House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vice-chair.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

You don't know what rock and roll is, so let's go back a few years.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party is not willing to listen to answers, they just want to ask questions.

The real answer to the question is that we will. If the hon. member listened to the throne speech, youth unemployment was a key part of it and she will have to listen to the results that come up later on.

We have committed to a balanced budget. We have committed to two-year rolling targets. We have not only done that, we have met our targets which is something new in this country.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, youth unemployment is key but there is no sense lending money to kids and then charging it back later, that much plus interest. It is scandalous.

The government has tried to make a $17 billion deficit sound like a victory and a $12,000 a year internship amount sound like the key to fighting and winning against a 16 per cent youth unemployment rate.

The reality is that Canadian young people are less likely to find a job now than when the government took office in 1993. What is more, any young person lucky enough to even find a full time job will be paying more taxes than they can ever expect to receive in benefits from health care, social assistance and public pensions.

Why is the government condemning Canadian youth to a life of unstable employment, higher taxes and reduced benefits by its stubborn refusal to balance the books now?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I would love to to see their budget this year. We did not get a chance to.

Last year they put out their ideas and those ideas would have condemned Canadians to lower pensions. It would have condemned Canadians to less social benefits. It would have condemned Canada's youth to even higher levels of unemployment. We are doing something. The Reform Party is just talking.

Cuba
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. government has decided on certain measures against Cuba in retaliation for the destruction of two civilian aircraft on February 24. If the Helms-Burton bill is passed, Canadian companies doing business with Cuba will be liable to prosecution and their directors will be denied access to the U.S. Thousands of Canadian jobs will thus be at risk.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs report on the current status of discussions between his government and that of the United States on this matter?

Cuba
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, today the Minister for International Trade is in Washington meeting with his counterpart, raising the serious objections that we have expressed since we knew the bill was being considered by Congress.

The Prime Minister is at a meeting of the Caribbean leaders in Grenada where he is working actively to try to gain their support for a statement. We are undertaking a number of initiatives with other countries to mount international pressure against the implementation of this bill.

Within the bill itself-it has not been passed-there is room for discretion. The U.S. president can waive those parts of the bill that apply specifically to countries outside their boundaries.

At this time we are really taking the leadership internationally in mounting pressure against the bill to convince the U.S. administration that the implementation of all articles of the bill would not be in its best interest internationally.

Cuba
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, considering that the American bill would obviously be in violation of international trade laws, will the minister commit to defending Canadians before the appropriate courts in this connection, should the U.S. Congress and the President pass this bill?

Cuba
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of hypotheticals in that question: one, if the bill is passed and two, if the president does not implement the bill.

Our position is that the most effective protection for Canadians is to insist that those parts of the bill that apply to Canadians and other countries not be implemented. That would save having to get into major legal wrangles or countermeasures.

However, it is quite clear from what the Prime Minister and other spokespersons of the government have said that we will protect the interests of Canadians. We will look at all measures that are necessary to have that protection, but the first and most effective way of doing it is to see if we can convince the Americans not to go ahead with implementing those parts of the bill that apply extraterritorially.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

March 4th, 1996 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, this weekend the environment minister said of the GST, "to deny that it's not an issue would be incorrect. People remember us taking a very firm position".

My question is for the Minister of National Revenue. Exactly what would be today's firm position on the GST? Would it be the pre-election position that her caucus came up with, which was to axe, abolish or kill the GST? Or would it be today's position, to replace and harmonize the GST into what amounts to a new super tax on consumer spending?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, our position on the GST remains completely unchanged. We said in the red book that we would replace it with a tax that generates equivalent revenue, that was fairer to consumers and to small business, that minimizes disruption to small business and promotes federal-provincial co-operation and harmonization. That was our position in the red book. That is our position now.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I really wish the Prime Minister would embrace the merit principle when he picks his cabinet.

I remind the revenue minister that two years ago she said of the GST: "As Liberals we were elected to change the tax, abolish the tax, scrap it". That is what the revenue minister said two years ago, six months after the election.

Why is she and her government weaselling out of their commitment to abolish this hated tax? Why has she changed her mind?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the question because nobody is weaselling out of a commitment to reform the GST.

We talked about harmonizing that tax. I know the Minister of Finance is working diligently with all the provinces to find a solution. I worked with members of the hon. member's party on the finance committee and we agreed that finding a harmonized tax is what Canadians want, and we will do that.

Quebec Citadel
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of Defence. The events surrounding the mock terrorist attack on the Quebec Citadel, in 1992, brought back into the limelight the rather suspicious circumstances in which private Jonathan Brunet found a tragic death, in February 1994, at the Quebec Citadel. His mother does not believe he committed suicide and is asking for an independent investigation.

Can the minister explain why the Canadian forces gave the soldier's mother three different accounts of her son's death, and why several reports, documents, and personal effects have not yet been turned over to the family following the department's investigation in this matter?

Quebec Citadel
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, normally I would not want to discuss matters of such a personal nature in the House of Commons. This deals with the very unfortunate death of a former member of the armed forces.

There were a number of investigations. We particularly wanted to assure that the mother of the deceased was comfortable in knowing that the armed forces had dealt with the matter in the most appropriate of ways.

There has been some concern about the personal effects of that individual. Those are being addressed. That is all I can really say at this time.

Quebec Citadel
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to the minister's answer, who wants to be reassuring and claims that an in-depth investigation was conducted, it has been confirmed by several sources that there was no such investigation.

Unfortunately, these recent revelations bring back to mind the wave of suicides which was revealed last year and was, to say the least, highly suspicious. Is the minister going to act at long last and order an investigation independent from his department to get to the bottom of this matter once and for all?