House of Commons Hansard #23 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was species.

Topics

Education
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Nova Scotia has the poorest per capita education funding in Canada. It is so bad that local schools are closing and one school recently had to get a loan from its parents to buy the paper needed for report cards.

However, when the minister rejigged equalization yesterday, Nova Scotia received one measly million dollars out of an additional $1.8 billion. How can he justify such treatment of Nova Scotia while the provincial government is making further cuts to health care and education, while basic services for Nova Scotians are disappearing?

Education
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the allocation among provinces is not a question of discretion by the federal government. There is a formula that has been established for many years and it is that formula which dominates. What has happened is that the Nova Scotian economy has shown greater growth than many of the other receiving provinces.

That being said, as I and other members have said in the House, our officials are sitting down and we are looking at the issue of equalization, and we do this on a continual basis.

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry and has to do with an issue that I know he is concerned about and has concerned himself with, and that is the impending departure of the Versatile Tractors plant from Manitoba.

I wonder if the minister could tell us, given that the immigration department has apparently now put a stop order on Americans who have moved in to take equipment out of the plant, if there is anything the government can do, admittedly last minute, to prevent the departure of this plant to North Dakota and some $30 million in federal money that was given to Mr. Buhler as part of the agreement by which he took over that plant. Is there anything the government can do?

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member has raised this matter with me on another occasion. It is true that we are seeing the loss of an industry and a plant in the province of Manitoba that arises, as the member knows, out of a protracted and extended labour dispute where finally, in the absence of resolution, the decision has been taken by the proprietor to move elsewhere.

No money has been given. Money has been loaned, and that money has to be repaid, as the member knows and as we have discussed.

Following a discussion recently with the member opposite, I am looking at all of the options open to the Government of Canada—

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

February 28th, 2001 / 2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has a lot of rumours flying around Parliament Hill right now. It seems, after numerous protests and demonstrations, he has finally found some new money for agricultural support.

I know the minister would love to stand and explain to the elected members of the House just how much money he has for agricultural support, how he will get it out into the hands of farmers and when this will all happen.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the government has demonstrated clearly in the last number of years that when assistance is needed for producers, we are there with all the resources that we can muster. I can assure the hon. member and the farmers that we will continue to be there for Canadian farmers.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is well and good. I have heard that many times before, but will the minister announce to this elected House right now how much money he has for agricultural support?

When the finance minister needed $1.3 billion, he got it that fast. Can this minister stand in the House today and say that he has at least $1.3 billion? When will he get it out and how will he get it out to the farmers who need it desperately?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat what I said a minute ago. I will not take the time of the House to do that because I think the member heard me the first time.

Business Development Bank Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Business Development Bank charged the Auberge Grand-Mère an astronomical interest rate of 25% on its loan.

Information obtained through an access request shows that the highest interest rates offered by the BDC anywhere in Canada over the last seven years was 12.6%. This means that the Auberge Grand-Mère was twice as risky as the second craziest venture that the BDC was prepared to finance.

Why did the Prime Minister use his political muscle to put Canadian taxpayer money at such risk?

Business Development Bank Of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are having a hard time keeping track of the logic being exhibited on the other side of the House.

First they complain that they get a loan. Then they complain that the interest on the loan is too high. Now they claim apparently that not only the Government of Canada but all of the lending institutions that made the decision to grant this loan did not act properly.

Four years later the hotel is still open, and four years later 19 people are still employed.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have been pressing the government to take another look at equalization, especially on behalf of Atlantic Canada and Nova Scotia, and it has been resisting that.

Today, after I asked him yesterday, the finance minister said no, that they will not discuss it. We have just heard him today, and I appreciate this, say that his officials are looking at equalization and maybe doing something. Which is it?

Will he go ahead and do what we asked, as he denied yesterday, and have some discussion on equalization to see what can be done for Atlantic Canada to make long term hope and opportunity possible?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how many times over the course of the last three weeks to a month I have stated that our officials are sitting down, which they do it on a continuous basis, and looking at equalization.

I would have thought that as a former treasurer of Alberta, given the fact that it was also discussed at a finance ministers' meeting, he would know that it is an ongoing process.

The question I really would ask is, if he does not know it, what was he doing at these finance ministers' meetings and what is he doing in the House?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

We have learned that the budget of the Canada Information Office, the federal government's propaganda machine, was increased by 150%. This means a 150% increase in patronage and contracts to friends of the government.

How can the federal government justify such generosity when it comes to propaganda, patronage and cronies?