House of Commons Hansard #32 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

April 24th, 1996 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think the House is embarrassed by the wrong thing. It is upset about a book on the floor but not by the deception that it represents.

The Liberals promised that they would kill, scrap and abolish the GST. What they have delivered, however, is a billion dollar bribe and a blended sales tax. Actually the BS tax is a good name for it because that is exactly what Liberal candidates were spreading on the campaign trail during the last election.

Since the government readily admits that it broke its promise on the GST, will the Prime Minister keep at least one election promise and ask the Deputy Prime Minister to resign?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I read earlier in French what is written on page 22. Hon. members are not setting a very good example by throwing books on the floor when there are kids in the House of Commons. They are trying to look at their Parliament and they see that behaviour from members.

I can start to read this but it would take a long time. On page 111 of the red book we called for the cancellation of the helicopter program. Done. We called for cuts to national defence. Done. We called for cuts in the professional service budget. Done. We called for cuts in grants to business. Done. I can read more. The youth service corps. Done. Literacy, done.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The House is rather spirited today. The wording of the questions and preambles is getting very close to being unparliamentary.

Members know the rules of the House. They can quote from a document but the document should not be flailed about in any way. I would appeal to members, both in the questions and the answers, to put them succinctly so that we can get on with question period.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign the Prime Minister boasted about his decades of experience in the House of Commons. Now he is telling Canadians that he did not know what he was doing.

The Prime Minister is saying he did not know what he was doing when he said that he would kill, scrap and abolish the GST. For crying out loud, the man was the finance minister. That is nothing but garbage, just like the red book.

Since it is clear that he played Canadians for fools in the last election, since it is clear that the Liberals knew they could not keep their commitments, and since it is clear that the Deputy Prime Minister pledged to resign if that commitment was not met and yet she still sits here, why should Canadians believe anything this Prime Minister and this government says?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pick up on an odious reference from the member's preamble to his other question, the use of the word "bribe" in reference to one section of the country.

Yesterday the premier of Alberta said he felt Alberta is entitled to a reduction in the federal sales tax rate as it applies to his province. That is a point of view that may well be expressed in honest debate. No one in that government has referred to bribes or other odious terms used.

I quote the Minister of Finance for Alberta: "We are Canadians from one end of the country to the other. The fact is that Canadians living in Alberta will probably pay more to Confederation during this time and certainly during the 1970s than Canadians living in say Saskatchewan or in Newfoundland. I do not believe this government", the Conservative Government of Alberta,"is a believer in cheque book federalism. Canada is much more than that".

I certainly hope there is never a merger between the Reform Party and the Tories. If that were the case, there would be a fundamental lack of decency in the Reform Party that would disappear from the right wing of the spectrum.

Manpower Training
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Yesterday Louise Harel, Quebec's minister of employment and solidarity, was quoted as saying the following: "While Quebec is

focussing considerable efforts on getting employment back on its feet, in partnership with all those involved within the province, Ottawa is headed in the opposite direction, without any co-operation with the Quebec authorities".

While everyone in Quebec is pooling forces in an attempt to solve the unemployment problem, how can the Minister of Human Resources Development justify the federal government's unilateral action, which creates divisions?

Manpower Training
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to holding discussions with our Quebec colleagues, in order to find ways of meeting our commitments concerning withdrawal from manpower training.

As for all of the other issues relating to active measures and what is reflected in part II of the employment insurance bill now before Parliament, we have every intention of entering into negotiations with the province of Quebec, and all of the provinces in this country, for it is the intention of the Government of Canada to show good faith in this entire matter, once again demonstrating that, with flexibility and good intentions, we can prove the federation is working very well.

Manpower Training
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, where manpower is concerned, the time for talking is over. We have been hearing for five years now that the governments are going to talk together about it, yet every time there is a meeting, you do not attend. Do something.

Does the minister confirm that what Louise Harel, the minister, says is true: by his involvement in manpower training, he is perpetuating overlap, creating five new programs which duplicate provincial programs already in place, in Quebec in particular?

Manpower Training
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Human Resources Development

No, Mr. Speaker, we do not believe that what we are doing at this time is adding to duplication and overlap.

What we believe is that there is a desire country-wide to find new ways of getting federation to work. This includes anything related to job creation, trade training, active measures in the private sector. We hope to be able to find solutions to these knotty problems, for they have been discussed long enough, as the hon. member has said.

I do, however, find it somewhat surprising that, when we are attempting to withdraw from manpower training, the hon. member appears to think we are heading in the wrong direction. I thought that was the direction the consensus in Quebec wanted us to take.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, what we have seen here today in the House is the Prime Minister of Canada who made a cold, calculated promise to Canadian taxpayers, Canadian citizens, to kill the GST with absolutely no intention of keeping that promise.

He then turned around and blamed his advisors for it. He booted out anyone who got in his way and then he forced his own finance minister to accept the blame for his broken promises.

Why does the Prime Minister, not the finance minister or his advisors, not have the courage and the honesty to stand up in the House-

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure the House will agree that neither the courage nor the honesty of any of our hon. members is in question in the House.

I ask the hon. member to please rephrase his question and go directly to the question now.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, why in order to win the 1993 election did the Prime Minister mislead Canadians from coast to coast?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am not too offended because I had the prudence to put all that in writing. From page 22:

In the first session of a new Parliament, a Liberal government will give the all-party finance committee of the House of Commons a 12-month mandate to consult fully with Canadians and provincial governments and to report on ways to achieve tax fairness, simplicity and harmonization. In particular, the committee will be mandated to report on all options for alternatives to the current GST. A Liberal government will replace the GST with a system that generates equivalent revenues, is fairer to consumers and to small businesses, minimizes disruption to small business, and promotes federal-provincial fiscal co-operation and harmonization.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Prime Minister, instead of referring to the red book, should look at the fourth edition of the blue book, Reform's way of running the country.

The Prime Minister knew before the election that the GST was not going to go, yet he pawned it off on regular Canadians who were thinking there was going to be a break in this country, and it was a bold faced lie.