House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was reform.

Topics

Commonwealth Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is Commonwealth Day and this year's theme is "Talking to One Another".

I have a children's poem written by Joseph Nancoo, and I will read some of it.

Children of the Commonwealth, In countries large and small, Children of the Commonwealth, We are brothers, sisters all. Children of the Commonwealth, Of every creed and race, We are God's creation We share his love and grace. Children of the Commonwealth Let's Talk To One Another: Our unity in diversity; A model for humanity. Children of the Commonwealth, A new century challenges you To be the best-only you can be, And respect each other's dignity. Children of the Commonwealth, Remember those who led the way, Again, our Affirmations let us say, This glorious Commonwealth Day.

International Women's Day
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to draw your attention, somewhat belatedly, to International Women's Day and comment on the place of women in politics.

In the latest study by the Interparliamentary Union about men and women in politics and "unfinished democracy", we read that women today have only 11.7 per cent of the seats in parliaments throughout the world. Here in this House we are not doing much better, since women have only 18 per cent of the seats.

Much remains to be done to remedy the under-representation of women in politics, a situation that is one of the most serious flaws of our modern democracies.

To improve the situation, all political parties should follow the example of Scandinavian parties and adopt measures to promote the integration of women in politics. The Scandinavian experience has been successful, since that region has the highest percentage of female parliamentarians at over 37 per cent.

Criminal Code
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, March 11, will be a day of shame for the Canadian

justice system as Clifford Olson's application for early release is filed. Tomorrow, March 11, will be a day of sorrow for the parents, relatives and friends of the 11 innocent children who were so sadistically murdered by the same Clifford Olson.

Many Canadians believe that the Liberal government has failed to take the actions that are within its power to stop the revictimization of those that suffer from the evil deeds of vicious criminals. Liberal governments over the past 20 years have shown too little sympathy for victims of crime and have placed far too much emphasis on the rights of criminals.

Canadians are protesting the inaction of this government. Tomorrow protest demonstrations will be held in Vancouver, Saskatoon, Terrace, B.C. and Edmonton in support of the parents of these murdered children.

A Reform government would enact a victims' bill of rights that would put the rights of law-abiding Canadians ahead of those of criminals.

Quebec Liberal Party
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I speak for all my colleagues when I congratulate the Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Daniel Johnson, on the tremendous vote of confidence he received from his supporters.

At their convention in Quebec City on the weekend, the provincial Liberals discussed and adopted a series of innovative resolutions that will form the nucleus of their next election platform. They also reaffirmed their faith in Canadian federalism as the only valid alternative for Quebec.

The only fly in the ointment was the totally inappropriate and uncalled-for attempt by the Conservative Leader to approach Liberal supporters. His attempt to attract the attention of Liberal supporters can only be explained by the panic and fear that are rampant in his party.

Regional Development
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, residents of the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands have reason to celebrate the latest intervention by the Government of Canada in their region.

This morning, before an audience of representatives of the socio-economic community, the Secretary of State responsiblefor the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec andthe Liberal member for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine announced $3 million in assistance for the purchase of the Chandler-Gaspé line.

This amount, which will go to the Gaspé railway corporation, will be used to cover the estimated $2.6 million needed to buy the line, as well as the costs of development activities for the first two years of operation.

The Canadian government recognizes the importance of transportation for the economic development of regions like the Gaspé and that is why we are happy to provide assistance.

Bolo Award
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, La bande à Gilet , a popular radio program on FM 93 in Quebec City, is at it again. Last Friday, the BOLO award for blunder of the week went by popular vote to the federal health minister.

The member for Rimouski-Témiscouata will award him the prize in the House of Commons foyer after oral question period.

Bravo to the public and way to go, minister of health.

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this government got elected by making Canadians believe that its priority was job creation. However, since the beginning of 1996, the unemployment rate has gone up instead of down, although there was a significant drop in the number of unemployed who said they were seeking employment.

