House of Commons Hansard #167 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was offence.

Topics

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has indicated that the government will co-operate fully with the public complaints commission. Any material it wants is available to it.

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, like the Prime Minister, the public complaints commission chair, Liberal appointee Shirley Heafey, wants the commission to do its work. But the Prime Minister and his appointee know the commission is fatally flawed, that it will not get to the truth about the Prime Minister's involvement in the APEC fiasco.

How far is the government prepared to go to keep this three ring circus going? When will the government get on with an independent judicial inquiry and just get it over with?

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, all the members of the commission, not just the chair, are appointed by order in council, that is to say by the Prime Minister. That is exactly what would happen if a judicial inquiry were to be set up. That person would be appointed by the Prime Minister. I would ask the hon. member to explain why she wants the Prime Minister to be involved in one way to set up a commission, and she does not want the commission to carry out its work when it is appointed in exactly the same way under the law passed by this parliament to work at arm's length from the government and from parliament. Is that not the way the work should be done?

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I can answer that. It is because a judge would be independent.

The APEC commission has ground to a halt amidst further controversy with the main players investigating each other and exchanging allegations of bias and interference. The commission panel has become a joke with more twists than a cheap detective novel. While this makes for good drama, it is a terrible way to uncover the truth. The current process lacks the credibility and the mandate to thoroughly investigate what happened at APEC.

Will the new solicitor general show this House and Canadians that he is not just a puppet of the Prime Minister and appoint an independent judicial public inquiry?

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should give the House the right facts as the premise to his question. The solicitor general would not appoint an inquiry. It would be appointed by the Prime Minister under the Inquiries Act. That is obvious. The hon. member should prepare himself before he asks these kinds of questions.

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, is that not a trite answer. I can almost see the solicitor general's lips moving from the ventriloquism of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I want the hon. member to go directly to his question.

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, my direct question to the solicitor general is, will he give this House the assurance that there has been no ongoing influence by him or his government over the Liberals' friend Shirley Heafey who has been appointed and over her decisions as chair of this commission?

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, yes I can give that assurance.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

December 7th, 1998 / 2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, according to the industry minister, high tax levels if anything increase productivity. The industry minister thinks that high taxes help Canadians. He is the second most senior economic minister in the entire cabinet. Is the finance minister increasing taxes on January 1 because he thinks it helps Canadians? Is that why?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I understand the hon. member read Saturday's paper. If he had read today's paper he would have seen that the Minister of Industry made it very clear he is in favour of lower taxes. Having worked very closely with the industry minister over the course of the last five years, I can say that he is an ardent proponent of lowering the tax rate for Canadians.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think he was really speaking from the heart on Friday. He said that high taxes are good for productivity.

This government likes to talk about lower taxes but at every opportunity it implements tax hikes. Look at CPP. Look at EI. Look at bracket creep. A billion dollars higher every year. Is it not true that this government is doing exactly what the industry minister was saying? It is raising taxes. Is it not true that this is the way this government operates at every opportunity, by hiking taxes?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the industry minister was talking about ways in which one increases productivity. That is why he brought in the technology partnerships program. That is why he has been a very strong supporter of increased research and development across the wide range of science and technology. That is why he has supported regional economic development. He understands how important increased productivity is to Canadians.

Increased productivity will come from the kinds of things the industry minister has talked about, not better buggy whipped according to the Reform Party.

Prebudget Consultations
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government cut $6.3 billion in transfer payments to the provinces, primarily in the health sector.

Yet, on Friday, in its report on prebudget consultations, the Liberal majority found a way to criticize the provinces by saying, and I quote: “By reducing the health services they provided, the provinces challenged one of Canada's most cherished national symbols”.

Can the Minister of Finance explain how his fellow party members, who belong to a government that cut one third of its transfer payments to the provinces, can have the nerve to say that if the health care system is weakened, it is because of the provinces?

Prebudget Consultations
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate the members of the Standing Committee on Finance, both opposition members and, most definitely, government members, for a very good report.

The emphasis put on productivity and the need to increase the wealth of all Canadians, including the poor and the middle class, resulted in a very good report. I intend to give it very serious consideration.