House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was new.

Topics

*Question No. 32
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Liberal

David Pratt Minister of National Defence

The answer is as follows: a) The contract refit commenced on January 6 and is scheduled to be complete on November 19, 2004. When the Preserver returns to the Navy, an additional 8 weeks will be required for Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott to complete work related to the ship’s systems.

b) Following refit and fleet maintenance work, the Preserver will begin a technical readiness program to evaluate the ship’s major systems. It is anticipated that the ship and crew will be worked up to high readiness status, capable of full operational deployment, as early as August 2005.

c) Halifax Shipyard was awarded a contract for $17,958,179.27 (HST included). Due to a work arising of $45,429.73, HST included, the current value of the contract is $18,003,609, HST included. Note: The contract includes provisions to open and inspect equipment. Should these inspections reveal requirements for additional work, the work would be considered a “work arising” to the original contract. Based on previous refits, “work arisings” represent between 30 and 35 percent of the value of the contract, a potential $5.4 million - $6.3 million increase to costs of known work.

d) The Government has not yet taken a decision regarding the replacement of Canada’s logistic re-supply vessels.

*Question No. 33
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Fundy Royal, NB

With regard to the Finance Department’s regulations on employee stock purchase plans, are individuals participating in these programs charged income on the value of the shares they purchase, and, if so, what is the rationale?

*Question No. 33
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

When an individual acquires a share under an employee stock purchase plan, and pays less for the share than would an ordinary investor acquiring an identical share at the same time on the open market, the Income Tax Act treats the difference as a taxable employment benefit.

The fact that an individual acquires company shares under an employee stock purchase plan at a discount is clearly a benefit that the individual enjoys by virtue of his or her employment status. The taxation of such benefits ensures that the tax system treats all financial benefits received by virtue of one’s employment–whether paid in cash or in some other form–on a fair and equitable basis.

*Question No. 33
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

*Question No. 33
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed?

*Question No. 33
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

*Question No. 33
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(b) to inform the House that the matter of the failure of the ministry to respond to Petition No. 3730014 is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 39(5) to inform the House that the matter of the failure of the ministry to respond to the following questions on the Order Paper is deemed referred to several standing committees of the House as follows: Question No. 6, standing in the name of the hon. member for Yellowhead to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts; Question No. 9, standing in the name of the hon. member for St. Albert to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates; and Question No. 20, standing in the name of the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

I wish to inform the House that, because of the ministerial statement, government orders will be extended by 27 minutes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Supply
Government Orders

March 22nd, 2004 / 3:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam had the floor before question period. The hon. member has two minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks.

Supply
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have been investing wisely, but the return is only two minutes of my time. I also have to mention that when I first began speaking before question period, I failed to let the House know that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill.

In summation, the reason those of us in the official opposition put forward this motion is that the vast majority of Canadians are very much disappointed by the incumbent Prime Minister, his lack of a legislative agenda and the lack of any kind of direction for this country.

This country really does face some dynamic and important concerns and problems as we go ahead. We have some serious concerns with regard to infrastructure, housing, our armed forces, agriculture, trade, relations with the United States, relations with Europe, national defence, immigration, all sorts of issues. We have some profound public policy questions but instead, what do we see? In his first 100 days, we see the Prime Minister having photo ops with a piece of paper called Flat Mark. We see him doing photo ops in Lethbridge, Alberta with failed Liberal candidates. We see him doing all kinds of things rather than putting forward a substantive legislative agenda for a complicated G-8 nation facing serious struggles with urbanization, internationalism, globalization and an economy that is not nearly as strong as it should be for a country whose citizens are paying the taxes that they are.

With all that in mind, I am proud to stand with the new Conservative Party, with the new leader that we elected this past weekend, to provide Canadians with a new vision for a new agenda for this country. It is one that is based on the principles of lower taxes, less government, more freedom, democratic and parliamentary reform, and respecting the rights and powers of individuals to have more control over their lives. That is what the new Conservative Party is about. That is what our leader is about. That is what we will be presenting to Canadians in the next campaign as opposite to the tired, old, corrupt agenda of the Liberal Party of Canada and we are proud to do so.

With that, I am prepared to take any questions, should there be any.

Supply
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I notice that the motion before us today from the Conservative Party talks about the past decade of mismanagement, corruption and incompetence. The member for Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam earlier took some issue with the member for Windsor—St. Clair, that somehow we were suggesting that all Conservative members along with the Liberal members could fess up, could own up to a long list of corruption. I think he pointed out that he was only seven years old when Mr. Mulroney was prime minister. I do not think there was a suggestion that all Conservative members belonged in that club. I would suggest that if he took the time to read a very good book, On The Take by Stevie Cameron, he would actually see a very interesting list of some of his predecessors.

