House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was judiciary.

Topics

TradeOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear on that issue. Canada has offered leadership to our NAFTA partners. We need clarification to make sure that chapter 11 really respects the intentions of the drafters of that agreement.

I made the commitment that we would of course not sign another agreement that would have the kind of clauses that we are seeking to clarify right now.

Obviously there are important elements related to investment because we have a lot of Canadian investments abroad and we have a responsibility vis-à-vis them as well, but we will not go to the sort of things we are seeking to clarify in chapter 11 and on which we are making good progress.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister. The Department of Finance did not require any of the participants of a pre-mini budget focus group examining specific tax changes to sign confidentiality agreements.

Given the importance of budget secrecy and the potential for personal gain, why were basic measures such as confidentiality agreements not enforced and insisted on by the Minister of Finance?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we were in the middle of extensive consultations on the budget. The hon. member knows full well that all the items discussed there were items that I had raised in speeches, items that had been raised in front of the finance committee, and were all part of the extensive consultation process which continued, I must say, after this meeting with meetings of economists.

The hon. member knows full well that the focus groups are randomly chosen. If he does not understand that, I would suggest he might want to read the letter to the Globe and Mail in which the head of the polling association said that what was recommended by the Conservative Party would have amounted to a serious breach of polling ethics.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the focus group's materials were very specific in detailing the tax changes the government was to put in place. I quote “Our new package will cut the capital gains inclusion rate further to 50%”.

What steps did the minister take to ensure that no participants of the focus group benefited financially from their access to this privileged information? Will he table those measures in the House?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well that no final decisions were communicated. In fact, among the various tax issues that we consulted on was the flat tax. I can assure the hon. member we had no intention of introducing that particular measure.

What is really at issue here is the issue of openness and transparency in budget making. If the hon. member disagrees with the government and thinks that public policy arrived at openly and in full consultation with Canadians is not a good idea, then quite simply we disagree.

FundraisingOral Question Period

March 12th, 2001 / 2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about openness. Last May the Minister of Finance attended a fundraising event sponsored by FACT which the government admits is a terrorist front.

On Canada AM this morning former CSIS director, Mr. Reid Morden, expressed his disappointment that two ministers, including the Minister of Finance, attended that dinner despite their knowledge that it was a terrorist front.

Now that the public knows what the Minister of Finance knew a year ago, could he explain to the public his support of this terrorist organization?

FundraisingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has not supported any terrorist organization. He and another minister attended what they considered to be a cultural event celebrating a Sri Lankan holiday.

They were there with a provincial Conservative cabinet minister. They were there with the editor of the Toronto Sun . They were there with a number of other civic and municipal politicians. I do not see how the hon. member could validly attack the Minister of Finance for doing the same thing that a number of other civic and provincial politicians did.

FundraisingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Finance attended the FACT dinner for this terrorist front in his hunt for Liberal leadership delegates, why did he ignore the advice of knowledgeable government officials and jeopardize the safety of Canadians? He should answer, not the Deputy Prime Minister.

FundraisingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is customary, and the hon. member should know this because it was the same case in the house he came from, that ministers generally answer matters under their administrative responsibility, except for the person acting as prime minister.

The hon. member is wrong. The Minister of Finance did not imperil the safety of the country in attending this dinner. He is very conscious of the safety of the country. That is why he has worked so hard to put it on sound economic footing, unlike what would have happened in the unlikely event that the official opposition of that gentleman had ever attained office.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, in reply to one of our questions about allowing members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs to have access to the texts of the nine sectoral negotiating groups on the free trade area of the Americas, the Prime Minister said he would think about it.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister tell us whether the Prime Minister has come to a decision and plans to let members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs have access to these documents, as is the case for politicians in the United States and in Quebec?

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, indeed, I did note the statement made by Mrs. Beaudoin to the national assembly's committee the other day and I understand that our officials will soon meet. We will assess the situation and see what should be done.

I personally had the opportunity to ask Mrs. Beaudoin to clarify her government's intention, since she made a formal request last week, asking me to release the texts.

To ensure proper consultation with the government of Quebec, I asked her to clarify her government's intention, by telling me whether she intended to make these texts public, even unilaterally, without the consent of our partners. I believe it is very important to work with—

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Drummond.

