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House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, corporate welfare is alive and well in the Liberal government. Fred Bennett, former director at Industry Canada, has publicly stated that officials in the department deliberately set up loan programs in such a way that money would likely never be repaid.

Why are programs such as Technology Partnerships Canada designed in such a way to ensure that taxpayers' money is never repaid?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member that last fiscal year total receipts from companies in which investments had been made through TPC were almost $19 million. That is double the amount from the last fiscal year and repayments continue to accelerate. We negotiate terms which involve repayment of TPC investments.

TPC is one of the ways in which we invest in innovation. That is obviously something with which the hon. member does not agree. We believe in innovation on this side of this House.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us review these repayments. First of all, an $8 million loan to Western Star Trucks; repayment, zero. An $84 million loan to Pratt and Whitney; repayment, zero. An $85 million loan to Bombardier; repayment, zero.

The fact is, and the minister knows this, less than 2% of TPC loans have been repaid since 1996. Why is the government giving away taxpayer dollars with no intention whatsoever of recouping them?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member should know that these investments are often made in pre-competitive research and development for emerging sectors of the economy. It takes a while to get these products to market and for the companies to be in a position to repay.

Let me quote from Mr. Bennett's book, which he published a couple of years ago on this subject, called A Call to Account . He said:

My belief is that the deals are now structured in such a way under the new TPC program...the repayment terms are clear.

TPC is now working very well.

TaxationOral Question Period

October 8th, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, by voting in favour of the Canadian Alliance's motion, the government is supporting the next Liberal leader's wish to provide a portion of the federal gasoline tax directly to the municipalities, without going through Quebec.

By voting in favour of interference, does the Prime Minister realize that his government, encouraged by his successor, has just given the green light to even greater encroachment in Quebec's jurisdiction?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can read the motion: “That, in the opinion of the House, the government should initiate immediate discussions with the provinces and territories to provide municipalities with a portion of the federal gas tax.”

I stress the word discussions. We are talking about discussions. I said earlier that some provinces are in favour, while others are not. These discussions will allow us to see if we can find a solution acceptable to the federal government, the provinces and the municipalities.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, a federalist, has already responded to this proposal by saying that the increasing federal interference is proof of the fiscal imbalance and the abuse of federal spending powers so Ottawa can dictate to the provinces and Quebec.

Since the government has given the go-ahead to implement the plan of the new Liberal leader, a man who wants the federal government to deal directly with the municipalities, will the Prime Minister admit that his government is preparing to tell Quebec what to do within its own areas of jurisdiction?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the motion says that we will talk with the provinces. I am well aware that Quebec has legislation that says that the federal government cannot give money to a municipality without provincial government approval. Obviously, the aim of these discussions will be to see if we can find a solution to that problem. But, without discussions, we will never know. The municipalities want us to help them, and the provincial governments want a different formula. If we talk, we can find a solution. If we do not talk, we will not find a solution.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the resolution on which the government voted yesterday is being interpreted by the real decision maker, who is not here. He is elsewhere, and has announced his intention to bring together the municipalities and the provinces in order to discuss transfer of the tax.

I am asking the Prime Minister if there is not a danger of his successor being even more centralist than he has been and putting heavy pressure on the provinces by sitting them down directly with the municipalities and holding out money as the incentive?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised, happy even, to be told by the hon. member for Roberval that I am such a nice Prime Minister, one who is always in favour of the provinces, which my successor may not be. I thank him for that. It is a point of view I have not heard for ages.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has a gift for interpreting things a little differently than intended. What I said was that we thought centralist tendencies had gone as far as they could go with him, and now we find that the other one is worse. That is what we are learning.

I have this question for the Prime Minister. With the federal approach of sitting the municipalities down with the provinces to distribute the money, are we to expect that later on—for example in connection with education—they will be calling together the school boards and the provincial governments, while Ottawa puts more money on the table? Is that how they are going to do things in future?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I see clearly that the member for Roberval is seeking my assistance in this matter. All I could do to help would be to suggest he sit down quietly and read the resolution calmly. He would then see that it is a matter of holding discussions with the provinces and the municipalities. There is nothing to worry about. The government and the Province of Quebec will be at the table for the discussions, as will the governments of the other provinces.

Also, I am not about to go over to the Bloc Quebecois, no worry about that. I am capable of being a federalist prime minister with the flexibility he has already attributed to me.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are being treated to the spectacle of two parallel governments and two competing prime ministers.

To make matters worse--

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I know all hon. members are looking forward to the clarification the hon. member is offering in his question. We will want to hear the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough who has the floor.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, we now have two different versions of what is factually correct about the Maher Arar case.

The Solicitor General says that no information was passed to the Americans. The Minister of Foreign Affairs says that he believes Colin Powell's version, that the Americans received information from Canadian authorities.

Which is it? On which minister's report is the Prime Minister basing his decision not to have a public inquiry?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I answered this question before a committee several times yesterday. Clearly, the RCMP is a very highly respected organization and has tremendous integrity.

I have been assured and I have said that the RCMP was not involved in the decision made by the United States in this matter.

I know that the member and the party opposite do not like to hear those facts, but those are the facts and we are standing by those facts.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General would not know a fact if it bit him on the rump.

The Solicitor General was quoted as saying that rogue elements in the RCMP passed along information to the Americans. Since then he has reversed himself, he has covered up, and now he claims the RCMP were not involved.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told our foreign minister that the RCMP did disclose information on Mr. Arar. The foreign affairs minister went so far as to state that “Mr. Powell spoke truthfully to me”.

Again, my question is for the Prime Minister. Who does he believe and who should Canadians believe? The Solicitor General of Canada or the U.S. Secretary of State.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I think I heard that question coming from the rump over there in the corner.

This is a very serious matter. We recognize that. We have talked to the RCMP extensively. I have said to Canadians and to the foreign affairs committee that we do not talk about operational matters within the RCMP.

I have outlined very clearly that the RCMP was not involved in the decision by United States authorities to arrest and deport Mr. Arar.

Could I be more clearer? I could not.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister of immigration would be better advised to be working on a biometric scan that could tell the difference between the two Liberal caucuses or the Alliance and the Conservatives.

My question has to do with the way in which everyone in the House, with the exception of the Bloc, appears to have embraced--

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona is an experienced parliamentarian. I am sure he realizes that these kinds of statements provoke disorder in the House, and to assist the Speaker he would want to get right on with his question, so we can have an answer.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I was referring to the fact that everyone seems to embrace the proposal made months ago, if not years, by my leader, Jack Layton, with respect to the gas tax.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I know it is Wednesday and the owls have come home to roost. However, the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona has the floor and we will want to hear his question.