House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the company involved in the rescue of Air Canada proposes to dispose of almost all its subsidiaries in favour of a new holding company to be called Air Canada Enterprises. As a result, these subsidiaries would be in an arms-length relationship with Air Canada and no longer required to respect its obligations, particularly the obligation to provide service in French and the one relating to the location of its headquarters.

Can the Minister of Transport confirm to us that the obligations imposed on Air Canada and its subsidiaries will continue after restructuring?

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would expect that Air Canada would continue to meet its obligations under the Air Canada Public Participation Act and any other applicable legislation.

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, to paraphrase the Prime Minister, let us be clear. The restructuring of Air Canada might involve disengagement from its responsibilities under the Official Languages Act and its obligations to Montreal.

Will the government make a clear commitment that the conditions on head office location and official languages will continue to apply not only to Air Canada but also to the new holding company, Air Canada Enterprises, and all of its subsidiaries?

Air Canada
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, again, I would expect that Air Canada would meet all of its obligations under the Air Canada Public Participation Act and all applicable legislation. What the hon. member is describing is in fact what is in the Air Canada Public Participation Act.

Foundations
Oral Question Period

May 3rd, 2004 / 2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1997 this Liberal government began to transfer billions of dollars to foundations. By 2003, around $8 billion was sitting in foundation bank accounts.

Even if foundations do good work, the Auditor General has raised serious concerns that these billions go out every year with no ministerial oversight, no accountability, no access to information and no review by Parliament.

Why do we keep finding out that these Liberals cannot be trusted to manage tax money?

Foundations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

John McKay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what is true is that this government has founded a lot of very important initiatives through foundations. If we speak to people like Bob Birgeneau at the University of Toronto, he will tell us that the foundations have put the universities back in the game for research and innovation. This has been a tremendous innovation on the part of this government in the access of Canadians to important research funds.

Foundations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

How does the government know that, Mr. Speaker? The Auditor General says there is no independent, credible review and evaluation of this envelope of spending.

That is $8 billion in spending and no credible review, so how can the government say this is well spent money? We do not know. The respected C.D. Howe Institute studied these transfers to foundations and titled its report, “Hiding the Good News: Ottawa's Book-Cooking Is a Troubling Sign for the Future”.

Is this not yet another example of behind the scenes Liberal manipulation of public money?

Foundations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

John McKay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, one wonders how to respond to that question in a credible fashion.

These are audited statements. They are readily available. Anyone who cares to read about the statements can read the statements. They are accessible to everyone in this chamber and they are accessible to the Auditor General. If she has any questions, I am sure she will raise them.

Foundations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that these foundations are beyond the reach of both Parliament and the Auditor General. For instance, $1.2 billion has gone into the Canada Health Infoway, which is now on its fourth CEO since 2001. I would think there should be some red flags going up.

Given what has happened in the sponsorship scandal, why does the Prime Minister not let the Auditor General audit these foundations?

Foundations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

John McKay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a rather impoverished understanding of what is within the purview of Parliament. Everything is within the purview of Parliament. If Parliament wishes to review the books of foundation X or foundation Y, it can be done, with or without the Auditor General. So also can the Auditor General call for a review.

Foundations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, obviously the parliamentary secretary does not know what he is talking about. The Auditor General has been calling for and demanding that she have the ability to scrutinize some of these foundations. This government has stonewalled those efforts.

We are talking about $8.7 billion that this Prime Minister helped siphon off into these foundations, away from the prying eyes of the Auditor General. That is a disgrace. This member should be ashamed of hiding that kind of money from the scrutiny of the Auditor General. Why do they do that?

Foundations
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

John McKay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hyperbole of the hon. member's question begs the issue. This money has been very well spent on behalf of Canadians. It has been documented amply in audited reports.

Equally, the Auditor General or any other person can call for those reports at any time because it is within the purview of Parliament.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries. It regards the species at risk legislation.

Given that endangered species need to be officially listed in order to develop a proper action plan, why has the minister requested the suspension of the scientific panel's recommendations and thus delayed the necessary and urgent action to protect endangered species such as the Atlantic cod?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I can assure my colleague that this government is committed to implementing the species at risk act. My first priority is conservation and the sustainable use of all marine resources.

Listing decisions on these populations could have significant impacts on many coastal communities. For this reason, an extended nine month consultation period will take place to find ways to minimize the impact on most communities while rebuilding stocks.

Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speak, my question is for the parliamentary secretary for P3s. For 10 years we have watched as corporate scandals have cost investors and pension plans money while this Liberal government has done nothing. The most recent example was Borealis Capital exploiting the Ontario municipal employees' pension plan.

How convenient that the Prime Minister's friend, Richard Mahoney, has close ties to Borealis, a company that is trying to make a quick buck at taxpayer expense for a P3 tunnel in Windsor.

Why are the Liberals willing to hand over public infrastructure to their friends when it is so clear that their friends keep showing they cannot be trusted with public money?