House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister voted in his riding of Saint-Maurice on October 30, 1995, did he have the impression of participating in a fraud, in a fraudulent exercise, when he went to vote?

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that there was no mention of separation in the question. When I read the question, there was no mention of creating a new country. When I read the question, there was no mention of becoming a member of the United Nations.

They were saying that an association would be worked out with the rest of Canada, that Quebeckers would keep the Canadian passport, Canadian money and Canadian citizenship, and also economic union and political union. I have always said that I hope one day they will be honest enough to ask an honest question “Do you want to separate from Canada, yes or no?”

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote part of the speech by the Prime Minister in Verdun, in case he has forgotten it. He said “Listen very well to what the separatist leaders are saying. They are being very clear”.—That is what he said: “They are being very clear. The country they are proposing is not a improved Canada, it is a separated Quebec”.

I ask him again how he can speak today of fraud, when he was saying on the eve of the referendum, with a look of desperation, of understanding, of openness towards Quebeckers, that the separatists were being very clear. How can he say today that it was a fraud?

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I was telling Quebeckers that when looking at what was written at the time of voting and when hearing what the separatists were saying in some areas of the province, what they meant was not very clear to the people.

They were saying “Nothing will happen, you will receive your old age benefits from Canada, and all the benefits of Canadian citizenship, while at the same time voting yes to this ambiguous question”. I am asking for only one thing, and that is a little bit of honesty, to ask Quebeckers “Do you want to separate, yes or no?” There is nothing complicated in that, it is not much more than a sentence and the people would understand clearly. They would vote very clearly, once again, for Canada.

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we want to speak about honesty, the last person we would want to deal with is the present Prime Minister of Canada.

In the evening of October 30, 1995, following the results, when the Prime Minister had promised to everyone in Canada that there was no danger from sovereignty, that Quebeckers did not want it, these are the things he said.

He said, considering the narrow margin, “In a democracy, the people are always right. Tonight, there is only one winner, and that is the people. Tonight, more than ever, we can be all proud of Quebec democracy”.

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East has the floor.

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the prime minister.

This morning Campaign 2000 released its report card on child poverty, confirming that child poverty has increased by 58% since 1989. It demonstrates the appalling record of the government on child poverty.

Government talk is cheap considering that the funding for programs our children need has not been there. The new child tax benefit does not even replace what the government has already cut.

Will the prime minister commit now to restoring these cuts?

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed the prime minister took the leadership in June 1996. The premiers of the provinces have asked us to work very hard on child poverty. I have seen the report of Campaign 2000 and it supports the initiatives we have been taking on the national child tax benefit. It has seen what we have been able to do along with all the governments of this country to help children with CAPC, which my colleague, the Minister of Health, has been increasing thanks to last year's budget. We are working toward that.

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is not acceptable. The federal government is behaving like the schoolyard bully who takes the weak's lunch money and then feels he deserves a reward for buying a small milk. By refusing to index the child tax benefit, the government is allowing it to slowly fade away.

Will the government as a first step commit to fully indexing the child tax benefit?

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the government will commit very clearly that we will have $850 million more dollars as of July 1, 1998. The Government of Canada will commit very clearly today that there will be at least another $850 million in this Parliament directed toward children. That is a lot more money than they are talking about on the other side.

We should realize that a lot of work was done in the last Parliament and will be in the next Parliament because child poverty is a major priority and concern for us.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the prime minister was away at the APEC conference, peppering his meals with other APEC leaders and peppering Canadians with amusing jokes, the Governor of the Bank of Canada this week peppered Canadians with a 25 basis point increase in interest rates. As a result of this, the value of the Canadian dollar went down the following day and continues to go down again.

Could the prime minister explain to Canadians why the financial markets are reacting negatively? Could the prime minister tell us what is wrong with his policies that is provoking this downward trend in the dollar?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the record of the government in managing the economy is much better than when the Tories were in power.

Under the circumstances there is a fluctuation in a lot of the currencies around the world. But at this moment because of the good management of the government we have low interest rates, much lower than American interest rates. We have more room than when we took over government from the Tory administration when interest rates were at least three points above American rates.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I doubt that Canadians are applauding as the Liberal benches are applauding with 9.1% unemployment, more Canadians having a lower standard of living than when he was elected and there are more poor children.

Could the prime minister tell us what are the policies of the government when it maintains artificially high payroll taxes, when there is an increase in CPP premiums which will kill jobs and increasing interest rates which will also kill jobs? What are the policies of the government that has made Canadians poorer today than when he was elected in 1993, that has created more child poverty today—

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. prime minister.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are one million more jobs today than there were when we formed the government. When we took office there was 11.2% unemployment and now it is 9.1%.

In terms of employment insurance premiums, we stopped an increase which was supposed to raise the level to $3.30 in January 1994. Last week we reduced it another 20¢. It will be lowered to $2.70.