February 28, 1978

LIB

Jean-Jacques Blais (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Blais:

Mr. Speaker, I would be very surprised indeed if there were any unfairness in the investigation being conducted by the RCMP. As the hon. member knows, offshore the RCMP is rather limited in its operations, because we are not engaged in offensive investigations or intelligence-gathering. In this particular instance, we have to rely in large measure on the co-operation of foreign agencies.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   SALE OF CANDU REACTORS-RCMP INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE ILLEGALITIES
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PC

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alexander:

A final supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. I mentioned the name of Dr. Marvulli. Would the minister keep that name in mind? Also, would he approach his depart-

Oral Questions

mental officials and, in particular, the RCMP to determine whether there is any truth in the allegation about the fairness of the investigation which apparently, according to reports, leaves something to be desired?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   SALE OF CANDU REACTORS-RCMP INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE ILLEGALITIES
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LIB

Jean-Jacques Blais (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Blais:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I would encourage the hon. gentleman to give particulars of the information he is advancing, which he will recognize is of a very general nature indeed.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   SALE OF CANDU REACTORS-RCMP INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE ILLEGALITIES
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INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING

NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the right hon. Prime Minister because it concerns over-all government policy rather than that of a single department. I refer to the fact that as a result of the government allowing the price of oil to be raised on January 1, the price of gasoline for cars and trucks, the price of home heating fuel and the price of natural gas will go up tomorrow. It is estimated this will increase the cost of living index by a full percentage point, and it is already more than 50 per cent higher than the 6 per cent increase forecast by the Minister of Finance.

I ask the Prime Minister, therefore, if he is sufficiently interested in keeping down the cost of living and relieving the hardship which its increase will involve, to rescind the increase in the price of oil and leave the price where it was.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister):

Of course, Mr. Speaker, we are interested in keeping the cost of living down, particularly in energy areas. The hon. gentleman certainly remembers that right after the OPEC decision in the fall of 1973, this government acted, and has continued to act, to ensure that the price of energy-of gas and oil-in Canada would be below the world market price. We have all said at some point that if we wanted investment to continue, as well as exploration, we would have to trend toward world prices. But for four years we have been below world prices, and we will continue for another short period of time to be below the price in world markets.

Therefore, the effect on the cost of living of the OPEC nations' decision has not yet been fully borne by the Canadian consumer. This seems to be an element that the hon. gentleman always forgets when he talks about the actions of the federal government. The action taken by the federal government has not been to increase the price of petroleum; it has been to keep it below world prices.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is this: In view of the fact that a very large part of the petroleum products we consume is produced in this country and not bought from OPEC countries, we have the opportunity to keep prices at a much lower level than they have been kept. I ask the Prime Minister if he

February 28, 1978

Oral Questions

is aware of the fact that the research which has been done by federal and provincial officers has indicated that this increase alone will place between 30,000 and 35,000 jobs in jeopardy. Also, in view of the fact that circumstances have changed since the government embarked upon a policy of allowing the price to rise toward the world level, is this not the time, in order to cope with inflation and unemployment, to confine this increase to the point it had reached prior to January 1 ?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker, of course, some of the petroleum we consume in Canada is produced in Canada. But the hon. gentleman knows that we have to import a sizable and growing quantity of petroleum. This is paid for at world prices. It is because the government has been bringing in external petroleum and has been subsidizing the consumer that Canadians have been able to purchase energy at lower than world prices. This is something the hon. gentleman understands perfectly.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
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?

An hon. Member:

All oil?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Well "all oil" is pretty well all, Mr. Speaker. But the policy is well known to the Canadian people. They know they have benefited for four years from lower prices than world prices, in spite of the fact that we have had to import increasing quantities of oil from overseas. They have been subsidized to the tune of a few billion dollars by now, and Canadian consumers and producers have benefited from that action of the federal government.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is directed to the Prime Minister. The fact is that the government has not subsidized the consumer, but the consumer has subsidized it by paying a ten cents a gallon gasoline tax, and the export levy on oil sold outside Canada has enabled us to level out the price in Canada. Also, the fact is that the Canadian consumer now is being charged four times as much for oil as he was being charged five years ago, and the main beneficiaries have been the oil companies. The government's own report shows that over 50 per cent-

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
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LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. If the hon. member has a supplementary question, would he put it forthwith, please?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

Over 50 per cent of the oil companies' cash flow is represented by after-tax profits. I ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of that, he will at least insist that any increase in the price of oil be put into some type of fund to pay for exploration, rather than going into pockets of the oil industry which has resulted in the biggest rip-off in the history of Canada.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker, that may be an argument, but it is based on erroneous facts. The first thing is that the export tax is not sufficient to pay the subsidy for the five eastern provinces who rely on imported oil. That is why we have had to charge all consumers the extra ten cents a gallon. It is in order to make up for the deficiency in the export tax. Second, the hon. member is quite wrong when he says the money coming

from the windfall benefits resulting from the actions of the OPEC nations has gone just to the oil corporations. It has gone in part, through increased taxes, to the federal government: but it has gone in large part to the Conservative treasury of Alberta and the socialist treasury of Saskatchewan. The hon. member knows that.

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Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF OIL-EFFECT ON COST OF LIVING
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ESTIMATES

PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Marcel Lambert (Edmonton West):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of Privy Council. Has the minister initiated any conferences with House leaders concerning the allocation of the estimates tabled last Wednesday, so that House committees can start work? The rules provide that the estimates shall stand referred to the various committees, without debate, upon allocation after consultation among the House leaders. Has the minister held those conversations, and can he tell us when the estimates will be referred to the committees, because at the moment they are standing still doing nothing-like this government?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ESTIMATES
Sub-subtopic:   DATE OF REFERENCE TO COMMITTEES
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Deputy Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Allan J. MacEachen (Deputy Prime Minister and President of Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, the motion to refer the estimates will be made tomorrow.

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Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   ESTIMATES
Sub-subtopic:   DATE OF REFERENCE TO COMMITTEES
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CONTROL OVER AECL IN INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS

PC

William Hillary (Bill) Clarke

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Clarke (Vancouver Quadra):

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. Since the public accounts committee report, tabled yesterday, on the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited matter states that the chairman, Ross Campbell, failed in his renegotiation of the Eisenberg agency agreement in that he failed to obain an accounting of legitimate costs, and that he committed AECL to an exclusive agency agreement with Eisenberg for a second sale to Korea at an undetermined fee, what steps has the government taken to discipline Mr. Campbell or to ensure that he is kept under proper control in dealings where he might make costly or inappropriate arrangements on account of the taxpayers of Canada9

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   CONTROL OVER AECL IN INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS
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LIB

Alastair William Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Hon. Alastair Gillespie (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources):

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the preamble to the hon. member's question. I think Ross Campbell has done a first-rate job for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. He moved in at a very difficult time to clean up a very difficult situation. In the renegotiation of the contract which the public accounts committee has examined there was some suggestion that a significant fee would be payable in the event that a second reactor was sold to Korea. That was implicit in the hon.

February 28, 1978

member's question. There is no finder's fee involved at all: Mr. Campbell made that very clear to the committee.

He also made it very clear to the committee in his testimony that fees for the service part of that contract would very likely not be payable. One particular invoice was submitted to him in April, 1976, well before the committee started to examine this question. He rejected that invoice, and no further invoices have been submitted to AECL. I think Mr. Campbell has done a first-rate job.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   CONTROL OVER AECL IN INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS
Permalink

February 28, 1978