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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I was in my office as the leader of the opposition who had just been elected Prime Minister and was forming a government that was to be a very good government for Canada. That was my preoccupation on November 1, 1993.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I did ask him if anyone else was there. In fact he went on to say yesterday:

I was probably in Ottawa because it was the day after we defeated the Tories when I was forming a...government.

I would like to remind him that in fact the election was on October 25, 1993. This contract was evidently signed on November 1. When did he really sign that and who was there?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I made a terrible mistake. I said, yes, the day before. No, it was five days before, but there is one thing we all know.

For two elections she campaigned telling the people of Edmonton that she would never ever accept the pension, and right after the election she double crossed her electors and took the money.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is systematically taking refuge behind his ethics counsellor to justify his behaviour in the Grand-Mère golf club affair.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether the ethics counsellor, Mr. Wilson, was consulted about whether there was any ethical objection to the Prime Minister agreeing to a clause which made him both judge and jury with respect to paying the costs of any future inquiry which he alone can authorize?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these decisions are taken by the whole cabinet, not just by me. The problem is studied by the whole cabinet and the members of cabinet will be able to voice clearly what they think at 5.30 p.m. this afternoon.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, throughout this saga, the Prime Minister puts us in mind of the actor Tom Hanks, who stars in Cast Away , a movie about a man alone on a deserted island who talks to his somewhat deflated volleyball, called “Wilson”.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he is talking to his ethics counsellor whenever and however he wants but that, in the end, he always hears the same answer, the one that suits him?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have to keep giving the same answer, because I am telling the truth. I am not about to give any untruthful answers.

But what I am seeing is that the party opposite has no interest in the business of the nation. There are problems of considerable concern to Quebecers, but that is not what they want to talk about.

All they have focused on for 30 years is separating Quebec from Canada, and Quebecers are no more interested in talking about separation for the next 30 years than they have been interested in talking about it for the past 30.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, Jonas Prince was chairman of Delta hotels when he signed an agreement with the Prime Minister in 1993. Mr. Prince operated at least nine Delta hotels in Cuba until he sold his interest in 1998.

My question is for the Minister of Industry, if he would pay attention. Has Mr. Prince or his companies ever received any direct or indirect funding from his department, from the Business Development Bank of Canada or from Export Development Corporation?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, incredibly, a member of the official opposition attempted to stand and was so far over the top that she compared the Prime Minister of Canada with the butcher of the Balkans.

Today we have another member who would attempt to drag Fidel Castro into the scandal. I would expect this member, but in particular I would expect his leader, to stand and apologize for those over the top and ridiculous comments made yesterday in the House.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Apologize.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We are wasting a great deal of time in this question period. Hon. members will not get in either the questions or the answers, and everyone knows both are wonderful.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, talk about over the top rhetoric. That is what we have here. In March 1996, when the U.S. congress was threatening action against Canadian businesses in Cuba, including the Delta hotels, a Delta spokesman said “We are confident in the Canadian government protecting what we do there”.

Was the reason Delta was confident in the government's protection the fact that Delta still owed the Prime Minister $300,000?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have to judge for themselves. Yesterday the Prime Minister was compared to somebody wanted by the International Tribunal on War Crimes, the butcher of the Balkans.

Today we are being told that foreign policy is being made at the golf course in Shawinigan. I suppose we will be told next that Fidel Castro has a hotline to the Prime Minister's Office and it is all part of a big conspiracy involving a golf course and a hotel in Shawinigan. They should not be so foolish.

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the meeting of the finance ministers of the 34 countries of the Americas in Toronto—

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

the Canadian minister said that he did not contemplate putting an end to the tax agreement between Canada—

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. There is so much noise that it is not even possible to hear the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. He has the floor.

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the meeting of the finance ministers of the 34 countries of the Americas in Toronto, the Canadian minister said that he did not contemplate putting an end to the tax agreement between Canada and Barbados.

How can the Prime Minister allow the Minister of Finance to be the one who decides to maintain the tax agreement between Canada and Barbados, when it is common knowledge that the minister draws personal advantage from that agreement?

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have to say this is disgusting.

This party is now trying to personally attack the Minister of Finance, a man who has put a huge amount of work, excellent work, into administering this country's finances since 1993. Now they are trying to cast aspersions on his character and his integrity.

On second thought, I ought not to have even risen in reply. I find this quite simply insulting.

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, during his first mandate, the Prime Minister had demanded that the Minister of Finance withdraw when cabinet discussions addressed shipping policies since he was a shipowner and therefore in conflict of interest.

How can he now tolerate having the same man decide to maintain the agreement between Canada and Barbados, when he owns eight companies that benefit from the taxation system in Barbados and thus is very much in a conflict of interest situation?

Has the Auberge Grand-Mère affair softened the rules of government ethics to this extent?

Tax AgreementsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was not listening to me. All he needs to do is to read tomorrow the answer that I have given today.

I find it totally unacceptable that they are stirring up something else when the people of Canada want us to focus on real problems.

Obviously, though, all these parties are desperate to destroy a party that, unlike theirs, has unity as well as excellent ministers and, I trust, an acceptable Prime Minister.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Canadian dollar reached close to a virtual all time low. The Prime Minister says that the loonie is the victim of short term speculation, but it is not a short term crisis that has led to a 25 year decline and a 25% decline under his watch.

He has called for a weaker currency and a lower dollar for 20 years. Does the Prime Minister think it is a problem at all? Now that the dollar has finally reached 63 cents, is this not the policy he has wanted all along?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think that it is the loonie on the other side who has gone to—

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I hope the Prime Minister was not referring to any hon. member.