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

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, career opportunities for bilingual mounties are great, and I am very pleased to see the separatist member is now confirming the national role of our national police force: the RCMP.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

March 18th, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to quote the finance minister in his recent budget speech. "We have always said that our targets were not the most we would do but the least we would do".

It looks like the lowest targets are not the law. In fact, the government is not even close to coming in on target. It has spent $8 billion more than it said it would spend. We wondered how long it would take the Liberal-Tory coalition to go back to its old pattern.

Why did the finance minister fudge his spending figures in this year's budget in order to cover up his failure to meet the spending reduction targets laid out in the 1995 budget?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, once again, I checked all the figures this morning and I can offer to the opposition, whoever wants to look at the figures and have them reconciled line by line, some help.

My experts will be available later this afternoon or tomorrow. They will be able to tell members exactly what the figures mean and what they contain. They will be able to confirm that all the reductions we announced in the program review have taken place. We have cut $9 billion in our expenditures and we are meeting, year after year, the targets we said we would meet.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, more Liberal math.

Let us look at some of the essential spending the government cannot bear to cut, such as the $8.1 million announced yesterday by the Minister of Human Resources Development for a sock factory in Montreal. That must be their high tech initiative. Then there is $600,000 for a hotel in Shawinigan. How about this? There will be $120,000 spent by the Department of Canadian Heritage for golf carts in the health minister's riding. All the while the government is closing hospitals around the country.

Why will the finance minister not admit that this pork barrelling is the reason the government has overshot its spending reduction targets by a whopping $8 billion?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I

guess we will let the Canadian population judge whether our management of the government and its finances has been good.

I must say, when I travel across the country, including the member's province, it is clear that the majority of Canadians find that the way we have spent money has been the right way. They find that the reduction in the deficit which has taken place was exactly what they were asking for.

When we look at the ultimate tribunal, which is the people, there is no doubt that what we have done is not only according to our promises, but it also goes in the direction of the interests of Canadians.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

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

Last week, much to our surprise, the minister disputed the undeniable figures provided by Statistics Canada to the effect that, for 1996, just over 40 per cent of the unemployed were receiving UI. We can understand that this is shocking for the minister, but it is even more shocking for those who are unemployed and unable to draw benefits.

I therefore ask the minister again how he explains to the one and a half million people without jobs, to all those paying into the UI fund, that, when the Liberals came to power, 60 per cent of the unemployed received UI, while in 1996 this dropped to 41 per cent and, in the last six months, to 36 per cent. How does he explain this?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I did not completely disagree with the member's allegation last week.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Papineau—Saint-Michel, QC

What I said was that the figure did not include workers who may now, in our system, continue to work up to a certain amount and, now that our system is more flexible, there are people who may continue to work and receive EI benefits at the same time.

If these people are included, the figure is approximately 48 per cent, a major improvement. But it is obvious that the system must be improved and we must ensure that more and more Canadians learn to work with it and I am confident that this figure will go up, as it has already been doing monthly.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is unbelievable. The minister is telling us that we should include those receiving supplements among the unemployed. But, Mr. Speaker, there are no more of them now than there were before, and they have never been included.

I ask him whether he is aware that, for 1996 alone, there was$3 billion less available to the unemployed in Quebec and in Canada to help them through times of difficulty because of the Liberal government?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, to my surprise, the member has obviously misunderstood what I said. She was undoubtedly very distracted by certain activities in recent weeks and did not have the time to really examine the issue. She is now the one who does not understand it.

What I told you was not those entitled to the income supplement, that is completely obvious. What I said, and the member pretends not to understand, is that those now entitled to a certain income, because you can work up to a certain amount, are now covered in a system that is really much more interesting. That is the situation.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently a young immigrant arrived in Montreal with her approved Canadian residency papers but was refused entry into Canada by the Canadian immigration officer because Quebec had not granted her the right to live in Quebec.

While the Canada-Quebec accord permits Quebec to select economic immigrants to that province, it also acknowledges that every person with permanent resident status is granted mobility rights, equal protection and equal benefit without discrimination.

What right did the minister's department officials have to deny entry to an immigrant who arrived in Quebec with documents which stated that this individual has been approved for residency in Canada?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that, under the 1991 Canada-Quebec agreement on immigration, Quebec has power over the selection and settlement of immigrants.

What does this mean in reality? When a person wants to immigrate to our country, and wants to settle in the province of Quebec, Quebec's and Canada's offices abroad work together, so that the person arrives at our borders with a Quebec selection certificate in hand, as well as a permit to settle in Canada.

Unfortunately, in the case in question, the person had neglected to bring the Quebec selection certificate. So the problem is only a technical one. But I can assure the hon. members of this House that

the Canada-Quebec accord is working very well at the present time with respect to immigration.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, this individual was also refused entry into Ontario because this person was not going to reside in Ontario but in Quebec.

This is just another example of the government's policy of exclusion that treats people differently across the country. This is still a united country and it would be nice if the government acted as if it were.

Is the minister prepared to instruct Canadian immigration officers that approval for permanent residency in Canada is valid from coast to coast to coast?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleague to read the Constitution of Canada wherein it is stated very clearly that immigration is a shared responsibility between the Canadian government and the provinces.

When provinces such as Quebec, Manitoba and others want to take on the responsibility of immigration we are very pleased. We all realize the provinces also have a role to play in integrating immigrants into our country.