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House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was elections.

Topics

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, both the federal government and indeed many of the provincial governments all across Canada have, at one time or another, conducted investigations into gas pricing in Canada. Almost all these investigations have come to the conclusion that there is no collusion in the setting of prices of gasoline.

If the member has any evidence of that or wants to suggest that to the House, I would ask that he refer that information to the competition bureau.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister may be the only one who does not see the collusion. If the minister thinks it is a coincidence when prices for a litre suddenly jump from 80 cents to 89 cents, he must still believe in Cinderella. There is a minor problem: it is not a coincidence, it is collusion.

Will the minister realize that the time has come to review the Competition Act to give it more teeth? If they cannot find evidence of collusion, it is not because there is no collusion, it is because the act is not adequate to prove that there is.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there is not a member of the House who would not like to see more competitive and lower gasoline prices in Canada. It is a very easy target for the member to go after.

The fact is that all the studies that have been done indicate, first, that there is no evidence of collusion, and second, that gasoline prices in Canada remain substantially cheaper than those elsewhere in the world.

Finally, is the member suggesting that prices for crude oil be set at a prescribed level in Alberta, in Nova Scotia or in Newfoundland and Labrador? If he is, he should say so.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, as weekends and holidays approach, the cost of gasoline rises as if by magic at every gas station, and the Conference Board thinks there is no problem, that market forces are working perfectly and that there is no collusion.

Could the Minister of Industry, who seems to share the Conference Board's conclusions, since he is refusing to tighten the law, explain the economic relationship between the price of gasoline and holidays?

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, given the obvious close relationship between the government of Quebec and the party opposite now making this representation in parliament, I would assume that it is about to stand up and announce that the government of Quebec has unilaterally cut gasoline taxes. I am awaiting the announcement right now.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to all the people being penalized by having to pay too much for their gasoline, there are those earn their living by consuming a lot of gasoline. I refer to truckers, taxi drivers and farmers, who are doubly penalized.

Will the government continue to leave these persons at the mercy of the oil companies, which are becoming rich on their backs because it is refusing to review the Competition Act, which has no effect on the petroleum sector, where the concentration is far too great?

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is expressing a concern that every member of the House would share. None of us wants to see gasoline prices higher than they absolutely need to be based on proper marketplace forces.

If there is any indication at all of improper collusion, then of course the appropriate agency of the Government of Canada would act. However, if this is merely for the member to give a speech to say that he is concerned, I would ask whether the member has talked to the government of Quebec and whether the government of Quebec has indicated that it will lower taxes on gasoline.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. It has to do with the Prime Minister's commitment to President Bush with respect to the development of the tar sands.

The Minister of the Environment will know that the development of the tar sands itself produces emissions. It is not just emissions produced from burning the product of the tar sands but developing the tar sands itself.

Given the fact that all Canadian governments have been committed ever since the Brundtland report to doing environmental assessment of major policy announcements, has there been an environmental assessment done of the emissions that would be created by the development of the tar sands? If there has not, will the government commit to doing such an environmental assessment?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm for the hon. member that we have, since the beginning of the development of the tar sands, had ongoing analysis of environmental issues including, of course, emission of greenhouse gases.

I would remind the hon. member though that the Prime Minister has made no commitment with respect to any particular energy source. It may be that Canada will be providing low emission Canadian gas which might in the United States substitute for high emission American coal, which would be very beneficial for climate change purposes.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of the Environment would be willing to make a commitment that should development of the tar sands proceed that there will be just such an environmental assessment, that is to say, of all the greenhouse gas emissions that would be created by the development of the tar sands itself. Some people have estimated it would be the equivalent of putting millions of extra cars on the streets so to speak.

I wonder if the minister could make the commitment that kind of environmental assessment would be done not only for its own sake but in keeping with our commitment to the Kyoto protocol.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I can confirm for the hon. member that we do studies of that type whenever there is a proposal to increase production from any area. It will take place if there are proposals put forward by industry to develop tar sands to a greater degree than they are currently developed.

