March 23, 2005

Hansard Question Period - March 21/05 -- Air-India, Sponsorship Program, RCMP, Justice & Taxation

All the following is from Hansard Question Period - March 21/05

I have included subheadings which are listed below so that you may quickly search for what interests you.

* Air-India: Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

* Sponsorship Program: Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC) & Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC) & Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ) & Mr. Michel Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, BQ) & Mr. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)

* Air-India: Mr. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Sponsorship Program: Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC) & Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC)

* Sponsorship Program: Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC) Air-India: Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East, CPC)

* Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, CPC)

* Justice: Ms. Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, CPC)

* Taxation: Ms. Johanne Deschamps (Laurentides—Labelle, BQ)



Hansard QP - March 21/05 -- Air-India

Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago 331 Canadians lost their lives when an Air-India plane was bombed by terrorists. Serious questions have always been raised about the investigation. Last week's court decision may mean that justice may never be done.

Should that be the case, is the government prepared to commit to a full public inquiry so the families of the Air-India tragedy will get the justice and some of the answers they deserve?


Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think I speak on behalf of everyone in this House when I say that on behalf of all Canadians
we extend our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of the Air-India terrorist incident.

Many lessons can be learned from that terrible tragedy. One is of course that Canada and Canadians are not immune from the horror that is the modern face of terrorism.

In the 20 years since, I think we have learned a lot. In fact, we only have to look at the way the government today works with agencies like CSIS and the RCMP to try and protect the collective security of Canadians.


Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Canadians are entitled to more than kind sentiments. They are entitled to some answers and some action.

These families deserve better than a bit of dithering. For 20 years they have been waiting for closure. They have been denied justice.

I want the government to commit unequivocally, clearly and without hesitation that if there is no successful prosecution there will be a full public inquiry.



Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is not clear 20 years later how much can be learned from an inquiry. I think we need to
focus on the considerable process that has taken place in the past 20 years.

We should not forget that there has been a government report on aviation security. We now have new airport safety initiatives. There has been the settlement of a civil suit. There has been a SIRC review of the conduct and actions of CSIS. There has been the conviction of Inderjit Singh Reyat and obviously--


The Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition. [saved again by the Speaker]

* * *

Hansard QP - March 21/05 -- Sponsorship Program


Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would leave it to the families to worry about whether they will not get answers from an inquiry. I think the government is worried that we will get answers from an inquiry.

[Translation]

Changing subjects, the testimony before the Gomery commission is proving what we have known for a long time. The taxpayers' money ended up in the pockets of the Liberal Party and its organizers. Now the government is claiming to be going after the agencies for the highjacked funds, but it is not going after the Liberal Party to get back the dirty money.

Why has the government not taken action against the Liberal Party of Canada?


(1420)

[English]


Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the fact is that 10 days ago the government launched action seeking recovery of funds for $41 million.

When we did that, let us be clear, the Leader of the Opposition attacked the government. The leader of the Conservative Party pretends to stand up for justice and for the taxpayer but when the government launches action to stand up for justice and for the taxpayer, the leader of the Conservative Party attacks the government. [What do you think of that answer? ]

He cannot have it both ways. Unless he is the patron saint of hypocrisy, he should support the government's efforts to seek cost recovery and to do the right thing on behalf of Canadians.


Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's favourite shield has no credibility on this or anything else.

Last week Canadians heard that Liberal friendly ad firm Groupaction had funneled $20,000 to the Liberal Party through a personal company of an employee. Now this sneaky Liberal Groupaction was deliberately meant to cover the tracks of this scheme.

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport both said that all dirty money would be immediately returned. It is now clear that the Liberal Party did receive dirty money. Eleven advertising agencies are being sued by the federal government.

When, on behalf of taxpayers, will the government sue the Liberal Party of Canada to recover this dirty money?



Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, with questions like that I am surprised that his leader does not kick the chair right out from under him.

The transport minister, the Prime Minister and the government have been absolutely clear that if any funds are found to have been partisan funds that were reached through ill-gotten activities we will be returning those funds to the government.

However we must allow Justice Gomery to do his work. Beyond that, we also must ensure that current legal actions are concluded appropriately so that we act with the facts fully in hand.


Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the only thing the minister knows about is musical chairs.


In addition to the camouflaging of dirty donations, a $50,000 slush fund was created and hidden by Groupaction. The secret slush fund was used to pay political assistants and make contributions to Liberal campaigns, including that of the Prime Minister. Top Liberal organizer, Jacques Corriveau, was paid about $5 million in sponsorship subcontracts as part of a series of Groupaction transactions.

The evidence mounts daily at the Gomery commission that the Liberal Party received kickbacks from ad agencies involved in the sponsorship program.

I ask again, when will the government show some guts and start a government action to recover the money from the Liberal Party of Canada?

Hon. Scott Brison
(Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government and the Prime Minister have already demonstrated guts by establishing the Gomery commission, by cooperating fully with Justice Gomery's work, by providing the information required so that Justice Gomery can continue his work and by providing adequate funding so that Justice Gomery can do his work.


We are not afraid of the truth. In fact, we are working with Justice Gomery and supporting Justice Gomery in his work because we do have the guts to do the right thing. However we will not be able to take the kind of action to which the hon. member is referring until Justice Gomery has completed his work.

[Translation]


Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, every day, more is coming out in the Gomery commission about how much the Liberals profited from the dirty sponsorship money. Yet
the Liberal Party is still refusing to pay back the public funds that have ended up in the Liberal Party coffers or the pockets of the Liberal organizers.

Will the Prime Minister take the necessary steps to recover the dirty sponsorship money? These are public funds and must go back to the public treasury.


Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government has made itself clear. If party funds are found to have been given to individuals or agencies involved in activities of this type, the government will be reimbursed without fail.

[English]

It will not be possible for us to take that kind of action unless we
allow Justice Gomery to complete his work and unless we allow the current legal actions to conclude appropriately, such that we can act knowing full well the truth and can act based on that solid evidence of the truth, instead of acting on the shifting sands of daily testimony as the opposition is wont to do.

(1425)

[Translation]


Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the agencies got too much money for the work they did, or did not do. It is so obvious that the government has decided to take action against them without waiting for the Gomery commission to end. There is equally clear evidence as far as the Liberal Party's dirty money is concerned, but the government is insisting on waiting until the end of the inquiry.

The Prime Minister has made the commitment that everyone involved in the scandal will face the consequences of their actions. How then does he explain his government's continued refusal to require the Liberal Party to pay back the public funds, give back the dirty money?

[English]


Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government has launched legal action. That legal action has commenced but has not concluded. Until it goes through the full course of the law we will not have the result. We will not know the result
until the courts make their final decisions.

We cannot act unilaterally without respecting the independence of the judicial system.

[Translation]


Mr. Michel Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Gomery commission has revealed how the sponsorship scandal encouraged the payment of $70,000 by Jean Brault of Groupaction to Liberal Party organizers and the Liberal Party itself.

Will the Prime Minister admit that it is his responsibility to ensure the government takes immediate steps to recover the sponsorship money paid to the Liberal Party of Canada?

[English]

Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister, the transport minister and the government have been completely clear that if partisan funds were received from firms or individuals implicated in these affairs, that those funds will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer.

The only reason that hon. member or others can comment on daily testimony at the Gomery inquiry is that our Prime Minister had the guts to do the right thing and to take a real risk to get to the bottom of this issue for the benefit of all Canadians. They should be commending our Prime Minister and not attacking him for that.

[Translation]

Mr. Michel Guimond (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, BQ): Mr. Speaker, that is a double standard. When the government was informed that too much money had been paid to the advertising agencies, it began legal proceedings to recover the money.

In the case of sponsorship money paid to the Liberal Party, what the Minister of Transport called “dirty money”, the Prime Minister should act promptly.

Does he realize that, if he does not act right away, he will be guilty of conflict of interest, since everyone will understand that the decision has been made by the leader of the Liberal Party rather than the leader of the government?


[English]

Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, once again, the government has launched action to go after $41 million of funds. That action has not concluded. Until we allow the justice system to do its work, and for the due court system to be concluded appropriately, we will not have the evidence required to move forward on further actions.

