House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was price.

Topics

Corporate Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

I know, Mr. Speaker, that the member may be obsessed about a newspaper headline here and a newspaper headline there.

The fact is in the last quarter of 2006 Canadian companies continued to exhibit a strong appetite for foreign companies, acquiring 456 purchases valued at $70 billion, mainly in the United States. What we are seeing is expansion by Canadian based companies abroad. Yes, there are some transactions within Canada. Yes, we have the rules in the Investment Canada Act, which we will follow.

Finance
Oral Questions

May 8th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the last budget, with interest deductibility, just succeeded in killing that appetite.

I will quote from the budget. The budget proposes to “eliminate the deductibility of interest incurred to invest in business operations abroad”. I know he is trying to rewrite history, but the budget bans not just double-dip deductibility, not just tax haven deductibility but all deductibility.

The minister is so out of his depth. Does he know the difference between tax double-dip and the double-dip ice cream cone one picks up at the Dairy Queen?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member opposite for two reasons. One is that he has now decided to support our policy against tax havens. He said last night, “When the finance minister says that we should go after abuses by tax havens and double-dipping, we agree”. Finally, he has agreed and I congratulate him on that observation.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us use simple words: ban deductibility, bad; stem abuses, good. Because he is out of his depth, he proposed bad in his budget, but he has now spent some time on it and will hopefully cancel the bad and get on with the good, all of which is a total reversal and exactly what the Liberal leader has told him for weeks. Or do I need to take him through it one more time?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have to congratulate the member opposite again, but this is not quite on the same subject. This is on his allegation yesterday about Alcoa and trying to relate that to taxing.

He gets the award given to him by the Financial Post, “The silliest line of the day on this is the Liberal finance critic's claim that the anti-tax haven initiative was responsible for opening the gates for Alcoa”.

Congratulations on the silliest line of Monday.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, in today's Globe and Mail, a spokesperson for the industry minister said, “he's not concerned about foreign takeovers of leading Canadian companies”. Well, Canadians are concerned. They are concerned about losing corporate emblems like Alcan or even Bell Canada.

Does the minister agree with his friends at the Montreal Economic Institute that Canada should get rid of foreign ownership restrictions on Canadian telco altogether, yes or no?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the House that we have very good legislation. The Investment Canada Act is in charge of all these kinds of takeovers by foreign ownership and foreign investment in our country. It is very important to specify to the member that we have provisions and we will ensure that each investment in Canada will favour all Canadians.

Finance
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister will not tell parliamentarians in the House where he stands on this, but on February 23 in New York, the minister said, “If you remove foreign ownership restrictions, it will be good for competition”.

Wall Street was listening and soon thereafter American private equity giant KKR was helping lead a takeover bid for Bell Canada.

Before the minister gets rid of foreign ownership limits altogether, will he commit to a full public review of this policy? Does the minister really want to be the minister responsible for taking the Canada out of Bell Canada?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am the Minister of Industry and, as such, I am in charge of all industrial sectors in Canada. Foreign investments are important and, to this effect, we must have a very clear vision. In Canada, we have laws on foreign investments, and these laws apply and are indeed in effect. Moreover, all company takeovers must comply with this legislation.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government supports the oil companies, grants them favours and lets them make huge profits on the back of the consumer. A 5¢ to 7¢ refining margin is reasonable. A 27¢ margin is abuse. The price at the pump is under Quebec's jurisdiction, as we know, but the refining margin involves the Competition Act, which is under federal jurisdiction.

Will the government acknowledge that the refining margin is under its jurisdiction? Is it prepared to acknowledge this and act accordingly?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, once again, when talking about refining margins, members should get their facts straight. In Canada, the margin is currently 22¢, whereas in the United States, it is 25.4¢. The margin here in Canada is better for consumers. This is important. We can see today that the Bloc is useless in Ottawa, because its motion serves no purpose.

Why is the Bloc presenting this motion? Because, it wants to deflect debate at the moment. There is quarrelling within the sovereignist movement. The leader of the Bloc Québécois would like to be the leader of the Parti Québécois, because he thinks he is useless—

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, when members vote in the House, all members count.

With every 50 litres of gasoline, the consumer sends $10 in excess profits to the major oil companies. The former competition commissioner stated that he lacked the powers to investigate the price of gasoline.

By refusing to give more powers to the Competition Bureau, is the government not confirming its intention to protect the oil companies to the detriment of consumers?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. The Competition Bureau has all the powers it needs to act. It has done so in the past and will do so in the future. The Competition Bureau has conducted over six studies into allegations of collusion in Canada's oil and gas sector and concluded in each case that the price reflected market forces.

The Bloc Québécois does not believe in the free market, it does not consider the price competitive and in keeping with global gasoline prices, but those are the facts. Finally, the Bloc Québécois is showing us once again that, on the important matters, it does not know the issues or the facts.

Saint-Hubert Airport
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, although this government can find enough money to purchase tanks on the sly, the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec told this House yesterday that he could not find $70 million to upgrade the Saint-Hubert airport and save 300 jobs.

How is it that the government can so easily find millions of dollars to secretly buy military weapons, yet cannot find money to create jobs in Quebec?