House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was country.

Topics

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, my first question is for the finance minister. If he wants us to hold his hand on balancing the budget or learning how to balance a budget, he can join us this Saturday morning. My colleague from Capila-

no-Howe Sound is giving a seminar on just that subject. He should remember to bring a new pen because we only do our budgets in black ink. Please come.

In today's Sun there is an article that states: ``Finance Minister Paul Martin is working on a bribe to persuade the four Atlantic provinces to harmonize''-

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask the hon. member to please just use the title of the minister rather than his name.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the quote states: "The finance minister is working on a bribe to persuade the four Atlantic provinces to harmonize their sales taxes with the GST". If harmonization is so great, then obviously he ought to be able to sell it on its own merits.

Is the finance minister seriously going to go ahead with a proposal that is so bad he cannot sell it on its own merits and he actually has to bribe the provinces to go along?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the arguments in favour of harmonization are overwhelming. Consumer associations across the country argue in favour of harmonization. Small and medium size business argue in favour of harmonization. The Canadian Tax Foundation argue in favour of harmonization.

In this day when what we are trying to do is to find new vehicles for the delivery of government services, what we want to do is rationalize them. Surely to heaven the ability of the federal and provincial governments to co-operate is not something that should be denigrated but something members opposite should be applauding. The only thing I would say on that basis is that a number of provinces understand the benefits of harmonization. I do not think that it speaks well of the Reform Party to say that any provincial government would allow itself to be bribed. It is an insult to the people of their provinces.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member for York South-Weston when referring to the Prime Minister recently said: "He made a promise; we all made promises. We went door to door to scrap the GST and if we do not keep that promise it will be very difficult for Liberal MPs to go into an election knocking on the same doors asking support once again from people they lied to in the last election campaign".

Will the minister fulfil his and his colleagues' promises not to disguise, not to fudge, not to tinker with, but to eliminate the GST? That was his promise.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me simply quote from page 22 of the red book:

A Liberal government will replace the GST with a system that generates equivalent revenues, is fairer to consumers and to small business, minimizes disruption to small business, and promotes federal-provincial fiscal co-operation and harmonization.

That is exactly what we intend to do.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am going to give the Deputy Prime Minister a chance to quote from a page of the red book. My question is for the Prime Minister, who recently announced that he did not intend to keep his word and to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation as the eleventh grounds for non-discrimination.

Will the Prime Minister again commit to honouring his word and will he proceed with the necessary amendments in keeping with his campaign promises?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the House has already voted on a bill of this nature concerning an amendment to the Criminal Code. That part of our commitment we have made good on. Now what remains is the legislation to which the hon. member refers. It is part of our promises and we hope to find the time to adopt it some day.

We have already kept one of our promises and now there is just the second one, but we have two and a half years to go.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the Prime Minister not ashamed, as the leading citizen of this country, to go back on a promise and thus to perpetuate discrimination against the gays and lesbians of this country? This is disgraceful, and we have the right to expect the Prime Minister to keep his word.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no question here. He has only to read the red book and to tell us when an election will be held, and on that date it will be known whether or not we have adopted the bill.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask about another promise which had a shorter shelf life than the one just addressed. That is the promise of a national referendum which seems to have gone out the window already.

The government said in its throne speech: "Canadians, no matter where they live, will have their say in the future of the country".

I ask the Prime Minister: What precisely did he have in mind when the government made that commitment?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are many ways for Canadians to express their views.

There will be a federal-provincial meeting of the first ministers. The people will be represented at that meeting by the Prime Minister of Canada and the premiers. There are also organizations which are expressing their views at this time by sending briefs to the government. They are meeting with their members of Parliament. We are receiving briefs from many people on that subject.

At this moment we have put forward a plan of amelioration of the federation. We want to discuss that with the first ministers. That is exactly what we have in mind for the time being.

I hope the Reform Party will approve the plan we have of offering some clarification, some devolution of powers, some improvement in the relations between the federal and provincial governments. I do not see why that is not good enough for the hon. member for the time being.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, apparently when the Prime Minister meant that Canadians would be able to express their views, he meant only the 11 first ministers of the country. Nothing has changed.

Yesterday when the hon. member for Beaver River was asking about this, the Deputy Prime Minister responded: "We believe that Canadians do not want more constitutional wrangling". If that is the case, I would like to ask the Prime Minister why did the government propose in the throne speech to constitutionalize the distinct society notion, to change the amending formula of the Constitution? Why is it proposing to reopen the wounds of Meech Lake, Charlottetown and the patriation of 1982?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have always said that we hope this will be constitutionalized. We said that when we had votes in the House of Commons on that. We have always said that is what we wanted to do.

In order to have the reality of Canadian life that Quebec is a distinct society in the Constitution we need seven provinces to approve it. I hope that the hon. member would support that. For changing the amending formula, I have always been in favour of a veto for the regions and this was expressed in a bill in the House of Commons and you voted against it. It was a formula that was accepted by all the provinces at the time of the Victoria discussion. There is nothing new. It is something that was acceptable even to the Socred government of Alberta which you are the grandson of. There are many ways to consult with the public. There is one that will come soon. That will be the day a lot of these guys will disappear, when we have a general election.

Softwood Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

February 29th, 1996 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

Recently Canada and the United States signed a softwood lumber deal that will secure Canada's access to U.S. markets for five years. Why did Canada enter into this agreement with the United States rather than take the softwood dispute to the NAFTA panel, a panel process that Canada has won on all previous occasions?