House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Tobacco Products
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Essex—Kent
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the foundation of that question is absolutely wrong. I believe the statements being used were statements regarding a program we had in P.E.I. that was looking at the viability of growing tobacco in Atlantic Canada.

We did research. We looked at all aspects of growing tobacco plants in Atlantic Canada. We found through that research the nicotine levels of the plant itself were not suitable to meet international standards. Therefore we no longer do research in Atlantic Canada. As well, no commercial tobacco is being grown in Atlantic Canada.

The direction of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has been to reduce tobacco research. There has been a tremendous decline by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in doing research in tobacco over the last 10 years.

Tobacco Products
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is absolutely unbelievable. The nicotine content of tobacco has increased 53 per cent in the last two decades. It was still taking place at the end of last year.

On the one hand we have the Minister of Health holding up a can of tobacco and saying it is really bad. On the other hand we have the minister of agriculture investing taxpayers' money into increasing the addictive potential of cigarettes. What is going on here?

The government has gutted $4 billion of transfers to health care. Yet it finds $2 million every year to research ways to increase nicotine levels in tobacco. The member has it all wrong.

Will the Prime Minister immediately stop using taxpayers' money to fund research to increase the addictive potential and power of tobacco?

Tobacco Products
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Essex—Kent
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to explain to the hon. member that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada does research with regard to tobacco plants. The nicotine levels in tobacco plants are set by industry standards that are very closely held.

There is no question when we talk about a tobacco plant growing in Canada that there has been a definite reduction in the amount of nicotine in each tobacco plant. However that is not to say there has not been an increase in cigarettes, which is quite a different question when it comes to tobacco and the use of tobacco in cigarettes.

I might point out that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's research has declined some 90 per cent in the last 10 years. That is very clear information on where Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is.

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Don Valley North, ON

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

In February the Secretary of State for Financial Institutions announced that before the end of 1997 foreign branch banking would be allowed in Canada.

I applaud this initiative. I introduced a private member's bill last year in an effort to allow for greater competition from foreign banks.

Could the minister inform the House of the progress of this important legislation?

Banking
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the importance of private member's bills in focusing the government's attention on matters of great concern to Canadians cannot be underlined too strongly.

There are many examples of it. Certainly one of the best is the private member's bill by the member. In the ensuing debate he brought forth a number of very important reasons the government should allow foreign branch banking. It will help small and medium size business gain access to capital. It will bring greater competition into the Canadian marketplace. It will force the continued modernization of the system.

The legislation will be introduced later this session. I congratulate the hon. member on his initiative.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Chris Axworthy Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing, SK

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

Yesterday the Canadian Council on Social Development indicated that since the Liberal Party has been in government poverty has not only increased but those living in poverty live deeper in

poverty than they did before. The Minister of Finance has said that child poverty is a national disgrace.

Is the Minister of Finance ready to cast any doubt on his statements over and over and over again that the fundamentals of our economy and society are firm, effective and in good shape after seeing these numbers?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have defined the fundamentals of the country's economy. It is far broader than interest rates or inflation. It has everything to do with health care, with education and with prenatal care.

For that reason the Minister of Human Resources Development followed the Prime Minister's initiative, met with his colleagues from the provinces and brought forward the initiative of the government.

We will be providing a national child tax benefit across the country. We are bringing in $850 million of new money,$600 million of which was announced in the budget, no later than July 1998. If we can bring it in sooner because the provinces get their act together, we will bring it in as quickly as we possibly can.

Aboriginal Peoples
Oral Question Period

March 18th, 1997 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Prime Minister.

In November 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples tabled a 4,000-page report containing a number of recommendations aimed at solving the social, economic and political problems of aboriginal peoples in Quebec and Canada. Four months later, we have yet to hear about the government's intentions to follow up on this report.

When will the Prime Minister finally decide to meet the leaders of the First Nations for down to earth discussions on the recommendations made in the most wide ranging study ever made on aboriginal peoples in Quebec and Canada?

Aboriginal Peoples
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member has pointed out, this is a very extensive report with over 440 recommendations. It was tabled in November after five years of study and $60 million.

The Prime Minister has met with Mr. Erasmus and Judge Dussault. We expect all ministries as they progress, provincial, federal, territorial, to look at the RCAP report to try to devise strategies and policies that fit the report.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party supports a Canadian Armed Forces that is combat capable. The Liberal 1994 defence white paper calls for maintaining combat readiness. Yet the Liberals have done nothing to maintain this capability.

They have disbanded the airborne regiment. They have reduced the size of the forces. They have cut the defence budget and they still have not ordered shipborne helicopters.

These actions of the government do not support the claim of the minister of defence. Why is the minister of defence trying to pull the wool over Canadian's eyes concerning Canada's combat capability?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is often sheeplike but I will not try to pull the wool over his eyes today.

We say to the hon. member and to members of his party that we have been trying for 2.5 months to find out what the Reform Party wants to do for the Canadian forces rather than try to tear them apart.

If the hon. member is to stand behind the document "The Right Balance-What is Wrong with the Canadian Forces" that has been circulated to Canadians by Andrew Davies, a candidate for his party, if that is the position of the Reform Party, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I remind all members to address their questions and answers through the Chair.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Bank of Canada stated that the country is poised for the best economic growth in 20 years. The seed of this growth is the small business sector but it continues to face challenges to growth like access to capital, red tape and taxation.

What is the Minister of Industry doing to ensure that small business leads our economic recovery and creates the jobs Canadians need?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member for Lincoln is right. The small business community will be key to building our job creation efforts in the years ahead.

Already we can see a great deal of progress. We can see the progress that comes from the repeated year after year reductions in unemployment and employment insurance premiums. We can see the significant reduction in the cost of capital. Because of the policies pursued by the Minister of Finance, a $1 million loan for a small business today costs $2,800 a month less than it would have cost ten years ago just to carry it.

We can see the progress we have made in investment in tourism, investment in youth entrepreneurship and access to capital through the Business Development Bank.

The small business community in this country is poised as never before to be the heart of job creation.

Presence In The Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of Mr. Maarten van Traa, Chairman of the Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.