House of Commons Hansard #268 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Diabetes Awareness Month
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to remind members of the House that November has been proclaimed Diabetes Awareness Month by the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Over one million Canadians including many members of my own family have diabetes, a major cause of premature death, blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, limb amputation and other significant health problems. The chances of having diabetes increase with age. It affects more than 13 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 65 and 74.

The Canadian Diabetes Association supports diabetes research and provides a wide range of services for and on behalf of persons with diabetes and their families. I am proud to say the federal government also plays an important role by supporting diabetes research, with the Medical Research Council of Canada being the country's largest contributor to diabetes research.

I ask the House to join with me in wishing the Canadian Diabetes Association and its many volunteers a very successful Diabetes Awareness Month.

Renewal Of Canadian Federalism
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the dawning of a new age. During the referendum campaign, the government promised change. Now, change is under way. First, the members of this House are to vote on recognizing Quebec as a distinct society with its own language, culture and legal tradition.

Also, we have before us today a bill granting a veto to Quebec, to the people of Quebec, and to the other regions of Canada. This makes for a great start. That is what I call delivering the goods. And we must continue to ensure that the changes contemplated also apply to our way of doing things. In the context of these changes, I urge all hon. members of this House, regardless of their political

affiliation, to work at making this country of ours, Canada, the country of all Quebecers and all Canadians.

Peter Jacobs
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, Peter Jacobs has lived almost all his life in Kahnawake. He was adopted at the age of three weeks and has contributed to this Mohawk community for 40 years. Even though he is a status Indian under the Indian Act, Mr. Jacobs has now been excluded from the register by a Kahnawake band council resolution that in effect has stripped him of his status as a member of this band and of entitlement to all related rights.

Without prejudging a highly technical issue currently before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the members of the Bloc Quebecois would like to express their strong disagreement with this act of discrimination and exclusion, which would appear to be based on race and ethnic origin.

Leader Of The Opposition
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine
Québec

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Parliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it seems that Quebecers will once again have to pay for the lack of courage and conviction of the person who let them down almost one month before the failure of Meech. In a speech befitting a never ending soap opera, the leader of the opposition said once again yesterday that he will not support the recognition of Quebec as a distinct society.

The Bloc Quebecois leader refuses to accept Canada's offer to co-operate, preferring to concentrate on his emotional speeches, in which he keeps crying over old stories of humiliation and rejection. Quebecers are discovering, regretfully and somewhat late, that the person who is asking them to put their confidence in him is only interested in his career and imminent crowning as Quebec's Premier. Unfortunately, he refuses to acknowledge the consensus among Quebecers to be recognized as a distinct society and to have a veto power within the Canadian federation.

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

November 30th, 1995 / 2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in an all out attack against the federal government, Premier McKenna of New Brunswick, a faithful ally of the Canadian Prime Minister, strongly condemned the UI reform proposals.

Mr. McKenna warned that by directly targeting workers in Eastern Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, these reforms will create what he referred to as "an unprecedented political backlash". Mr. McKenna's scathing attack is similar to the stand of the official opposition on the new cuts in unemployment insurance Ottawa is about to make.

Does the Minister of Human Resources Development agree that, as stated by the Premier of New Brunswick, these new cuts will come down hard on seasonal workers in Eastern Quebec and the Atlantic provinces?

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, once again the Leader of the Opposition, as he has done so many times in the past, is exaggerating the comments.

We had a very useful meeting with the Atlantic premiers. We were able to deal with many of the concerns they raised. If the hon. leader of the opposition were more careful in his research and analysis he would know that when they came out of the meeting they actually said they found the approach we are taking to be quite praiseworthy and one they wanted to support.

I would like to quote Premier McKenna directly: "Several features of the reform will be very positive in terms of making it worth while to work and there are a number of elements of the reform that we find praiseworthy". Mr. McKenna, after having had the opportunity to find out the real direction and approach we want to take, as opposed to all the suppositions, allegations, and paranoia the leader of the opposition puts forward, actually finds this to be something he finds praiseworthy.