There is actually a very interesting common thread between the Liberals and the old and the new Conservative Party and the old and the new Liberals. That is the very strong theme of cronyism that they share of having their friends and trading them back and forth and the corporate lobbyists.

I appreciate the comments of the hon. member, but I think he might want to do a little more historical reading to see the fine tradition that he and his party come from.

Supply
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that if I am looking for some factual data and concrete analysis of Canadian politics and certainly with regard to numbers, Stevie Cameron will not be the first point of information that I will search.

What Canadians are looking at is the Auditor General's report tabled just a few weeks ago which highlighted an astonishing level of corruption that has been described as shocking. In fact, Michael Bliss, a professor of history at the University of Toronto, hardly a bastion of right wing conservatism, has said that this is the most corrupt government in Canadian history. This indeed says a lot, given some of the scandals that we have seen in this country, given some of the scandals we have seen with provincial governments, both NDP and in past history some Progressive Conservative governments and in fact some Liberal governments.

The point that I was making for my colleague from Vancouver East was that it is not responsible to say that all people, because they happen to pay $10 and belong to a certain political party, are corrupt. I believe the NDP just passed 100,000 members nationally, something they are very proud of. The new Conservative Party has well over 250,000 members. The Liberal Party I believe has close to 400,000 members. It is certainly not fair to say that therefore all of the people who are members of all of those parties, because they happen to identify with that ideology, are corrupt.

However, it is certainly responsible of the House to demand accountability. That is what the new Conservative Party is going to do. That is what we have been doing for the past couple of months. In fact it is what we have been doing for the past 10 years in practice as the official opposition.

In the next campaign the Canadian public will have, as I have said, a very simple, straightforward and clear choice. They can have the status quo Liberal government described as the most corrupt government in Canadian history that is spending more money than any government before in Canadian history, or they can vote for a new generation of leadership and a new national Conservative Party that is providing a new vision based on lower taxes, less government, more freedom, personal responsibility, strong national defence and a strong reform of our democratic system. Those are the choices in the coming campaign and I am proud to stand with this party.

Supply
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I remember back in 1997 when I first came to the House, there was a situation where a Liberal fundraiser named Pierre Corbeil got hold of a list of companies that were receiving grants. He was basically shaking them down for cash saying “If you do not give $10,000 to the Liberal Party of Canada, you are going to lose your grant”. He was charged and convicted on four counts of influence peddling. I think what we saw at that point in 1997 was the tip of the iceberg, as it were.

I was wondering if my colleague might want to comment on the beginning of that scandal and the continuation of it as it has been culminating and growing every single day.

Supply
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, certainly if we look at the Auditor General's reports going back to Denis Desautels and even before that, and compare them to Sheila Fraser's report, there is an appearance that the Liberal Party has clearly learned nothing from the scandals of the past.

In closing, I did want to mention on the record that my colleague from Dewdney--Alouette has declared that he will not be running for re-election. I just wanted to say on the record that I am proud to call him a friend. He has been a fantastic member of Parliament. He is a fine gentleman and he has done a great job representing the riding immediately neighbouring mine. He will be sorely missed in the House and I think we are all proud to call him a friend.

Supply
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to read again for those who may have just joined the debate this afternoon the motion that we are debating. It is an opposition motion put forward by my own party, the Conservative Party of Canada. The motion reads as follows:

That, given the lack of new legislation introduced by the Liberal government during the Third Session of this Parliament, this House recognize that the current government is not new, but rather one that is intricately linked to the past decade of mismanagement, corruption and incompetence, and has accordingly lost the confidence of this House.

First, I would like to address the issue that the government lacks any new legislation. Only six days after we resumed sitting in this new session of Parliament the government brought in closure. It cut off all debate. Why did it cut off all debate? It wanted to bring back wholesale all the legislation that had already been in place when Parliament adjourned in November. This is in spite of the fact that we had a new Prime Minister. This is in spite of the fact that the new Prime Minister had spent not months, but years of his life travelling the country talking about how much better it was going to be once he led the Liberal Party.

