House of Commons Hansard #42 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table in both official languages the government's response to five petitions

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the first report of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament. In this report, our committee recommends that it be authorized to act as advisor to the speakers of the Senate and of the House of Commons when they exercise their authority over the Library. We are also asking permission to meet with a reduced quorum as well as during sitting of the Senate. This is the first report of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament since March 5, 1970.

Canada Elections Act
Routine Proceedings

March 22nd, 1994 / 10 a.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Don Valley North, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-229, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act (registration of political parties).

Mr. Speaker, as members know this is my very first private members' bill. The purpose of this bill is to amend the Canada Elections Act to allow the registration of political parties by the chief electoral officer only when the party nominates candidates in at least seven provinces that have an aggregate of at least 50 per cent of the population of all the provinces and in at least half of the electoral district in each of those seven provinces.

For the purposes of the Canada Elections Act, "province" includes Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

John Solomon Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to present to the House of Commons pursuant to Standing Order 36 a petition on behalf of many of my constituents as well as others who reside in Saskatchewan. These petitioners are interested in seeing Bill C-91 repealed because of the dramatic effect it has had on the price of prescription drugs in Canada.

In essence, Bill C-91 has driven up the price of prescription drugs by over 120 per cent in the last five years. This has been a severe problem financially for those people who require prescription drugs. It also has hindered provincial governments across the country in terms of restricting and reducing the drug plans they have.

The Canadians from Saskatchewan who have signed this reside in Semans, Duval, Nokomis, Earl Grey, Assiniboia, Craven, Southey, Cupar and Strasbourg to name a few of the communities.

I summarize by saying they are begging and requesting this Parliament to repeal Bill C-91, the drug patent legislation.

(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following question will be answered today: No. 10.

Question No. 10-

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Roger Simmons Burin—St. George's, NL

What action, if any, has the Department of Fisheries and Oceans taken to resolve the many long-standing deficiencies- in management practices of the fishing vessel insurance plan, including a rapidly declining insurance base, rising deficits, and declining efficiency, the failure to improve client service and the process for reviewing and approving claims, the plan's deteriorating performance, and the Department's lack of corrective action, as raised by the 1992 Auditor General's report?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has taken a number of steps to address concerns raised in the 1992 Auditor General's report.

In February 1993, a general manager at the executive level was appointed for the program with headquarters in St. John's, Newfoundland. This concentration of full line autority for managing program resources across all regions has streamlined decision making and reduced opportunities for diverting funds away from the program. The consolidation of two regional offices and a reduction of staff complement through attrition has resulted in increased efficiency at decreased costs.

Steps have been taken to ensure the implementation of a national FVIP data base by the first quarter of fiscal year 1993-94. This will provide needed management information for ensuring more efficient administration, establishing appropriate rate structures, maximizing revenue and setting national standards in a number of areas.

A training program developed for field officers on vessel appraisals and claims adjustments is now in progress. The first two week session began on February 28, 1994 and the second two week session started March 12, 1994. Training will also be provided as part of the data base implementation.

Updated procedures for the review and approval of claims now ensure that claims are forwarded to head office with proper documentation. As a result, HQ approval has been reduced to one week thus improving overall service to clients.

A report has been prepared assessing the reasons for the declining insurance base and recommending measures to reverse the trend. This report is now being analyzed.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The question mentioned by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary has been answered.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Shall the remaining questions be allowed to stand?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supply
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

moved:

That this House deplore the government's lack of vision and lack of concrete measures relating to job creation policies.

Supply
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Since today is the final allotted day for the supply period ending March 31, 1994, the House will go through the usual procedure to consider and dispose of the supply bills.

In view of recent practices do hon. members agree that these bills be distributed now?

Supply
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supply
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, indeed we, the Official Opposition, feel that it is important to make this House and the government aware of the need to worry, and not just talk, about employment in Canada.

Four heavyweight ministers-I do not intend to put them on a diet -participated in the last G-7 conference. We are waiting for them to inform us of the innovative solutions they learned at that conference to help Canada improve the tragic situation of unemployment here.

