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House of Commons Hansard #157 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ports.

Topics

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Why has the government wasted $260 million of taxpayers money? Why?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is well known that the government has tried to settle the legal matter which led to the lawsuit. We tried by legislation and by negotiation. We tried by litigation. We wanted it settled from December 3, 1993.

The figures put forward by the hon. member are simply false. I might add that when we tried to get that same settlement figure through legislation his party refused to vote for it, preferring instead to leave the taxpayer on the hook. Nevertheless we will leave that aside.

The figure is $45 million for the expenses of the consortium and $15 million for other expenses that have taken place since and for legal fees. That is the cost of settling the lawsuit.

With respect to the legal fees the government had to spend, we had a $663 million possible liability which they seem to be so enthusiastic about encouraging. Obviously we had to spend money to prevent that liability.

The third point is the $185 million for specifically the construction and completion of the north-south runway, for the two firehalls at either end of the airport and for the new de-icing facility.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the $260 million liability the minister speaks about is because of their bungle. There is no other reason. It was their mistake. The huge profits that were supposed to have been in the original deal, which was a good deal, are now in the settlement.

Not only have the Liberals wasted $260 million on the settlement, but Canada's most important piece of infrastructure has continued to deteriorate for four years. The airport authority is now going to have to spend $2 billion on renovations and this will mean airport user fees.

Why has the minister failed Canadians twice in wasting $260 million, and we will now face airport user fees?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I just do not know where that party comes from.

We have the one member of that party from Ontario who complains. Does he mention that in Vancouver we have made rent reduction of $46 million, that in Edmonton the figure was $127 million and in Calgary it was $117 million? No, he focuses only on the $185 million in Toronto.

It was part of a pattern across the country which included $120 million to the airports of Montreal. It was a program to make sure our airports could benefit from the open skies agreement and position themselves as the leading gateways to both Europe and Asia.

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

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

The secret everybody knew has now become public: the federal government today announced that it has reached an agreement with the promoters who wanted to buy terminals 1 and 2 of the Pearson airport. Taxpayers will have to spend another $60 million on top of the $185 million the minister gave to the airport on March 25.

Can the Minister of Transport today say that his government erred in the case of Toronto's airport, as it did in the case of Montreal's, and that the taxpayers will have to pay more than $245 million to cover its blunders?

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I repeat for the hon. member, who apparently was not listening to the earlier question, that the settlement in the case of Pearson airport is $45 million for the legitimate expenses which were determined by an outside firm of experts in this area, plus the $15 million for legal fees and expenses since the time of the original contract. That is the cost of settling.

When this government entered power in 1993 we had a choice. We looked at the Pearson airport deal and we determined that it was not in the public interest, and it is not today in the public interest. We had the choice of simply going along with the previous deal which was not in the public interest or terminating it. We knew there would be costs to terminating it. We were willing to bear those costs and we did. They are $45 million plus $15 million.

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has just acknowledged that all of the money he put into it represents a deal with the people to put an end to the Pearson airport scandal.

On March 25, the Minister of Transport announced $185 million in financial assistance to the airport for projects that were over85 per cent complete. Three weeks later, everything is resolved as if by magic, while the dispute had been going on for three and a half years, as if the gift of $185 million had nothing to do with the $60 million.

How does the minister explain all these coincidences on the eve of an election?

Pearson AirportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, first, I should point out that the local airport authority, ADM in Montreal, received over $100 million for special capital expenditures and another $20 million for a special fund. ADM received $120 million, and Montreal got $185 million.

That is why it was clear that in Toronto they needed more funds to pay three things: the north-south runway, the de-icing area and the fire station. That is what we paid for with the $185 million.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

John Cummins Reform Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the premier of B.C. will sign a fisheries agreement within an hour. Everyone is asking what is in it for the politicians. The real question is what is in it for the fish.

Rules governing land, water and waste determine whether fish survive. These are under provincial control and the provincial record is abominable.

The agreement to be signed today appears designed more to improve the lot of Liberals in B.C. than to protect fish habitat.

