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

Liberal Party
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, after the weekend Liberal policy convention we now know how the government develops its policies. It consults empty chairs and empty rooms which pose no difficult questions, resulting in perfect harmony. For the real tough questions Liberals look to the Prime Minister's wife for answers.

A big problem with the Liberal government is that it has placed the wrong ministers in their respective portfolios. For example, the justice minister should be switched to agriculture. Then farmers would be out of prison farming and the real criminals might be behind bars. The heritage minister and the finance minister should reverse their roles so that the CBC could survive the cuts and report to the nation the moment the Liberal government has spent us into bankruptcy. When this happens, they will just look for the minister with the credit cards.

The Liberals swing to the left, they swing to the right and sooner or later they will swing out of sight.

The President Of France
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, anyone who is well informed and honest cannot help but admire French President Jacques Chirac's courage. He acted with conviction and firmness to support the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations.

It is unusual for a head of state to come and take a personal look at a situation like that of the Palestinians. He is convinced that the peace process can succeed if the parties comply with the terms of the Oslo agreement providing for Palestinian self-government on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He is asking the Palestinians primarily to resist the temptation of violence, despite the stalling of the peace process and the frustrations and humiliations they must face every day.

Middle East
Statements By Members

October 28th, 1996 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Middle East peace process is much like a long journey, waiting for that small first step in order to begin. Yet such as step is there for the taking.

This week marks the fifth anniversary of Israeli airman Ron Arad's joining the ranks of soldiers missing in action. He is not alone. There are a host of other MIAs who have been awaiting release since 1982. Their families have been calling for their liberation but to little avail.

It is time that their captors heeded the expressions of concern on their behalf forwarded by the global community and, in particular, by Canada. On a humanitarian basis, their release is long overdue. Moreover, such action would contribute substantially to peace initiatives since the release of MIAs would represent a powerful confidence building measure.

From a social and political perspective the return of MIAs makes sense. Canada should generate a chorus of like minded countries to urge Iran, Syria and others capable of affecting the repatriation of MIAs to act without delay.

Liberal Party
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the delegates at the national Liberal convention held in Ottawa this past weekend have achieved a consensus on a number of important issues.

It should be noted that our government's deficit reduction strategy has received overwhelming endorsement from convention delegates. Diversion tactics such as tax reductions, as attractive as they may be in the short term, would jeopardize the government's fiscal health.

Liberals from all over the country have chosen to support a strategy that will lead to the complete elimination of the deficit by the turn of this century. That is how we will ensure job creation, sustainable social programs and real economic recovery.

Liberal Party
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Harold Culbert Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend Liberal delegates from across Canada assembled in Ottawa for the 1996 biennial convention. Convention delegates were united in their support and encouraged the government to stay the course for continued success in deficit reduction.

The government is on track to meet or better its deficit target of $24.3 billion or 3 per cent of GDP this current year; $17 billion in 1997-98 and in 1998-99 the deficit target is $9 billion or approximately 1 per cent of GDP. This means it will no longer need to go to the financial markets for new borrowing requirements.

Interest rates are as low as they have been in 30 years. Inflation is under control and the government's number one priority of job creation is working as business and industry create thousands of new jobs across Canada.

We will be faced with new challenges that we will accept and overcome as we have to date while building a better tomorrow for all Canadians.

Liberal Party
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, here are the ten most often heard phrases at the Liberal Party convention this weekend.

  1. Policy? What policy? We're here to party.

  2. I can't speak to that resolution. I forgot the Liberal Party script back in my hotel room.

  3. Hello, are you a regular party delegate, or are you a lobbyist?

  4. Let's not offer Quebecers a better Canada. Let's just try to buy their support.

  5. How do you get that boot polish off your tongue?

  6. I know that gagging sound will go away, just keep forcing that distinct society down their throats.

  7. The minister of youth didn't actually do anything wrong. She just made a mistake when she bought a fur coat on her government credit card.

  8. Will that be Chablis or Chardonnay?

  9. Liberals believe that Canadians don't need or deserve tax relief.

And the number one most heard phrase at the Liberal Party convention this weekend was the Minister of Finance repeating: "I want to be Prime Minister. I want to be Prime Minister. Pleeease let me be Prime Minister".

Liberal Party
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, Liberal delegates from across the country met over the weekend to discuss their party's platform in the next election campaign.

They passed resolutions on job creation, youth, child poverty, health, social security, pensions, the environment, safety, aboriginal people, citizenship and immigration, to name but a few.

The federal Liberals have reaffirmed their deep commitment to the values of social solidarity, sharing and tolerance.

As the Prime Minister told the delegates in his speech at the convention, the Liberal Party is a party of the center. The Liberal vision of Canada is one of justice, equality and responsibility. And it is this positive and dynamic vision that we will be proposing to the voters in the next election.

