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House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was technologies.

Topics

Montreal's EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

You are right Mr. Speaker, I should not have shown this, it is awful.

I looked at the list of resolutions for the Liberal Party congress, which will form the basis of their platform. I found 20 priority resolutions relating to the economy, however, not one of them had to do with Montreal. The only thing about Montreal was a very short reference in the eighth paragraph of one of these 20 resolutions, a "whereas" clause. There will not be much room for Montreal on the Liberal agenda.

I therefore ask the Prime Minister: how can he tell Quebecers that he is prepared to take the first steps, that he is shedding tears over the plight of Montreal, that he wants to do something for Montreal, when nothing will be said about Montreal during the Liberal congress?

Montreal's EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I guess my visit to Montreal did not go unnoticed. I guess the announcements we made regarding Canadair did not go unnoticed in Montreal. The other initiatives we are taking in the Montreal region must be effective, given that the Bloc Quebecois is so upset today.

Let me say one thing: we implement programs in every region of the country. We know, and I acknowledged it before, that, because of the current problems in Quebec, where everyday the provincial government says it will soon hold a referendum, businesses are leaving the province because these irresponsible people will not recognize that, twice, Quebecers have opted to remain in Canada, since it is in their best interests.

Montreal's EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, for once the Prime Minister used the right word, which is a rare occurrence. He said his visit did not go unnoticed. He is right. His visit was not remarkable, it merely did not go unnoticed.

The Prime Minister talks about uncertainty. But who is generating uncertainty in Quebec when the Prime Minister of Canada challenges democratic rules when he threatens to partition Quebec, when he goes so far as to have his picture with Howard Galganov in one of his members' pamphlets? Who is generating uncertainty? Who has an interest in generating uncertainty, if not the person who has made a career of denigrating Quebec?

I ask the Prime Minister: How can he reconcile the speech he delivered yesterday in Montreal with the fact that all his actions relate to plan B, a plan which even Daniel Johnson repudiates?

Montreal's EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have spent 33 years in public life and I learned a long time ago that insult is the weapon of the weak, the weapon of those who have no arguments.

I have been in this House for over 30 years and I was elected for 28 years in a riding that is 98 per cent francophone. I have always protected the interests of my constituents based on my conscience, and they have always renewed my term of office.

I have also always respected democracy, but I know these people do not want to respect democracy. They do not want to accept defeat. They do not want to admit that Quebecers want to remain Canadians, and this is why Montreal is currently in trouble. People are leaving Montreal because of the political uncertainty. But we say it is possible to be proud Quebecers and to be proud Canadians at the same time.

The EconomyOral Question Period

October 23rd, 1996 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general pointed out yesterday that the Minister of Finance has fudged the public accounts to the tune of $1 billion and once again the Liberal government has violated its own code of ethics, the accounting code of ethics, its own rules by fudging the deficit numbers not just this year, but next year and the year after. We will see the Minister of Finance take credit for it.

He may want to give 101 accounting courses but he needs 101 ethics courses.

Is the minister cooking the books?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask the hon. member to be very judicious in his comments. I would ask him now to please pose his question.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, is the Minister of Finance fixing the books this year to give himself a billion dollar cushion next year

because of his high tax, high unemployment, interest free loans to Liberal contributors coming off the rails sooner than we think?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are implications coming from members of the Reform Party that the auditor general did not express a completely clean opinion as to the books of the government. I repeat that the auditor general did. And the hon. member ought to have at least the decency to recognize this.

In terms of when a liability should be recognized, it is a generally accepted accounting principle, generally accepted in international commerce as well as domestic commerce, that a liability should be recognized when it is incurred. The liability was incurred in the year in which it was booked.

What the auditor general has said was that all the details of the agreement had not been fully worked out. If the hon. member would like to hang round the House for about 15 minutes at the end of question period, that particular question will be answered for him.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think that was a pretty long and technical answer. It added up to fuddle-duddle. The point is the auditor general pointed out that he is breaking his own rules and accounting rules and everybody else's rules to accomplish what he has set out to.

Why does politics become more important that truth in accounting, honesty in reporting and responsible management of Canadian finances?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry if my answer was a little too technical. Perhaps one of his colleagues might explain it to him.

Let it be very clear that at the time we took office there were a lot of doubts expressed as to the credibility of the government's financial projections.

It was very clear to us that if we were going to re-establish confidence in the management of the economy by the new government, it was important that we recognize liabilities when they occurred, that we be as prudent as possible and that we go the extra mile to do so.