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister for International Trade, this supposedly great champion of transparency, pledge to present a proposal at the next meeting of the task force, in Buenos Aires, to seek the authorization of the 34 participating states to make the texts of the nine negotiating tables public?

Free Trade Area Of The AmericasOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for pointing out the efforts made by our government to ensure transparency. We are the first government to make its position publicly known.

Now, I wish to reassure the opposition by saying that not only we did not wait until Buenos Aires, but already last week I travelled to Guatemala, where I met with ministers from Central America and the Caribbean. I raised this issue with Mexico's Secretario de la economía on Friday, during a telephone conversation.

Our government's position is that we hope these texts will be released with the authorization of our partners.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week the minister of agriculture met with his provincial counterparts and was told emphatically that his announcement of $500 million in aid was totally inadequate. Indeed the minister of agriculture walked out of the meeting saying that the government, the federal government, clearly did not care about farmers.

Will the minister commit to give farmers the $1 billion in new aid that the provinces and farmers are looking for?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, with the announcement of $500 million that this government put toward the safety net last week, that brings the total to $1.6 billion in aid to Canadian farmers. That is the highest level since 1995.

I correct the hon. member. It was the minister of agriculture for the province of Saskatchewan who left the meeting and had a press conference before the meeting was over. I stayed until the end.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the whole agricultural community not a single agriculture minister, not a single agricultural organization and not a single producer agrees with what this minister has done.

When will the agriculture minister quit apologizing to Canadian farm families? Will he commit to get back to his cabinet colleagues and get the amount of money necessary for Canadian agriculture to survive?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member should check the platform of her party. Also I remind her that with the $1.6 billion that the government has put forward and with the provincial contribution to that, it makes $2.66 billion available to Canadian farmers.

As well, last week I announced that farmers could borrow interest free up to $50,000 on an individual basis, which would make up the $700 million available interest free to help farmers this spring.

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec announced the renewal for five years of the partnership agreement between the Government of Canada and the community futures development corporations of Quebec, the CFDCs.

Could the minister provide us with a little more detail on the consequences for the regions of Quebec of the renewal of this agreement?

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 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, I would like to thank my colleague for her question.

This is indeed a matter of very great importance and one which demonstrates the good will of the Government of Canada to develop all regions of Canada, and of course of Quebec as far as I am concerned, my mandate being for Quebec.

Last week was a time of celebration for the CFDCs. We announced the 20th anniversary of the network as well as the renewal of the agreement for five years. We will be injecting $103 million in additional funding over the next five years. This amount is for the 56 CFDCs which have had a hand in the past three years in maintaining or creating over 19,000 jobs. Our aim for the regions is to continue to build.

TransportationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the airport at Terrace, B.C., is dealing with NavCan regarding an instrument landing system for the airport.

The approach to Terrace takes the aircraft through the narrow Kitimat Valley with high mountains on either side. This approach is interesting in good weather and difficult to impossible in bad weather. The ILS is a necessary safety feature that is long overdue.

In the interest of safety, is the Minister of Transport aware of these concerns and will he ensure the installation of this much needed ILS?

TransportationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the particular problems at that airport. The hon. member should realize that NavCanada now is an arm's length agency that makes decisions on the operation of a navigation system but is overseen from a security point of view by Transport Canada.

Whenever a security problem is recognized then obviously NavCanada has to take that into account in its operations. However I will take a personal look at the matter and get back to the hon. member.

TransportationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister's answer. Regulation and safety issues are a federal matter. They are not under NavCanada. This issue is of paramount importance to my constituents and travellers in the northwest.

When will the government and the minister do the right thing: put safety first and ensure NavCan installs this much needed ILS? I need an answer as soon as possible.

TransportationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we always put safety first. The hon. member and I do not have any disagreement. Of course Transport Canada is responsible for safety and security.

I will take a personal look at this to see what his concerns are and to see if there needs to be any remedy from Transport Canada on this issue.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the February 28 issue of Le Canada français , the member for Brome—Missisquoi is quoted as saying that the Liberal members and ministers from Quebec were calling on the Minister of National Defence to reconsider his decision not to offer the enhanced leadership model program at the former military college.

Could the minister tell us why, despite the promises made by three federal ministers during the last election campaign, he has broken his promises? Does he intend to reconsider his decision under pressure from his Liberal colleagues from Quebec who, for the record, are in full agreement with the Bloc Quebecois' position?