I must admit however that I am anxious to see what these senior ministers will propose, considering that when the previous crisis occurred, the G-7 advocated drastic measures to control inflation and Canada subscribed to those, so much so in fact that it tried to show the way and applied a solution whose effects were worse than the problem.

In fact, it seems to me that the federal government must ask itself what kind of policy would stimulate employment, as Quebec has done perhaps because it has been experiencing serious unemployment problems for a long time. Quite often countries, including G-7 members and those which are most easily and naturally prosperous because they have been wealthy for a long time, think that employment is what is left once everything else has been looked after. So the government looks of course after problems such as inflation and the deficit, which is largely the result of its anti-inflationary policies, and what is left in the end is the employment situation.

Then nice speeches are made to say how sorry the government is to learn of the plight of the poor ordinary citizen who is in real trouble, who has no security, and who is deprived of what little hope he may have had of at least getting a minimum income for a while through UI benefits. So the government makes nice

speeches to the effect that it is concerned about employment, and it gets elected by pledging to look after the problem but, in fact, it is essentially business as usual.

I want to take this opportunity to tell members of this House- even though their previous income level was not necessarily the same-that very few Canadians and Quebecers enjoy the same peace of mind as we do. Indeed, many of them live in a great state of insecurity which has a profound influence on the rest of their lives.

Of course, when we are in office, we are surrounded by advisors who tell us: You must not worry about it. It is a jobless recovery, it is the same everywhere, and you must get used to people's anger. You have to be thick skinned and not let yourself be moved if you see people who are having a hard time.

I would like to take the time allotted to me to say that there are two main types of economic policy. The first, the most common kind, is a sort of laissez faire, as I was saying; you look after the fashionable parameters and live with the outcome once that is done, and that is the more or less long-term unemployed.

We know that since the 1980s, some ideas that were in in the 1930s have come back in fashion; they say that basically only the strong can survive, so let us help the strong and as for the weak, well, too bad, they are disadvantaged so let them suffer.

But other countries over the years have developed other types of policies where employment is not a leftover, not a residual concern about which nothing can be done; no, they say: the purpose of the economy must be to give ordinary people a minimum, not just enough to keep them from dying, but enough to live with dignity, to have some hope and fulfilment, and in our societies for a long time to come, the key will still be employment.

Some societies have taken the trouble to give themselves instruments, not just macro-economic instruments, not just monetary policy, not just a policy on the deficit, not just a trade policy, but a policy concerned with how jobs are actually created and lost and how, with patient effort, by influencing macro-economic policies, through common effort and working together, asking questions, even tough questions, the future of people can be assured.

Unfortunately, we must admit that in politics, these methods often take time and politicians, men and women in politics, because I distinguish the two, can be in a hurry, their time is limited. However, there can be no quick-fix solutions-there are none. There is only the ability to look at a situation and to develop approaches with people at the grass roots.

Mr. Speaker, you will understand that I will talk about decentralization at some point and I will talk about Quebec. But before that, I want to remind you of the situation, not for the fun of it, because it is not at all funny. The latest figures show 1,559,000 unemployed people. Remember that the unemployed counted here are those who are actively looking for work. You can be unemployed but not counted in this category if you are a discouraged worker. It is more practical that way; you are forgotten.

In Quebec, how many are officially unemployed? There are 428,000, not counting all the long-term unemployed who are on welfare. We can say without exaggeration that there are about 800,000 unemployed people in Quebec who are actually looking for work, although not as Statistics Canada sees it. The lives of 800,000 people in Quebec alone are tied to the ability to find work. It is a question of self-esteem, of parents being able to face their children or help them, of people being able to build a home, have children. According to Statistics Canada, there are 1.5 million unemployed in this country.

The Liberal government came to power on a worthwhile slogan. In either French or English, it was "jobs, jobs, jobs". The government rose to power on the heels of this catchy slogan.

The Liberals conducted a clever campaign. Their slogan amounted to: "Vote for us, vote Liberal".

So, what has this government done to follow through on its promise to create jobs, jobs, jobs?