House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was country.

Topics

Team Canada Trade Missions
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is in China at the present time representing Canadian trade interests. The government is, therefore, continuing to do what is required to promote the interests of Canadians.

Team Canada Trade Missions
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, try as it may to defend the indefensible, the government will not convince anyone. There is infighting within the government; all this squabbling and backstabbing will have serious repercussions.

Will the government admit that the infighting and intrigue have degenerated into a diplomatic incident and that it is high time to put an end to it?

Team Canada Trade Missions
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

No, Mr. Speaker. In fact, we noted yesterday the extraordinary success of this government. I think that anyone looking for examples of internal problems need only look across the way, at the Bloc Quebecois.

Team Canada Trade Missions
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the situation is deplorable. The Prime Minister is not running anything any more. The member for LaSalle—Émard is pulling the strings behind the scene. There is no one in charge any more and backstabbing has become the order of the day.

How can the government tell us with a straight face that all is well?

Team Canada Trade Missions
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is quite simple. Because this is the only kind of questions being asked in the House. If there were problems, they would come up with other questions.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, finally the industry minister has released a statement in which he admits he was wrong. He also said in the statement that he immediately went to the ethics counsellor when he was dealing with an Irving file, but that is not true.

The industry minister was appointed in January 2002. He did not contact the ethics counsellor until the end of May 2002.

My question for the industry minister is simple. Why did he wait five full months before he contacted the ethics counsellor?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Because, Mr. Speaker, it was about the time that I was dealing with this file and the issue was brought into focus.

However I do want to emphasize that I was not involved in decisions that affected the Irving companies. I went to the ethics counsellor before that happened.

The member has made reference to a statement, which I will be making public this afternoon, in which I go through the chronology, in which I also say that it was a mistake for me to go on that trip without making immediate disclosure, and in which I apologize to members of the House, to my colleagues and to Canadians.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is the industry minister was involved with the Irvings in at least two incidents. One was in February 2002, not in May 2002 when he contacted the ethics counsellor, when he wrote the letter to ExxonMobil. He has now admitted he was wrong. He was wrong to lobby on behalf of the Irvings. He was in a clear conflict of interest.

The honourable thing to do is for him to stand up, take responsibility and resign. Will he do that today?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

No, Mr. Speaker, and the facts are not as the member just stated them; the letter to ExxonMobil for example. In May 2002, I wrote to ExxonMobil because I was told that ExxonMobil was going to satisfy its need for major equipment in the offshore in Canada by going to the United States to get it built there. I wrote to the company and said “buy Canadian, have that equipment made in Canada, use Canadian people because it is a Canadian resource”. I made no reference to Irving.

That is what a minister of industry is supposed to do, is stand up for Canadian interests.

Finance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Finance said that he wanted different kinds of questions from the opposition and I have one for him.

I wonder if the Minister of Finance could tell us why it is that he refuses to use the surplus, which he now knows about, to meet the commitment the government made to add another $2 billion to medicare funding in the country, to relieving student debt, to helping hospitality workers who have suffered from the SARS epidemic and to helping ranchers who have suffered from the BSE problem. Why will he not commit to using the surplus to meet the needs of Canadians?

Finance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the surplus we announced yesterday pertains to the year that ended March 31, 2003. We are in a new year that started April 1.

The conditional commitment to increase the funding for health care that was given to the provinces in the health accord was conditional upon the budgetary surplus for this year, ending March 31, 2004, being in excess of the normal $3 billion contingency reserve. It is too soon yet for me to say whether that will be the case.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

October 23rd, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, obviously we feel that this last year's surplus could have been used for some of those needs.

I have a question for the Minister of Foreign Affairs who, in response to a question by the member for Winnipeg Centre yesterday, said that it was up to American Secretary of State Colin Powell to decide whether the Devil's Lake diversion violated the boundary waters treaty. What happened to Canadian sovereignty here? Surely it is not just up to Secretary of State Powell to decide whether this violates the boundary waters treaty.

Will the minister agree to the request of the Manitoba government to refer this matter to the international joint commission so we can have an independent judgment on this?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this is a serious question but it is also the subject matter of a serious misapprehension by the hon. member as to what I said yesterday.

In internal law in the United States, the secretary is obliged to ascertain, through his department in consultations, as to whether this act is in contravention of the boundary waters treaty. The secretary has assured us that he is doing that and he will do that because it is an internal U.S. matter. When that matter is completed, at that time, if he determines that the matter is to go ahead, it will be appropriate for us to raise it and perhaps take it to the joint commission.

However that is premature. We must let the Americans do their internal work first and we will work with them, and as we already have, urge Canadian interests with them when we deal with them

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government wants to delay dealing with important equalization renewal legislation. This is another example of how the Prime Minister's stubborn determination to cling to power is paralyzing the government. The Prime Minister is turning the House of Commons from a place of action into his own personal retirement home.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister ask the Prime Minister to retire in November so that this House can get back to the business of the nation?

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I met with the provincial finance ministers on October 10 here in Ottawa to discuss the renewal of equalization. At the time we noted the fact that under the existing statutory authority for equalization payments that authority ends on March 31, 2004.

We discussed a lot of issues around equalization. We will be meeting again, as I undertook to do with them. I told them that I expected we would have time to pass renewal legislation but I discussed with them the possibility that we might buy a little insurance, which is what the bill tabled today is doing.