House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was social.

Topics

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday, the Solicitor General boasted that, in the last three months, the RCMP had seized some 80,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes.

Had the minister done a simple calculation with the figures quoted by the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, he would have realized that in the last three months, while the RCMP seized a truckload and a half of contraband cigarettes, some 360 truckloads were smuggled into Canada. What a sieve!

Can the Solicitor General tell us, given the lack of results achieved by the RCMP, what additional resources he intends to give them to make them more effective?

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add to the information I gave the House a few days ago. In 1993, the RCMP made over 4,600 seizures and laid more than 1,250 charges in Quebec alone. This is quite a respectable record.

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, just yesterday the Prime Minister was asking for more information before taking action, while the RCMP is now telling us that it is very well informed, that cigarette smuggling networks are branching out into luxury items such as clothing, jewelry and alcohol. How can the Prime Minister explain that the RCMP is not acting, except for political reasons?

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is well known that the RCMP is very independent and does its job as the law requires. Any accusation to the effect that it has political orders not to act is totally false. We have clearly instructed the RCMP to take all necessary measures to stop this smuggling.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

February 3rd, 1994 / 2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

None of us in the House question the value and importance of immigration, but legitimate questions exist concerning the appropriate levels of immigration. As the minister knows, 2.3 million Canadians are either unemployed or underemployed, the welfare rolls are bulging and governments cannot finance the current level of social services.

Under these circumstances is the minister absolutely convinced in his own mind that maintaining immigration levels at the current level of 250,000 per year is in the national interest?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we consulted Canadians in the last election. One of the commitments we made in the red book was a commitment to move our immigration policy toward a 1 per cent level. That commitment was not undertaken lightly. That commitment had the foresight of some study and analysis.

The Economic Council of Canada, for instance in its 1993 report, suggested moving toward 1 per cent and doing so gradually. It also said that the net economic impact of every immigrant is approximately $2,000. If we multiply that by the levels we are looking at, it is half a million dollars only in the calculation of net economic benefits to immigrants without talking about job creation and entrepreneurship.

We feel it is a balanced approach. We talked about reuniting families. We talked about bringing in skills that people in the country need and the skills that our economies require, as well as maintaining our international obligations toward those who legitimately seek our refuge as they do across the country.

Yes, we believe it is a balanced approach and on balance will help the country grow as former immigration movements have done.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer. In light of his answer can the minister prove, by laying before the House a detailed cost benefit analysis or other evidence, that maintaining immigration at the level of 250,000 immigrants per year is a net economic benefit to Canada?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we tabled the immigration plan at three o'clock yesterday. At one o'clock we briefed my respective critics. At 12.28 yesterday on CP wire, without an iota of a figure being deposited, his hon. critic for immigration said the following:

Immigrants are choking welfare systems, contributing to high unemployment, and many cannot read.

Before the hon. leader gets up and preaches and requests analyses from this side of the House, I ask him to check with his members so as not to suggest things that are not borne out in fact but are more borne out in fiction and mythology.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

More, more.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

In the heat of exchange I know my colleagues sometimes forget the Speaker. I know it is an oversight because here I am. However I wish you would direct your responses and your questions through me, please.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the minister.

If the minister were to be presented with studies that maintaining immigration levels at the 250,000 level under current circumstances does not produce a net economic benefit to Canada, would the minister consider lowering the level?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, a number of studies have been produced in terms of the relationship between net immigration and net economic benefit. In fact, if I were to say something, there probably would not be enough studies in the current time to correlate those two forces a little more precisely.

I know the Reform Party has often used and basically exclusively used the C. D. Howe report done by Daniel Stoffman as a compass for suggesting that it should be reduced to 150,000. Even in the C. D. Howe Institute report Mr. Stoffman concludes that, at the very worst, net immigration is neutral on the economic benefits that immigrants bring.

Compared to that we have the Economic Council of Canada that shows a $2,000 net benefit. We have the report by Dr. Rosalyn Kunin in 1991 who studied the economic impact of business. Between 1986 and 1990 she concluded that 80,000 new direct jobs were created, a contribution during that time of $3 billion to GDP.

I will conclude by saying that during that time 10 per cent of all business activity-and I would be more than happy to table this-across the country was created by business immigrants. There are studies that prove immigrants are not a weight on the country. We should be forging ahead with the knowledge that the immigration policy adds dynamism to the country.

Smoking
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Part of the plan which the media attribute to the government concerns health and an awareness campaign directed at young people to discourage them from smoking.

My question is for the Minister of Health. Can she tell us what measures she is proposing to the government to make people, especially young people, aware of the danger of smoking?

Smoking
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Sudbury
Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, of course I am working on various measures to deal with the problem of tobacco use throughout Canada. I will tell her about them as soon as we can, probably here in this House.

Smoking
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Health agree with the position of the Ontario government, which systematically refuses to lower cigarette taxes?

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