House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was via.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member to provide more details on the consequences that this will have on Mirabel airport. What happens now with the two airports? Could the hon. member elaborate on this, because we need further information on this?

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, we cannot anticipate whether ADM will appeal the decision or not. Nor can we anticipate what the federal government will do, since the judge is asking, and in fact demanding, in the five conditions he set to allow ADM's decision to be implemented, that the government take certain measures.

I will simply say this: millions of dollars have already been spent in legal costs alone by the two parties, millions that could have been saved had the government followed up on the Bloc Quebecois' recommendation to hold public hearings, where representations would have been made and studies submitted, at a much lower cost. The issue should have been discussed in public, not behind closed doors.

We do not know whether the saga will continue, whether millions of dollars will be spent should ADM decide to appeal, or what the government's position will be following the judge's recommendations. At this point in time, I do not know what will happen. It all depends on ADM's decision and on the federal government's decision.

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the impression I will have to continue after question period.

There are four items I would like to discuss in this debate on a motion tabled by the Reform Party which attempts to express the dissatisfaction with the federal government's transportation policies.

The items mentioned include, first of all, Pearson airport. I think this is a subject that has been discussed by a number of members in

this House. I could not agree more with those who thought it was very disturbing and in fact shocking to see the way the government is trying to salvage this mess.

Let me recall the facts of the case. The present Liberal Prime Minister said, when he was in the opposition and also during the election campaign, that he would reverse the former Conservative government's decision to privatize Pearson airport in Toronto, saying it would be far too expensive. They were talking about $600 million.

Not long ago in the newspapers, we read that one hundred million dollars would be needed to pay compensation alone. To salvage what could be salvaged and to try and honour a commitment, the government thinks one hundred million is too much.

Many citizens are talking increasingly about a second subject, the highway system. Many have asked their member of Parliament to table petitions, and I will probably table one myself. They want the government to spend more money on improving or repairing Canada's highway system.

By the way, we deplored the fact that Quebec does not get its fair share. Between 1952 and 1986, only 16.5 per cent of federal spending on highways went to Quebec, although we have more than 24 per cent of the population, as you well know.

From 1986 to 1988, spending dropped to 13 per cent. In 1991-92, spending dropped to its lowest level ever, 4.2 per cent. It went up a little subsequently, but never exceeded 12 per cent. In other words, half of the money the federal government should be spending on the highway system in Quebec is not being spent.

There are two more items, but I think I will have to continue after question period.

Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Certainly, my dear colleague. You will have the floor after Oral Question Period. You have seven minutes left if you want to use them.

It being 2 p.m., we shall proceed to statements by members.

Prebudget Town Hall
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, York North residents gathered at our annual prebudget town hall to discuss the country's current economic situation and to consider how best to proceed.

Residents called on this government to continue to focus on reducing the deficit and creating an economic environment that encourages job creation. They also urged the government to refrain from costly tax cuts until a balanced budget is achieved.

Discussions focused on how to build on success. They acknowledged that over 770,000 jobs have been created and that the deficit battle has almost been won. Now we must take advantage of our accomplishments and ensure our economy remains strong. Investing in youth, technology and small businesses were seen as high priorities. Participants called for a further reduction in red tape for small businesses and improved access to both information and capital.

This community takes its role in the budget process seriously. Residents have seen their ideas and suggestions become government policies. The residents of York North continue to make a difference.

The Ftq
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the FTQ, or Fédération des travailleurs du Québec, the labour organization where I worked for 19 years, on the eve of its 40th anniversary. It was born on February 16, 1957 out of the merger of the Fédération provinciale du travail du Québec and the Fédération des unions industrielles du Québec.

In actual fact, the FTQ is far more than 40 years old. Its origins go back to the end of the last century. It builds on the old traditions of a combination of European and North American trade unionism, and is heir to the rich history of the international labour movement.

Today, the FTQ represents 480,000 people working in all sectors and all regions of Quebec. In addition to doggedly defending the interests of wage earners of all backgrounds, the FTQ has also taken up the cause of the sovereignty of Quebec. As well, it battles for its membership's right to work and to live in French.

The exceptional contribution the FTQ has made to Quebec society is universally recognized. On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I wish it all the best on its 40th anniversary.

Youth Employment
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government announced a youth jobs strategy. While it may or may not have political overtones, I think it is fair to say it is very clear there is a direct relationship between job potential, the ability to get and to retain a job, and the level of education.

In my opinion it is absolutely hypocritical of the government to cut funding to post-secondary education at the same time it would

put funding into a job scheme which in the eyes of many is really a transparent method of getting votes.

There is a direct relationship between the scholastic level achieved by young people and their ability to get a job. For instance, six months after graduation, only 3.5 per cent of the 1990 graduates of the University of Alberta were looking for work.

If young Canadians want to be part of the job market, they must stay in school.

Canadian Wheat Board
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, prairie producers who are still considering their vote on the Canadian Wheat Board barley plebiscite should take a look at the recent Schmitz, Gray, Schmitz, Storey study which shows that the CWB puts more money in its pockets than it would receive from the open market.

The study showed that the Canadian Wheat Board single desk sales monopoly enabled it to extract higher prices for malt barley and for feed barley as well. The four agricultural economists who conducted the study pegged the price benefit at an average of $72 million a year during the 10-year period that ended in 1994-95.

