House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nuclear.

Topics

The Prime Minister
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like the hon. member to please withdraw that last word in his statement. The hon. member for Regina-Lumsden.

The Prime Minister
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon Regina—Lumsden, SK

Canadians on television said he lied, Mr. Speaker, and I agree with them.

The Prime Minister
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like the hon. member to please remain. I will take this matter up again after question period.

Research And Development
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the National Research Council and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council have just approved $6 million in funding for 19 new projects.

I should point out that two projects of researchers at Laval University in Quebec City were among those selected. One team will receive a little over $500,000 for research in virtual reality. This research may be used in connection with hydro-electric dams.

Another team of researchers at the same university will be getting $89,000 to do research on frequency measurement in telecommunications.

With these grants, the Government of Canada is reaffirming its commitment to research and development, two of Canada's prime competitive advantages on the international scene.

Health
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to mark the signing last Monday of the Canada-Ukraine memorandum on co-operation in health.

Canada's Minister of Health and Ukraine's Dr. Andriy Serdiuk exchanged signatures to advance health reform in Ukraine, particularly in health care delivery and medical sciences.

Minister Serdiuk's week long visit to learn more about the Canadian health system offers Canada the opportunity to show support for this reform process. The minister's visit, initiated by Partners in Health, a CIDA funded program managed by the Canadian Society for International Health, will build on existing collaborative activities between the two nations and their private sectors.

These activities, which can only be strengthened by the memorandum, will contribute to a healthy citizenry and a prosperous society which are essential to maintaining a healthy democracy in Ukraine.

Let us salute Canada and Ukraine on this historic agreement.

Louis Riel
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, Louis Riel remains a paradox.

On March 10, 1992, the House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution recognizing Louis Riel as one of the Fathers of Confederation. Today, however, from a legal standpoint, Louis Riel remains a criminal, because he was sentenced for high treason.

History portrays Louis Riel as a traitor to Canada, because, among other things, he wanted the rights of francophones and Metis to be given the same consideration in his country's Constitution as those of the anglophones.

The refusal to overturn the guilty verdict against Louis Riel sends the message in the now famous 19th century remark by John A. Macdonald to francophones in Canada and Quebec: "He shall hang, even though all dogs in Quebec bark in his favour".

Canadian Economy
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning at a press conference, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois made the claim that our government had done nothing concrete to create employment and had, on the contrary, created more unemployment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our government has an overall plan, a comprehensive view of economic recovery, and the results of our decisions are more positive every day.

The deficit is being reduced at a phenomenal rate; interest and mortgage rates are the lowest in 30 years; the export market for Canadian products is expanding; and more than 672,000 new jobs have been created in Canada since our election.

We have taken appropriate measures to accomplish this and we are pleased to see that, as a result of our policies, consumers are finally regaining confidence in our economy.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, unemployment is the public's No. 1 concern. This is the message the Prime Minister received loud and clear again yesterday. Unemployment is increasing and Statistics Canada released

figures today showing that over 5 million people, up 38 per cent from 1989, are living under the poverty line.

It is now December 11, 1996, and the EI reform takes effect in three weeks. The Minister of Human Resources Development has been trying for weeks now to reassure the public that the reform is a good one, but we are worried, and so is the public.

How can the Minister of Human Resources Development claim that complete information on the new EI system is available to everyone from a 1-800 number, when it was impossible to obtain this telephone number in Canada employment centres, when it took several days to get it, and when those answering this 1-800 number were not even able to tell us anything useful about the transition measures?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, now that our government has finally decided on an active measures approach, and I see that Mme Harel in the Quebec government is trying to do the same thing with social assistance, I have trouble understanding that, when Quebecers have led the way with active measures, the opposition is today trying to discredit a reform that is actually based on active measures.

The transition measures have been worked out, and I signed and ratified them last week. The Leader of the Opposition was absent that day. These measures have all been designed to favour workers. We are looking out for workers, and each of these measures is to their advantage.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, how unfortunate it is for the minister's reputation that he always comes up with the wrong answer to the right question. I do not get it.

If we question the minister about active measures, he tells us about transition, when we ask him about transition, he talks to us about employment centres, and when we ask him about employment centres, he goes off on another tangent.

I will ask him another question. We have checked, and it is quite obvious that public servants are still not able to inform the public about the new EI system.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development confirm that nothing, and I mean nothing, has been done as of yet to provide public servants with the information they need to inform the public properly about the new system and the related transition measures? In short, will the minister admit that the situation in his department and in employment centres is one of total confusion?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have checked, and employees of our department have had training sessions since the bill became law. They are perfectly aware of how the new legislation will apply.

I have checked and the transition measures have been worked out, and they are to the advantage of workers, in the sense that each week worked in the last 26 weeks will be considered to contain 35 hours.

The only employees not yet trained are those who have no contact with the public, with clients. And those who will begin processing applications referred to them by their colleagues have asked to have these training sessions at the end of January, when the first applications come their way.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it took our researchers several days to come up with the 1-800 number that all unemployed workers in Canada will need to know. Our extensive research showed us that employees were unable to answer the questions put to them. And the minister thinks that the poor folks who will soon be unemployed will have no trouble obtaining all the answers and information they need. It is to weep.

The 1-800 number is to all intents and purposes not in operation at the present time. Three weeks before the system is to start up, and I draw the minister's attention to the coming holiday period, employees have still not been trained to implement the EI system. I ask the minister to tell us what has become of the transition measures that were going to ensure that people moving from the old to the new system received fair treatment? Where are they written down, where can a person see them? That is a clear question.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what I find encouraging is that it took you three weeks to find the 1-800 number. It is a sign that not too many of those on your team are unemployed.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, I would remind you always to address your comments to the Chair.