Can the minister tell the House how this agreement will improve the province's deplorable record of protecting fish habitat?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for recognizing this milestone in Canadian history.

The hon. member asked who will benefit from this. The highlights of this are the following. There will be a B.C.-Canada council of ministers to co-ordinate the major salmon resource and habitat issues. There will be a Pacific fisheries resource conservation council like there is in Atlantic Canada. There will be a creation of a fisheries renewal advisory board which will include the stakeholders and community groups to improve co-ordination on habitat restoration and enhancement initiatives. There will be a funding of $15 million for each government over three years for habitat restoration. There will be a commitment by both governments to work co-operatively to reduce overlap and duplication and to improve efficiency on the part of everybody. That benefits the fish and the fishermen.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Cummins Reform Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, this agreement is not a milestone, it is more a headstone for the fish in B.C.

During the construction of the Vancouver Island highway the province deviously avoided its own environmental assessment law. The minister of fisheries played the same game and avoided an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Rather than attempting to promote the cause of Liberals in B.C. by jumping into bed with Glen Clark, why has the minister of fisheries not fulfilled his constitutional obligation and charged the province with fish habitat destruction by the Vancouver Island highway?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I find this very strange for a party that believes the federal government should get out of the environmental business altogether.

I would suggest that the only headstone in this agreement is the Reform Party.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

April 16th, 1997 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

While the Minister of Foreign Affairs is desperately looking to the international community to justify proclaiming Canada a great place to live, the aboriginal peoples of Quebec and Canada are travelling across Europe denouncing some of the many red book promises that have been broken. After three and a half years of Liberal government, the aboriginal peoples still have record high rates of suicide, imprisonment, unemployment and infant mortality.

When will the government of the so-called best country in the world to live in finally acknowledge the report of the Erasmus-Dussault Royal Commission and seriously tackle the problems facing aboriginal peoples?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is referring to Mr. Mercredi's trip to England. We have different styles.

While I was working on Manitoba treaty land entitlement, the Dog Rib claims in the Northwest Territories, the Makivik claims in Quebec, all significant, Mr. Mercredi was talking to the statue of Queen Victoria.

We have been here three and a half years. The RCAP report talks about relocations and we did them in Grise Fiord and Davis Inlet. For veterans we did scholarships. We did June 21st aboriginal recognition.

On governance, we did inherent right; the B.C. treaty process, the Manitoba dismantling, 13 land management agreements; Nunavut and Yukon.

On co-management we are doing it in Saskatchewan, B.C. and Alberta. On treaty land entitlement we are finishing with Saskatchewan and doing Manitoba.

I have 18 pages of bullets which I am prepared to table so the hon. member can read in bullet form 18 pages of progress.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the minister's information, England was not the only country they visited, and Ovide Mercredi was not travelling alone either. The chief of Quebec's First Nations and his delegation were with him. Together they visited several European countries. As for Queen Victoria's statue, it was no doubt more sensitive to aboriginal issues than the minister.

Since the report was tabled, the First Nations have repeatedly solicited a meeting with the Prime Minister.

Why does his government keep refusing to talk with the First Nations and to meet them before the next federal election?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, when we went abroad we did it a lot more wisely than the AFN. We went to Greenland to negotiate economic agreements with aboriginal people. We went to New Zealand to negotiate economic agreements between our aboriginal people and their aboriginal people. We went to the United States to negotiate economic agreements on agriculture. We went to Mexico to negotiate a forestry agreement between the Meadow Lake Tribal

Council and the people there. I could go on. I am glad the member has given me this opportunity.

While they were talking, we were moving over jurisdiction in gas and oil in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

We made amendments to the Indian Act which the hon. member opposed. It gave power to those people. No country has gone as far as Canada.

We said that these powers belonged to aboriginal people. They came from the creator. We are prepared as a federal government to say that education is theirs, health is theirs. Marriage, custody, culture and language are theirs. The hon. member would not support those things.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadian recipients of U.S. social security benefits are relieved that this government has taken steps to alleviate the U.S. tax grab on their monthly payments, but the solution depends on action by our Parliament and by the U.S. Senate.

