House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was lobbyists.


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1:05 p.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, I see the hon. parliamentary secretary is afraid of the truth, so he raises points of order to interrupt me and gain time. They had ample time to say what they wanted between the four or five Bloc Quebecois members who just spoke; they did not do so simply because they have nothing to say. They just want this debate to end because they are ashamed, they bow their heads so as not to see their own minister, their own party say today exactly the opposite of what they said during the election campaign. It is now time for them to reward friends of the party, those who brought them to power. They have to return favours.

There is a clear explanation for the 22 committees announced in the last budget. Why create so many working committees when they had the red book and said that it contained solutions to all problems? According to them, there were solutions for all issues and the government had plans in all areas. But that was not enough, they had to create 22 advisory committees with the last budget. Why? Because these committees will need communication companies, lobbying firms and people to subpoena witnesses so it will be possible to reward friends of the party and financial contributors. So they spread favours around generously, just like the Tories did in 1984. They reward people and then they will present a bill on lobbying and say: "We must change things now that we have taken care of our friends".

This Pearson operation is typical; let us not call it the bill, but rather the Pearson operation. This operation rewards friends of the party. If you are sincere when you say you want to solve the problem, as you seemed to be during the election campaign, then throw down your masks, show your face, accept a commission of inquiry; you will not be smeared if you are really sincere, if you did nothing wrong. Take off your masks, create the commission of inquiry and then we will see. We will see if you are so innocent and if your are sincere when you speak about lobbying. If the commission of inquiry concludes that changes are required, we will then invite you to go even further. That will be the real step, the first real step in the right direction, the direction of party financing by the people.

I presented a motion on that point. What did the Liberal members reply?

They ridiculed a motion which exemplifies the beauty and the greatness of Quebec in the area of political transparency. Other provinces share the same desire since seven of them limit the amount of donations to political parties. At least, they set a limit. Here, in the House of Commons, we will not set any limit. The government knows which side its bread is buttered on. I understand why the Liberal members remain silent, their heads bowed low in shame. They were financed by these people.

When I was a senior at l'Académie de Québec, my philosophy teacher, after a particularly brilliant argument which had left us speechless or totally unable to counter, used to say: "Dear friends, it is not given to swines to appreciate pearls". Of course, he said that in jest. I wonder what he would think-he is long dead now, but I cannot help thinking of him and he might be doing the same right now-if he saw this scandalous piece of legislation. Bill C-22 could have heralded a new approach regarding lobbying firms and transparency. But instead, what we have is a Conservative document.

This bill is no different from those the Tories used to pass to protect their buddies, their clique. No wonder we have a deficit. No wonder no decision is made. It is because the government is waiting. It just came to office and is giving its financial supporters a chance to fill their own pockets, under the same system as we had with the Tories.

That is why we say that it is high time for the government to make a move, and order a commission of inquiry as requested by the Bloc Quebecois. It would go a long way, not only to get to the bottom of this, but also to expose all the secret manoeuvring of lobbying firms and, eventually, to control their actions through a well-structured piece of legislation that could remedy this situation.

I see that my time has expired but I am sure that I will be granted unanimous consent to continue for another ten minutes or so. The member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell is signalling me. I thank him. I will then continue for just 10 minutes.

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1:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. The member asked the question. Is there unanimous consent for him to go on?

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1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members


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1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members


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1:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It does not look like it.

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1:10 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario


Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the speech of my colleague, the member for Richelieu, prompts me to take part in this debate, even though I do not have much influence in the Toronto Lester B. Pearson airport deal, as member for Kingston and the Islands.

In any case, this contract poses a problem and I am glad this government did something to correct the situation.

What we have been faced with is a filibuster by members of the party opposite who seem to think that when the government tries to fix something they had better jump on bandwagon.

I know what happened. Throughout the election campaign while we were criticizing this deal and indicating that it was unacceptable to the people of Canada, we heard absolutely nothing from the hon. member for Richelieu and his colleagues. They are busy trying to make up for lost time and they are doing it by making windy speeches in the House, saying how awful this is. They are trying to find fault with a perfectly reasonable and sensible government bill that gives the government the power to abrogate this deal. That is my understanding of it.

The hon. member for Broadview-Greenwood made an excellent speech on this subject the other day and so did the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell. I was impressed because I was hearing the facts about the bill for the first time instead of the distortion we have been faced with from hon. members opposite.

I know the hon. member for Richelieu used to be a Conservative. He was part of the bunch who cooked up this deal. I can understand why he left that party; he had some sense of shame. He knew a bad deal when he saw one. He could smell a rat. That is what this deal was.

We saw it and we talked about it. The hon. member was not speaking about it and he should have been. He should have been denouncing this deal up and down the country. Instead of that, he was off talking about Quebec independence. He could have been talking about this deal because he knows a bad government. He was elected to support that government. That is the shame of it.

