House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was deputy.

Topics

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question to the Deputy Prime Minister. Would she not agree that the tax cutback action plan may prove unefficient in Akwesasne, since this reserve is bordered by Ontario, United States and Quebec, especially if the government of Ontario refuses to lower its taxes on tobacco?

Cigarette Smuggling
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, our plan has not been finalized yet and, therefore, it is very difficult at this point in time to discuss the details. We want the Canadian people to understand that it is not a problem unique to Indian reserves. Those who buy smuggled cigarettes, one pack out of three in Quebec and one pack out of five in Ontario, are all Canadians. It is wrong to say that the problem is unique to reserves. It is a smuggling problem, something which involves organized crime, and we will propose next week a plan which will deal with health and taxes, but especially with fair and equal law enforcement for all Canadians.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

February 4th, 1994 / 11:20 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture.

It is reported that negotiations to end the labour dispute on the west coast have broken down. As the minister knows this is not the first time labour disputes on the west coast have completely disrupted the movement of resources and products to market, to the detriment and well-being of thousands of farmers on the prairies and other producers.

Is it the view of the minister and his department that grain handling should be declared an essential service? Has he made

strong representation to the minister responsible for labour, the Minister of Human Resources Development, on that position.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question.

The question he has raised is one of broad policy considerations. I must admit that in the last number of days I have been focusing more importantly on the immediate concern with respect to the work stoppage on the west coast. I am pleased to take the opportunity of this question to provide an update on the present situation.

As members will know the federal mediator that was made available in this dispute was appointed last Tuesday, February 1. The talks with the parties commenced on Wednesday. They continued through the day on Wednesday and in fact until 5 a.m. on Thursday. There was an adjournment during the day on Thursday. The talks resumed at 3 p.m. on Thursday. As the hon. member advised in his question, those talks broke off at some point yesterday afternoon or last evening.

The mediator, Mr. Lewis, will be providing a full report shortly-in fact it may be in hand at the moment-to my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development. The minister is making his senior mediator from the offices in Ottawa available to assist in bringing the parties back to the table and resuming the discussions in Vancouver.

The government would strongly urge the parties to reflect very carefully upon their respective positions and their responsibilities in this matter. The parties should resume their negotiations immediately.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister updating the House on this particular dispute.

Would the minister give us a clear answer on the broader question as to whether his department responsible for agriculture-whether your department and you as the minister favour legislating-

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Please do not forget me. I feel lonesome up here.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Does the minister's department favour declaring grain handling to be an essential service? Could the minister advise the House on that point?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the hon. member will know, as a western Canadian with a great deal of interest in the health and well-being of the western Canadian grains industry, I am very anxious to pursue every conceivable possibility that will enhance the position of western Canadian grain farmers properly within the context of national public policy.,

The precise question he has asked in terms of labour relations and other issues affecting the west coast grain handling situation must be put within that broader national context of overall policy considerations with which the Minister of Human Resources Development, with his particular responsibility for labour, would be intensely involved.

The idea the hon. member suggests is not a new one. It has been proposed by others in western Canada from time to time, but at the present moment it is not under active consideration.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a further supplementary question. I am sure the minister does not want to see agricultural producers left twisting in the wind.

Previous governments have legislated an end, as the minister knows, to particular grain handling disputes on the west coast. Would the minister recommend similar action in this case and within what timeframe?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is helpful, in the context of the circumstances existing at the present time, to speculate about the proposition the hon. member has raised.

It is extremely important for us to urge the parties to assume their responsibilities, to get back to the bargaining table and to take full advantage of all mediation facilities that are being made available to them in the present circumstances by the Government of Canada.

They have a responsibility to resolve the dispute and to resolve it fast.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. During the election campaign, on October 1st, 1993, to be more precise, in an interview he gave to Le Téléjournal , the Prime Minister was asked if he would commit himself not to increase taxes for the next two years. The Prime Minister replied, and I quote: ``So, I want to be quite clear on this. There will be no tax increases''.

Can the Minister of Finance reaffirm the commitment made by the Prime Minister not to increase taxes for the next two years?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, is the hon. member telling us that his party does not want to eliminate tax loopholes? If that is the case, it would be totally contrary to what the finance critic of his party has told us.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I almost found myself having to answer a question, when it should be the opposite. So, I will ask my question again and suggest some alternatives.

Would the Minister of Finance not agree that instead of increasing taxes, we should implement the tax measures Jean-Robert Sansfaçon is suggesting in today's Le Devoir , namely a decrease from 80 per cent to 50 per cent of the deduction rate for meal and entertainment expenses and the same tax treatment for gambling and lottery winnings as for capital gains?

Would the Minister of Finance not agree that there are other measures besides tax increases that can be considered? Those measures are the kind the Bloc could support.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

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

First of all, Mr. Speaker, if I am helping him put his questions, it is just that I think our questions are better. We have more experience.

I have read the article the hon. member just quoted and I found it very interesting. I also find interesting the fact that, unlike the Reform Party, the hon. member believes that eliminating tax loopholes would really make the tax system more fair and equitable, and is not just another way to increase taxes. I am glad he is making this distinction, which the Reform members do not seem to be able to do.

Petitions
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

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

One of the few mechanisms which the Canadian public has for making direct input into the House of Commons is through the use of petitions. Yet petitions seem to be simply tabled here and left to collect dust. There is no mechanism whereby they can be debated or acted upon directly.

Would the government entertain the notion of further amending the standing orders so as to allow even for a one day debate on those petitions that enjoy a large degree of public support?