April 21, 2004

BQ

Suzanne Tremblay

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, last fall, Whirlpool employees gave the Liberal member for Montmagny-L'Islet a plan to create an older workers assistance program, the funding for which would be provided by the employees, employers, Quebec and Ottawa.

Can the Minister of Human Resources Development tell the House if his Liberal colleague for Montmagny-L'Islet passed this plan on to him? Since time is of the essence, as the plant will close on May 14, when does the minister intend to follow up on the workers' request?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Older Workers
Permalink
LIB

Joe Volpe

Liberal

Hon. Joseph Volpe (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to realize today that the member opposite has taken a page from the Liberals. That is wonderful.

Pilot projects have been implemented. We are currently analyzing the results of these pilot projects. Obviously, if the results are positive, decisions will be made and the necessary measures taken to provide people with long term programs.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Older Workers
Permalink
BQ

Suzanne Tremblay

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, it is time to change the record; he played the wrong one in answering my question.

During the 2000 federal election, in answer to a question on the POWA, a Liberal minister told the workers at Beloit in Sherbrooke, “In a changing society, we need a program to help with the transition”. That minister is now Prime Minister.

Four years later, can the Prime Minister tell us what concrete measures he has put in place to ease the transition for workers over age 55 who lose their jobs? When will he finally fulfill the promise he made in 2000?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Older Workers
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LIB

Joe Volpe

Liberal

Hon. Joseph Volpe (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the results speak for themselves. This is not just about transitional measures. The best program is a job. Are there jobs in Quebec and in the region? Yes, obviously. For example, last year in Canada, we created 157,000 jobs for older workers, 43,000 of them in Quebec. I see these as positive results, but the Bloc is playing to the gallery.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Older Workers
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CA

James Moore

Canadian Alliance

Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister tells us that he followed the rules for awarding contracts. That is not so. This was not a public tendering process, but a government policy for bending the rules and awarding contracts to Earnscliffe.

How can we trust this Prime Minister who breaks the rules in order to put taxpayers' money in the pockets of his friends like Earnscliffe?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, again the hon. gentleman is misreading the documents. The documents indicate that the Prime Minister and his staff argued for greater competition, not less. They argued for it sooner rather than later. A more competitive system was finally assembled and put into place in the fall of 1994. A competitive contest was held, and it was under that basis that the Earnscliffe contract was awarded.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
CA

James Moore

Canadian Alliance

Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the documents show that rules were broken. They were broken by Alfonso Gagliano, the Minister of Finance, and the Prime Minister himself.

Why is the Prime Minister unable to show leadership and ask Canadians to forgive him for having broken the funding rules and putting money in the pockets of his friends at Earnscliffe? Why does he not show leadership and simply ask for forgiveness?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the series of contracts with respect to Earnscliffe have been thoroughly discussed in the House, not just in the last number of days but in fact many years ago. They are probably the most exposed and debated contracts in the history of contracting in Canada.

All the evidence that has been referred to in the memo that is before the House now is completely consistent with the information given before. The first contract predated the government, the next two were extensions while a competitive process was assembled and the fourth was issued on the basis of a competitive process.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
CA

Jason Kenney

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is refreshing to have a Minister of Public Works and Government Services who has a firm grasp of the obvious and who agrees with his predecessor, David Dingwall, that the Prime Minister's contracting practices with Earnscliffe left a bit to be desired.

I would like to give him another opportunity to confirm that he agrees that this matter should be referred to the ad scam inquiry being led by public accounts.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

Hon. Stephen Owen (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the public accounts committee is looking into issues of contracting with respect to advertising and sponsorship. Opposition members are suggesting, through these documents that they have raised in reference in the House, that this has something to do with it. If that has something to do with it, they should put it before the committee, make their arguments and put their questions to the author of the memo they are referring to, who will be appearing before the public accounts committee. It is that simple.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
CA

Jason Kenney

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC)

It looks like that minister will have as long a political future as certain Liberal candidates in Burnaby, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. First there was the $137,000 handout to his shipping empire that turned out to be $161 million. Then he professed to be shocked about Liberal ad scam corruption happening right under his nose. Now he is outraged that leaked documents show how he broke contracting rules to shovel tax dollars to his friends at Earnscliffe.

How exactly does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe that he had nothing to do with and knew absolutely nothing about breaking the rules to benefit his buddies?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman persists in trying to turn all the facts upside down and on their heads. The fact of the matter is the information being referred to by him in this memo does not establish at all what he is alleging.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink
LIB

Robert Thibault

Liberal

Hon. Robert Thibault (West Nova, Lib.)

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

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Research is key to a cure, and the Canadian prostate cancer research initiative is a national leader in supporting innovative cancer research.

It is my understanding that there had been a commitment from the Department of Health for the annual funding of $10 million supporting this research. Will the minister commit to ensuring that the department goes through with this funding?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Health, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister responsible for Official Languages, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the five years of funding for prostate cancer research that began in 1999 was a fixed period initiative that provided the necessary boost to increase Canada's capacity in this area.

This government is now taking an integrated approach to cancer control that aims to reduce the incidence, mortality and morbidity of all cancers rather than focusing on a few particular tumour sites. In 2002 the CIHR was created to support health research. In 2003-04 the CIHR allocated almost $8 million to prostate cancer research.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister whose Liberals constantly criticize Conservatives for things that his Liberal government supports.

Could the Prime Minister explain why Canadians should be afraid of the Conservative leader for supporting Bush's war in Iraq, but be comfortable with his Liberal defence minister, appointed by him, who fervently maintains that invading Iraq was the right thing to do? Could the Prime Minister explain this absurd contradiction?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Bill Graham

Liberal

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the government's policy in respect of Iraq has been very clear for over a year. The Prime Minister totally supported the position we took. I think when we look at what is taking place in the Middle East today, we would all agree that position was the correct position to take.

The position taken by the Leader of the Opposition would have had us there with our troops, with the danger, with ourselves exposed to problems that were no part of Canada. The Prime Minister and the government are firmly correct on the position in Iraq, and we will remain where we always were in the best interests of Canadian people.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, once again the Prime Minister has not answered my question.

On one hand the Liberals are saying that the Conservatives are wrong to support President Bush's war in Iraq. On the other hand the Liberals are comfortable with the idea of the Prime Minister having appointed the biggest hawk in this Parliament as Minister of National Defence.

Can the Prime Minister explain why the Conservatives are wrong to support Bush's war, but his own Liberal Minister of National Defence is right to support the war?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the difference between the two is very clear. What the Leader of the Opposition wanted to do was send our troops to Iraq during the war. That is exactly what he said on the Fox network in the United States.

What our government wants to do, what our Minister of National Defence wants to do, is send our troops to Haiti to secure and maintain peace. He wants to send our troops to Afghanistan to secure peace. Our Minister of National Defence wants Canada to help these countries build their institutions. There is a fundamental difference between—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
?

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Prime Minister. The hon. member for St. John's West.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance pleaded innocent to any wrongdoing regarding the issuing of contracts. He said that all the rules throughout the process were indeed followed.

How then can he account for the secret internal letter sent to him by his colleague David Dingwall stating that the minister's department had demonstrated a pattern of non-compliance with and avoidance of Treasury Board guidelines?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Contracts
Permalink

April 21, 2004