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1:15 p.m.

An hon. member

That is why he changed.

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1:15 p.m.


Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

The hon. member now says that is why he changed. I am glad he saw at least some light. Unfortunately there was not quite enough light to bring him to the other side of the House.

Nevertheless, the hon. member realized it was the previous government that caused this calamity. It made this deal and made it in a great rush before it got defeated at the polls. Those members knew that government was going out, so what did they do? They ran to their friends and said: "Quick, let's make a deal. We will sell the airport to you because those Liberals won't sell it to you, not on these favourable terms. Let's make a quick deal and we do not care if we hoodwink the Canadian taxpayers on the way by". Of course the Tories had been doing that for nine years anyway. Everybody knows that.

They cooked up this deal to get it through in a hurry while the hon. member opposite stayed silent. Our party, to its credit, denounced the deal from the very beginning and announced it would review the deal. That was the right thing to do.

We announced we would review the deal on taking office and that was done. It was a promise made and a promise kept. Hon. Robert Nixon was appointed to review this deal thoroughly and capably and he prepared a report. He said the deal was no good, that it was a bad deal for the Canadian taxpayers. Accordingly, the deal was rescinded by the government.

We have acted entirely properly on this. Now we are faced with a filibuster in the House by the opposition because it somehow wants to try to find fault with this thing. That is what it says.

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1:15 p.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON


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1:15 p.m.


Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Johnny-come-latelys is right, as the hon. member says. Not only are they Johnny-come-latelys, they are busy trying to pretend it was they who opposed it all along and that somehow the government has not followed through and done its bit.

The government has done its bit. It is asking for authority from this House to make a negotiated deal on very reasonable terms with the purchasers of the airport. If the deal is not favourable, then there will be no compensation at all. That is my understanding of the effect of the bill and I think it is great.

I will not bother expressing my own personal views on how much these people should get, but I can tell members it is a very low figure. I will go that far. The argument is that it should not be done retroactively but I do not think this argument holds weight.

These people went into this deal with their eyes open. They knew they were faced with an opposition party at the time, the Liberal Party of Canada, which announced it was going to review the deal. The investors knew they were at risk of losing any money they put into the deal when they went ahead with it, with the previous government which one could almost describe as crooked in its dealings in this case.

The deal has been canned by the government. The legislation is asking the House for authority to correct the situation. It is good legislation. The opposition should be supporting it enthusiastically. Instead, what do we get? An amendment has been moved. Since we are debating the amendment, let me read the words of the amendment to the House because some hon. members opposite may have forgotten what it was they moved many days ago, early in this debate.

I want to point out that no bill has taken anywhere near as long as this one to get through the House. This is a fairly minor piece of legislation, yet the opposition has gone berserk on it. It is amusing to listen, but honestly one would think they would have had their priorities better placed. They have run out of stuff to criticize. That is the problem. The government is so good they do not know what to criticize.

The amendment says that the House declines to give second reading to Bill C-22 and so on "because the principle of the bill is flawed due to the fact that it contains no provisions aimed at making the work done by lobbyists more transparent". What utter nonsense. Of course it does not. This is not a lobbyists bill. This is not one that seeks to change the law relating to lobbyists. This corrects one mistake in one contract and gives the government authority to correct the mistake. That is all it is for.

The bill does not say it is to change the rules relating to lobbyists. It never purported to do that. The government announced it is going to bring in such a bill. All we hear is criticism from the other side because we have not moved quickly enough on that. The bill will be forthcoming shortly.

Hon. members opposite need only hold their breath for a short time. I recommend they do so and the bill will appear.

When the bill appears they will have ample opportunity to discuss the law relating to lobbyists. They do not need to do it on this bill, but I am delighted they have taken the opportunity. At least we have the advantage of receiving their views on a lobbyists bill. We know when it finally comes before the House the debate will be extremely short because they have all made their speeches on it ad nauseam on this particular amendment.

I am looking forward to a very short debate on the lobbyists bill and getting it studied in detail in committee. I know hon. members of the Bloc Quebecois particularly, the Official Opposition in the House, will participate in the committee enthusiastically when that bill comes before us.

In the meantime, why are we delaying this very important piece of legislation? Is it because they want a general discussion on lobbyists? Maybe. If so, they have not said a lot about that. They have been busy denouncing this deal, which we all agree is a bad deal.

I do not think anybody in the House is at variance on that, except possibly that former cabinet minister who sits in the back over there now, the hon. member for Sherbrooke. His views may be shared by the hon. member for Saint John. I would not want to accuse her of supporting a deal like that because of course she was not elected to this House in the last Parliament, although she ran as a candidate for the party that did make the deal.

I think they are the only two in the House who would support it. Of course we have not heard their views that I recall in this debate, so I do not know for sure whether they support this bill. However the opposition does not. The Reform Party does not. The government does not. The New Democratic Party, to the best of my knowledge, does not.

