House of Commons Hansard #217 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course I said it is more of a European problem than a Canadian problem. But peacekeeping around the world has been a very proud policy of the Canadian government.

We have had peacekeepers around the world. We initiated peacekeeping during the Suez crisis when Mike Pearson created that solution to solve that very difficult war with Great Britain and France versus Egypt.

Since that time Canadians have always been present at peacekeeping operations. We have been in Cyprus; we have been in the Golan; we have been everywhere there has been a need for Canadian soldiers. There is nothing more satisfying for me when I am travelling to meet with the leaders of other countries than to have them tell me that Canadian troops are always the best.

Youth Unemployment
Oral Question Period

June 13th, 1995 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Finance.

The first victims of an economic slowdown are always young people in low-paying jobs. The situation has continued to deteriorate, since youth unemployment has gone up from 11.2

per cent in 1989 to 16.5 per cent in 1994, an increase of nearly 50 per cent in five years. In Quebec, more than one out of every three unemployed workers are young people.

When we realize that young people are usually in low-paying jobs, how can the Minister of Finance expect to give them any hope, when he has no job creation policy to offer and on top of that, limits their access to unemployment insurance by making them work for at least six months to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits for the first time?

Youth Unemployment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about the unemployment situation among young Canadians. We have always been very concerned about this, even before the economic downturn we are experiencing today. That is why at the beginning of our mandate, the Minister of Human Resources Development put in place a number of programs for the purpose of creating jobs for young people, to provide incentives for them to go back to work or start a career.

Youth Unemployment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister seriously claim that his government has given young unemployed workers hope and the dignity of work, when the unemployment statistics fail to reflect a situation that many are experiencing, and I am referring to the fact that more and more young unemployed workers are on welfare?

Youth Unemployment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member looked at the figures he would see that the unemployment rate for young people is now at its lowest point since 1990 when the recession began.

The job creation measures have helped to bring down the youth unemployment rate by three or four points to its lowest level. In the meantime, to recognize the special importance of young people, in this last year we have increased the direct investment for youth training and youth employment programs from $193 million to $236 million, a net increase in this one year alone. At a time when budgets are very limited and we are facing real fiscal restraint we have increased the investment for young people by $43 million. That means this year we will have 15,000 to 20,000 young people enlisted in various forms of internship programs, the youth service corps and other youth-related programs.

Our commitment to young people admits of no question from the Bloc Quebecois. We are committed to helping our young people get back to work.

Economy
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Lethbridge
Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker Lethbridge

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' February budget based its revenue projections on a GDP growth of 3.8 per cent. The actual growth in the first quarter of 1995 was less than 1 per cent. There is little prospect of improvement in the second quarter. The budget did not plan for a recession.

Is the Minister of Finance willing to admit that his budget forecasts are wrong and that his deficit targets are being threatened?

Economy
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, our deficit targets are not being threatened. At the time we made them we made it very clear that we have brought in both prudent assumptions for growth and for interest rates. We also put in place substantial contingency reserves. I can assure the hon. member that we are on target in terms of the deficit.

The hon. member knows as well that a majority of economists projected strong growth for this year with a decline in growth next year in the United States and consequently in Canada. The view today on the decline that was projected, I believe, is that it is going to occur earlier than expected and that it should lead to an increase in growth next year.

Economy
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Lethbridge
Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker Lethbridge

Mr. Speaker, there is speculation certainly in that answer. I do not think the minister can downplay the current poor economic conditions. A lot of Canadians are very concerned. They are concerned about their jobs. They are not buying houses as they did a few months ago. They are not buying cars. Consumer purchasing is down.

Reform has told the minister that the one thing government could do to restore consumer confidence is to lay out a plan to eliminate the deficit. The minister and the government have not taken our advice.

My supplementary question is for the same minister. What is the plan of the government to restore consumer confidence and avert a recession in the country?

Economy
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 hon. member knows that consumer confidence is not dependent on whether the government provides, as we have decided to do, rolling two year targets in deficit reduction or a longer target.

The member also knows that the credibility of long term targets by Canadian governments has not been all that great. We are the first government in a long time to not only hit its target but to do substantially better. This is the realization of a

government doing what it said it was going to do which is to re-establish confidence in the country. I am very confident.

Yesterday, Gallup polls found that the Canadian people had more confidence in the government's handling of the economy than any government in the last 22 years. That is confidence.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Last weekend, the Bosnian President tried to meet the American President, Bill Clinton, to have the embargo on arms to Bosnia lifted. In the American Senate, a majority of Republicans and Democrats voted in favour of lifting the embargo, but the President is maintaining it for the time being.

Given the importance of maintaining the embargo, did the Prime Minister reiterate the need to maintain it to the President of Bosnia when they met?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I did exactly that on my trip to Sarajevo last June. Speaking on behalf of the French and the English, who knew I was going there, I told the Bosnian Prime Minister himself, in Parliament in Sarajevo, that, for us to maintain our troops there, it was vital the embargo not be lifted.

Our position of last year remains unchanged, and I am pleased to see that the President of the United States respects it.

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister's position is clear on the embargo, how does he explain the fact that, 48 hours before the start of the C-7 Summit, Canada has yet to decide on its participation in the rapid reaction force, which is to be debated at the G-7 Summit in Halifax?

Bosnia
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have expressed the government's position, which is that we are not keen to take part in this new initiative. We have said so to our partners. We are still looking at the proposal.

We want to know exactly what form the force will take, what the chain of command will be and what the relationship will be with the UN. We still lack satisfactory answers on many points, and so are not prepared to make a commitment.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Don Valley North, ON

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

The government has been restoring hope and prosperity by fulfilling commitments made in the red book. One of those commitments on page 22 involves replacing and eliminating the GST.

Will the Minister of Finance outline the progress that has been made with respect to the GST? Is he any closer to seeing this commitment implemented?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 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 member for Don Valley North has shown a great interest in this subject, as has the Prime Minister.

As the member knows, there is tremendous support for harmonization among consumers and among small business. Already there are tremendous savings from greater efficiency.

The problem has been that a number of the provincial governments have not seen the same degree of urgency. I am glad to say that we have had a number of very fruitful meetings with a number of the provincial governments. There is no doubt that we are progressing.

In the last budget in Quebec, there was virtual harmonization realized. We have all seen the public statements of premier elect Harris to the effect of his interest.

When the hon. member for Don Valley North goes back to Toronto, if he sees premier-elect Harris, he can tell him that as soon as he names his finance minister, whoever he or she may be, I will meet them here in Ottawa, Toronto, Nipissing or I will meet the new finance minister in the member's office in Don Valley North.