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House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gasoline.

Topics

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

I know, Mr. Speaker, that the member may be obsessed about a newspaper headline here and a newspaper headline there.

The fact is in the last quarter of 2006 Canadian companies continued to exhibit a strong appetite for foreign companies, acquiring 456 purchases valued at $70 billion, mainly in the United States. What we are seeing is expansion by Canadian based companies abroad. Yes, there are some transactions within Canada. Yes, we have the rules in the Investment Canada Act, which we will follow.

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the last budget, with interest deductibility, just succeeded in killing that appetite.

I will quote from the budget. The budget proposes to “eliminate the deductibility of interest incurred to invest in business operations abroad”. I know he is trying to rewrite history, but the budget bans not just double-dip deductibility, not just tax haven deductibility but all deductibility.

The minister is so out of his depth. Does he know the difference between tax double-dip and the double-dip ice cream cone one picks up at the Dairy Queen?

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member opposite for two reasons. One is that he has now decided to support our policy against tax havens. He said last night, “When the finance minister says that we should go after abuses by tax havens and double-dipping, we agree”. Finally, he has agreed and I congratulate him on that observation.

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us use simple words: ban deductibility, bad; stem abuses, good. Because he is out of his depth, he proposed bad in his budget, but he has now spent some time on it and will hopefully cancel the bad and get on with the good, all of which is a total reversal and exactly what the Liberal leader has told him for weeks. Or do I need to take him through it one more time?

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have to congratulate the member opposite again, but this is not quite on the same subject. This is on his allegation yesterday about Alcoa and trying to relate that to taxing.

He gets the award given to him by the Financial Post, “The silliest line of the day on this is the Liberal finance critic's claim that the anti-tax haven initiative was responsible for opening the gates for Alcoa”.

Congratulations on the silliest line of Monday.

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, in today's Globe and Mail, a spokesperson for the industry minister said, “he's not concerned about foreign takeovers of leading Canadian companies”. Well, Canadians are concerned. They are concerned about losing corporate emblems like Alcan or even Bell Canada.

Does the minister agree with his friends at the Montreal Economic Institute that Canada should get rid of foreign ownership restrictions on Canadian telco altogether, yes or no?

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the House that we have very good legislation. The Investment Canada Act is in charge of all these kinds of takeovers by foreign ownership and foreign investment in our country. It is very important to specify to the member that we have provisions and we will ensure that each investment in Canada will favour all Canadians.

FinanceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister will not tell parliamentarians in the House where he stands on this, but on February 23 in New York, the minister said, “If you remove foreign ownership restrictions, it will be good for competition”.

Wall Street was listening and soon thereafter American private equity giant KKR was helping lead a takeover bid for Bell Canada.

Before the minister gets rid of foreign ownership limits altogether, will he commit to a full public review of this policy? Does the minister really want to be the minister responsible for taking the Canada out of Bell Canada?

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am the Minister of Industry and, as such, I am in charge of all industrial sectors in Canada. Foreign investments are important and, to this effect, we must have a very clear vision. In Canada, we have laws on foreign investments, and these laws apply and are indeed in effect. Moreover, all company takeovers must comply with this legislation.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government supports the oil companies, grants them favours and lets them make huge profits on the back of the consumer. A 5¢ to 7¢ refining margin is reasonable. A 27¢ margin is abuse. The price at the pump is under Quebec's jurisdiction, as we know, but the refining margin involves the Competition Act, which is under federal jurisdiction.

Will the government acknowledge that the refining margin is under its jurisdiction? Is it prepared to acknowledge this and act accordingly?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, once again, when talking about refining margins, members should get their facts straight. In Canada, the margin is currently 22¢, whereas in the United States, it is 25.4¢. The margin here in Canada is better for consumers. This is important. We can see today that the Bloc is useless in Ottawa, because its motion serves no purpose.

Why is the Bloc presenting this motion? Because, it wants to deflect debate at the moment. There is quarrelling within the sovereignist movement. The leader of the Bloc Québécois would like to be the leader of the Parti Québécois, because he thinks he is useless—

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, when members vote in the House, all members count.