So why all the debate? Hon. members opposite are simply, as I say, trying to jump on a bandwagon to make up for the fact that they failed to criticize this deal, failed to make their criticisms known publicly before the election.

Why was that? Is it because so many of the members of the party opposite were once Conservative and they feel some kinship with the former government that made this deal? Could it be that the hon. member for Richelieu and his colleagues who used to be Tories before they became members of the Bloc feel they ought not criticize the fellow that got them elected in the first place, Mr. Mulroney? It was his government of course and his successor government that made this deal. The deal was clearly made with the friends of the previous government, although it was the Kim Campbell government that made the arrangement.

Is that why there has been this reticence on the part of the opposition? The Leader of the Opposition of course was a Mulroney puppet at one time. He owes his whole political career to Mr. Mulroney.

It cost $143 million, was it not, to get him elected? Is that not what they paid to get him elected in his riding in a byelection? If that is what it cost, maybe that was the price of his silence on this issue until the debate came up here in the House of Commons, long after the event, instead of a level criticism dumped on this deal early on, way back during the election campaign. That is the kind of thing that should have happened.

Here the government is seeking to do the right thing and all we get is a long debate with criticisms thrown at the government as though somehow we had made this deal. We unmade the deal; we cancelled it. We have brought the bill in to correct the situation. Hon. members opposite instead of criticizing the government for this should be offering their enthusiastic support for this legislation.

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1:20 p.m.


Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I take the opportunity given me by this debate on Bill C-22 to draw the attention of hon. members on the links between several, apparently unrelated, circumstances.

On May 4, the Globe and Mail reported that federal contracts to the private sector, which amounted to $2.9 billion in 1984-85, reached $5.2 billion in 1992-93, and will reach an even higher level in 1993-94. The largest item, $332 million, is related to the maintenance of the air fleet.

Strange coincidence when talking about the sale of Pearsonairport to private interests. The second item, $330 million in 1992-93, is for the management of foreign aid. This expenditure is important when you realize the problems and the complexity of managing CIDA, an agency which, following the Auditor General's report, is trying to prepare a management plan for its activities scattered, as we know, in 115 countries around the world. Federal contracts for the department of defence have gone up from $740 million in 1984-85, to $1.5 billion in 1992-93.

The budget for temporary employment has jumped from $52 million to $101 million in the same period, this means that it has doubled in nine years. What is more disturbing is that, still according to the Globe and Mail , almost half the 36,166 contracts signed in 1992-93 were awarded without call for tenders. I would like to quote Mr. Daryl Bean, president of the

Public Service Alliance of Canada who said in this regard: "Too often selected firms are friends of the government".

Mr. Martin's budget of February 22 is revealing on that subject. According to the minister's statement on that day, it is giving corporations a series of tax benefits in order to promote job creation.

Money for these tax benefits comes from the cancellation of the age credit and cuts in the unemployment insurance program. We are asking the elderly and the unemployed to make sacrifices. As the members know, these sacrifices were to no avail because of the interest rate increase which added further to the Canadian debt these last few weeks. The government is robbing the needy with one hand while giving to its friends with the other. What is it waiting for to cut tax credits and corporate funding, to impose a minimum tax on corporations and large fortunes, to go on with the broadening of the tax base that the minister is boasting about, to broaden it in order to include family trusts?

In his 1993 report, the Auditor General denounced the federal government's permissiveness when dealing with resource-based companies. As we all know a legal dispute that has been going on for 14 years between the government and these companies cost the Consolidated Revenue Fund some $1.2 billion.

The whole question of federal contracts and taxation of corporations and shareholders leads to considerations about political party financing and transparency in the central government's management which have not been exactly the strong points of our new government since election day, last October 25. While the Bloc Quebecois has adopted the principle of financing by the public, the Conservative and Liberal parties always objected to such a financing system and still receive their funds from both companies and individuals.

We only have to consult the list of big donors of the traditional political parties, it is in the public domain. We can see that those two parties are like two peas in a pod as far as election financing is concerned.

Both Liberals and Conservatives have big donors and Canadian banks are among the biggest. During a recession, these institutions always make record profits, pay very little tax in the end and can only profit from an asset sale to private investors or the buying of lame ducks from private sector by the government. The banks know that the federal government cannot in theory, even if in theory only, go bankrupt, so they will always be eager to finance the government's buying or selling of assets. Lending institutions can only benefit from the proliferation of asset transfers they have helped to bring about.

Mention should be made at this time of one Canadian lending institution which took the liberty of intervening in the debate during the Charlottetown referendum. Like other corporations, it now prefers to operate behind the scenes and avoid public discussions. Lending institutions are always connected with federal contracts and with major government transactions such as the sale of Pearson airport, the only truly profitable airport in the country.

