House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-11.

Topics

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister's visit is not for the purpose of entering into negotiations. Its purpose is for him to meet the new minister, former Senator Abraham. The first step is an exchange of views.

If, in due course, negotiations ensue, we will follow the normal procedures for informing the provinces.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, talks on an agreement dealing specifically with the various forms of energy should normally include discussions on oil and natural gas.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister assure us that drinking water will be excluded from any talks on a possible energy agreement?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Timiskaming—Cochrane Ontario

Liberal

Ben Serré LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as the Deputy Prime Minister just said, there are no formal negotiations at this point. However, I can assure the House and the hon. member that in all the trade agreements that we have signed with foreign countries, we have always protected the needs of Canadians, whether it is water or any other resource, and we will continue to do so.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the Prime Minister tell us if these energy issues will be discussed by one of the sectorial negotiating groups on the free trade area of the Americas? If so, is the trip made by the two Canadian ministers to Washington in preparation for the negotiations on the free trade area of the Americas as regards energy issues?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

February 26th, 2001 / 2:25 p.m.

Timiskaming—Cochrane Ontario

Liberal

Ben Serré LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the United States have a new administration. It is normal for ministers from our government to pay a visit to their American counterparts to get acquainted with the issues and discuss things in general terms.

The opposition will be informed when formal talks take place. Again, whether it is ministers or the government as a whole, we will always protect the rights and the needs of Canadians first and foremost.

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the public has a fundamental right to speak out and to demonstrate peaceably.

The attitude of governments to the summit of the Americas is of some concern. There will be barricades, absurd rules, control points and so on. Obviously, order and security must be maintained during the summit of the Americas.

We want assurance that peaceful demonstrations will be protected in Quebec City. Will the government give this assurance?

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the summit of the Americas, which will be held in Quebec City in April 2001, will be an opportunity for all of us Canadians to reaffirm our commitment within the Americas and to increase opportunities available to Canadians in all sectors.

In the context of the preparations for this summit, just last Friday, the Minister for International Trade and the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa met with members of civil society.

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat that Canadians want assurances that the rights of peaceful protesters will not be quashed at the Quebec summit, assurances that excessive force will not be used, including unlawful detainment, strip searches and pepper spray.

The RCMP is involved in the preparation of security at the summit, rightly so. Will the government assure the public that an appropriate balance will be struck between the responsibility to maintain order and security and the right of citizens to peaceful, meaningful protest throughout the summit?

Summit Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the answer to that question is yes. However, I should remind her that when Prime Minister Tony Blair of England was here with regard to this meeting he said:

However sincere the protests, they cannot be allowed to stand in the way of rational argument. We should start to make this case with force and determination.

That is the message from Prime Minister Blair of the Labour Party of Britain to members of the NDP in Canada. They should listen carefully to that common sense point of view.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. He will know that the Business Development Bank of Canada Act came into force on July 13, 1995. It requires the designated minister to review the provisions and operations of the act in consultation with the Minister of Finance within five years. According to the law, that review should have started last July, seven months ago. A report has to be submitted to parliament no later than this July.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister tell the House whether the Minister of Industry has started the review? Will he tell us when the review will be brought to parliament in accordance with the law? If the minister has not started the review, will the Deputy Prime Minister tell us why he has not followed the law and started the review?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not have all the information that he is seeking, but I am confident that the relevant ministers will meet the requirements of the law.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me try something else.

Before the president of the Business Development Bank was stripped of his power respecting loans, he had recommended that the bank consider calling the loan of the Auberge Grand-Mère, which at that time was a loan in default.

Can the Deputy Prime Minister tell the House—and I am sure it has been discussed in cabinet—did the Prime Minister know of that recommendation by Mr. Beaudoin to call the loan before the president's powers were changed? Did the Prime Minister know in advance of the action by the board of the intention of the board to strip the president of his normal authority respecting loans?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will get the hon. member a detailed answer to his question, but does he know that Mr. Beaudoin is the subject of a counterclaim in the pending court case, because the auditor general found that Mr. Beaudoin inflated his pension by some half a million dollars?

