Adams mine threatens clean water in Ontario and Quebec and it seems that the minister simply does not care. Toronto will vote on this contract this week.

In March the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development received a petition from a first nation to protect its water. Six months after that request and three years into this project, why is there no federal environmental assessment?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

David Anderson

Liberal

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how many times I have to tell the New Democratic Party that we are bound by the law and constitution which respect the division of responsibilities between provincial and federal governments.

I would point out that the concern expressed with respect to Quebec was in fact dealt with by a Quebec report. I quote the press release of the Quebec government which said:

According to this analysis, the project will have no significant environmental impact on Lac Témiscamingue if the conditions of the Ontario Minister of the Environment's certificate of authorization are met by promoters.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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NDP

Dennis Gruending

New Democratic Party

Mr. Dennis Gruending (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, with values like this, who needs the Alliance?

The minister's government signed away powers to Mike Harris in 1997. The minister has given his officials no time line to report back to him on an assessment and he has simply ignored the first nations impact of the mine. What a great environmentalist. He cannot get his endangered species bill passed let alone stop 20 million tonnes of garbage being dumped into the water table.

Will the minister stop making excuses and finally announce a federal environmental assessment?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

David Anderson

Liberal

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, given the performance of the New Democratic Party, it is understandable why the endangered species legislation is very high on their minds.

I would suggest to the hon. member that we will not unduly and improperly pressure agencies which parliament set up to be independent of the executive of the Government of Canada.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Environment
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PC

Jean Dubé

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jean Dubé (Madawaska—Restigouche, PC)

Mr. Speaker, last year, the auditor general asked the government how the employment insurance commission set the EI premium rate.

My question is a very simple one. Why is this not indicated in Bill C-44? What is the government hiding?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it should be clear to the member from the legislation introduced by the minister that all this will be examined. A response will be provided in due course.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. The premium rate is much higher than necessary, even according to HRDC's own actuary. Will the government take decisive action on this hidden tax on employment and reduce the premium to at least $2 right now?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
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October 4, 2000