House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said he was unaware of any problems with the FTAA. Claiming that Canada's position is totally transparent, the government referred us to the website.

Guess what the website says, Mr. Speaker: Canada has made no submissions to the negotiating group on services, yet a secret report of that same group chaired by Canada recommends throwing all public services, including health and education, into the free marketplace. If that is not Canada's position then what is?

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, there is a rumour that we do not want to protect, for example, the five conditions of medicare in this negotiation. It is a rumour started by people in the hon. member's party or by its friends, but it is not true at all.

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister cannot be open with Canadians will he at least pledge to be direct with the Americans?

Next week the Prime Minister goes to the U.S. Will he promise the House that he will look President Bush straight in the eye and state unequivocally that Canada's health care, education and water resources will not be on the table at the Quebec summit on the FTAA?

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear on that for many years and it has been agreed that is the position of Canada.

Business Development Bank Of Canada
Oral Question Period

February 1st, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Prime Minister concerning a senior official of a crown corporation.

Does the Prime Minister know and can he tell the House if the senior vice-president for corporate affairs at the Business Development Bank, a Mr. Jean Carle, played an active role in the support of a political party during the campaign for the November 27 election?

Business Development Bank Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, Mr. Carle is a very well known Liberal. As a citizen he has the right to help in an election, as do other people in the public service.

The law of the land states that public servants cannot be deprived from working on an election, but that they cannot do it on company time or government time. They must take holiday time, which is exactly what Mr. Carle did.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said that his first order of business when discussing business with President Bush would be the unfair American agriculture subsidies.

Will the Prime Minister state to the House today that if the president refuses to remove those unfair subsidies that he will increase financial assistance to Canadian producers?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I clearly said that it was the wish of the government and the House of Commons that I express to the president of the United States that a war on subsidies between countries on agriculture is counterproductive. I will tell him that very clearly.

We have often said that we cannot compete and do not have the means to compete with the Americans and the Europeans in a war like that. We are not big enough. We have to convince them to do the right thing and make sure that there is a possibility for everyone to compete together on a fair basis.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Provincial Police have flatly contradicted the Minister of Foreign Affairs' statements that his department did not know about the drunk driving history of Russian diplomat, Mr. Knyazev.

Yesterday we also raised the issue of a letter that went to Mr. Knyazev in which foreign affairs apologized for his treatment by the police following his previous drunk driving conviction.

A day has now passed. Would the minister please clear up both of these issues for us?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first, I can confirm that there was an exchange of diplomatic notes between Canada and Russia with respect to this individual. However, what is really important here and what would disturb me and the hon. member very deeply is if there were information that ought to have led to this individual being forced to leave Canada before he was involved in the accident.

I do not have information that was the case, but I am asking for a thorough investigation to ensure that in fact was not the case. I also want to ensure that diplomats involved with impaired driving offences do not drive again in Canada.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we appreciate that assurance and we certainly take the minister at his word.

It is my understanding that the Ontario Provincial Police have in fact the names of people in foreign affairs who received documents indicating that Mr. Knyazev had been stopped. I trust the minister will discover that himself by talking with the Ontario Provincial Police. I would expect also that if he finds that, that the people in foreign affairs, who obviously messed up, will also pay a price. I want that assurance from the minister now.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, seeking the information is very much the first step in this process and one that I will certainly engage in personally and rapidly.

I am also very concerned by suggestions that there may be differing views between the protocol office and the Ontario Provincial Police about the matter of co-ordinating, having the police in and making sure that everyone understands what the principles are of immunity.

However, fundamentally diplomats are here to serve their countries and not to put Canadians citizens at risk. That is what the result of the process needs to be.

Economic Statement
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has said there would be no budget this winter. Fine, but he needs to recognize that a budget is an opportunity, not just to announce budgetary measures, but also to present up to date financial and economic data in order to provide people with some idea of the current situation and of future prospects.

Since, in the past, the Minister of Finance has been way off in his forecasts and does not exactly have top marks on his report card with a record of a 120% forecast error rate, will he not agree that he has an urgent obligation to present a true and carefully prepared economic statement?

Economic Statement
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the hon. member is blaming me for being overly cautious. Sometimes caution may be a good thing.

I can tell him that we have always, as hon. members are well aware, based our actions on a consensus of private sector forecasters and we will soon be getting their forecasts.

As I have always said, if another economic statement or other forecast, as the circumstances dictate, is appropriate, then we shall have one.

Economic Statement
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past few days the minister has not stopped telling us that Canada is not affected by the downturn in the United States. It may be a little hard to believe him, but we would love to.

Can he acknowledge his duty to make public all of the base data, the hypotheses, his own forecasts, in short all pertinent data, so that we may make a judgment on the current situation and on future prospects, instead of merely trusting him blindly?