Liberal Party
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in their typically arrogant way, last weekend, the Liberals wrote their own report card on their so-called brilliant performance since the Grits' return to Ottawa.

The Liberals gave themselves a score of 78 per cent, after getting elected on a platform of jobs, jobs, jobs and doing nothing since; after promising in 1993 to abolish the GST and finding nothing better to do than have the Deputy Prime Minister temporarily resign and then apologize for having failed to fulfil their commitment; and after promising to put the government's fiscal house in order but merely cutting funding to the most disadvantaged members of our society and shovelling the deficit in the provinces' backyards.

One year to the day after the Quebec referendum, there is no reason to applaud this government's achievements in this respect. At their convention over the weekend, the Liberals swept aside the embarrassing issue of the constitutional debate, no doubt to make sure they got a passing grade.

In fact, the only 78 per cent score the Liberals deserve today is for the act they put on at their convention.

Poverty
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the days prior to the Liberals meeting and convention in Ottawa, the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops released a report on poverty.

That report is a listing of the dismay felt by Canadians about the level of poverty in this country. Certainly the Liberals should have been dealing with that issue during their convention. Seven hundred thousand people have joined the ranks of the poor since this government took office.

The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops talked about jobs as being one of the key elements in ensuring we can eliminate poverty. Creating jobs deals with problems within aboriginal communities. Creating jobs deals with matters in our urban environment. Creating jobs helps to ensure a better economy for rural Canadians.

The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops has sounded an alarm of which the Liberals have to stand and take note. I urge them to pay attention to that. I urge all Canadians to ask for the creation of jobs.

Health Care
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, our health care system is one of Canada's proudest achievements. Based on the belief that every Canadian has the right to receive the care he or she needs, our health care system is an affirmation of Canada's commitment to human dignity, compassion and collective well-being.

Over the past few months, it has become clear that the Liberal Party is the only party willing to protect this very important component of Canadian society.

The Reform Party has no qualms about supporting user fees and creating a two-tiered health care system, putting the burden of being sick squarely on the shoulders of those most in need.

The Tories want all Canadians to pay up to $2,000 a year for private health insurance in case you suffer the misfortune of becoming ill.

Meanwhile at the 1996 Liberal Party biennial convention this past weekend resolution after resolution was passed upholding the five principles of the Canada Health Act to ensure access to quality health care for all.

When it comes to health care, Canadians know who they can trust.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will not comment. The Liberal convention was pretty rough this weekend. I will not go further than that, in order to stay within the rules.

The Prime Minister has spent the past few days applauding his own performance as Prime Minister. He even said that he had done enough for Quebec, as far as his referendum promises were concerned.

My question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. How can he explain the Prime Minister's statement about having done enough as far as his referendum commitments are concerned, when the majority of Quebecers are dissatisfied with his job, a majority which includes the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, the leader of the Conservative Party, and some of those who backed the Prime Minister in his referendum promises and now admit he has not delivered the goods?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 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, the Government of Canada has, through a resolution of this House, recognized the distinct character of Quebec. It has adopted legislation conferring regional vetoes. Since the throne speech, it has launched a vast program of reform, affecting areas as diverse as mines, forests, social housing, manpower, and social and economic union.

This is a very significant reform, and we are still open to all truly concrete suggestions the opposition or any other political party in Canada might make to us with a view to pursuing our efforts to improve Canadian federation, which is already one of the best there is in the world.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, before the minister starts calling for suggestions from anyone, I have one to make to him: let him just meet the commitments the Prime Minister has made to people. If the government met its commitments, this would already represent huge progress, in everybody's eyes. That is my suggestion to the minister.

The Prime Minister has said that, now the referendum is a thing of the past, it is no longer necessary to always be on the same wavelength, with the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party in particular. How, then, can the minister explain to us what he means in this statement, other than that, now that the promises have had their desired effect-winning-it is no longer important to follow up on them?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 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, following up is what is important. That is what

Quebecers and other Canadians have done together since this federation was created, one of the best known countries in the world, not only for its quality of life, but also for its values of tolerance and openmindedness.

What absolutely must not be followed up on, is the destructive project represented by the opposition. This is a project which would bring deep divisions, not just between Quebec and Canada, but between Quebecers themselves. Quebecers understand this, and the numbers turning away from this project represented by the opposition are increasing by leaps and bounds.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs that the circus is over now. He is no longer in the Liberal three-ring circus, but back in front of the House of Commons. People want answers, not dissertations on the meaning of the federation and of Canada and of continuation of the opposition's project. For heaven's sake. Let us have an answer then.

The Prime Minister has once again tried to get the rest of Canada to swallow the idea that the Quebec question can be solved with a spoonful of sugar. Does the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs realize that the Prime Minister's commitments of this weekend on the question of the distinct society within the Constitution are merely an illusion, an illusion which serves to mask the emptiness of their constitutional position?