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I have not met Mr. McKenna recently, but I saw reports in the newspapers this morning that he condemned the minister's reforms and warned they would create an unprecedented political backlash. And I am fully aware of the fact that Mr. McKenna is a Liberal like the minister himself, so he cannot be accused of being soft on policy.

I want to ask the minister whether he realizes that young people and women will be the main victims of his reforms, since these will tighten UI criteria by substantially increasing the number of hours and weeks worked.

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Leader of the Opposition once again totally contradicts himself.

When he made his announcement that he would become leader of the Parti Quebecois and the future premier of Quebec, he said he had one major ambition, jobs, and he wants to work with people to do this. That is our ambition as well, to transform a system that has been around for 50 years and over the years has developed a number of problems in terms of giving people the tools and the opportunities and the encouragement to go to work. That is why we are changing the system, so we can help people go to work.

I say to the hon. Leader of the Opposition if he believes, as he said he did during the referendum campaign, in "partnership", I am prepared to be a partner with the hon. Leader of the Opposition when he becomes premier. I would like to work with him to create jobs for Quebecers. I ask him, is he prepared to be a partner with us in creating good, serious jobs for Quebecers once he becomes the premier of Quebec?

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the minister tells us his reforms are intended to create jobs. Would he agree that, in fact, his reforms are intended to get people off unemployment insurance so they will have to go on welfare, all of which will add to the bill the provinces will have to pay?

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in fact they will not. There will be a number of initiatives that will help people who now find themselves without the tools or resources to get back into the workforce. They will be given that opportunity.

I would point out that unlike the minister of social security in the Government of Quebec, who cut back welfare payments and took away the very incentive, the very resources, the very income being used to help people on social assistance to go back to work, we are attempting through the reform and modernization of the employment insurance system to give those tools back to people so they can go back to work.

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The Globe and Mail reported this morning, in even greater detail, how much the second so-called UI reform package is out of touch with the labour market, where precarious jobs are no longer the exception but rather the rule.

In fact, the UI reform will discourage young people by making it harder to qualify for benefits, with work requirements going from 12 fifteen hour weeks to 14 thirty-five hour weeks, even in the regions hardest hit by unemployment.

Does the Minister of Human Resources Development confirm that one of the first and most painful effects of his reform will be to ensure to an even greater degree that thousands of young people, who often can find only precarious jobs, are excluded?

Unemployment Insurance 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, I will be tabling in the House of Commons tomorrow the full details of the new employment insurance package.

We will be, as part of our courtesy, giving a full briefing to the hon. member and other members of the opposition. We intend to extend coverage for unemployment insurance, to take into consideration the new workplace, where there is a lot more part time work, a lot more multiple jobs, a lot more people dealing in a workplace that has a lot more flexibility to it.

That is part of the problem with the existing system. It was designed 50 years ago. It does not accommodate the new world of work we are into. That was one of the key recommendations of the committee that studied it, of which the member was a part. The committee recommended that we find a system that more accurately fits the reality of the new world of work. That is what we have done.

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister had briefed the official opposition and the third party first, before briefing every member of the media in town, we would not have to rely on what journalists say. At least, journalists are doing a good job. And I doubt there would be any evidence to the contrary.

Here is my question: Does the minister not realize that by making it even more difficult to have access to UI, a fact confirmed by every information leak, he will force onto welfare a good many women who are desperately trying to find a way out of poverty?

Unemployment Insurance 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, please excuse me if I allow myself to smile. The hon. member is complaining about the fact that we were briefing journalists.

It was the hon. member who week after week was waving papers, studies, and leaked reports from her friends in the CSN who purported to know what was in the report. If anybody is responsible for the misinformation about the new program, it is the hon. member for Mercier. She is the one who has been responsible.

Fortunately tomorrow the hon. member will have an opportunity to see what the program is really all about.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has tabled its package of proposals for Quebec, which lo and behold have been rejected by the PQ Government of Quebec and by the future premier of Quebec.

In advance of the next referendum, will the government also be taking other steps? Will it table not only the proposals it has tabled for positive change, but will it also make clear to Quebec in published documents the likely terms and conditions of separation and the real costs of separation?