House of Commons Hansard #206 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.



10:10 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario


Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House of Commons immediately prior to consideration of Bill C-58 the hon. member for Yorkton--Melville rose in his place and suggested that in some form the Minister of Finance may have been in contempt of parliament over an issue. The issue did not involve contempt of parliament at all. There was a question, at least in my mind and perhaps in the minds of several members, whether it would have been in order for us to consider Bill C-58 at second reading.

I had some time to reflect upon this and obtain advice. With or without what was before us yesterday the second reading consideration of Bill C-58 would have been in order. In terms of proceeding beyond that it would at least have been questionable, particularly in view of the issues that were raised yesterday.

Section 115 of the Canada Pension Plan Act requires the Minister of Finance to ask the chief actuary to prepare a report “whenever any Bill is introduced”. That is the requirement. This has been done. Section 115 states that when the Minister of Finance receives the report, he must table it forthwith.

I can confirm that the Minister of Finance has not yet received this final report so therefore he has not breached any rule. He is not in a position to table it forthwith because he has not received it. Meanwhile, that does not stop us from proceeding with the legislation. The act has been complied with fully to the point possible, namely asking for the report. It will be further complied with as soon as the final report is received.

I should have checked this out before, but I could endeavour to determine whether these kinds of reports can be tabled even when the House is in recess. This is possible with a certain number of reports on the 15th of every month when the House is in recess. In any case if that is not one of those reports, perhaps we should pass a special order before rising for the summer to ensure that it can be tabled. If that is necessary I would endeavour to do that, further demonstrating the minister's intention to adhere to this rule.

There is nothing in the act nor elsewhere that prevents the House from proceeding with the bill. The hon. member for Lanark--Carleton and I would probably agree on that point because parliament should be able to consider legislation, particularly at second reading, almost at any time. The minister cannot fail to table a report because he has not received the report.

It is important to note that the act does not require the preparation of an actuarial report before the bill is introduced. There is no mention of that. Nor is there mention that it should be done before the bill is considered. That is not there either. I invite the Chair to take note of that as well.

I contend that the minister has complied with the act by requesting such a report and he will fully comply with the act by tabling the report when he receives it. As I indicated a while ago I will take even further measures should those be necessary if and when the House rises.

There is no substantive reason to claim that the law has not been complied with or that the minister is in contempt of parliament, which I do not think has ever been the case, at least not from my vantage point. No standing order of the House has been breached. Proceeding with the bill is not out of order; it is fully in order. I would hope that the House could now proceed with the legislation.


10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. House leader is introducing in his remarks some interpretation of the act because there is no specific wording. The intent of the act is that before parliament proceeds with any piece of legislation--


10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. Members have been drawing to the attention of the Chair the matter which is quite obvious to all of us. I regret to inform the hon. member that his attire does not conform with the appropriate attire for the member to be given the floor. I suppose with minor adjustments it will be all right. Styles are changing. I notice on CBC some people wear very thick tabs while some have no tabs and this might be a new trend.


10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure you are aware of the rules but also well aware that precedents have been set in this House by other members of other parties, including the member for Davenport.


10:10 a.m.

An hon. member



10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. The matter has been rectified. The Chair fully recognizes the hon. member for Prince George--Bulkley Valley.


10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, members of the House cannot possibly consider legislation that affects the CPP under section 115 without having a report from the chief actuary tabled. That is the reason this is put in the act.

The hon. government House leader is using some of his own interpretations noting that because it does not say in the act specifically that it has to be present, it does not have to be. The purpose of that section of the act is to ensure that all members of the House, both government and opposition members, have a basis report from the chief actuary as a resource to proceed on any legislation that may affect the Canada pension plan. That is the purpose of section 115.

He may be right that the finance minister may not be in contempt because he does not have the report, but that does not mean that this House under the act can proceed with this legislation without the opinion or the report from the chief actuary. A lot of the interpretation in the government House leader's argument may be his, and good for him. The fact of the matter is that section 115 was put in the act for a purpose so that all members would have a good resource base to work from, such as the opinion of the chief actuary.


10:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The Chair is prepared to deal with this matter now. The Chair had been apprised of the matter when the question of privilege was raised yesterday by the hon. member for Yorkton--Melville.

