House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was promise.

Topics

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again, what is the emptiness are we talking about, when we enjoy the finest quality of life in the world, one envied, by not just millions but billions of people who would dearly love to share our emptiness with us, that emptiness which Quebecers and other Canadians have worked together to build? Will they turn their backs on that to launch into a project fraught with uncertainty, a project that is ill-defined, a project that is aimed at division and not at the open-mindedness which Quebecers and other Canadians have within them and wish to preserve for themselves and their children?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is the Prime Minister's new strategy: he has his party adopt a resolution on a vague concept of distinct society which he will trot out across the country, saying it means nothing to English Canada and means a lot to Quebec, and all this for the sole purpose of fostering illusions among the electorate. This is so vague, it is just playing for time by lulling people to sleep. It is just a way to save the ship once again until the next election.

Will the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs admit that this resolution on distinct society is just another way to gain time and get through the next election without having to explain that they have done nothing and once again run an election campaign on the basis of so-called promises of change?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our federation is changing, it is changing for the better and in such a way that it will be able to provide Canadians with a better quality of life. It is changing because we now have the lowest interest rates ever, a low inflation rate, and we are creating jobs.

It is changing in that it is clarifying the roles of various levels of government, to have a federal government that is strong in its particular jurisdictions and provincial governments that are strong in theirs, and a strong partnership between these two levels of government.

This federation is also changing in that it recognizes the place of Quebec in the federation, through a resolution adopted in this House or as expressed in a resolution by the Liberal Party of Canada adopted on the weekend, whose purpose is to convince Canadians that recognition of Quebec in the Constitution would be one of the fundamental values of Canada, something Canadians could do in full confidence.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in that case, what explanation does the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs have for his comments on the weekend, when he said that a distinct society involves no concrete or specific powers for Quebec?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that was never mentioned. Does the hon. member know what Meech Lake said about this? "Nothing in this section derogates from the powers, rights or privileges of Parliament or the Government of Canada, or of the legislatures or governments of the provinces, including any powers, rights or privileges relating to language".

Canadians in the other provinces would not be sending more power, money or privileges to Quebec but a joyous signal, a positive signal to show how much they want Quebecers to remain in Canada and, by their distinctness, be part of this great Canadian diversity.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says that Liberals will have to fight arrogance, overspending, overconfidence and complacency.

It is a losing battle. The unemployment rate is hovering around 10 per cent and yet the Liberals claim that they have kept their promise of jobs, jobs, jobs. Just in case we had any doubts, the Liberals now have sent out 1.4 million flyers entitled "Integrity in

Action" in an attempt to gloss over their dismal record on jobs. This is arrogance in action, certainly not integrity.

My question is for the Prime Minister. However, I am not sure who to ask over there today. Wasn't that a party? How can the Prime Minister even imagine that he has kept his promise on jobs, jobs, jobs?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the applause and the welcome. I hope I will get equal applause after my answer.

The facts speak for themselves: since this government took office, more than 600,000 new jobs have been created; the unemployment rate has gone down by some 2 per cent. There is a lot more to do but we are going to do it because we are keeping and will continue to keep our commitment to help create jobs for Canadians.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, when they talk about 600,000 jobs gained, they never seem to say how many hundred thousand jobs have been lost since this government's inaction.

While we are on the topic of Liberal arrogance, let us take a look at the government's record on health care funding. Surely that answer will not be quite as easy.

At the Liberal love-in over the weekend, the Prime Minister tried to downplay his government's cuts to medicare by saying that it was simply a squeeze. I do not know how he could call that a squeeze. It seems it was a choke hold with a body slam thrown in. The Canadian Medical Association-

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not think I heard a question, but I know it is coming.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, you will hear it now. Will they admit that $3 billion of cuts in health care is hardly the Liberal way? Will they admit they have gone too far with their slashing? Will this government commit to putting more federal money back into health care, as it promised in the sixties?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this is one for the record books. The party that wanted to wipe out medicare and privatize it is today calling for the preservation of medicare. I am glad its members realize the importance of it and have come around to supporting this key Liberal commitment.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, each hospital in this country that has empty beds should have a banner over it saying: "This brought to you by the Liberal Government of Canada". That is shameful.

I am surprised the Prime Minister will not make any firm funding commitments because in his keynote speech on the weekend he seemed all too eager to get back to his free spending, big government Liberal roots.

The real reason why the Prime Minister rejects any talk of tax relief is that he would rather spend taxes than cut taxes. The best way to create jobs in this country is to balance the budget and lower taxes through smaller government.

Why will they not give Canadians some tax relief, not tax increases?. Why is it that Liberals always think a dollar in the hands of a bureaucrat or a politician does more good than a dollar in the hands of the Canadian taxpayer where it belongs?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I can ask my hon. friend why the Reform Party always thinks that Canadians doing things together through government is worse than not working together to have a better country. Surely having a better country through a sound fiscal framework as well as government doing things for all Canadians is better than the Reform approach of slash, burn and destroy.