House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was income.

Topics

Income Tax Act
Private Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 is deemed to have been moved.

Income Tax Act
Adjournment Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, a laundry in the city of Granby, in my riding, recently bid on a contract to service the Granby and Brome-Missisquoi-Perkins hospitals. Buanderie Shefford has been providing laundry services to these two hospitals for eight years now.

On December 19, 1996, Buanderie Shefford received a call for tenders. After the Granby company posted a $200,000 bond, it realized, when the tenders were opened, that it was the lowest of the four bidders.

Strangely enough, the Corporation d'achat régionale de biens et services de la Montérégie decided to issue another call for tenders without giving any explanation whatsoever. This time, my constituent came out second, behind the Centre correctionnel de Laval, CORCAN, which, strangely enough, had not submitted a bid the first time around but did this time, knowing in advance what the prices of its competitors would be.

The private company, Buanderie Shefford, might lose a contract to a company funded in large part by taxpayers.

One has to wonder whether CORCAN includes all of its costs in the bids it summits and respects the same ground rules as its private sector competitors.

This is obviously a blatant example of unfair competition on the part of the federal administration, taking major contracts away from companies which are at least as competitive as Corrections Canada.

CORCAN employs, on a regular basis, some 1,800 offenders whom alone, I might add, cost Canadian taxpayers close to $90 million a year. The tax burden should not be made heavier, it is bad enough as it is. The result would be a further 15 workers out of a job. This is a fact, and it is unacceptable.

Fifteen jobs are in jeopardy, 15 families may have to suffer the disastrous consequences of unemployment. While the Liberals promised jobs, jobs, jobs, just the opposite is happening in this case.

I sent letters to the solicitor general on two occasions. I have questioned him in this House and, on March 21, he told me he would be most pleased to look into the matter and to report to me as promptly as possible. Here we are three weeks later and nothing has been resolved in this matter. Time is of the essence. Will the minister take action to redress this injustice?

Our local entrepreneurs have a right to operate in a free market setting where the rules of the game are not altered by the interference of government agencies whose financial resources are totally unconnected to their economic performance.

The government must act responsibly and act as quickly as possible to resolve this unfair situation. The government has one responsibility: it must withdraw its bid. That is the only conceivable solution.

Otherwise, law abiding citizens whose taxes pay for correctional facilities will end up losing their jobs. That is unacceptable. It makes no sense.

Income Tax Act
Adjournment Proceedings

April 10th, 1997 / 6:20 p.m.

Pierrefonds—Dollard
Québec

Liberal

Bernard Patry Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to provide an answer to a question raised in the House by the hon. member for Shefford, on March 21.

At the time, the hon. member expressed concern about the bid submitted by CORCAN, following a call for tenders by the Corporation d'achat régionale de biens et services de la Montérégie. He felt that CORCAN was an example of unfair competition on the part of the federal administration.

I want to explain that CORCAN is a special operating agency under Correctional Service Canada, which is accountable to Parliament, through the Department of the Solicitor General. The purpose of CORCAN is to promote rehabilitation of inmates into Canadian society by providing them with job and training opportunities during their stay in federal penitentiaries and for brief periods once they are released.

There are always around 1,900 federal inmates working for CORCAN. These working inmates get job-related training and experience. According to a 1994 study, former inmates who had worked for CORCAN were much less likely to be sent back to a federal penitentiary. Since these individuals do not reoffend as much, programs like CORCAN improve public safety.

CORCAN has five areas of activity: manufacture, agro-business, construction, services and textile. Its 32 workplaces are distributed among the 58 federal correctional facilities. CORCAN sells its products to federal, provincial and municipal governments and to institutions such as hospitals, schools, universities and charitable organizations.

As a special operating agency, CORCAN receives no appropriations but must borrow the money it needs to operate through a revolving fund. This money must be paid back with interest. CORCAN's operating costs must be recorded in its financial

statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices.

CORCAN is always trying to minimize the adverse effects of its activities on the private sector. An independent review of CORCAN's operations demonstrates that it holds-

Income Tax Act
Adjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

I am sorry to interrupt the member but his time has expired.

The motion to adjourn the House is deemed to have been adopted.

Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.25 p.m.)