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House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was bankruptcy.

Topics

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The minister seems to be managing with his answer. I do not think he needs all this assistance. We have to be able to hear the answer. The minister has the floor.

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cited three pieces of legislation that are pertinent to this advice. In addition, there is the case law and the policy framework. Taken together, this body of law, according to our legal advisers, is such that the government does have an obligation to pay severance, but as I have said several times, we are paying the minimum that is required by law.

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the--

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

It is obvious that the hon. member for Central Nova is a popular member, but we do have to be able to hear his question. The hon. member for Central Nova has the floor.

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I do not sense the same degree of enthusiasm on the other side of the House.

The Minister of National Revenue has said that, under the common law, Mint-breaker David Dingwall was entitled to a severance package for quitting his job. That of course was not true, so now the minister says the golden handshake is required by federal laws. Even his caucus colleagues, including the Minister of Labour and some who have practised labour law, do not buy that.

The common person knows that when we quit a job we do not get a bonus when we are walking out the door. Exactly what law or regulation requires the government to pay David Dingwall one red cent for quitting his job? Just what is the minister's authority and will he table it?

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained several times, it is the combination of three pieces of legislation, case law, and a policy framework. The fact of the matter is that without a mutually agreed separation package, even if someone resigns voluntarily, there is certainly the risk--and the government has to consider risk--of a long and expensive lawsuit.

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, we hope the minister will table it. The Liberals' practice is very common for looking after themselves, courtesy of the taxpayer.

Canadians are outraged by the suggestion that a severance package is even being contemplated for Mr. Dingwall. He had a quarter of a million dollars a year in salary, a huge expense account and the audacity to bill for a pack of gum. Only a dingbat would now defend Dingwall.

The minister has finally revealed the real reason. He said that there may be a long protracted lawsuit. To avoid what? Will the Prime Minister now confess that the real reason he will not table the documents is that he is trying to hide the payoff that is being paid to David Dingwall?

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, this speculation about hush money is in fact typical of the Conservative Party.

Let me quote from Conservative leader Preston Manning's book on page 379 where he wrote that the member for Calgary Southeast in speaking about the dismissal of a Conservative staffer, informed one of his colleagues that “$40,000 buys a lot of silence”. That was the Conservative Party. I suggest that the Conservatives step down from their high horse on this subject.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, the Bloc Québécois proposed a whole slew of measures to counter soaring gas prices. Now, the government is about to announce an assistance plan largely based on these proposals, which includes helping low income families, giving more teeth to the Competition Act and creating a petroleum monitoring agency. However, it seems there are a few measures missing in this package.

Does the Prime Minister intend to include in his plan support measures for farmers, independent truckers, taxi drivers and the whole forestry sector?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance will be announcing the details of that plan. However, I can say that it will help the poor, while also recognizing the need to conserve energy. It is a comprehensive plan that meets the needs of Canadians.

I am very proud of the efforts made by the minister, by all ministers and by our whole caucus. I am anxiously waiting for this initiative.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to fund the assistance plan, the Bloc Québécois had proposed that a surtax be imposed on oil companies which, as we know, are generating huge surpluses.

Does the Prime Minister intend to look to the oil companies to do their part, so that his aid package is not funded exclusively by taxpayers?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is not the government's intention to raise taxes in an effort to deal with the issue of energy prices. In fact our focus, I would think, would need to be in the opposite direction. Tomorrow I hope we will be able to provide further and better detail. That will be the first step in an ongoing plan.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, by playing with their refining margins, oil companies have lined their pockets. This margin went from 8¢ per litre before the crisis to more than 40¢ during the crisis. This is one of the ways oil companies were able to increase their benefits.

Does the Minister of Finance realize that taxpayers should not be the only ones funding the assistance plan that he is about to announce, and that oil companies must also do their part? Does he intend to make them contribute by imposing a minimum surtax of $500 million?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the tax revenues of this country are contributed by all sectors of the economy and by individual Canadians. The energy sector in fact is one of the largest contributors to the tax revenues of not only the Government of Canada but all the provinces and municipalities. At the last check on that revenue it was something in the order of $16 billion per year.