Obviously, all of the aspects of this deal are interconnected. In planning to compensate the Conservative and Liberal investors involved in the aborted deal to purchase Pearson Airport, the Liberal government is merely returning the favour to those who contribute to the campaign coffers of the old parties. These investors took a business risk. If they had made windfall profits, would a bill have been introduced to tax these too easy or fantastic profits? Obviously, the answer to that question is no. Why then pay compensation to investors at the expense of the average taxpayer? If this agreement had been concluded between two private parties, one would not have received any compensation at all. Why then use taxpayers' money to compensate private investors who took a normal business risk which ultimately did not pan out?

The same phenomenon occurs when a call for tenders goes out. Bidders often incur administrative charges and professional fees in preparing their bid. Obviously, the contract can be awarded to only one bidder. Are all of the other bidders compensated for the expenses they incurred? No. Why are there always two standards, one for the private sector and one for the government? Is it because most of the principal stakeholders in this deal have ties to the Liberal and Conservative parties?

Consider the $1,000 a plate fundraising dinner held in Westmount during the last election campaign. A number of those closely connected with the sale of Pearson Airport were in attendance. Consider as well the $300 a plate benefit dinner held last week in Montreal which attracted a crowd of 1,600 people. We can safely say that a number of those in attendance were very interested in Bill C-22 and in the compensation to be paid eventually to investors in the deal.

The Bloc Quebecois objects to any form of compensation being paid to investors and therefore, I will vote against Bill C-22. To quote the excellent legislative summary prepared by the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament, "pursuant to clause 10 of Bill C-22, the Minister of Transport may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into agreements to provide for the payment of such amounts as considered appropriate in view of the cancellation". We are opposed to clause 10. Why should compensation be paid to some people if they were able to take advantage of their relations?

We ask the government to legislate as soon as possible to control the activity of lobbyists as it promised to do in the last election campaign. Why do the Liberals not change Bill C-44 on lobbyists that the Conservatives passed in 1988? According to the report of the inquiry by Mr. Robert Nixon, whom the present Prime Minister charged with reviewing the Pearson Airport affair:

The exact amount of money received by the lobbyists is not known. According to the real estate developers' sources, it would amount to $1.5 million over 18 months.

Mr. Nixon also questions the excessive rate of return granted to the airport tenant. He also mentions the role of patronage and pressure groups in this transaction. The role of lobbyists in this affair went beyond what is usually expected. The investigator tells us that lobbyists were directly responsible for the reassignment of several senior officials and the request from some other officials to be replaced.

We ask the government to get to the bottom of this transaction and to hold an independent public inquiry which alone can reassure disillusioned taxpayers. Is this another promise in the red book that will remain a dead letter or be postponed indefinitely? When does the government intend to keep the promise mentioned in the red book during the election campaign of a code of ethics for ministers, senators and members of Parliament, political staff and public servants, to provide a proper framework for their relations with pressure groups? The openness and accountability of government are at stake.

In conclusion, for us in the Bloc Quebecois, in future, Pearson Airport in Toronto should be run by a non-profit airport authority, like the airports in Montreal and Vancouver.

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1:30 p.m.


Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I speak again on the issue of Pearson Airport, a subject close to our hearts. I would like to start by responding to a point the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands made earlier in his speech. My friend opposite said the Bloc Quebecois was criticizing and that we might be criticising for the sake of criticizing or because we could find nothing else to criticize.

First, the people across the way should not forget they are the ones responsible for the legislative agenda. Bring in something else and we will go along. It is just that so far in this Parliament, the legislative agenda has been rather light. The people of Canada and Quebec have a right to see things happening here.

Many promises were made in the red book. Now, the government is getting political mileage out of making good so to speak some of these promises. But we need more than mere promises to make this country work.

There is an echo in this place, Mr. Speaker. So, I will carry on with my speech to make sure the Bloc Quebecois' position on this is perfectly clear. For the information of the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, I would like to quote, if I may, from an article published on May 9 in the Ottawa Citizen . I think it shows pretty clearly why the Bloc Quebecois is questioning the Liberals' motives for wanting to pass this motion so quickly.

I am not perfectly bilingual, but I will read this article in the language of Shakespeare, as it was written in English. This will give the anglophones in my riding an opportunity to hear how I speak this language I am trying to learn but have not yet mastered.

Here is what Mr. Greg Weston wrote. I will spare you certain points of detail, but the part that I found particularly interesting reads as follows:

Given the billions in potential profits the developer lost in all this and the government's apparent bazooka-like approach to compensation, the silence from the negotiating table seems rather deafening.

Cela veut dire que ça rend sourd un peu.

In that respect one observation from the recent compensation meeting in Toronto is perhaps worth noting: The firm with the largest stake in the development consortium and therefore the most to lose is Claridge Properties. It happens to be controlled by Montreal billionaire Charles Bronfman who happens to be a friend of the Liberal Party.

