House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mission.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, this is not a new issue. It has been raised time and time again. I must emphasize that the employment insurance reform promotes active measures, in contrast to the previous system, which was universally condemned as inefficient and encouraging people to stay at home.

We now have a system ensuring that, by the year 2000 or 2001, the $800 million investment fund we are creating will be the sole source of funding. Those who work part time may of course pay premiums, but they will also be covered by the employment insurance system to the extent that they pay premiums.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has given workers earning between $39,000 and $42,500 and the businesses they work for a break on premium payments. The truth is that an additional 500,000 people will have to pay premiums.

I would like the minister to tell me if he has read his department's paper on this and if he can confirm that only 45,000 of these 500,000 new contributors, very low wage earners, will be eligible, as indicated in a paper released by his own department on January 23, 1996. Is that how the Liberals intend to fight poverty?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I will confirm this: Starting January 1, 1997, an additional 500,000 Canadians will be covered by unemployment insurance, while they were not previously, because they will now qualify for coverage under this system.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Vegreville, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister often brags that Canadians are benefiting from lower interest rates. He claims that Canadians will buy more houses and more new cars, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars due to lower interest rates.

My question for the Prime Minister is what about those Canadians who cannot afford to buy a home or a new car and who work two or three jobs to feed their kids. What is the government going to do for those children who do without so much, including time with their parents who have to work so hard and so long to feed this hungry government?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the fact is if the members of the Reform Party will take a look at what has happened over the course of the last three months in terms of the benefits of the reduction in interest rates, what they would see is that housing starts are up. They would see that the announcement came out today that manufacturing shipments are up. They would see that the basis of the economy is becoming stronger and stronger. And as a result of that, thousands of Canadians are going back to work and it is the families of those Canadians that are going to benefit.

Over 700,000 new jobs have been created by the private sector; 46,000 jobs were created last month alone by the private sector. The fact is these people who are going back to work will be able to provide for their families as a result of the economic conditions set in place by this government.

The members of the Reform Party, they who have no policy to increase employment, no economic philosophy designed to help the middle class in this country, should not stand up in the House and essentially say that we will live with the dual economy, that we will live with an economy that benefits the rich and ignores the poor.

Canadians will not put up with it and neither will we.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Vegreville, AB

Mr. Speaker, I find it sad and unbelievable that this finance minister will stand up and brag about an unemployment rate of 10 per cent when the United States has an unemployment rate of 5 per cent.

The Reform Party has brought forth a tax relief plan that will completely eliminate the tax burden of over 1 million Canadians. Our plan will leave more money in the pockets of these families to spend on groceries, rent and clothing.

My question for the prime minister is specifically how and when will his government provide tax relief for Canadian families.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is quite the opposite. The Reform plan will not leave more money in the hands of average Canadians.

The Reform plan will take away their pensions, it will take away their health care, it will take away welfare benefits for those who are at the lowest end. The fact is that what the Reform Party will do will gut the Canadian dream for the vast majority of those who depend on government for help.

There is one other thing. The Reform Party ought to understand that what it is in fact advocating is a tax cut now and a massive tax increase for the next generation of Canadians. What it would do is impose on young Canadians a burden of deficit reduction, and we will not do that.

Coast Guard
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The minister, who is bent on implementing a new tariff structure, will release this week an impact study on the fee structure for services provided by the coast guard to commercial shipping. However, we have serious reservations about the credibility of this study, which we have with us, since it seems to have been drafted specifically to support the minister's intentions.

Will the minister admit that the study, which he commissioned, is nothing but a report to accommodate him, since it does not take into account several essential parameters, such as the increase in the price of oil in the east that will result from the new tariff structure, and the jobs that will be lost because of increased competition from American ports?

Coast Guard
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as a member of the committee that asked for the study, I am sure the hon. member is very much aware that the study is a very objective study. In fact, it is so objective that it has looked at seven of all the activities that impinge on ports and indeed the whole business of shipping.

I will go a little further. This report looks at 1,200 critical movements of commodities in the Canadian shipping business and has examined a dozen or so of them in particular. It has consulted from coast to coast, many meetings in this country. I have met with the marine advisory board. I met with certain other sectors of the shipping industry to discuss the progress of this report.

I have to tell the hon. member that despite his misgivings it is a very objective report carried out by a very credible third party with no connections to the government. It was done at the behest of the committee on which the hon. member serves. He will be apprised of the results when it is completed in the very near future.

Coast Guard
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister accept a study which says the impact of its tariff structure will be negligible, considering that, for example, this new tax will reduce by 15 per cent the profits of iron ore companies on the north shore and will result in the closure of the Port-Cartier mine two or three years earlier than expected, thus worsening the unemployment situation in a region that is already hard hit?

Coast Guard
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I will say it in another manner. The hon.

member is aware of the objectivity of this study. It has examined seven aspects that impact on the marine transportation business in this country and on the commodities. In fact, the 1,200 runs I talked about cover almost 90 per cent of all the commodity runs by shipping in this country.

I see the hon. member smiling. I do not know where he is getting his figures with respect to Port Cartier and its closing down, but it is impossible to measure every single aspect. I remind him that the study that was done was done at the request, in fact at the insistence, of the committee on which he serves.

We are responding to the request of the committee, of which he is a member. The results are objective and the study will show that there are some conclusions that he will be able to study in the very near future.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

November 18th, 1996 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government saw fit to open the borders to American competition against Canada's air carrier industry through the open skies policy. While I did not object to having a more open and competitive industry, I do question why the minister did this without first levelling the playing field on federal fuel taxes.

My question is for the Minister of Transport. Given that these American competitors have significantly lower fuel taxes and that fuel costs are a major component of an airline's operating expense, will the minister take immediate steps to lower the tax on aviation fuel in order to permit Canadian aviation companies to compete equally?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton West
Ontario

Liberal

Stan Keyes Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we in this government, and in particular the Minister of Transport, pride ourselves in listening to any suggestions being brought forward by the members opposite.

The member also spoke of the open skies agreement that has taken place between Canada and the U.S. Let us look at what it has done. It has created 100 new scheduled transborder routes, 24 new routes by Canadian air carriers, 33 Canadian air carrier flights which are now scheduled flights, 54 new U.S.-

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Keyes Hamilton West, ON

I guess they do not want to hear the good news.

It has created 54 new U.S. destinations non-stop from nine Canadian cities. For Air Canada there are 1,000 new jobs. For Canadian Airlines there are 700 new jobs. It is a good news scenario.