House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

October 14th, 1999 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the Onex issue, the Minister of Transport is now prepared, after having suspended application of the Competition Act and after having refused to let the transport committee sit during the summer, to set aside the 10% ownership rule.

Is the strange behaviour of the minister in this matter dictated by the cozy relationship that exists between Onex and his government?

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, it became quite evident over the last few months that Canadian Airlines was in trouble. It either needed a cash injection from the government, in other words a bailout, or we had to let it slide into insolvency or we had to find another way to solve the problem.

We invoked section 47 which allows us to find market driven solutions but which also allows the government and parliament to pronounce upon any agreement that comes forward with shareholders and to set conditions in the public interest. I have enunciated five principles. I said them yesterday and I could say them again, but the government will do what is in the best interest of Canadians.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the president of Onex, Mr. Schwartz, also said that the delays imposed by the Competition Bureau would, in his opinion, be too long.

Can the minister tell us whether or not, and regardless of the opinion of the president of Onex, this transaction will be reviewed by the Competition Bureau?

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, under section 47, which we use, the Competition Bureau is engaged. In fact it is giving us advice on restructuring and that advice will be made available within the next couple of weeks and certainly will be made public.

The fact is that the Competition Bureau's role is one that has been underlined. It is still there and it will still be involved in any consideration.

As to any specific agreement, I do not believe that it is my role to talk about any proposal that is now before the shareholders of a private company. When that company decides, when the shareholders decide, then the government will act in the public interest.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, Claude Gauthier, owner of Transelec, donated $10,000 to the Prime Minister's campaign after winning a CIDA contract. He then bought a $500,000 piece of land from a company in which the Prime Minister has a financial interest and the bidding for that was, shall we say, suspicious.

It turns out that Transelec is not quite doing the job and the government has been worried about being on the hook ever since.

Why is the Prime Minister putting his political interest ahead of the public interest?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Beaches—East York
Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, first, CIDA does not hold the contract with Transelec. The contract is held between the government of the African Republic of Mali and Transelec.

Second, CIDA funds the project and pays the bills according to the Mali government, as they are submitted.

Third, this company's bid was 30% lower than the next lowest bid.

The project will be finished in the near future and it will be done at no additional cost.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

What a steal of a deal, Mr. Speaker. That is great comfort.

Let me paint a clearer picture for the Prime Minister himself. Perhaps I could join the dots for him: a $10,000 donation, plus a $6.3 million contract, plus a $500,000 land deal. That equals really bad optics.

The minister talks about the awarding process and the process for bidding. It was certainly suspicious at the very least. It is a process for a pal.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister this. How in the world are his friends going to make a living when he retires?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I would urge members on both sides to be very judicious in their choice of words.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are used to the hon. member, so it never surprises us that she would like to be at that level.

I would just say that when somebody makes a bid 30% lower than the others, when it is the lowest bid, $3 million lower than the others, I think the government of Mali did pretty well in giving the contract to that contractor.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the most popular measures mentioned in the throne speech is the proposal to double the length of parental leave. This is good news.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

It is good news, and we all agree on that, but why will this measure come into effect in 2001 and not now?

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, recognizing the changing relationship between the workforce and Canadian families, this government knows that it is appropriate for parents to be at home in the early years with their children.

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced a doubling of parental benefits for Canadian families. That is a significant investment in our children and in our families, and are we ever proud.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Yesterday the WTO issued a ruling on Canada's imports and exports of milk. Can the minister tell us whether this in any way threatens our excellent system of supply management for dairies?