House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will neither hold an emergency debate, as requested by the Bloc Quebecois, nor undertake to act on proposals made by the Government of Quebec to deal effectively with the gang war. Meanwhile, the Hell's Angels and the Rock Machine are causing mayhem in Quebec.

My question is for the Prime Minister and I would like him to answer because this is a very important question. Will the Prime Minister admit that, by being stubborn, he is protecting criminal biker gangs instead of protecting the life and safety of innocent people in Quebec?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there are more than 800 sections in the Criminal Code to assist peace officers in the performance of their duties. I do not think there is a simple or magical solution.

Robert Perreault, the Minister of Public Security in Quebec, said essentially the same thing. In his opinion, an anti-gang law is not a magical solution; it would cause more problems than it would resolve.

Former Quebec Minister of Public Security Serge Ménard made the following comment: "I remain convinced that what we lack to fight organized crime is not legislation but sustained law enforcement". That is the solution: police work. As I said, if we can help police in any way by adding something to the Criminal Code of Canada, we will gladly do so.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Friday it was reported that personal bankruptcies had jumped22 per cent for last year over 1995. Almost 80,000 Canadians went broke thanks to Liberal economic policies.

Not only have the government's high tax policies given us the worst string of unemployment numbers since the great depression, they are causing Canadians to go broke at near record numbers.

What does the Prime Minister have to offer the unemployed and the bankrupt other than his empty election promise of jobs, jobs, jobs?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I tell everybody that the government is trying very hard to make sure the economy performs very well. At this moment, as I have repeated in the House, we have the lowest interest rates we have had in 35 years. Everybody who reads the newspaper realizes that housing is picking up, that people are buying more cars, and so on.

We have seen the country producing net more than 700,000 new jobs, more than as I have said Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy. It is not enough. The level of unemployment went from11.4 per cent to 9.7 per cent. We wish it would be lower but we have done the right thing to achieve these goals. That is why in the last week of reports in terms of optimism in the country for investment it is the best in many years.

We had to tackle the problems that were left to us when we formed the government, a deficit that was $42 billion. We had to reduce it and we have managed to create a lot of jobs in the meantime.

We are working very hard. I know the people of Canada will have an occasion within the next 18 months to make a judgment on our policies and the flip-flop of the Reform Party.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to talk about flip-flop. These kinds of numbers and encouraging words the Prime Minister fools himself with are no comfort and mean absolutely nothing to people who are unemployed and looking desperately for jobs.

The Liberals' flowery words and rosy predictions are absolutely cool comfort to the 1.5 million unemployed Canadians and the nearly 80,000 Canadians who went broke last year.

Since the Prime Minister's jobs strategy has failed miserably and since he has ruled out tax relief, I ask him to get to the facts and not give us the flowery numbers and predictions he knows are glossy. How does he plan to keep his red book myth of jobs, jobs, jobs that he tried to snow the people with in 1993?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have explained, we have seen the confidence of consumers growing very fast in the last quarter. For example, residential investment has grown by 23 per cent. Consumer spending is

increasing by 5.6 per cent and fixed business investment by more than 23 per cent.

We do not claim we have solved all the problems, but I am telling the hon. lady we have done our best with the right preoccupations. We are not a party that is just proposing.

I know they can say that because they will not form the government. The only goal they have whenever they get up is to make sure there will be no more old age pension or Canada pension plan for the poor and that there will be tax cuts for the rich.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear this rhetoric.

In 1992 someone who sat exactly there with 1.5 million unemployed, Brian Mulroney, told us not to worry, that Canada had the best job creation record in the G-7.

Now in 1997 with 1.5 million still unemployed someone who sits in the very same chair, the present Prime Minister, is saying: "Don't worry, Canada has the best jobs creation record in the G-7". It is the same old story.

We could not trust Mulroney with that line in 1992. Why in the world should we trust the Prime Minister with the same old line in 1997?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it was not the same line that we had because it was not our slogan. The member is right that it was Mr. Mulroney's slogan of jobs, jobs, jobs.

We said to the Canadian people that we would restore confidence and tackle the deficit and the debt of the country. When we formed the government interest rates were four points above those of the Americans. Now our interest rates are below theirs. At this time our interest rates are 2.5 per cent lower than those of the Americans. We have not seen that in 40 years.

I agree with the hon. member that we are paying the price because we had nine years of the Tories in government, and they are not about to come back.

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

March 17th, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

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

With the election fast approaching, the Liberals should be ashamed of their poor performance in job creation. In addition to the fact that 45 per cent of all new jobs since 1993 were created in 1994, only 288,000 jobs were created in the years 1995 and 1996 together.

How can the minister shamelessly predict the possible creation of 300,000 to 350,000 new jobs in 1997, given that, for 1995 and 1996 together, only 288,000 new jobs were created, 60 per cent of which were part time jobs?

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, obviously, as a government, we cannot be pleased with the figures regularly heard in this House.

We are constantly striving to create an economic climate that will convince people to invest more. We also implemented job creation initiatives like no government before us. We changed an unemployment insurance system that acted as a disincentive to work, and replaced it with job creation funds, with a transitional job creation fund.

This morning, I was pleased to announce, in the east end of Montreal, an $8 million subsidy from the transitional job creation fund that will help create 3,000 jobs in the textile sector in the east end of Montreal.

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it takes some nerve for the minister to boast about using the transitional fund to create jobs when the $300 million to be spent over three years comes from the UI fund and the cuts affecting the unemployed.

The minister talks about creating many new jobs in 1997, in the private sector, but he is trying to hide the reality of massive job losses in that sector. Indeed, from February 1996 to February 1997, 85,000 workers in the private sector lost their jobs. Of the 189,000 jobs created in 1996, 125,000 were precarious independent jobs.

How can the minister use such a smoke and mirrors approach in promising 350,000 new jobs?

Job Creation
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, Canada is lucky enough to be a member of the OECD, one of the world's foremost brain trusts, and it relies on the economic studies made by that organization.

The hope to create 350,000 jobs in our economy in the next year is based on the serious work done by these people, who have identified our economy as the most promising, since it is basically sound.

It is perfectly normal to have jobs of a different nature than in the past, including independent jobs, which are perfectly acceptable in the new economy, and which should not be looked down on.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, according to a study by the C.D. Howe Institute, the government has been hiding about $9 billion in income and sales taxes that it has sucked

out of the pockets of ordinary Canadians. This represents about $1,700 per family.

In a related story the government has been busted for going $9 billion over target on the spending projections put forth in its 1995 budget. In the case of regional development it is about 50 per cent over its target, just like the money the minister announced.

Is cooking the books the Prime Minister's definition of fiscal responsibility?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions.