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House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was municipalities.

Topics

National Suicide Prevention WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, suicide remains a taboo subject, despite the size of the problem. Every year in Quebec, close to 1,500 lives are lost, the equivalent of a Titanic disaster. There are also close to 29,000 suicide attempts.

On the occasion of national suicide prevention week, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of thousands of paid and volunteer workers throughout Quebec, but particularly those of Richard Lavoie. He is the man behind a consciousness-raising walk, the “Marche Québec-Amérique”.

During the summer of 2003, Mr. Lavoie covered more than 1,000 km raising public awareness of suicide among young people. He attracted audiences by stopping in a number of towns where he organized percussion performances. I had the pleasure of welcoming him to Saint-Hyacinthe and taking part in one of these performances.

He has also written a book, entitled La prévention du suicide est malade , in which he tells the story of his three months of travel and shares his feelings on this issue and on the shortcomings in the way it has been handled in the past 10 years.

To Richard Lavoie, his partner Manon, and daughters Allison and Stéphanie, as well as all the volunteers who made these public awareness efforts possible, my thanks and congratulations.

Enterprise Cape Breton CorporationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Mr. Speaker, today I want to offer my congratulations to Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation. Last month the Auditor General's awards for excellence in annual reporting were announced and ECBC was one of this year's finalists.

This corporation's work in Cape Breton is well known as it has delivered important projects to every part of Cape Breton Island. Today there are thousands of people working in my riding who are working because of the efforts of ECBC.

The Auditor General stated in announcing her awards that the awards recognize the best reporting practices in crown corporations' annual reports. It is an honour that ECBC was considered, but the award that really matters is the economic contribution ECBC has made to the people of Cape Breton.

Today I extend my best wishes to the board of directors, to vice-president Rick Beaton and to the staff of this vital corporation for this significant recognition.

Canadian Light SourceStatements By Members

February 5th, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, in December scientists at the University of Saskatchewan's national synchrotron facility were basking in the glow of a tiny, yet very significant, dot of light, the first visible light captured by the Canadian light source, one of the most advanced synchrotrons in the world and the only one in Canada.

Referred to as the Swiss knife of science, intense synchrotron light acts like a supermicroscope, allowing researchers to probe the very structure of matter and to analyze physical, chemical, geological and biological processes. The potential for application of this research is tremendous.

CLS has positioned not just Saskatoon but Canada on the cutting edge of science and will serve as a magnet for top researchers. Testing of the first suite of beam lines is currently underway and routine operations are set to begin this fall.

Congratulations to the University of Saskatchewan and the CLS team. Once again we see the true bright lights are not in the benches of government, but at home in Saskatchewan.

Regional DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend my colleague, the Minister of State for Financial Institutions, for the emphasis placed on the regions recently.

He has already visited several regions and will continue to do so until next week, as part of the prebudget consultations. Tomorrow, I will be in Bromont with the minister and representatives from my riding of Shefford and representatives from Brome—Missisquoi.

People from all walks of live, all social, economic and community backgrounds, have had and will have the opportunity to express their vision for the future.

The regions are of the utmost importance in ensuring the economic, social and cultural viability of Canada.

Canadians from the regions have shared their priorities for economic and social renewal and, as mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada will follow through.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, this month the volunteer driven First Nations Accountability Coalition, founded in 1995, is holding 13 meetings across Canada on corrupt electoral practices and how to remove leadership from office. This is a tall order because the Indian Act does not promote democracy or accountability and government prefers the status quo.

Compare the coalition of volunteers' tireless efforts with government actions.

The First Nations and Inuit Branch of Health Canada is involved in an ongoing major scandal involving millions of dollars for the Virginia Fontaine Treatment Centre. Now we discover the government rewarded Grand Chief Phil Fontaine with an appointment to the Indian Claims Commission at $250,000 per year, plus an unaccountable per diem of $175.

Taxpayers and ordinary reserve residents are not impressed. Canadians deserve better.

Canadian EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Liberal Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, after a very trying year on many levels, what with SARS, the discovery of a case of mad cow, and the big blackout, the Canadian economy seems to be on the verge of a much-hoped-for recovery.

Yesterday, Statistics Canada revealed the results of its Business Conditions Survey. It shows that Canadian manufacturing companies are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for this first quarter.

The balance of opinion with respect to orders is very positive. The number of manufacturing companies that are posting an increase in orders has risen by 4% since October, for a total of 24%.

This is the highest positive balance since April 2000. This government will continue to ensure an economic climate that will allow Canadian companies to offer quality jobs to Canadians.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister admitted that he knew the $137,000 government figure was wrong. In fact, he knew it was wrong for about 10 months. He says he was powerless to do anything about it, but that frankly is wrong. He was a member of Parliament and he had vocal cords. Why did he not just speak up and say that there was a big problem with that number?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as soon as I was in a position to do something, I pushed immediately to have a complete exposition of all of the numbers. As a result of that, the most comprehensive set of numbers probably of any set of contracts has been prepared by the government. I did so immediately I was in a position to do so.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what is it about being a member of Parliament that did not give him the position to do so?

