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Results: 1 - 15 of 180
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you very much for coming here. First of all, I wish my colleagues from the other provinces had been able to get the background material on the National Bank. While I don't wish to do any advertising on the bank's behalf, as Mr. Dubreuil mentioned, this institution is very much involved at the regional level. My region is one such example. As you said, the fact that this institution's operations are concentrated mainly in Quebec may not be something positive, but the fact remains that this concentration gives you nearly 40 per cent of the SME market.
I have a few quick questions for you. On the subject of small business start up, do you know what percentage of loans are awarded under various federal programs, what we commonly referred to in Quebec as the Small Business Loans Act, or in partnership with the CDIC, that is under federal development funding programs? What is the percentage of loans guaranteed under a federal or provincial program versus the percentage of loans that are not guaranteed?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Thank you very much.
With respect to regional development, mention was made of small businesses. My colleague talked about tourism, a tertiary industry or sector that drives the economy. It's a fact that most financial institutions, whether provincially or federally regulated, are abandoning the tertiary sector, for example, the food and restaurant or other high risk sectors.
Having said that, in the regions, a number of businesses develop with the help of the tourism sector and with export assistance. I'm curious as to the kind of assistance you can lend to small businesses wishing to export their products, since this is one growing market in a state of considerable flux. Specifically, what areas do you focus on when considering export assistance for small businesses seeking help under certain export assistance programs? As bankers, what role do you play in this process?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Our time is running short.
One of the major problems likely encountered everywhere in Canada—although I'm mostly familiar with the situation in Quebec—is the whole question of the second generation of small businesses. Unfortunately, as we're seeing more and more, businesses are not surviving. When they are taken over by the second generation, they are either sold or closed down. People don't know who to turn to for assistance. We hear a lot about SMEs. However, the longevity of the second generation will ensure the longevity of generations yet to come. The subject often comes up in the regions.
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Which one is that?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I believe a vote is scheduled for around 10:15 a.m. in the House. Has that been confirmed?
I believe that we have a vote around 10:15. Has that been confirmed?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
I'll confine myself to a single question, to give others a chance to intervene as well.
In the French version of the larger document, you mention the direct subsidies awarded to the auto industry, among others things, and you point out that the Canadian Alliance and the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation advocate lower corporate taxes rather than direct subsidies. You've raised a very interesting idea, namely the establishment of a Technology Partnerships Canada facility for the auto industry. This program appears to be working very well, despite some minor glitches encountered by certain industries.
Would you like to see a certain amount of money allocated under this program to the auto industry? As my Liberal colleague was saying earlier, given the trend observed in the Canadian and global auto industry toward a “greener” industry, have you given any thought to what, in your estimation, would be considered a reasonable investment under the Technology Partnerships Canada program to meet future challenges?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Would you agree to see the auto industry component of this program reserved for “green automobiles”, that is for future motor vehicles or, as you mentioned earlier, would you want the program to target more conventional automobiles because this is the industry division in crisis? The program looks for value-added in terms of R & D in Canada. Would you be satisfied if subsidies were provided only for “green motor vehicles”, for example?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Good morning, Mr. Minister.
During talks on the Kyoto Protocol, a number of provinces were in favour, including Quebec, and a number had reservations, including Alberta. Right now, what kind of participation, consultations or negotiations on Kyoto is the Parliament of Canada having with its partners, the provinces?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Thank you. You talked a lot about hydrogen. Much was said about the automotive industry as well, which is a real presence in Canada, particularly in Ontario.
You talked about reducing greenhouse gas emissions from those vehicles. A number of groups have long suggested that there be a special tax on large utility vehicles, like Hummers, which are not used for commercial or industrial purposes, but simply to look good on Wellington Street opposite Parliament.
What do you think of the suggestion that there be this kind of tax or a financial means of discouraging the use of these large, energy-consuming vehicles which produce a lot of pollution compared to other, small vehicles, including hybrids? In particular, what do you think would be the reaction of the major car companies in Canada if the government, in its fight against greenhouse gases, considered levying a tax on highly polluting vehicles which are not used for commercial or industrial purposes, because truck drivers, for example, should not be penalized? Are you in favour of imposing such a tax in order to send a very clear message? As the Minister of Industry, what do you think would be the Canadian industry's reaction?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
If I understand correctly, what you want to do now is leave the vehicles that produce the most pollution alone and invest in a new technology.