With every 50 litres of gasoline, the consumer sends $10 in excess profits to the major oil companies. The former competition commissioner stated that he lacked the powers to investigate the price of gasoline.

By refusing to give more powers to the Competition Bureau, is the government not confirming its intention to protect the oil companies to the detriment of consumers?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. The Competition Bureau has all the powers it needs to act. It has done so in the past and will do so in the future. The Competition Bureau has conducted over six studies into allegations of collusion in Canada's oil and gas sector and concluded in each case that the price reflected market forces.

The Bloc Québécois does not believe in the free market, it does not consider the price competitive and in keeping with global gasoline prices, but those are the facts. Finally, the Bloc Québécois is showing us once again that, on the important matters, it does not know the issues or the facts.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, although this government can find enough money to purchase tanks on the sly, the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec told this House yesterday that he could not find $70 million to upgrade the Saint-Hubert airport and save 300 jobs.

How is it that the government can so easily find millions of dollars to secretly buy military weapons, yet cannot find money to create jobs in Quebec?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, this is the same member who said yesterday in this House that Pratt & Whitney was going to lay off 300 people or at least that 300 people would lose their jobs if the company did not stay in Saint-Hubert.

Yesterday, officials at Pratt & Whitney denied what the Bloc Québécois and the member had said. We are going to continue working with officials at Pratt & Whitney to try and find ways of resolving this issue.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, because of this government's inconsistency and inaction, Plattsburgh will benefit from the creation of 300 jobs and enjoy the spinoffs from the $350 million paid by minister Fortier to Pratt & Whitney. What with Domtar, Abitibi Consol, Alcan and Van Houtte, that will be just about enough.

Do you know many governments that fund campaigns to create jobs in other countries? Is this Canada's new economic policy?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the member would like us to stop funding all the projects in her riding.

For the information of this House, in the past year, CED has approved 89 projects in Montérégie worth $20 million. This has generated $46 million in investment in this riding. If we gave $70 million to a single project, there would be nothing left for the rest.

However, the regional economic development department is interested in supporting companies, and we are going to work with officials to try and identify solutions.

AfghanistanOral Questions

May 8th, 2007 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, this Conservative government, these wannabe Republicans, want so badly to take after their head office that the chaos and embarrassment they have caused all over Canada will lead us straight into a situation similar to the one in Iraq if the Prime Minister does not shoulder his responsibilities as the nation's leader.

Since our international reputation has already been tarnished by the Afghan detainee scandal, is the Prime Minister prepared to change his new agreement in order to prevent any parallel processes arising and to ensure that it respects the Geneva convention to the letter, especially when it comes to investigations?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows and members in the House are aware that this enhanced agreement has received much applause internationally. NATO is looking at this arrangement as one that fits the bill. This is very much aimed at protecting detainees. When Canadian detainees are turned over, there are now mechanisms in place, which we are putting through the official channels right now.

The member opposite is fully aware that Canada now has a much better arrangement than the one that his government had in place when he was in office.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Not enough, Mr. Speaker. The lack of transparency of the Conservative Bush-style government raises a lot of questions.

Why does the defence minister remain chained to his chair? He cannot even stand up without permission.

While our troops are fighting to promote democracy in Afghanistan, the Conservative government is making a mockery of democracy at home by concealing and distorting the truth at every opportunity.

How many reports have been swept under the rug? How many eye witness accounts can be discounted before the government finally admits it is wrong and fires that useless and muzzled Minister of National Defence?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, what has been distorted and completely torqued has been the comments by the member opposite. He stands up and now pretends to be the great defender of democracy. He has put more misinformation about the subject matter of detainees before the House in the last two weeks than anyone could imagine.

What is very curious is his position now in the House. Last week, when he was in Oslo, Norway at a NATO meeting, he said, “I was part of a government when at first we decided to go to Kabul and then we went to Kandahar, but now we support our government on that mission”. He was talking about supporting this government. What happened to that?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

That was a good quote, Mr. Speaker.

Last week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs met with—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. We need to have some order.

The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.