House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-16.

Topics

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the deputy minister chaired several meetings of the audit committee at HRDC.

Is the minister telling the House that the deputy minister was negligent for failing to inform her of her department's meddling?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, in actual fact, I am very proud of the working relationship that I have with my deputy and the men and women who are part of Human Resources Development Canada.

As a result of the internal audit and looking at the information we have, we are now implementing a six point plan.

Let me go further and quote from the auditor general, who said “I am supportive of the six point action plan, that it can solve the immediate problems in the department and that it will monitor how the implementation of the plan is going in the department”. The auditor general is working with us and he says that we are on track.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister wants it both ways. He wants a tax free crown corporation that competes directly with the private sector and follows private sector confidentiality practices. However, he also wants to use the money not paid in taxes to provide export financing for Canada's powerful and profitable corporations with Liberal connections. This is a sweet deal at the expense of the taxpayers.

Canadians are in the dark because this government refuses to tell them how EDC spent its money. Why?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let me quote from some private sector individuals on what they think of the EDC. Let me quote the Canadian Chamber of Commerce that said “Export credit agencies, like the EDC, play a vital bridging role which lends the support that companies need to break into foreign and high risk markets and to make viable players. In no small measure, EDC has been a vital partner helping Canadian companies perform these roles”.

Let me also quote from another client of EDC.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary East.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me quote the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which said “EDC is alone in that it still has almost all its resources tied up in providing services that banks and insurers had been supplying for many years in other countries”.

Why is the government forcing the taxpayers to assume the risk that the private sector would be willing to take?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the EDC has made more than $500 million profit over the last five years.

Let me quote a financial institution. The Royal Bank Financial Group said that it values its EDC partnership because together they can assist Canadian companies of all sizes pursue opportunities in the global marketplace.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

March 23rd, 2000 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, to justify her refusal to give us the necessary explanations regarding Placeteco, the minister keeps repeating that this is a private matter.

Has the minister already forgotten that she herself is at the core of the Placeteco issue since her agent, trustee Gilles Champagne, was the main architect of this whole scheme, in addition to being one of the creditors, like Messrs. Gauthier and Giguère?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we have taken this file very seriously. As I mentioned earlier, an administrative review of this file was completed at the senior levels in my department.

I say again, that review indicated that there were administrative errors, but in no way did it indicate that there was an overpayment that would be established in this case.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told this House that all grants from Human Resources Development Canada not used to create jobs would be repaid.

In the Placeteco affair, given that the job creation did not match the size of the grant, will HRDC get its money back, even though the main actors are all close friends of the Prime Minister?

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again let me note that the invoices we received for expenditures in this particular case were appropriate under the terms and conditions of the transitional jobs fund program.

There was no overpayment that needed to be established in this case.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1999 the Export Development Corporation's business volume was $40 billion. The minister keeps bragging about the $118 million that EDC made in profit that year.

Can the minister tell us how much of that $118 million bottom line actually comes directly from the taxpayers when the Government of Canada wrote off EDC's bad loans to foreign countries?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the opposition has a very hard time understanding that EDC is working out of two accounts. The corporate account, which allows for 98% of its transactions, is doing exactly the good news that the opposition member is referring to, $118 million just last year.

Out of the Canada account, which explains 2% of the transactions, we have, for humanitarian and political reasons, eliminated and rescheduled a number of debts to countries such as Poland. This is something for which Canadians can be proud.

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, maybe we can gather from that there are two sets of books at EDC.

EDC's annual report for 1998 indicates that the crown corporation is due to receive another $97 million from the Government of Canada to bail it out for its bad loans. The government takes taxpayer dollars out of one department to give them to another and calls it a profit. That is Liberal economics at its finest, I am afraid.

Why is the government using taxpayer dollars to prop up EDC's bottom line?

Export Development Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the government is not using taxpayer money to prop up EDC's accounts. I have explained this time and again. EDC does a great job with its corporate account and it helps thousands of Canadian companies on the markets.

However, when, for humanitarian and political reasons, we actually eliminated debts for poorer countries, the government compensated EDC for the political decisions it had made that it would not have otherwise made. Canada is a member of the club of Paris and we will move with all other lending countries in the world.