Let's play a millionaire at the House of Commons


Miss D. G. (Edmonton North, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, it is time to play who wants to be a millionaire, and our contestant today is the human resources development minister who knows how to play.

She used the transitional jobs fund minister's reserve to drop half a million dollars in her own riding. The fund of course is supposed to be used for areas with at least 12% unemployment and hers had only 6.5%.

Here is the question for our contestant: Why did the human resources minister break the rules? She does not need briefing notes for that.

Hon. J. S. (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, indeed the departmental resources are there for stated priorities where there are not funds available.

We have used those for a number of priorities such as youth services projects in British Columbia and in the riding of West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, the riding of a Reform member, for the west coast railway heritage project.

These funds are there to focus in areas of high unemployment, or where we need a focus on youth services, to ensure that the programming is there for Canadians.


Miss D. G. (Edmonton North, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, perhaps she has her funds mixed up. I do not think that is the case. The minister seems to have trouble grasping the format here.

We asked a question. She is supposed to answer with an answer. Maybe she would like to, on this one, call a friend or ask the audience.

Here is the question. The transitional jobs fund minister's reserve is (a) a multimillion dollar ministerial slush fund, (b) a way for ministers to get around the rules, (c) a way for ministers to scratch each other's backs, or (d) a special brand of cognac. Which would it be?

Hon. J. S. (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the transitional jobs fund was there for areas of high unemployment, to help get Canadians back to work.

In my own riding there were real challenges. If the hon. member would like to look at it, the region of Brantford was decimated by the closure of plants like White Farms and Massey Ferguson. We had an unemployment level that was extraordinarily high and not coming down.

As is the case in all regions where the transitional jobs fund has been used, Canadians are working. The unemployment levels are coming down, and the government is working with communities together to make sure that this happens.


Some hon. members: More, more.

The Speaker: Order, please. I know we all want to hear both the questions and the answers today.

Miss D. G. (Edmonton North, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, was that her final answer? The unemployment was at 6.5%, as far as I know. That answer is wrong, I am afraid. She should have used a life line, maybe, when she had the chance.

Cabinet ministers do not need to play by the rules so maybe we could give her another chance. She got a half million dollars from the minister's special reserve. That needed more than 12% unemployment, and she knows that hers was 6.5%.