He alleged that the Minister of Finance had failed to comply with the provisions of the Canada Pension Plan Act because he had not tabled a report of the chief actuary pursuant to subsection 115(2) of the act.

Since Bill C-58, an act to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act, was to have been called for second reading debate yesterday afternoon, the hon. Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons undertook to inquire into the situation and report back to the House. In the event he was not able to report back, the House proceeded with other business at that time yesterday.

Bill C-58 is scheduled for debate this morning. The Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has now reported on the situation. The Chair is satisfied that no breach of the rules has occurred, and accordingly I am prepared to proceed with the business before the House.

Canada Pension PlanGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario


Don Boudria Liberalfor the Minister of Finance

moved that Bill C-58, an act to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canada Pension PlanGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Oak Ridges Ontario


Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak at second reading of Bill C-58 which amends the Canada pension plan and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act.

Through the bill the federal and provincial governments as joint stewards are completing the final stages of the 1997 reforms to the Canada pension plan.

Future generations of Canadians, including our children and grandchildren, would benefit from these measures which transfer all remaining CPP assets to an independent investment board, namely, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, CPPIB.

Endorsed by the federal and provincial financial ministers five years ago these reforms would help ensure that Canadians have a pension plan on which they can always depend.

The end result of moving to complete the market investment policy for the Canada pension plan would be increased performance, better diversification and enhanced risk management of the entire CPP portfolio.

To put Bill C-58 in context, it is necessary to take a moment and review the role and the responsibilities of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. However, it goes without saying that any discussion of the CPPIB must also include some remarks about the Canada pension plan itself. The background I am about to provide will be useful to hon. members in understanding why the amendments in the bill are needed.

I wish to begin my remarks with some general comments about Canada's retirement income system. As hon. members may know Canada's retirement income system is supported by three pillars--a blend of public and private pension provisions that are considered internationally as one of the most effective ways to provide for retirement income needs.

First, there is an old age security program which provides public pensions for seniors and ensures all Canadians a basic income in retirement.

Second, there is the Canada pension plan, a national contributory pension plan, which provides working Canadians and their families with income support at retirement and in the event of disability or death. It is central to today's debate.

Third, there are tax assisted fully funded employer sponsored pension plans, RRSPs and other private savings, the private component of the system.

Most Canadians take our retirement income system for granted, but that was not always the case. In Canada, in the early years, taking care of older citizens and those with disabilities was primarily the responsibility of individual families. The introduction of income tax in 1917 allowed the federal government to adopt national social programs, such as Canada's first old age pension in 1927, which included a means test. Unemployment insurance, family allowances and a universal old age security program were introduced after the second world war.

There was also a need for a public pension, one that could be carried from job to job and, indeed, from province to province. The answer was the Canada pension plan, a compulsory earnings based national plan set up jointly by the federal and provincial governments in 1966 to which all working Canadians contribute.

The CPP provides all wage earners with retirement income and financial assistance to their families in the event of death or disability. Quebec administers its own complementary plan, the Quebec pension plan, QPP. The Canada pension plan was designed to complement, not replace, personal savings and employment pension plans and for 30 years it worked well. By the 1990s, however, the sustainability of the plan had become a concern.

The Chief Actuary of Canada predicted that the assets of the Canada pension plan, the equivalent of two years of benefits, would be depleted by 2015 and contribution rates would have to be increased to more than 14% by 2030.

The federal and provincial governments subsequently released a document entitled “An Information Paper for Consultations on the Canada Pension Plan”, which outlined the challenges facing the plan in the coming years.

They followed up in February 1996 with the announcement of public consultations on the Canada pension plan. Guided by panels of federal, provincial and territorial elected representatives, extensive consultations were held in every province and territory. In joint hearings from coast to coast, governments heard from actuaries, pension experts, social planning groups, chambers of commerce, seniors' groups, youth organizations and from many interested individual Canadians.

A common theme that emerged was that Canadians wanted governments to preserve the Canada pension plan by strengthening its financing, improving its investment practices and moderating the growth costs of benefits.

Following these consultations, the federal and provincial governments in 1997 adopted a balanced approach to CPP reform so that the plan could meet the demand in the coming years when the baby boomers would be retiring. These changes included: a rapid increase in CPP contribution rates and a building up of a larger asset pool while baby boomers are still in the workforce, investing this fund in the markets at arm's length from government for the best possible rates of return, and slowing the growth costs of benefits. Altogether, these measures ensured that a contribution rate of 9.9% could be sufficient to maintain sustainability of the plan indefinitely.

