March 15, 1974

PRIVILEGE

MR. STANFIELD-ENERGY EXPORT TAX PROCEEDS AND EQUALIZATION-POSITION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE

PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege arising from a report in today's Globe and Mail which states, among other things:

Mr. Stanfield said Mr. Turner had promised the House and him privately that equalization would be paid on the export tax revenues in order to obtain Conservative support for the export tax bill passed in early January.

There was never any question of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner) making me or the House a promise to pay equalization. That is not the point. The point is that the minister said in the House on January 4 that equalization had to be paid. He referred to the transfer of the money, that is, 50 per cent of the proceeds from the export tax to be received by the producing provinces for October, November, December and January, and said:

-As a result of the transfer of that money, those revenues will qualify under the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act as shared revenues and the bill to the Canadian taxpayer under the heading of equalization will be in the nature of $25 million.

This is not a question of the Minister of Finance making any promise to me; it is a question of a statement made in the House and to me regarding the basis on which, in respect of the bill before the House, we should consider whether or not to give the unanimous consent that he required in order that it could be considered and passed.

The minister emphasized to me in those early days of January, as he did in the House, the importance of the federal government going to the then upcoming federal-provincial energy conference with a free hand to negotiate at that conference, and that if the federal government were to continue the commitment it had made in respect of the export tax for the first four months, with all that money going either directly or indirectly to the producing provinces, the federal government would be faced with very large equalization payments for the months of February and March because of the very large jump in the size of the export tax. Under existing law very large sums would have to be paid out of the federal treasury and, therefore, financed by the federal taxpayers unless some agreement to the contrary could be negotiated at the then forthcoming conference.

The Minister of Finance took the position with me that he could not put the federal government in the position of having to make large equalization payments in respect of the months of February and March and therefore could not commit himself to earmarking the entire 100 per cent of the proceeds from the export tax for February and

March for the oil producing provinces. The minister emphasized that he must have half the proceeds from the tax for the months of February and March in the federal treasury without strings because of these equalization requirements and also because of the money that might be required in terms of price cushioning in the eastern provinces. I thought the minister's position and his request, in terms of the equalization provisions and price cushioning, were reasonable and that he should be given unanimous consent on the basis of 50 per cent of the proceeds from the export tax for February and March going into the federal treasury without strings. We gave that consent.

Since then the federal government has changed its position with regard to the receipts by the producing provinces from the export tax being subject to equalization. The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) stated in the House last week that the government's position is that these receipts by the oil producing provinces are not subject to equalization. Recently the Minister of Finance denied in the House that he ever said they were subject to equalization.

In view of the change in the position of the government, I believe that both the House and myself are entitled to some explanation in view of the fact that the House and myself were invited to take a position on the basis of certain statements in this regard by the Minister of Finance which has since been completely reversed. The newspaper this morning mentions a document, supposedly a confidential document, from the Deputy Minister of Finance which, if it is genuine, seems to confirm that the position of the Minister of Finance and of the government in January was that these portions of the receipts from the export tax received by the producing provinces were subject to equalization.

I want to say two things, in fairness to the Minister of Finance. The first is that he now seems to admit, on the basis of what I also read in the press, that he did say what he said in fact in the House on January 4 of this year, that is, that the payments received by the provinces for the months of October, November, December and January were subject to equalization and that this would cost the federal government $25 million. The minister now seems to admit that he did say that and that it was not a conditional statement on his part. I want also to say that the minister, since our exchange the other day, indicated to me that he wanted to see me personally and discuss this matter. He tried to see me yesterday without success because of my own commitments. However, I believe that not only am I but the House is also entitled to an explanation, in view of the representations made in the House in the course of a debate on a bill and the representations made to me in the course of negotiations leading to unanimous consent, of why the position stated by the govern-

March 15, 1974

Performing Arts Grants

ment in January has been abandoned without the slightest explanation in the House.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STANFIELD-ENERGY EXPORT TAX PROCEEDS AND EQUALIZATION-POSITION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Shame!

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STANFIELD-ENERGY EXPORT TAX PROCEEDS AND EQUALIZATION-POSITION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STANFIELD-ENERGY EXPORT TAX PROCEEDS AND EQUALIZATION-POSITION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

It is not a question of the government having promised anything to the House with regard to the equalization matter or having promised anything to me. It is a matter of statements made.