The Prime Minister spent years talking about what he was going to do, yet his first move was to bring back exactly the same discredited, in many cases fatally flawed, legislation that we had already been talking about for months and months. Not only did he bring back this legislation, but he brought it back with the hammer of closure. Imagine that. So devoid of ideas was the so-called new Liberal Prime Minister that he just had to fight and finally impose on Parliament the old agenda, the agenda brought in in this way in spite of his promises of correcting what he called the democratic deficit. What could possibly be democratic about forcing Parliament to simply regurgitate the old agenda?

At the end of February, about a month after the so-called new Prime Minister came into office, on the Maclean's magazine website appeared the following information:

Last week every deputy minister in Ottawa was given an astonishing assignment.

The lead civil servant in charge of every government department was given two weeks to deliver a 10 page memo outlining new ideas for government--“with an emphasis on thinking outside the box”...for delivery within two weeks.

This government-wide brainstorm represents [the Prime Minister's] response to what every pundit in town has noticed in the past week: If the sponsorship scandal does force an election delay then this government is dangerously out of luck because it is devoid of a governing agenda.

But there may be a delay, which means that the...government may actually have to govern. Hence the demand for revolutionary thinking across the government, with the ludicrously short deadline.

That is from our national affairs magazine, Maclean's , talking about how desperate the government is, putting the boots to deputy ministers in the departments to try to scramble to come up with something, anything new, anything that could allow the Liberals to keep going until they feel it is safe to call an election. How disgusting. How despicable.

Our motion also talks about the Liberal mismanagement, corruption and incompetence. I just want to mention a few examples. If we look at every department of the government, there is enormous mismanagement, corruption and incompetence. It is on the record. It is not some figment of the imagination.

For example, in the environment portfolio, the Auditor General has pointed to over 100 toxic waste sites that have been sitting there fouling and polluting the wonderful Canadian land for decades. The Liberal government has done nothing, in a whole decade, to clean up over 100 toxic waste sites.

Then we can look at finance and see the vendetta against François Beaudoin of the Business Development Bank. Why? Because he dared to say “I know the prime minister wants to give his friend a loan, but it is a bad loan. We should not do it”. For doing his job of protecting the money of Canadians, he was hounded and his reputation was tattered. In fact a judge said that the government appointees tried to destroy this man's career.

Then we have fisheries and oceans. We know about the devastation of the fish stocks under the incredibly incompetent mismanagement of the government.

In foreign affairs we have all the questions about why so many CIDA grants seem to go to corrupt foreign governments instead of to the people they are supposed to help.

In health we had the millions stolen from the Virginia Fontaine foundation, and all the fraud in that whole thing, including a deputy minister.

In heritage we had this big flag giveaway. It was supposed to cost $6 million. The figure now is $45 million, 6 or 7 times as much as the government originally told us it was.

Speaking of that, what about the gun registry? It was supposed to be $2 million. Now we hear it could be $2 billion, over 1,000 times as much. Is that what we can expect of that government?

Then we have immigration, my portfolio. We have a court of this land saying that the immigration minister and department misled Parliament. That is a court finding. That is not some accusation by a suspicious opposition. That is a finding of our courts.

Just last week 278 criminal charges were brought against someone whom the Liberals appointed, a patronage appointment connected with a Liberal cabinet minister, a judge of the Immigration and Refugee Board, for taking bribes to let people into Canada who would not have got in otherwise.

What kind of government are they running over there? That is why we brought forward this motion of non-confidence.

Then of course there is the missing money in defence: $160 million that went to subcontracts for computers, and apparently no one knows where the money is.

Of course the one we are keeping an eye on, the one the public is watching the most this week, is the sponsorship program, where $250 million was put out the door with very little paperwork, very little accounting and very little program description. It turns out, according to the Auditor General, that $100 million of it went out for no work at all. I guess it was commissions, or “just because”.

It reminds me of four years ago when we talked about the HRDC billion dollar boondoggle. According to another audit, $1 billion in program spending went out the door, with no financial tracking or controls over 97% of it.

Now we have this sponsorship scandal. Here is what one of our key political commentators in this city had to said about it:

The allegation is that senior political figures used the ad agencies to launder money so, for example, the wife of a senior politician goes shopping in downtown Montreal, buying very expensive clothes, and a person from the ad agency goes along with a Visa card and goes 'click' 'click' and it gets charged back to the advertising agency and gets charged back to the Government of Canada...

With all these things in front of the public, with all this wide range of mismanagement, with all this absolute poverty, of ideas for bringing Canada forward into the 21st century, this motion of non-confidence fully deserves the support of the House. I hope that even Liberals will hang their heads in shame and vote non-confidence so we can get on with it and give Canada the kind of future it deserves.