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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is mixing applies and oranges. If he wants to have an equalization formula with his new GST reform, let him say so. We are talking of two totally different things.

The GST and the provincial sales tax have already been harmonized in Quebec. There was no negotiation on compensation. Do you know what kind of a message that sends to Quebec? That any time you co-operate with the federal government, you end up paying for it. If there is a $1 billion compensation payment to the maritime provinces, that means Quebecers will be paying $250 million to the governments of the maritime provinces, to their treasuries, as compensation for those governments' lower tax receipts. Where is the logic in that?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's position is totally ridiculous, perhaps because of his lack of understanding of Canada. Canada is a country in which the regions help each other out.

For example, if Canada decides to help out the aeronautical industry, Montreal will reap the benefit, not Saskatchewan or New Brunswick. Or, another example, if it decides to help out the pharmaceutical industry, as in fact it has, Montreal will reap the benefit, not Alberta or Prince Edward Island.

That is the principle of what a country is. We have enormous assets and should place those assets at the service of the country as a whole.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

April 19th, 1996 / 11:25 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

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

The minister desperately wants Canadians to believe that the military brass did not try to cover up the Somalia scandal. He desperately wants us to believe that missing and altered documents were simply the result of computer error or clerical error. Twelve boxes of documents. That is what senior defence officials were forced to grudgingly turn over to the Somalia inquiry.

The commission counsel announced this morning that there are still gaps. How much more evidence does the minister need before he takes some action, any action, on the Somalia cover-up?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member again continues to make very serious allegations which do not reflect what was said this morning by the commission.

I answered his specific questions which were posed a little earlier with respect to the documentation, but I will briefly repeat them.

On the public affairs issue, those documents will be the subject of discussions and hearings beginning on Wednesday. The commission is satisfied that all the documents that have come forward, together with testimony, should enable the commission to reach the goal of its mandate, which is to get to the bottom of the entire-

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister tries to make us believe that this was a timely delivery of documents when he knows full well that these documents should have been delivered a year ago to the Somalia commission.

Along with the 12 boxes of information turned over to the inquiry, we also learned from Roberto Gonzales, a former director general of public affairs at DND, that General Boyle approved of a

plan to hide important Somalia documents. This confirms earlier allegations made by Colonel Haswell who said that Boyle, de Chastelain and Mr. Robert Fowler knew of the planned cover-up.

Can the minister confirm today that General Boyle had nothing whatsoever to do with the cover-up?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I really should refuse to answer such innuendo. The hon. member has made selective accusations every day in the House. He has maligned a public servant, who is the chief of defence staff.

All of these matters will be dealt with by the commission starting next Wednesday. That is the place where all the evidence should be submitted. That is the place where people should be heard. That is the place where conclusions should be drawn.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, why will the minister not show some leadership and take the bull by the horns instead of dragging the bull into the House each and every day?

General Boyle said he had no knowledge of a plan to alter, rename and destroy documents related to the Somalia affair. Colonel Haswell and Roberto Gonzales say that is not true. They say that all Somalia information requests had to be approved by General Boyle. Boyle's signature even appears-

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The member will please put his question directly.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Why is the minister allowing Boyle to stay in charge when all of the evidence indicates that Boyle is involved in this cover-up?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member can be assured that I certainly have taken the bull by the horns. I have done that by answering his questions all week.

The hon. member has gone through a number of contortions. I have pointed them out on the utility of the inquiry.

The hon. member has gone from the position that the chief of defence staff should never have been appointed, to the chief of defence staff should resign, to the suggestion that he should step aside, and to the fact yesterday that he does not blame him. Today he is back to the earlier accusations.

The member and his party have no credibility on the issue. Canadians understand that the inquiry will deal with the matter and will get to the bottom of it with all the answers.

Nuclear FusionOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

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

I listened with interest to the finance minister saying a moment ago that Canada was willing to help Quebec. I do hope that his good intentions will materialize with respect to the issue of nuclear fusion.

Since we started asking the natural resources minister questions on the tokamak project, she has been giving us rubbish for answers. For instance, she said that in Quebec the loss of this project would be balanced by the manufacturing and sale of Candu reactors, which is false, since this will benefit mainly New Brunswick and Ontario.

