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House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was food.

Topics

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to engage in the rich fantasy life of the Bloc Québécois. In truth, to engage in this pejorative exercise that somehow or another some bill gets passed to favour a particular company is just utter nonsense.

The issue is that tax havens exist. If the Bloc members want to suggest to Canadian businesses that they can no longer operate in tax havens, then I welcome them to make that suggestion. I suspect that they will have a few phone calls from some pretty irate business executives.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance indicated his openness, nothing more, to a review of the tax treaties and rules concerning tax havens, particularly those between Canada and Barbados.

Is the Minister of Finance not adopting the same attitude as the present Prime Minister, who has done nothing to correct the situation which the Bloc Quebecois and successive auditors general have condemned for years as a threat to Canada's tax base?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have indicated that tax havens are a threat to the tax base of all industrial countries. There is not a nation in the G-7 and there is not a nation in the G-20 that is not concerned about tax havens. The finance minister rightfully indicates that this is of concern to Canada. Regretfully, we cannot do this by ourselves. To have Canada somehow or another live in some splendid isolation is fictional business nonsense.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Finance is serious this time in his determination to review tax havens, does he intend to apply retroactivity? If retroactivity was good for allowing the present Prime Minister to avoid paying $100 million in taxes since 1995, it ought to be equally good for recovering what he owes.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the hon. member has the cart before the horse. The entire industrialized world, all of the G-7 nations and all of the G-20 nations, cannot at this stage agree on the terms of a consensus, so how Canada is somehow or another going to retroactively apply this kind of legislation is again a rich fantasy on the part of the Bloc

StelcoOral Question Period

February 6th, 2004 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, as minister of finance the Prime Minister did not deal with steel tariffs because of his corporate ties. Now he is on the sideline again because of his family's corporate ties.

Has Hamilton now not been punished enough by the Liberals refusing to fight steel dumping?

I ask my very direct question to the acting prime minister. Does the Prime Minister's family corporation come before Stelco's 8,300 workers and 11,000 retirees or will the government now stand up and do something positive for Stelco, for its workers, for that community and for the retirees?

StelcoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear here. Right now, we have not received any formal request of any kind from Stelco to the Government of Canada.

No formal request has been received from Stelco at this time. All that is known, and known to everyone, is that Stelco is subject to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

We are currently following the situation very closely with the provincial government. One would hope that court-appointed restructuring will bring positive results for everyone.

StelcoOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

I think the time has come to act, Mr. Speaker, and you will notice that this week we have been asking policy questions on health care and star wars and we have not even asked why the Prime Minister did not know how much CSL got in contracts, but we are not johnny-come-latelies when it comes to standing up for the steel industry in this country.

But if the Prime Minister's corporate ties get in the way of Stelco and delay a decision, what about Kyoto? What about the seaway? He will be in and out of cabinet meetings faster than the Liberian flag goes up and down the masts of his ships. I ask once again, why does this government not stand up for Stelco and the workers in Hamilton instead of hiding behind the Prime Minister's corporation?

StelcoOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, we do not delay any decisions here. We do not have any formal request from the company, let us be clear.

It is very clear. This member's question is strictly hypothetical. At this time, Stelco has not made any request to the Government of Canada.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, a year has gone by since the opposition called for a public inquiry into the Liberal practice of squandering taxpayers' money on Liberal advertising firms with kickbacks to the Liberal Party.

We look across the aisle today and we see the same old faces that tried to bury that scandal in Public Works: the former finance minister who signed the cheques and the present finance minister who promised to get to the bottom of the mess.

How can this regurgitated frontbench claim it was all the fault of a previous administration?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.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, the question being asked here is very poorly formulated and unfounded. It is so bizarre that I cannot answer it.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

We are not ill prepared, Mr. Speaker. We have had a year to do it because those guys have squandered that much time. The Liberals have never seen a scandal they could not blame on somebody else, but they are running out of scapegoats over there.

