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

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, not long ago the Prime Minister told the Toronto Star that he wanted to run in the next election on his jobs record. Friday's job numbers should give him pause. There were 38,000 fewer jobs than in the previous month; 44,000 women lost their jobs; and for 77 months in a row unemployment was over 9 per cent.

Does the Prime Minister really have the nerve to run on his jobs record?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at the situation in 1993 when we took office. Taxes were rising. The deficit was increasing. Interest rates were on the increase. Total insecurity was reigning throughout the land.

Let us take a look at the situation today. The deficit is down. Interest rates are down. There have been no personal tax increases in the last budget and $2 billion worth of selective tax decreases.

We see a set of economic indicators that can match those of anybody in the world. We see that virtually every economist in the country is predicting 300,000 new jobs will be created this year.

No other country can ascertain that record and the fact is that will happen.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that may go over well down at the yacht club, but for a guy who does not have a job on Main Street it is pretty hard to swallow. There are 1.5 million unemployed Canadians, two million to three million underemployed and 800,000 who are moonlighting just to make ends meet. That is the Liberal job record.

What is the Liberals' answer to this crisis? It is a 73 per cent hike in payroll taxes that their own bureaucrats say will kill jobs.

With an unemployment rate of 9.7 per cent and with 1.5 million people unemployed, why is the government hiking a guaranteed job killer by 73 per cent?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if anybody wants to take a look at the debates in the House over the last three years, when the government has been bringing in job programs, whether it be cleaning up the nation's finances, short term job programs such as the infrastructure or longer term programs such as investing in education and R and D, they will see one thing, that the Reform Party has opposed every job creation measure brought in by the government.

If the member is sincere in his statement that he does not want to see the 9.9 per cent increase in Canada pension plan premiums, why has he brought forth a proposal that would increase those

premiums by 13 per cent? Why does he not lay the numbers out and tell Canadians what he and his party are really after?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture.

For a little over two years now, in a relentless effort to abide by the new rules of the WTO, the federal government has been slashing its various farm support programs. For instance, dairy subsidies will be completely abolished as of August 1, 1997, without any financial compensation.

Can the minister tell us how our farmers will benefit from the fact that the U.S. government is planning to cut its overall farm support by 23 per cent over a period of seven years, while Canada will cut its support by 21 per cent but over only three years?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman's preface made reference to the implications of world trade agreements with respect to Canadian dairy policy. While there are some implications of world trade agreements for Canadian dairy policy, the particular connection that he draws in terms of the dairy subsidy is not a connection at all.

The reductions in the dairy subsidy that have been announced are taking place over a seven-year period, two years of which have already gone by and five years of which are yet to come. We consulted with the dairy industry very closely in terms of the best possible way in which to manage the issue. The phase down approach we have adopted is quite consistent with the advice we received.

As the dairy industry deals with the reductions in subsidies I am hopeful there will be good co-operation between the producers and the processors in terms of how pricing issues and a variety of other issues are handled within the framework of a long term dairy policy.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will remind the Minister of Agriculture that we are talking here about the total reductions expected. Overall, Canada will reduce its subsidies by 21 per cent over three years, while our neighbours south of the border will take almost twice as long, seven years in fact, to cut their subsidies by 23 per cent.

Since the level of farm support in Canada is now among the lowest in the world, except for Australia and New Zealand, can the minister at least approve the dairy producers' request to postpone the next reduction in dairy subsidies from August 1, 1997 until February 1, 1998, as this would give them another six months to adjust to the austerity measures taken by the Liberal government?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, there are two aspects to that question. The latter point was about a change in the timing for the period during which the phase down of the dairy subsidy would occur.

That request was put to me a number of weeks ago by the dairy farmers of Canada, I understand with the support of the National Dairy Council. That request is under active consideration as we speak. I hope to be in a position to respond to the dairy industry within the next short while.

On the other point, the comparison between the Canadian situation and the American situation, I point out to the hon. member one fundamental distinction. In the United States there is essentially an open market system with respect to the dairy industry. In Canada we have a supply management system which was instituted by a Liberal government and not three months ago was thoroughly, totally and successfully defended by the government before the NAFTA commission.

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

March 10th, 1997 / 2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians are now facing a 73 per cent tax hike because of the government's decision to double CPP premiums, all Canadians that is except federal public servants. Due to the government's delay in amending the public service pension plan they are exempt from this huge tax grab.

If private sector employers could get their act together to adjust their pension plans, why couldn't the government?

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the Superannuation Act for the public service is not negotiable.

A committee of people have for the last few years been looking at ways to amend it. A way to amend it to deal with the increase in CPP premiums is part of the discussions which should be concluded within the next few months.

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting answer. If the act is not negotiable I wonder how the government intends to change it.

The government just like its Tory predecessors has been talking forever about overhauling the federal public service pension plan. For years it has lacked the political will to tackle the issue.

How does the government intend to convince public servants that an increase in premiums is justified when the government is benefiting from using the $24 billion surplus presently in the account?

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the way in which the pension plan is accounted for is according to the rules of the Canadian chamber of actuaries and accountants.

Not only that, but it is done with the approval and support of the auditor general. Would the member want us to start breaking the rules just to satisfy his biases?

Child Labour
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa.

The people of my riding of Elgin-Norfolk are horrified by recent images of child labour in the developing world.

Could the secretary of state tell us what were the results of a recent international conference on child labour and, furthermore, what Canada is doing in general to deal with the issue of child labour?

Child Labour
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Northumberland
Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of attending a conference in Amsterdam a few weeks ago that dealt with the most serious abuses of child labour worldwide.

Canada, along with the Dutch government, the International Labour Organization and other members of the international community, is working to put together a convention in 1999 which will ban the worst cases of child labour abuse.

Examples of this are the exploitation of children in hazardous work including military service, the sexual exploitation of children, and the exploitation of children when they work in indentured and slave labour.

Legislation has been brought into the House this past session which would make it possible for Canada to bring to court Canadian citizens involved in sexual tourism abroad to face the same charges they would face if the situation had occurred in Canada.

As well a subcommittee on sustainable development has brought in a report with several recommendations and we look forward to responding to those valuable recommendations.

Employment Equity
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon Regina—Lumsden, SK

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

On Friday the secretary of state responsible for women's issues said the Liberal government had over three and a half years strengthened employment equity for women by targeting women as a key group for employment, creating opportunities for women in construction and addressing women's jobs in a comprehensive and holistic way.

Today the Minister of Finance says he is proud of his jobs' record as it pertains to women. How does the Acting Prime Minister explain the so-called economic priorities to employ more women with the fact that 44,000 women saw their full time jobs disappear last month?