Let me be clear. The government has been totally up front on this. We will act appropriately when we have all the facts. However, we cannot act without the facts. We cannot act on the shifting sands of daily testimony, as the hon. member and the members opposite are doing.

[Translation]

Mr. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question concerns the dirty sponsorship money, because that dirty money is now in the pockets of the Liberal Party of Canada. Last week a direct link to the Liberal Party was established.

Since there is enough evidence to launch proceedings against individuals, businesses and agencies, when will the government take the Liberal Party to court?

[English]

Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government, in the very beginning of this whole issue, established that Mr. Gauthier would do the work on cost recovery. That would operate as a parallel process alongside the establishment of Justice Gomery's work. This is not a surprise.

We have been clear, open and transparent in this process. We will continue to be because we are standing up for the taxpayer. We are doing the right thing on behalf of all Canadians by going after the truth and by going after these funds.

* * *

(1430)

Hansard QP - March 21/05 -- Air-India

Mr. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, if the government has enough facts to pursue the money through the courts when it comes to private corporations, private individuals and agencies, then it has enough facts to pursue the Liberal Party of Canada in the courts and it is time we got on with it.

To hear the hon. member speak of openness and transparency, it is absolutely vital that we have an open and transparent process to find out what happened in the Air-India crash. The families have a right to know. The communities have a right to know.

If we take a look at what the government is doing with the Maher Arar inquiry, we see black-lined documents and that is about it. We are getting blocked at every step of the way.

Will the government ensure an open and transparent process to get to the bottom of the crisis that is the Air-India crash?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I have said, obviously the Air-India situation is a horrible example of the modern face of terrorism. In fact, my officials and I have offered to meet with the families to talk about the questions that may remain unanswered.

We need to take the opportunity to review the processes that have been in place, the answers that have been provided, determine the questions that remain to be answered, and then think about the best way by which we can go--

The Speaker: The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

[Note, Minister McLellan has been saved by the Speaker, again.]


* * *

[Translation]

Hansard QP - March 21/05 -- Sponsorship Program

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC): Mr. Speaker, during the last three elections, Liberal ministers in this House accepted funds, materials and hirelings paid for by sponsorships. The Minister of Public Works and Government Services is turning honest people into cynics. With the help of a lawyer, Mr. Gauthier, who has earned over $1 million in the past year, the minister continues to try to cover his tracks.

When will the government demand that those who accepted this dirty money pay it back to the Canadian taxpayers?


[English]

Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, once again, the government has been clear that when we have all the facts, when Justice Gomery has concluded his work, and when legal action has been concluded, it will act. Any funds that were retrieved for partisan purposes from any firms or individuals implicated will be returned. We are a government, not a judge and jury. We are just the government. However, we respect the independence of a judicial inquiry and we want it to complete its work.

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC): Mr. Speaker, this minister talks of running a parallel system. He seems to be living in a parallel universe.

The Prime Minister promised that all ad scam information would be made public. Yet, while lawyers for Liberal-friendly ad firms are trying to have a publication ban on testimony by Jean Brault, Chuck Guité and Paul Coffin, there is a deafening silence from government lawyers. Canadians expect openness and transparency.

Will the government intervene to fight the publication ban or will it continue to run interference for the Liberal Party?

Hon. Scott Brison
(Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, clearly public interest in the activities of the commission must be balanced with the right of applicants to a fair trial. If Justice Gomery decides there ought to be a publication ban, we would argue that it should be limited in scope, so that at most the public's access to the testimony would only be delayed.

The fact is there are basic charter rights that guarantee the rights of individuals to a fair trial. This party is clear. We stand up for the charter of rights. At its convention that party wore pins that said “Its the stupid charter”. That is what those members think of the charter of rights.

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the ugly truth about Liberal Party theft from Canadian taxpayers is finally coming out.

A year ago the Prime Minister promised that voters would have these facts before an election. He broke that promise and hid the organized money laundering that kicked back millions of public dollars into Liberal hands, including his own closest supporters. The Prime Minister told voters his competition had a hidden agenda. It turns out that the Liberals were the ones really hiding something.

How can the Prime Minister explain this betrayal?


Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a good thing the hon. member opposite is using the immunity of the House to protect herself in making those kinds of outrageous statements. If she, as a lawyer, were to make those kinds of statements in a courtroom without evidence, based solely on testimony before an inquiry on a daily basis, she would probably be disbarred.

She should be ashamed of herself, by dragging reputations through the mud here on the floor of the House of Commons without any firm evidence upon which to make those allegations.

(1435)

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, that was a good try.

Testimony since the election has revealed a trail of taxpayer money that leads directly to the Liberal Party. No one believes the Prime Minister, at the time finance minister, vice-chair of the Treasury Board, and political minister for Quebec, could have had no clue that this was going on. If he did not, he is too dim to be Prime Minister.

Lately, he has done a lot of unconvincing huffing and puffing about promises kept. He promised Canadians the truth before the election. Why did he break that promise?


Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what we see here is a really unfortunate course of conduct from that hon. member. Her stock and trade is character assassination. My colleague, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, is right. She would not dare step outside and say what she said in her first question. She should be ashamed of herself.

* * *

[Translation]

* * *

Hansard QP - March 21/05 -- Sponsorship Program

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Liberals would really like to keep it hidden that they have stolen money from Canadian taxpayers.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Speaker: The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill knows that she cannot suggest that any hon. members of the House have committed an offence. It appears that is what she was saying in her question. She skirted close to it the first time, but we will not have it. She said the Liberals, and we will not have that.

If the hon. member wishes to ask a question, that is fine, but she will go straight to the question and skip the preambles if they contain words that are out of order.

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the question is very simple. If the Liberal Party did not steal money from Canadian taxpayers, why is the government launching a lawsuit to recover it?

Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government is
launching a lawsuit to go after recovery of funds from some of these firms and individuals. That lawsuit has not concluded and will not be concluded until it goes through the appropriate legal process. That will be the time when we have the facts we need to pursue any other course of action.

What is really interesting is that the leader of the Conservative Party has said repeatedly that he believes that individuals have lied before Justice Gomery's commission. Yet, individuals in his own party are basing their entire line of questioning on that individual testimony. They cannot have it both ways.
The Leader of the Opposition said that--

The Speaker: The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill.

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Liberals cannot have it both ways. Either money was stolen and they have launched lawsuits to recover it, or it was not. Which one is it? Why are they launching lawsuits if no money has gone missing?

Hon. Scott Brison
(Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member took a little time to read the Auditor General's report that started this entire process she would realize that of course there were issues here. That is why the Prime Minister established Justice Gomery to do his work. That is why we asked Mr. Gauthier to recommend action on financial recovery. That is why we are taking that action in order to achieve that financial recovery despite the opposition from the Conservative Party that opposes the government's efforts to stand up for the Canadian taxpayer and to stand up for justice for all Canadians.

[Scott's nose must have grown longer with that last sentence. NJC]

* * *

Hansard QP - March 21/05 -- Air-India

Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East, CPC): Mr. Speaker, for 20 years Canadians have lived with sadness, anger and disgust at the way the biggest terrorist act in Canadian history has been handled.

Increasing numbers of Canadians are outraged at the way this whole affair has been handled by all involved, including this Liberal government. The Liberal government needs to stop appeasing the fundamentalists. The need to get to the truth is a must. The government must call for a public inquiry if an appeal is not forthcoming. Yes or no?

Hon. Anne McLellan
(Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, I think everyone acknowledges the horror of this particular event and in fact I think it is important at this point that we do take stock of where we are.

There have been a number of proceedings in relation to this matter. There is an ongoing criminal investigation. I have indicated that I am more than willing to sit down and meet with representatives of the families to determine questions that remain unanswered and the best way in which--

The Speaker:
The hon. member for Calgary East.

[Min. McLellan saved by the Speaker, again. Does anyone think the families want to "talk" with the Minister? They want justice.]

Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I will tell the Deputy Prime Minister that she is giving the impression that this government does not care for the lives lost in the Air-India disaster. If this government does not want to shed tears over this tragedy then it does not have to, but for God's sake and for the sake of victims, I say
please have a public inquiry. Yes or no?

