House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Education
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House are well aware of the difficult situation faced by a growing number of students in this country. We began to tackle this situation in the budget of last year. The Minister of Finance is helping parents to save money toward education. He has increased the interest relief period for student loans.

A few weeks ago I held in Ottawa the first ever conference of stakeholders on this very subject. Many very good propositions were made to us.

Education
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of parents who do not have money to save. Government cuts have forced many university students to play tuition roulette. They are hoping the wheel stops on a number they can afford. Luck should never determine anyone's chance for an education.

Is the Prime Minister ready to stop the tuition roulette wheel? Will he work with the premiers to freeze tuitions until accessibility becomes a national standard in this country?

Education
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we have direct grants to students in need and we will continue to build on the system we have. The leader of the NDP is asking us to set tuition fees, which is a provincial jurisdiction, and we respect provincial jurisdictions in this country.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

December 11th, 1997 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the years leading up to this first ministers conference the provincial governments have been saying that rather than having unilateral decisions by Ottawa in areas of shared jurisdiction, there should be agreed upon national standards. Rather than having unilateral cuts from Ottawa there should be a shared funding agreement and rather than having unilateral sanctions from Ottawa, there should be shared mechanisms for some of the conflicts.

Will the minister or the government agree today that it is now time for a new agreement, a new approach, a national covenant between the provinces and the federal government?

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we want to work in partnership with the provinces in the interests of all Canadians. For that purpose we not only need a partnership, we need national leadership.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, we hope that leadership would happen in all areas. Let us start with youth employment. I do not think national leadership would be qualified as setting a full half hour aside to discuss youth unemployment at a first ministers conference.

The government has since admitted that it has no new ideas, no new plans. Could we reiterate today the demand made by the unions, all the business groups in the country and now the provinces that the government decrease EI premiums to $2 to allow young Canadians to get back to work? Exercise leadership.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we already cut EI premiums this year by $1.4 billion. Let me simply say to the hon. member that for the 10 years the Conservative government was in power the provinces asked if there could be shared co-operation in the administration of the tax system. Year after year the Conservatives said “we won't co-operate”.

My colleague, the Minister of National Revenue, and I met with the provinces and we are putting in place a new era. The minister of finance from Alberta stood up in the Alberta House and said that he was delighted to see the way in which the federal government was working with the provinces.

Search And Rescue
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, we can all learn lessons from the terrible plane crash that occurred in Manitoba. It is painfully obvious to the public and to this House that we need search and rescue helicopters now. Why do we not have them? Because of a squabble taking place between the Department of National Defence and the cabinet.

I ask the Prime Minister this. How long is the Prime Minister going to allow a cabinet squabble to interfere with the safety of Canadians?

Search And Rescue
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is totally incorrect. We should first recognize the tragedy that occurred in Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba. We should indicate our sympathy with the families of the people who lost their lives. We should indicate our thanks to the people in the community who put out a great effort to try to help the victims. Finally, we should thank the search and rescue personnel who brought out 13 survivors from the crash.

This has nothing to do with the matter of purchasing new helicopters. Yes, we need new helicopters, but our search and rescue did its job.

Search And Rescue
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, it has everything to do with search and rescue helicopters, machines the military can use so that it can do its job.

We all know why the cabinet is in turmoil over this issue. It spent four years. It spent half a billion dollars and risked the lives of troops and of Canadians. Military experts long ago informed them which helicopter is the best. They are just trying to save political face.

Would the prime minister set aside his petty political concerns, do what is right for public safety and announce a helicopter deal today?

Search And Rescue
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is absolute nonsense. The government is committed to getting a helicopter that will meet our operational needs and that will provide good value for the Canadian taxpayers and to doing it as soon as we possibly can.

It is a serious matter of getting the right helicopter for the purposes of search and rescue of Canadians. We want to make sure the right decision is made and will make it as soon as we can.

Budget Surplus
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard the Minister of Finance state on a number of occasions this week that any fiscal dividend arising from a federal budget surplus does not belong to any government, it belongs to the people of Canada.

If indeed any budget surplus belongs to all Canadians and not to any government, why is he acting as if he alone had the power to decide what use to make of it?

Budget Surplus
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, prebudget consultations were held in every province of the country. My colleague, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, indicated that there had been an election in which the anticipated surplus was certainly discussed. It should be pointed out that, when I met with my finance counterparts this week, the use to be made of these surpluses was discussed.

We are working in perfect co-operation with the provinces.

Budget Surplus
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, one the reasons the federal deficit got so huge is precisely the federal government's excessive spending in areas under provincial jurisdiction.

With the Liberal government acting the way it is, can we not conclude that it did not get the message and that, now that a surplus is in sight, it is set to make the exact same mistake and fall back into the same old ways? Once a Liberal, always a Liberal.

Budget Surplus
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have very clearly expressed our intention to use surpluses to reduce taxes and the national debt and to invest in areas where Canadians have the greatest needs.