House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the only thing that has been staggering in the last 12 months has been the staggering number of people who have fled the Reform Party because they finally see the Liberal Party as the party that delivers.

If we talk about productivity, as a result of the government the unit labour costs show the best performance in 40 years for Canadian products. We have the highest rate of growth in employment and the strongest growth in output of any of the G-7 countries.

The unemployment rate has fallen from 11.4 per cent to 10.1 per cent. This is not strong enough and we want to keep going. We think the infrastructure program has contributed to the improvement in the confidence of Canadians.

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

A year after the election of the Liberal government, we have come to realize that its employment strategy simply amounts to setting up an infrastructure program that creates only temporary jobs, reducing access to unemployment insurance and passively benefits from the economic recovery. Considering population growth, we are still over 800,000 jobs short of the pre-recession level.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister realize that her government's approach to job creation is coercive, reducing access to unemployment insurance and UI benefits and to forcing the unemployed to re-enter the labour market and try to find jobs which simply do not exist?

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. It gives me an opportunity to say, I am sure with some great satisfaction, to her and her constituents that as a result of the efforts of the government the unemployment rate in her riding has gone from 12.1 per cent down to 9 per cent.

If we keep it up, at that rate she will have no unemployment by the end of our term.

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the government be so smug and proud when there are still

over a million unemployed workers in Canada, not counting all those who have precarious, very short term jobs?

How can the Deputy Prime Minister pretend that her government has restored hope and dignity for the unemployed, when in Quebec alone, 22,000 unemployed workers had to resort to welfare after the 1993 cuts in unemployment insurance, and since then, her government has never stopped forcing those who are no longer eligible for UI benefits to live on welfare?

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, in response to that question I want to pose this one: How can that member make the statement she just did when she and her party continually oppose every effort of this government to invest in better training, better job creation, better development? They are against any attempt to reform. All they want to do is keep people on unemployment insurance, keep people on benefits. They do not want people to have jobs. That is their position.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, today the Financial Post reported on a memo from the government's finance department which concluded that this government's immigration policies are worsening the unemployment crisis. It said that current levels which are twice as high as any other nation on earth are not creating jobs but creating competition for them.

Will the minister of immigration heed the conclusions of the finance department and dramatically reduce immigration levels?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, some of the thoughts contained in that report are by no means new. We heard those representations being made during the eight month consultation. Next Tuesday the government will be presenting its plan for 1995 in large measure based on the things we have heard and discussed with Canadians. I ask the member to wait until Tuesday and render an opinion then.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, for a year now this minister has been telling Canadians that high immigration levels are okay, even when unemployment is high. We have said there is a level at which immigration hurts the economy and the finance department agrees with us.

Will the minister wake up to the facts, show some political will and cut the numbers? Will he do what is right for Canadians and not just for the immigration industry?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the member read the entire document. To say that it agrees entirely with Reform Party policy is exaggerating one great leap.

Immigration generally has been a positive force for Canada. On page 74 of the red book it is stated very clearly: "We will continue to support an immigration policy that balances our demographic and economic need with our capacity to settle and absorb immigrants". In other words it means a balanced program which we do have and will continue to have after November 1.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

October 25th, 1994 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Finance.

During the last days of the federal election campaign, the Prime Minister promised to reduce the deficit without raising the taxes of Canadians during the first two years of his mandate.

Last week, however, in another about-face by this government, the Prime Minister referred in no uncertain terms to the possibility of raising taxes, contrary to his campaign promise.

How can the Minister of Finance account for the fact that exactly one year after it came to power, his government has already reneged on its commitment not to raise taxes and that the minister himself is feeding speculation about the possibility that his government will tax RRSPs?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said repeatedly, in no uncertain terms and as recently as yesterday, that we are firmly committed to bringing the deficit down to $25 billion in 1996-97.

The Prime Minister also said that we wanted to proceed mainly by cutting spending, but if we had to change this, we were prepared to do so because the main objective is to avoid the burden of higher interest rates.

The Prime Minister also made it very clear that he wanted to close tax loopholes, a process we started in the last budget.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government talks about eliminating tax loopholes, but not the right ones, only those that benefit people on middle

incomes, not those that benefit the very wealthy Canadian taxpayers that the minister is protecting in his Budget and his pre-budget consultations.

Why will the Minister of Finance not admit that you do not change the rules halfway through the game and that he will have to stop these damaging speculations by telling the House quite clearly that he will not tax RRSPs?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I have said repeatedly that I want the consultation process referred to by the hon. member to be successful, and in that case, the Minister of Finance cannot afford to comment on specific suggestions.

The hon. member said that we were attacking the middle class. In fact, in the last Budget we eliminated flip flop deals by large corporations and multinationals. We eliminated the preferential tax rate for large corporations. We eliminated the $100,000 capital gains exemption. And we introduced new rules for foreign affiliates. We made promises and we acted on them.

Infrastructure Program
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the past year boccie courts, the Saddledome and a canoe hall of fame have all been funded under the guise of infrastructure. By the minister's own figures we have only seen 7,000 long term jobs created. However in the same time and in spite of government interference the private sector has created over 300,000 long term jobs.

When will the minister admit that his program has not lived up to the promise of jobs, jobs, jobs but indeed has dug the debt hole deeper?

Infrastructure Program
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, we have delivered on this program as we promised in the election campaign that ended a year ago today with our successful election.

We said we would respond to local needs and local priorities as established by municipalities. That is exactly what we have done. We have done it right across the country with the support of all the provinces, and do you know what? We have done it on reallocation, not on increasing the debt of this government. Most of those municipalities and provinces have done the same thing.

In the course of this program we have put 100,000 Canadians back to work. We anticipated most of these projects would put people to work on construction in the short term but they would also create spin-off jobs which will put still another 100,000 Canadians back to work.

With over 7,000 permanent jobs that have been created so far, this program has been a great success.