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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was company.

Topics

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I reminded her that Mayor Labeaume needs an answer by December 31 on the multi-purpose arena, the minister responsible for the Quebec region answered, and I quote, “...the federal government also has its own deadlines”. In other words, she reiterated, in an offhand manner, what she had already told Mayor Labeaume, that is, to take it easy because nothing is urgent for her.

Can the minister tell us when she plans to announce the government's contribution to funding for the multi-purpose arena?

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again, the member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord is making false allegations. I have never addressed the mayor of Quebec City in that way.

On the contrary, on October 8, I had a very positive meeting with the mayor of Quebec City, when I advised him that it is vital for the federal government that there be a substantial contribution from the private sector for this project. I am not the only one to have said that. The true leader of the sovereignist movement in Quebec, Pauline Marois, said the same thing.

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister must have a selective memory because that is what she said when discussing the 400th anniversary of Quebec City.

For weeks we have been trying to find out when the Conservatives will make a decision about funding for the Quebec City arena. Mayor Labeaume's deadline is December 31, 2010. If the Conservative government has another deadline, it must say so in order to determine whether Quebec City's Olympic bid will be in jeopardy.

When will we get a real answer? More importantly, when will the government announce that it will provide funding for the construction of a multi-purpose arena in Quebec City?

Quebec City ArenaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we also look forward to seeing what the Bloc Québécois's financial contribution will be. You can buy almost anything in Quebec with “Bloc dollars”, but nothing tangible is ever delivered. Although the Bloc Québécois claims that it supports Quebec interests, that will not put up many walls or fill many seats in an arena.

Foreign TakeoversOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, the NDP welcomes a decision by the government to reject the sale of our potash industry. All too rarely does democracy trump blind market ideology around here with the government. It never did with the previous government, that is for sure. Yesterday, the government listened to the people of Saskatchewan and the majority of Canadians and made the right decision.

My question today is simple. Could the Prime Minister explain what is different about the situation with potash compared to the situations regarding nickel, aluminum, cooper, steel and those takeovers? Why were they approved?

Foreign TakeoversOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the nature of the law here, as I said earlier, is that there is a 30-day period for the company to make further representations to the minister. We are advised that it would be inappropriate in that period of time to explain the reasons for such decisions. However, I can certainly commit to the leader of the NDP and to the House that the government will make clear for the investment community its reasons when the process is concluded.

I also note, in direct answer to his question, that while there have been many other foreign investments made in Canada, this was a rare case where even a large number, if not most, of people in favour of foreign investment opposed this decision.

Foreign TakeoversOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are facing a rather clumsy approach to these issues by the government. I think that is acknowledged.

It is a good decision, but a lot of uncertainty has been created. It is time we cleared some of that up. Business analysts have echoed our call for some repair to the Investment Canada Act. In particular, we need to make it more transparent, and we are debating our proposals in that regard in the House today.

Will the Prime Minister agree that the culture of secrecy associated with this whole process has gone too far? Will he agree to amend the Investment Canada Act to ensure Canadians have a role in making the decisions when it comes to foreign takeovers, particularly of strategic industries?

Foreign TakeoversOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, it is fair to say that while we have received the congratulations from the NDP on this issue, we do have very different views.

Our view is that the Canadian economy does require participation in foreign investment markets in a globalized economy. At the same time, we believe that major investments have to be reviewed to ensure they are in the best interests of our country.

The NDP has a broader opposition to foreign investment in principle, one that we think is out of step with the realities of the global economy.

The leader of the NDP raises questions about the act and whether it should be reviewed. While I do not agree with all things in the NDP motion, the act should be reviewed.

Foreign TakeoversOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry is trying to make us believe that neither the Prime Minister nor the officials responsible for reviewing takeovers made any recommendations in the potash case. It was just the minister and his crystal ball. No one can believe that.

The process must be made public and transparent, so that the public can have a say on the infamous “net benefit”.

Why not change the legislation and support our proposals?

Foreign TakeoversOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to the act, the minister is required to consider all points of view from Canadians and to consider the Canadian economy. That is why he is not allowed to express an opinion before making his decision.

However, as I just said, the minister made a decision that is strongly supported by the Prime Minister, by members of the government, by the members of the Saskatchewan caucus and by the members of the Conservative Party's national caucus.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take advantage of the fact that the Prime Minister is here and that he was standing in order to ask him a question as we try to understand the motivation for appointing Nigel Wright, who is his right-hand man and number two in his office.

Not only does this man intend to do the dirty work because he knows that he will be going back to Onex in 18 months anyway, but he will also be in the middle of it all. He will have privileged information that could help him later in his private interests.