Would the Minister of Finance confirm what was said by economist John Lester of Wood Gundy, who indicated that if the labour force participation rate of Canadians were the same as it was in 1989, the current unemployment rate in this country would be 14 per cent?

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt there is a connection between the participation rate and the unemployment levels reported by Statistics Canada.

This is why we talked mainly about job creation. The Prime Minister has said many times, and so have I, that since we came to power, we have created more than 790,000 jobs in the private sector alone, the vast majority of which were full-time jobs.

Even with last Friday's figures, if we consider the past five months, we created more than 70,000 jobs, most of them in the private sector, and these are full-time jobs, precisely for the reason mentioned by the hon. member. We must mention job creation, because the unemployment levels only tell us part of the story.

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, 14 per cent unemployment based on the 1989 participation rate is hardly something for the Minister of Finance to be proud of. The government has certainly nothing to be proud of. And if it does not mean a thing to the Minister of Finance, it has a particularly cruel meaning for the families of those who are looking for work.

The Minister of Finance bragged about creating full-time jobs. How can he brag about full-time jobs when, according to Statistics Canada, 40 per cent of the new jobs created in the last 12 months are part-time jobs?

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows perfectly well that figures are very volatile, that the situation changes from month to month, and that since we came to power, the vast majority of jobs have been full-time jobs. In fact, if we consider the five past months, that is what the situation is.

The hon. member would probably be able to find another period with figures to suit him. However, when we look at the indicators, we see that consumer spending increased 5.6 per cent during the fourth quarter, that investment in housing is rising. In January, housing resales rose 3.8 per cent. In February-and this is very important because of the multiplying effect-housing starts reached their highest level in two and a half years. Fixed investment by business rose to 23 per cent.

My point is, yes, we are concerned about the employment situation, and yes, we are concerned about the job situation for young people, but when we consider Canada's financial situation at the very beginning and the improvement in the employment situation since we came to power, the indicators show that Canada, despite its shortcomings, has one of the strongest job creation rates of any industrialized country. There has indeed been tremendous progress.

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval
Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance made a number of appalling statements that deserve some comments at the very least.

He said that I could always find figures to suit my purposes. We know he specializes in finding figures to suit him over the short term, to try and justify the government's poor performance. He also said that figures were volatile. Well, I would say it is not the figures but the jobs that are volatile.

What justification does he have for the fact that, always according to Statistics Canada, between February 1996 and February 1997, young Canadians lost 64,000 jobs?

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are of course concerned about the employment situation among young people. In fact, less than a month ago, the Minister of Human Resources Development announced a very detailed program to help young people, a summer job program, a program creating internships with large corporations. That is why the government also encouraged the private sector to make the announcement they made last week about creating internships for young people.

It would also be very helpful if the Bloc Quebecois voted with the government. The Leader of the Opposition seems to object when I quote economic indicators. But I can him that the economy is recovering, and the broad indicators show that we are already seeing the results of our policies. Retail sales are reaching record highs, exports are picking up, manufacturers' deliveries are resuming and interest rates have dropped. So all the conditions are there, and next year we can expect an economic upswing.

Now, Mr. Speaker-

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Thank you very much. The hon. member for Mercier.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

March 10th, 1997 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Not only is there reason to despair at the low number of jobs created in Canada, the increasingly low quality of jobs created moreover, but also the unemployed have had increasingly less access to unemployment insurance since this government came into power.

How can the minister explain that, when the Liberals came in, 60 per cent of the unemployed were drawing unemployment insurance while, according to Statistics Canada, in 1996 the figure for the percentage drawing benefits was no longer 60 per cent, but only 41? How does he explain this?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Mercier is drawing to our attention a problem that is of concern to the government, and it is true that the number of people who can make use of the employment insurance system has dropped.

I do, however, question the figure the hon. member for Mercier is giving out. Unfortunately-or fortunately, I should say-that figure excludes people who are in the EI system and who can work, which was not the case until now. This raises the numbers considerably, when those who are working for a time as well as drawing EI are included.