House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was veterans.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, to hear the Alliance say that it cannot accept, or it is too little, too late, this is not exactly a surprise. Have they ever said that it was enough or that it was in time?

The Minister of Industry is a person of great personal integrity. He has been a minister for 10 years. He has demonstrated his personal integrity.

The matter has been dealt with in compliance with the instructions of the ethics counsellor who is still seized with a couple of issues. I think it is fine that we just wait and see what the ethics counsellor has remaining to say.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, integrity is something that the government frontbenchers lack.

The industry minister is not the only minister accepting free flights on corporate jets. There is the defence minister, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence, the fisheries minister and the labour minister. How many other ministers have broken the rules and accepted free flights?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is a sad commentary on the state of the Alliance's interests in the affairs of state. Those members have asked more questions in the last week on a fishing trip than they have asked in the last year on the fishing industry. That shows where their priorities are. They are trying to throw mud. They are trying to undermine the credibility of institutions. Those members have nothing else to talk about except to pursue minor matters.

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the behind-the-scenes manoeuvring of the future Liberal leader, it seems clear that the Minister of Finance is not in control. In fact, he himself has said he did not control everything himself, as justification for his inability to negotiate a new agreement on equalization payments before the next prime minister takes up the reins.

While Quebec and the provinces are demanding changes to the equalization payment system, is the government's wish to extend the present agreement not just one more confirmation of how appropriate our motion was, and of the fact that the government is at a total standstill until the new Liberal leader is in place?

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when I met with the finance ministers on October 10, I proposed such a bill to them, and they were in agreement. There have been requests for changes to the formula, but there is no agreement among the provinces on these. Quebec, for instance, wants changes British Columbia does not find acceptable, so the Quebec minister has proposed that he could perhaps take the time to hold discussions himself with the B.C. representatives. This would take time, so—

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Longueuil.

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a rule, when the government is functioning properly, negotiations on equalization go along smoothly and no partisan precautions are necessary.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that, by getting the bill on equalization passed, what the Liberals really want is to shut down the House ASAP, so that their new leader will not have to be accountable to the public?

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, do all representatives of the ten provinces share that opinion? They have all accepted the idea of having a little reassurance, if possible, of the federal government's ability to make payments starting in early April 2004. It is simple, in my opinion. It is possible to make the changes and renew equalization payments before the start of the next year, but it is not necessary to do away with that assurance.

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the intrigues of the future leader of the Liberal Party are paralyzing the business of the House and the government as a whole. After the Minister of Transport announced $700 million for VIA Rail, we learn that the future leader does not intend to follow through. Supporters of the member for LaSalle—Émard were shocked to hear that the current Prime Minister was making decisions that could tie the hands of his successor.

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

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

Does the government realize that, by their comments, the supporters of the future leader—who are constantly harping in the House—are asking that the current government stop governing? What is going on?

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to announce once again that the Canadian government is prepared to invest nearly $700 million in the rail network we share in Canada. This is good news for Canadians from coast to coast. This is a commitment stemming from the work of the Standing Committee on Transport. This is a new era for passenger rail service.

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. Minister of Transport that this is still far from the original plan for high-speed rail service in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.

On the one hand, the Liberal members say they will not support the BQ motion because they do not want to bring down the government and, on the other hand, they make one statement after another asking that the current Prime Minister not take any new decision that could be binding on the future prime minister.

Does the government realize that the words of the supporters of the future prime minister, who claim to want to let the current government govern, are contradicted by their actions?

Transport
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is getting excited and a little agitated. He is making a plea in support of a motion of non-confidence in a government. It is clear that it is not the intention of the government to support a motion of non-confidence by the Bloc Quebecois, even if this motion is congratulatory and presumably wishes long life to the future Liberal government.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, another day, another scandal. This time it is the fisheries minister, a fly-in to an exclusive, Irving-owned salmon resort just so that he could be lobbied, an overnight stay on the Restigouche with 13 employees at his beck and call, a free night's stay for the minister. Now he tells us that this is within the guidelines.

How can Canadians possibly believe that this free gift was worth less than $200?