Marcel LESSARD

LESSARD, The Hon. Marcel, P.C.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
Birth Date
August 14, 1926
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Lessard
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=b8b44e5f-2064-4195-9cb1-770b1066e67d&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
foreman

Parliamentary Career

June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
SC
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
SC
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
LIB
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture (October 1, 1970 - September 1, 1972)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
LIB
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
LIB
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
  • Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (September 26, 1975 - June 3, 1979)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
LIB
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
  • Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (September 26, 1975 - June 3, 1979)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 180)


December 5, 1979

Mr. Lessard:

Mr. Chairman, only a few minutes remain before six o'clock, and I would like to take this opportunity to comment briefly on the legislation now before us. I listened earlier to our hon. friend, the Minister of Finance, who was coming back to the House, and I had the feeling that had he had a choice between the proposals to initiate in the House, and especially during the preparation of his budget which is very much on his mind now, surely this measure would not have been his top priority. Having known the Minister of Finance for some years, I am convinced he had his mind on something quite different than this election promise. As he said himself over the last few weeks, his margin of manoeuvre is altogether narrow. Members opposite blame the previous government for the somewhat tight financial situation he was referring to, but by proposing this election promise of the Progressive Conservative Party the Minister of Finance is committing government revenues, because this will reduce government revenues by more than $2 billion over the next few years. The fourth year of operation at least entails a loss of revenue of over $2 billion.

1 am convinced that listening to the debate and getting acquainted with the proposal, Canadians were originally interested, but I see things differently. And there is a specific point with which I would like to deal. I wonder whether the Progressive Conservative government, when they took that political commitment to capture votes of course, thought more of it than of really helping the housing industry.

Furthermore, I am not sure whether the government has consulted with the provinces before proceeding with its plan. What I mean is this: in the proposal brought forward by the Minister of Finance and the government, we have two elements: the first one aimed at reducing the cost of interest. This is fine since it comes under the jurisdiction of the federal government as we are responsible to a very large extent for the interest rates in the country.

But as concerns the second element which proposes to reduce by way of a tax credit the property taxes paid at the municipal level, I have some reservations because that political party has consistently accused us, when we formed the government, of interfering with provincial responsibilities. None of my colleagues has discussed this aspect of the government's proposal. 1 wonder, Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Finance

has actually reflected on this. They claim to be the advocates of provincial autonomy and they say that they do not want the government to interfere with the provincial jurisdiction but is this not what they are going to do in indirectly subsidizing property taxes? I think that the minister should have set himself another objective as you can easily suppose that the benefit of some $62.50, for instance, that will result from the implementation of this legislation when it is passed, if it does go through, might be very quickly diverted by the municipal authorities. We all know that municipal authorities are always short of money. We all know that they must continuously appeal to provincial governments to get some assistance. It is obvious, Mr. Chairman, that in the coming years, if this legislation is implemented, provincial and municipal governments will try to recover that money and this taxation field that we are virtually giving up. As home owners will be subsidized indirectly by us, some of them at least, the municipalities will be tempted to occupy that field. As all home owners will not benefit from this program you will tell me that municipalities may have to resist this temptation because if they raise the property taxes, these will apply to all citizens, whether or not they benefit from this tax credit, I would like us to reflect on this, and I would like to say two things in this regard: either we do not subsidize this part of the interest. Thus, we would only be subsidizing the property taxes and this would benefit all home owners who have to pay them. This would be a little less discriminatory. Or else, we do not concern ourselves at all with this part, and we only pay an indirect subsidy by way of a tax exemption for lower interest, since that is where we stand as a Canadian Parliament which is directly involved.

I would like us to reflect on this and I would like the Minister of Finance, when he is given the opportunity to speak, probably during this debate, to tell us whether he has consulted with the provinces on this aspect of the proposal and whether he has heard the opinion of the provincial finance ministers or municipal affairs ministers on this aspect of the proposal. It would be interesting to know their point of view, Mr. Chairman, because the municipalities are most certainly a creation of the provinces. As we have said, the provinces provided the municipalities with the authority to collect property taxes and they certainly have the responsibility and the right to do so.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
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December 4, 1979

Hon. Marcel Lessard (Lac-Saint-Jean):

Mr. Speaker, it seems we are celebrating a special event today. Therefore 1 should like to ask the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion whether, when reviewing the policy of his department he intends to hand over to the agriculture department the administration of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act, better known as PFRA.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION
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November 27, 1979

Hon. Marcel Lessard (Lac-Saint-Jean):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion whether he can confirm his position to the effect that he rejected the request put to him by the Quebec minister, Mr. Leonard, to transfer the entire DREE budget to the province of Quebec. What was the minister's answer to this request from the provincial government when they met in Montreal yesterday?

Topic:   REQUEST FOR TRANSFER OF BUDGET TO QUEBEC
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November 7, 1979

Hon. Marcel Lessard (Lac-Saint-Jean):

Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister of Finance. By his present policy, the minister is trying to reduce inflation. When preparing his budget could he, for instance, consider adjusting the $1,000 exemption now enjoyed by taxpayers who derive income from interests or dividends? This exemption has remained unchanged for the past four years and it should be adjusted to encourage small savers to keep saving and thereby perhaps contribute to lowering the rate of inflation.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
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November 6, 1979

Hon. Marcel Lessard (Lac-Saint-Jean):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Supply and Services. In light of the meeting held yesterday in Montreal during which several federal and provincial ministers had discussions about projects to be undertaken in the province of Quebec and in light of the comments we heard last night from provincial ministers as well

November 6, 1979

as from Senator de Cotret, could the minister tell us whether he intends to announce immediately or very soon the decisions that his government will make as to the sums of money which will be invested in projects that have already been announced in Quebec and 1 am, of course, referring more particularly to the proposed fiscal data study centre in Jonquiere?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS INQUIRY WHETHER DECISIONS ON IMPORTANT PROJECTS IN QUEBEC WILL BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY
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