House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can read the motion: “That, in the opinion of the House, the government should initiate immediate discussions with the provinces and territories to provide municipalities with a portion of the federal gas tax.”

I stress the word discussions. We are talking about discussions. I said earlier that some provinces are in favour, while others are not. These discussions will allow us to see if we can find a solution acceptable to the federal government, the provinces and the municipalities.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, a federalist, has already responded to this proposal by saying that the increasing federal interference is proof of the fiscal imbalance and the abuse of federal spending powers so Ottawa can dictate to the provinces and Quebec.

Since the government has given the go-ahead to implement the plan of the new Liberal leader, a man who wants the federal government to deal directly with the municipalities, will the Prime Minister admit that his government is preparing to tell Quebec what to do within its own areas of jurisdiction?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the motion says that we will talk with the provinces. I am well aware that Quebec has legislation that says that the federal government cannot give money to a municipality without provincial government approval. Obviously, the aim of these discussions will be to see if we can find a solution to that problem. But, without discussions, we will never know. The municipalities want us to help them, and the provincial governments want a different formula. If we talk, we can find a solution. If we do not talk, we will not find a solution.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the resolution on which the government voted yesterday is being interpreted by the real decision maker, who is not here. He is elsewhere, and has announced his intention to bring together the municipalities and the provinces in order to discuss transfer of the tax.

I am asking the Prime Minister if there is not a danger of his successor being even more centralist than he has been and putting heavy pressure on the provinces by sitting them down directly with the municipalities and holding out money as the incentive?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised, happy even, to be told by the hon. member for Roberval that I am such a nice Prime Minister, one who is always in favour of the provinces, which my successor may not be. I thank him for that. It is a point of view I have not heard for ages.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has a gift for interpreting things a little differently than intended. What I said was that we thought centralist tendencies had gone as far as they could go with him, and now we find that the other one is worse. That is what we are learning.

I have this question for the Prime Minister. With the federal approach of sitting the municipalities down with the provinces to distribute the money, are we to expect that later on—for example in connection with education—they will be calling together the school boards and the provincial governments, while Ottawa puts more money on the table? Is that how they are going to do things in future?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I see clearly that the member for Roberval is seeking my assistance in this matter. All I could do to help would be to suggest he sit down quietly and read the resolution calmly. He would then see that it is a matter of holding discussions with the provinces and the municipalities. There is nothing to worry about. The government and the Province of Quebec will be at the table for the discussions, as will the governments of the other provinces.

Also, I am not about to go over to the Bloc Quebecois, no worry about that. I am capable of being a federalist prime minister with the flexibility he has already attributed to me.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are being treated to the spectacle of two parallel governments and two competing prime ministers.

To make matters worse--

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I know all hon. members are looking forward to the clarification the hon. member is offering in his question. We will want to hear the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough who has the floor.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, we now have two different versions of what is factually correct about the Maher Arar case.

The Solicitor General says that no information was passed to the Americans. The Minister of Foreign Affairs says that he believes Colin Powell's version, that the Americans received information from Canadian authorities.

Which is it? On which minister's report is the Prime Minister basing his decision not to have a public inquiry?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I answered this question before a committee several times yesterday. Clearly, the RCMP is a very highly respected organization and has tremendous integrity.

I have been assured and I have said that the RCMP was not involved in the decision made by the United States in this matter.

I know that the member and the party opposite do not like to hear those facts, but those are the facts and we are standing by those facts.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General would not know a fact if it bit him on the rump.

The Solicitor General was quoted as saying that rogue elements in the RCMP passed along information to the Americans. Since then he has reversed himself, he has covered up, and now he claims the RCMP were not involved.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told our foreign minister that the RCMP did disclose information on Mr. Arar. The foreign affairs minister went so far as to state that “Mr. Powell spoke truthfully to me”.

Again, my question is for the Prime Minister. Who does he believe and who should Canadians believe? The Solicitor General of Canada or the U.S. Secretary of State.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think I heard that question coming from the rump over there in the corner.

This is a very serious matter. We recognize that. We have talked to the RCMP extensively. I have said to Canadians and to the foreign affairs committee that we do not talk about operational matters within the RCMP.

I have outlined very clearly that the RCMP was not involved in the decision by United States authorities to arrest and deport Mr. Arar.

Could I be more clearer? I could not.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

October 8th, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister of immigration would be better advised to be working on a biometric scan that could tell the difference between the two Liberal caucuses or the Alliance and the Conservatives.

My question has to do with the way in which everyone in the House, with the exception of the Bloc, appears to have embraced--