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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was treaty.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Reform members are applauding. Does the House know what they are applauding? In their election campaign they said that they would not cut personal taxes until the year 2000. That was part of their election campaign.

We cut taxes in 1997. The Reform Party would not have done it. We cut taxes in 1998. The Reform Party would not have done it. We cut taxes in 1999. The Reform Party would not have done it. We cut them three times. We are ahead of the cart and they are down in the hole.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

I will tell you where they are ahead, Mr. Speaker. They are at the head of the class for the highest personal income taxes of all G-7 countries. That is where they are ahead.

They say that they are saving the EI fund for a rainy day. We better go home and start building our ark because there is a heck of a flood coming. There is no doubt about that.

I have a question for the finance minister. With his $21 billion surplus, what is his problem? The auditor general says that he does not like what he is doing. The money is not his. Why does he not just give it back to the people whom he took it from?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party sure as heck better build its ark because it is drowning. The only thing in the country that is dropping faster than personal income taxes is Reform's share of the popular vote.

Air TransportationOral Question Period

October 27th, 1999 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the process presented yesterday by the Minister of Transport relating to air carriers is absolutely absurd.

He is proposing that parliament look at the 10% rule and states that no decision has yet been taken. Air Canada shareholders will be voting on the Onex proposal on November 8, well before parliament has made a decision. If parliament were to decide to retain that 10% limit, and the shareholders had accepted the Onex bid, it would still be illegal. We would therefore be back to square one.

Is this not the best possible proof that the Onex bid will go nowhere if the law is not changed?

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, what I said yesterday is that the government is prepared to consider an increase in the 10% restriction on Air Canada shares, after consultations with MPs and senators.

I think this is a very fair position for the Canadian public, as well as for the Air Canada shareholders, before a choice is made on the bid next week.

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, does being prepared to consider an increase in the 10% limit mean 12, 13, 14 or 15%, as was the case with Via Rail, or just that the minister does not want to say that he is prepared to accept 31%, as the Onex bid proposes?

If that is the case, let him say so, so that the issues involved are clear, so that we can understand, so that the matter is not dealt with between buddies and behind closed doors.

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have put in place a process for obtaining the point of view of MPs and senators before making a decision.

If the hon. member has a point of view on a limit of 10, 20 or 30%, let him make it known to the House of Commons.

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the matter of Onex, the Minister of Transport has said since the start that he would like market rules to apply. However, an Onex memo intimates that the company did not submit an offer to Air Canada without first obtaining guarantees that the rules would be modified by the government.

Will the Minister finally drop the mask and confirm to this House that he had already provided guarantees to Onex before its announcement of August 13?

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is mistaken. The government made no guarantee to Onex.

I suggest he put his questions to the president of Onex when he appears before the Standing Committee on Transport.

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the political career of the Minister of Transport would indicate that he should distrust memos. The Minister is refusing to enlighten this House.

As the former Liberal Minister, Marc Lalonde, pointed out, is the government not in the process of misleading parliament by assuming that the matter is in the bag?

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I respect qualities of my former colleague, Mr. Lalonde. Yesterday, he gave his opinion in an article in the daily, Le Devoir , but I must point out that Mr. Lalonde is a lawyer and that his company works for Air Canada.

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the transport minister as well.

The travelling public will be gouged. Workers will lose their jobs. Smaller centres will lose their service unless the government ensures proper protection like the 10% ownership rule.

The government should set out the rules openly and publicly so that the bids can conform to the rules. Instead it is changing the rules to conform to the bids. Why should the tail be wagging the dog?

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we launched a very open process under section 47 of the Canada Transportation Act which succeeded in bringing forward two private sector proposals. That will be considered by the shareholders of these companies.

It was very important for the government yesterday, when I met with the committee, to ensure that we have a level playing field and that those shareholders have the ability to vote on both those propositions.

That is why we stated very clearly that the government is prepared to consider raising the 10% limit of the shares of Air Canada after consultations with members in the House.

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, in the game for control of the Canadian airline industry the transport minister is a biased referee. Whether it is suspending the competition law or reviewing the ownership rule, the minister is giving Onex power play after power play.

When will the minister do his job and apply rules that will put the interests of Canadians where they belong at the top of the list?

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if I had not made a commitment on behalf of the government yesterday to consider raising the 10% limit, that would have favoured one other proposition. I certainly would have been biased in that case.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, it has been 216 days since the minister responsible for homelessness promised to put a plan and money in place to help Canada's homeless.

All the Liberals have done to date with their cuts to social programs is to put more people on the streets. With winter just around the corner, why has the minister ignored the needs of Canada's homeless and forced them to spend more winters freezing to death on the streets?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Moncton New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, there are two issues here.

For the short term for this winter, I want to advise the House that the staff has been in touch with every community that I visited to make sure they have enough shelter beds for this winter. The city of Toronto informed us that in order to have enough shelter beds it needed $1.2 million which the minister of housing has given to the city of Toronto. Besides that, we are informed that every shelter is fine.

For the long term the secretariat is getting the recommendations that I have received and they will be presented soon.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for homelessness promised action. I am pleased to hear that she is doing a little something for the next few months.

The minister is quoted as saying that she cannot do anything but pass along a few ideas to cabinet and hope that something gets done. Good heavens, I hope cabinet does more than it did for the merchant navy.

The minister says it is not her job to produce a strategy, it is not her job to find money for new housing and it is not her job to lobby the cabinet for new initiatives to end homelessness in Canada. If it is not her job, whose job is it, and what is her job?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Moncton New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has asked me to co-ordinate all the information on homelessness.

I would like to advise the hon. member that I have been working 31 years for the homeless, for the poor and for the children of this country.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, competition is important to Canadians to ensure fair prices and choices in travel.

The competition commissioner has recommended that the government extend the foreign ownership to 49%. Since this proposal would be good for consumers, why is the government rejecting the advice of the competition commissioner on foreign ownership?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in the discussions that we have had with various stakeholders, including the airlines, at no time was it ever suggested that their needs were to have an injection of foreign capital over the 25% limit. We have rejected increasing the limit over 25% because this government absolutely and fundamentally believes that the airline industry in Canada must be effectively controlled by Canadians.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Australia has two profitable national airlines that compete with each other on domestic routes, even though one of them is 50% foreign owned. Foreign ownership has provided Australians with healthy competition in its domestic market. The competition commissioner recommends that for Canada. Why is the minister refusing to consider it?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, to compare Australia and Canada with respect to air policy is indeed wrong. The population of Australia is smaller. It is somewhat isolated in the Pacific Ocean. Australia does not live next door to the largest economy in the world with a population 10 times greater than the population of Canada.

It is essential that we keep control of our own affairs. Keeping the 25% limit is one way to do that.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, echoing the chief actuary, the auditor general yesterday asked the federal government to state clearly what it intended to do with the large EI surplus, which is up to $21 billion. In their view, a reserve of $10 billion would be quite sufficient for the needs of the system.

Does the minister intend to take a page from her predecessor's book and turn a deaf ear not just to unemployed workers and the Bloc Quebecois, but also to the auditor general, who is asking her to take a reasonable approach to the management of the EI fund?