House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Federalism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the Deputy Prime Minister's answer. However what is missing from it is any deep commitment or acknowledgement of the need for real reform of federalism itself.

If it can be demonstrated to the government that a majority of Quebecers want a balanced federal budget, that a majority of Quebecers want an overhaul of federal language legislation, that a majority of Quebecers want systemic change, like many other federalists in the country do, would that persuade the government to offer Quebecers and indeed all Canadians something more than status quo federalism?

Federalism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, to understand what Quebec wants I think the member has to start by electing some members of Parliament from Quebec.

The member's unfortunate ignorance of the situation in Quebec is reflected by the resolution put yesterday which basically tried to carve up the city of Montreal into east and west.

The reality is a nation is built by celebrating its differences, by making sure every part of the country feels it is part of the whole. Every single policy that passes through the government is going to be based on principles of equity and fairness. Therefore we say exactly the same thing in the city of Montreal as we do in the city of Vancouver. We do not wait for a telephone call to tell us what our policy should be.

Transfer Payments
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in response to the federal finance minister's intention to slash transfers to the provinces in order to reduce his deficit, the Quebec minister of finance issued the following warning to his federal counterpart:

-we told the federal government that this reform should not be achieved on the backs of the provinces and that the issue of government debt in Canada will not be resolved by offloading the federal deficit onto the provinces.

Will the Minister of Finance ever understand-now that his Quebec counterpart has joined with the Official Opposition in trying to make him understand-that he must cut federal government waste and stop dumping his deficit problem on the provinces?

Transfer Payments
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, we fully agree that we should not dump our problems on others. That is why we first settled the issue of equalization that has been of enormous benefit to Quebec and six other provinces. That is why we agreed with finance ministers, including the Quebec minister of finance, to impose a moratorium on social security reform. That is why, as I said in my speech, we clearly stated in the budget the objectives agreed on by the finance ministers in January.

Transfer Payments
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the finance minister's insensitivity despite his Quebec colleague's appeal be explained by his urgent need to carve out for himself, at the expense of the provinces, enough fiscal leeway to finance his colleagues' repeated, brazen and appalling intrusions in areas of provincial jurisdiction?

Transfer Payments
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, let me simply read what I said. I will do this in English because it is part of the speech that was given in English.

-then we took a look at the absolute necessity of renewing fiscal federalism.

The provinces agree with that. The minister of finance for Quebec agrees with that.

-it is now crucial that we begin to take a look at what all levels of government do, not with some political aim in mind, but in terms of its affordability and efficiency.

The Government of Quebec agrees with that, as do all of the provinces who want to solve our problems. Then I went on to say that we have discussed that with the provinces.

-they have two years in which to complete with us this process. At the end of that two years we will be taking massive amounts of money out of the federal-provincial structure, hopefully not at their expense nor at ours, but as a result of the more efficient programs between the two levels of government.

That is what the provincial finance ministers want. It is what the provincial governments want. It is what the federal government wants. It is what Canadians want. It is what we are going to deliver.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

April 20th, 1994 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. I will give him a little hint on the answer: billions versus millions.

Today's Financial Post reports that the Deutsche Bank has recommended to its clients to reduce their Canadian bond exposure to zero from 3 per cent which could represent up to $10 billion. One of the primary reasons given is that Canada's heavy budgetary risks will result in further underperformance. It is obvious the Deutsche Bank does not share the minister's optimism and opinion that the budget was a success.

Why would the Deutsche Bank recommend pulling out of the Canadian economy?

The Economy
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 questioner being a businessman himself understands that what makes markets are obviously differences of opinion.

The fact is the analyst in the Deutsche Bank has expressed an opinion. I had breakfast with the president of the Deutsche Bank not long after that report and it certainly was not his. He wanted to give you his best.

The fact is the majority of investment houses in the United States recommend a holding of Canadian bonds at 3 to 4 per cent. That is what makes markets and that is why we are very confident.

The member should have read the whole report because the Deutsche Bank talked about provincial deficits and about the very uncertain political situation in Quebec. Let me tell you, once the political situation in Quebec is cleared up with a victory to the provincial Liberals the Deutsche Bank will change its mind.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, further to the remarks of the finance minister I would like to add another possible reason the Deutsche Bank gave this recommendation despite the breakfast.

One of the reasons both foreign and domestic investors are uneasy about the Canadian economy is that mixed messages

keep coming from the Prime Minister and the Finance minister. The billions versus millions controversy is only the latest contradiction by these two senior ministers.

Could the Minister of Finance clarify once and for all for the House and for foreign and domestic investors, whose comments on deficit reduction can be relied on, his or the Prime Minister's? And no double talk, please.

The Economy
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, the hon. member asked the same question yesterday. I will give him the same answer.

The fact is that in the red book, in the budget and in statements in the House the Prime Minister and I have made it very clear that the cuts have been made in the budget which are required to get us to 3 per cent of the GDP within three years. At the same time we have said a major review of every single program is being carried on by the Minister responsible for Public Service Renewal.

The Prime Minister has said it; I have said it; and you can keep asking us. I would really suggest to the hon. member that he come up with some new questions. Ask Canadians for some new questions. I think your research well is running dry.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure all hon. members will continue to address the Chair.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans unveiled his new program regarding income support and labour adjustment for fishery workers adversely affected by the dwindling groundfish stocks in the Atlantic.

How can the minister be satisfied with a program which does not propose any measure to get the fishing industry going again through the development of new markets or new products, and how can he justify the reduced assistance, considering that compensation cheques will now drop by 6 per cent?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, quite frankly I am surprised at the attitude of the hon. member, given his previous experience with the fishery.

The fact of the matter is the Government of Canada is not reducing the groundfish sector. The Government of Canada is not shutting down the groundfish sector. The hard truth rather than the easy rhetoric is that the groundfish sector today is closed. There are 14 moratoriums in place. People in the groundfish sector are not working today and a great many, the majority, have not worked for two years.

The issue is not whether or not we are going to shut the sector down, but how much of the sector we can reopen, how much of the capacity we can employ based on the ability of the resource to sustain that sector.

We are taking the hard and difficult choices but the honest choices to work with communities, fishermen and plant workers to restore as much of the industry as possible and, where that is not possible, to give them the truth so they can make the decisions to rebuild their lives.

Does the member want us to do something different? If he does, we will not.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is all very nice; however, what fishery workers need is hope. Right now, the government is giving them false hopes; in fact, the package offered is 6 per cent smaller than last year's.

Nevertheless, I will give the minister a chance. How does he reconcile his will to help Atlantic economic diversification with the fact that his government just reduced by $160 million ACOA's budget for the next three years, as well as FORD-Q's budget, an office whose role is precisely to promote regional economic diversification? Perhaps the minister could clarify this issue, because so far, rather than discussing he is cutting.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about empty hope. We are not talking about empty hope. We are talking about a $1.9 billion program. It is the only new major expenditure in the February 22 budget. That expenditure represents the commitment of the Prime Minister and the government to the people of Quebec and Atlantic Canada affected by the fisheries crisis to stand by them in their time of crisis and to help them rebuild their lives. The member ought to recognize that.

We have said clearly there are three legs to this program. The first is assistance for individuals. That we have delivered on. The second is to restructure the industry. That process begins over the next six weeks through consultation. The third is to diversify the economy of Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

I have the greatest confidence the Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the minister responsible for FORD-Q will work hand in glove with the Minister of Human Resources Development and me to see that commitment is delivered in spades.