Here is the timeline: In October 2002 we asked the question; in February 2003 the answer came back and that answer was wrong. The Prime Minister said he did not act because he was otherwise engaged. It took 10 months for the information to get from his ear to his heart.

Why did it take so long for the Prime Minister to tell right from wrong?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all let us understand that what we are talking about is the compilation of the numbers. The fact is that an enormous amount of information about the numbers was on the Public Works' website and had been there for a long period of time. The real fact of the matter is that a lot of that information was incredibly ancient because it went back to a period before I even entered cabinet.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, here are the latest excuses from a long line of them: (a) the PM was too busy; (b) he was not in charge of the company any longer; and (c) he was not PM yet. Which excuse will it be today, (a), (b), (c), or all of the above?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to openness and transparency. The real issue before the House is, why is the opposition afraid of the results that will come forth from the Auditor General? Why is the opposition afraid that the Auditor General will in fact look at these numbers and take up the examination?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's dealings with CSL are becoming well documented. In 1996 he met with the ethics counsellor and the president of CSL to discuss a lucrative deal with an Indonesian power company, Jawa Power. CSL has refused to say just how lucrative that contract was.

When will the Prime Minister provide Canadians with all the information about his share of the CSL take and give Canadians their share of the tax?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, in response to this question and the previous one, I took office on December 12; in six weeks, we compiled more than 250 pages of documents, which have been posted on the website with all the details.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that the Auditor General was going to look into the matter. They rejected this for one simple reason: truth and facts do not interest them; they are only interested in politics.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

It may be politics, Mr. Speaker, but the House leader should know that it is his job to provide accurate information to the opposition and Canadians.

The Prime Minister surely wants to avoid being put in the same category as Italian leader Silvio Burlusconi whose business dealings have damaged his reputation.

In the interest of openness, transparency and trust, will the Prime Minister agree that the Auditor General's investigation into the financial dealings include the examination of his business connections to the former Indonesian dictator Suharto's family?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about honouring integrity and transparency, I think my colleague should not have cited Mr. Burlusconi. He should have cited Mr. Orchard.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister boasts about being the biggest fighter of tax havens on earth. This is mind-boggling. Not only did the Prime Minister sponsor Bill C-28 and maintain the treaty with Barbados, but, on four occasions, he ignored the Auditor General's recommendations for tighter controls. The result: his company, CSL International, headquartered in Barbados, saved $100 million in taxes.

Will the Prime Minister, who is clearly in conflict of interest, admit that his fine speech on tax havens should be entitled, “Do as I say, not as I do”?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the opposition members continue to string this long line of fabrication. The $100 million figure is entirely a figment of their imagination.

The facts are that we are determined to get fair share of tax revenues for Canadians. I have said in the House before that that is one of the principal objectives of our international tax treaties. We have those under review, as have a number of countries, including the United States.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to debate the $100 million at any time. Let him open the books, and we will.

The Prime Minister is saying that he worked at the international level with regard to tax havens. It is true. He worked with other countries to ensure that Barbados, one of the main tax havens, no longer appears on the OECD's list. That is what he did to save face. In that country, the tax rate is 2.5% for $1 million. That is what he did. He would have paid a great deal more here, as he well knows. It is to save face. That is what his great international initiative was all about.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as finance minister, I was the one who brought the matter of tax havens to the G-7. Under Canada's leadership, the G-7 took this matter to the OECD. There was a monumental study. There was a problem with the Europeans, but Canada said that tax havens needed to be eliminated to ensure international equity. I said it here in the House, I said it on the international scene, and I will continue to say it.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance stated yesterday, and I quote, “there is no link between CSL moving to Barbados, the legislation and the tax conventions signed by Canada”.

How can the finance minister make such a ridiculous statement to try and save the Prime Minister's skin, when the first vice president of CSL, Pierre Préfontaine, declared on February 1, 2003, that CSL International had moved from Liberia to Barbados precisely because of changes in Canadian tax rules?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the question yesterday asked if we had changed the rules to benefit CSL. The answer is no.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did Bill C-28 give a direct advantage to the Prime Minister's company, but the tax convention with Barbados, which he chose to uphold while he was finance minister, was also beneficial to CSL International.

Is the Minister of Finance prepared to admit that the tax convention enabled the Prime Minister to bring back to Canada capital on which he paid just over 1% in taxes in Barbados instead of the Canadian rate, which is 37%? That is a $100 million profit in the Prime Minister's pockets.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of international tax treaties is to ensure that on a global basis international corporations pay their full and fair share of tax.

In the case of international shipping companies, they earn their revenue clearly in a place where it is not possible to tax and that is on the high seas. Therefore we have tax treaties to make sure the tax can be collected in a fair way. It is necessary to review those treaties on an ongoing basis to make sure they are fair. The United States is doing that and so is Canada.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Liberals have attacked the NDP for saying missile defence will weaponize space and, therefore, constitute star wars.

Here is what Lieutenant-General Ronald Kadish, director of the missile defence agency, told the Senate armed services committee, “There will be at least 300 space-based interceptors”.

In light of these comments, I wonder how the Prime Minister can cling to the absolute fiction that missile defence is not star wars.