House of Commons Hansard #186 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Canada's Credit Rating
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is joking about the serious and even catastrophic situation of Canada's public finances.

Canada's Credit Rating
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Absolutely.

Canada's Credit Rating
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canada's Credit Rating
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Does the Prime Minister realize that if the government's credit rating is cut in spite of the sustained economic recovery, it is because Moody's was not fooled by the wait-and-see policy of its government, which is content to rely on short-term economic recovery, which passes its deficit on to the provinces, and which lets the $550 billion debt grow by the minute, instead of tackling the real problems? This is the real situation.

Canada's Credit Rating
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, just today, the International Monetary Fund released a report indicating that Canada's economic performance is one of the best in the world. Three weeks ago, when I was in Washington, I had the opportunity to meet the director general of the IMF who congratulated me on the Minister of Finance's budget.

One agency did make a negative assessment, but the vast majority of credit rating agencies and observers, and particularly the markets, gave good marks to the Canadian government, following the budget tabled at the end of February.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the last budget the immigration minister decided to levy a new $975 tax on refugees and immigrants to pay for settlement services. He said that those who could not afford this tax would be loaned the money to cover the costs.

How does the immigration minister intend to pay for the massive bureaucracy which will be necessary to administer the loans that pay for the tax? It is a tax because it is going into general revenue.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the $975 that was announced by the Minister of Finance on budget night is a landing fee and a recovery of program costs. The member should know that all cost recovery fees of the entire federal government go into general revenue.

The member seems to be arguing. When it came out he and his party were in favour. Then at committee they said they were opposed if it went into general revenues and not into the department, which really does not impact the bottom line.

The fact is that the landing fee is the best way of ensuring that settlement for immigrants and refugees continues. It is the best option of a series of alternatives that were certainly not as progressive.

I would like to know on any given day where the Reform Party stands on this issue.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the truth be known, the collection services of this government are disastrous. It cannot even look after the sponsorship agreements.

Only this minister could see the logic in expanding a bureaucracy to administer loans to finance a tax to offset runaway immigration costs when the money does not go into the immigration department at all.

Why did this minister choose to expand the size and cost of his immigration empire and impose a new tax when he could have easily cut the number of immigrants who require settlement services and make those who need them pay their own way like other countries do?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, now we get to the true Reform agenda, hiding behind some fictitious tax.

It is not going to increase the so-called empire. If the member does his parliamentary homework, he will note that in the estimates there are no such increases that the member speaks of. We already collect a transportation loan from refugees.

He talks about payback. Let me tell the hon. member that since 1951 refugees have paid back the transportation loans of $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 to the tune of 97 per cent. There is no increase in the bureaucracy.

Telecommunications
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the heritage minister. Recently,

the president of Power DirecTv issued an ultimatum to the government saying: "If you do not take any action by April 24, we will have to cancel our plans". This means that the federal government intends to overturn a CRTC decision by order in council.

Can the heritage minister tell us whether there is any justification for his government's eagerness to bulldoze the CRTC on the issue of satellite TV other than to please the government's friends who are legion at Power Corporation?

Telecommunications
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, it is a concern we also have regarding the information highway.

On numerous occasions, we have stated that we favour a competitive system. It is not very clear whether Bloc members are for or against competition or for a transparent satellite broadcasting licensing system; however, it is clear that nearly all the comments on the report presented to the government on April 6 have been positive. Probably the most significant critics came from Power Corporation, which was not very happy with the report.

Telecommunications
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the heritage minister.

How can the minister deny that there is now a possibility for Power DirecTv to do like Expressvu and broadcast via satellite? This is to abide by the CRTC's ruling.

Why then prevent Expressvu from broadcasting and make it go through a different process just for the sake of pleasing Power DirecTv?

Telecommunications
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member, when she thinks about it, will realize that it is better to have a process in place such as that for licensing other concerns which is transparent, open to public discussion and debate, and open to appeal, rather than the indirect method of an exemption order that was applied by the CRTC in this case. One of the reasons we referred the matter to the panel of experts was in order for them to look at the question of what the process was and whether it was an adequate process.

I think in the end the hon. member will agree that the application for licensing, if indeed we introduce the order proposed by the panel of experts, is one which will give an opportunity to everyone meeting certain qualifications which are very consistent with those that apply to cable television operators for example. It will provide funding for Canadian culture and other endeavours to be pursued by everyone interested in providing this kind of service.

Telecommunications Industry
Oral Question Period

April 24th, 1995 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

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

A month ago Bell Canada announced the elimination of approximately 10,000 jobs. Recently we were informed of financial difficulties at Unitel which could lead to more layoffs. In light of these developments, what is the government's position on competition in the Canadian telecommunications market?

Telecommunications Industry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, once again I want to restate the commitment the government has in this sector broadly to competition as being the best means of ensuring that we have the lowest prices, the broadest possible choice, and the greatest range of innovation.

This is a sector which perhaps of all sectors is one of the most globally competitive. It is one of the ones that is most important as a component to costs in Canadian business and therefore a competitive structure is one that commends itself to us.

At the same time of course we share the concerns that I am sure the hon. member is representing in realizing that a lot of firms are going to go through adjustment periods and perhaps in many cases will be downsizing. I believe it is a temporary phenomenon. In time the number of jobs created in the information technology sector is going to far outweigh the number of jobs that are lost in the short term adjustment period.