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

Canadian Economy
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, after a very trying year on many levels, what with SARS, the discovery of a case of mad cow, and the big blackout, the Canadian economy seems to be on the verge of a much-hoped-for recovery.

Yesterday, Statistics Canada revealed the results of its Business Conditions Survey. It shows that Canadian manufacturing companies are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for this first quarter.

The balance of opinion with respect to orders is very positive. The number of manufacturing companies that are posting an increase in orders has risen by 4% since October, for a total of 24%.

This is the highest positive balance since April 2000. This government will continue to ensure an economic climate that will allow Canadian companies to offer quality jobs to Canadians.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

February 5th, 2004 / 2:15 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister admitted that he knew the $137,000 government figure was wrong. In fact, he knew it was wrong for about 10 months. He says he was powerless to do anything about it, but that frankly is wrong. He was a member of Parliament and he had vocal cords. Why did he not just speak up and say that there was a big problem with that number?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as soon as I was in a position to do something, I pushed immediately to have a complete exposition of all of the numbers. As a result of that, the most comprehensive set of numbers probably of any set of contracts has been prepared by the government. I did so immediately I was in a position to do so.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what is it about being a member of Parliament that did not give him the position to do so?

Here is the timeline: In October 2002 we asked the question; in February 2003 the answer came back and that answer was wrong. The Prime Minister said he did not act because he was otherwise engaged. It took 10 months for the information to get from his ear to his heart.

Why did it take so long for the Prime Minister to tell right from wrong?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all let us understand that what we are talking about is the compilation of the numbers. The fact is that an enormous amount of information about the numbers was on the Public Works' website and had been there for a long period of time. The real fact of the matter is that a lot of that information was incredibly ancient because it went back to a period before I even entered cabinet.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, here are the latest excuses from a long line of them: (a) the PM was too busy; (b) he was not in charge of the company any longer; and (c) he was not PM yet. Which excuse will it be today, (a), (b), (c), or all of the above?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to openness and transparency. The real issue before the House is, why is the opposition afraid of the results that will come forth from the Auditor General? Why is the opposition afraid that the Auditor General will in fact look at these numbers and take up the examination?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's dealings with CSL are becoming well documented. In 1996 he met with the ethics counsellor and the president of CSL to discuss a lucrative deal with an Indonesian power company, Jawa Power. CSL has refused to say just how lucrative that contract was.

When will the Prime Minister provide Canadians with all the information about his share of the CSL take and give Canadians their share of the tax?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 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, in response to this question and the previous one, I took office on December 12; in six weeks, we compiled more than 250 pages of documents, which have been posted on the website with all the details.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that the Auditor General was going to look into the matter. They rejected this for one simple reason: truth and facts do not interest them; they are only interested in politics.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

It may be politics, Mr. Speaker, but the House leader should know that it is his job to provide accurate information to the opposition and Canadians.

The Prime Minister surely wants to avoid being put in the same category as Italian leader Silvio Burlusconi whose business dealings have damaged his reputation.

In the interest of openness, transparency and trust, will the Prime Minister agree that the Auditor General's investigation into the financial dealings include the examination of his business connections to the former Indonesian dictator Suharto's family?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:20 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, when we talk about honouring integrity and transparency, I think my colleague should not have cited Mr. Burlusconi. He should have cited Mr. Orchard.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister boasts about being the biggest fighter of tax havens on earth. This is mind-boggling. Not only did the Prime Minister sponsor Bill C-28 and maintain the treaty with Barbados, but, on four occasions, he ignored the Auditor General's recommendations for tighter controls. The result: his company, CSL International, headquartered in Barbados, saved $100 million in taxes.

Will the Prime Minister, who is clearly in conflict of interest, admit that his fine speech on tax havens should be entitled, “Do as I say, not as I do”?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the opposition members continue to string this long line of fabrication. The $100 million figure is entirely a figment of their imagination.

The facts are that we are determined to get fair share of tax revenues for Canadians. I have said in the House before that that is one of the principal objectives of our international tax treaties. We have those under review, as have a number of countries, including the United States.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to debate the $100 million at any time. Let him open the books, and we will.

The Prime Minister is saying that he worked at the international level with regard to tax havens. It is true. He worked with other countries to ensure that Barbados, one of the main tax havens, no longer appears on the OECD's list. That is what he did to save face. In that country, the tax rate is 2.5% for $1 million. That is what he did. He would have paid a great deal more here, as he well knows. It is to save face. That is what his great international initiative was all about.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as finance minister, I was the one who brought the matter of tax havens to the G-7. Under Canada's leadership, the G-7 took this matter to the OECD. There was a monumental study. There was a problem with the Europeans, but Canada said that tax havens needed to be eliminated to ensure international equity. I said it here in the House, I said it on the international scene, and I will continue to say it.