House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was hrdc.

Topics

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, probably I should offer an apology to the people of Alberta because if we did not have any flexibility in the program, not one cent from the program would have gone to that province. It would have been the same thing in British Columbia. It would have been the same thing in Saskatchewan. It would have been the same thing in Manitoba. But we knew there were pockets of unemployment in those four provinces and we adjusted the program to make sure that the money went into those provinces.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, Michel Béliveau, the former director general of the Liberal Party of Canada's Quebec section, now the vice-president of the Liberal Party of Canada, who attended the Liberal convention on the weekend, who is a friend of the Prime Minister, is also a consultant for Placeteco.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Is it the presence of Mr. Béliveau, a friend of his in the Placeteco matter, that made him slow off the mark in calling for an investigation into this matter as he did in the case of the Canadian Institute of Tourism and Electronic Commerce?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I categorically reject the assertions of the hon. member. I say again, on a number of occasions we have talked about administrative errors made on this particular file. Those were corrected.

At the same time it is clear to us that continuing to invest in Placeteco and Techni-Paint was the wise thing to do. These projects were supported by the Bloc member in one case, by the Government of Quebec in both cases, and we see today that 170 people are working at those plants.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone is wondering how the $1.2 million that went to Placeteco was given the way it was. That is the minister's explanation.

Then there is Claude Gauthier, who received a grant of $1.2 million and who bought the properties from the Prime Minister for $500,000; Gilles Champagne, who is a HRDC trustee and Claude Gauthier's lawyer; and Michel Béliveau, who is a friend of the Liberal Party and consultant for Placeteco.

Does the minister not think that there are enough coincidences, enough cronies in the Prime Minister's club, to ask what is going on and call for a public inquiry?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The question is in order. The Minister of Human Resources Development.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again I would point out that it is the very close friends of that party opposite who also participated in this decision. The Government of Quebec supported these undertakings. If they have questions, why do they not talk to their government?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the public accounts list 10 long term loans to foreign countries made by the Export Development Corporation worth $685 million that are not repayable for up to 55 years. On top of that, EDC has agreed to charge zero per cent interest on these long term loans. That is no interest and no payments for up to 55 years. EDC policy is better than that of the Brick or Leon's no money miracle.

How can the government which is paying $43 billion interest on our debt at home justify giving these sweetheart deals to foreign countries?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the EDC is a very fine institution that has helped thousands of Canadian companies export to international markets. It is a very fine institution that has actually made money year after year. It made $118 million last year. It made $124 million the year before. It makes money with the loans it gives on a commercial basis while all the time helping Canadian companies abroad.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I appeal to you once again that when it is difficult for me to hear a response it must be more difficult for you.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, here is a case in point. The Export Development Corporation loaned $200 million to China interest free and not due until the year 2042. This is the government that charges interest on Canada student loans six months after graduation of the students but gives interest free loans to the Government of China for up to 55 years.

Can the minister explain why a country like China which enjoys a tremendous trade surplus over Canada cannot finance its own expenditures?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the EDC makes money from the loans it makes. Year after year it has helped Canadian companies sell goods and services around the world. The EDC is a very fine institution and is serving Canadian interests very well. That party might very well want to destroy itself in the next few months, but we will not let it destroy a fine Canadian institution helping us abroad.

Gasolines Prices
Oral Question Period

March 21st, 2000 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Industry, the one who was so quick to find money for professional hockey players, announced the federal government's solution to the problem of high gasoline prices: a study, to be tabled by January 2001, to be undertaken by the conference board at a cost of $600,000.

Does the minister realize that a study by the conference board, with members such as Shell Canada, Petro-Canada and other oil companies, is very much like an investigation conducted by the wolf to find out who ate the sheep?

Gasolines Prices
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the conference board has existed since 1954. It is made up of about one hundred members. Is the hon. member insinuating that the conference board's reputation does not justify paying for the expenses incurred by its members, including the Quebec department of natural resources?