House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was technologies.

Topics

The Leader Of The Bloc Quebecois
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, as was to be expected, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois was quick to trot out his old separatist arguments in reaction to the speech delivered yesterday by our Prime Minister in Montreal.

The Bloc Quebecois has painted itself into such a tight ideological corner that it is losing sight of what is important, as was again brought home to us yesterday by the comments of its leader. Montreal, first and foremost, and Quebec as a whole are being crushed under the weight of the separatist threat. We all have a huge uphill battle ahead of us to put Montreal and Quebec back on the road to prosperity.

It is certainly not by blaming others for the political instability of Quebec that the leader of the Bloc Quebecois will help Lucien Bouchard, on the eve of the socio-economic summit, to convince his partners that sovereignists are acting in good faith.

The Environment
Statements By Members

October 23rd, 1996 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Erie, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to environmental health and protection and knows that the most efficient way to ensure environmental health is through pollution prevention.

Canadians are no longer willing to accept inaction on the part of government when there is potential for more damage to the environment or their health could be affected.

Transportation, including the automobile, is the single leading source of air pollution in Canada and it is the automobile industry itself that has told us that the fuel additive MMT compromises the efficiency of the newest emissions control technologies. That is why this government is moving to ban MMT.

Clean air is a priority for the government. In banning MMT we are moving quickly to restore the Canadian birthright to breathe clean and healthy air.

Some voices oppose the MMT bill, but doing the right thing is not always popular. Some people do not like the fact that this government is not afraid to make the hard decisions.

But then there is the voice of the Canadian people who know what it takes to protect their health and environment. They want their governments to be leaders on health and environmental issues. This government demonstrates yet again its full commitment to health and environmental protection.

Tax Harmonization
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals in Prince Edward Island have called an election and remain the only Liberal government in the Atlantic provinces not to sign into the GST/PST harmonization scam.

The P.E.I. Liberals know that the people of P.E.I. oppose harmonization. The people of Prince Edward Island know that a harmonized tax will actually cost them more since all sorts of goods and services presently exempt from the PST will now be fully taxed under harmonization. They also know it will cause confusion for businesses that operate in different provinces since there will exist one consumption tax in Nova Scotia and a different tax in most other provinces.

Also, the people of Prince Edward Island remember the Prime Minister's quote in the Globe and Mail when he said: ``I am opposed to the GST. I have always been opposed to it and I will always be opposed to it in the future. It is a tax that is both regressive and discriminatory''.

Based on this quote, maybe the people of Prince Edward Island should not trust the Liberals' promise not to impose a harmonized GST/PST.

Montreal's Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister went to Montreal to tell business people that he wanted to work together with the Quebec government and local stakeholders to deal with the real problems of real people, as he put it.

For many years, federal initiatives have had a crushing impact on Montreal's economy. To mention a few: the Borden line, which killed the petrochemical industry in Montreal; decisions in the air transportation sector, which, following the opening of Mirabel, compromised the viability of this airport; federal procurement policies, which penalized Quebec and Montreal; the way federal spending on research and development is directed, which penalizes Montreal's economy. These are all decisions that over the years have undermined Montreal's economy.

If the Prime Minister means what he says about wanting to help Montreal's economy, why does he not review his government's decision to put a stop to federal participation in the Tokamak project in Varennes, which provides the greater Montreal area with quality jobs in the high tech sector? That is a big help to the economy.

Montreal's Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government was forced to make cutbacks in this area, and we had to-

Montreal's Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Montreal's Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Saint-Maurice, QC

Yes, cutbacks were made in Quebec, in Ontario and all Canadian provinces. It was felt this particular program was not a priority at this time. Other cuts in the same sector have affected similar scientific projects elsewhere in Canada.

We would probably have preferred to keep it, but the Minister of Natural Resources indicated many times here in the House that she could no longer keep this program because there were other priorities.

Montreal's Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister goes to Montreal, speaking to all Quebecers, says he is willing to give Montreal's economy a boost. People suggest certain projects that will help Montreal's economy, improve the job situation and provide for a better future, but he says no. He refuses to invest $7.5 million in these projects.

I will give him a second chance to show his good faith regarding Montreal. We know that Atomic Energy of Canada is a Crown corporation that refers its important decisions to the minister responsible.