I understand that taxation is the responsibility of other departments than yours, Mr. Minister, but, as Minister of Industry, what would your reaction be if, at the time of the pre-budget study or in a budget announcement, a tax was levied on the most polluting vehicles that are not used for commercial or industrial purposes, such as the big SUVs? How do you view that as the Minister of Industry? What would your position be?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
With regard to my last question, what I meant was that, everything being credible in the application of the Kyoto Protocol, at the same time—and this was a fear of a number of industrial groups and a number of provinces—the right messages should be sent and the right actions taken, without any foot-dragging.
Consequently, SUVs and Hummers, for example, may even pollute less than other large vehicles. But it's hard to strike a balance when addressing these questions.
Last question. When it comes to providing Canadians with incentives, there's a component that concerns heating units in houses. We know we want to encourage people to acquire much more efficient heating units; we're not necessarily talking about air conditioning.
Can you tell us where this program stands?
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Thank you very much.
I simply want to make a comment. I don't know whether other members have been informed of this matter, but a number of individuals were interested in modernizing and improving their residential heating systems, precisely in order to meet this objective. However, residents are required to conduct a study that costs between $300 and $400 and even more, whereas the subsidy granted is about $1,000 or $1,200, depending on the unit and number of parts. I would just like to tell you that, although the idea may seem good in principle, the mandatory cost of a complete study on the residence relative to the amount of assistance granted for the heating unit detracts from the program's appeal.
That's simply a comment that was made to my riding office. We must ensure that the program is really optimized in order to encourage people in the country to make their own efforts. By making their own efforts in their own homes, they will definitely be able to support other government initiatives. These are minor problems that we face in our ridings and that I wanted to share with you, Mr. Minister.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
My name is André Bachand and I am the member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
View André Bachand Profile
Ind. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, there is no need to spend a lot of time on the matter as to whether or not we should change the regulations in the Tobacco Act. Personally, I think it could be done it without any problem. I mentioned this this morning in caucus. People 's views on the matter are divided because they lack perception. Surely, within this recommendation, there should be a way to strike a balance.
I will say at the outset, as I did this morning in caucus, that as a smoker I have no credibility, but that being said, we are talking about such a significant event—the matter of tobacco alone is not involved. When legislation is passed concerning the environment or the health of people, in order to make this legislation efficient, in view of globalization, often international agreements follow. For acid rain, Kyoto, food inspection, for instance, agreements do exist.
When Canada set its deadline, we should remember that in Europe, they had just started to discuss advertising prohibition on tobacco products. I would not be opposed if we were to quite properly and positively adjust to what happens internationally, as we do on other issues. That said, I will not deal further on the tobacco issue because the committee, mind you, does not have to make a difference but personally I believe that an international situation exists. Canada regularly get in step with other countries on various matters—by doing so he encourages others to get in step—therefore I do not see why in this particular case, we could not do so.
I would also like to remind you that with regard to Formula 1 sponsorships and other activities, there have been problems in the major emerging sectors of the economy, such as for instance high-tech. Just as a reminder, Teleglobe used to give millions of dollars to auto racing, namely to Formula 1. However, an adjustment in that sector of activity forced us to withdraw. Therefore, there has been nobody as significant to take its place. I remember having read somewhere that mention was made to call on the high-tech sector to replace tobacco companies. As my colleague Mr. Normand was saying, we certainly hope that this will happen.
But, basically, with regard to the motion, when Mr. Ménard contacted me during the summer, it was first to point out the urgency of the matter and the need for action. Also, this is not simply a Quebec issue. The word which comes up most often, beside that of Jacques Villeneuve when there is an accident—at least that was the case in the past—is the word "Canada". We wanted also to make sure that this motion could make people aware of the fact that the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal is just an example, that there could be others and that we should send a positive signal to all the partners.
At the outset, when the decision was made, some words were uttered such as "blackmail", "disgusting" and all sorts of more or less diplomatic words, according to the UN. Now, we must quickly reverse the situation and make sure that the message is positive.
Unfortunately, I really do not know what the committee can do. Mr. Chairman, you raised the possibility, within the dateline set by the Formula 1 people, that the committee could at least at this stage if the mover of the motion is agreeable, send a clear non-partisan message all across Canada regarding the urgency to come up with a solution. There again, I think that the federal and Quebec governments have been very clear: action must be taken without changing the tobacco legislation in spite of what I said in my preamble. Therefore, there is an emergency aspect because the whole business community and tourist sector of Montreal, in Quebec and in Canada, are quite affected.
Thank you.
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