House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendment.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The question, please.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Does the Minister of Finance realize that, because he is not taking immediate action regarding tax evasion, billions of dollars are being transferred to the United States, free of tax?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, in a very calm way I will remind the House what we are doing on this very important file.

The Minister of Finance has changed the law with regard to family trusts. We have passed legislation which demands that not only corporations but individual trusts and partnerships have to record and report their offshore earnings and offshore assets.

We have very, very capable auditors on this file who have returned to the government coffers over $500 million in revenues in the last year. And I thank the Minister of Finance for another $50 million so that we can augment our work in that regard.

We are dealing with other countries to develop tax treaties so that we can exchange information on this very important file.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is also for the Minister of Finance.

How does the minister explain the fact that his government is so quick to hit low income taxpayers, but so slow to deal with major corporations and large fortunes? This is a disgrace.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I will just reiterate our commitment to ensure fairness and equity in the tax system.

I will add another point now that I have time. I am very proud of the people in my department who are working not only here at home but with their counterparts around the world to ensure that we move toward international standards and the exchange of information in different banks.

This is very important. We take this file extremely seriously. I commend the Minister of Finance for all that he has done in the last two years, and that is just the beginning.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the innuendo of corruption that tarnished the reputation of the previous government is setting in on this government.

Yesterday the auditor general said that the tax ruling which provided hundreds of millions of dollars of tax relief for one family was kept confidential while the exact opposite opinion was issued by the Department of Revenue denying the same tax relief to all other Canadians. That one was made public.

Will the Minister of Finance please explain why this government continued the duplicity for two and one-half years? Will he tell Canadians whether the Income Tax Act applies to all Canadians or are the friends of government exempt?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, let us remember again that the decision we are speaking about was a decision back in 1985 and 1991, a time when neither the hon. member opposite nor I was here. It was some time ago.

The auditor general drew it to our attention in his most recent report and we have acted expeditiously. The Minister of Finance has directed the finance committee to look at those aspects of the Income Tax Act and report back as to the integrity of those portions of the act.

For our side, we knew that the auditor general's report would go to the public accounts committee. I encouraged its members to pose some questions.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the innuendo of corruption affecting this government. The minister is here. I am here.

This morning the Commissioner of Official Languages said that the Clerk of the Privy Council approved for him and he is still receiving today a $15,000 tax free apartment in Ottawa and a tax free chauffeur driven limo ride from Montreal to Ottawa every week.

Every other Canadian has to pay tax-

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The question please.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is that every other Canadian has to pay taxes on this kind of benefit. Will the minister please explain why this government ignores the requirement of the Income Tax Act for patronage appointments?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the official languages commissioner is a responsible official of the House of Commons, and the matter may be debated in committee, but it is not the responsibility of the government to debate it at this time. This issue is well known. I think that when he was hired, this situation was foreseen, and I, for one, have no other comment to add.

Natural Resources
Oral Question Period

May 9th, 1996 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Natural Resources stated, and I quote:

"We never said we were to get out of forestry and mining if you read the speech from the throne".

We read the throne speech, and the governor general said, and I quote:

The government is prepared to withdraw from its functions in such areas as labour market training, forestry, mining, and recreation, that are more appropriately the responsibility of others, including provincial governments, local authorities or the private sector.

Can the minister tell us today whether the government intends to honour the promises made in the throne speech or whether the government is once again getting ready to break its own promises?

Natural Resources
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member that this government has every intention of delivering on its promise in the speech from the throne.

Natural Resources
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

What about elected senators?

Natural Resources
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Anne McLellan Edmonton Northwest, AB

Let me say to the hon. member that-