I simply point out to the hon. member that we are simply following the existing law of the land with respect to impacts, which I believe is adequate. I certainly have heard nothing from him to suggest it is inadequate. I thank him, however, for his concern and representation that the law of Canada should be followed.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Today five provincial finance ministers came to Ottawa to discuss with the federal Minister of Finance the urgent issue of equalization.

The federal minister refused to meet with them. He knew for weeks that they were coming. He is in Kingston for a political party dinner. He stiffed five of his colleagues.

How does the Prime Minister expect this federation to work when his minister lacks the common courtesy to even meet with five provincial finance ministers when they come to Ottawa?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance met these finance ministers not long ago on this very problem and discussed it with them.

Today I do not know if there was something that did not occur properly. I know very well that the Minister of Finance is a minister who talks with everyone all the time. However he could not refuse to be in the riding of the Speaker.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Naturally I am sure the right hon. member for Calgary Centre shares the Prime Minister's enthusiasm.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

I take it the Minister of Finance is speaking to delegates.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, on February 9 this year the Business Development Bank issued new guidelines about interventions by ministers. The new rules instruct BDC representatives to abstain from any decision on any loan application file if they have been contacted by a member of parliament or a minister on that file. The bank has admitted it was wrong. It has cleaned up its own act.

My question is for the Prime Minister. When will he bring to the House of Commons the recommendations of the ethics counsellor that add crown corporations to the list of agencies where it is prohibited for a minister to interfere as the Prime Minister interfered?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are applying the criteria developed by the Conservative Party government some years ago.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have obtained a letter through access to information written by Jean Carle of the Business Development Bank. It is a request for a leave of absence from the bank for the period of the federal election.

Mr. Carle worked full time on the Prime Minister's election campaign. He then went back to his office at the BDC and got his legal team to conduct an unwarranted search and seizure of documents relating to the Prime Minister. Why is Jean Carle protecting the Prime Minister?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, all the appropriate procedures were followed with respect to individuals, be they at the Business Development Bank or anywhere else, who participated in the election campaign.

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Carle was completely unjustified in his actions. The search warrant was quashed because the BDC “failed to present sufficient evidence or grounds” to warrant those raids.

The connection could not be more clear. Here we have an employee of the Prime Minister working on his campaign and then going back to the BDC. Why does Jean Carle have to look after the interests of the Prime Minister even when he is at the BDC?

Business Development Bank Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, at the rate members of the Alliance are going, we will have to ask the Minister of Finance to put aside a contingency reserve in the event they seek to have public financing of the whole host of suits that will be launched against the party in litigation because of these kinds of smears on individuals who are honourable, individuals like Jean Carle.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

April 26th, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, documents of the Department of National Defence obtained by the Bloc Quebecois under the Access to Information Act reveal that, at five locations on the Bagotville military base, the soil and underground waters are contaminated with arsenic, nitrates and heavy metals.

Can the minister confirm that five locations at the Bagotville military base are highly contaminated by substances that are potentially hazardous to people's health.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am aware that there is some pollution at 3 Wing at Bagotville. The pollution is in the form of substances from the de-icing fluid on the runway and from petroleum products. The pollution on the site has been isolated to the base itself. I am informed it is not in danger of migrating off the DND property.

In conjunction with Environment Canada, 3 Wing is conducting a cleanup and bioremediation. At this point in time the base is in full compliance with current environmental regulations and no additional pollution is occurring. What is there now is being cleaned up.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, again from the documents we obtained under the Access to Information Act, the analysis of one of these locations polluted by nitrate indicates that there is a risk of migration toward the municipal drinking water wells.

Given that the pollution at the Bagotville base poses a hazard for the people of the town of La Baie and surrounding area, can the minister tell us what specific measures he intends to take to avoid contaminating the region's drinking water?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is not the information I have. We are working with Environment Canada on this matter, containing the pollution that is there, cleaning it up and making sure it does not migrate off the property.

The Department of National Defence will do the responsible thing to protect the property and anybody around it with respect to pollution.