House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Credit Cards
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, an Industry Canada report that came out last September stated that interest rates charged credit card holders are still too high, given the fall in the Bank of Canada rate. The Minister of Industry himself said at that time, and I quote: "The president of the Bankers' Association does not perhaps understand that consumers are fed up".

How can the Minister of Industry take the completely unacceptable approach of doing nothing, while interest rates are dropping everywhere but on credit cards? Why does the minister not join the coalition of 150 MPs who are trying to improve the situation for the average member of the public?

Credit Cards
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saskatoon—Dundurn
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the minister has always taken the position that he encourages banks to reduce credit card interest rates. In dealing with a group who had signed the requests, he was certainly supportive of the group in dealing with the high interest rates that are being referred to.

Again, there must be encouragement by the public to the banks to reduce the rates. This can be done in many different ways. One way is by not utilizing the cards and another way is by applying for the lower interest rate cards.

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, today six working people pay taxes to support one pensioner. Twenty years from now there will be only three. Their CPP taxes will be double and on top of that they will have to pay interest on the $600 billion debt the Liberals are leaving them. Reform of CPP must come soon to prevent serious intergenerational conflicts.

Will the minister break the log jam preventing agreement with the provinces on CPP by agreeing to match increases on CPP premiums with long overdue decreases in EI premiums?

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no linkage between CPP premiums and EI premiums any more than there is between CPP premiums and other payroll taxes such as imposed by the provinces, workers compensation, health or education levies. In fact, each has to stand on its own feet.

The member's question is very pertinent. One would really hope that the joint stewardship of the CPP between the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments will lead all

parties to deal with the immediate need for financial stability of the plan.

I am, I must say, quite optimistic that we will arrive at a solution. I would prefer to have done it by January 1. We may go beyond that but I believe there is goodwill on all sides to arrive at a solution.

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, a poll confirmed what financial institutions have known for some time. Canadians are cutting back on their RRSP contributions. They just do not have the money after the Liberal policies reduced after tax family income by $3,000 on average.

Will the minister help Canadians by giving them tax relief in the next budget, financing it by more spending reductions and giving Canadians the smaller federal government they want?

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, we have brought in selective tax benefits for Canadians in all of our budgets and we intend to continue in that vein.

The hon. member put his finger on it when he said that if there are going to be further tax cuts they will have to be accompanied by cuts in social spending. I congratulate the Reform Party for at least having outlined those areas where it believes ongoing cuts in spending should be made. I encourage the Reform Party to speak to their other extreme right wing cousins, those in the Conservative Party, and ask them to outline where they would make the cuts.

Lists Of Voters
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the government House leader.

Amendments to the Canada Elections Act proposed by the government allow the chief electoral officer to use only the Quebec civil register and Quebec driver's licence information to establish the list of electors for the next federal general election.

In view of the representations made by the official opposition as well as by the Quebec government and Quebec's chief electoral officer, is the minister now ready to reconsider his position and to allow the use of the permanent list of electors established by the Quebec government?

Lists Of Voters
Oral Question Period

2:40 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 would be happy to examine the representations made by Quebec's chief electoral officer, but the bill is now being considered in the Senate. Therefore, I cannot give a more detailed answer at this time.

Lists Of Voters
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has a choice: since it controls at least half of the other place, it could act immediately by having Bill C-63 amended, or it could do so in this House.

Since we know that taxpayers in Quebec and Canada would save at least $15 million if Elections Canada used Quebec's permanent list of electors, why are the government and Elections Canada still refusing to use that list?

Lists Of Voters
Oral Question Period

2:40 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 think this House passed an amendment regarding the use of Quebec's and other provinces' lists of electors.

As I just said, the bill is in the other place. I do not think it would be wise for me to comment on what goes on in the other place. Again, I will consider the representations made by my hon. friend and by Quebec's chief electoral officer.

Chalk River Nuclear Site
Oral Question Period

December 5th, 1996 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

It was reported in 1994 that radioactive waste dumped nearly 50 years ago at the Chalk River nuclear site is polluting local vegetation, swamps, lakes and wildlife. This waste is now seeping into the Ottawa River and is posing a possible health risk to area residents.

What is the minister doing to stop this leakage immediately and to ensure the future safety of our natural resources and human health?

Chalk River Nuclear Site
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, first I want to reassure the hon. member and those who live in Chalk River and along the Ottawa River in relation to the story that appeared today in the Ottawa Citizen , the leak in question was reported to the AECB some number of years ago. Since that time the AECB has been monitoring the situation and taking whatever steps that have been necessary.

I want to reassure the member that the atomic energy board has stated that the leak in question presents no threat to the public or to the public health. The level of contamination is well below limits set by the AECB in relation to health and safety.

I also want to reassure members of the House that this leak is not from radioactive waste streams. The leak comes from water from

the bays in which the used fuel from the reactors is stored. It is important to reassure people that we are not talking about radioactive waste in this context.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I must say in response to the previous question to the finance minister that an extremist is anyone who happens to be winning an argument with the Liberals.

The Certified General Accountants have produced a study that confirms what Reformers have been saying all along, that lower taxes create jobs, real permanent jobs, not the McJobs that the infrastructure program allegedly created. The CGA say a $4 billion personal income tax will create 108,000 new jobs by the year 2001.

Given the overwhelming evidence that lower taxes create jobs, will the finance minister agree to start lowering taxes so that Canadians can have those jobs that they really do deserve?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, under those circumstances it is quite clear that I will have to change my definition of an extremist.

Whether it be a $4 billion tax cut or whether it be as the Reform has suggested a $15 billion to $20 billion tax cut, the fact is that one has to pay for it. The issue is not whether one would like to see a tax cut. There is nobody in this House who would not like to see a tax cut. The question is: What programs would have to be cut, would have to be given up, in order to pay for that tax cut?

The government is not prepared to see health care impaired. The government is not prepared to see old age pensions impaired. This government is going to stand behind the basic social fabric of the nation and under those circumstances, we will stay the course.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that Reform would put more money into health care. We would fix the programs that the government has destroyed, the $7.2 billion in cuts to transfers. Reformers believe by the way that real compassion is not putting money into welfare; it is getting more people off welfare.

The CGA says the 20 per cent reduction in UI taxes would create 68,000 jobs by the year 2001. As a matter of fact, the Reform plan calls for a 28 per cent cut in UI premiums. Imagine how many more jobs that would create. Today the Liberals on the finance committee are saying that UI taxes cannot be lowered. Will the finance minister ignore the recommendation of the finance committee and lower payroll taxes to create the jobs that Canadians so desperately want?