House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was census.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Questions

November 5th, 2010 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, CBC and Globe and Mail revelations about the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board are astounding. Apparently, some of the Conservative government's own people have been carrying out suspicious transactions involving tax havens.

He approved transfers of funds from a Canadian account to a Swiss account for the purpose of tax evasion, pure and simple. As an experienced banker, he knew exactly what he was doing.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board step aside until the investigation is complete?

Taxation
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I regret that the member would come to this place and ask that type of question. That type of question is worse than a drive-by smear. It is a hit and run.

This government has consistently worked to tackle tax evasion. The Prime Minister in the last few weeks was in Switzerland signing a new accord with Switzerland so that we could clamp down and ensure that every Canadian pays every single cent of tax that is required. That is the fair and right thing to do.

Taxation
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, this helps explain why the Conservative government is so notoriously lax when dealing with tax havens. The Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board simply cannot continue in his role while this is under investigation. He has to step aside.

A federal affidavit reads that Credit Suisse, for whom he made these transfers, is believed to have “facilitated the movement of funds offshore” for clients wanting to “hide their investments and other income from the CRA”, the Canada Revenue Agency.

The parliamentary secretary authorized these transfers, and as an experienced banker, he knew exactly what he was doing and why.

How often did he set up these money transfers to Switzerland and to other tax havens?

Taxation
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this government has been very clear. If Canadians are using Swiss bank accounts to avoid paying income taxes, we will use the full force of Canadian law and the new agreement that the Prime Minister successfully negotiated with the Swiss authorities in the last few weeks.

Every Canadian should be paying his or her fair share of taxes. Last year our government collected over $1 billion in uncovered and unpaid tax from hidden international accounts and assets. That shows we are not just talking, we are actually acting on ensuring that the Canadian tax system is fair.

Taxation
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mark Carney names one of his cronies from Goldman Sachs to rewrite the rules on derivatives and the Prime Minister sees no problem, even though there is no cooling-off period before the guy can go back to Bay Street.

The Prime Minister's new chief of staff will be free to return to Onex once he has learned everything there is to learn about the government's plans. No problem there either.

The chairman of the government operations committee negotiates a sweetheart deal for himself with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce while still in office. So what?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board is a fixer for tax havens. Who cares?

Those are the Conservatives' ethical standards. Canadians deserve more.

Taxation
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite is demonstrating his ethical standards by the content of that question.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, General Deschamps stated last night in an interview that the statement of requirements to replace the CF-18 was only finalized in the spring of 2010. General Deschamps even contradicted the defence minister, saying that the MOU in 2008 with Lockheed Martin was not an open competition or even a commitment.

Who is telling the truth, the minister or the general?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member once again is forgetting that while he and his colleagues were in government, they did the competitive process. There was a winner and it was Lockheed Martin. We are motivated to give the very best equipment to the members of our Canadian military so that they can do their job for Canada and Canadians.

The only question I have for the hon. member is, when is he going to stand up for Montreal's interest in the aerospace sector? When is he going to tell his own leader to get off the pot when it comes to this and realize that jobs and opportunities are going to be lost if the Liberals cancel the contract? That is if the Liberals ever get into power. Let us hope that never happens.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about Montreal. It is becoming clearer and clearer that the Minister of National Defence did not do his homework to find out whether another kind of plane would meet National Defence's needs. They wanted one particular plane, period. Yet, not only did companies like Boeing and Dassault have products with comparable specifications, but Dassault was also prepared to make a full technology transfer. That would better serve the aerospace industry in Quebec and Montreal. That would be better for the entire aerospace industry.

When will the Conservative government issue a true call for tenders, a real competitive process for those of us in Montreal, now that there is no longer any reason not to?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what we would like to know on this side of the House is, what does the hon. member have against Pratt & Whitney? Why does he not want that great company in the Mirabel area and Saint-Laurent to be more successful?

It is part of the consortium. It is delivering its part of the JSF, the F-35. Why does he not care about Pratt & Whitney? Why does he not care about Montreal workers? Why does he not do his job for Montreal instead of doing his job for the Liberal caucus and the ideas of the Liberal leader, which are out of sync with Canada and Canadians?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, expert Alan Wiliams said that a competitive process would maximize economic spinoffs.

Competitors are telling anyone who will listen that they will guarantee more economic spinoffs for Canada.

This is not complicated. A competitive process means more jobs. The Conservative plan means fewer jobs, fewer spinoffs for our economy and planes that cost almost 20% more.

Why are they stubbornly refusing to launch a competitive process?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is not true at all.

What the Liberal leader and the Liberal caucus, including the Montreal MPs are advocating is that we scrap the deal and start again with a process when we already had a competitive process. That would mean lost jobs for Montreal companies because they will be in abeyance with their contracts until they get around to ordering planes. That is not good enough. It is not good enough for the Canadian military and it is certainly not good enough for the aerospace industry and the workers of Canada.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it sounds as though he is reading a script that he no longer believes in.

Even the Pentagon has balked at the production costs for this plane.

Yesterday, we discovered that their selection process was bungled. They did not even take the time to study other options. Their choice is irresponsible, an insult to taxpayers and our soldiers.

Why are they so afraid to launch a competitive bidding process?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have no script. The hon. member is reading a script from the office of the Leader of the Opposition, but we do not have a script. We have passion: passion for Canada, passion for jobs and passion for the aerospace industry.

They laugh on the other side of the House but I can tell them the Pratt & Whitney worker is not laughing. The worker in Winnipeg in the aerospace sector is not laughing. The worker in Delta, B.C. is not laughing. They know they only have one choice on who is going to defend the interests of aerospace workers and the interests of the Canadian military and that is this government, the members on this side of the House.

Taxation
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, while he worked for Crédit Suisse, the member for North Vancouver approved the transfer of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Switzerland for a couple that was allegedly trying to hide money from Revenue Canada. This very serious information can be found in documents submitted to the Federal Court.

Will the Prime Minister relieve the member of his responsibilities as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board until the proceedings are completed?