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House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-16.

Topics

KashmirStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to add my voice to the worldwide cries of outrage and heartbreak over Monday night's cold-blooded killing of 36 Sikhs in Chitt isinghpura, Kashmir.

The time has come for the global village to demand an end to the violence against all minorities, wherever they may live, all around the world. We strongly condemn attacks of violence against minorities and civilians.

Finally, I would ask all members of the House to join me in offering our deepest sympathies to the community, especially to the families of the victims.

Revenue CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Gerry Ritz Reform Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, in 1988 Corporal Knibbs of the RCMP used his job transfer allowance. Ordinarily, under the rules of the day, this was considered an RCMP expense, not income to Corporal Knibbs.

Revenue Canada arbitrarily changed the rules and charged tax on the allowance to Corporal Knibbs, who then promptly filed an objection. Revenue Canada replied by saying that its final decision would be based on an upcoming ruling, but in the meantime his tax would be held in abeyance. Incredibly, 10 years went by before Revenue Canada ruled against the corporal, who promptly paid his tax bill.

The final insult was a further bill, 30 days later, for penalty and interest for the 10 years of Revenue Canada foot dragging. That is absolutely outrageous. When is the Liberal government going to rein in its tax hungry, hard-hearted tax department and stop victimizing hardworking Canadians like Corporal Knibbs?

Canadian EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Lavigne Liberal Verdun—Saint-Henri, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt about the economic vigour of Canada. Once again yesterday, Statistics Canada announced that international trade in Canadian products had reached an unprecedented high. Its January level was $4.53 billion, compared to $2.74 billion in December 1999. Statistics Canada pointed out that the last record high was $4.47 billion in May 1996.

Since we have been in power, we have played a lead role, implementing policies favourable to job creation and attracting investments.

The people of Canada have worked in partnership with the Liberal government. Today we are reaping the benefits of a good government that has made the right decisions.

Liberal Party Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker:

So how are things, Jane? Fill me in. way I see it, all is well Although one item I should tell.

So how are things, Paul? Fill me in. The party is in crisis deep. What say you, trait'rous minister? Give me your version of events. The way I see it, all is well Although one item I should tell. So small, so lacking in import And hardly worthy of report, The party lustre fades and dulls, The Leader, clinging, carries on Regardless, but apart from that, Just fine, just great, so worry not.

So how are things, Jean? Fill me in. One minister my job would have. How so, oh very shaky one? What is your version of events?

Granby ZooStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Diane St-Jacques Progressive Conservative Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to congratulate the whole staff at the Granby Zoo for the prestigious award it just won, namely the provincial component of the Attractions Canada 2000 contest.

The Granby Zoo will represent Quebec in Vancouver, on April 28, at Attractions Canada's national gala. Thanks to the addition of the Amazoo aquatic park, the Granby Zoo keeps winning awards.

The Granby Zoo is a profitable business that has been in existence for over 40 years. It employs about 250 people during peak periods and provides economic spinoffs of about $10 million annually.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the founder of the Granby Zoo, Pierre-Horace Boivin, a man who, inspired by his love for animals and people, believed in his dream and fulfilled it by giving the town of Granby a true zoological garden.

The zoo is a major tourist attraction in our riding and I am pleased to invite you to come for a visit as early as May.

Maple Syrup SeasonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hec Clouthier Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is this liquid gold, this amber nectar, this food of the gods that mesmerizes, tantalizes and inspires the tongue?

In my great riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke this sweet sensation, this heavenly harvest, is flowing from the hills of Wilno to the valleys of Bagot, Blythfield and Brougham.

I am talking about the opening of maple syrup season.

It was my great honour to hammer the first spigot at Sexton Farms at the opening of Renfrew County's maple syrup season.

Maple syrup season is a sure sign that spring has arrived and that the slumber of winter has departed. Now we are all being rewarded with this glorious golden treat.

I firmly believe it is only fitting that Canada's greatest symbol, all that we hold dear, the maple leaf, comes from a tree whose lifeblood brings such sweet passion to all Canadians.

Government GrantsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, declaring “everyone loses”, Arthur Kroeger, a former HRDC deputy minister and Mel Cappe's predecessor, today chastised parliament for failing to provide guidance to officials on what it would regard as a sensible balance between the oversight of the expenditure of public funds and the flexibility of serving clients.

What this former bureaucrat failed to mention is the unprecedented amount of political interference by the governing Liberals. This goes to the very heart of the problem. Grants without applications are not the result of overworked officials but the unwarranted intrusion of Liberal politicians.

As Canadians fill out their tax forms and sign over their hard earned dollars to the government they have every right to expect that the money will be used judiciously and not as a political slush fund.

There is something rotten about the way the government has manipulated the grants and contributions programs and until there is a new government over there the biggest losers will continue to be the Canadian taxpayers.

Atlantic FisheriesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour NDP Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is presently buying back lobster fishing licences in New Brunswick.

Although it claims that this is totally a voluntary process, fishers in Atlantic Canada feel forced into having to sell their fishing gear, with fear that soon there will be no more fishing industry left.

These fishers are worried because no progress has yet been made on agreements with members of the native fishing communities, while tensions between natives and non-natives appear to have been increasing since the Marshall decision.

The federal government is once again turning its back on Atlantic Canada by refusing to show leadership in this growing crisis. DFO is responsible for the management of fish stocks and it should have firm rules in place prior to the start of the spring fishing season.

I call upon the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to resolve this dispute before there is a collapse in the fishing industry, which includes lobster, scallop, crab and shrimp, to name a few.

The livelihood of too many Maritime families is at stake.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the efforts of all Canadians, our country has entered a new era, an era of budget surpluses.

