House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member can be assured that I certainly have taken the bull by the horns. I have done that by answering his questions all week.

The hon. member has gone through a number of contortions. I have pointed them out on the utility of the inquiry.

The hon. member has gone from the position that the chief of defence staff should never have been appointed, to the chief of defence staff should resign, to the suggestion that he should step aside, and to the fact yesterday that he does not blame him. Today he is back to the earlier accusations.

The member and his party have no credibility on the issue. Canadians understand that the inquiry will deal with the matter and will get to the bottom of it with all the answers.

Nuclear Fusion
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Acting Prime Minister.

I listened with interest to the finance minister saying a moment ago that Canada was willing to help Quebec. I do hope that his good intentions will materialize with respect to the issue of nuclear fusion.

Since we started asking the natural resources minister questions on the tokamak project, she has been giving us rubbish for answers. For instance, she said that in Quebec the loss of this project would be balanced by the manufacturing and sale of Candu reactors, which is false, since this will benefit mainly New Brunswick and Ontario.

Moreover she told us that Quebec is getting 25 per cent of her department's expenditures. We checked, the actual figure is 8 per cent, and it will fall below 6 per cent with the cancellation of the tokamak project.

Can the federal government bring its Minister of Natural Resources back to her right mind and make sure that Quebec is no longer penalized in such a way, starting with re-establishing its $7.5 million contribution to the tokamak project, the product of 20 years of efforts, research, investment and world level expertise?

Nuclear Fusion
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Dauphin—Swan River
Manitoba

Liberal

Marlene Cowling Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the hon. member says, fusion research was not only cut in Quebec, it was also cut in Ontario. The Quebec component cut was $4.4 million; the Ontario component cut was $7.2 million, nearly twice as much.

We are not abandoning Quebec. Natural Resources Canada R and D initiatives in Quebec are, and I will read them: Energy Diversification Research Laboratory in Varennes; Quebec Geoscience; Candu; Val-D'Or laboratory; Canada Centre for Geomatics-

Nuclear Fusion
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member on a supplementary.

Nuclear Fusion
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope that one of these days someone in this government is going to rise and give intelligent answers to our questions. The parliamentary secretary should know that the amount the federal government is withdrawing from the tokamak project is $7.5 million.

Is the federal government finally going to decide to answer, on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources, a letter dated April 2 and signed by the deputy premier of Quebec-

Nuclear Fusion
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I would ask the member to put his question immediately.

Nuclear Fusion
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

I will repeat my question, Mr. Speaker. Is the government finally going to decide to answer, on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources, a letter dated April 2 and signed by the deputy premier of Quebec, minister of state for natural resources and minister responsible for industry and trade?

Nuclear Fusion
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The parliamentary secretary.

Nuclear Fusion
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Dauphin—Swan River
Manitoba

Liberal

Marlene Cowling Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the member it is not only the federal Liberal government that is making difficult choices. He should look in his own backyard.

The PQ government has cut $350 million from hospitals, from the sick; $65 million from Cégeps, junior colleges; $300 million from primary-

Nuclear Fusion
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Centre.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister had a little problem with his throat. I hope it has cleared up today. My question is directed to him.

He said yesterday that harmonization will lead to a better tax for consumers and for small business. How can that be, given that the combined tax increases taxes by 8 per cent on goods and services in areas that were untaxed before, areas like children's textbooks, wheelchairs and medical supplies, just to name a few?

The finance minister is willing to spend a billion dollars from the federal coffers to compensate three Liberal provinces for any lost revenues. Who will compensate the taxpayers of these provinces for their extra personal costs?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to know that the fundamental problem with most of the provincial sales taxes is that they are embedded in the price at each successive stage. Therefore the consumer pays a great deal more in tax under most provincial sales taxes than under the GST. The net result of this will be a lowering of the tax on all of those items that are currently taxed under provincial taxes.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, if that is the case, then why are all the provinces saying there are lost revenues?

The finance minister is wreaking havoc in the Atlantic provinces with his bad harmonization tax. It is putting Prince Edward Island at a competitive disadvantage. Conservative provincial governments have said no. NDP provincial governments have said no. Only three Liberal provincial governments have said yes, thanks to a billion dollar bribe just to keep the deputy minister around a little longer.

Why does the finance minister not do the right thing and for the sake of all Canadians get rid of, abolish, kill, eliminate, scrap and agree to quit if he does not, this monster he is creating called harmonization with compensation?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, one of the principles upon which this country has been built is that one region of the country helps another whether it be through equalization, the social transfer or the way in which stabilization payments are made by the federal government to help provincial governments that have had difficulty.

I find it very difficult to hear members of the opposition, whether they be from the Bloc Quebecois or the Reform Party, essentially say that certain regions of the country should not help the others when there is a process of adjustment. I do not share that view. This is one country and one country in a multitude of others. We are going to stand up to the rest of the world because we will stand together. We will not be divided.

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

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

The Commission of inquiry into our national blood supply is caught in a legal tangle, because of all the confusion surrounding the mandate of the commission. There is no agreement over the authority of the Krever commission to issue notices of possible misconduct, hence the court proceedings. The opposition reminds the government that its priority should go to the victims of tainted blood and not this legal battle.

For everyone's benefit and because this is a federal inquiry and a public health issue-