House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Technology Partnerships Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the former minister of finance has been scrupulous over the last 10 years to avoid any conflict between the interests of the corporation and his political responsibilities.

Second, I am very proud to receive advice from CS&E and other excellent Canadian companies involved in the shipbuilding sector.

There was nothing wrong with this investment. It was made after due diligence by TPC. It is a good investment to promote innovation in Canada.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec Minister of Municipal Affairs, who was a campaign organizer for the member for LaSalle—Émard, had a word of caution for the future Liberal leader. Instead of denying that a fiscal imbalance exists and using the surplus to deal directly with municipalities, Ottawa should give a portion of its gasoline tax revenue to Quebec, which will look after distributing it.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the stage is set, and that a simple transfer of funds, much more than the negotiation of a new pact, as advocated by his successor, would allow Quebec to quickly provide much needed assistance to the municipalities?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Finance always says, each level of government has its own taxation powers. Those provinces that choose to increase their taxes on goods such as petroleum products are entitled to do so.

As for us, if we have a surplus in January, the first $2 billion will go to health, as agreed to in the health accord. That is our policy. There may be different policies later, but for the time being this is the policy of the government that is in office at this time.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my point is that the gasoline tax will be primarily used to interfere in municipal jurisdictions. Hence my question to the Prime Minister. That is what his successor intends to do, despite the fact that the Minister of Municipal Affairs told him, “Give us the money so that we can distribute it among the municipalities.”

Does he agree with his successor, who is talking about a fiscal pact directly between Ottawa and the municipalities instead of one between Ottawa and Quebec and the provinces, as it should be?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have an equalization system to help provinces when their tax bases are lower than those of other provinces. That is the system. One cannot tell what will happen one, two or three years down the road.

The current system is clear: there is a federal gasoline tax and a provincial gasoline tax. We have no intention of increasing our tax for the time being, but if the provinces want to increase theirs, they can do so, they have the power to do so.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the future prime minister is trying hard to present an image of renewal, but unfortunately for him, what he has to say about federal intervention in municipal affairs is essentially the same as what the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs told municipal representatives in May 2001, and I quote: “It would be a real anomaly not to have direct and intense relations between federal and municipal leaders”.

Can the Prime Minister confirm that his successor's approach is exactly the same as that of the present government, as expressed by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in Banff in 2001?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is rather confusing. They must be talking to each other. He says it is exactly the same thing, so there is no change.

I can say, as the Minister of Finance did yesterday, that on the issue of infrastructure programs, we are helping municipalities to develop their infrastructure. That has been going on for generations. Canada's federal government has been involved in subsidized housing for a long time. We are even more involved now, and the municipalities are very happy.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the least one can say is that the Prime Minister is confused. We are talking about a direct fiscal agreement between the federal government and the municipalities. Quebec is excluded from that fiscal agreement.

I am asking the federal government if it is not being disingenuous in stating that, when there are problems in a sector such as municipal affairs, such problems justify the federal government's intervention, even though it has no jurisdiction.

Would the federal government not claim that its exclusive jurisdiction was at stake, if, for example, on the pretext that there were a lot of problems in Canada's military, the provincial governments announced their intention to intervene in order to solve these problems? It is the same thing.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, to me, the situation is very clear. We have longstanding relations with the municipal governments. Very often, these involve tripartite programs, with contributions from the municipal, provincial and federal levels. These programs have been around for a long time. The municipalities do not complain and the provincial governments all participate, including the Government of Quebec. The infrastructure programs are a very good example of cooperation between municipal, provincial and federal governments.

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Prime Minister if there was a problem; if he saw a problem with a Liberal lobbyist meeting with the head of the Privy Council Office. In his usual manner, he said no problem whatsoever.

Luckily Mr. Robinson himself saw there was a problem and is now disassociating himself from this high profile client.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. Will he now provide a list, a full list, of the new Liberal leader's transition team who are meeting with PMO officials, departmental officials or his cabinet?

He may be leaving his office. Unfortunately the Liberal government is not.

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was one meeting where they discussed exactly that problem, the previous status of Mr. Robinson, his professional activities and how he could deal with the Privy Council. They had a gentleman's discussion and the conclusion was that he could not be a lobbyist and do that job. They did not discuss any matter but that. In the weeks to come, if there is some need of communication, there will be communication, and there will be absolutely no conflict of interest.

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, now it appears that there is a problem. Confidential information should not be made available to Liberal lobbyists just because they are part of the Liberal leader's transition team.

The Minister of Finance runs one of the most sensitive departments in the government yet he recently stated:

It would be appropriate to have some level of communication either directly or through his transition team that I know he's been putting in place.

Would the Minister of Finance tell the House if he or his office have been speaking to members of the transition team, particularly lobbyists?

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member is ignoring one fact: the member for LaSalle—Émard is a member of Parliament and there will be some community work on the preparation of the budget.

The members of Parliament work with the Minister of Finance. They make suggestions. If the member for LaSalle—Émard wants to make some suggestions we will be happy to hear them. Preparation for the budget has to start right now. As we have done over the last eight years, every member of Parliament with a good idea can give it to us.

Even the Leader of the Opposition was trying to find a new party, so we will have another new Leader of the Opposition in a few months. I never thought I would have a new one before departing.

International Cooperation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we hear yet again about the pandemic of AIDS in Africa. We hear again how literally millions of people are dying tragically because they cannot afford the drugs to keep them alive. Canada is yet again doing nothing to help the flow of affordable drugs.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. Stephen Lewis says that Africa needs just one G-7 country to step forward and help the cheap drugs flow. Will Canada be that country? Will the Prime Minister ensure that?

International Cooperation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Essex
Ontario

Liberal

Susan Whelan Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as Stephen Lewis and, hopefully, the hon. member well knows, Canada has already pledged $150 million to the global fund for fighting HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. On top of that, we have contributed $50 million to the Canada fund for Africa for the vaccine initiative for HIV and AIDS.

Canada has stepped forward and Canada will continue to step up to the plate to help fight HIV-AIDS, particularly in Africa.