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House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was process.

Topics

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we clearly stated that this government's priority was job creation. We adapted our budget policies accordingly. In the past few months, we have already seen the situation improve. It will take some time, but I am convinced that the finance minister's budget has put the country on the right track for job creation.

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

March 21st, 1994 / 2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. In the Ginn Publishing affair, today's Toronto Star , quoting sources in the Prime Minister's Office, made surprising revelations on the heritage minister's behaviour.

In particular, we learned that the minister did not see fit, before authorizing the deal, to read the legal advice on which he bases his own authorization.

How does the minister explain the thoughtless and irresponsible way he acted in authorizing this bad deal without first reading the legal advice in question?

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I see that the favourite soap opera of the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata is also watched by her colleagues. But soap operas are works of fiction and not fact.

I gave the facts to this House. I said that I had read and studied the recommendations made by the Department of Justice and I think that the decision that was made was explained and understood; the hon. member only has to read Hansard to know where we stand.

I hasten to say that the alternative would have been to use taxpayers' money to finance questionable legal proceedings. I prefer to see this money support the publishing industry I deeply care about.

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the minister also admit that, after reading the legal advice prepared for the previous Conservative government in 1990, he realized this advice was far from definite regarding the government's obligation to honour the so-called verbal promise it is now invoking? And would he agree to table the legal advice on which he is now trying to base his position?

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to see that the hon. member has started to read English-language newspapers. They do not necessarily cover all that goes on in the minister's office. After reading and studying the advice, I came to the conclusions I stated on several occasions in this House. I think I cannot tell him much more than the truth.

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister who again today reiterated his government's first priority is job creation. It is becoming increasingly clear to Canadians that the government does not have any coherent strategy for the creation of sustainable jobs.

Past experience proves that government financed projects usually fail on two accounts. First, they do not create sustainable jobs and, second, they rob millions of tax dollars that could be used to prepare workers wishing to enter the new economy or could be used to assist the most vulnerable members of our society.

When will the Prime Minister abandon his contradictory approach to job creation to increase spending on one hand and decrease spending on the other? When will he commit his government to reduce overall public spending so that taxes can be cut and the private sector can create real jobs for 1.6 million Canadians?

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as was indicated in the earlier question, I have just returned from a meeting of the G-7 on jobs in Detroit and over the weekend a meeting of APEC, the fastest growing segment of the world's economy at the present time, dealing with many of the same issues.

It was fascinating. The measures those fast growing countries are taking are exactly the ones that we outlined in our budget.

What are they? They are a reduction of the cancer killing taxes on jobs such as unemployment insurance premiums. They are an encouragement to small and medium sized business, the major creator of jobs not only in this country but in all other countries. They are an encouragement of the newer technologies, networks for small businesses, access to new technologies, matching grants between universities and the private sector.

We have set out a very clear jobs plan and that jobs plan is going to make this a much stronger country for Canadians.

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the minister recognizes some of these cancers but one cancer he did not mention was funding for regional development.

Last week Hyundai announced that its assembly plant in Bromont, Quebec, would remain closed indefinitely. This is a perfect example of a regional development project gone bad.

Does the minister agree that the most effective and efficient way his government can create jobs is to stop influencing business decisions with short term public subsidies and instead encourage the private sector to get Canada back to work by getting public sector spending under control?

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that getting public sector spending under control is a very important objec-

tive of any government. It certainly is of this government and our budget demonstrates that.

In terms of subsidies to business, we undertook in the budget a very large reduction in subsidies to business that we deem to be counter-productive. It is in the budget. We have also said that we are continuing to look at the wide range of other ways in which government and business interact to make sure that there are no obstacles placed in the way of business.

On the one issue that the member raised, all members in the House and certainly the members opposite feel very badly and are very disappointed by the decision of Hyundai to delay the reopening of its plant.

The minister of human resources has already begun discussions with the laid-off workers at that plant to see what can be done. We as a government have begun discussions with Hyundai to see if there are other alternatives for the plant.

When I was in a meeting with the APEC members, I had the opportunity to discuss that subject with the Minister of Finance of Korea. We are going to continue to watch it very closely.

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the point we are trying to get across is that a little cutting of regional development grants is not the answer. We need to scrap the whole concept because it is not working.

Let me illustrate with another example. This is out west and not in Quebec. A perfect example is the almost $4 million loaned to Myrias Research Corporation by Western Diversification to an Edmonton group in 1990. The final loan of more than $500,000 was made just two weeks before the company went into receivership, creating no jobs. Has the minister learned from the past administration that regional development is a huge waste of tax dollars and will he take steps to eliminate all federal regional development spending from our unbalanced budget?

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, members of the Reform Party cannot have it both ways. They cannot stand up at one time and talk to the Minister of National Defence when certain base closures are occurring and then ask what is going to be done for that particular area, whether there is going to be regional development. Then they turn around and say we cannot do it generally.