L'histoire commence à être intéressante.

As it also happens the Liberal government still wants to develop Pearson airport in a big way, will be looking for a suitable developer and is eager to get the work started this fall. One of those at the recent compensation meeting in Toronto observed a pretty relaxed group of Claridge executives. Interesting, no?

That is what our friend Greg Weston wrote in the Ottawa Citizen on May 9. How can we, from the Bloc Quebecois, give the Liberals opposite a blank cheque when there is already talk about games being played behind the scenes?

We want to know what we are dealing with before any compensation is paid. We want to know what happened, and who was involved in particular, to see how Pearson airport could be developed later on.

We sense certain things. We hear that the government wants to develop Pearson Airport, still. So, it would be very interesting to start over with a clean slate, instead of using what I might call the "humus" borrowed from the previous government and the current one as well.

I also wanted to stress the importance of this case. We are not talking about something minor. Some 57,000 passengers go through this airport. Twenty million passengers a year. Three hundred destinations in 60 countries. Plus 56,000 direct and indirect jobs and some $4 billion in economic spinoffs in Ontario.

So this is very important; we cannot remain silent and trust them when they say that there were no lobbyists. The $4 billion at stake is very important for the economy.

The contract still has not been made public. However, if we believe what journalists have told us about it, the Nixon report points out that lobbyists' involvement of this case seems unusual. Lobbyists were more active in this case than in any other where the government must make decisions. So it is very

important that Canadians and Quebecers be aware of what goes on behind the scenes.

Another thing that struck me is how fast the contract was signed in the midst of last year's election campaign. The former Prime Minister hastened to sign this contract, this agreement, despite the current Prime Minister's election promise to cancel it. However, the same bunch of friends seem to be hiding behind all this. I think that Canadians and Quebecers have the right to know what is going on.

The other thing that bothers me is that, in the redevelopment and operation of Pearson Airport, the government had promised not to finance the modernization of Terminal 1. Nevertheless, it has apparently granted rent reductions worth several millions of dollars, which amounts to investing. It seems as though the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.

The Nixon report also lists 10 unusual deductions for calculating gross revenue on which the rent is based. Again, are friends of the current and former governments pulling the strings to help themselves? For us, it is very important that all this be disclosed.

The other point, as there are two kinds of opposition in this country: Opposition members and the media. The Toronto Star also tells us that, according to its own research, the transaction would probably have triggered an increase in the per passenger cost related to the use of this airport. The increase would have been passed on to users. If it is a government responsibility to develop transport networks in Canada, I think that the government must assume the responsibility of facing Canadians and telling them that this transaction will result in increased costs to them, instead of relying on a friend to do that dirty job.

Let us say a word about this government which refuses to shed light on the issue and refuses to conduct an inquiry into that transaction. We are dealing with the transport sector. On Thursday, I must go back to my riding. I will sit on a rural dignity committee and listen to people who have things to say about railroad transport in Eastern Quebec, and specifically in my riding of Gaspé. This is an initiative taken by local people, because the government refuses to hold such hearings. As a member of the opposition, I agreed to sit on that committee and report back to Ottawa the grievances of those people.

But why does the government refuse to assume its responsibilities? People have things to say. We are talking about transport. Why do people in the Gaspé Peninsula have to take the initiative and set up their own committee, without the means available to a House committee, such as interpreters and a staff to type transcripts? They will do a very good job, but some people may feel somewhat prejudiced by the way hearings will be conducted. Indeed, although I understand English, I cannot speak it as fast as those people. But I will be there and I wanted to point that out.

My time is running out. I will conclude by mentioning two major points which will more or less summarize what I said earlier. How did the previous government come to approve a project which goes totally against public interest? Are there interests other than the public's interest at stake, such as friends of the former and current governments?

We, Bloc Quebecois members, feel that a public inquiry is absolutely necessary in this case. The credibility of the government opposite depends on such an inquiry. If members opposite continue to hide behind closed doors and let lobbyists govern the country, you can understand that it will give us strong arguments for the upcoming referendum. Indeed, it will be very easy to say: Look, if you want to continue to live in a type of federation which lets lobbies make decisions, you can have it.

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1:45 p.m.


Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to participate again in this debate on Bill C-22.

First of all, I would like to tell you how surprised I am to see a government that, just weeks ago, contended it was bound by a secret verbal agreement-more bounded than that, you choke-now be able to get out of a written, signed agreement.

I notice also that the government refused categorically to provide us with any information whatsoever, not one single document, on the verbal agreement regarding Ginn Publishing. In the case of the signed agreement between Her Majesty and T1 T2 Limited Partnership however, it produced a schedule attached to the bill listing 24 agreements and leases, as well as 7 other agreements and 19 other documents, for a total of 46 different documents. But again this was an agreement the Prime Minister had signed herself with her Minister of Transport.

