House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nisga'a.

Topics

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, what I said yesterday is that the government is prepared to consider an increase in the 10% restriction on Air Canada shares, after consultations with MPs and senators.

I think this is a very fair position for the Canadian public, as well as for the Air Canada shareholders, before a choice is made on the bid next week.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, does being prepared to consider an increase in the 10% limit mean 12, 13, 14 or 15%, as was the case with Via Rail, or just that the minister does not want to say that he is prepared to accept 31%, as the Onex bid proposes?

If that is the case, let him say so, so that the issues involved are clear, so that we can understand, so that the matter is not dealt with between buddies and behind closed doors.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have put in place a process for obtaining the point of view of MPs and senators before making a decision.

If the hon. member has a point of view on a limit of 10, 20 or 30%, let him make it known to the House of Commons.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the matter of Onex, the Minister of Transport has said since the start that he would like market rules to apply. However, an Onex memo intimates that the company did not submit an offer to Air Canada without first obtaining guarantees that the rules would be modified by the government.

Will the Minister finally drop the mask and confirm to this House that he had already provided guarantees to Onex before its announcement of August 13?

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is mistaken. The government made no guarantee to Onex.

I suggest he put his questions to the president of Onex when he appears before the Standing Committee on Transport.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the political career of the Minister of Transport would indicate that he should distrust memos. The Minister is refusing to enlighten this House.

As the former Liberal Minister, Marc Lalonde, pointed out, is the government not in the process of misleading parliament by assuming that the matter is in the bag?

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I respect qualities of my former colleague, Mr. Lalonde. Yesterday, he gave his opinion in an article in the daily, Le Devoir , but I must point out that Mr. Lalonde is a lawyer and that his company works for Air Canada.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the transport minister as well.

The travelling public will be gouged. Workers will lose their jobs. Smaller centres will lose their service unless the government ensures proper protection like the 10% ownership rule.

The government should set out the rules openly and publicly so that the bids can conform to the rules. Instead it is changing the rules to conform to the bids. Why should the tail be wagging the dog?

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we launched a very open process under section 47 of the Canada Transportation Act which succeeded in bringing forward two private sector proposals. That will be considered by the shareholders of these companies.

It was very important for the government yesterday, when I met with the committee, to ensure that we have a level playing field and that those shareholders have the ability to vote on both those propositions.

That is why we stated very clearly that the government is prepared to consider raising the 10% limit of the shares of Air Canada after consultations with members in the House.

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, in the game for control of the Canadian airline industry the transport minister is a biased referee. Whether it is suspending the competition law or reviewing the ownership rule, the minister is giving Onex power play after power play.

When will the minister do his job and apply rules that will put the interests of Canadians where they belong at the top of the list?

Air Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if I had not made a commitment on behalf of the government yesterday to consider raising the 10% limit, that would have favoured one other proposition. I certainly would have been biased in that case.

Homelessness
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, it has been 216 days since the minister responsible for homelessness promised to put a plan and money in place to help Canada's homeless.

All the Liberals have done to date with their cuts to social programs is to put more people on the streets. With winter just around the corner, why has the minister ignored the needs of Canada's homeless and forced them to spend more winters freezing to death on the streets?

Homelessness
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Moncton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, there are two issues here.

For the short term for this winter, I want to advise the House that the staff has been in touch with every community that I visited to make sure they have enough shelter beds for this winter. The city of Toronto informed us that in order to have enough shelter beds it needed $1.2 million which the minister of housing has given to the city of Toronto. Besides that, we are informed that every shelter is fine.

For the long term the secretariat is getting the recommendations that I have received and they will be presented soon.

Homelessness
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for homelessness promised action. I am pleased to hear that she is doing a little something for the next few months.

The minister is quoted as saying that she cannot do anything but pass along a few ideas to cabinet and hope that something gets done. Good heavens, I hope cabinet does more than it did for the merchant navy.

The minister says it is not her job to produce a strategy, it is not her job to find money for new housing and it is not her job to lobby the cabinet for new initiatives to end homelessness in Canada. If it is not her job, whose job is it, and what is her job?

Homelessness
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Moncton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has asked me to co-ordinate all the information on homelessness.

I would like to advise the hon. member that I have been working 31 years for the homeless, for the poor and for the children of this country.