House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tobacco.

Topics

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I remind the member for Ottawa South that he will want to address his remarks to the Chair. I am not a minister.

The hon. Minister of Finance.

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said a moment ago, the purpose of the asset sale review is good business management. We want to make sure that government assets still perform a useful function for Canadians, that the original purpose is being maintained, and that tax dollars are being spent wisely.

I am sure the member opposite would value those objectives and would think that this is prudent business management for the people of Canada.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have been many questions and media reports about the compensation to the board members of the Canada pension plan.

Would the Minister of Finance comment on this situation?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we thank the CPPIB for its work, and of course it is not to be interfered with politically. It is responsive to the Government of Canada and to the provinces.

Having said that, the G20 leaders at the London summit agreed on three fundamental principles with respect to executive compensation. I spoke with, and wrote to, the chair of CPPIB today, asking him to confirm to me that there has been compliance with those principles. I look forward to his reply.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to help the minister asses the response, I might want to bring the following facts to his attention.

The CPPIB lost $24 billion. The members gave themselves multi-million dollar bonuses because they said it was based on a four-year rolling average, but they did not even beat inflation over those four years. In fact, the United Church pension board, a multi-billion dollar pension, an all-volunteer board, outperformed them to 2:1.

If it had invested exclusively in government bonds, it would have made $13 billion more over the past 10 years.

I hope that helps him. How much does the CPPIB have to lose before he finally says “no”?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite wants to interfere with how the Canada pension plan invests money. Well, Canadians do not want that interference. This is one of the best publicly funded pension plans in the entire world.

The three principles to which I refer are: firms' boards of directors to play an active role in the design, operation, and evaluation of compensation schemes; compensation arrangements, including bonuses, to properly reflect risk and the timing and composition of payments to be sensitive to the time horizon of risks; payments should not be finalized over short periods where risks are realized over long period. And there is one more for later.

Nortel
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Nortel is another example of Conservative mismanagement. Nortel executives and directors just gave themselves another bonus, this time worth $45 million. Meanwhile, employees will lose their separation allowance and will be forced onto employment insurance, at taxpayers' expense, and retirees will lose 31% of their pensions. The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act comes under federal jurisdiction.

Will the government, which is a creditor but is not attending the hearings, finally take action in the case of Nortel, yes or no?

Nortel
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the pension regulation of Nortel is the responsibility of the provincial government not the federal government.

Public Accounts
Oral Questions

June 2nd, 2009 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2007, in response to the Auditor General's recommendations, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts required that the government not exercise the two years of options in the contract awarded to Royal LePage Relocation Services. The contract will terminate in November 2009, and the call for tenders for a contract worth more than $1 billion seems to have been tailor-made to favour one supplier.

Why did the government wait until the last minute to relaunch the tendering process? Is it trying to bypass the process in order to benefit Royal LePage Relocation Services?

Public Accounts
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, Public Works and Government Services Canada is working in Canadians' best interests, and we are doing everything in our power to be as transparent as possible.

Public Accounts
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, potential bidders are demanding that the unrealistic clauses and the deadlines in the call for tenders be reviewed.

Can the Minister of Public Works and Government Services promise to review these clauses and treat all the bidders fairly?

Public Accounts
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, Public Works and Government Services Canada's process is transparent to all bidders.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The necessity of a public investigation into the events in Sri Lanka is now clear. There is a serious and difficult humanitarian situation in that country. We are also well aware that there have been close to 20,000 recent casualties.

What will the minister do to ensure that an international investigation into this situation will be held?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague is well aware, we are delighted that this conflict, which has dragged on for 25 years, is now over. We are, moreover, absolutely in favour of the initiative he supports.

We do, however, suggest very strongly that the Sri Lankan government take responsibility for this investigation and ensure that it is as transparent as possible, and has the potential to lead to the national reconciliation that is so necessary to this process.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer.

We face a humanitarian crisis. I am sure the minister will be aware of the fact that close to 300,000 people are now in camps in Sri Lanka. The number is very high and the conditions are very poor. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is concerned. The U.N. Secretary-General has expressed his concern.

I would like to ask the minister, particularly, what additional steps is Canada going to take to make sure that we are responding to the level and degree of humanitarian concern that the world now shares about the situation in Sri Lanka?