A key part of the 1997 CPP reforms was a new market investment policy for the CPP. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, an independent professional investment board, was set up in 1998 to implement this market investment policy. The mandate of the CPP investment board is to invest for CPP contributors and beneficiaries and to maximize investment returns without undue risk of loss.

Until 1999, when the CPPIB began operations, the CPP's investment policy was for funds not immediately required to pay benefits to be invested in provincial government bonds at the federal government's interest rate. This represented an undiversified portfolio of securities and an interest rate subsidy to the provinces. Since then, under the new policy, CPP funds that are not needed to pay benefits and expenses are transferred to the CPPIB and are prudently invested in a diversified portfolio of market securities in the best interests of contributors and beneficiaries.

The CPP investment board operates under investment rules similar to those of other pension plans in Canada, which require the prudent management of pension plan assets in the interests of plan contributors and beneficiaries and, like other pension plans, is subject to the foreign property rule. This market investment policy is consistent with the investment policies of most other pension plans in Canada, including the Ontario teachers' pension plan, the Ontario municipal employees' retirement system, OMERS, and the Quebec Caisse de dépôt.

Because the CPPIB is responsible for billions of dollars of retirement funds belonging to Canadians, it is imperative that the board be fully accountable to them. These funds must be managed prudently to the highest professional standards and at arm's length from governments, with qualified managers making investment decisions.

The CPPIB act was designed to ensure full transparency and accountability. Let me explain. To begin, the CPP investment board is accountable to CPP plan members and federal and provincial governments. It keeps Canadians well informed of its policies, operations and investments by: making its financial results and investment policies public; releasing quarterly financial reports; publishing an annual report that is tabled in parliament; holding regular public meetings in each participating province to allow for public discussion and input; and maintaining a very informative website.

A robust process with strong checks and balances that is in place for identifying and appointing CPPIB directors also assures full accountability of the CPPIB. Great care was taken in structuring the CPPIB to ensure that the board of directors is independent and accountable to CPP contributors and beneficiaries. Directors are appointed by the federal government following consultation with the ministers of finance in the participating provinces. The Minister of Finance also consults with provincial ministers of finance and with the board of directors on the appointment of the chair.

Based on specific criteria, directors are chosen from a list of qualified candidates recommended by a joint federal-provincial nominating committee, which comprises one representative from each of the nine participating provinces. In addition, in making appointments to the board of directors, consideration is given to ensuring that a sufficient number of directors have proven financial ability or relevant work experience to enable the CPPIB to carry out its objectives. As a result, the board includes individuals with business, financial and investment expertise.

I am pleased to say that the independence and the quality of the CPPIB board of directors have received strong support from the public and pension management experts. Independence from governments in making investment decisions is critical to the CPPIB's success and public confidence in the CPP investment policy. This is of utmost importance, because the money the CPP investment board invests today will be needed by the CPP to help pay the pensions of working Canadians who will begin retiring 20 years from now.

This brings me to the measures in Bill C-58. Bill C-58 proposes to transfer all assets remaining with the federal government to the CPPIB over a three year period. This includes a cash reserve and a large portfolio of mostly provincial government bonds. In other words, these changes would mean that all CPP assets would be managed by one independent professional organization.

These asset transfers would represent the final steps of the path established by the federal and provincial governments in 1997 to invest CPP assets in the market by an independent professional investment board. Consolidating all assets in one organization would also put the CPP on the same authority and footing as other major public pension plans, thereby providing fund managers with the flexibility to determine the best asset mix and investment strategies to manage risks and optimize returns.

This may sound theoretical, but I want to take a moment to point out that the analysis undertaken by the Chief Actuary of Canada indicates that CPP assets fully invested in the market would be expected to earn a greater return and thereby grow more rapidly. The benefit, as estimated by the chief actuary, is very significant, in the order of an additional $75 billion over 50 years. Obviously this welcome result would add considerably to the soundness of the Canada pension plan and enhance Canadians' confidence in the their public pension plan. In addition, transferring the bonds to the CPP investment board over three years would provide a smooth transition for capital markets, provincial borrowing programs and the CPPIB.