I must say I am disappointed in the Minister of Finance. I am disappointed in the government. I hope the government and the Minister of Finance will make a full statement to the House at the earliest possible opportunity explaining why the government changed its position and at least offer the House some apology for making representations to the House which were asserted early in January and in respect of which the position has since been completely changed.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STANFIELD-ENERGY EXPORT TAX PROCEEDS AND EQUALIZATION-POSITION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STANFIELD-ENERGY EXPORT TAX PROCEEDS AND EQUALIZATION-POSITION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STANFIELD-ENERGY EXPORT TAX PROCEEDS AND EQUALIZATION-POSITION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. Perhaps the Chair will allow the Prime Minister to reply to the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition on a question of privilege. I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition does not want me to rule whether there is privilege in the sense that the matter might be referred to a committee. I would be inclined, of course, not to make a ruling because there is no motion suggested or remedy proposed. Normally in such circumstances the minister or member whose conduct is referred to in a statement based on privilege is allowed to reply. The minister is not here at this time. I am not sure whether it might not be better to allow the minister to reply on some other occasion. The right hon. Prime Minister indicated he wanted to reply on behalf of the government. I take it that it is not only the minister but the government that is impugned or referred to in the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps it might be better to allow the matter to rest for the time being.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STANFIELD-ENERGY EXPORT TAX PROCEEDS AND EQUALIZATION-POSITION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PERFORMING ARTS

ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS

LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. James Hugh Faulkner (Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, the federal government's programs to encourage the arts during the past few years have had a profound effect on the cultural life of the country. This has manifested itself through the burgeoning demand of Canadians for access to the work and performances of our artists in all sectors of our cultural life. Nowhere has this demand been more acutely felt than in the area of the performing arts. As a result, many of our performing arts organizations are faced with the problem of expanding their facilities to meet this demand.

I am pleased, therefore, to announce that a program of capital assistance has been established to enable the gov-

ernment to act on some of the more pressing applications for capital grants. The first grants will go to the Centaur Theatre in Montreal, which will receive $350,000; the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, which will receive $300,000; and the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, which will receive $1 million.

Topic:   PERFORMING ARTS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS
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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PERFORMING ARTS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS
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LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Faulkner:

The federal contribution to the cost of renovating the Orpheum Theatre, the new home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, will be paid over three years beginning in 1975. At the same time, I would like to announce a grant of $1 million toward building a new home for the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. These funds will be paid in 1975-1976 and 1976-1977.

The basic criteria for this new capital assistance program will be as follows: first, the grants will be available for well established organizations whose artistic and managerial competence has been proven. Second, there will have to be evidence of the organization's ability to meet the operational costs connected with a new or improved facility. Third, careful consideration will be given to the impact that any expansion program is likely to have on the situation of other artistic groups and facilities, to its over-all usefulness and to its relevance to the performing arts in Canada. Fourth, there will have to be adequate financial partnership among federal, provincial, municipal and private sources.

Over the years, the government's investment in the development of the arts in Canada has paid excellent returns. The benefits to the people of Canada far outweigh the dollars spent. I am confident that these measures I have announced today will result in further development of our national artistic life, as well as in greater access to the performing arts for all Canadians.

Topic:   PERFORMING ARTS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS
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PC

William Heward Grafftey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Heward Grafftey (Brome-Missisquoi):

Mr. Speaker, we members of the Official Opposition support in principle the statement made by the minister. I am also sure that the minister will understand our satisfaction that this statement was made today in the House of Commons. I sincerely hope that the minister made this announcement today about these grants only after close consultation and co-operation with the associations and people concerned.

With regard to the grant to the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, I certainly know how much members of the Official Opposition from British Columbia have worked toward this end, as did the hon. member for Edmonton Centre.

Topic:   PERFORMING ARTS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS
Permalink
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Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   PERFORMING ARTS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS
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PC

William Heward Grafftey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Grafftey:

Just look at their mail.

Topic:   PERFORMING ARTS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS
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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PERFORMING ARTS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS
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PC

William Heward Grafftey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Grafftey:

There is one thing I would like to mention in terms of the criteria outlined to the House by the minister this morning, and I am not saying it too critically.

March 15, 1974

The minister mentioned that this kind of subvention-I am not confusing it with the Canada Council per se-is going only to theatre groups, performing arts groups that have already established their viability and ability to carry on. I understand it in this context, but in terms of cultural assistance in general, which does include the Canada Council, I think that too often we pay attention to groups already under way. I think the minister and his officials could do a better job in discovering struggling artists who are excellent and need help. This has been a problem over the years in regard to government assistance to the arts, and I would like to emphasize it again today.

I would also like to draw the attention of the House to the Speech from the Throne in which the government announced its intention to make many changes in council assistance to science, the humanities and the arts. I am sure this will affect the minister's department and the Canada Council. We are very concerned, whether it be artistic or cultural assistance or assistance to the humanities, that this be done in close consultation with all members of the House. Apart from that, we certainly welcome this announcement by the minister today and congratulate him on it.

Topic:   PERFORMING ARTS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS
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NDP

Mark Willson Rose

New Democratic Party

Mr. Mark Rose (Fraser Valley West):

Mr. Speaker, like the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi (Mr. Grafftey), on behalf of my party I would like to welcome the announcement of the Secretary of State (Mr. Faulkner) today on the new capital assistance program. I know that this is going to be welcome news to the many members of the House from British Columbia who belong to my party, and who have also worked diligently on this matter.

Topic:   PERFORMING ARTS
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROGRAM OF CAPITAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS
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March 15, 1974