Canadians from all regions of the country will benefit from a budget that will ensure them of a great future. Our education system is unsurpassed, our social effort is continuing and our taxes will drop over the next five years. In addition to that, our researchers are innovating.

There are over 250 community futures development corporations in our small towns and villages. These corporations promote local economies. They also help small businesses.

Budget 2000 includes a $54 million envelope, over a three year period, to provide increased funding to existing CFDCs and to create new ones.

The CFDCs take various initiatives to develop and diversify local economies. They support small businesses by providing them with financial assistance, to a maximum of $125,000. They draft and implement strategic plans, in co-operation with other stakeholders.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing to watch the trade minister boast about the work of the Export Development Corporation and completely ignore its greatest defect.

Yesterday the trade minister said “in the last 50 years—the Canadian government has only granted about $1 billion to the EDC”, only a billion. What he failed to mention is that taxpayers are on the hook for all of EDC's bad loans and that total is now $2.8 billion. By ignoring this loss of taxpayer dollars, why is the minister making exactly the same mistake he made as minister of human resources?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I should thank the Leader of the Opposition for coming back to a good news story and bringing attention to the good work of the EDC for Canadian exporters.

As for the debt, Canada and OECD partners participate in debt rescheduling discussions at the Paris Club. These talks are aimed at helping poorer countries by adjusting their debt repayments. These decisions are made for humanitarian and political reasons and they make a lot of sense.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing what these Liberal ministers choose to ignore, and it is always at the taxpayers' interest.

The human resources minister boasts about her department's projects but ignores a billion dollar boondoggle. The trade minister boasts about EDC but completely ignores $2.8 billion in bad debts for which taxpayers are liable. How is the minister holding EDC accountable for bad loans for which the taxpayers are on the hook?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the government is a good player on the international scene, is a member of the Paris Club, and with the other OECD countries participates in debt reduction, debt rescheduling and elimination for the poorer countries for humanitarian reasons.

It is tough for the Reform Party to understand, but for humanitarian considerations we moved all the lending countries together on these things. This is a political decision. The government compensates EDC for these sovereign debt reductions, reductions it would not make otherwise.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, no one is objecting to legitimate export financing or humanitarian activity. What taxpayers find offensive is EDC lending money to huge corporations which are perfectly capable of financing their own purchases, in order for those companies to buy goods and services from Liberal connected companies in Canada.

For example, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras got a $10 million line of credit from EDC to buy products from Earth Canada. That liberally connected corporation's board was graced with the Prime Minister's pals, Gilles Champagne and René Fugère. Why should taxpayers be assisting huge foreign firms to—

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister for International Trade.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, in the two weeks that they have had the opportunity to look into the particular case of Earth Canada, one would have hoped that the leader's research staff would have had the opportunity to explain to him that Earth Canada never used the line of credit. It actually got other private sector credit to do its transaction. It has not received any support from EDC at this time.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it would be nice to have a look at the books but of course the minister will not let us do that. Nor will he let anyone else have a look at EDC's books. It would be nice also to think that the hard earned money taxpayers send into the government is not going to subsidize deals between oil giants and friends of the Prime Minister.

Petrobras is worth more than $2 billion. Yet for some reason René Fugère and Gilles Champagne, good friends of the Prime Minister on the board of directors of Earth Canada, somehow convinced the government it should establish a $10 million line of credit for that company.

Taxpayers are already on the hook for $2.8 billion in bad EDC loans. Why should they risk any more for friends of the Prime Minister?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I reject these allegations. They just do not make any sense whatsoever. There are commercial confidentialities. That is the reason, we understand, the EDC needs to protect the information for its private sector clients.

Let me remind you, Mr. Speaker, that in the last six years the EDC has earned three times the auditor general's award for annual reporting. The auditor general has access to the board of directors minutes of meetings, transaction details and financial records. Let me quote again the auditor general: “In my opinion these transactions are—”

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fraser Valley.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, just so it is clear, let us go through it. Petrobras is worth billions and is owned by the Brazilian government. It is kind of hard to understand why it would be coming to the Canadian government for cash. That is exactly what it did. It wanted a line of credit. It came to the Canadian government even though it is a Brazilian owned company.

Is it government policy to lend millions to foreign companies that do not need the money, or does it just select certain companies depending on who is on the board of directors?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party has a very hard time to accept a good news corporation that does good work and has made more than $500 million in profits for Canadian companies and exporters.

I believe honestly that this country is a trading country and that this government will stand on the side of Canadian companies that want to do well in foreign markets. This is what Canadians expect from us.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

March 23rd, 2000 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development seems to consider it normal that the National Bank had a secret deal to give Placeteco $1 million in credit, when the company was under the protection of the Bankruptcy Act.

Will the minister agree that only a formal guarantee from her trustee that her department's grant would be forthcoming could convince the National Bank to take such a risk? What other explanation can there be for the sudden generosity of the National Bank?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what I will say is what I have been saying in the House. We have received invoices of an appropriate nature that accommodate the expenditures which were made in this particular case.

When it comes to this particular company we now see that we have 170 men and women who are working who otherwise would not be. On this side of the House we view that to be a good investment.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we will get back to the supposed invoices later.

Could the Minister of National Revenue tell us if one of his assistants bothered checking with the HRDC trustee, Gilles Champagne, whether the debt of $255,000 owing to his department would be paid before the grant money was paid out?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, according to my information, as far as Placeteco is concerned, we at the economic development agency have never been involved with this company.

As for National Revenue, hon. members know very well that there is a wall between the executive assistants and the political staff, a separation to protect confidentiality. If a specific question is asked on a specific issue, hon. members know very well that I cannot comment on a specific file, because of that confidentiality.