House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me simply give one example of a change we brought to the RRSP program. Prior to the last budget there was a restriction that people could go back only seven years in order to make maximum use of it.

We eliminated the seven years because we recognized that there are a lot of young families which are not able to take advantage of it because they were raising their children and which would be able to use that space later on when their children had left the nest. What we have done is open it up so that all Canadians can use the RRSP.

Once again the question is why does the Reform Party think the only purpose of the country and government is for the rich? We think it is for all Canadians.

Indian Affairs
Oral Question Period

March 18th, 1996 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of Indian affairs.

Since the Oka incidents in 1990, the federal government has bought a number of properties near the Mohawk community in Kanesatake. Since May 1995, the federal government has not been paying its power bills for some of these properties.

Can the minister explain why his department refuses to pay its bills as the owner of these houses?

Indian Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, there are 83 pieces of property purchased by the department, most at the behest of the opposition

and people in the community. A package was put together. We thought it was appropriate and so we went along with what the opposition suggested.

The problem is now we have to develop a housing authority within the community to make sure housing is properly allocated and that there is proper policing. It is difficult, especially in Oka now with two chiefs, but we are working toward that end. I met this morning with the negotiator to see if we could have some positive movement in there.

Indian Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I say to this minister, who has been touring Quebec for a while trying to stir up trouble between the First Nations and Quebecers, that he will not succeed. He should deal seriously with the issues that concern him. He just seems unable to find a solution.

My question concerns his incapacity to solve the problem of illegal occupation of houses, because that is the basic problem in Kanesatake. It has a number of consequences, including a major loss of revenue for Hydro-Quebec.

Will the minister finally deal with this problem seriously and stop trying to spark fires between the aboriginal peoples in Quebec and Quebecers?

Indian Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I do not try to spark fires but I do ask questions, which I think is my right in a democracy.

The response from Mr. Bouchard was that I was an idiot. The response from Mr. Brassard is we deal with assassins and murderers. The response here on Friday was atrocious. I missed the hon. member on Friday. Usually our dialogue is at a higher level.

I will continue to ask questions, which is my job, on behalf of native people I serve, as well as the hon. member.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party promised to abolish the GST. It also promised to replace the GST. This is the finance minister's third budget and he still has not replaced the GST. Why?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I answered this question in the House before but I am delighted to respond to this member, whose views are obviously considerably more enlightened than others of his party.

What we are doing is fulfilling the recommendations and the advice given by the Reform Party in the finance committee of the House when it dealt with the GST. It simply said we should replace it with a harmonized tax. It went on to say that will obviously require future negotiations with the provinces. The Reform Party was right.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, this confirms the finance minister is the master of myths.

Our report, if he read the first part, recommends tax reform and a simplified system of taxation to replace the GST. It was in the final form, out of context, that he was taking our recommendation, but that is fine; he is the master of myths.

Will he confirm for the House that the real problem he is having with the new Liberal supertax, which he is trying to get co-opted with the provinces, is that the combined rate, for instance, in Ontario of the 8 per cent and 7 per cent to 15 per cent would actually represent a $2 billion to $3 billion increase to the consumers of Ontario? That is why he is having trouble.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has "mythd" the point. There is no possibility of a supertax. What we are seeking is a harmonized tax.

Obviously if there was a transfer from one segment of society to another, any province would have the ability to right that and to shift it back. There is all kinds of flexibility built in there.

I simply quote the Reform Party again from the finance committee. This is in context: "We commend the government on its attempt to harmonize the tax with the provinces".

Pipelines
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, the National Energy Board is holding hearings in Calgary this April on stress corrosion cracking, a potentially dangerous occurrence on Canada's pipelines.

What can the Minister of Natural Resources do to ensure the Ontario Pipeline Landowners Association can participate in these hearings in the public interest?

Pipelines
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a very important issue in relation to how groups such as the Ontario Pipeline Landowners Association can fully participate in hearings such as those before the National Energy Board.

As the hon. member knows, I have communicated with the National Energy Board, asking it under the existing regulatory regime to see whether some form of intervener funding will be possible. It is important to keep in mind that is not the only thing we can do in the present circumstance.

Parties do not go unrepresented before boards such as the National Energy Board presently. For example, OPLA is presenting written questions to pipelines such as IPL in this hearing. It will get written responses to those questions. It will be able to file written arguments to the National Energy Board at the end of the hearing.

The National Energy Board has gone out of its way in relation to this hearing to ensure that OPLA and other interested public groups have full access to information. For example, we are making available all documents that have been filed, public minutes of the fact finding process and a 1-800 number.

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Landry Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture. Contrary to what the Secretary of State for Agriculture said, the dairy subsidy was not eliminated with the industry's consent. The Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec condemned this measure, which will lead to losses of up to $8,000 for the average farm.

How can the Minister of Agriculture-who, after the referendum, made promises of fairness and equity-justify this measure hurting dairy producers, nearly 50 per cent of whom live in Quebec?

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, at the time of the federal budget in 1995 we indicated certain staged reductions in the dairy subsidy that would take place during the current fiscal year and the next fiscal year.

We also indicated that we would consult with the dairy industry across Canada, particularly in provinces like Quebec and Ontario where the dairy industry is concentrated, to discuss the future of the dairy subsidy beyond the initial two years that were dealt with in the budget last year.

Those consultations took place very extensively. They involved me, my parliamentary secretary, my departmental officials, the Canadian Dairy Commission and a broad cross-section of representatives in the Canadian dairy sector.

We raised very clearly the fiscal difficulty the government was facing. We indicated the dairy subsidy would not be sustainable for the long term. We sought their advice in terms of how best to handle the dairy subsidy in those circumstances. A wide variety of options was discussed in terms of how this situation could be managed. The dairy industry very clearly indicated that while it would prefer to retain its subsidy, faced with the fiscal reality of the country to deal with this issue it would recommend the phase out approach that we have implemented.

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Landry Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that eliminating this subsidy without any kind of compensation compounds the unfairness in federal spending in Quebec, where his department will spend a mere 8 per cent of its budget this year?

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, obviously one of the issues that remains to be dealt with, an issue the dairy industry in terms of producers and processors is very anxious to deal with, is the question of future pricing.

Under the Canadian system of supply management producers will have the opportunity to deal with the price setting regime in the future in consultation with processors and the Canadian Dairy Commission. It is obvious that as the producers no longer have access to what they call the direct payment they will want to recoup a good portion of that, as much as they possibly can, from the pricing system.

Over the last 10 years or so the general inflation rate with respect to food products in Canada has been in the order of 30 per cent. By contrast, the inflation rate with respect to dairy products in Canada has been only in the neighbourhood of 16 per cent, which indicates there is some room for price adjustment.