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

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the Conservatives are still considering selling off federal government assets and that everything is on the table.

Are we to understand that the government would be willing to sell crown corporations like the CBC/Radio-Canada, VIA Rail and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation?

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in the budget we announced an asset review which did not include Heritage Canada, which is responsible for the CBC.

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that VIA Rail and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation are included in the privatization we are reading about in the newspapers.

Concerning the shares that the government received upon saving GM, the Prime Minister said they would be sold off as soon as the price is right, which is completely reasonable. However, the same logic does not seem to apply to other government assets.

Will the Conservatives admit that they are taking advantage of this crisis and want to sell shares simply in order to carry out their ideology, whereby the size of the government must be reduced to a minimum?

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

No, Mr. Speaker. In fact, the government is conducting an asset review because it is good business management practice. Any large organization should constantly be reviewing what it owns, whether it still serves the public interest. In the situation of the Government of Canada, that is exactly what we are doing.

Nuclear Waste Management
Oral Questions

June 2nd, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources said that she would negotiate directly with Quebec communities with respect to nuclear waste management. Quebec controls the development of its territory and wants to continue to do so.

Does negotiating nuclear waste management directly with municipalities show respect for the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces?

Nuclear Waste Management
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the issue to which the hon. member is referring is actually a separate agency. It is the nuclear waste management program. It is actually doing consultations with communities throughout Canada, not just in Quebec.

It is putting into place the long-term plan for the disposal of nuclear fuel here in Canada. It is looking for a willing and informed community that will be willing to undertake the repository of this material.

Simply put, it is communicating with all Canadians and all communities, and developing the process therefrom.

Nuclear Waste Management
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs should know that there is a unanimous motion of the National Assembly to prohibit the burial on Quebec territory of nuclear waste from outside Quebec.

Will the minister for once mind her own business, respect the decision of the National Assembly and ensure that Quebec is taken off the list of potential sites for burial of Ontario's nuclear waste?

Nuclear Waste Management
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent
Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not need any lectures from the member. I mind my own business and I take care of my areas of responsibility in Quebec. Had he listened carefully to my colleague's reply, he would have understood that no one is being forced to accept the site in question.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the lack of normal commercial credit remains the crux of Canada's recession. Successful auto dealers in Saskatchewan report that Canadian chartered banks will not do business with them because they are selling GM or Chrysler vehicles. Billions of tax dollars are now at risk in those two firms.

Does the minister find it acceptable that a dealer with 30 years of successful experience, operating multiple outlets across western Canada with $6 million in profit last year and no debt, cannot get an operating loan from a Canadian bank if that dealer sells GM or Chrysler?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in fact, as we said we would do in the economic action plan, we have put in place all of the elements, actually, of the extraordinary financing framework and that includes the assistance to the auto industry.

BDC has been very active in this regard working with commercial banks. The reality is there are some auto dealerships in the country that are excess capacity as we have seen with respect to General Motors.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' incompetence has made them force GM to close dealerships to make it look as though it was the number of dealerships that led to GM's financial woes. We all know that the fewer dealerships there are the fewer GM vehicles will be sold.

GM is restructuring and the objective is to increase sales. Will the Conservative government rescind its bad decision and order GM to withdraw the closure notices sent to more than 250 of its most successful dealerships in Canada?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is, of course, that GM started this restructuring many months ago. It is closing literally thousands of dealerships in the United States. It is consolidating. When it goes from eight brands down to four brands, it makes sense to review the dealership network across North America. That is exactly what GM is doing.

On our side we do not dictate that process. The only thing that we say is that it has to be cost competitive in its operations. It has proved that with its business plan. That is why the Government of Canada accepted the business plan.

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, last fall the government failed to deliver a serious fiscal plan to deal with the recession. Worse, it attempted to hide the fact that it had already returned Canada to deficit by booking a $4 billion fire sale of crown assets. Now we learn every major crown asset is on the Conservatives' chopping block.

Will the government disclose its criteria for this review and guarantee that this is not an ideological mission to dump institutions such as the CBC, VIA Rail and Canada Post? After all, they were all on the Prime Minister's hit list when he was the head of policy with the Reform Party.

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know the member must have read the economic action plan because he voted for it. If he has forgotten, then perhaps I can remind him that in the economic action plan that he voted for, we set out an asset review. The first stage of the review will specifically focus on the following departments: finance, Indian and northern affairs, natural resources, transport and infrastructure portfolios. Not Heritage Canada.

Government Assets
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is the government that blew the fiscal framework when times were good, pretending the party had never stopped. Well, the party is over and Canadians have been left with a serious Conservative hangover.

TD Bank is now predicting a federal deficit of $167 billion over five years, which is double the finance minister's projections. After 11 consecutive surpluses where we paid down $105 billion in debt, we are $60 billion deeper in debt than we were in 1996.

Minister, stand up and tell us exactly what is for sale and at what prices, so we can cover your tracks and get Canada back into the black.