By signing this secret deal with Nigel Wright, has the Prime Minister shown his lack of judgment or does he simply have another agenda?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wright is an intelligent, capable individual who wants to make a contribution to public service. We should welcome people like that who are prepared to put aside their careers and come to Ottawa and serve Canadians. Mr. Wright has sought and followed the direction from the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and will continue to do so.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, Nigel Wright has connections with more than 13 companies and groups: EnSource, Onex, Allison Transmission Inc., Hawker Beechcraft and its ties to Lockheed Martin. Does F-35 ring a bell?

There is potential for conflict of interest with eight departments, including defence, heritage, transport, health and public works. We do not know how he will be used.

Why appoint this individual? I am putting my question to the Prime Minister again. Whose interests are served by this special agreement between him and Nigel Wright? We want to know.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

What Canada needs, Mr. Speaker, is members of Parliament, particularly from the Montreal area, to stand up and support our aerospace industry, to stand up and support one of the most exciting, innovative opportunities for the Montreal economy. Where are Montreal members? Why are they not standing up for the aerospace industry? The member for Bourassa should stand in his place and join the growing number of his Liberal colleagues who are doing the right thing and supporting our armed forces.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, allowing Nigel Wright to keep his interests on Bay Street while he works in the PMO is an obvious conflict of interest. For instance, he will retain his interests in a securities registration company, which connects businesses with the federal government and helps them navigate things like the Bank Act and the securities law. The five-year review of the Bank Act is coming up and Mr. Wright will help design a brand new national securities regulator.

Why can the Prime Minister not recognize the conflict here?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wright will follow all of the high ethical standards that this government introduced in the Federal Accountability Act.

In 1993 where was the member opposite on the first day the government was sworn in? Why did she not demand that Paul Martin relinquish all of his holdings in Canada Steamship Lines? Where was she, as a member of the Liberal caucus, when Belinda Stronach became a minister and still retained all her earnings? Where was she? She was missing in action.

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, for the record, they did.

Cosmetic companies constantly lobby the government about how their products should be regulated. Literally billions of dollars are at stake here. Meanwhile, Nigel Wright is allowed to keep his stake in a cosmetics company. Worse, he is allowed to be lobbied on the file to help amend those very regulations.

Junior ministerial staff require a brief cooling off period when they leave their jobs, but Mr. Wright can go back to his job in the time it takes him to fly to Toronto. Why does the Prime Minister allow this double standard?

Office of the Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has been very vigilant on these issues. Mr. Wright is working with her and will continue to follow her guidance. She is independent and has the independence to do her job properly.

Let me say what people in Vancouver need. They need someone to stand up for $500 million of investment in Avcorp, an aviation company. Where is the member opposite? Why will she not stand up for $500 million of investment in the city of Vancouver?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

November 4th, 2010 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has again told us that talks about the $2.2 billion he owes the Government of Quebec for tax harmonization are progressing.

I would like to believe that talks are progressing, but Quebec harmonized its sales tax 18 years ago.

What is going on? What is progressing? What is holding things up? When will we find out who is ragging the puck? Eighteen years is too long. Get it done.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, discussions with Quebec's finance minister are ongoing. We have made progress, but there are still a number of important issues to deal with, including true harmonization of the two taxes, the federal sales tax and the provincial sales tax.

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, this has been going on for 18 years. It is time to get on with things.

The government has all kinds of excuses to delay paying Quebec $2.2 billion. The minister even attacked Quebec's fiscal autonomy by challenging the way the two harmonized taxes are collected.

Can the minister at least confirm that he is dropping this ridiculous condition and that he does not intend to collect harmonized taxes? That is Quebec's job and one it does very well.

Can he tell us that at least?

Sales Tax HarmonizationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the goal is to have a true harmonization of the taxes, if there is to be harmonization at all. We have been discussing four or five variables, a couple of which we have been able to reach agreement on. This past week, I spoke with the minister about it. But there are still some obstacles, and we are working on them.

HydroelectricityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance hides behind a crown corporation when anyone asks if the government plans to help fund an underwater cable that would allow Newfoundland and Labrador to bypass Quebec and export its electricity directly to the United States. Given that it is the federal government that finances and appoints administrators to PPP Canada, the minister cannot evade the issue so easily.

Will the minister ensure that Quebeckers' money is not used to compete unfairly with Quebec?

HydroelectricityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, PPP Canada Inc. is a crown corporation. It has a strong board of directors, and the board has strong representation from Quebec. I am confident that its decision-making process will be fair and reasonable, taking into account all variables.

HydroelectricityOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is hiding behind PPP Canada to conceal the federal government's intentions. The government wants to accommodate Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia in order to bypass Quebec. Otherwise, it would have already said no to that request.

How can the minister justify such an accommodation when he did not pay a single cent to help develop Quebec's hydroelectric infrastructure?

How can he justify such a double standard?