House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Airports
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, in 2002 national airports paid $240 million in rent to the Government of Canada. In 2003 this rent is expected to increase by $20 million. In 2010 the government will collect a total of $4 billion in rent from airport authorities. This amount will be more than twice the book value of the assets that were initially transferred.

Federal rent demands will grow to $500 million if this system remains unchanged. These fees are the single greatest cost facing small airports and are a major concern to the aviation industry. There is a huge concern that small airports will not survive if the government's fee structure remains unchanged.

Will the government make the necessary changes to ensure that all the airports remain viable?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

February 26th, 2003 / 2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been using the Parker report on Sinclair Stevens to justify the special arrangements he made with the former finance minister, but the Parker report warned that so-called blind agreements cannot prevent conflicts of interest in the case of family businesses or family firms.

I ask the government, knowing this, why did the government allow these special arrangements with the former finance minister?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor wrote to the Prime Minister and the former minister of finance on March 4, 1994, confirming the supervisory agreement dated February 1, 1994, and the fact that it met all the requirements of the code. The Prime Minister also wrote to the former minister of finance on March 8, 1994, approving the measures in place.

All of the procedures were followed. The ethics commissioner's job is to enforce the application of the code. The former minister of finance followed the code and the ethics commissioner enforced the code.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is what Erik Nielsen said and that is why the code is totally inadequate. Because of the Sinclair Stevens affair, the Parker report warned that family businesses or family firms with cabinet ministers would likely have to be sold to avoid conflicts of interest.

Will the government bring in an ethics code outlawing management of large private holdings by cabinet ministers?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is correct that the arrangement under which the former minister of finance established his blind management agreement had its origin in the 1988 Conservative government guidelines, and several of these arrangements were made. In fact, we codified the practice.

I take what he has said as a representation and that is something that will stand on the record and will be considered.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I thank the government for considering it, because take the case of Canada Steamship Lines. It has interests that overlap the activities of virtually every government department: transport, industry, revenue, environment, fisheries, natural resources, trade, foreign affairs, and of course finance. Any current or potential Prime Minister with such holdings is exposed to continual conflicts of interest.

Will the government bring in an ethics code that will disallow a Prime Minister from having any personal control over firms with extensive holdings?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I will not deal with any hypotheticals with respect to the Liberal leadership race, but I can tell the House, and I can tell the hon. member categorically, that in my nearly six years as transport minister the former minister of finance acquitted himself exceptionally well, absenting himself from any cabinet discussions dealing with the marine industry. Any measures dealing with the industry were handled by the secretary of state for financial institutions. The former minister of finance conducted himself in an exemplary manner.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister does not want to deal with hypotheticals but it certainly did not stop the former finance minister today. Earlier today he said that the ethics counsellor has been called upon to draw up new rules for him should he become Prime Minister. It does beg the question, does he now agree with us that there was and is something wrong with the old rules? Are the roles and responsibilities of the Prime Minister so dissimilar from the finance minister's that he really thinks he can keep himself above a conflict of interest under the current system?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to deal with some situation that perhaps might occur in the future. What we are prepared to deal with are the actions of the former minister of finance while he was a member of the ministry. In that case, the guidelines were followed and the former minister of finance conducted himself in the appropriate manner.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, apparently the government thinks that a blind trust is kind of like growing mushrooms: to just keep the public in the dark and feed them a steady diet of fertilizer.

Here is what the Prime Minister said yesterday: “We call it a blind arrangement because we don't want to make it public”. The Prime Minister completely misses the point. A blind trust is to keep the minister out of the loop, not the Canadian public. Is it not true that the former finance minister's supervisory agreement really was an illusion created by the government to pretend that there was a hands off arrangement between CSL and the former finance minister?

Ethics
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not, and I would caution the hon. member not to engage in such innuendo.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit , Hans Blix, the chief UN arms inspector, reported that Iraq's cooperation had been substantial, progress has been made and a few more months will be required to complete the political disarmament.

At a time when the inspections are working and peace needs time, will the minister admit that by proposing March 28 as a deadline, Canada is bringing us closer to a war?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker. We are working on bringing two opposing positions at the Security Council closer together so that the Council can achieve a united stand in order to avert war, by getting Saddam Hussein to disarm in conformity with the terms of resolution 1441. This has always been our goal, and will continue to be our goal, and we will stand by our policy in this area.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a pretty odd policy. This is the same minister who told us, “We are opposed to a deadline”. Today, he is advocating it. He is a yes-man.

He is not bringing the two visions, the two strategies, closer at all. One is not to impose a deadline, and the other is to set a date. Would he not agree that what he is doing is helping the United States out, not trying to save peace but, rather, to save face for the United States? He is a follower. He has no strategy. He is a yes-man.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I still cannot figure out why this opposition party is trying to misinterpret our position.

Our position has been to provide the international community and the Security Council with a document to work on. It is up to them to set a date, and to set it on the basis of the observations made by Dr. Blix who, I will remind the hon. members opposite, has set a deadline with respect to the missiles. He has told Saddam Hussein that he had to destroy them by March 1. This goes to show that, from time to time, the chief arms inspector himself finds that setting a date is a good idea, and so do we.