House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agriculture.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, that might get wild cheers from his caucus, but it sure as heck did not go down the other night at the CBC town hall meeting.

On April 26 of this year in this House the finance minister said about the GST: "We made a mistake. It was an honest mistake". I think people respect him for that. Even the Deputy Prime Minister admitted that she made a mistake. It took a while, but she finally resigned over the GST. The only person in here who stubbornly

clings to the illusion that the Liberals did not promise to scrap, kill or abolish the GST is the Prime Minister, who is whistling and dancing right now.

Why does the Prime Minister not join with his colleagues, the finance minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, stand and say to this House, say to the CBC so it can be played on the news tonight and say to the people whom he scorned in the town hall meeting the other night: "I blew it. I am sorry. We made a mistake"?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, virtually every time a member of the Reform Party stands to ask a question, the member contradicts their party's established position.

The Prime Minister yesterday and today read from the Reform Party's report on the GST its unequivocal support for harmonization. He has read its unequivocal support for tax in pricing. Yet day after day members of the Reform Party stand and contradict it.

There is another question the Prime Minister might ask them. Members of the Reform Party stand and say that they would like to see tax cuts. Perhaps the members of the Reform Party would then tell us why is it in their report on the GST that they advocated the base be broadened to tax food and drug products?

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is interesting about the Minister of Industry is that, each time we raise the question of the space agency, he adopts one of two attitudes. Either he makes light of the matter, saying: "That is nothing, just bits of paper", or he goes up the wall, pulls himself up to his full height and lets opposition members have it.

The real problem is not the $100 or so that Mr. Evans may have spent, it is the principle. The problem of Mr. Rinaldi, the vice-president, began the day he refused to backdate a document to save Diana Durnford, an employee in the minister's office, from having to pay $557.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

My question is this. Why is the minister trying to hide the truth and why is he refusing to have an outside independent investigation so matters could be clarified and people would know once and for all what happened at the space agency?

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to make anything more banal than the opposition does.

In repeating allegations that were made to the newspapers by a disgruntled former employee of the space agency who is taking his complaints to court, the opposition is continuing to cast aspersions on the characters of people who have done nothing wrong and who are not in a position to defend themselves here.

The member, who ought to know better, just made an allegation with respect to an overpayment of $557.82-just so we have some perspective on the amounts here: $375.85 for unpaid leave and $181.97 for two days of work-to a former agency employee who was subsequently hired in my office as a political adviser. Although the overpayment was a result of paperwork relating to the transfer of the employee from the agency and although the question was in some doubt, because that person is of high character and did not want to be associated with anything that could be embarrassing, she gave the benefit of the doubt to the agency and repaid the amount in question. And these people raise it on the floor of the House of Commons.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, she may have repaid the money, but after the refusal to backdate a document.

What causes concern in all of this is the incestuous relationship between the space agency and cabinet. The minister's adviser left cabinet to go to the space agency, and Diana Durnford left the space agency to join cabinet. The minister's credibility is a source of considerable embarrassment in this matter.

I would like to ask him now, and I hope he listens carefully, whether today, from his seat, he can tell us if he himself looked into Mr. Rinaldi's allegations before saying they were totally false?

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, of course in my responsibilities as minister I would ask the agency for a full explanation of all of the allegations. I have received that explanation.

I have just described in detail how silly one of the allegations is. The same is characteristic of the allegations that were repeated in previous days by the member for Saint-Hubert. I am satisfied that there is nothing wrong.

However, I point out again that Mr. Rinaldi will have his day in court. If he has been unfairly treated, a court will decide that and I presume he will be rewarded in damages. But in the meantime, to cast aspersions of this sort is simply unfair, unfounded and I would suggest improper.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Nunziata York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. I would like to refer him to page 90 of the red book. He said: "If a government is to play a positive role in society, as it must, honesty and integrity in our political institutions must be restored".

Today Canadians from coast to coast are calling into question the integrity and credibility of the Government of Canada. How does the Prime Minister reconcile his promise of governing with integrity with his broken GST promise?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am happy he has the red book. He should read the page where we stated we would integrate the GST with the provinces through harmonization. It is stated in the red book and it is exactly what this government is doing at this time. We have signed an agreement with three provinces and are about to sign a fourth one. We are progressing in replacing this tax with an integrated tax.

I gave the example of Newfoundland where the people were paying 20 per cent tax. Next year they will only be paying 15 per cent. This is a change from what existed before. This is exactly what we said we would do in the red book from which the member is reading.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Nunziata York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think what is compounding the problem is that the Prime Minister refuses to recognize what his promise was. He has now had the opportunity to review both the audio and video tapes. Not only did he promise Canadians that he would scrap the GST, he also promised caucus on a number of occasions that he would scrap the GST. How does he reconcile his promises to the people of Canada and the caucus with his broken promises?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I wish the hon. member would turn to the page in the book about the GST and read to the House of Commons what the promise was that this party made to the people of Canada. We always said that we wanted to replace the GST with a harmonized tax. This is exactly what we are trying to do at this time. We are not progressing as fast as we would like.

The Government of Ontario at the beginning of its tenure said it wanted to have the integration of the two taxes but it has not signed yet. Some day Ontario will sign the agreement and will have the same situation as that in the maritimes.

The hon. member cannot even read back to the House of Commons what he campaigned on when he ran in the last election.

Kenworth
Oral Question Period

December 12th, 1996 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

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

The unemployment insurance benefits of workers who were laid off when the Kenworth plant in Sainte-Thérèse closed last April have now run out. What a wonderful Christmas present it would be for these workers to have the plant reopen, now that the unions and the Quebec government have finally reached an agreement with PACCAR. All that is missing is co-operation from Ottawa, without which nothing can happen.

Since this is a matter of some urgency, will the minister undertake to approve before Christmas the financial support required to re-equip the plant and retrain the manpower?