How the government can so easily break that many agreements and leases while the Minister of National Heritage is incapable of getting out of a verbal agreement remains a great mystery to me, a mystery I hope we will be able to clear up someday.

That being said, I would like to address two questions: first, did the government negotiate a secret, possibly verbal, agreement with regards to compensation that could be paid under clause 10? Second, does the government intend to favour unduly, as it has in the past, Pearson Airport at the expense of other airports in the Toronto region and elsewhere in Canada?

Let us start by looking at a possible secret deal. This bill makes use of the well-known Liberal technique of concealment. For example, clause 9 reads, and I quote:

No one is entitled to any compensation-

That sounds clear and simple. Finally, we think, the government is taking a firm stand.

Wrong. Again, the government is concealing its real intentions, because paragraph 10(1) of the bill states, and I quote:

If the Minister considers it appropriate to do so the Minister may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into agreements on behalf of Her Majesty to provide for the payment of such amounts as the Minister considers appropriate in connection with the coming into force of the Act, subject to the terms and conditions that the Minister considers appropriate.

In other words, for my hon. opponents who have not yet understood, the government is giving itself the authority, without telling anyone, as is its way, to pay its friends what it wants, without reporting the amount.

Because remember, several friends of the Conservatives and also of the Liberals, of course, are in the T1 T2 Limited Partnership. For the information of some Liberal members who always made it a duty under the former government to point out the shadow of a doubt about conflicts of interest, I remind them that several of their fund-raisers and affiliates took part in the limited partnership in question, which will benefit from clause 10(1) of the bill which we are discussing.

Since the lunch hour is often a time for game shows on television, I suggest we play a game of Jeopardy.

Here are the clues for the first question: He owns Claridge Properties Inc., which controls T1 T2 Limited Partnership; he is also a great Liberal and contributor to the party's election fund. You are right, the question is: Who is Charles Bronfman?

Second question: He is a lobbyist for Claridge Properties and a former organizer for Jean Chrétien. Once again, you are right: Who is Herb Metcalfe?

Third question: He is a Liberal senator and held a $1,000-a-plate benefit supper during the election campaign; coincidentally, he is on the board of Claridge Properties, the majority shareholder of T1 T2 Limited Partnership. You are right: Who is Leo Kolber?

And I could go on.

Again I ask: Is there a written or verbal agreement guaranteeing payments to shareholders of T1 T2 Limited Partnership that this bill would implement?

I want to pay particular attention to the written or verbal agreement as one of the people involved in the Pearson Airport case is Fred Doucet, the lobbyist who managed to convince the Liberal minister of heritage to sell part of the Canadian heritage to foreign interests by invoking a verbal agreement.

The Minister of Transport must table all the documents kept secret on this bill, and especially its virtual or potential agreements to prevent the government from wasting public funds, as it seems to be doing, to thank its friends and compensate them for an election promise that cost them a juicy contract. It must be as transparent as it claims to be and set up a royal commission of inquiry to shed light on the case and its history.

Otherwise, Quebecers and Canadians will know that under their Liberal government, a beer drinker can have his benefits cut without qualms while a distillery owner gets breaks such as Clause 10 of this bill.

Bill C-22 does not say anything about the government's intentions regarding Pearson airport. We already know that the government intended to favour this airport at the expense of other Metro Toronto airports by prohibiting Transport Canada from making, at any airport located within a 75-kilometre radius of Pearson airport, investments likely to decrease traffic at Pearson. In Montreal, Transport Canada forced the Montreal airport society to keep Mirabel and Dorval airports open as a requirement for privatizing airport operations. Unfortunately for Montreal, while Jean Chrétien and his then colleagues were plunging the country into an astronomical deficit-the last of which, in 1984, has never been matched in constant dollars-, they did not choose the same path as that taken for Toronto, that is expanding the existing airport instead of creating two lame ducks to Toronto's great delight.

I will quote Jean Lapointe, the spokesman for the Reaction group that includes airline and aircraft industry employees as well as the Canadian Manufacturers' Association. Mr. Lapointe made the following comment regarding the decision of the Montreal Airports Advisory Board to keep both airports in operation: "It is clear that Ottawa has opted in favour of Toronto. Can Quebec have a competitive airport system? The answer is no. Quebec will only manage to do that through sovereignty, because its hands will no longer be tied by the decisions made in Ottawa". So, what is that decision made by Ottawa all about?

Claude Picher, who is a journalist with La Presse , tells us that entrusting the management of Dorval and Mirabel airports to a non-profit corporation was conditional upon maintaining two major airports for the greater Montreal area. This is a case of double standard.

There is also the issue of investments. Does this government intend to invest massive amounts of money in Pearson Airport, to the detriment of other airports which must be self-financing? Let us not forget that the cancelled contract provided for investments of some $700 million for terminals 1 and 2 at Pearson Airport. We still do not know if the government will make these investments before entrusting the management of the airport to who-knows-whom. By contrast, the Montreal Airports Advisory Board, which does not have the financial means of the government, will invest some $150 million, or $30

million annually over a five-year period, to modernize and improve the infrastructures and facilities at Dorval and Mirabel.

