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House of Commons Hansard #23 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was endangered.

Topics

EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Nova Scotia has the poorest per capita education funding in Canada. It is so bad that local schools are closing and one school recently had to get a loan from its parents to buy the paper needed for report cards.

However, when the minister rejigged equalization yesterday, Nova Scotia received one measly million dollars out of an additional $1.8 billion. How can he justify such treatment of Nova Scotia while the provincial government is making further cuts to health care and education, while basic services for Nova Scotians are disappearing?

EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the allocation among provinces is not a question of discretion by the federal government. There is a formula that has been established for many years and it is that formula which dominates. What has happened is that the Nova Scotian economy has shown greater growth than many of the other receiving provinces.

That being said, as I and other members have said in the House, our officials are sitting down and we are looking at the issue of equalization, and we do this on a continual basis.

Government LoansOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry and has to do with an issue that I know he is concerned about and has concerned himself with, and that is the impending departure of the Versatile Tractors plant from Manitoba.

I wonder if the minister could tell us, given that the immigration department has apparently now put a stop order on Americans who have moved in to take equipment out of the plant, if there is anything the government can do, admittedly last minute, to prevent the departure of this plant to North Dakota and some $30 million in federal money that was given to Mr. Buhler as part of the agreement by which he took over that plant. Is there anything the government can do?

Government LoansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member has raised this matter with me on another occasion. It is true that we are seeing the loss of an industry and a plant in the province of Manitoba that arises, as the member knows, out of a protracted and extended labour dispute where finally, in the absence of resolution, the decision has been taken by the proprietor to move elsewhere.

No money has been given. Money has been loaned, and that money has to be repaid, as the member knows and as we have discussed.

Following a discussion recently with the member opposite, I am looking at all of the options open to the Government of Canada—

Government LoansOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has a lot of rumours flying around Parliament Hill right now. It seems, after numerous protests and demonstrations, he has finally found some new money for agricultural support.

I know the minister would love to stand and explain to the elected members of the House just how much money he has for agricultural support, how he will get it out into the hands of farmers and when this will all happen.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the government has demonstrated clearly in the last number of years that when assistance is needed for producers, we are there with all the resources that we can muster. I can assure the hon. member and the farmers that we will continue to be there for Canadian farmers.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is well and good. I have heard that many times before, but will the minister announce to this elected House right now how much money he has for agricultural support?

When the finance minister needed $1.3 billion, he got it that fast. Can this minister stand in the House today and say that he has at least $1.3 billion? When will he get it out and how will he get it out to the farmers who need it desperately?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat what I said a minute ago. I will not take the time of the House to do that because I think the member heard me the first time.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, the Business Development Bank charged the Auberge Grand-Mère an astronomical interest rate of 25% on its loan.

Information obtained through an access request shows that the highest interest rates offered by the BDC anywhere in Canada over the last seven years was 12.6%. This means that the Auberge Grand-Mère was twice as risky as the second craziest venture that the BDC was prepared to finance.

Why did the Prime Minister use his political muscle to put Canadian taxpayer money at such risk?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are having a hard time keeping track of the logic being exhibited on the other side of the House.

First they complain that they get a loan. Then they complain that the interest on the loan is too high. Now they claim apparently that not only the Government of Canada but all of the lending institutions that made the decision to grant this loan did not act properly.

Four years later the hotel is still open, and four years later 19 people are still employed.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have been pressing the government to take another look at equalization, especially on behalf of Atlantic Canada and Nova Scotia, and it has been resisting that.

Today, after I asked him yesterday, the finance minister said no, that they will not discuss it. We have just heard him today, and I appreciate this, say that his officials are looking at equalization and maybe doing something. Which is it?

Will he go ahead and do what we asked, as he denied yesterday, and have some discussion on equalization to see what can be done for Atlantic Canada to make long term hope and opportunity possible?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how many times over the course of the last three weeks to a month I have stated that our officials are sitting down, which they do it on a continuous basis, and looking at equalization.

I would have thought that as a former treasurer of Alberta, given the fact that it was also discussed at a finance ministers' meeting, he would know that it is an ongoing process.

The question I really would ask is, if he does not know it, what was he doing at these finance ministers' meetings and what is he doing in the House?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

February 28th, 2001 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

We have learned that the budget of the Canada Information Office, the federal government's propaganda machine, was increased by 150%. This means a 150% increase in patronage and contracts to friends of the government.

How can the federal government justify such generosity when it comes to propaganda, patronage and cronies?

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the CIO's permanent budget will hold at $21.3 million for the next three years. All the other adjustments are program transfers from departments to the CIO. There is no new spending in these programs.

The CIO's role is that of a co-ordinating body for the government's corporate communications. For reasons of effectiveness, we have transferred the management of certain programs from Public Works to the Canada Information Office.

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a similar vein, is the House aware that the federal government's hiring policy for the public service does not apply to the CIO?

How does the minister explain this, unless it is because he has decided to free himself of inconvenient rules so that he can hire whom he wants, when he wants and how he wants?

Canada Information OfficeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member should read the documents. He could have seen for himself that this arrangement no longer exists, that the CIO concluded an agreement with the public service and is treated just like all other agencies and departments.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the auditor general tabled his report in which he stated:

Our audits of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada have identified a wide variety of problems, including poor accountability and unacceptable results in Aboriginal programs.

Canadians on and off reserves are disappointed that their tax dollars are not going to the people who need the help. Why is the minister dragging his feet on demanding proper accountability so that we can get some acceptable results?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Liberal

John Finlay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Desautels is quite right in saying that the mandate of the department of Indian affairs poses a highly complex and sensitive challenge.

We understand that improved government to government relationships will help the first nations in solving some of these social problems on their reserves and in making them more able to deal with the problems in the future. That is the way we are working.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general states very clearly that the minister and his department must be accountable for the way funds are managed and that program results must be acceptable. He insisted that management must be transparent and responsible.

Does the minister acknowledge that the lack of accountability threatens public support for these programs and at the same time leaves aboriginal women and children out in the cold?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Oxford Ontario

Liberal

John Finlay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the department is working on this problem constantly. There were 900 audits last year. There were only 15 that were not accepted.

These problems require governance on the part of the first nations, help from this ministry and some time and understanding in order that aboriginal people can solve some of these problems themselves.

Research And DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last throne speech the government promised to double research and development as part of its innovation agenda. We on this side of the House have every confidence that the government will honour this promise, as do Canadians, after all they increased our majority.

Perhaps the Minister of Industry would like to explain to the other side of the House how the government will honour its promise.

Research And DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the government announced $140 million for Genome Canada in 2000.

After consultations within cabinet and direction from the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance I was able to announce this morning, as part of our commitment to double R and D investment in Canada, another $140 million for Genome Canada.

TradeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government is currently negotiating a trade deal with Costa Rica on sugar. Canada already has the most open sugar market in the world. Any change to the present rules will be disastrous to Canada's sugar cane refineries, sugar beet processors and sugar beet producers.

Why is the government so hell bent on systematically destroying our agriculture industries one at a time by poorly placed trade policies?