House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was board.

Topics

Justice
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Axworthy Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing, SK

Mr. Speaker, concerns still continue in the Patrick Kelly case.

In spite of the fact that 10 months ago the crown's main and in fact only witness recanted her testimony saying that she was forced to give this testimony by investigators in the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force, the minister still is acting without any great sense of urgency.

Why is the minister and his department so casual about this matter? Why has so little been done by the minister and his staff over the last 10 months? Why are charges of corruption and dishonesty on the part of the investigating officers not regarded as serious by the minister?

Why have officers involved in this case not been suspended pending an outcome of the investigation? Why has evidence that would clear Patrick Kelly not been made available to his lawyers? Why has it taken eight months to contact the one single witness on which his freedom in this whole case depends? Why is the same investigating officer whose honesty and motives are under serious question involved in the new investigation?

It is time the minister acted with some sense of urgency in this case. The Canadian justice system is under attack as a result.

Social Program Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, after promising an action plan for social program reform, the Minister of Human Resources Development said yesterday that next week he would only table a discussion paper.

He also made it clear that social program reform would again be postponed, when he said that the government's position would be presented next spring or next fall. In other words, a year from now.

My question to the Prime Minister is this: Should we see these successive delays as an attempt by the Prime Minister to put off the cuts his minister wants to make at the expense of the needy?

Social Program Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to find out what Canadians think about a reform that is extremely important. The paper will be released to the public, and a parliamentary committee will travel across the country to hear what the public has to say. That is democracy at its best.

Social Program Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this looks more like hesitation at its best than democracy. I want to ask the Prime Minister whether we are to infer from all this that postponing the reform was motivated by the Prime Minister's reluctance to take unpopular measures before a referendum is held on the sovereignty of Quebec?

Social Program Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our job is to give Canadians good government, and that is what we intend to do. Good government involves consulting people.

A few months ago, the Leader of the Opposition criticized us for going too fast, but now he says we are not going fast enough. We were elected for at least four or probably even five years, if we look at the precedent set by the Conservatives. So we have plenty of time, and we will take that time to do a good job, which is what Canadians expect from their government.

Social Program Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, good government means a government that governs and does not spend its time consulting, publishing white papers and travelling all over the place and making speeches.

I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he realizes that by postponing social program reform indefinitely and restraining his minister's urge to make cuts, he is actually asking the unemployed in Quebec to wait at least another year until the training issue is settled.

Social Program Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, anyone who says this government is not doing anything should look at what we have done since we came to power. The helicopters were out in half an hour. Then we dealt with the problems around article XI at GATT. We dealt with the problems around NAFTA. We dealt with the problem of fraud in the cigarette trade. We brought down a budget. We made cuts, we made changes and we intend to go on being an active and responsible government. I am sure that a year from now, if the Leader of the Opposition is as good as his word, when they have lost their referendum, he will no longer be a member in this House.

Registered Retirement Savings Plans
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

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

The Minister of Finance has intentionally not ruled out the possibility of taxing RRSPs in his next budget. This is what Alain Dubuc, an editorialist at the daily newspaper La Presse , had to say about this:

"-a tax that would affect the living conditions of present and future retirees counting on this income in good faith is immoral."

He goes on to say:

"It is the most outrageous idea conveyed by a minister of finance in a long time."

In the interest of the already overtaxed middle class, I give the Minister of Finance another chance to end the speculation about taxing RRSPs. Can he undertake today not to tax RRSPs in his next budget?

Registered Retirement Savings Plans
Oral Question Period

2:20 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 idea was not conveyed by the Minister of Finance but by Bloc and Reform members who raised it many times here in this House. So if there is a "trial balloon", they are the ones responsible.

Registered Retirement Savings Plans
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the simple fact that he does not automatically rule out this possibility poses an unacceptable threat to middle-income taxpayers.

Does he not agree that it is totally immoral to change the rules in the middle of the game and create a kind of retroactive tax by taxing RRSPs in his next budget?

Registered Retirement Savings Plans
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that the Bloc Quebecois is afraid of listening to Canadians, of a pre-budget process that will be open and of making constructive suggestions. It is very clear that the Bloc has nothing to say to Canadians who want a chance to tell us what they want to do.

Social Reform
Oral Question Period

September 27th, 1994 / 2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, details of the government's social policy review appeared today on the front page of the Globe and Mail . It seems the only place the minister has not discussed details of his much delayed action plan is here on the floor of the House of Commons.

Why is the Minister of Human Resources Development insulting members of Parliament by leaking details of this action plan to the media before presenting it to Parliament?

Social Reform
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is almost a historic moment that someone has accused me of actually talking to the Globe and Mail .

I caution the hon. member and all members that this is a period of time when there are going to be all kinds of speculative stories and reputed leaks. I suggest that the member be patient and simply wait for the real paper and real proposals which will be tabled in the House next week.

Social Reform
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, we appreciate that these are proposals and not just discussion points that the minister has referred to.

The minister boasted at the beginning of this Parliament that he would be introducing an action plan to reform Canada's social program but we have seen this delayed again and again for months.

Has the minister lost his nerve? We want to know, where is the action?

Social Reform
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the action really resides in the will and motivation of the Canadian people to make a fundamental reform and bring about a modern social system based upon real compassion and justice for Canadians.

Presumably during the last election campaign opposition members made certain commitments to their electors ensuring that their points of view would be heard. Therefore I find it exceedingly strange they would be so opposed to any attempt to have real serious dialogue and consultation.

I recommend that the hon. member change her position and turn around and use this as an opportunity to engage Canadians in a very serious debate about the future of this country.