House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, the Deputy Prime Minister said it was the policy of the government to protect the viability of the Canada pension plan for seniors in the long term. That policy was reaffirmed yesterday by the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Yet when I look at the fine print on page 1.16 of the public accounts what do I find? "The government's authority to pay pensions and benefits is limited to the balance in the account."

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Is the government prepared to put its money where its mouth is and demonstrate its commitment to the Canada pension plan by reporting the unfunded liability of $500 billion in the public accounts of Canada?

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the way in which the government provides for its accounts is obviously established by a tradition and also by generally accepted accounting principles established by the auditor general. We will continue to provide for accounts in that way.

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, that was as an eloquent reply.

The point I am trying to make is that we hear all kinds of verbal commitments from the government, but when we look at the fine print we find out there are all kinds of loopholes for it to escape through and walk away from its obligation to people.

Can the Minister of Finance preserve the Canada pension plan for seniors and maintain their faith in the government's pension plan by putting the unfunded liability in the public accounts of Canada?

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comment about my eloquence. After my answer to the member from Calgary I needed that.

The government stands four square behind the Canada pension plan. The unfunded liability, as the member describes it, is a natural consequence of a pay as you go plan. One of the options that is being looked at by the commission is to fund it a great deal more and that is something we will be discussing with the provinces.

The fundamental point is that the government is engaging in these consultations because it supports the Canada pension plan. The government believes it is important to have a Canada pension plan there for all Canadians, not simply wealthy Canadians. The government supports the Canada pension plan because it does not agree with the position of the Reform Party which is to have pensions only for the rich and to leave the poor, poor.

Lebanon
Oral Question Period

April 18th, 1996 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The hearts of thousands of Canadians of Lebanese origin are filled with sadness and despair today because of recent events in the Middle East. I was approached by their local leaders.

I would like to know if the minister intends to contact his Israeli and Lebanese counterparts to condemn this carnage and to insist that hostilities should cease and, above all, that resolution 425, which was passed back in 1978, be implemented.

Lebanon
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, I met with Lebanese officials. I conveyed to them the Canadian government's concern about the events taking place in southern Lebanon.

We are doing all we can. Today, I sent the Israeli foreign affairs department a letter stating Canada's position against raids on civilian populations in southern Lebanon.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate Canada's support for UN Security Council resolution 425.

Raw Milk Cheese
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

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

The Minister of Health and those who attended yesterday's raw milk cheese tasting organized by the Bloc Quebecois and several cheese producers were able to see that the various products currently on the market are simply excellent. In that regard, I am pleased to see that the Minister is the picture of health.

Raw Milk Cheese
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Raw Milk Cheese
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Does the minister realize that, according to data from his own government, the consumption of raw milk cheese has not resulted in any case of poisoning in Canada, unlike several other food items, including cabbage in Nova Scotia? Will the minister also prohibit the sale of cabbage from Nova Scotia?

Raw Milk Cheese
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I accepted the invitation of my colleague. She is quite correct. I did attend a very good reception put on by the producers of cheese in the province of Quebec. I also shared with my hon. colleague some good wine from the province of Nova Scotia.

As for my side effects, that is probably demonstrable in the answer I am going to give. The information that we have from the scientists has now been put out to the scientific industry and the various experts. They are going to examine it. After their examination, we will then be in a position to make our decision.

I want to thank the hon. member for bringing this issue to our attention. However, I want to say to her and to all hon. members, it is important that we keep our rhetoric down so that we can make the most appropriate decision for all Canadians.

Raw Milk Cheese
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the minister realize that there is no problem with raw milk cheese, that the current standards are very adequate, and that the real issue concerns his public servants who have nothing better to do than bug people to justify their employment?

Raw Milk Cheese
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member again raises the question. As the minister responsible for health, it is my duty, my fiduciary obligation, that when scientific evidence and information becomes available I have to share it with the Canadian people and take the appropriate action on that information.

In my view, no minister of health, federally or provincially, can take that scientific information and throw it in the garbage can. It is very important that we examine it. We will examine it thoroughly with all the various experts and we will make the appropriate decision based on scientific information.

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Lethbridge
Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker Lethbridge

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance said once in his career that he would like to eliminate the GST. When one reads the fine print in the red book it says, not so.

The Minister of Finance has said here today that the government wants to guarantee the Canada pension program. When one reads the public accounts, not so.

What will the Minister of Finance do to guarantee to pensioners across Canada that they will have their Canada pension guaranteed most likely in writing by the government and the minister?

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to see the hon. member taking interest in the

preservation of the Canada pension plan. That is the reason we set up, along with the provinces, the consultation process which is now under way.

As the hon. member knows, a number of options are being looked at within that consultation process, one of which is to increase substantially the degree of funding so that it will go from simply a two-year reserve to a much greater degree of funding, which may well be an option the provinces and the federal government will come to. It is premature, but it is one of the things being discussed.

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Lethbridge
Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker Lethbridge

Mr. Speaker, could the Minister of Finance indicate that in follow-up public accounts this unfunded liability will be noted and that the government is prepared to accept it on a long term basis, rather than the present situation where there is not a commitment either by public accounts, as noted, or by the finance minister?