Why did the government approve the transfer of the office of AECL to Toronto, which may eventually deprive Montreal of high tech companies in this sector, another area where the Prime Minister could help Montreal if he were so disposed?

Montreal's Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, let me point out to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that in fact the crown corporation AECL has not closed its office in the city of Montreal. In fact, it retains an office in that city. I remind the hon. Leader of the Opposition that it is because of AECL and the sale of Candu reactors that there is a nuclear industry, a private sector industry, that employs thousands of people in the Montreal area.

Montreal's Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister had nothing to tell the people of Montreal. Today, he has nothing to say to the official opposition. I will give him a third chance.

In recent years, the Liberal Party of Canada was fiercely opposed to Bills C-22 and Bill C-91, which encouraged the development of pharmaceutical industries in Montreal, a sector that is in good shape. I may recall that the entire Liberal Party voted against Bill C-91, except perhaps for the Minister of Finance, who was absent

at the time. Under constant pressure from the Ontario caucus, the government recently wanted to review the regulations of Bill C-91.

If the Prime Minister really wants to help Montreal develop its economy, will he promise today that he will not in any way change Bill C-91, which his party voted against but which is a godsend to the pharmaceutical industry in Montreal?

Montreal's Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in a few seconds the Leader of the Reform Party will rise to accuse me of investing too much in Montreal on Monday, by helping Bombardier develop a new 70 seat aircraft to take advantage of an increasingly accessible market. We have been helping this company for a very long time. It is now the sixth largest aircraft manufacturer in the world and very soon will rank fourth. The company received $85 million on Monday. We have to choose our priorities, and that is the one we chose.

As for the pharmaceutical industry, the legislation is in effect. There will be a review at some time, as required by law. We will have to see whether the pharmaceutical industry is fulfilling its obligations to engage in research and development and to locate facilities in Canada, and if it is, the legislation will be maintained. The industry has made certain commitments which I hope it has met. When the House of Commons reviews this question, a decision can be made. It is true that in the past three years there has been pressure to amend the legislation, but we have not done so. The leader of the opposition does not seem to be aware of that fact.

Securities
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, while he cries over Montreal's fate, what the Prime Minister wants in fact is to deprive Montreal of a financial and economic decision making centre. There was the S-31 attempt to rein in the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec. The Prime Minister must remember, as he was a minister at the time and took part in the decision to crush the Caisse de dépôt et de placement. More recently, there was Montreal's proposed international banking centre, which was also torpedoed by the federal government. The government now wants to create a Canada-wide securities commission in Toronto rather than Montreal.

How can the Prime Minister reconcile yesterday's fine promises to help Montreal with his plan to create a securities commission in Toronto, when we know full well that this would further weaken Montreal?

Securities
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the decision to designate Montreal and Vancouver as international banking centres has yet to be made. Second, in his speech yesterday, the Prime Minister listed a whole series of measures the federal government has adopted to help Montreal and Quebec, of which the announcement about Bombardier is but one example. In the private sector, the pharmaceutical and aeronautical industries do more research and development in Quebec than elsewhere because of the federal government's support for R and D.

As far as the securities commission is concerned, the federal government's position is very clear: if the other provinces want to, we are ready to co-operate with them. It is up to them. In fact, all those who favour this option do so because they want to protect Quebec's financial industry, because they are very much aware that Montreal is not in competition with Toronto, but with New York, London and Frankfurt. That is what we will protect.

Securities
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is arguments like those raised by the minister, which border on recklessness, that have crippled Montreal's economy and continue to do so.

We have no answer regarding the pharmaceutical projects, as the Minister of Finance was hiding behind the curtains when this matter was raised. Again today when we asked about the securities commission, we received no answer from the Prime Minister or even the Minister of Finance.

I put the question again to the Prime Minister. Will he promise in this House to mind his own business and not put in place a Canada-wide securities commission that will further weaken Montreal?

Securities
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is asking us to oppose the will of other provinces that want to protect Canada's financial industry. They are telling all the industries in Quebec that want to issue shares in Canada they will not be able to do so in the future because everything will be moved to New York.

They are saying that the people of Montreal and Quebec cannot compete with other countries, and I say to you that I am a proud Montrealer, that I am not afraid of anyone, that it is the hon. member who is afraid and he should admit it.