The fact is that this political party in opposition and now in government has said that we think a lot of regional development in this country has been applied to pork barrel grants to industry, grants to companies that do not need it, which simply makes no sense.

That is why, and any one of the ministers can tell you that, the minister responsible for ACOA, the minister responsible for the western diversification fund, and the minister responsible for FORD-Q have completed a thorough re-evaluation of the way regional development was taking place, and we are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Ginn PublishingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

In this same article on Ginn Publishing in the Toronto Star we read: ``This was a deal cooked behind the scenes by lobbyists and officials''. We are told that it was lobbyists who threw the deal together on behalf of Paramount at a meeting with government representatives.

Can the minister confirm that this infamous deal, partly written, partly verbal, which the government refuses to make public was made by a lobbyist acting on behalf of Paramount?

Ginn PublishingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, on this account I have to go by hearsay.

This government was not in office and therefore we cannot give information which we ourselves do not have. I have of course retraced the statements which are to me, as I said, hearsay.

Ginn PublishingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker I thank the minister for his answer. My additional question is directed to the Prime Minister.

Since the Toronto Star is quoting sources from the Prime Minister's office to the effect that the Ginn Publishing mess is the result of secret dealings of lobbyists acting on behalf of private interests, does the Prime Minister recognize the urgent need to ensure through legislative action full openness with regard to the activities of such lobbyists?

Ginn PublishingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker I do not know if there is a source like that. Senior staff in my office talk to me but nobody has talked to me about this problem.

If that so-called very close source is one of mine, I would like to know the name. If the member has the name I ask him to give it to me. What is a source? I need a name.

I would be surprised if somebody is afraid to talk to me but will talk to the press. If there is such a person I would like to have the name. He will have a lot of occasions to talk to the press for the rest of his life.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal campaign promises and the recent budget indicated that the government will increase the number of child care spaces once the real economic growth exceeds 3 per cent. The estimated cost to the Canadian taxpayer that I have seen for this is about $1.5 billion. I might add that expenditure amounts do not even reflect an increase in the estimates for 1995-1996.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Since the budget projects a 3 per cent growth rate, will the minister confirm the government's commitment to this $1.5 billion program?

Child CareOral Question Period

2:25 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 budget contains a projection for the expenditure on the day care spaces on the basis that we do expect growth will be 3 per cent or in excess thereof.

Although we have provided for it, the spending on day care spaces is of course dependent upon agreement with the provinces. The spending on day care fulfils a multitude of purposes. Not only is it in itself an important creator of jobs, but it also permits a substantial segment of our society desirous of working the opportunity to do so.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, just about anything can be spent in the name of jobs, jobs, jobs.

The investors, small businessmen and Canadian taxpayers would be more interested in understanding if our economy should grow at 3 per cent why the government would not prefer to pay down the deficit and pay some of the bills rather than create more child care spaces and spending $1.5 billion of taxpayers' money.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there are substantial expenditure cuts within our budget.

It does not take a close observation of the numbers to understand that we are not going to eliminate the deficit unless at the same time that we are cutting we are getting the economy going, creating jobs and getting some growth.

Let me say one thing. We as a government have said that the major element of job creation is the private sector. The element of the private sector which is going to do that is small and medium sized business. The member opposite ought to realize that women entrepreneurs do the majority of successful start-ups in small and medium sized businesses. They are the ones who want the child care.

Hyundai Car PlantOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Over the weekend, we learned that the Hyundai plant in Bromont would be suspending its operations indefinitely in the Eastern Townships. Hyundai will be laying off more than 800 highly skilled workers whose average age is between 25 and 30.

Given the scope of the federal grants awarded to the Hyundai automobile plant, what conditions did the government impose on the company to guarantee that it would reopen the Bromont facilities, thus preserving jobs?

Hyundai Car PlantOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this is a very valid question. As I stated in an earlier answer, we are extremely disappointed that Hyundai has delayed the reopening of its plant. The federal office has already begun discussions with Hyundai and the Minister of Industry also plans to take up this matter with the company. With respect to grants-and the question is perfectly relevant-we are now in the process of determining, along with the Government of Quebec, what our exact position on this matter will be.

Hyundai Car PlantOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister says he is disappointed. Well, the people in my region are disappointed as well. Should Hyundai refuse to reopen its plant in Bromont, has the government considered another alternative which would at least preserve the 825 high-tech jobs now in Bromont?

Hyundai Car PlantOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this would certainly be the objective of our government and of the Government of Quebec. This is why we have begun discussions with the provincial government and with the company, to see whether we can come up with an alternative proposal should the plant remain closed.

EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

In 1974 the Ministry of the Environment leased a parcel of land in my riding for the construction of the Pacific environment

centre. The centre was never built, but the lease payment on the empty land is now $3.1 million annually and is likely to rise during the remaining 51 years of the lease.

Would the minister please tell the House what steps have been taken to end this wasteful spending?

EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis Québec

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I take the question under advisement and will give a full report to the hon. member as soon as possible.