Last, all changes in the CPP and CPPIB regulations require the approval of the provinces. I am happy to report that all provincial and territorial governments unanimously support these changes and let me emphasize that it is unanimous. Also, before new legislation comes into force, the provinces need to formally approve the changes. As I have stated more than once during my remarks, the bill essentially would complete the process the federal and provincial governments began in 1997 of investing CPP assets in the market by an independent professional investment board.

Let me reiterate a few of the other points I made earlier. First, as I have just stated, according to studies, investing CPP assets in the market will produce a very large benefit in the order of $75 billion over 50 years for the Canada pension plan. Second, as I also indicated, phasing in the transfer of the assets over a three year period will help to ensure that the transfer is absorbed smoothly by capital markets, the CPPIB and provincial borrowing programs. Third, placing all CPP assets under the management of the CPPIB will allow the board to develop a more coherent investment policy for all CPP assets to enhance rates of return and better manage risks on the total portfolio, thereby helping to ensure the sustainability of the CPP. This puts the CPP on the same footing as other public pension plans.

As hon. members know, the CPPIB is responsible for establishing and fully disclosing its investment policies and for investing CPP assets while properly minimizing risk. With the transfer of the assets to the CPPIB, Canadians can feel secure that prudent, sound investment diversification as well as increased performance will result. I should mention, too, that the transfer of the CPP assets to the CPPIB will have no impact on the Quebec pension plan, which is administered separately from the CPP.

In closing, may I remind the House that during the 1997 public consultations on CPP reform, Canadians told their governments to fix the CPP and to fix it right. As I noted at the beginning of my remarks, Canadians also told their governments to preserve the CPP by strengthening its financing, improving its investment practices and moderating the growth costs of benefits. The provincial and federal governments have completed their work and have complied with all these requests.

The establishment of the Canada pension plan in 1966 was one of the most important public policy initiatives ever undertaken in the country. The CPP reflects a national benefit that retirement for working Canadians should not be a time of hardship. It also captures the Canadian value of shared responsibility among contributors and governments to provide reliable support to wage earning Canadians after they cease active work.

Ours is a government with a conscience. Together with the 1997 reforms, the measures in the bill ensure that the Canada pension plan will remain on sound financial footing for future generations, to which I am sure all members can relate. Through Bill C-58 the government is well on the way to fulfilling its goal of making the retirement income system secure for all Canadians. Most certainly, Canada's success as a nation must be the security of its seniors and the protection of those at risk.

I urge hon. members to support the passage of this legislation without delay.

Canada Pension PlanGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to respond to government Bill C-58, an act to amend the Canada pension plan and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act.

The bill's function as stated by the government is to achieve the following four goals: first, it would permit the transfer of money from the Canada pension plan account to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board; second, it would permit the transfer of assets held by the finance minister to the account for technical reasons; third, it would apply to the Canada pension plan fund the 30% foreign content limit that applies to registered retirement savings plans and employer and union sponsored pension plans in Canada; and fourth, it would deal with assorted housekeeping and technical amendments.

Those are the stated goals of the bill. It has other goals in mind as well, but before I speak to them I will turn to the remarks made by the hon. government House leader with regard to the government's compliance with its obligations under subsection 115(2) of the Canada pension plan. The Canada pension plan says a report of the chief actuary is required when the House is proceeding forward with a bill dealing with the act. Subsection 115(2) states:

--the Chief Actuary shall, whenever any Bill is introduced in or presented to the House of Commons to amend this Act in a manner that would in the opinion of the Chief Actuary materially affect any of the estimates contained in the most recent report under this section made by the Chief Actuary, prepare, using the same actuarial assumptions and basis as were used in that report, a report setting forth the extent to which such Bill would, if enacted by Parliament, materially affect any of the estimates contained in that report.

Moreover, the report must be laid before the House of Commons by the Minister of Finance forthwith. Subsection 115(8) states:

Forthwith on the completion of any report under this section, the Chief Actuary shall transmit the report to the Minister of Finance, who shall cause the report to be laid before the House of Commons forthwith on its receipt if Parliament is then sitting, or if Parliament is not then sitting, on any of the first five days next thereafter that Parliament is sitting, and if at the time any report under this section is received by the Minister of Finance Parliament is then dissolved, the Minister of Finance shall forthwith cause a copy of the report to be published in the Canada Gazette.

