House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is quite extraordinary, because the previous Minister of Canadian Heritage promised the same guarantee, and it prompted the resignation of Mr. Manera, who felt the government was not keeping its word.

As regards Radio-Québec, Quebec contributes $7.50 per capita to its television, whereas Ontario contributes only $5.50. The minister should compare apples with apples and not with carrots.

Even with four former CBC presidents saying that the Corporation can no longer fulfill its mandate, the minister in her cynicism is promising stable funding, but after additional cuts of $200 million and 4,000 jobs. This is a far cry from Radio-Québec.

What are the government's real intentions in promising stable, insufficient and long term funding to the CBC? Are they to shut down the regions, to run the French network into the ground or simply to shut down the now redundant English and French television networks of the CBC, as her colleague for national defence has suggested?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, two facts have to be pointed out.

First, when we took over the government we were faced with a very difficult financial situation. Cuts were required which were absorbed in all departments of government and to a lesser extent in the cultural industries.

In fact, the CBC cut which caused a lot of pain and a lot of jobs represented 23 per cent of their budget as against 50 per cent of the Department of Natural Resources and 30 per cent of the Department of the Environment.

The second point that I hope the hon. member would reflect on is that this is the first time in the history of the fiscal framework that the CBC will be given a guarantee that it will receive a stable amount of funding for the next five years. That will permit planning a movement to an all Canadian network.

Contrast that commitment in the fiscal framework to the statement by the Reform Party that it would abolish CBC television, to the statement by the Conservative Party that it wants to get out of CBC television, and to the statement of the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata that there is too much fat in the CBC.

Distinct Society Concept
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the leader of the official opposition asked the Prime Minister when, in its decision making or legislative process, the government had taken into account the meaningless resolution that was passed by this House last year. This was a quite simple question that the Leader of the Opposition asked, but the Prime Minister did not answer.

Let me ask him the same question today. If indeed this resolution is as important as he claims it is, could the Prime Minister give us one example, one clear case where the concept of distinct society has been used to give Quebec more power or to give legislation an interpretation favouring the interests of the people of Quebec?

Distinct Society Concept
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the whole program we set out in the throne speech in February of last year clearly shows this government's desire to find common ground in many areas so as to provide for the respect of jurisdictions, as requested by the people in Quebec.

Read the speech from the throne; you will see what we have accomplished since then and the hon. member will have all the examples he needs.

Distinct Society Concept
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

No, Mr. Speaker, I only know one case where the concept of distinct society, as the Prime Minister understands it, has been applied and that is harmonization of the GST.

The maritimes have been paid $1 billion to harmonize it, but the federal government still will not compensate Quebec, which agreed three years ago to harmonize its provincial sales tax with the federal GST. For the Prime Minister, Quebec is a distinct society when it does not make any difference.

Will the Prime Minister not recognize that breaking so many promises has made him an embarrassing ally for Quebec federalists and all those who once thought it possible to reform the Canadian federation?

Distinct Society Concept
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity provided by the opposition to get to the crux of the debate?

In Quebec, polls show that 80 per cent of the population regard themselves as Canadians. Outside Quebec, more than 50 per cent of the population are prepared to recognize Quebec as an essential part of Canada. Our role is to help these populations come to terms, in spite of the official opposition's divisive philosophy.

Employment
Oral Question Period

February 11th, 1997 / 2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the last election the Prime Minister promised Canadians jobs, jobs, jobs.

This is the Liberal record that is etched on the minds of Canadians: 1.5 million people unemployed; two million to three million underemployed; 700,000 moonlighting to make ends meet;

one out of four Canadians afraid of losing his or her job. The Prime Minister can try to ignore it, to explain it, to inflate it and excuse it, but that is the Liberal's dismal record on jobs.

With a record like that how does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe him when he promises jobs, jobs, jobs in the future?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we said our priority was to create jobs and to improve the economy of Canada and that is exactly what we have done.

As I said yesterday, the Canadian economy has created more than 700,000 new jobs since we formed the government and I gave examples. It is recognized by everybody that we have done better and we have created more jobs in Canada with 30 million people than Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain together. That is a fact. Of course we are never satisfied and we have to create a lot more.

We had to get to the bottom of the problem. We knew we had a big deficit, that the costs of interest were exceedingly high. We had to put the finances of the nation in good standing so that people could find jobs because we were able to compete.

That is why today in Canada we have the lowest interest rates we have had in 35 years. That is why we see today that housing, which had been in great difficulty for many years, is starting up again. More people are buying houses and new houses are being built every day.

That is why people have a higher level of confidence today than in the last number of years. We have done what has to be done to make sure the deficit is under control and that we are respecting the goals that we stated to Canadians. We have created more jobs and we have made sure that the deficit is under control. That is exactly what we have done.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister wants to get to the bottom of the jobs problem he has to eventually get to the tax problem. High taxes kill jobs and the government's tax record is even worse than its jobs record.

Since 1993 the federal government has increased taxes 35 times. The average family take home pay has been reduced by $3,000 and the federal tax collector is taking in $24 billion more per year than in 1993. That is the dollar cost of the Liberal tax policies. The job cost is even worse.

Does the Prime Minister accept responsibility for all the jobs killed by Liberal high taxes?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there have been absolutely no tax increases since we have been here.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Saint-Maurice, QC

I notice they are complaining. Yes, we have changed some taxes because we plugged some loopholes that were benefiting the rich. Yes, of course we have increased some taxes. Yes, we have increased the tax on the banks.

If it is the type of tax that he is complaining about I will plead guilty. We have plugged loopholes and we have made sure that the banks would pay a fair share of the profits they are making.

There was no tax increase on the income of individuals. We have reduced from $3.30 to $2.85 per $100 the employee contribution to the unemployment insurance fund. We have reduced by more than $500 million the level of taxes that were imposed at the border for imports to comply with international obligations. I could go on and on.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

More. More.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Saint-Maurice, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to keep the leader in good shape so I will wait for his third question.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's tax increases only deal with tax loopholes?

Does the Prime Minister consider the tax on life insurance premiums that was imposed by the government closing a loophole? Does he consider the increase in the excise tax on gasoline as closing a loophole? Does the Prime Minister consider increasing the tax on tobacco products a loophole? Does he consider the reduction on RRSP contributions a loophole? Does he consider increasing the Canada pension plan premiums three times a loophole?

The tax increases imposed by his government have resulted in the collection of over $24 billion more per year by the government. Does the Prime Minister consider all of those tax loopholes?