House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was women.

Topics

National Engineering Week
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ian Murray Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Engineering Week. As part of the celebration, I attended the official transfer of the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame from the National Research Council to the National Museum of Science and Technology.

The hall of fame began in 1992 with the induction of 16 engineers and scientists. A survey had shown that most Canadians could not name a single Canadian scientist or a single Canadian science or engineering achievement. National Engineering Week is designed to make us aware of the contribution engineers make to our quality of life.

This year a special emphasis has been placed on youth and the importance of students maintaining interest in mathematics and science. The continuing success and prosperity of Canada depends on our having a society that is technically literate.

Canada has produced such hall of fame members as Banting, Bell and Bombardier. With its new home in the Museum of Science and Technology, many thousands of Canadians will be exposed for the first time to men and women who have been true builders of this country. It gives me great pleasure to salute the 160,000 professional engineers who continue that legacy of building the Canadian dream.

Committees Of The House
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals profess to be federalists but they support the separatist Bloc Quebecois here in Parliament. Why?

The Prime Minister says his blood boils when he sees those separatists in front of him but his Liberal MPs in the House committees vote time and time again for Bloc Quebecois members to be the committee vice-chairs. Why? There is no consideration of candidates' qualifications. The Liberals' order to their MPs is simply: Vote for the Bloc.

In the last week, with the exception of one independent minded MP who bucked the party line, every single Liberal MP on the following committees has voted for a Bloc Quebecois member as vice-chair: procedure and house affairs; environment; foreign affairs; aboriginal affairs; agriculture; human resources; and health.

The record so far is that 33 out of 34 Liberal MPs have voted for the Bloc. We will make their names public. Tune in next week to see if they do it again in the national defence committee.

Completing The Circle
Statements By Members

March 8th, 1996 / 11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the Prime Minister's recent response to the throne speech, he outlined the measures our government will continue to take to ensure a strong economy and foster a positive climate for the private sector to create jobs.

In order to be successful we must forge a new and active partnership between the public and private sector. With this vision and agenda in hand, I recently launched "Completing the Circle". This York region initiative identifies available jobs in the community, provides pre-employment training and matches unemployed clients to jobs. This local initiative demonstrates the type of successful partnership that can and must be forged between the private sector and various levels of government.

Human Resources Development Canada, Tetra Pak and the Career Foundation have all joined together to enable a minimum of 100 people in the York region to greatly benefit through $200,000 in contributions by HRDC and Tetra Pak.

This is Team Canada in action.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

The Liberal government's third budget calls for women's pensions to be determined according to their partner's income in future, thus reducing their level of benefits and their degree of economic independence. When questioned yesterday in the House on this subject, the Minister responded as follows: "Nine out of ten women will get more money because of our reform".

Did the Minister of Finance deliberately attempt to trick senior women by referring to inappropriate statistics which apply to single women, not married ones on whom there are no statistics in his budget documents?

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, in his budget, the Minister of Finance has tried to be as equitable as possible, by enabling the most vulnerable members of our society to continue to receive a pension over the long term, and he has done so by reducing what would otherwise have gone to the better off.

Clearly women will benefit from this exercise, for they constitute one of the major vulnerable groups in our society. We support a system of social programs which redistributes funds from the most well off to the most vulnerable.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Really, Mr. Speaker, I have no idea whom the minister thinks he is addressing with that response to a simple, clear, precisely set out question. Either he just likes to hear the sound of his own voice or he did not get the question, so I shall repeat it.

On page 16 of the budget speech, we find the following, and I quote: "nine out of ten single senior women"-not those with spouses but single women-"will be better off" and so on. The reference was to single women, but the Minister is playing with the semantics of rich and poor. I want him to answer the opposition's question on what will happen to married women.

Why is the minister twisting his own statistics and what he said in his speech? Why will he not answer my question, not his own idea of a question, but what I asked?

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the important question relating to women is how the government is treating women in general, whether single or not. And the important principle is not what the opposition member is proposing. The important principle is: How are we fulfilling our redistributory role by taking from the most fortunate a portion of their surplus to pass it on to the most vulnerable members of society, which include women?

The present situation, particularly in Quebec, is such that it is mainly women who are poor and vulnerable, and our desire to help vulnerable women is what has prompted changes to our program in order to ensure them of long term protection. We make no distinction between categories of women. We want to give all women the protection to which they are entitled.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is determined not to understand the real question.

Will the minister admit, without any shilly-shallying, that the new method of calculating old age security based on family income treats women like dependent children and represents an unacceptable backward step for the women of Quebec and of Canada in their struggle for equality and financial independence?

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member of the opposition is determined to create a problem where none exists, and to refuse to grasp the true principle behind our reform.

That underlying principle is that vulnerable women are entitled to government protection. In the system as it exists at the present time, the guaranteed income supplement already includes the yardstick of the couple's income, the revenue of the husband and of the wife. We have extended the principle that applies at the present time to the guaranteed income supplement to the reform as a whole.

We have brought in this reform because we, unlike the Bloc Quebecois, want people to be able to receive government assistance when they experience hardship. We are the ones implementing true social democracy.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, and we say women will continue to be hard headed.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. At a conference on violence against women organized this year by the UNESCO women's program, it was concluded that women's financial independence is the key to change. As the minister has already determined the fate of female senior citizens by making them more dependent, would he be willing to improve women's financial situation generally, and, if so, how would he do it?

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, here again, the important principle is our desire to protect women who are most at risk, and we are doing so.

We will have revenues redistributed to the women who are the least well off. In Quebec it is clear that most of those receiving or

who will receive the increased pension are women. Furthermore, cheques distributed to couples will be divided equally between husband and wife so that each gets half the money due the couple and so that each may remain independent.

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the key to change lies in women's economic independence. That means jobs.

In the budget speech, at page 26, the minister said, and I quote:

-that ten years hence increasing child poverty rates will be a thing of the past-

Are we to understand that the Minister of Finance advocates the status quo in this area? Is he telling us that his government is resigned to keeping 1.3 million children in poverty?

[English]

Status Of Women
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver Centre
B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Secretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely right. The key to women's equality lies in their economic independence. The government recognizes that fully.

When one looks at the initiatives we have taken in the past and looks even closer now at the initiative we took during this budget, we looked at women at every stage of their lives in order to ensure their economic independence.

When we look at the education changes we made in terms of increasing the eligibility for day care and the tax credits for going to school, we are ensuring single women get the same break as women who live in families. The child support of the WIS will be doubled in the next two years.

In the seniors package we are ensuring that 90 per cent of women, whether they live singly or in couples, will benefit from this new seniors benefit. We are talking about the economic independence of women.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government finger pointing on its broken GST promise seems to be intensifying.

Yesterday it was somehow the fault of Canadians that the government has failed to meet its promise and has failed to scrap the GST. Today we find out it is blaming the provinces. We had this embarrassing display from government members from Saskatchewan saying to the premier: "Please help us hide and expand the GST". It is ridiculous.

Why does the government not admit, why does it not come clean with Canadians and tell us it has absolutely no intention of killing, scrapping or abolishing the GST despite what it said during the election campaign?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it is very easy to answer that question. We do have every intention of keeping our promise and every intention of replacing the GST.