This answers the question the government House leader raised as to whether he could submit such a report or whether a report could be submitted while the House of Commons was not sitting. It could be and should be. It is difficult to have an intelligent debate in this place on the bill when we lack the requisite actuarial data from the Chief Actuary of Canada to determine what the likely effects of the legislation would be.

This is no small matter. We are talking about amounts in the tens of billions of dollars. The speaking notes given out by the government indicate that the proposed changes in the legislation would shift the earnings of the fund by $75 billion. That is not pocket change.

This is the result of a material effect on the fund. For those of us trying to come to an intelligent understanding of the legislation, the question arises as to whether the extra $75 billion would allow the 9.9% contribution rate to the fund to fall. This would have a substantial impact on employment prospects for Canadians. A reduction in a job killing payroll tax would be tremendously beneficial.

On the other hand, would it mean the CPP would be unsustainable without the projected $75 billion infusion of cash? If that is the case, what we are really discussing is how to avoid a financial calamity which would deprive many Canadian seniors and all of us of our anticipated pension benefits under the Canada pension plan.

We are discussing the issue in parliament without knowing which of these two situations is the case because we do not have the report of the chief actuary. While the government may not be infringing the law or the rules of the House by bringing forth the bill without having produced a report from the chief actuary, the rules of good governance are very much infringed.

Quite frankly, the bill is before the House at this time for the same reason a flurry of other bills have been rushed forward in the last few weeks. About three weeks ago one of the newspapers, the Globe and Mail or the National Post , published a warning that we could expect a large number of bills to be rushed forward in every department to give the impression the government had something on its agenda while it floundered around trapped by internal controversy over its leadership. Bill C-58 is one result of the government's effort to create an impression of energy and activity or sound and fury signifying nothing.

I am not saying the bill is not an appropriate matter to be considered by the House. It is absolutely necessary that the House consider the bill in a timely fashion when the appropriate work has been done by the authorities delegated to carry out these tasks under the Canada pension plan. I am referring to the chief actuary with whom I have worked in the past and whose office does excellent work when given the chance to so do. I am also referring to the Minister of Finance.

The appropriate course of action would have been for the government to bring forward the bill in the autumn after a report had been done by the chief actuary and tabled in the House. I gather that this will happen prior to committee stage. However second reading of the bill is not being conducted in as informed and intelligent a manner as it should be. We are all the losers for that.

Again, we are not talking about pocket change. We are talking about $75 billion. We are talking about the retirement money that would keep millions of people across the country living at the standard they have been promised. We are talking about money that would be taken off people's paycheques whether they wanted it to be or not, money that could not therefore be put in their RRSPs or used in manners that could allow them to build for their pensions.

When dealing with these vast amounts of money we should proceed with caution and care. We should never put forward legislation for the purpose of making the government look like it has something on its agenda or is more prepared to deal with affairs of state than it is. We could such achieve propaganda goals through less costly means.

I do not know if the text of the bill is substandard. It may be very well drafted. The legislative drafters may have worked closely with the experts. I do not know. I do not have the report to compare the text of the bill and go through that kind of analysis.

However ill prepared the bill may or may not be, from what we have seen of it the bill's general theme is part of a pattern of pension legislation under the government and more particularly the former minister of finance who was responsible for drafting the bill and all the government's prior bills dealing with pension reform. It is a consistent pattern in which the government has said the purpose of pension funds and moneys set aside for pensions is not solely to achieve the best possible return on investment and therefore the best pension income for Canadian seniors and the best security for all Canadians who will one day become senior citizens. It is rather to achieve other political and social goals, some of which may be very worthwhile.

All this will have the consequence of diverting attention from the solitary goal of producing the best possible return on investment and therefore the best level of retirement income for Canadian seniors and the millions of people coming down the pike who will retire, become seniors and depend on the Canada pension plan and various other plans in our pension system.

I will go through a few examples to make the point. There were three key points in the process of redefining the goals of our pension system under the former minister of finance, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard. First, in 1994-95, early in his tenure, the minister of finance floated a series of trial balloons. Canada faced a tremendous potential shortfall in its ability to raise revenues. We faced enormous deficits. The minister of finance tried to determine whether he could find ways of clawing back revenue from registered retirement pension plans to put it into the hands of the government so it could be changed from tax exempt or tax deferred money into money that was taxable. This would have had dire consequences for those who depend on registered retirement savings plans to take care of their retirement.

