House of Commons Hansard #157 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was water.

Topics

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

They have always said: "If Alliance Quebec is against it, Dion will not support it". I have always said that I would not give any group a veto. Alliance Quebec is opposed and Dion is in favour.

However, Dion, or the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, since we are in the House, would like to see Alliance Quebec support it. There will be a parliamentary committee to listen to their views and to see what can be done to include them in the consensus.

The opposition should be happy that there is a parliamentary committee. The opposition will have an opportunity to express its point of view, to hear from different groups according to a procedure that is well established in democracy.

Pearson International Airport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been reported that the government has just settled with Pearson Development Corporation for $60 million.

Pearson International Airport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Pearson International Airport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

We will see if the rest of it gets a standing ovation.

However this is only part of the deal, part of a sad story. Earlier the government gave the Pearson group $185 million in rent relief and $15 million in legal costs. This Liberal bungle has cost taxpayers $260 million.

Pearson International Airport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Shame, shame.

Pearson International Airport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

Why has the government wasted $260 million of taxpayers money? Why?

Pearson International Airport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is well known that the government has tried to settle the legal matter which led to the lawsuit. We tried by legislation and by negotiation. We tried by litigation. We wanted it settled from December 3, 1993.

The figures put forward by the hon. member are simply false. I might add that when we tried to get that same settlement figure through legislation his party refused to vote for it, preferring instead to leave the taxpayer on the hook. Nevertheless we will leave that aside.

The figure is $45 million for the expenses of the consortium and $15 million for other expenses that have taken place since and for legal fees. That is the cost of settling the lawsuit.

With respect to the legal fees the government had to spend, we had a $663 million possible liability which they seem to be so enthusiastic about encouraging. Obviously we had to spend money to prevent that liability.

The third point is the $185 million for specifically the construction and completion of the north-south runway, for the two firehalls at either end of the airport and for the new de-icing facility.

Pearson International Airport
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the $260 million liability the minister speaks about is because of their bungle. There is no other reason. It was their mistake. The huge profits that were supposed to have been in the original deal, which was a good deal, are now in the settlement.

Not only have the Liberals wasted $260 million on the settlement, but Canada's most important piece of infrastructure has continued to deteriorate for four years. The airport authority is now going to have to spend $2 billion on renovations and this will mean airport user fees.

Why has the minister failed Canadians twice in wasting $260 million, and we will now face airport user fees?

Pearson International Airport
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I just do not know where that party comes from.

We have the one member of that party from Ontario who complains. Does he mention that in Vancouver we have made rent reduction of $46 million, that in Edmonton the figure was $127 million and in Calgary it was $117 million? No, he focuses only on the $185 million in Toronto.

It was part of a pattern across the country which included $120 million to the airports of Montreal. It was a program to make sure our airports could benefit from the open skies agreement and position themselves as the leading gateways to both Europe and Asia.

Pearson Airport
Oral Question Period

April 16th, 1997 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

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

The secret everybody knew has now become public: the federal government today announced that it has reached an agreement with the promoters who wanted to buy terminals 1 and 2 of the Pearson airport. Taxpayers will have to spend another $60 million on top of the $185 million the minister gave to the airport on March 25.

Can the Minister of Transport today say that his government erred in the case of Toronto's airport, as it did in the case of Montreal's, and that the taxpayers will have to pay more than $245 million to cover its blunders?

Pearson Airport
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I repeat for the hon. member, who apparently was not listening to the earlier question, that the settlement in the case of Pearson airport is $45 million for the legitimate expenses which were determined by an outside firm of experts in this area, plus the $15 million for legal fees and expenses since the time of the original contract. That is the cost of settling.

When this government entered power in 1993 we had a choice. We looked at the Pearson airport deal and we determined that it was not in the public interest, and it is not today in the public interest. We had the choice of simply going along with the previous deal which was not in the public interest or terminating it. We knew there would be costs to terminating it. We were willing to bear those costs and we did. They are $45 million plus $15 million.

Pearson Airport
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has just acknowledged that all of the money he put into it represents a deal with the people to put an end to the Pearson airport scandal.

On March 25, the Minister of Transport announced $185 million in financial assistance to the airport for projects that were over85 per cent complete. Three weeks later, everything is resolved as if by magic, while the dispute had been going on for three and a half years, as if the gift of $185 million had nothing to do with the $60 million.

How does the minister explain all these coincidences on the eve of an election?

Pearson Airport
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, first, I should point out that the local airport authority, ADM in Montreal, received over $100 million for special capital expenditures and another $20 million for a special fund. ADM received $120 million, and Montreal got $185 million.

That is why it was clear that in Toronto they needed more funds to pay three things: the north-south runway, the de-icing area and the fire station. That is what we paid for with the $185 million.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

John Cummins Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the premier of B.C. will sign a fisheries agreement within an hour. Everyone is asking what is in it for the politicians. The real question is what is in it for the fish.

Rules governing land, water and waste determine whether fish survive. These are under provincial control and the provincial record is abominable.

The agreement to be signed today appears designed more to improve the lot of Liberals in B.C. than to protect fish habitat.

Can the minister tell the House how this agreement will improve the province's deplorable record of protecting fish habitat?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for recognizing this milestone in Canadian history.

The hon. member asked who will benefit from this. The highlights of this are the following. There will be a B.C.-Canada council of ministers to co-ordinate the major salmon resource and habitat issues. There will be a Pacific fisheries resource conservation council like there is in Atlantic Canada. There will be a creation of a fisheries renewal advisory board which will include the stakeholders and community groups to improve co-ordination on habitat restoration and enhancement initiatives. There will be a funding of $15 million for each government over three years for habitat restoration. There will be a commitment by both governments to work co-operatively to reduce overlap and duplication and to improve efficiency on the part of everybody. That benefits the fish and the fishermen.