Federal Rental Properties

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. My question has to do with the government as a landlord. We know that across the country the federal government owns buildings and acts as a landlord to the many businesses that rent space in its buildings. I also understand that this government, in particular Public Works and Government Services, has made a decision to raise the rent of a very successful local business. The business in question is none other than The Brokerage restaurant. By boosting the rent, Helen Duguay will be forced to close her doors. Ottawans will no longer be able to taste the famous vegetable soup that even makes Brussels sprouts taste delicious.

Since the leader is a patron of this restaurant, there will be no more turkey wraps with cranberries and walnuts and no more healthy salads for her. For 32 years, Ottawans have enjoyed this wonderful food, and I understand a chain will replace this restaurant.

I know this government likes to talk tough and look tough. Why is it saying “tough luck” to a businesswoman who spent thousands over the 32 years she has been in business? On a personal level, where will the leader, herself a devoted patron of The Brokerage, go to lunch from now on?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I am happy that the honourable senator pointed out that most of the time I buy my lunch there and carry it back to my office in a brown paper bag to eat at my desk. I just put that on the record.

I have been bemoaning the fact that I have not had a decent lunch for some time, excluding the lunch that the whip provided today, of course.

This is a matter between Public Works and the various businesses in their various facilities. I have no personal knowledge of the negotiations. I do not know all the details, nor would I, as these issues are handled by officials in Public Works. The honourable senator forgot “Juliet’s julienne”; that was my favourite.

The situation is regrettable but this is a decision of Public Works. I have no personal knowledge of the rent they were asking or the negotiations. It is not something I would know about.