That is what happened in this case. It may well be that the auditor general has said we have been excessively prudent but I can tell members that is not a bad accusation to carry in the international money markets.

The DeficitOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

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

Yesterday, in the Public Accounts of Canada the auditor general accused the government of breaking its own accounting rules to distort its deficit. Yet the Liberals were the first to cry foul when the former Conservative government pulled a similar stunt.

Will the Minister of Finance finally admit that he has deliberately inflated the 1995-96 deficit by close to one billion dollars so as to purposely reduce the real deficit for 1996-97 by a corresponding amount?

The DeficitOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have just said, the auditor general has given a very clear opinion on the government's financial statements. What he said was that because the agreement in principle, not the detailed agreement, had been signed, the amount should have been included in another year, but we wanted to be more cautious, because it is very important to establish the federal government's credibility on international markets. That is what we have done.

I repeat, the auditor general has given a very clear opinion about the federal government's books.

The DeficitOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary, will the Minister of Finance admit that he is actually cooking the books, purely with an election in mind, in order to mislead the public about the federal deficit?

The DeficitOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The question is not in order.

ExportsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Rosedale, ON

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

When I have a second, I will be able to ask my question.

The government strategy is to increase exports and double them by the year 2000. Could the minister please inform the House how he intends to meet this target, and how the government will achieve its jobs and growth strategy by the beginning of the next century?

ExportsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, coming off a record year of export increases, I am pleased to inform members of the House that in the latest statistics for the month of August we reached an all time record of $23.3 billion. That is an export level that we reached for the first time. Furthermore, we reached a trade surplus in that same month of again a record of some $4 billion.

For the first time in a dozen years we turned the corner in terms of the current account surplus. We are getting new trading companies involved in this trading operation, particularly small and

medium size businesses because that is where we are creating the jobs.

For every billion dollars of new exports, 11,000 jobs are sustained in this country. We are becoming more proactive. We are retooling, re-engineering our services so that the small and medium size enterprises continue to grow, continue to provide for record export levels.

BombardierOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Yesterday in this House I asked the government to explain the connection between Bombardier's receiving huge government handouts and the fact that it contributed $170,000 to the Liberal Party over the last three years. I got no answer.

Section 121.(2) of the Criminal Code specifically outlines the rules against government kickbacks.

My question for the Prime Minister is would he explain-

BombardierOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

BombardierOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I have a difficult time in that I allow quite a huge preamble, but I never know where some members are going when they ask their questions. It seems to me that there is an insinuation here.

I would ask the hon. member to please withdraw his last words about kickbacks.

BombardierOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw that comment.

BombardierOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for that and I ask the hon. member to put his question now.

BombardierOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, would the Prime Minister explain the difference between the spirit of section 121.(2) of the Criminal Code and the ongoing relationship between Bombardier and the Liberal government?

BombardierOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, nobody pays much attention to the type of completely distorted statement by the member, but we cannot expect much more from him.

The reality is that we have a law in Canada on electoral expenses and contribution and it is all public. I have a list of corporations that have given to the Reform Party, and I do not call those kickbacks. They are people who are contributing.

What we did yesterday or the day before with Canadair was to help a company that is becoming extremely competitive in the world today. It is sixth in the world as a builder of planes and it will be fourth soon.

I want to tell people that the company is very successful. It contributes to my party. It may contribute to other parties. It is all public. All contributions are public.

It is completely unacceptable to accuse us of providing a loan, which is to be repaid, to a successful Canadian company because it has given a contribution to the Liberal Party. But we know the level at which this member of Parliament loves to operate.

The Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Yesterday, the minister asked about our policy on disclosing severance settlements. I remind you that our policy is the same as the Quebec government's, which is based on Quebec jurisprudence and puts severance pay in the same category as regular compensation, which is in the public domain.

If the minister is willing to be open, I am giving him another chance and asking him again to confirm that General Boyle received over half a million dollars in severance pay, and whether or not he intends to make this agreement public?

The Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I told him yesterday, I hope my hon. colleague understands that the rules are the same for everyone. Not only for General Boyle, but for every public servant, every member of the military, or anyone else working for the Government of Canada.

The settlements reached with General Boyle are within the rules established by Treasury Board. If the hon. member wants to find out more, he knows what he must do, because we in Canada have laws on the protection of personal information, which, I hope, will be respected in both Canada and Quebec.