House of Commons Hansard #20 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I obviously have no authority in relation to the matters that the hon. gentleman is suggesting, but I have looked at the records in my department to indicate what transpired at the time. What those records reveal is that an appropriate procedure was followed. A department needed certain services. It requisitioned those services from a pre-qualified list of suppliers. The selection of the firm from that pre-qualified list was made by the officials within the Department of Public Works.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, since the public works minister admits he has no authority, I will ask the Deputy Prime Minister.

There seems to be a pattern here. The immigration minister has stayed at the Everest condo, denied it and then eventually had to come clean.

Why does the Deputy Prime Minister not save the immigration minister a lot of pain and just ask the ethics counsellor to investigate this and find out in fact whether the e-mail was correct or the minister's statement was correct?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again the issue is the question of who made the decision. The evidence that appears on the file in my department is that the decision was taken by the officials vested with that responsibility, and it was the officials within the Department of Public Works. The Department of Canadian Heritage could make a recommendation, as is its prerogative, but it does not make the decision.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in October 2000, the Prime Minister justified an early election by saying that he had very valid reasons because, for the first time, there was a budget surplus, and before spending this money, the government should ask Canadians what they wanted as a society.

Does the Minister of Finance realize that the promises made by the Prime Minister are a long way away from being kept and that, instead of asking Canadians anything, the only thing that he and his predecessor have done is to hide the surpluses and prevent a public debate on their use?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there was a big debate in the fall of 2000 and the government was re-elected. I consider the support of Canadians as clearly based on the fact that they prefer surpluses over deficits.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, no one is arguing against the use of part of the surpluses to pay down the debt. However, contrary to what the government is stating, the Auditor General has said that there is no legislation that requires that 100% of the surplus be used to pay down the debt.

How then can the Minister of Finance justify his behaviour and that of his predecessor, whereby they arbitrarily siphoned off billions of dollars to pay down debt without any public debate on the decision?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have just determined, with the confirmation of the Auditor General, the surplus for the financial year ending March 31. How can we turn back time to last year, to reduce last year's surplus by spending? We need to be logical here.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only does the government deny the existence of a fiscal imbalance, but it is also cutting the provinces' financing for health and resorting to one accounting trick after another to hide surpluses, all of which go toward paying down the debt.

How can the Minister of Finance have the gall to tell us that he has no choice, when the Auditor General has said the opposite?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the coming years, transfers to the provinces will increase by 6%, while it is estimated that government revenue will grow by 2%. If we can do more, we will. The Prime Minister has said so, the Minister of Finance has said so, the Minister of Health has said so, and I am saying so once again.

One thing is certain: the Government of Canada will not go back into deficit. We will help the provinces within the financial capability of Canadians.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, even the Auditor General is calling for a debate when she says, “I hope we will be able to have a good discussion in parliamentary committee and make it clear to parliamentarians that there are no laws or accounting rules forcing them to reduce the debt”.

Does the Minister of Finance realize that he is doing many things to prevent any debate on the use of surpluses, which do not belong to him but to the people?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am very interested in what the Auditor General says, but I am sure she would agree that forecasting surpluses or deficits is more of an art than a science. We have the example of the United States, which had forecast a surplus of $235 billion for the year just ended, but ran a $165 billion deficit instead.

Since we do not know whether or not we will have a surplus, how do we know how we will be spending it, before the end of the year?

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

November 1st, 2002 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, this government is silent on the U.S. missile defence shield project. In order to make it easier to convince Canada to support their views, the Americans are directly contacting Canadian businesses, such as Canadian Aviation Electronics, to ask them to join in the program.

My question is for the Minister of National Defence. Does this government support the U.S. missile defence shield project, yes or no?

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock
Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada has made no decision but is keeping an open mind about the U.S. ballistic missile defence project.

With respect to CAE, I would like to remind the hon. member that it is a private company that does not act on behalf of the Canadian government.

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is participating de facto in the American missile defence project. CAE has already received $72 million in federal funds in partnership with Boeing. This company is involved in the NMD and the Canadian government is funding it.

The government says that it has not made up its mind and it turns around and subsidizes a corporation that is running simulations for the project.

Why does the government not simply admit it is supporting the missile defence program? What kind of policy hijacking is this?

Missile Defence Shield
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock
Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, may I remind the hon. member again that CAE is a private company. It does not act on behalf of the Canadian government. No decision has been made on national missile defence system.

There are three items here. One is our commitment to NATO, one is our commitment to NORAD and one is our commitment to interoperability with the Americans.

I remind the member that CAE is a private company.