Moreover she told us that Quebec is getting 25 per cent of her department's expenditures. We checked, the actual figure is 8 per cent, and it will fall below 6 per cent with the cancellation of the tokamak project.

Can the federal government bring its Minister of Natural Resources back to her right mind and make sure that Quebec is no longer penalized in such a way, starting with re-establishing its $7.5 million contribution to the tokamak project, the product of 20 years of efforts, research, investment and world level expertise?

Nuclear FusionOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Dauphin—Swan River Manitoba

Liberal

Marlene Cowling LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the hon. member says, fusion research was not only cut in Quebec, it was also cut in Ontario. The Quebec component cut was $4.4 million; the Ontario component cut was $7.2 million, nearly twice as much.

We are not abandoning Quebec. Natural Resources Canada R and D initiatives in Quebec are, and I will read them: Energy Diversification Research Laboratory in Varennes; Quebec Geoscience; Candu; Val-D'Or laboratory; Canada Centre for Geomatics-

Nuclear FusionOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member on a supplementary.

Nuclear FusionOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope that one of these days someone in this government is going to rise and give intelligent answers to our questions. The parliamentary secretary should know that the amount the federal government is withdrawing from the tokamak project is $7.5 million.

Is the federal government finally going to decide to answer, on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources, a letter dated April 2 and signed by the deputy premier of Quebec-

Nuclear FusionOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I would ask the member to put his question immediately.

Nuclear FusionOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

I will repeat my question, Mr. Speaker. Is the government finally going to decide to answer, on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources, a letter dated April 2 and signed by the deputy premier of Quebec, minister of state for natural resources and minister responsible for industry and trade?

Nuclear FusionOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The parliamentary secretary.

Nuclear FusionOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Dauphin—Swan River Manitoba

Liberal

Marlene Cowling LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the member it is not only the federal Liberal government that is making difficult choices. He should look in his own backyard.

The PQ government has cut $350 million from hospitals, from the sick; $65 million from Cégeps, junior colleges; $300 million from primary-

Nuclear FusionOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Centre.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister had a little problem with his throat. I hope it has cleared up today. My question is directed to him.

He said yesterday that harmonization will lead to a better tax for consumers and for small business. How can that be, given that the combined tax increases taxes by 8 per cent on goods and services in areas that were untaxed before, areas like children's textbooks, wheelchairs and medical supplies, just to name a few?

The finance minister is willing to spend a billion dollars from the federal coffers to compensate three Liberal provinces for any lost revenues. Who will compensate the taxpayers of these provinces for their extra personal costs?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to know that the fundamental problem with most of the provincial sales taxes is that they are embedded in the price at each successive stage. Therefore the consumer pays a great deal more in tax under most provincial sales taxes than under the GST. The net result of this will be a lowering of the tax on all of those items that are currently taxed under provincial taxes.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, if that is the case, then why are all the provinces saying there are lost revenues?

The finance minister is wreaking havoc in the Atlantic provinces with his bad harmonization tax. It is putting Prince Edward Island at a competitive disadvantage. Conservative provincial governments have said no. NDP provincial governments have said no. Only three Liberal provincial governments have said yes, thanks to a billion dollar bribe just to keep the deputy minister around a little longer.

Why does the finance minister not do the right thing and for the sake of all Canadians get rid of, abolish, kill, eliminate, scrap and agree to quit if he does not, this monster he is creating called harmonization with compensation?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, one of the principles upon which this country has been built is that one region of the country helps another whether it be through equalization, the social transfer or the way in which stabilization payments are made by the federal government to help provincial governments that have had difficulty.

I find it very difficult to hear members of the opposition, whether they be from the Bloc Quebecois or the Reform Party, essentially say that certain regions of the country should not help the others when there is a process of adjustment. I do not share that view. This is one country and one country in a multitude of others. We are going to stand up to the rest of the world because we will stand together. We will not be divided.

Krever CommissionOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

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

The Commission of inquiry into our national blood supply is caught in a legal tangle, because of all the confusion surrounding the mandate of the commission. There is no agreement over the authority of the Krever commission to issue notices of possible misconduct, hence the court proceedings. The opposition reminds the government that its priority should go to the victims of tainted blood and not this legal battle.

For everyone's benefit and because this is a federal inquiry and a public health issue-