House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was armenians.

Topics

Unemployment Insurance Reform
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Time is slipping away. I would ask both the person asking the question and the person answering to please condense their remarks.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's harmonization agreement is a half-baked national embarrassment. It is no wonder that the member for Broadview-Greenwood decided to take the high dive from the Liberal caucus.

Not only does this agreement take $1 billion from the many to give to a few Liberal politicians-and I notice that Brian Tobin is here to get his hands on the spoils today-it obviously breaks the Liberal promise to scrap, kill and abolish the GST.

Why is the government laughing in the face of voters by failing to fulfil its promise to scrap the GST?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I dealt with that part of the member's question in my remarks this morning. I said that we were right to criticize the GST. The timing was wrong, it caused duplication and tremendous costs were imposed on business.

I also said in my speech this morning that we were mistaken in believing we could bring in a new tax immediately that would not cause a distortion to the economy. In fact we went through two and one-half years of very hard work. The House of Commons finance committee heard over 500 witnesses and considered 700 briefs. We

looked at a series of over 20 alternatives before coming down with this which is by far the best public policy.

The hon. member can continue along this vein as long as he wants but what is painfully evident is the lack of substance in the Reform Party's questions. The issue is that the Reform Party has stated that it supports harmonization. Does the Reform Party want to deal with the substance of the issue or in fact deal with what Canadians want?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member knows that the Liberals ran on the promise to scrap the GST. That is the only reason many of them are here today. Not only that, they fought the Mulroney-Wilson plan to hide the GST. They called it a job killer. Now the revenue minister is saying it is a job creator. They laughed at the Tory attempt to harmonize the GST. The member for York South-Weston was right: power does change people.

If the GST was bad then, why is it not bad now? Are the Liberals saying that Brian Mulroney was right?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when the Reform Party said that it supported harmonization in its response to the finance minister, were Reformers saying that Brian Mulroney was right?

The fact is that at the time the Tories did it we talked about it. We were in the middle of a depression. They brought in a tax that was not harmonized and no sufficient attempt was made to do so.

We have brought in fundamental tax reform in Atlantic Canada, something that is going to give Atlantic Canadians a far greater chance to export and to create jobs. We have set in place a process that is going to allow other provinces to come in. We are in the process of changing the nature of fiscal federalism for the benefit of this country. The Reform Party ought to deal with the substance of it.

Coast Guard
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, a clear consensus emerged, during parliamentary consultations, against the fee structure proposed by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for coast guard services. All those concerned find it irresponsible on the minister's part to impose these fees without conducting complete and serious studies on their impact on the marine industry.

Can the minister tell us if he intends to go along with the consensus of those who are asking for a moratorium on the marine service fees until complete and independent economic impact studies have been carried out?

Coast Guard
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the imposition of the marine services fee stems from the 1995 budget approved by Parliament based on the principle of user pay.

The idea of how the fee could be implemented was put forward by the Marine Advisory Board. There were 800 people or thereabouts involved in the consultations which involved ports officials and every major industry in the seagoing industry.

The hon. member joined his colleagues from Parliament on the fisheries committee to hear the views of many witnesses. The hon. member is right; the committee made recommendations but the consensus was not that there be a moratorium. The committee did express some reservations with respect to the impact studies. I have to tell the House that I will respect its opinions. The impact studies will be carried out after the services fee is implemented at the lowest possible level of collection of $20 million a year before we get to the higher levels.

Coast Guard
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will try again. Does the minister agree that, far from helping the economy, his draft regulations will result in marine traffic going to American ports, which means jobs moving to the United States and an increase in the number of the unemployed in eastern Canadian ports, particularly those along the St. Lawrence River?

Coast Guard
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is coming up with some far-fetched unsubstantiated ideas.

The hon. member knows because he has heard it often in committee and this House that the cost overall at the $20 million level is going to represent one-sixtieth of one per cent of the value of the goods itself. It is going to represent less than 10 per cent of what it costs the coast guard to maintain these services. It is going to cost less than three per cent of the overall value of the business of doing shipments in the ports of Canada. I think that is fair and equitable.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

April 23rd, 1996 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the irony in this House is unbelievable. On the one hand we have the Prime Minister who gives the boot to a member who has integrity, keeps his word and who does the right thing. On the other hand we have a defence

minister who is responsible for the collapse of morale in the armed forces, whose department hid documents from the Somalia inquiry and the information commissioner and there he sits on the front bench.

How much longer will the Prime Minister allow the defence minister to put his own career over the good functioning and morale of our troops? When will the Prime Minister ask for the minister's resignation?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is the first time that a Minister of National Defence has asked for, authorized and recommended an inquiry into the operation and he has done it.

The time has now come to let the commission do its work. If the Reform Party has any respect for the armed forces, it will let the commission do its work rather than cause the problem with the morale of the troops in asking impertinent questions in the House of Commons.

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister took swift action in the past when it was in his own interests. He disbanded the airborne without an inquiry but what is he doing now? Now he wants to wash his hands of the authority and responsibility for what is happening. If the minister is so confident that his hands are clean, then will he volunteer to appear before the inquiry to be questioned on his role in the defence department scandals?

Somalia Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has shown once again that he has not read the terms of reference for the inquiry. He asks about cover up; he asks about destruction of documents. That is all contained in the inquiry.

If he were to read the terms of reference he would find out who can be summoned to the inquiry. That is up to the inquiry and if it wants to summon whomever it wants, whether they are members of this House or members of the armed forces, the commission has the power to do it.

Before the member raised these kinds of questions, he could get the answers by reading the terms of reference.

Rcmp
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bellechasse, QC

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

Yesterday, we questioned the Prime Minister about the $176,000 contract awarded to Jennifer Lynch, chairperson of the RCMP external review committee, to examine the current grievance system. We think Mrs. Lynch is in conflict of interest since she is also the one who hears the grievances filed by police officers.

Now that the government has had 24 hours to check things out, I would like to repeat the question I put to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister explain why the RCMP granted Mrs. Lynch a one year contract worth $176,000 to review the current grievance system, when her duties require her to remain absolutely neutral toward both parties?

Rcmp
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Vaudreuil
Québec

Liberal

Nick Discepola Parliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the grievance settlement process is one of Mrs. Lynch's initiatives. It is part of the consultations between senior management and employees of the RCMP.

I can tell the House that the RCMP agrees that these consultations and this new approach are better suited to the needs of the RCMP.

On the conflict of interest issue, I am also told that the ethics counsellor was consulted and stated that there was no conflict of interest.