House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

Gun Control
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the same department.

The Minister of Justice has not tabled the Terence Wade report with the standing committee on justice. He has not made it available to the public and the departmental officials have refused to release the report to members of Parliament.

Is the reason the report is being concealed the fact that it contains a devastating condemnation of the current handgun registration system, which not only reveals its failure to reduce the criminal use of handguns but also exposes the uselessness of the minister's plan to expand this failed registration system to rifles and shotguns?

Gun Control
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cape Breton—The Sydneys
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Russell MacLellan Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, when the minister brings forward his proposal it is his intention to have meetings with all members of the House, to answer questions and to give a full, detailed explanation of the changes that will be presented.

Underground Economy
Oral Question Period

November 28th, 1994 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. During an interview, the Minister of Finance clearly confirmed the importance of a flourishing underground economy and I quote: "The Minister of Finance believes what his officials have been saying all along, which is that the black market accounts for 5 per cent of the economy. Paul Martin believes that it is a lot higher than that".

Underground Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

If at all possible, we should refer to our colleagues by using the names of their ridings.

Underground Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will try again. During an interview, the Minister of Finance clearly confirmed the importance of a flourishing underground economy and I quote: "The Minister of Finance believes what his officials have been saying all along, which is that the black market accounts for 5 per cent of the economy. The Minister of Finance believes that it is a lot higher than that".

Does the minister recognize that the growth of the underground economy, confirmed by a drop in GST revenues during the first half of the year as compared to last year at the same time, is due to the recent increase of the tax burden and the inequities of an outdated taxation system that an increasing number of Canadians are trying to evade?

Underground Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it is next to impossible to measure with precision something which by its nature is illegal and beyond the scope of measurement by normal government means.

However there is no question that the underground economy is serious. I have no doubt that my hon. colleague, the Minister of Finance, is quite correct in saying that we are faced with a serious problem which we will address.

I would remind the hon. member that only two months ago, because he apparently overlooked it the first time, I sent him a copy of a press release I issued a year ago in which I outlined a series of measures to deal with the underground economy. I am pleased to report today that the efforts the press release led to have resulted in something in the neighbourhood of three-quarters of a billion dollars in taxes assessed.

Underground Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Minister of Finance who should be more concerned about differences with his colleague, the Minister of National Revenue, than between the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois.

Does the minister recognize that only a comprehensive review of the tax system will be able to bring the black market phenomenon under control since, as he admits himself, the new administrative measures brought about by his colleague in charge of national revenue in order to improve tax collection will not be enough?

Underground Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I believe the hon. member should look a little further into the reason for the level of GST payments to the government.

The fact is that we have had a substantial improvement in the economy, thanks in large part to the measures of my colleague, the Minister of Finance. The result has been more investment in productive goods which indeed are often GST exempt. As a result of that and as a result, I might add, of my department's speedy repayment of certain measures, we are now able to see that the GST level is again increasing.

Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Réginald Bélair Cochrane—Superior, ON

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

Residents of northern Ontario and rural Canada are concerned that major transportation changes may happen in an ad hoc manner. This creates uncertainty for the future.

Could the minister tell us whether he is developing comprehensive rail, air highway and marine policies? Could he reassure the residents that there will be enough time to adjust to the possibility of the changes?

Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the comprehensive review obviously that is under way. I think we have made significant progress on airports. We hope to be able to deal with the ports. Rail is something a bit different.

What has happened to railroading in the country over the last 20 years has literally been done on an ad hoc basis. That is why we are in the trouble we are with abandonment and decisions being made on a day to day basis without any real policy.

We have the Bob Nault task force out there now looking at what we can do with the commercialization of CN. We also have to deal very soon with the unsolicited bid from CP for the purchase of CN assets east of Winnipeg. In that context, with the ongoing consultations we have been conducting with shippers and interested parties we are committed to making clear a very comprehensive rail policy in 1995.

We have not been stopped. We will deal with the CP offer. We will deal with commercialization. We will bring an end to the ad hoc decision making that has been plaguing railroads in the country for the last 20 years.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, recently the Canadian Space Agency gave Telesat Canada $428,000 of taxpayers' money to help stabilize the Anik E-2 satellite.

My question is for the Minister of Industry. By whose authority does the Canadian Space Agency give public money to a private consortium?

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Space Agency, as other agencies of government, has the authority to expend moneys that are voted to it by Parliament.

In the case to which my friend is referring, I understand the problems that existed last winter with the Anik E satellites were, first, ones of great importance to Canada because they represented a communications vehicle for much of the geographical territory of the country. Second, to try to remedy the problem with the satellites in orbit required efforts that really represented useful research in terms of techniques. It was successful.

The view of the space agency, as it has been presented to me, is that the technology or the techniques that were acquired through the process were ones of value to Canada and within the space agency's mandate.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is the point in privatizing Telesat Canada and then continuing to throw public money at it? Telesat Canada is a consortium of the largest telephone companies and Spar Aerospace. They do not need individual taxpayers' money.

I have a supplementary question. Would the minister assure the House that agencies under his jurisdiction would not divert public money to private use without specific prior permission from the minister?

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the question is far too sweeping in its scope. I think the member understands-

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Sweeping it under the rug.