This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing to see the Leader of the Opposition getting up when I read page 42 of the Reform program, the Reform taxpayers budget which calls for $640 million to be saved by downsizing the department of agriculture. It further calls for $690 million to be saved by cutting all regional sector specific funding to the department of agriculture.

That is what they say to gain votes. Now that we have put money on the table they just flip-flop completely and want us to spend money when—

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I would ask both the questioners and those who answer to please keep their questions within 35 seconds.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should have kept on reading from that statement because the next sentences talked about Reform's proposal for a trade distortion program that would have solved this problem.

Incidentally the member who proposed that program is now just about five seats away from becoming the premier of Saskatchewan. This is not just about statistics. This is not a statistical problem. It is families that are suffering not just the loss of their livelihoods but their farms—

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

If the Prime Minister wants to address himself to the preamble, I would invite him to do so.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will reply in 90 seconds and not in 90 minutes. Before the last budget the government put $900 million on the table and the provinces put $600 million directed toward this problem.

Why does the Reform Party complain all the time when we spend money? Now he wants to cut money and have a new program. He cannot have it that way.

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the Onex issue, the Minister of Transport is now prepared, after having suspended application of the Competition Act and after having refused to let the transport committee sit during the summer, to set aside the 10% ownership rule.

Is the strange behaviour of the minister in this matter dictated by the cozy relationship that exists between Onex and his government?

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, it became quite evident over the last few months that Canadian Airlines was in trouble. It either needed a cash injection from the government, in other words a bailout, or we had to let it slide into insolvency or we had to find another way to solve the problem.

We invoked section 47 which allows us to find market driven solutions but which also allows the government and parliament to pronounce upon any agreement that comes forward with shareholders and to set conditions in the public interest. I have enunciated five principles. I said them yesterday and I could say them again, but the government will do what is in the best interest of Canadians.

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the president of Onex, Mr. Schwartz, also said that the delays imposed by the Competition Bureau would, in his opinion, be too long.

Can the minister tell us whether or not, and regardless of the opinion of the president of Onex, this transaction will be reviewed by the Competition Bureau?

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, under section 47, which we use, the Competition Bureau is engaged. In fact it is giving us advice on restructuring and that advice will be made available within the next couple of weeks and certainly will be made public.

The fact is that the Competition Bureau's role is one that has been underlined. It is still there and it will still be involved in any consideration.

As to any specific agreement, I do not believe that it is my role to talk about any proposal that is now before the shareholders of a private company. When that company decides, when the shareholders decide, then the government will act in the public interest.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, Claude Gauthier, owner of Transelec, donated $10,000 to the Prime Minister's campaign after winning a CIDA contract. He then bought a $500,000 piece of land from a company in which the Prime Minister has a financial interest and the bidding for that was, shall we say, suspicious.

It turns out that Transelec is not quite doing the job and the government has been worried about being on the hook ever since.

Why is the Prime Minister putting his political interest ahead of the public interest?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Beaches—East York Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, first, CIDA does not hold the contract with Transelec. The contract is held between the government of the African Republic of Mali and Transelec.

Second, CIDA funds the project and pays the bills according to the Mali government, as they are submitted.

Third, this company's bid was 30% lower than the next lowest bid.

The project will be finished in the near future and it will be done at no additional cost.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

What a steal of a deal, Mr. Speaker. That is great comfort.

Let me paint a clearer picture for the Prime Minister himself. Perhaps I could join the dots for him: a $10,000 donation, plus a $6.3 million contract, plus a $500,000 land deal. That equals really bad optics.

The minister talks about the awarding process and the process for bidding. It was certainly suspicious at the very least. It is a process for a pal.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister this. How in the world are his friends going to make a living when he retires?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I would urge members on both sides to be very judicious in their choice of words.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are used to the hon. member, so it never surprises us that she would like to be at that level.

I would just say that when somebody makes a bid 30% lower than the others, when it is the lowest bid, $3 million lower than the others, I think the government of Mali did pretty well in giving the contract to that contractor.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the most popular measures mentioned in the throne speech is the proposal to double the length of parental leave. This is good news.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

It is good news, and we all agree on that, but why will this measure come into effect in 2001 and not now?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, recognizing the changing relationship between the workforce and Canadian families, this government knows that it is appropriate for parents to be at home in the early years with their children.

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced a doubling of parental benefits for Canadian families. That is a significant investment in our children and in our families, and are we ever proud.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Yesterday the WTO issued a ruling on Canada's imports and exports of milk. Can the minister tell us whether this in any way threatens our excellent system of supply management for dairies?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to assure everybody in this House and in the dairy industry across Canada that this ruling in no way, shape or form affects supply management. It is a domestic marketing system.

We were very pleased with the tariff rate quotas for fluid milk. The appellant body overthrew the ruling of the panel on that in Canada's favour.

A little portion of the export of dairy products from Canada will be affected by the ruling, but the dairy industry itself has said that it is all right, they can adjust to that little portion, which does not affect supply management in Canada.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister took office he failed to disclose under conflict of interest guidelines a $200,000 asset owed to his numbered company.

His same company later happened to benefit from a land sale to the lucky winner of a huge CIDA contract, land enriched by a government grant to a nearby hotel.

What was the Prime Minister trying to hide by not disclosing the $200,000 asset?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everybody knows about it. I have been informed that the person who owed the money has paid it all. There is no debt any more.

I filed the form as it was presented to me and there was no such request. But if we have to declare when we deposit $5 in the bank that the bank owes us $5, probably we would have to write it in the form the next time.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, on June 8 the Prime Minister said in the House: “Before I became Prime Minister I sold those shares and I gave the problem or the receivable to my trustee with my other assets”.

It was an asset which he did not disclose under his own conflict of interest guidelines. The Prime Minister must know how important it is to the Canadian public that they have confidence in his ethical standards. If his behaviour is above reproach, why has he refused to table the documents which will lay all of these questions to rest?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the trustee is managing this problem. The government has given a clear indication that there was no such request from anybody.

My trustee was given all the assets and managed them. I pray to God that when I am not Prime Minister 10 years from now there will still be some assets that I can get.