The previous and current governments chose Toronto, and Montreal is still paying the price. According to the daily Le Soleil , in 1990, 20.5 million passengers were processed at Pearson Airport, compared to 8.9 million for Dorval and Mirabel combined. In the same editorial, Michel Audet points out that, in 1952, Montreal had 20 per cent more head offices and financial institutions than Toronto. But by 1988, it had 60 per cent fewer. Mr. Audet also mentions the fact that between 1975, which is the year Mirabel opened, and 1980, the number of passengers increased by only 13 per cent in Montreal, compared to 37 per cent in Toronto. This pattern has persisted and is even more pronounced now. This bias also led to significant job loss in the greater Montreal area. For example, an official of the Public Service Alliance mentioned that he now represents only 900 employees in the Montreal area where he used to speak for 1,200 workers in 1978.

I leave you with the conclusion Claude Picher came to while reviewing the study conducted by Aéroports de Montréal, a study which concluded that the greater Montreal should keep both its airports. Mr. Picher said, and I quote: "Hundreds of millions of dollars have been thrown in this venture which did nothing to improve the competitiveness of Montreal. Quite the opposite in fact, since the Mirabel fiasco is partly responsible for redirecting traffic to Toronto."

Since airports in Dorval, Mirabel, Edmonton and Vancouver were handed to non-profit corporations, why should we have something different for Toronto? Is it that what is good for the rest of the country is not good enough for Toronto? The government does not seem to want to answer to the requests made by the greater Toronto area, why is that so? Why does the government not entrust the management of Terminals 1 and 2 to a non-profit organisation immediately?

Pearson International Airport Agreements ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am very sorry, but I have to inform the hon. member that her time is up.

Pearson International Airport Agreements ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, for more than two weeks, we in the Bloc Quebecois have been constantly raising what is now usually called the Pearson affair. We do not have to reinvent the wheel, we only have to use it properly.

In other words, even if what I am about to say is not all new, it is important to repeat it until concrete action is taken on this problem. The aspect I wanted to underline concerns the popular financing of federal political parties. This debate is related to a motion presented in the House by my friend and colleague, the member for Richelieu. The reason for popular financing is so simple that even a child would understand it.

You know, Mr. Speaker, if you are a student and your parents pay your rent, your dearest wish is to find a job so you can meet your own needs and do as you please. It is easy to understand, you are indebted to your provider. In politics, it is exactly the same. The ultimate goal of any political party should be to be as independent as possible. The only way to reach this goal is to be financed by public contributions. We are elected by the people and are answerable to them. If our hands are tied by multinationals which finance us, our room to move will be very limited, particularly if the interests on the one side do not necessarily go together with those on the other. If financial reasons did not guide the actions of governments, people would pay more attention-

Pearson International Airport Agreements ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. As my hon. friend knows, you have a few minutes left for your speech. You will have the floor again after Question Period.

It being two o'clock, pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members, pursuant to Standing Order 31.

BosniaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was Mother's Day. Sons and daughters everywhere reaffirmed their love for their moms, whose love for their children knows no bounds-not distance, not time, not even death.

The bond that exists between mother and child is stronger than the strongest steel, harder than the hardest wood, and more enduring than any other bond of love.

Today I speak of those children who, because of war, have lost their mothers or whose mothers or families can no longer provide for them. I refer to the children of Bosnia.

I urge each of us in the House to do everything we can and ask the government to act quickly to provide a safe haven for these orphans of war.

Let Parliament lead in easing their pain, their hunger, their illness, their injury and their imminent death, even as we intensity our efforts to search for peace in that part of the world. Let Canada be a mother to the children of Bosnia orphaned by war.

Confederation Of National Trade UnionsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the first day of the convention of the CNTU, one of the major labour confederations in Quebec.

The Bloc Quebecois would like to stress the importance of that event, because the CNTU has contributed over the years to fostering co-operation between all economic agents, and to consolidating collective values in Quebec.

Since co-operation and joint action are required if we are to succeed in an economy where competition gets stronger by the day, the Bloc Quebecois praises the CNTU for its efforts in that direction and reminds the Minister of Human Resources Development that social contracts are not negotiated unilaterally, but collectively.

Mr. Speaker, the impasse the Liberal government has reached in its co-operation with the Quebec government shows that Ottawa has much to learn from the CNTU.

Young Offenders ActStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Leon Benoit Reform Vegreville, AB

Mr. Speaker, acts of violence across Canada have sparked further calls for a complete review of our justice system, in particular the Young Offenders Act. The slap on the wrist punishments handed down to young offenders are ineffective and far too lenient. Justice reform is needed desperately but Canadians have yet to see action from the government.

As a result of the federal government's inaction the province of Alberta has taken the unusual step of reviewing federal legislation. Five MLAs will gather the opinions and suggestions of Albertans on how to make the Young Offenders Act more effective and present their findings in a final report in September.

Justice rallies were held last weekend in Calgary and Edmonton with a turnout of approximately 5,000 people. It is frustrating to see what lengths honest law-abiding citizens and the Alberta government must go to in order to bring the government's attention to the fact that Canadians are deeply concerned about their safety.

For the sake of all Canadians I sincerely hope the government is listening to Albertans.

International Year Of The FamilyStatements By Members

May 9th, 1994 / 1:55 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 1994 as the International Year of the Family. However this is not as much a celebration as it is a warning.

Over the last 20 years the percentage of families with both spouses working has increased from 34 per cent to 62 per cent, thereby reducing the amount of direct parental care. In addition each year over 20,000 unmarried women aged 12 to 19 give birth with the majority choosing to raise the children themselves. As a result most do not finish their education and are likely to become dependent on subsidized housing and welfare. Their offspring are at a higher risk of being premature or a low birth weight, more likely to experience difficulty in school, and more likely to become single parents themselves.

Accordingly policies and legislation for strengthening the traditional family should be a primary concern to our government. As well employers and parents must also realize they have increased responsibilities to ensure that the family remains the basic unit of society.

DemocracyStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


David Berger Liberal Saint-Henri—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week's events should make all Canadians think.

There was the signing of an historic agreement between Palestinians and Israel. Also, democracy has emerged in South Africa. Nelson Mandela invited all his fellow citizens to forget about the past and he called for their unity. He said and I quote: "We can have our differences, but we form one single people, with a common destiny within our rich variety of cultures, races and traditions."

In contrast with such remarkable developments and this lucidity, in Canada the Opposition Leader has told a radio audience that our differences were irreconcilable.

It is surprising that the former Canadian ambassador in France cannot see the link between what is going on elsewhere in the world and the situation here in Canada. Talk about being blind!

Winnipeg Rotary ClubStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Georgette Sheridan Liberal Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to offer my congratulations to

two students representing Saskatoon at the Rotary model United Nations in Winnipeg on May 5, 6 and 7.

The model United Nations, as the name suggests, permits secondary students to simulate the debate and negotiation skills that are the hallmark of the actual United Nations. Over 200 students from across Canada and the United States participated in this year's event.

Miss Nancy Lees of Saskatoon and my son, Paul, currently in Ottawa for the week, were Saskatoon delegates representing the country of Iraq. I am pleased to announce they received the award for best prepared delegation at the closing ceremonies last Saturday night. Well done, Saskatoon.

One of the best ways to encourage our young people to be full participants in our democratic system is to provide them with opportunities to take part in these simulations: model parliaments, model legislatures and so on.

Hats off to the Winnipeg Rotary Club for hosting this worthwhile event.

National Day Care WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, National Day Care Week started today. For all members of this House, this week should be the appropriate time to reflect on our daycare system.

We cannot ignore the clearly unacceptable working conditions of daycare educators, whose responsibilities are fundamental to children's motor and intellectual development. When we know that Newfoundland educators earn $12,500 a year while the Canadian yearly average is $18,500, we can wonder about our governments' order of priorities in the social field.

The year 1994 is the International Year of the Family. What are governments waiting for to appreciate the true worth of these people's work, which value is incalculable for parents and for society as a whole?

The Late Stephanie GravesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend on Saturday I, along with about 350 other people in my constituency, attended the funeral of eight-year old Stephanie Graves who was attacked and shot in the Kimberley area.

I would like to state my support for her parents and family. I was encouraged to see the way in which the residents of Kootenay East have banded together and circled the wagons to help them through the tough days ahead.

I would like to read the words of a song sung by members of Stephanie's class at her funeral:

I like your eyes I like your nose I like your mouth, your ears, your hands, your toes.

I like your face It's really you I like the things, you say and do.

There's not a single soul who sees the skies The way you see them, through your eyes

And aren't you glad? You should be glad There's no one, no one exactly like you.

Stephanie was unique and will be missed.

I am sure other members of the House would also offer their support to her parents, her family and her community.

Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Harold Culbert Liberal Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of rising in the House today to extend congratulations to the right hon. Prime Minister on the outstanding accomplishments our government has made in its first six months.

With the beginning of the infrastructure program, youth programs and a revival of confidence within the small business sector, we are rebuilding a strong Canada once again. As a result there is a new era of confidence across the nation.

A lot of work has been done in the first six months, and there is a lot more work to do. The Prime Minister has returned leadership and dedication to the House and indeed to Canada.

We are on our way to a better tomorrow for all Canadians. I congratulate and thank the Prime Minister for his leadership role in making this possibility a reality.