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House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

Canadian Space AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, recently the Canadian Space Agency gave Telesat Canada $428,000 of taxpayers' money to help stabilize the Anik E-2 satellite.

My question is for the Minister of Industry. By whose authority does the Canadian Space Agency give public money to a private consortium?

Canadian Space AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Space Agency, as other agencies of government, has the authority to expend moneys that are voted to it by Parliament.

In the case to which my friend is referring, I understand the problems that existed last winter with the Anik E satellites were, first, ones of great importance to Canada because they represented a communications vehicle for much of the geographical territory of the country. Second, to try to remedy the problem with the satellites in orbit required efforts that really represented useful research in terms of techniques. It was successful.

The view of the space agency, as it has been presented to me, is that the technology or the techniques that were acquired through the process were ones of value to Canada and within the space agency's mandate.

Canadian Space AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is the point in privatizing Telesat Canada and then continuing to throw public money at it? Telesat Canada is a consortium of the largest telephone companies and Spar Aerospace. They do not need individual taxpayers' money.

I have a supplementary question. Would the minister assure the House that agencies under his jurisdiction would not divert public money to private use without specific prior permission from the minister?

Canadian Space AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the question is far too sweeping in its scope. I think the member understands-

Canadian Space AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Sweeping it under the rug.

Canadian Space AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canadian Space AgencyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the last questioner from the Reform Party wanted ministerial involvement at $15,000. It gets a bit ridiculous.

The member will understand that the direction of funds used in the private sector often through procurement or contracts with government is done with the least possible political interference. That is something I would have thought the Reform Party supported.

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Réjean Lefebvre Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. He was confirming what the Auditor General was saying, that Ottawa does not have any management and evaluation tools. In other words, Ottawa is governing in the dark.

In the same line of reasoning, will the Minister of Finance acknowledge that, as the Auditor General was saying, the government is about to reform social programs without the tools to properly evaluate the impacts of that reform?

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Not at all, Mr. Speaker. What I said was that we must absolutely modernize the tools of government.

This is why we asked Ernst & Young for a report, which was handed to us when we came to office. This report is proving very helpful.

I am very surprised that the hon. member does not understand that any modern institution must evolve with new technologies as they develop. I can tell you that, as a government, we intend to use all the technologies available to better manage the country.

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Réjean Lefebvre Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, should we infer from this that the government will proceed with its reform of social programs without evaluating its impacts, simply because the only objective of the reform is to cut into social programs to reduce the deficit?

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the goal is clear. The Minister of Human Resources Development stated it repeatedly. The main goal of the reform of social programs is to update them, to deliver the goods in a more efficient way. We must recognize that the world has changed. The Minister of Human Resources Development has recognized it, and I regret that the Bloc Quebecois is still living in the 1960s.

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canada CustomsOral Question Period

November 28th, 1994 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the national revenue minister has consistently referred to increasing customs enforcement and yet this weekend the Ottawa Sun quoted a Canada Customs official, and I quote: ``If the line is too long we get orders just to wave people through. We don't know how many guns or how much drugs we could be stopping''.

How in the world can the minister reconcile his boast that his department has a 25 per cent increase in enforcement with that statement from a customs officer on the front line?

Canada CustomsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it would seem to me important for the member to compare what might have happened before if he wants to see the impact of a 25 per cent increase in enforcement activities.

I should point out to him also that if we attempted to stop every vehicle and give a complete search, tourism in this country would cease to exist as would trade with the United States.

I should point out to him that we target areas where we feel there is high non-compliance. Therefore, with a number of sophisticated methods of achieving some sort of targeting of high non-compliance areas, we are able to be remarkably effective in the customs work that we do.

Canada CustomsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, as a result of the boasting about the 25 per cent increase, my office contacted his deputy minister's office asking for a substantiation of the revenue minister's claim. That was just on Friday, so to this point we have not yet received a reply.

Surely the minister would not be making unsubstantiated claims. Therefore, could he share with the House where all these extra customs officials are. Would the minister like to share that with the House or are they like Elvis sightings?

Canada CustomsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, last Friday I answered a question from the hon. member but his memory appears to be defective.

I pointed out that we do in fact target different parts of the border at different times of the year, depending on demand and that we do alter the mix of customs officers that we have within a region or across the country. I also pointed out to him that for example at the Commonwealth Games we had 65 extra customs people in Victoria brought in from Yukon, Alberta and other parts of British Columbia. We therefore have a sophisticated system whereby we are able to deploy our resources for the best effect.

With respect to the 25 per cent, I will get him the figures that he has requested. I assure him that we have in fact substantially increased customs activities over the past eight months.

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

Bill C-57 seems to prohibit tariffs on supplementary agricultural imports. Without proper amendment this could jeopardize our ability to safeguard supply management as we are committed to do.

Is the minister prepared to introduce the necessary amendments to the Import and Export Permits Act and the Customs Tariffs Act to ensure that the very essence of Canada's supply management system is maintained?

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy MacLaren LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the administration of our agricultural imports under the new tariff rate quota regime will include provisions for supplementary imports for various purposes.

The government intends to consult all stakeholders and determine what steps must be taken to ensure the continued viability of both primary production and processing in the sectors concerned. If necessary, changes will be proposed to the customs tariff to deal with this.

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

More, more.

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The minister's reading has improved over the years.

Small Business LoansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

My question is for the Minister of Industry.

According to our sources, the $4 billion limit provided for in the Small Businesses Loans Act having been reached, the minister is about to announce an increase of funds available.

Will the minister take advantage of this announcement to fill the financing needs of small businesses by allowing these loan guarantees to be used to finance their working capital?

Small Business LoansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member perhaps will know that when the supplementary estimates were tabled an increase in the ceiling on the limits under the Small Businesses Loans Act was included. We will be continuing our consultation with the groups affected by the Small Businesses Loans Act in order to endeavour to make adjustments to the program which will be acceptable to them and which will render the program more fully cost recoverable.

Small Business LoansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, again to facilitate small business access to financing, is it the minister's intention to respect the red book's commitments and see to it that business owners no longer have to post personal bonds in order to be entitled to loans under the Small Businesses Loans Act?

Small Business LoansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, if I understand the member's suggestion we should eliminate the obligation to post personal bonds in order to get loans under this program.

I want him to understand that we are going to look, with the assistance of himself as well, at the mechanisms underlying this program and try to find the best possible way to make the program most effective to the largest number of small businesses.

He will understand the cost incurred in doing that is one that has to be recovered. This is clearly the principal program we have for dealing with the borrowing needs of small business. In designing the program we will have to make sure we do it in the most effective way possible to benefit the largest possible number of small businesses.