In one example, an article in the Financial Post on December 31, 1994 suggested the government might try to place a capital tax on firms through which RRSP investments are made. RRSPs must be invested through a bank, trust company or some other financial institution. The idea was that the capital tax would be placed on these firms based on the invested amounts. It would have been presented as a tax on corporations. It would in fact have been a tax on RRSP capital.

The former finance minister floated another trial balloon in early December which did not work out well or meet with a positive reception. He proposed a 1% capital tax on amounts in RRSPs every year. This would have caused average Canadians to pay a total of $4,141 extra in tax on their RRSPs over the lifetime of the RRSP, with no benefit at the end to reflect the cost. This would have reduced the amount average Canadians had to pay into their RRSPs. It would have reduced their benefits by 36% to give the government a small financial short term benefit as part of its attempt to pay down and eliminate the deficits.

A trial balloon which was successfully implemented was a proposal to raise from 69 to 71 the age at which individuals are forced to roll over their RRSPs into RRIFs. This has a significant impact on people who are still working at age 69 and can reasonably expect to live for many more years and require substantial retirement income.

Second, the attack focused on old age security. Many people have heard that the Canada pension plan has not been properly financed for the past couple of decades. The old age security system suffers from similar problems. The problems are not accounted for in quite the same way and are therefore not as visible and have not received as much publicity. However many billions of dollars of pension income have been promised which may not be deliverable by the federal government.

To deal with this the former finance minister came up with the idea of replacing old age security or OAS with something called the seniors benefit. Fortunately, such a hue and cry was raised by my own party in opposition, the then reform party, and by seniors groups like the Canadian Association of Retired Persons that the bill was killed. The bill's goal was to raise the clawback, the marginal tax rate paid by senior citizens, on money they received through OAS.

Effectively, billions of dollars would be saved or captured by the government, of course captured in the form of reduced income for Canadian seniors. Moreover it would have had the impact of causing Canadians not yet in their senior years to say there is no point in setting aside money in their RRSPs because when they get to retirement age they can expect to see, depending on their income, as much as 90% of the money they put in taxed back by the government through its new hidden clawback disguised under the name of the seniors benefit. That was the second wing of the former finance minister's effort to change the purpose of our pension system from providing the best possible income for Canadian seniors and on to other government priorities like deficit reduction.

His third attempt was the changes to the Canada pension plan. That process was started in 1997 with an act that was passed by the minister raising the payroll tax significantly and creating the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The process is being completed today with the current legislation. I want to give some examples of the things that the new board's mandate will cause it to invest money on a basis other than producing the best possible return on investment.

In an article in the Financial Post on July 17, 2000 we read that a number of people were being appointed to the board, including some with excellent credentials, such as a past chairman of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada, John MacNaughton. The article praises that appointment but adds:

The investment board opens the door to demands that collective equity funds be used for collective equity goals--

Collective equity funds are funds in the Canada pension plan investment plan.

--to meet ethical criteria, stabilize the stock market or develop an industrial strategy. And if the politicians so desire, Mr. MacNaughton can be replaced.

No sooner had Mr. MacNaughton announced the board's splendid returns than the NDP finance critic was urging the finance minister to intervene in the board's decision making. He recommended it be instructed not to invest in companies that profit from human rights abuses or threats to health. Mr. Martin replied that Mr. Nystrom's concerns were to be taken “quite seriously”. That is the beginning of a process we are going to see of CPP funds being restricted in how they can be used, being tapped for other uses and when necessary, individuals being appointed to the board who will be compliant in that process.

Another example has been on the former finance minister's mind for a long time. This is from the Toronto Star of January 26, 1990 dateline Halifax.

The Canada pension plan should be broken up, and its money used to set up regional funds to back promising businesses across the country, Liberal leadership candidate Paul Martin says.... Money now going to the Canada pension plan should be channelled into a chain of regional funds across the country.

The following is a direct quote from the former finance minister who was a Liberal leadership candidate then as now:

Take the savings of Atlantic Canadians, kick-start it with federal government money and allow the money to back Nova Scotia entrepreneurs who are going to create jobs, Mr. Martin told students.

Canada Pension PlanGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.


Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the Speaker is a very knowledgeable parliamentarian and he will know that in the last minute or so the member has used the names of MPs as opposed to their ridings or their portfolio. He will know that is not acceptable parliamentary language.

Canada Pension PlanGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The Chair is not in a great position to pass judgment or rule on the intervention of the hon. member for Palliser but I would ask the co-operation of the hon. member for Lanark--Carleton if in fact the possibility someone might have been named instead of a riding. We are all familiar with the practices of the House and I am sure we will all want to abide by them.

Canada Pension PlanGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Palliser for his insightful intervention.

Let me continue to give a number of citations from the former finance minister. The next one is from September 26, 1997. This is very important because it indicates the direction in which he and this legislation are planning to take this vast pool of hard earned Canadian money. I quote:

I have always been an apostle of the Caisse de dépôt and I think having a Canadian Caisse de dépôt to manage the savings of Canadians is very important.

That was stated by the former finance minister as he was setting up the board that we are now seeing put into place. The Caisse de dépôt et de placement in Quebec manages the Quebec pension plan. This is the model he is looking at. This is the model he has been leading up to in all these quotes.

What is the result of the use of this model? The result is poor returns on investment. The Caisse de dépôt et de placement has produced returns according to the chief actuary--

Canada Pension PlanGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order. I am always hesitant at this time to interrupt members during their interventions but before we get to question period we have statements by members. I would like to proceed with them at this time.

I might add that the hon. member for Lanark--Carleton will have approximately 20 minutes remaining in his intervention.

Ottawa International Air ShowStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is the weekend for the Ottawa International Air Show.

There will be ground aircraft displays and flying displays by the Canadian forces Snowbirds and the United States air force Thunderbirds. The air show provides an opportunity for the pilots to display their skills and professionalism. The participation of the Thunderbirds is also a gesture of the international goodwill on the part of the United States.

This weekend people will also see the Skyhawks parachute team, water bombing displays and many other flight demonstrations.

I encourage all citizens in and around the national capital region and elsewhere to enjoy this weekend's air show.

AfricaStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, six million people are about to die in Zimbabwe as a direct result of the actions of President Robert Mugabe to cut off the food supply to everyone but his most rabid and violent supporters. In the Congo two million people have died over the control of diamond fields. A further two million have died in the Sudan.

In two weeks the G-8 leaders will meet to discuss Africa and the new partnership for African development. At the meeting the Prime Minister must put the NEPAD to the test. He must ask African and G-8 leaders if they are going to side with brutal dictatorships like Robert Mugabe or if they are going to side with the rights of innocent civilians. The Prime Minister must make it clear that we are only prepared to work with governments that adopt good governance and the rule of law and that we will not work with governments that act with brutality and corruption.

This month we have a chance to save millions of lives and stand against the forces of evil like President Robert Mugabe. The choice is ours. Let us not miss this golden opportunity.

Space ProgramStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the Canadian Space Agency and MD Robotics of Brampton, Ontario for yet another Canadian accomplishment in space. This week the in orbit crew of the international space station and of the Endeavour space shuttle completed the installation of the Canadian made mobile base system on the station's rail system, with the help of Canadian astronauts Bob Thirsk and Steve MacLean both working at mission control in Houston.

The mobile base system which was developed by MD Robotics is touted as a complement to the Canadarm2 and will allow the arm and other maintenance and construction equipment to move along the entire station and to continue its assembly.

Thanks to developments such as these, Canada has acquired an enviable reputation in space robotics. I commend again the Canadian Space Agency and MD Robotics for this most recent feat of technology. I thank them for helping maintain Canada's reputation in this field.

I wish the crew of the Endeavour a safe landing which is scheduled for next Monday.

Economic DevelopmentStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, economic development is vital to my riding of Malpeque with its mix of large and small communities. Community economic development is a priority of ACOA. The $135 million strategic community investment fund is designed to help communities create an environment that encourages the development of strategic sectors.

In my riding alone, three projects will have a positive impact on the economic well-being of the communities of Cornwall, Kensington and North Rustico. The town of Cornwall will acquire a fire rated water supply to service its light industry. The town of Kensington will build a new industrial complex to encourage business investment in the area.

I am proud that the Government of Canada is investing over $1.15 million from the strategic community investment fund. It will assist the long term prosperity of Prince Edward Island and the Atlantic area.

HighwaysStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, for some years I have been visiting the territory of Nunavik in Quebec, the land of our Inuit friends.

My fondest wish is to see a highway system in place which would enable us to start from Radisson on James Bay and travel to Kuujjuarapik, Umiujaq, Inukjuak, Puvirnituq, Akulivik, Ivujivik, Salluit, Kangiqsujuaq, the Raglan mine, Quaqtaq, Kangirsuk, Aupaluk, Tasiujaq, Kuujjuaq and Kangiqsualujjuaq, then heading to the Brisay generating station, then finally reaching the James Bay highway to Matagami, Amos, Val-d'Or and southern Quebec.

The governments of Canada and Quebec need to take this magnificent project seriously, with a view to enhancing relations between the people of Nunavik and the people in the south of Quebec and of Canada.

Cintec InternationalStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Cintec International is a winner at this year's prestigious Queen's Award for Innovation.

The company's North American headquarters is located in Nepean. The chief operating officer, Robert Lloyd-Rees, is justifiably proud of this recognition.

The Queen's award, by the way, is the highest honour that can be bestowed on a company.

The company specializes in bridge and building reinforcements using an anchor system which is installed entirely within the structure leaving no visible change to the exterior. This process is ideal for historic buildings. Its services have been used interestingly at Rideau Hall and right here in our parliament buildings.

Congratulations to this innovative and now highly honoured company.

Stratford FestivalStatements By Members

11 a.m.


John O'Reilly Liberal Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario.

As this renowned festival enters its 50th season, it is difficult to imagine that what we now recognize as one of Canada's premier cultural attractions began in a tent. Things have changed significantly in a half decade.

This season the Stratford Festival boasts four beautiful theatres carrying 15 plays. This morning it will officially celebrate the reopening of the historic Avon Theatre, the result of two years of extensive renovations. The Prime Minister is there to mark the occasion with the people of Stratford.

The success of the Stratford Festival is a testament to the vitality of the performing arts in Canada. Richard Monette, the festival's artistic director, said it best and I will leave the House with his words:

In our 50th season we celebrate not just a milestone of our history, but the enduring human impulse to create art and what that impulse represents: the continuing triumph of life and civilization.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Madam Speaker, Pachtoun Hamid Karzai was yesterday elected president by the Loya Jorga, and will thus head the transition authority to govern Afghanistan for the next two years. The Loya Jirga is a traditional grand council, and has the task of redefining the political system of Afghanistan.

One of the surprise elements in this election was the candidacy of Massouda Jalal, the first woman candidate for the post of head of state in the history of Afghanistan.

The Bloc Quebecois wishes to extend its warmest greetings and admiration to all of the delegates to the Loya Jirga, the people of Afghanistan and their new head of state.

This is an historic moment for Afghanistan; the international community has a duty to clearly demonstrate its support as the delegates to the Loya Jirga work to reach agreement on the way the transitional government will operate. In the words of the new head of state, “we must not let this opportunity slip by”.

Bard on the BeachStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday Vancouver's arts community will launch the 13th annual Bard on the Beach festival.

This open air Shakespeare festival takes place each year for 15 weeks on the waterfront against Vancouver's beautiful downtown skyline. It is considered one of the great successes of Canadian theatre.

The performances, often sold out in advance, include a wide range of Shakespeare's works including comedies and tragedies and much loved and lesser known plays. This year's program will open with Twelfth Night and

Henry V.

This festival is a shining example of the talent and success of the Canadian arts community. I encourage anyone visiting Vancouver this summer to take part in this unique festival.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remind the House that last September I brought to the attention of the minister responsible for employment insurance that department's inability to meet the service delivery standards it had promised in Kanata and other parts of eastern Ontario affected by the downturn in the high tech industry.

It is now eight months later and benefit delivery is still taking six to eight weeks, exactly what was happening before. The promise had been service delivery on benefits in 28 days. I know of nowhere in eastern Ontario where the service delivery standards are being met or are even seeing improvements in performance.

Yet the government demands immediate payment from taxpayers. Anyone who is late paying their taxes or program premiums for employment insurance can expect the swift imposition of interest charges and penalties.

It seems the government feels it can hold itself to a lesser standard than that which is expected of contributors to the very program from which it is now denying benefits. Canadians deserve more.