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House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is a parallel process that has been ongoing along with the work of Justice Gomery. The Prime Minister has been clear and the government has been clear that we intended to pursue, through the work of Mr. Gauthier, a financial recovery process. In fact, we are doing exactly that.

We are keeping our promises to Canadians. Promises made, promises kept: that is good government and that is defending the taxpayers' interests on an ongoing basis as a good government.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the agencies are being sued because they received money that they did not deserve and they all made significant contributions to the Liberal Party, totalling at least $400,000.

Since the Liberal Party also benefited from undeserved funds, will the Minister of Transport at least have the common sense to set up a Liberal Party dirty money trust of at least $400,000?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been clear, the Prime Minister has been clear, I have been clear, and the party has been clear that if there has been any ill-gotten gain in terms of partisan funding, the party will be guided by Justice Gomery's findings, and by both the civil lawsuit and criminal trials, which will be taken into account, and that we are absolutely committed to doing the right thing on behalf of the Canadian taxpayer.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, blaming a free market economy for government's failure to protect consumers just will not fly. For 17,000 Jetsgo travellers there is nothing but heartbreak, confusion and anger today.

When this government deregulated the airline industry, it failed to bring in basic consumer protections. Now how will the government help stranded Canadians? What protections will the government bring in for the future? Who is going to be held accountable for this mess?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we all know that the member does not believe in the free market economy, but we are not going to go back to the old way. We are not going to nationalize Jetsgo or any other airline company. We are going to have a competitive market. We are going to help entrepreneurs trying to get into this market. There are good days. There are bad days. This is part and parcel of business.

The consumers are protected. Many of those consumers are protected, for example, if they bought their tickets from a travel agency. In many provinces, there are provisions, money is in a fund and they are protected. If they bought them with their credit cards sometimes they have some protection. Some others have insurance, but we are not--

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Hamilton Centre.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is ridiculous. Nobody is suggesting that at all.

Consumers are not the only ones devastated this morning. There are 1,350 Jetsgo employees waking up to find their jobs are gone and they have no protection for their pensions or wages owed.

Bill C-281, the NDP's workers first bill, is aimed directly at protecting vulnerable workers caught in exactly these tragic conditions. Will this government at the very least commit today to sending this bill to committee and prove to Canadian workers that their Parliament is working for them too?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, we on this side also feel for those employees of Jetsgo who have potentially lost their jobs. There are protections under the Canada Labour Code, part III, which will protect their wages and protect their vacation and severance pay. I know that the airline attendants have protections under the collective bargaining process.

With regard to the bill, the House will decide whether or not the bill should go forward to the committee. We believe that we have already put in place protection for workers with regard to their rights for wages and so on.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, today we have learned of another example of Liberal incompetence. Jetsgo announced it is grounding its fleet, and one of the main reasons for it doing so is high airport rents.

Thousands of Canadian travellers are literally left out in the cold because of this government's mishandling of this file. When will the government stop dithering, reduce airport rents and show some action by letting our airline industry in this country remain competitive?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as much as I am sympathetic to the question, I have to say that in the U.S. there are five major air carriers under the protection of the law and that does not have anything to do with airport rents. In this case there are other carriers in the country that are making business, but obviously--

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Just cut taxes. Compare taxes to the U.S.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, that guy is such a big mouth every day, and worst of all, he never stands up to speak. He always speaks from his seat.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Perhaps we could have a little order in the House. There is a lot of yelling.

The hon. member for Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about government protection here. We are just talking about high airport rents. We warned the government time and time again about the problems associated with high airport rents, but the government dithers and does nothing.

Jetsgo is the tenth airline in the last dozen years to fail. This government is doing absolutely nothing for the airline industry and it is also failing Canadians. Will the minister take action today, reduce rents and give our airlines a fighting chance?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the member should know that there are no increases for another year. Between now and then I am sure that my colleague the Minister of Finance and I are going to have many discussions. As far as the competition in Canada goes, I think the consumer has been very well served. We can talk to any travellers in the country who have used air services in the last few years. They are very happy with the competition. They get better prices. They get better service. They are very happy about it.

National DefenceOral Question Period

March 11th, 2005 / 11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, the people of the Saguenay are increasingly worried about the possible closure of the Bagotville military base. Hundreds of families depend on this base.

Can the Minister of National Defence reassure the people of this region on this matter and confirm to the House that the Bagotville base will remain open and will not fall victim to budget cuts?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is a great deal of speculation because the Canadian Forces are reorganizing heavily across the country. This is an essential exercise. That said, however, we have no intention of reducing personnel or equipment at the Bagotville base, which is a key air force base and will remain so.

I hope the hon. member will agree with me when I say that, in order to improve efficiency, the Canadian Forces must be reorganized. That is all we are talking about right now.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are experts at hiding bad news. Several hundred direct and indirect jobs in the Saguenay region are at stake, and these people have the right to some sort of reassurance.

Why is the minister not telling us the government's real intentions for the Bagotville base?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am going to repeat my answer for the hon. member. In fact, the armed forces, like the rest of this government, are reorganizing to improve their efficiency and ability to defend Canada. I hope that he agrees with me.

However, personnel and equipment on the Bagotville base will not be affected by this reorganization. According to our plans, the Bagotville base remains an important asset to the armed forces.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Denise Poirier-Rivard Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the reopening of the U.S. border put off yet again and Quebec farmers facing mounting financial problems, the federal government can come up with nothing better than a $50 million ad campaign to promote beef.

Quebec farmers have already lost more than $240 million. How does the minister explain that he is still unable to find the $12 million needed to guarantee the farmers a floor price of 42¢ a pound at the abattoir for cull?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased yesterday when the Government of Canada announced $50 million to assist in the marketing of beef. This is in addition to some $2 billion we have already invested.

As the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister have said, there is significant additional work to do and we intend to do it.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Denise Poirier-Rivard Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the federal minister, who says he has been negotiating for three months with Quebec farmers in the Colbex case, admit that his loan loss reserve program for abattoir construction and expansion is designed to get around Quebec's plan, which would require financial help in ensuring a floor price for cull?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, that transaction has nothing to do with increasing slaughter capacity. It is simply about changing from one ownership to the other. Obviously if we are trying to increase slaughter capacity that is not the way we are going to invest public dollars.

I have indicated quite clearly that it is important to assist producers. It was great to see the Canadian Dairy Commission put up new money through the price supported milk to assist specifically with cull animals. We will continue to assist. That is an absolute commitment of the government.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, by refusing to implement a proper aid package to help the softwood lumber industry make it through to the end of the legal process, the government has helped make its financial situation even more precarious, so much so that a number of Quebec lumber companies are in very bad shape at present.

Instead of exhausting the Quebec industry by its inaction, will the government acknowledge that it ought to have put an aid package in place a long time ago, one that would include support for the legal proceedings, loan guarantees and measures for older workers to help the industry get through this crisis?