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, as gas prices were soaring, the Minister of Transport continued to insist that the government had nothing to do regarding this issue and that we had to let market forces play out.

Now that the government has got the message, it seems to agree with some of the proposals made by the Bloc Québécois.

Does the minister intend to round out his plan by proposing, among other measures, incentives to encourage consumers to buy more energy efficient vehicles?

FinanceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in the House on many occasions, there will be at least three parts to the plan that we propose. The first will focus on greater transparency and more competitive forces in the marketplace. The second will focus on energy efficiency and energy conservation to help all of us save energy and money. The third component will be to provide income assistance and greater disposable incomes to the most vulnerable of Canadians.

Home Heating PricesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the details emerge of the assistance program, people are concerned that some who need help are not going to get it. For example, a working couple earning $40,000 a year is not going to be able to get any help. Someone working at Tim Hortons is out of luck in terms of getting help. Someone who works at the Mint on the other hand gets $1 million and the Prime Minister stands up and says perhaps the person deserves severance pay.

Could the Prime Minister explain why David Dingwall deserves to get help when a working couple facing high oil prices does not?

Home Heating PricesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the energy efficiency measures that we are going to propose will be broadly available to Canadians. We obviously need to focus on the most vulnerable. In addition to that, there are other ways in which we can improve energy efficiency among Canadians more generally.

We also intend to improve the disposable incomes of Canadians. What we have to offer on that subject tomorrow will be just the first step of a number yet to come.

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am still waiting for the Prime Minister to explain why David Dingwall deserves to get so much help, but a working couple will not when they will be trying to heat their homes this coming winter.

The minister references efficiency. Efficiency is incredibly important if we are going to solve the problems that face us, especially now that we have smog season running all the way from February to October in this country. That party voted against standards that would require auto manufacturers to produce fuel efficient cars. The words ring rather hollow.

When are we going to see fuel efficient standards as part of this plan?

Automobile IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that the automotive sector has entered into something like 14 voluntary agreements over the years. This is another one, and it is a successful one. The industry is reducing emissions by over 25%, and we have a healthy, strong industry compared to the United States.

David DingwallOral Question Period

October 5th, 2005 / 2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, there are two sets of rules, one for Liberals and one for Canadians.

The Royal Canadian Mint Act makes no mention of severance pay whatsoever. The Privy Council rules mention no payoffs for quitters. The Financial Administration Act indicates that severance arrangements are not warranted. Dingwall's contract with the Mint says nothing about severance. To top it off, there is the ridiculous assertion that we should fear a lawsuit from David Dingwall because he quit his contract two years early in shame for spending $750,000 last year. Table the legal opinion.

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, my faith in the advice of legal counsel in the Privy Council Office is greater than my faith in the legal scholarship of the member opposite.

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the only reason he has any faith in the rules is he is making them up as he goes along.

Alfonso Gagliano did not get severance and look what happened. He sang like a canary. The Mint minister said yesterday he is afraid of a lengthy legal battle and he said it again today. It is a bit odd, don't you think, afraid of a lawsuit from somebody who quit. The government has changed its tune every day on this issue and it shows it has cut a deal with David Dingwall.

Why does the Prime Minister not finally come clean and tell working Canadians just for once why their tax dollars are being used for hush money for his party?

David DingwallOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I have explained several times why the government's approach is on the basis of law.

As I explained in my earlier passage from Preston Manning's book, it is the Conservative Party in the words of the member for Calgary Southeast referring to the dismissal of a Conservative staffer who informed his colleagues that “$40,000 buys a lot of silence”.

Our side makes these decisions on the basis of law and risk management. The evidence of hush money comes straight out of the mouth of the Conservative Party.