House of Commons Hansard #137 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Business Development Bank of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should stop insisting that he cannot do anything to protect the citizens' money.

Will he admit that he could act if he wanted to, and that if he refuses to do so, it is because he does not want us to find out more about the internal administration of the bank, whose president the government has changed whenever it sw fit to do so?

Business Development Bank of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, of which my hon. friend is a member, has recently completed an indepth study of the BDC's performance, according to its mandate. The hon. member is entitled to ask questions on this subject. While the president appears before the committee, the Auditor General does have the power to examine all accounts. It is an independent crown corporation, but it is accountable in that respect.

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, three years ago the industry minister gave 80 million tax dollars to buy out BioChem Pharma, a company in Quebec. Since then, BioChem was bought out by a British multinational that is now shutting down its Quebec plant and laying off hundreds of workers.

However, according to documents that we have obtained, no payments have been made on Industry Canada's loan to BioChem; not one red cent.

How can the minister justify giving $80 million in corporate welfare to a company that is now laying off hundreds of skilled workers? Is this the minister's idea of a successful investment?

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we reject the philosophy of the Alliance Party that says the Government of Canada should not be investing in innovation in this country. We believe we should be investing in innovation.

With respect to BioChem Pharma, we are watching very closely the developments with that company. We expect the purchaser of that company to honour its obligations to the people of Canada, including the terms of repayment of that investment.

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the plot thickens because it turns out that BioChem and the company that then bought it gave $120,000 to the Liberal Party of Canada in 2000 and 2001, making it the fourth largest donor in the country.

I am sure it is a mere coincidence that those donations were made at the same time that BioChem received its $80 million loan and that the government negotiated its multi-billion dollar sale to a foreign multinational.

Now Canadian labs are being closed, scientists are being laid off and Canadian taxpayers are left holding an $80 million bag. Is that the minister's idea of a--

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Industry.

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the TPC investment in that company was made after due diligence by professional officials who decided it was a good investment for innovation in this country.

Let me assure the member that we will take all steps necessary, divestment or not, to ensure that our position is protected in relation to the repayment of that investment.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

October 9th, 2003 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming increasingly difficult to learn with any certainty the RCMP's true role in Maher Arar's deportation to Syria by the U.S. authorities. We know that the RCMP Public Complaints Commission is currently evaluating various scenarios so it can get to the bottom of this affair.

Since RCMP obstruction of the commission's work is not beyond the realm of possibility, does the Solicitor General intend to change his mind and order a public inquiry, which we feel is the only way to shed light on this whole affair, which is getting cloudier by the minute?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have answered this question so many times in the House that I think the member could almost memorize the answer. The facts are the facts and I have stated them. The facts are that the RCMP did not disclose to the American authorities on this issue. It was not part of the decision. It is that simple. Those are the facts.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the more the Solicitor General says, the less we understand. It is becoming increasingly cloudy.

Since it is becoming increasingly clear that the Solicitor General is trying to cover up the RCMP's actions, what will it take for the government to show transparency and order a public inquiry, as Amnesty International has suggested, this very day?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. I have tried to be very transparent on this issue. I went before the foreign affairs committee. I answered questions this morning at the justice committee on this issue. The answer remains the same as I have stated in this House several times. The member knows what that answer is. Those are the facts. The RCMP was not involved in the decision to arrest and deport Mr. Arar. That is how simple it is.

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, here comes another due diligence problem.

Yesterday the Minister of Industry admitted that last year he received only $19 million in Technology Partnerships Canada repayments. That is a mere fraction of the billion-plus dollars that have been doled out.

Corporate welfare is alive and well in Canada, is it not?

What is the minister doing to accelerate the TPC repayments, or is it true that he does not really expect any of these repayments to occur anyway?

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, they are all repayable.

These investments are often made in emerging sectors of the economy. However time is required to bring products to market to produce revenue so they can be repaid. Some of these in the biotechnology field need a 10 or 12 year period of investment before there is a return.

We are investing in pre-competitive research that will enable companies in the future to put products and services on the market to create economic growth and jobs. That is what this is all about.

However all of these are repayable.

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, he forgot to mention the investment in the Liberal Party of Canada.

Let us review the situation. Western Star Trucks will likely not repay a thing. Shire and BioChem Pharma will likely not repay a thing. Bombardier, no repayments and Pratt & Whitney, no repayments.

Less than 2% of the billions of dollars given away through TPC have been repaid.

Will the minister table a schedule of repayments owed to TPC and be a little more responsible for a change?

Government Loans
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I will do is tell the member that in every case the repayment schedule is calculated to reflect the nature of the investment.

In other words, if the money is being used to develop a new jet engine or to develop new biotechnology, then the repayment occurs after that has been developed, produced and is on the market so there is revenue to provide the repayment.

However some of these repayment schedules do take time because there is a lag period before the research is completed and the product is on the market.

However they are all repayable and repayment schedules are negotiated in relation to the nature of the product.