House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance stated yesterday, and I quote, “there is no link between CSL moving to Barbados, the legislation and the tax conventions signed by Canada”.

How can the finance minister make such a ridiculous statement to try and save the Prime Minister's skin, when the first vice president of CSL, Pierre Préfontaine, declared on February 1, 2003, that CSL International had moved from Liberia to Barbados precisely because of changes in Canadian tax rules?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the question yesterday asked if we had changed the rules to benefit CSL. The answer is no.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did Bill C-28 give a direct advantage to the Prime Minister's company, but the tax convention with Barbados, which he chose to uphold while he was finance minister, was also beneficial to CSL International.

Is the Minister of Finance prepared to admit that the tax convention enabled the Prime Minister to bring back to Canada capital on which he paid just over 1% in taxes in Barbados instead of the Canadian rate, which is 37%? That is a $100 million profit in the Prime Minister's pockets.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of international tax treaties is to ensure that on a global basis international corporations pay their full and fair share of tax.

In the case of international shipping companies, they earn their revenue clearly in a place where it is not possible to tax and that is on the high seas. Therefore we have tax treaties to make sure the tax can be collected in a fair way. It is necessary to review those treaties on an ongoing basis to make sure they are fair. The United States is doing that and so is Canada.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

February 5th, 2004 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Liberals have attacked the NDP for saying missile defence will weaponize space and, therefore, constitute star wars.

Here is what Lieutenant-General Ronald Kadish, director of the missile defence agency, told the Senate armed services committee, “There will be at least 300 space-based interceptors”.

In light of these comments, I wonder how the Prime Minister can cling to the absolute fiction that missile defence is not star wars.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the government is in the process of doing is gathering information. That is why in fact the letters were exchanged between the Minister of National Defence and the United States. We are gathering information.

Canada has made it very clear that we do not support the weaponization of space. We will not participate if in fact what is happening is the weaponization of space.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the information does not need to be gathered. It is plainly on the record in the United States. The Prime Minister seems to be as good at avoiding the truth on star wars as he is at avoiding taxes in the Barbados.

I want to say again, Paul Wolfowitz said:

Space is the ultimate high ground. We are exploring concepts and technologies for space-based intercepts.

In the 2005 U.S. federal government estimates, they mention, and I quote, “Space-based interceptor test bed...beginning in 2005”.

This plan is dangerous and destabilizing. It does not reflect Canadian values. Why is the Prime Minister afraid to say no to George Bush now?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said, and the government has been very clear, we are presently trying to find out from the United States about a plan, which it intends to proceed with, that deals with the defence of North America from ballistic missiles based on land and on sea.

This issue has nothing to do with going into space. There is a lot of speculation about going into space. A lot of people are talking about it. The present plan has nothing to do with the weaponization of space. We have made it clear that we will not engage in discussions with the United States that will lead to the weaponization of space, as the Prime Minister has said. What we do want to find out is if we can help the security of North America for Canadians.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claims that he did not know the government had misrepresented, in February 2003, the public contracts with his company.

When he was asked about the massive $161 million error last week, he said that he was “appalled” when he saw what the original answer had been.

The question is very simple. On what date did the Prime Minister become aware of the $137,000 figure that the government released in February 2003?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the important date is the date on which I published the report. The report was published on January 28, as a result of the work I had done all through January this year. It is perfectly clear. Let us not blame other people for what they should not have or could not have done. I was the person responsible for it. I published that quite clearly. The rest is of no significance whatever.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the question is for the Prime Minister. It is about getting to the facts of the matter.

We submitted a question in October 2003. The answer provided in February 2003 was $137,000. The next answer, provided a year later, was $161 million.

We want to know when the Prime Minister became aware of this and why he failed to take action immediately to correct this gross error by the government.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the first part of that question has already been answered a number of times.

What is really important is that as soon as I was in a position, along with the House leader, to take action, I took action.

The hon. member will know that I was out of cabinet and not exactly in a position of power to do very much at that time. As soon as I was in a position to act, along with the House leader, the government acted.

Government Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, Stelco is in big financial trouble and is seeking help from the Prime Minister but Stelco is also one of the major clients of CSL, the Prime Minister's family business.

The Prime Minister says that he wants to build confidence in government. How will the Prime Minister avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest when CSL customers arrive in his office looking for cash?

Government Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, it is the Department of Industry that is in contact directly with Stelco. It is an unfortunate situation that we have right now with Stelco. We are monitoring the situation very closely and we hope the fact that it is under the CCAA will bring a solution to the problem it is having.

Government Assistance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think it will be pretty hard for the industry minister to forget that the Prime Minister's family owns CSL.

The fact that the Prime Minister's family's holdings touch almost every government causes a lot of problems.

How can the Prime Minister run a country when he has to run away from the cabinet table every five minutes to avoid a conflict of interest?