House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Pay Equity
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, for 13 hours on December 1, 13 women held a vigil to commemorate the 13 years women in the federal public service have fought for pay equity.

On December 8, Treasury Board and the Public Service Alliance are scheduled to resume negotiations.

The government is sending a mixed message. In a note to public servants, the Treasury Board President warns them that unless they accept his reduced offer of $1.3 billion, negotiations will be long and painful. Quite a threat.

For her part, the Secretary of State for the Status of Women told us that the Treasury Board President had some leeway.

The government must put a stop to the injustice which has dragged on from one government to the next. The Liberals must take another look at what they said when they formed the official opposition. The Minister of Finance must cut the Treasury Board President enough slack to resolve this issue once and for all.

Land Mines
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sheila Finestone Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members are aware, history is being made in Ottawa this week. More than 120 nations have signed a treaty to ban land mines.

Joining us in the gallery today are several land mine survivors. Judy and Bruce Isfeld from Courtney, B.C. lost their son Mark, a Canadian peacekeeper, to a land mine. They are here representing Canadian survivors. Mines Action Canada has brought here for this conference people from around the world who have been disabled by land mines. In the gallery are Song Kosal, Tun Chunarreth and Sokeng, all from Cambodia.

I invite my colleagues to join in paying tribute to the courage and the remarkable will demonstrated by these land mine survivors here in our gallery, and to come to Room 200 West Block to meet them after question period and to bring their staff. They deserve our support.

Land Mines
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Peacekeepers
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, today our first group of peacekeepers returns from Haiti.

For the past two and a half years these troops and others have worked to build stability and democracy in a state which has for too long been ruled by a brutal dictatorship. They also helped to train a national police force so the Haitian people could walk the streets free from fear.

We sent our peacekeepers into a volatile situation that few people could handle. They not only handled it but they performed extremely well.

They earned the respect of the Haitian people and the world with their hard work, their kindness and their dedication. They did not solve Haiti's problems but no one could reasonably have expected them to.

On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to thank our peacekeepers for their good work and congratulate them on a job well done. I would also like to thank their families for their sacrifice and their crucial support.

And so I say to our peacekeepers, thank you and welcome home.

Quebec City Council
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec City council finally has decided to set up a working group to determine the criteria governing the occasional or permanent raising of flags in front of city hall.

We do not need any criteria or committees to find out whether we love the Canadian flag. Pride in our country is not occasional or temporary. It is permanent.

The pride of our country is not a temporary or transitory thing, but it is a permanent pride.

We think the Canadian flag represents the value of belonging to a nation that is growing in the spirit of tolerance and openness to others and to the world. Another ridiculous decision forced by the mayor of Quebec City.

We would never agree to criteria for occasional support for our country. We should ask the separatists if they want to break up our country occasionally.

Highways
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the federal government's declining commitment to rail service, our roads are under more pressure than ever.

A well maintained system of roads and highways is the basic transportation backbone and economic diversification tool of rural communities and provincial economies. That is why in this year's Saskatchewan budget the NDP government announced a 10 year $2.5 billion program to improve the province's roads and highways. But they cannot do it alone.

Canada is the only one of 28 OECD countries not to have a national highways program. The federal government collects $4 billion in fuel tax from Canadians but spends less than 12% of these tax revenues on road transportation and not one dime of it in western Canada. As a matter of fact, if a car stopped on a dime in western Canada, you can bet that dime did not come from Ottawa.

It is time the Liberal government established a national highways program to help build a strong economic future for all western Canadians. It is time for the government to put some cash on the dash for its national highway system.

Team Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are delighted by the decision of the premier of Quebec, Lucien Bouchard, to join Team Canada on its trip to Latin America from January 10 to 28.

We will recall Mr. Bouchard's praises for the work done by the Canadian embassy in China during a similar trade mission.

We can assure the Quebec premier that the Government of Canada will do an equally effective job for the Latin American mission so that the members of the Canadian delegation may return home with maximum economic benefits for Canada and Quebec.

Obviously, Mr. Bouchard will not come home a federalist following a Team Canada trip. Let us hope that he will at least appreciate certain benefits of Canadian federalism when he sees that Canada's economic strength benefits Quebec in such circumstances.

Who knows, one day Mr. Bouchard may find some goal other than to break up Canada.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I met with the minister of agriculture regarding assistance for Nova Scotia farmers who have been severely impacted by the extended drought. Feed costs have risen dramatically while production has been substantially reduced, threatening their livelihood.

The minister committed to work with companion programs already in place which may make funds available to the Nova Scotia agricultural industry in this emergency. Funds already committed to other programs might be shifted to provide assistance needed, while not requiring any new money.

The minister has committed to negotiate with the province of Nova Scotia in an effort to reach a federal-provincial agreement to make this assistance available as soon as possible.

I thank the minister for his attention to this problem and look forward to the much needed assistance for Nova Scotia farmers.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

December 4th, 1997 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we asked the government to face up to Canada's crushing debt load and high tax load. The response from the government was pathetic. In essence it said that it did not have to answer for high debt and high taxes.

Today a major public opinion poll shows that 89% of Canadians say that the government had better start answering debt questions now.

What precisely is the government's debt reduction target?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our target is to have a balanced budget. This year for the first time the debt decreased by a couple of billion dollars. The next budget will tell us by exactly how much.

The government has a policy that is clear. I note that Reform's program does not talk about debt reduction; it talks about tax reduction. We have a balanced approach. We know that we will reduce the debt and taxes—

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government knows nothing about balance when it comes to debt and taxes.

Under Liberal governments personal income taxes have risen to the highest levels in the G-7. Under the government the debt has risen in total to close to $600 billion and Canada's youth are stuck with the tab.

In today's poll it was significant that it was Canadians under 30 years of age who were most insistent that the government address the debt.

Why is the government considering more spending when young Canadians are demanding that it address the balance sheet first?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we realize that there are problems in society, like child poverty, which are the responsibility of the government. The government realizes that there are some people in some parts of Canada who need help from the government.

That is why in the same poll Canadians said they believed those on this side of the House are best able to manage the economy of Canada.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government thinks that helping people and cutting debt and taxes are opposites. What Canadians are telling the government is that these things go hand in hand.

The government taxes the poor more heavily than either the Americans or the British, so broad based tax relief helps the poor, including poor children.

The $45 billion a year the government is paying on interest eats the heart out of social programs, so debt reduction helps social programs.

How long will it take the government to understand that debt reduction and tax relief are—

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Prime Minister.