(1445)

Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think it is very sad that the hon. member would appear to turn this into a partisan issue. As I have said, what is important here is that we determine the questions that remain unanswered and in fact what process, if any, would be the best in terms of providing us answers to any of those unanswered questions.
I will sit down with the families. My government officials will sit down with the families. We will try to identify those questions and then work to--

The Speaker: The hon. member for Thornhill.

[Saved by the Speaker, again.]

* * *

Hansard QP - March 21/05 -- Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we recently said goodbye to four fallen RCMP officers in my riding. The killer had a history of violence, intimidation and skirting the criminal justice system.

The victims' families, the killer's brother and all Canadians are saying enough is enough. Hardened criminals should do hard time and we want real action
to prevent further tragedies. Will this government agree to mandatory minimum prison sentences for serious violent crimes so that these officers' deaths will not be vain?

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, those who have looked into this tragedy have suggested that we should not draw any inferences on any specific policy like mandatory minimums in that regard. All the studies regarding mandatory minimums have shown that mandatory minimums are neither effective nor a deterrent. We are prepared to explore anything that will assist, but not that.

Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Canadians want criminals to do real time. That is why it is called a criminal justice system.

We have confidential information about a plan to cut over 200 members of the RCMP from the national force.
This is not the response that the families or Canadians were looking for. What twisted logic would lead a government to cut RCMP officers just after these deaths?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in fact,
the force is increasing in size. It has seen a significant infusion of new dollars over this past number of years. We are training more young brave RCMP officers all the time at RCMP Depot in Regina.

In fact, if I have not received it already, I think I am going to receive a formal request from the Solicitor General of Alberta to increase the force by over 100 new members in Alberta alone.

Honestly, I do not know where the member gets his information from.

* * *

Hansard QP - March 21/05 -- Justice

Ms. Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, CPC): Mr. Speaker, President Bush's drug czar, John Walters, recently said that drug trafficking from Canada is a significant problem and is getting worse. U.S. officials have warned the government to expect further delays at the border if it decriminalizes marijuana. The U.S. considers the flow of marijuana from Canada to be a national security threat.

When the Prime Minister meets President Bush on Wednesday, how will he address the billions of dollars of marijuana flowing across the border into the U.S. and will he protect Canadian economic interests and jobs?


Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister will reiterate what American officials have themselves said, that there has been
exemplary cooperation in the matter of cross-border law enforcement and that with respect to the cross-border flow, the incidents of marijuana in the United States in terms of U.S. produced marijuana is less than 2% of all the marijuana produced in the United States.

Ms. Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the protection of our sovereignty means the protection of Canadian jobs. Border delays already cost Canadian businesses billions of dollars a year. Canadian businesses do not want to hear from the justice minister. They want to hear from the Prime Minister.

Does the Prime Minister recognize and acknowledge the linkage between illicit grow ops proliferating across our nation and the potential for more costly border delays?

Hon. Anne McLellan
(Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister and everybody on this side acknowledges is that we are working with the United States, our largest trading partner and best friend. We are working with the U.S. to facilitate the movement of low risk goods and low risk people across our borders and to work together to identify that small number of high risk goods and high risk people who might cause a threat to the collective security of either Canadians or our allies, the Americans. That is what this government is doing.

* * *

[Translation]

Hansard QP - March 21/05 -- Taxation

Ms. Johanne Deschamps (Laurentides—Labelle, BQ): Mr. Speaker, last week, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian investment in tax havens increased from $11 billion to $88 billion in 13 years. The Auditor General has already denounced the use of these tax loopholes that erode the government tax base a little more each day.

Since Canadian investment in tax havens has increased eightfold since 1990, why is the government refusing to put an immediate end to this tax evasion?
Is it because the Prime Minister himself is very—

The Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. The hon. Minister of Finance.

[Saved by the Speaker, again.]

[English]

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, explicitly the answer to the question is
no, that is not the reason. This issue is a challenge for all developed countries. Similar trends to the ones identified by Statistics Canada in fact are observed in the United States and in the United Kingdom. It is one of the unfortunate trends that comes with globalization.

We need a concerted international effort to deal with this. That is why the Government of Canada has raised this issue at the G-7, the G-8 and in a number of international forums, to make sure we can have a coordinated international approach.

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