Why is the hon. member basing his questions on something as contentious as the comments of Mr. Beaudoin?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, speaking of the Business Development Bank, on April 21, 1997, Yvon Duhaime wrote the Prime Minister begging for help with the Business Development Bank loan, one which it had recommended against.

We have obtained documents today that show that on May 6, 1997, the HRD said that funding was assured from the Business Development Bank. That is lightning speed. That is just a matter of days. It had already been recommended that this loan not be complied with.

The question is, how did it happen that through the maze of bureaucracy this loan found its way through and was assured in a matter of days at lightning speed?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of my hon. friend's question that the loan went through with lightning speed.

I have been informed, however, that this loan was approved and participated in by the local caisse populaire and the Fonds des travailleurs du Quebec, both bodies not connected with the federal government nor with the Prime Minister, and their judgment was that the loan was a valid commercial transaction. She ought to take that into account before raising the kinds of empty questions she does whenever she has a chance.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me quote from the actual document. It says:

Funding is provided by the Business Development Bank of Canada.

That seems pretty clear that the funding is assured.

We know that it was during an election time and the Prime Minister was in the political fight of his life. He was not only trying to retain his seat during that time, he was trying to retain the financial shares that he had in the neighbouring golf course of the Auberge Grand-Mère.

The question is very simple. Why was the Prime Minister interfering with the business of a crown corporation?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member, who I commend for her French, did not make clear what she was quoting from. She should do so.

The ethics counsellor found that the Prime Minister was not interfering with the work of a crown corporation. He was doing no more than what members on all sides of the House do, making enquiries and making representations on behalf of a constituent.

If the hon. member thinks that is wrong, then I think she ought to make a fresh start on learning her duties as a member of parliament.

International TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has always maintained that the end of the softwood lumber agreement would signal the return to full free trade.

On Thursday, the Minister for International Trade left us somewhat confused by saying in this House that he anticipated transitional measures.

I would ask the Prime Minister if the government can confirm that Canada's position remains a return to free trade, pure and simple, and that no other solution may be considered?

International TradeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, this is obviously a very complex issue. The views of all regions in Canada will be considered.

As my colleague knows, the Minister for International Trade is in Washington today meeting with trade representative Mr. Zoellick and commerce secretary Mr. Evans.

The minister and I have repeated several times that the long term goal for Canada is free trade in softwood lumber.

International TradeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary what he means by long term goal, but I will wait to do so.

I would like to know whether we are to understand from the government's position that, before negotiations even begin, the government will be stepping back from the position and the consensus held across Canada in the softwood industry.

International TradeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what my colleague means by a stepping back. There is wide consultation underway now with people in the softwood lumber industry right across Canada. This has been the subject of discussions on a number of occasions with the provincial ministers of trade and with the Minister for International Trade. Today it is the subject of international discussion. The long term goal remains the same: free trade in softwood lumber.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to restate the facts for a minute.

On April 21 Yvon Duhaime asked the Prime Minister to use his influence to help obtain a Business Development Bank loan for a hotel in which they both had an interest. Less than two weeks later the money was assured.

What did the Prime Minister or his office do so that those funds were assured within the two week period of time?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario

Liberal

John Cannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it was said in the House over and over again by the ethics counsellor and the RCMP that there was no conflict. This party just simply does not get it.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, quite simply, something happened in those two weeks. That loan had been refused by the Business Development Bank and two weeks later, after the Prime Minister's influence was used, the loan was granted.

I would like to ask again: What exactly did the Prime Minister or his office do to secure those funds within a two week period of time?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question falls flat on the ground because it is based on alleging influence by the Prime Minister. It has been confirmed over and over that the Prime Minister did not use, “undue” influence, and I think that should be taken into account. She ought to make a fresh start of these questions and start with some facts.