House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was investment.

Topics

Quebec City Arena
Oral Questions

November 4th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I reminded her that Mayor Labeaume needs an answer by December 31 on the multi-purpose arena, the minister responsible for the Quebec region answered, and I quote, “...the federal government also has its own deadlines”. In other words, she reiterated, in an offhand manner, what she had already told Mayor Labeaume, that is, to take it easy because nothing is urgent for her.

Can the minister tell us when she plans to announce the government's contribution to funding for the multi-purpose arena?

Quebec City Arena
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent
Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again, the member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord is making false allegations. I have never addressed the mayor of Quebec City in that way.

On the contrary, on October 8, I had a very positive meeting with the mayor of Quebec City, when I advised him that it is vital for the federal government that there be a substantial contribution from the private sector for this project. I am not the only one to have said that. The true leader of the sovereignist movement in Quebec, Pauline Marois, said the same thing.

Quebec City Arena
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister must have a selective memory because that is what she said when discussing the 400th anniversary of Quebec City.

For weeks we have been trying to find out when the Conservatives will make a decision about funding for the Quebec City arena. Mayor Labeaume's deadline is December 31, 2010. If the Conservative government has another deadline, it must say so in order to determine whether Quebec City's Olympic bid will be in jeopardy.

When will we get a real answer? More importantly, when will the government announce that it will provide funding for the construction of a multi-purpose arena in Quebec City?

Quebec City Arena
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent
Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we also look forward to seeing what the Bloc Québécois's financial contribution will be. You can buy almost anything in Quebec with “Bloc dollars”, but nothing tangible is ever delivered. Although the Bloc Québécois claims that it supports Quebec interests, that will not put up many walls or fill many seats in an arena.

Foreign Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, the NDP welcomes a decision by the government to reject the sale of our potash industry. All too rarely does democracy trump blind market ideology around here with the government. It never did with the previous government, that is for sure. Yesterday, the government listened to the people of Saskatchewan and the majority of Canadians and made the right decision.

My question today is simple. Could the Prime Minister explain what is different about the situation with potash compared to the situations regarding nickel, aluminum, cooper, steel and those takeovers? Why were they approved?

Foreign Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the nature of the law here, as I said earlier, is that there is a 30-day period for the company to make further representations to the minister. We are advised that it would be inappropriate in that period of time to explain the reasons for such decisions. However, I can certainly commit to the leader of the NDP and to the House that the government will make clear for the investment community its reasons when the process is concluded.

I also note, in direct answer to his question, that while there have been many other foreign investments made in Canada, this was a rare case where even a large number, if not most, of people in favour of foreign investment opposed this decision.

Foreign Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are facing a rather clumsy approach to these issues by the government. I think that is acknowledged.

It is a good decision, but a lot of uncertainty has been created. It is time we cleared some of that up. Business analysts have echoed our call for some repair to the Investment Canada Act. In particular, we need to make it more transparent, and we are debating our proposals in that regard in the House today.

Will the Prime Minister agree that the culture of secrecy associated with this whole process has gone too far? Will he agree to amend the Investment Canada Act to ensure Canadians have a role in making the decisions when it comes to foreign takeovers, particularly of strategic industries?

Foreign Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, it is fair to say that while we have received the congratulations from the NDP on this issue, we do have very different views.

Our view is that the Canadian economy does require participation in foreign investment markets in a globalized economy. At the same time, we believe that major investments have to be reviewed to ensure they are in the best interests of our country.

The NDP has a broader opposition to foreign investment in principle, one that we think is out of step with the realities of the global economy.

The leader of the NDP raises questions about the act and whether it should be reviewed. While I do not agree with all things in the NDP motion, the act should be reviewed.

Foreign Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry is trying to make us believe that neither the Prime Minister nor the officials responsible for reviewing takeovers made any recommendations in the potash case. It was just the minister and his crystal ball. No one can believe that.

The process must be made public and transparent, so that the public can have a say on the infamous “net benefit”.

Why not change the legislation and support our proposals?

Foreign Takeovers
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to the act, the minister is required to consider all points of view from Canadians and to consider the Canadian economy. That is why he is not allowed to express an opinion before making his decision.

However, as I just said, the minister made a decision that is strongly supported by the Prime Minister, by members of the government, by the members of the Saskatchewan caucus and by the members of the Conservative Party's national caucus.

Office of the Prime Minister
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take advantage of the fact that the Prime Minister is here and that he was standing in order to ask him a question as we try to understand the motivation for appointing Nigel Wright, who is his right-hand man and number two in his office.

Not only does this man intend to do the dirty work because he knows that he will be going back to Onex in 18 months anyway, but he will also be in the middle of it all. He will have privileged information that could help him later in his private interests.

By signing this secret deal with Nigel Wright, has the Prime Minister shown his lack of judgment or does he simply have another agenda?

Office of the Prime Minister
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wright is an intelligent, capable individual who wants to make a contribution to public service. We should welcome people like that who are prepared to put aside their careers and come to Ottawa and serve Canadians. Mr. Wright has sought and followed the direction from the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and will continue to do so.

Office of the Prime Minister
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, Nigel Wright has connections with more than 13 companies and groups: EnSource, Onex, Allison Transmission Inc., Hawker Beechcraft and its ties to Lockheed Martin. Does F-35 ring a bell?

There is potential for conflict of interest with eight departments, including defence, heritage, transport, health and public works. We do not know how he will be used.

Why appoint this individual? I am putting my question to the Prime Minister again. Whose interests are served by this special agreement between him and Nigel Wright? We want to know.

Office of the Prime Minister
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

What Canada needs, Mr. Speaker, is members of Parliament, particularly from the Montreal area, to stand up and support our aerospace industry, to stand up and support one of the most exciting, innovative opportunities for the Montreal economy. Where are Montreal members? Why are they not standing up for the aerospace industry? The member for Bourassa should stand in his place and join the growing number of his Liberal colleagues who are doing the right thing and supporting our armed forces.

Office of the Prime Minister
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, allowing Nigel Wright to keep his interests on Bay Street while he works in the PMO is an obvious conflict of interest. For instance, he will retain his interests in a securities registration company, which connects businesses with the federal government and helps them navigate things like the Bank Act and the securities law. The five-year review of the Bank Act is coming up and Mr. Wright will help design a brand new national securities regulator.

Why can the Prime Minister not recognize the conflict here?