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 consumers.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I thank members of the Reform Party for their greeting.

Members of the Reform Party should read some of the independent comments about Canadian government policies. I suggest they read, for example, the comments of Maureen Farrow of Loewen, Ondaatje, McCutcheon Limited who said:

International investors, whom I talk to every day, are looking at Canada as if it we've sort of arisen from the ashes. It's fascinating because it's the deficit, the debt-the current account, the contained inflation-the overall competitiveness, the restructuring of the export sector, and we've gained enormous market shares across the board on our export markets.

She was referring particularly to markets in the far east. That is an economic success. Those are not the problems the hon. member is talking about. He is talking about non-existent problems. Definitional problems were mentioned in the particular article. As usual for the Reform Party, the numbers he quoted were incorrect.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we eagerly await the member's retirement.

It is obvious government members are using creative accounting and tax increases including $3.7 billion in user fees to cover up their managerial incompetence. They are as guilty of fudging the books as the Tories before them.

How can Canadians trust anything government members say when it is obvious they have blown their spending reduction targets, just like Michael Wilson did, and covered them up with tax increases?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when the secretary of state retires he will be able to talk about the successes he had as a secretary of state for the Department of Finance.

In the case of the hon. member who just spoke, he will have a forced retirement.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

March 17th, 1997 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

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

Last night, CTV reported that Agriculture Canada has for years subsidized research enabling cigarette manufacturers to use plants with a high nicotine concentration, and here the government has just passed its anti-smoking legislation claiming to have the health of Canadians and young people at heart.

Would the Minister of Health confirm whether the federal government has supported research on levels of nicotine in the past?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Essex—Kent
Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada does not fund research on nicotine. We do measure the amount of nicotine in plants in a similar way that we measure sugar in plants. We measure the length of tobacco plants. We measure placement of the leaves on plants, but we do not research in the area of putting nicotine into plants.

Quite frankly those types of measurements are done on all products grown as a crop in Canada.

It is very clear that the nicotine level in plants that have been approved by agriculture Canada, the varieties, has gone down from high levels in the 1980s through the 1990s consistently. The level of nicotine in plants has dropped in Canada.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, a recent study by Health Canada revealed that nicotine levels in tobacco increased 53 per cent in the past 27 years-that is a scandal.

My question is for the Minister of Health. Aside from his fancy speeches on health, does the minister intend to do what is needed to reduce nicotine levels in tobacco in order to fight addiction to this product at the source?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have a very hard time remaining seated. These are the members who last week were on their feet trying to block our bill banning tobacco advertising directed at young people. Such hypocrisy.

Last week they voted against a bill that restricts advertising on tobacco and today they are complaining about tobacco. The people of Quebec, however, will understand that they have once again failed to look after the interests of young Quebecers who give in to smoking.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleagues, I would prefer that words such as "hypocrite" and "hypocrisy" not be used.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the tobacco companies say they do not manipulate nicotine in tobacco products. We have found out that they do not need to. Agriculture Canada is doing that very thing by searching out and researching strains that raise the nicotine level in those strains.

The Liberal government is directly implicated in this search. Why the double standard?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Essex—Kent
Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate the fact that we are not. We had very high levels of nicotine in the 1980s. Through the 1990s those levels have been decreased consistently with every brand coming forward.

I might well point out while I am on my feet that the research in agriculture Canada is for agronomic purposes, making sure our environment is safe, making sure that we have alternate crops for those people who are involved in agriculture with tobacco.

We have taken out over 50 per cent of the tobacco growers in this country in the last 10 years. As a matter of fact, 90 per cent of the research dollars that have been spent in agricultural research in tobacco have been taken away.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I disagree. I will quote a research arm of this government. This is what the research is doing: "Overall these lines have improved yield and grade quality and will contribute greatly to the economic well-being of who? The tobacco companies".

The new tobacco bill has a proposal in it that would allow this government to control nicotine levels. We thought, frankly, that it would lower it. What has it done? Research that will raise it.

The tobacco companies lost the battle on ads. It looks like they have won the war on addicts. Why?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Essex—Kent
Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the nicotine levels are generally set on an international basis. Within those structures on the international basis the levels of tobacco that have been approved in Canada, that go forward in Canada, have declined through the 1990s. The number of people who are growing tobacco has declined. There has been absolutely no commercial tobacco production in the maritime provinces, the Atlantic provinces, since 1996.

We have reduced the number of people growing tobacco. We have provided alternate crops. We have changed the whole mechanism by which tobacco is grown.

Lac Barrière Reserve
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 23, 1996, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development recognized an interim band council to administer the Lac Berrière reserve.

This irresponsible act led to 100 children having their school closed for more than a year, several roads being barricaded, numerous court cases, a community divided, and a trilateral agreement coming to an end on December 31 of last year.

My question: since the Liberal government bears the bulk of the responsibility for this crisis, will the minister finally make up his mind to take action to put an end to this situation, which has gone on far too long already?

Lac Barrière Reserve
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the problem in the Algonquin First Nation of Barrière goes back to the 1950s and 1960s. There was an outburst in 1964. The community has been in rough shape.

The chief did not hold elections for 15 years. We spent half a million dollars with the province of Quebec to look at abuse on the reserve. A petition came forward asking for an election.

We have the most qualified person I could find to go in there, Judge Réjean Paul, an aboriginal superior court judge, and two elders. They have been working with the band. It is difficult. However, I am sure that the hon. member would not want to use this incident, which is a tragic incident, for political purposes.