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 rights.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have suspected as much for two and a half years, and we kept asking, to no avail, the Minister of Finance to take action. Now, the truth has come out.

In this morning's issue of the Financial Post , we learned that, based on a confidential report prepared by Revenue Canada, no less than $60 billion worth of capital secretly left the country in 1991. This blatant case of tax evasion was made possible thanks to permissive and lax federal legislation.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Will the minister confirm these facts? Will he confirm that very rich Canadians secretly transferred $60 billion worth of capital outside the country without paying tax?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, because the questions tend to repeat themselves, I will switch languages.

The fact is that we are dealing with a situation on which this government began to act immediately on taking office. If there is a problem, we basically recognized it. We referred it to the finance committee. A series of measures were taken to ensure that taxes were paid and that they were paid when due. At the same time, we supported the auditor general on this and on everything else.

Let us be very clear. The Minister of National Revenue has referred this matter to the public accounts committee. We in the Department of Finance have referred it to the finance committee. If there is a problem here arising out of events which took place in 1991 under the previous government, then let the facts be made clear in front of the finance committee.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, enough is enough. The public must know that the Minister of Finance is responsible for tax reform, that we have been asking him for two and a half years to carry out such a reform, and that he is laughing in our faces.

Now that the whole thing has become front page news, will he take action or will he continue to condone and even help this capital outflow?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, when we came to office, we took action. We eliminated more loopholes and flaws than the finance committee recommended. We went a lot further than asked by the Bloc Quebecois finance critic.

The Minister of National Revenue just hired more auditors, at a cost of $50 million. We allocated more money to her department precisely to eliminate these loopholes. The question is: Why is the Bloc Quebecois finance critic opposed to a public review in that sector? Is he afraid of transparency? Is he afraid of discussing these issues?

The Senate
Oral Question Period

May 9th, 1996 / 2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that Canadians are demanding a greater say in the political process.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

In this democratic age it is no longer acceptable for Canadians to have unelected, unaccountable senators having anything to do with the passage of public laws and the spending of public money.

Alberta has a law on its books for the election of senators and Premier Klein wants to hold an election to fill the latest Senate vacancy. Will the Prime Minister agree to appoint to the Senate the individual elected under the Alberta Senate Selection Act?

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a few years ago we had a vote in this House and in the nation regarding an elected Senate. The leader of the third party voted against the opportunity to have an elected Senate. Obliged by the Canadian Constitution, I will name a senator who I will choose and who will represent my party.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the view of Albertans and the Prime Minister on representation in the Senate is fundamentally different. Albertans' view is that the senators should represent the people of Alberta, not the Prime Minister's party.

The Prime Minister knows as well as I do that the Senate reform proposals contained in the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords were not the triple E Senate proposal that this party represents. The Prime Minister knows he can democratize the Senate without a constitutional amendment.

When Premier Klein holds an election to fill Alberta's vacancy in the Senate and hundreds of thousands of Albertans participate in that election, as they did the last time, will the Prime Minister recognize the right of those people to choose their own representative in the Senate of Canada?

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since 1867 we have had a system where senators are appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. For example, some senators have served this nation very well, such as Senator Hastings who was a first quality public servant for many years. I also had some very pleasant discussions with a senator by the name of Manning who had been appointed by Pierre Trudeau.

I think the member was for an elected Senate and now he is trying to cover his bad judgment when he voted against Charlottetown. When someone destroys something because there is an element he does not like, he kills everything. If the member had used his judgment, today we would have elected senators. However, he did not do that.

The same man has also been asking for free votes since the beginning of the session and he is now forcing his members to vote according to the party line or they are out. At least in this party we let some members vote with freedom.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are aware of the 19th century concept of the Senate but we are talking about the Senate in the 21st century.

I also appreciate the tribute to my late father but we ought to remember his famous comment on the Senate, that its three priorities are alcohol, protocol and Geritol. That is why it ought to be reformed.

It took Brian Mulroney nine months but at least he eventually recognized the democratic will of Albertans and appointed Stan Waters to the Senate.

The Prime Minister does not need a constitutional amendment to do the right thing. Why has the Prime Minister changed his tune on Senate elections? Is he prepared to break the promise made by him and his party in 1992 to provide an elected Senate?

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I fought to have an elected Senate but the leader of the third party campaigned across the nation to defeat the Charlottetown accord. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Because he did not have the judgment to look at the whole package, he decided to kill it and he has to live with the decision.

At a time when a lot of the senators are Tories and the House of Commons is building legislation to be passed, I will use my privilege and exercise my duty to name a senator who will respect the will of the House of Commons.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. First, I want to remind the minister, who accuses us of being afraid regarding the tax avoidance issue, that, for two and a half years, the Bloc Quebecois-

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

If the hon. member would put his question.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

When the time comes to tax individuals, Revenue Canada does not beat around the bush. However, when it deals with family trusts, capital gains or tax avoidance-