With information like this, there should be little doubt about the pending outcome of the producer plebiscite. The power of the Canadian Wheat Board is a tremendous benefit not only to the individual farmers but also to the country as a whole. We should all be doing everything we can to support the Canadian Wheat Board and guarantee that it has a long and successful future.

Leduc Number One Oil Well
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Cowling Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is the 50th anniversary of an important event in Canadian history. On February 13, 1947 Imperial Oil brought the Leduc number one oil well into production. At the time, Alberta was an agriculture based economy without sufficient resources. Oil was being imported from the United States.

Imperial Oil Limited had persevered through the decades of costly but unsuccessful exploration. One hundred and thirty-three consecutive dry holes had been drilled before the Leduc find on the southern outskirts of Edmonton. This oil well represented a turning point for the Canadian oil industry. It quickly led to the growth and development of an innovative and competitive oil patch. The oil and the natural gas industry has been a major source of income, jobs and exports since then.

The Leduc find can be considered the most important economic event to occur in the west in the postwar years.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, in recent days we have heard a great deal about the small weeks anomaly in the employment insurance program. Make no mistake, it is a serious problem that must be fixed. But let us not lose sight of the overall benefits of the government's EI reforms.

The shift from weeks to hours recognizes all work. This is particularly helpful to seasonal industries. The low income protection means that Canadians who earn less than $26,000 can receive up to 80 per cent replacement income. People will have access to EI based active measures for up to five years, even after their income benefits have expired. Even the divisor is a more humane work incentive than simply making employment insurance benefits harder to get.

While the application of the program requires urgent repair, the fundamental reforms represent progressive and innovative public policy worthy of all our support.

National Citizenship Week
Statements By Members

February 13th, 1997 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week Canadians will be celebrating national citizenship week. The celebration is even more special this year because this is the fiftieth anniversary of Canadian citizenship.

I wish to share with my colleagues in the House during this important event my vision of what it means to be a Canadian.

To be a Canadian is to be proud of what we are and overcoming our differences in order to build a better future. It also means being a part of the larger force which draws its strength from its linguistic duality and cultural diversity.

Whether Canadian by birth or by choice, we all have the freedom to think, to act, and to make choices according to our conscience. This foundation upon which Canadian values are based holds great promise for our future. Being Canadian is more than a status, it is a definite advantage.

Grain Transportation
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Allan Kerpan Moose Jaw—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is happening again. At last count there were some 46 ships waiting for grain at the west coast ports. Whenever this happens, the Canadian Wheat Board blames the railways, the railways blame the grain companies, and the minister of agriculture

does not blame anybody. All this while the farmers who are the real victims end up holding the bag. This time it is a $65 million bag.

Farmers are tired of all the finger pointing. They are not interested in who is to blame. They are interested in solving problems that affect their daily lives.

This minister has to start realizing that these grain tie-ups have to stop. Everybody loses in these situations. I often wonder how long it would take the government to act if its members' paycheques were put on hold for several months because someone decided to shut down the comptroller's office during the winter.

The taxpayers of this country pay us to find real solutions to some very real problems, yet here we are sitting back while the big boys play and farmers pay. This government should be ashamed of itself. I think we need a fresh start.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jag Bhaduria Markham—Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, next Tuesday the finance minister will be tabling his budget and the masses of unemployed Canadians will be waiting to see if his words contain something more than rhetoric. Today I would like to offer some recommendations to the finance minister which will create meaningful jobs for the more than two million unemployed Canadians.

The finance minister should consider a one year freeze on the current interest rates which are creating jobs in fact. The finance minister should consider a $4,000 tax deduction for every small business for each new employee hired. The most hated GST should be cut down to 5 per cent effective immediately with a further provision to reduce it by 1 per cent each year, thus eliminating the GST within five years.

Unemployed Canadians would applaud these initiatives. I hope the finance minister gives serious consideration to my proposals.

Sugar Industry
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Lethbridge
Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker Lethbridge

Mr. Speaker, the NAFTA and World Trade Organization were supposed to result in freer trade with the United States. Yet for Canada's sugar industry the opposite has occurred.

In 1995 the Americans ignored the spirit of the WTO and slapped heavy tariffs on Canadian sugar exports. Access to American markets fell by more than 60 per cent. The result: Rogers Sugar is closing its Winnipeg operations with a loss of 82 jobs.

But this is not the only sugar subsidy to prosper in the free trade era. The re-export program for sugar-containing products, which the U.S. agreed to discontinue in accordance with the NAFTA agreement, continues to thrive and subidize for more than a year after its promised termination date of January 1996. Special consultations to resolve the matter have gone nowhere, making it clear the Americans will not terminate the program until we force their hand.

I call on the government to stand by its promise to request a NAFTA panel and to kill the U.S. re-export program. And the sooner the better.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, for the umpteenth time, the government has rewritten the red book. After stating that the government had fulfilled its promise on the GST, after stating that it had fulfilled its referendum promises on the distinct society by passing a trumped up motion, now the government is at it again.

This week, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced, for the third time, with a straight face, that the CBC would have stable funding for five years, once the government has cut $379 million from it.

This announcement was greeted with universal scepticism. How can a promise made by a minister on the eve of an election campaign be believed? But the most dead-on comment came from Perrin Beatty, the CBC President himself: "We will not believe it until we have our hands on the cheque".