House of Commons Hansard #278 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

Tax Point Transfers
Oral Question Period

2:45 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 Quebec government's proposal will not eliminate overlap and duplication. Mrs. Marois was proposing a tax point transfer that, given Quebec's expenditures, would be exorbitant.

At the same time, if we look at the possibility of transferring tax points to all the provinces, it must be said that Quebec would lose out. This formula would benefit wealthier provinces such as Alberta and Ontario, but not Quebec. I should add that Mrs. Marois did not talk about equalization, which is a very important element of federal transfers to Quebec.

Tax Point Transfers
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec finance minister's proposal has but one objective: to stop his government's drastic cuts on the backs of the most disadvantaged in our society. That is all.

If it is not to ensure visibility at the expense of services to the public, how does the minister explain that, in the area of job training, his government's decentralization effort is limited to sending cheques clearly identified with a maple leaf directly to the unemployed, thus bypassing the Quebec government?

Tax Point Transfers
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am a little surprised that the hon. member has raised the issue of training, since the Minister of Human Resources Development met with his counterpart, Mrs. Harel, only yesterday

to discuss the offer. This is a very open and practically revolutionary offer from the federal government, not only to transfer responsibilities to Quebec, but also to really work together to better train our workers.

Radio-Canada International
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians are upset by the announced closure of Radio-Canada International.

I would like to ask the Minister of Heritage: What is the justification for this closure and how will the government replace this excellent means of publicizing Canada in eight languages in 126 countries for only $16 million per year? What can the minister do to save this important service?

Radio-Canada International
Oral Question Period

December 14th, 1995 / 2:45 p.m.

Laval West
Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the CBC has made its position known with respect to RCI in the context of budgetary restraints.

The government, however, is waiting for the mandate review committee to report. The report will make decisions both on the future of international activities of the CBC and on the future budget of the CBC.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, this morning when the minister of immigration announced the government's plan to deal with the defaulted sponsorship obligations, he said that he did not support the use of bonds as it was unfair to require the money in advance, up front.

However, the minister did not address the use of non-cash surety bonds. Considering the great expense for the taxpayer in pursuing defaulted sponsorship through the courts, would the minister not agree that the use of these bonds would be a more cost effective way of ensuring compliance with the terms of sponsorship?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the member started her press conference by suggesting that the government's package and the government's actions were very much on the right course. After some reflection and after some hint, she comes to the House of Commons and suggests that perhaps a bond is the way to go.

We have the right package, the right mix. We reflected on the bond and believe it is far preferable to proceed with this package, keeping in mind that some 85 per cent to 90 per cent of sponsors who undertake a sponsorship agreement live up to their end of the bargain. The question became: How do we address the remaining 10 per cent, the few who abuse, and try to make the few fewer?

That is why we are tightening eligibility. That is why we are tightening abuse to social programs. That is why we are enforcing the enforcement side of the procedures. We also said that should these procedures not work, and we believe they will, at that time we can contemplate additional action.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, while the minister states his government's intentions to deal with defaulted obligations, he still faces a very major hurdle with the IRB, the Immigration and Refugee Board. I remind the minister of a decision it made with Mohammed Assaf, who was permitted to sponsor his second wife despite being $32,000 in arrears.

What is the value of the initiative that he announced earlier today when the IRB is deliberately undermining his department's objectives?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, one case does not make a good law.

The member agreed with the direction of the government's package today. We consulted all the provinces. We always hear from that side of the House, the apologists usually for the provinces. In this case each province suggested that the federal government not introduce a bond at this time.

Therefore, in the best interest of co-operative federalism, this package was developed in concert with the provinces, which the hon. member always suggests we do. I wish her and her colleagues a merry Christmas.

Telecommunications
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry. Recently, the industry and heritage ministers took drastic measures to create a competitive environment in the satellite broadcasting industry.

Next week, the government must render its decision regarding the appeal filed by the Stentor group, which is asking for the elimination of the privileges provided in the regulations and tariffs for other telecommunication companies affiliated with American giants such as Unitel, Sprint, Fonorolla, regarding competitive services such as long distance calls.

Will the government take measures to ensure that companies that are 100 per cent Canadian can enjoy the same regulations and tariffs as companies affiliated with an American partner?

Telecommunications
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I understand the question as it relates to competition. As the hon. member knows, our policy is to promote competition. We set up a system for satellite and telephone services that promotes competition, so as to reduce costs for users and improve the choice of services for consumers.

In the next short period of time we will be moving to license companies that will be introducing a new range of personal communication services. It will provide additional competition not just in those new services but for existing cellular providers as well.

Telecommunications
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously the minister did not understand my question.

I asked him if the government would pledge to ensure that companies that are 100 per cent Canadian would be subjected to the same regulations and tariffs as American companies concerning long distance calls, without having to go to the CRTC.

I have a second question I would also like him to answer. Why is it that Canadian companies do not have access to the American market in the same way that American telecommunication companies have access to the Canadian market, and will the minister pledge to contact his counterpart, Mickey Kantor, to settle the whole issue?

Telecommunications
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first let me thank the hon. member for her question. In fact she highlights the point that Canada has one of the most open and liberal telecommunications markets in the world.

Just last spring the vice-president of the United States stated that the U.S. was prepared to offer reciprocal treatment to countries with an open investment climate. For our part, we have allowed 20 per cent foreign control at the operating company level and 33.3 per cent at the holding company level. We are still awaiting reciprocity from the United States.

The member will know that international forum discussions are under way, leading to a general agreement on trade and services. I assure her that the government stands committed not only to open trade in telecommunication services but to ensuring that Canadian firms have as much access to the U.S. market as U.S. firms have enjoyed to the Canadian market.

Correctional Service Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General of Canada. I have been reviewing the latest Correctional Service Canada amended version of the commissioner's directives. Apparently inmates who are "unemployed because no program assignment is available" are entitled to level one pay.

While ordinary Canadians receive a lump of coal for Christmas by way of UI cuts, I would like to ask the solicitor general why awarding his own special UI for murderers, rapists and other prisoners behind bars is such a sensible thing.

Correctional Service Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the system for the pay of inmates is currently under review. It is the intention to make changes in the levels of pay available to prisoners, which is basically something based on the work they do and the courses they take.

I thank the hon. member for his point. I will certainly see that it is brought to the attention of the staff of Correctional Service Canada.