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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nafta.

Topics

Liberal GovernmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the question is rather strange.

On opposition days, the hon. member opposite promotes the ideas of her party. When the government presents its agenda, it obviously promotes its ideas, as it did in the excellent economic statement presented by my colleague a few days ago and adopted in this House yesterday, which has been very well received by the overwhelming majority of Canadians.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, no one is going to be taken in, neither the general public nor the members of this House.

This is the second time, on the eve of a general election, that the Liberal government is trying to muzzle the auditor general. The government has gone so far as to dare to try to convince us that its MPs could not find the meeting room. This just shows the arrogance and disdain of this government.

Does the Prime Minister think that his attempts to muzzle the auditor general are really going to prevent the truth about the Liberal government's administrative scandals from breaking out into the light of day?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there is no muzzling going on.

First of all, this government is the one that made the change to having the auditor general report to this House, not once a year as in the past, but four times a year. That was an initiative of this government.

Second, the committee in question is meeting today. This is its second meeting this week to discuss the auditor general's report.

This government is totally transparent, totally accountable to the Canadian public.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are glad the committee is meeting today, but it took the intervention of the Bloc Quebecois and all the opposition parties to get the government to act.

Does the Prime Minister seriously believe that his crisis management techniques, which are nothing more than damage control, will prevent him from having to answer for all the scandals and criminal investigations he has hanging over him?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if the matter of the auditor general's report is being discussed in a committee room a little later today, the hon. member knows very well that this is not because of intervention by the Bloc Quebecois. I myself proposed this initiative—

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

—to all party leaders, last night and this morning.

Moreover, I thank them, as I have informally already, for accepting my suggestion.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government was elected because it promised to get tough on pollution. It promised to clean up our environment. It did not promise to sit on the sidelines while 20 million tonnes of Toronto garbage pollute the water in Ontario and Quebec, threaten the water that first nations and a great many other communities depend upon.

Why is the government so stubbornly and persistently refusing to launch a full federal environmental assessment into the Adams mine madness?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the situation with respect to the Adams mine is this. The province of Ontario has carried out an assessment. It has come to a certain conclusion, which is that it is environmentally safe to carry out the use of the mine site for Toronto garbage.

On the other hand there are two aspects of federal jurisdiction. One is the transboundary aspect with Quebec, between Ontario and Quebec. The other is the transboundary aspect between the Ontario jurisdiction and the federal Indian reserve in the area.

As I have said in the House time after time, and the hon. member knows it, that question has been put to the environmental assessment authority. When it comes up with scientific conclusions I will make a decision on whether to proceed with a fully inquiry.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, 80 billion litres of water are at stake. The health of people in thousands of communities is at stake. The government did not campaign on dumping 20 million tonnes of Toronto garbage into a lake and it did not campaign to let Mike Harris do whatever he darned well pleases with our environment.

Canadians expect the federal government to protect our water, so that when people turn on their taps they know that their kids are safe to brush their teeth.

Canadians do not want another Walkerton. Why is the government refusing to put an end to the Adams mine mess?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in the tirade of the hon. leader of the New Democratic Party there is one element that is totally absent, and that is the fact of the Canadian constitution. The federal government does not have the power to walk into every problem in the country simply because the problem exists, whether it is at the municipal level or the provincial level.

Why is it that she thinks that simply because there is a problem the federal government should take over? There is a problem with illiteracy. That does not mean that this government should set up educational programs for every child in the country.

TransportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

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

The Toronto airport authority was granted a $185 million rent reduction just after it signed its lease agreement. The auditor general said “The department could not provide us with the rationale”.

I have two questions for the Deputy Prime Minister. First, why was the rent reduced by a whopping $185 million? Second, was any minister directly or indirectly advised of or involved in discussions that led to that decision?

TransportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, I am obviously not in a position to express personal knowledge of the subject matter. However, because of the interest of the leader of the Conservative Party, I will undertake to find a detailed response for him and provide that to him, if possible, later this day.

TransportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that raises a very interesting issue about how this parliament is able to function and get at facts that need to be known and conduct public business that needs to be carried out.

There was obviously a range of questions raised by the auditor general. The government has agreed to a special meeting at 12.30 p.m. today. That obviously will not allow the House to pursue the questions that arise from the report.

Let me ask the Deputy Prime Minister, will the government agree right now to a second meeting of the public accounts committee on Monday to allow the House of Commons to have a full examination of the—

TransportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. government House leader.

TransportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I can assist the right hon. member in answering the question about the Toronto airport authority.

The airport was treated in a comparable manner to other airports. However, in the case of Pearson airport, the financial projections could not be updated immediately prior to the transfer because of ongoing legal actions involving terminal 2, and three major projects had to be completed by Transport Canada prior to the transfer. That required a one time financial adjustment to the lease to take into account the three unfinished projects to which I have just referred.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

October 20th, 2000 / 11:30 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader can huff and puff, but everybody knows that the reason a second meeting with the auditor general is being scheduled today is that the Liberals got caught trying to sneak away from their scandalous record.

They snub the auditor general—

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We are going a little bit far here in our language. We are not to impugn motives in any of our questions or in our answers. I will ask the hon. member to please to go his question.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, given the track record of arrogance, incompetence and mismanagement on behalf of this government—

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Put the question right now, please.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

The question, Mr. Speaker, is, how can Canadians possibly trust the government to govern the country?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the question could be put to the Alliance, after we have the facts now about the $440 million Alberta Conservative government boondoggle involving the Swan Hills plant at a time when the Leader of the Opposition was part of that government. How can anybody trust the Leader of the Opposition and the Alliance Party when they seek the mandate of Canadians?

Canadians will know that it is this government and this party that deserve their confidence, not the Alliance or any of the other opposition parties.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will not be fooled by another diversionary tactic by the Deputy Prime Minister.

The truth of the matter is the Liberal record. Their record is one of arrogance and mismanagement, obviously things that do not stand well with Canadians. I am wondering how they can possibly ask Canadians to put their trust in them when they have not earned it here in this place.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I reject completely the totally unfounded premise of the hon. member's question.

When it is a matter of trust, I suggest that whenever Canadians are asked to make their judgment at the ballot box they will agree that this government has earned the trust of Canadians, not only on its good record but its forward looking plan to bring Canadians successfully into the 21st century and not move them backward in a mean-spirited way as the Alliance would do in the unlikely event it was given the chance.

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Wednesday's economic statement, the Minister of Finance chose clearly to favour the well off over the middle classes and the disadvantaged.

He admitted in this morning's Citizen that dollar for dollar, his economic statement gave more money back to wealthy taxpayers.

Does the Minister of Finance think that the people will not understand the move intended first to lower the taxes of the rich, when the middle class and the poor are the source of the incredible surpluses they are swimming in?