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House of Commons Hansard #186 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was loans.

Topics

Canadian Security Intelligence ServiceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. friend is mistaken. The report of the SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, did not confirm that Grant Bristow was a source of CSIS. It did however confirm that CSIS did a good job, a proper job and a necessary job investigating the Heritage Front.

CrtcOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the federal cabinet will do something it has never done before. It will issue a cabinet directive overturning a CRTC decision on direct to home satellite television at the specific request of Power Corp.

In fact Power Corp. went so far as to say that it would withdraw its bid if the cabinet did not rule in its favour. It is amazing what one can accomplish when one has friends or fathers-in-law in high places.

My question is for the Prime Minister. If the government felt so strongly about opening satellite television to competition, why was it not done through the appropriate channels and why is Power Corp. running the show?

CrtcOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry the usual critic is not here. Perhaps she would understand the process a little better. The hon. member will know-

CrtcOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Order.

CrtcOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

We have been away for a little while and probably have forgotten that we do not make reference to when members are here or not here. I would ask the hon. minister to keep that in mind when answering.

CrtcOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Actually, Mr. Speaker, I am never quite sure when the members are here or when they are not here.

The hon. member should be aware the concerns the government expressed about the order the CRTC issued last summer were precisely along the lines of the question he puts. The CRTC authorized the consortium to initiate a direct to home satellite service in Canada without issuing a licence and without any public transparency process, by issuing an exemption order which has the effect, as the hon. member should know, of creating a monopoly in this service in Canada.

If the Reform Party is in favour of a monopoly in services and opposed to a transparent licensing system then let it say so. That seems to be the implication of the question.

CrtcOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

I guess, Mr. Speaker, I get to see arrogance in its visual form.

The Reform Party favours open competition and a firm policy that safeguards the best interest of the country and Canadians. However, if questions are being raised about the propriety of the deal the government has no one to blame but itself. Power Corp. said jump, and the cabinet and the Prime Minister asked how high by using special powers to overturn the CRTC original decision. This was all being done behind closed doors. Certainly consumers may benefit in the end but the end does not justify the means.

My supplementary question is for the minister. Will he assure the House that any further decisions on the direct to home satellite industry will be taken in full public view and not behind closed doors at special cabinet meetings?

CrtcOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to avoid being accused of arrogance when the member's question is full of factual errors.

The reality is that we invited the panel of experts to conduct an open and transparent process. All the submissions received by the review panel were publicized with time for public response to the submissions, unlike the issue of the exemption order in the first place.

If cabinet decides that it will accept the recommendations of the review panel it would do so in a statutory and transparent way by referring such an order to the House of Commons and to the Senate for review over a period of 40 days. That is what the law provides. It is entirely open and entirely transparent. If we decide to do so, the member and other members of his party will be most welcome to make their submissions well known both on competition as well as on the future of DTH services.

CrtcOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, with the cabinet's unprecedented use of special powers to overturn a CRTC decision, which contradicts the red book promise of open government, the federal government is now becoming more powerful and more secretive.

For instance, the regulatory efficiency act will give the cabinet power to exempt companies from regulations through special private compliance plans. The potential for abuse is staggering. Canadians should be driving the country's agenda, not cabinet and special interest groups. The system must be transparent.

Will the government scrap the regulatory efficiency act immediately and keep power in the hands of Parliament where it belongs?

CrtcOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, again the preamble to the question misses the point of what is proposed in the issuance of a direction to the CRTC. Yes, it is the first time but the act was passed only a short time ago; it is one of the first opportunities to exercise the power. However it is very carefully circumscribed in the Broadcasting Act. Therefore it is important for us, if we make that choice, to do so in a way that complies with the act, that is transparent and that is open. This is the essence of what we are trying to accomplish with respect to the order.

As far as the regulatory efficiency act is concerned the member is entitled to engage in debate about it, but he should understand that one of the objectives of the act is to ensure that

we reduce the burden particularly on small and medium size business in order to make the economy grow.

If the Reform Party wants to increase the regulatory burden on business then let it say so.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. In the last election campaign, the Prime Minister vowed to abolish the GST before January 1996. He said that they hated this tax and that they would scrap it. Last week, we learned that the government would not review the GST before January 1, 1996.

