House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

National Forum On Health
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—Woodbine, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer my congratulations to the National Forum on Health, which presented its report this week.

Our health care system is the pride of our country. The forum reaffirmed the belief of Canadians that the single tier, publicly funded health care system is the best model to deliver the best care for the best results for the best price.

The forum produced some excellent recommendations. Among some of the most interesting recommendations is that the government examine publicly funded home care and medication. The report also underlines the link between poverty and health, especially in children.

I support these recommendations, as they clearly indicate that health care as a prevention method is the best way to go.

National Infrastructure Program
Statements By Members

February 10th, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, our government and the Alberta government signed an agreement to extend the national infrastructure program until March 31, 1998.

The minister responsible pointed out the very positive economic and social benefits that resulted from the first infrastructure program. He also stressed the increased competitiveness of the communities that benefited from the program.

Our objective is to create more jobs during the 1997 construction season. We believe that extending the national infrastructure program should help create between 15,000 and 20,000 new jobs.

The program is a major success. To this day, it has helped create over 100,000 new jobs. Our government sees this as further proof that our federalist system is flexible and helps create jobs when the various levels of government work together.

Alberta was the first province to sign. I hope that "la belle province", the Province of Quebec, will not be the last one.

Smuggling
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, as part of the national action plan to combat smuggling, the government in 1994 committed $315 million over three years to help the RCMP, Revenue Canada and the Department of Justice to increase border protection, close down smuggling operations, dismantle organized crime networks and reaffirm the uniform application of Canada's laws.

The plan has been very successful. That is why the government recently announced it would renew the full range of enforcement measures at a cost of $100 million.

As well, last Monday my colleague, the solicitor general, announced in Washington after meeting with American Attorney General Janet Reno that he will be creating a new, high level anti-smuggling co-ordinating group to work with the counterpart American group. The aim is to have an additional mechanism to work on border enforcement issues of mutual interest, thereby maximizing our activities against smuggling.

The anti-smuggling effort of this government is a prime example of how we work daily to safeguard the safety and security of Canadians.

Young Reformers
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Reform party has seen its future in the persons of 220 young people who energized Ottawa this last weekend. They came here from all 10 provinces to meet right thinkers like Michael Coren, David From and Ted Byfield. The young Reformers interacted with Reform MPs, election strategists and, most important, with each other.

Reformers call for balanced budgets and lower taxes that will create jobs and put more money into the real economy. They demand tax fairness for low income families and government policies that will strengthen the family unit.

The young Reformers are going to work tirelessly for Canadian unity, putting money back into the health care and education system and a massive overhaul of Canada's criminal system.

What impressed me the most about these Canadians was their drive, determination and youthful enthusiasm. They have seen this great nation's future and it not only includes them, it is going to be built by them.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in an interview with the Toronto Star , the Prime Minister said he thought he had done everything possible on the national unity front. He said, and I quote: ``I don't have to campaign on that, it's not a big issue, we've done it''.

Since the Prime Minister claims he has delivered the goods, are we to understand that, with the phoney resolution on distinct society, a regional right of veto and still unresolved negotiations on job training, the Prime Minister feels that the promises he made in Verdun to Quebecers have been kept?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as promised, we passed a resolution in the House of Commons in December of 1995 in favour of distinct society status for Quebec, and everyone noted that the Bloc Quebecois does not want Quebec recognized as a distinct society in Canada.

We passed a bill in the Parliament of Canada establishing regional veto rights that gives the Province of Quebec a right of veto. Once again, Bloc members do not want Parliament to give Quebec a right of veto. All this could be entrenched in the Canadian Constitution, as I have said, when the provinces give their agreement.

We voted here in Parliament, but once again the leader of the Quebec government, when he was leader of the Bloc Quebecois, voted against both these measures. Still, we pursued it. In the speech from the throne last year, we said that we were withdrawing from a number of areas of activity in Canada.

We are no longer involved in mining or forestry. We have found common ground with the provinces on tourism. We have negotiated very useful clarifications on environmental matters and, at this time, we have offered the provinces new arrangements with respect to manpower training, a very important issue for Quebec.

We have signed an agreement with the Government of Alberta, another one with the Government of New Brunswick, and the minister is now working on an agreement with the Government of Quebec.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of what the present, past or future leader of the Bloc Quebecois would like. We are talking about promises made by the Prime Minister. We are talking about promises made by the Prime Minister himself, on his own initiative, before the referendum, in front of all Quebecers. Let us not shift the blame.

I am going to put the following question to him: If his distinct society resolution is so important, when has the government taken it into account? What has it meant for Quebec since it was passed, this resolution that is not worth the paper it is written on, this meaningless resolution that has produced nothing, and that does not absolve the Prime Minister from his promises?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal party and the government undertook to pass a distinct society resolution and we have done so. We have taken it into consideration, for, in the speech from the throne, we vowed to work on improving the federation, one problem at a time, and I have just given a fairly long list of what we have done.

What is fascinating in all this is that, while we are working daily to improve the situation, the people across the way do not want Quebec to be recognized as a distinct society. They do not want Quebec to have a veto, because if they truly did, all they would have to do is pass similar resolutions in the Quebec National Assembly.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad. We told Quebecers not to trust what the Prime Minister said. We told all Quebecers. Unfortunately, there are still some who trust the Prime Minister.

When all is said and done, when the Prime Minister tells us today there is nothing more he can do for Quebec, is he not just confirming what we have always told Quebecers concerning him and his promises: that there is nothing he can do for Quebec and that Quebecers should certainly not expect anything from him?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will have to repeat myself. We in this House, over which this government does have some authority, passed a resolution recognizing Quebec as a distinct society and another one giving that province a right of veto.

We have withdrawn from the mining and forestry sectors. We have concluded agreements on tourism and the environment. We are now in the process of working out the most important issue, manpower training. We said we were going to find a solution to this problem and we have done so with two provinces thus far. The minister is working very hard to reach an agreement with Quebec. We were hoping that they would sign an agreement in January, but apparently the Government of Quebec is in no hurry to settle this matter, as it was for-

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Saint-Maurice, QC

Agreements were reached very quickly with Alberta and New Brunswick. I do not see why the same conditions could not be met in Quebec.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

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

In an interview with the Toronto Star , the Prime Minister states that he has ``kept all his promises to Quebec''. Let us not forget that this is the same Prime Minister who claims he has kept his promise on the GST.

Is the Prime Minister getting ready for his next election campaign by telling Canadians and Quebecers that everything he says during his campaign will be worth no more than what he said during his 1993 election campaign and in his Verdun speech in 1995?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have discussed this. We would have liked to have done more on the GST, but we have succeeded in doing as promised in the red book, harmonizing it with three provinces, and the process is almost complete in Quebec as well.

As for the resolutions on the distinct society, we voted in this House, and the Bloc members, including the hon. member who has just spoken, voted against Quebec being a distinct society. Her constituents will remember that.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in that same interview, the Prime Minister stated that, if he did not want to speak of national unity during the next election campaign, this was because the premiers of the other provinces were not prepared to recognize Quebec's demands.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the promises he made in Verdun were nothing but smoke and mirrors, and that we are still at the point of no return from Charlottetown: that what is not enough for Quebec is already too much for the rest of Canada?