It was $200 million in advertising contracts, $40 million in sponsorship money and untold millions to friends for consultation and polling, all charged to real Canadian taxpayers. Will the Prime Minister stand up and admit that he was a major part of that problem?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me make it perfectly clear. One of the first items that the government and the cabinet made was the decision to review the sponsorship program. The first decision in cabinet was to cancel the sponsorship program. Let us make that very clear and well understood. We too will wait to hear the Auditor General's report.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Yes, Mr. Speaker, we all await that report, that is for sure.

One of the Prime Minister's long-time cabinet colleagues, Alfonso Gagliano, got a pretty soft landing over in Denmark to avoid facing the consequences of his involvement in those contract scandals. Why will the Prime Minister not just stand up, admit the gag is up, and bring Alfonso home?

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the House knows, all ambassadorial appointments are at the pleasure of the government. The government and the House know that the Auditor General's report will be deposited on Tuesday. The House can be confident that the government will take the appropriate steps to preserve the integrity of our diplomatic corps and to preserve the reputation of Canada.

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pity we ruined that reputation by sending him there in the first place.

It certainly seems true that the contract scandals are at the pleasure of the government, and they do not end. The Auditor General is about to release a report that will likely reveal damning evidence of Gagliano's involvement in the scandal. He gets a one-way ticket to Denmark to avoid the heat. Why will the Prime Minister not just terminate Gagliano, just like he has done to so many of his former cabinet colleagues?

Government AppointmentsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said to the House, the report will be deposited on Tuesday. The House can be confident that the government will take the appropriate steps necessary to deal with this situation in a way that preserves the integrity of our diplomatic service and the integrity of the reputation of this country abroad.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, for a long time now, Don Cherry has been making disparaging, racist remarks about francophones on CBC's airwaves. The Commissioner of Official Languages has even launched an investigation into the crown corporation.

Should the minister responsible for official languages not try to get assurances from CBC management that the controversial commentator will be suspended, at least for the duration of the investigation?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine LiberalMinister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the CBC is an independent crown corporation. It is responsible for its organization. It is responsible for its human resources program.

We all agree in the House and we do know that we are committed to linguistic duality. We are committed to the diversity of Canada. We speak about respect for diversity. The Commissioner of Official Languages is an officer of Parliament and she has the authority to open any kind of inquiry that she so needs.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have a minister responsible for the Official Languages Act. In theory, the minister should know that he has to make sure the institutions under his responsibility fulfil their obligations with respect to linguistic duality.

Consequently, will the minister responsible for official languages tell us what measures he intends to take to ensure compliance with the law?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am truly very committed to the linguistic duality that lies at the heart of the Canadian identity.

It is imperative that the institutions of our government and our Parliament respect the reality of this linguistic duality, especially when it comes to the minority language.

Our government and our country are deeply committed to minorities. It is much easier for majorities to protect themselves. The minority will always have this government in its corner.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, after much procrastination and many fumbles, events have forced the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to face the facts: a public inquiry into the actions of the RCMP, CSIS and Canadian officials regarding the Maher Arar case is necessary.

Would the minister not agree that if she truly wants to shed light on this matter, the terms of reference given to Mr. Justice O'Connor should also cover the actions of the RCMP in searching the home of journalist Juliet O'Neill?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as we know, the matter is before the court this afternoon. It would be inappropriate to comment further, but I can tell the House that I have been advised that everything in terms of documentation that can be disclosed without injuring valid and recognized national public interests will be disclosed.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, curiously, the minister briefly indicated that the results of the inquiry will only partially be made public.

Does this government, which talks so much about the democratic deficit, not realize that the public has a right to know what really happened in a case where the rights of an individual and the freedom of the press were both interfered with?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Mississauga East Ontario

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri LiberalAssociate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Civil Preparedness)

Mr. Speaker, we who are immigrants to Canada are shocked to find out that an immigrant can be deported.

The Deputy Prime Minister has announced the terms of reference for the public inquiry. The commission of inquiry has sufficient latitude to investigate all the facts and to present its conclusions to Canadians.