Are we to understand from this further deferral of GST reform that the Prime Minister has reneged on his election promise to scrap the GST and now intends to maintain the mess and the inequities generated by the GST?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the Prime Minister undertake before this House not to take advantage of the probable election of a Liberal government in Ontario to review the GST without Quebec's consent?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to see that the hon. member predicts a Liberal victory and I thank him for it. As for our commitments with regard to the GST, we are looking for a way to replace this tax. We wrote in our red book that we wanted to replace it.

The red book lists the conditions to be met and mentions in particular that the solution must be co-ordinated with the provincial governments, including the government of Quebec.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, the government keeps telling Canadians that everything is okay yet in light of Moody's downgrade it should be obvious it is not.

If the government's fiscal plan is so good, then can the Prime Minister tell us why since the government's first budget interest rates have risen by more than 400 bases points? Why have five-year mortgage rates risen more than 2 per cent costing homeowners an extra $300 per month on a $100,000 mortgage? Also, why has the dollar lost over 20 per cent of its value versus the yen and the mark?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the fundamentals of our economic policies have been recognized as being very good.

Again this morning the IMF predicted the best level of growth for Canada this year. Inflation in Canada is among the lowest in the world. Of course there is some increase in interest rates due to circumstances that are not necessarily under our control.

We are working to reduce interest rates. We have seen the Canadian dollar grow in value a bit lately and interest rates are going down. The economic policies of the government will produce the result we want and will create the jobs that are needed for our economy.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, some of those are short term goals that certainly do not fit a long term fiscal plan which must deal with the problems of Canada.

The Prime Minister should recognize that since the government came into power, higher interest rates have hammered the housing industry. Resales for March were down 42 per cent from a year ago. At the same time a rising inflation rate of some 2 per cent for the month of March is forcing the Bank of Canada to continue to keep interest rates relatively high.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that his government's weak fiscal policy is forcing the Bank of Canada into the impossible position of trying to support the dollar, contain inflation and bring down interest rates all at the same time?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, over the weekend the governor of the bank said that the policies of the government are on the right track and that the budget is the right one.

I am happy to see that the Leader of the Opposition has changed his mind again and wants to have a referendum very early. When we have settled the problem of the referendum everything will be better for the economy of Canada.

Canada's Credit RatingOral Question Period

April 24th, 1995 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, after putting Canada's credit rating under review 11 days before the budget, the rating agency Moody's decided, on April 12, to cut the Canadian government's credit rating. Moody's decision is based on a hard look at the inadequate spending and deficit cutting measures, in the middle-term, which are contained in the budget.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Does he agree that the cut announced by Moody's confirms the official opposition's contention that the government made bad decisions, did not cut

deeply enough in the federal administration, and did not review its fiscal policy in spite of the terrible state of public finances, preferring instead to transfer its deficit to the provinces?

Canada's Credit RatingOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Moody's announcement was met with skepticism since the very next day the value of the dollar increased on international markets, while interest rates decreased.

All the other observers greeted the budget with enthusiasm when it was tabled, back in February. Moody's was not in a good mood on that day. These things happen. While the mood changed for that agency, it remained the same for the rest of the world.

Canada's Credit RatingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is joking about the serious and even catastrophic situation of Canada's public finances.

Canada's Credit RatingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Absolutely.

Canada's Credit RatingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canada's Credit RatingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Does the Prime Minister realize that if the government's credit rating is cut in spite of the sustained economic recovery, it is because Moody's was not fooled by the wait-and-see policy of its government, which is content to rely on short-term economic recovery, which passes its deficit on to the provinces, and which lets the $550 billion debt grow by the minute, instead of tackling the real problems? This is the real situation.

Canada's Credit RatingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, just today, the International Monetary Fund released a report indicating that Canada's economic performance is one of the best in the world. Three weeks ago, when I was in Washington, I had the opportunity to meet the director general of the IMF who congratulated me on the Minister of Finance's budget.

One agency did make a negative assessment, but the vast majority of credit rating agencies and observers, and particularly the markets, gave good marks to the Canadian government, following the budget tabled at the end of February.