Can the Minister of Finance tell the constituents of Windsor-St. Clair what exactly the government is prepared to do to help them recoup their losses in the event of a delay in the United States?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Windsor-St. Clair is asking a question on behalf of her constituents. She has been very active in this file. It is a question which concerns a number of members in the House.

As the member knows, having worked on this file for some time, what is necessary is for us to set up a system by which we can provide the refunds as quickly as possible. It will take the co-operation of the United States because not all seniors file Canadian tax returns. We have to get that information and then we have to match it to our information.

Setting up the system will take some time, but the commitment I am prepared to make in the House is that if by the time the system is set up it has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate, we will proceed immediately to provide the refunds to Canadian recipients.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday during question period the justice minister denied that we need a victims bill of rights. He mocked the request of my colleague from Fraser Valley West for greater rights for victims by saying that the provinces have already taken steps to do exactly what is being asked for in the victims bill of rights, and yet the justice minister has admitted that victims of crime need more rights, as shown by his request to the justice committee to study the bill.

Why then does he say that these rights are already covered by provincial legislation?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first of all, yesterday I was not mocking victims bills of rights, I was mocking the hon. member for Fraser Valley West.

Second, the hon. member will know that the justice committee, at my request, is examining the entire matter of victims rights in this country. I wrote to the committee a year ago. It is examining the Statutes of Canada, the administration of justice in the provinces, and it is preparing proposals to improve the justice system to make it more sensitive to the rights of victims.

That is what I have asked the hon. member and his colleagues on the justice committee to do.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the justice minister feels that mocking a legitimate question from the opposition is becoming, in particular on the eve of an election.

Murderer Karla Homolka has the right to a university education. Child killer Clifford Olson has the right to apply for early release. Criminals are demanding sex change operations, colour televisions and computers. And now a murderer in prison in New Brunswick is demanding the right to be transported to Nova Scotia every time he wants a conjugal visit with his wife who is imprisoned there for her part in the murder.

The government gives in to these demands while victims stand at the door begging. How can the minister deny victims reasonable rights while he continues to protect the rights of Clifford Olson and while doing nothing to stop rapists like Darren Ursel from walking free?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the system at present includes a statement of victims rights adopted by the federal government and the provinces in 1988. Since 1988 the federal government has conducted itself, drafted its legislation, selected its priorities and determined its policies in relation to that statement of principles. It is in essence a victims bill of rights.

However, there is room for improvement in any system, including the criminal justice system when it comes to victims. It is for that reason that I have asked the justice committee, of which the hon. member is a hardworking part, to work on the victims bill of rights to look at how it can be improved, how the system can be made more sensitive to the interests of victims.

I look forward to the report of that committee. This government will examine it with care and do the right thing.

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

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

On several occasions, I have risen in this House to question the minister on the future of the Hyundai plant in Bromont. We have now learned that Hyundai has moved all its automobile assembly machinery out of the plant. More than 800 direct jobs in my region are at stake.

Can the minister say whether discussions have been initiated with his Quebec counterpart or any potential buyer who could take over this idle manufacturing plant and get it running again?

Hyundai Plant In BromontOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saskatoon—Dundurn Saskatchewan

Liberal

Morris Bodnar LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asks an interesting question. It is a matter I will have to take up with the minister. We will take that question under advisement.

Minister Of Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the heritage minister talked about the receptions held to salute our Olympic athletes. I want to make it clear that the Reform Party and all Canadians are proud of those athletes.

I am not talking about the Canadian salute to our Olympic athletes and their cocktail party. I am talking about the federal government caviar cocktail party held for under 100 people at the CNN centre in Atlanta on July 22, 1996. It is time the heritage minister came clean on this. I know two people who took pictures at this event. These people have told us what it was like.

While Canadians are working harder and being taxed more, this minister is having a caviar cocktail party for $65,000 for under 100 people. She should give an answer to the Canadian people