House of Commons Hansard #254 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements
Oral Question Period

November 3rd, 1995 / 11:35 a.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government collects money from taxpayers in Quebec and other provinces. It then spends that money, after keeping some of it, on programs for manpower training, for immigration settlement and a whole range of programs, all with lots of strings attached that the provinces do not like.

My question is for any minister responsible for such spending programs. For the sake of unity, why do not the ministers responsible for this spending simply call up their counterparts in the provinces and say: "As of the first of next month we will send you the money, totally without strings attached, for you to spend any way in which you wish for the sake of unity"?

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have to remind members of the third party that we were elected by Canadians like they were and Canadians did not ask us to implement every desire of the premiers of the provinces.

They asked us to act in their interests by spending the taxes we collect from all Canadians for the benefit of all Canadians, not for the benefit of province a , b or c , in particular, but within province a , b or c , for the benefit of all Canadians. This is how we differ from provincial governments.

In this case the question to be asked is are the interests of Canadians being served well? The record is clear. The country we have created is the proof. As the federal government we have been serving Canadians right. There are some fields where the powers of the various levels of government must be reassigned. But it must be done for reasons of efficiency and service to citizens, not for reasons of ideology.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question did not reveal ideology. It reveals a new position in which this country is finding itself, one over which the last election was not fought. At that time we did not know how strongly

Quebecers felt about their desire to have control over these kinds of spending programs.

The ball game has changed. I would like to get to the question of spending another $750 million on yet another program that not only we cannot afford but also impinges on provincial sovereignty, namely spending on day care facilities.

When will the Minister of Finance cancel the program that not only destroys national unity, but ruins spending programs?

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a great deal of discussion in the House in the last few days about democracy. One clear responsibility of a democratic system is to respond to the desires of people as they express them at the ballot box.

In the last election in 1993 this party put forward a proposal for assistance to the provinces to enhance child care. In that way we could ensure a basic standard of development for children right across Canada regardless of the respective wealth of different regions. We want to ensure that in this new workplace where many families have both parents working, where there are many single parents who want to go back to work that need good care for their children, the federal government would provide assistance. The government does not want to impinge, does not want to take over. It wants to share, as we have always tried to do in this party.

In 1993 we received the mandate of 178 seats elected. That is why we are the government. That is why we intend to carry out a major investment in child care. It may not be the priority of the Reform Party but we happen to think that good care for children is a real priority for all Canadians.

Canadian Telephone Companies
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

As we know, several telephone companies ignored the CRTC's ruling or ban and allowed tens of thousands of Canadians to phone, at no cost, Quebecers to influence their vote on sovereignty.

Can the minister tell the House what penalties might be imposed to the telephone companies that violated the Quebec referendum act and ignored the CRTC's ruling?

Canadian Telephone Companies
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, this really is a question for the CRTC. At this point, we do not have all the facts. As the hon. member knows, the CRTC made a ruling last Friday regarding the special rates announced by the telephone companies. That ruling should have been complied with by those companies.

Canadian Telephone Companies
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell the House whether he intends to make sure that this issue will not be shelved and that these telephone companies will be given the maximum penalty, so that they do not again ignore the CRTC's rulings?

Canadian Telephone Companies
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the request that the member puts to me is one that is not within my powers.

I find it surprising that the separatist movement is so frightened that Quebecers would hear the true views of Canadians from across the country that they want to put up walls around their province to keep those voices out.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, we both know and a lot of Canadians know there are a lot of problems in this country, not the least of which are the high levels of taxation and the huge debt this finance minister is proud to add to at the rate $37.5 billion per year.

He said this on Wednesday: "This is a marked improvement in the fiscal situation and one which illustrates that making forecasts based on prudent assumptions will pay off. This is another good news report".

I am glad his family business is in trust because if he ran his business the way he runs the country he would be broke.

When will the finance minister do the responsible thing and present a balanced budget to all Canadians?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would have thought the hon. member would take some comfort in the fact that for the first time in over a decade we have a government that is capable of hitting its targets which is obviously very important in establishing the credibility of one's position.

At the same time we have indicated that the best way to control spending, the best way of keeping government's feet to the fire, is to operate on the basis of a set of rolling two-year targets. That is a process which clearly works and is one that we continue.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me try to keep the finance minister's feet to the fire.

Two years ago I ran to get rid of a government that ran up a $38 billion deficit. Here we are two years later and nothing has changed. We are still bringing in deficits in the $35 billion to $38 billion range.

Once again for the good of Canada, for the good of the global market, when will this finance minister-if he is not capable, step aside-present a budget that is clear, that sets out a target as to when we will be at a zero deficit? When will he quit adding to the problem and quit playing his games with our future?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the deficit number two years ago that we inherited was not $38 billion. It was $42.5 billion. We improved on it by $4.5 billion.

For the good of Canada, for the good of global markets, could the member opposite please get his numbers right.

Refloating The Irving Whale
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of the Environment. Early this week, the intrepid Minister of the Environment took advantage of the absence of Bloc members to accuse them of obstructing her plan to refloat the Irving Whale . The truth is, the minister is so incompetent that she is desperately looking for a scape goat to hide her own inability to find a safe solution to the problem of the Irving Whale .

Would the minister agree it is high time she showed some flexibility and agreed to appoint a panel of independent experts who would be able to find a safe solution that would take into account the presence of PCBs aboard the barge, something she has failed to do so far?

Refloating The Irving Whale
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we do have a safe solution. We plan to refloat the barge next spring, despite the official opposition which is still obstructing this plan and always has.

Refloating The Irving Whale
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Now look, it was the courts, not us. Really, now.