House of Commons Hansard #137 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tobacco.

Topics

Tobacco Act
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I am listening very carefully to the questions as they are posed. It is true that today we are debating a certain bill. It is also true that before the question is posed, and I do not know what the question is, if members take me too far down the road in the preamble it would be my intention to intervene.

However, with respect to all members who are raising their voices in question period, I have judged to this point for these questions which are posed to be of a general enough nature that they are acceptable. I am going to permit these questions, providing they do not refer specifically to the bill under discussion today.

Tobacco Act
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Absolutely, Mr. Speaker.

Again, I am quoting the Hon. Senator, who said: "Give me your support to keep Montreal, which is already plagued by unemployment, from being the big loser regarding this policy".

Did the minister hear the people from Trois-Rivières today, those from Montreal, the cab drivers, the restaurant and hotel owners, the promoters of major cultural and sports events, who said it does not make sense to destroy Montreal's cultural and sports life, to eliminate its cultural and sports events, adding that the government should educate young people about the dangers of tobacco use, instead of going after Montreal's economy and the city's cultural and sports events? Will the minister listen to these people once and for all?

Tobacco Act
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Tobacco Act
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it was precisely for those reasons that many individuals came before the standing committee. That was the rationale we had for the purposes of the implementation period, so that people have the opportunity to adjust to the new regime.

It is quite false for individuals to suggest or to imply that this legislation in any way bans sponsorship or sponsorship promotions. What is being done is that restrictions are being placed on four essential items: the price, the place, the product and the promotion.

I am appalled that a candidate for the leadership of a party would stand in his place and dismiss $3.5 billion in costs to our health care system and 40,000 lives each and every year. Shame on the Bloc Quebecois.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, 32 years ago today John Kroeker was fired from the federal civil service for daring to criticize the Pearson government's newly created Canada pension plan.

Mr. Kroeker rightly predicted that the CPP was unsustainable and for that he lost his job. For that he was blackballed by the federal government and labelled a kook. Mr. Kroeker said that the CPP would be broke by the year 2000 without constant and large infusions of cash from Canadian taxpayers.

Will the Prime Minister, who was part of that Pearson government decades ago, admit that Mr. Kroeker was right in 1965 and that his own Liberal government was wrong?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, what is wrong is that the Reform Party is wrong about the CPP. We have changed the rules of the CPP.

I have to remind the Reform Party that the CPP is a federal-provincial policy.

It is not just a federal program. To change the CPP requires two-thirds majority of the provinces with two-thirds of the population. We have gone out as a government and got that two-thirds majority. We have the support of the majority of the provinces.

In the Reform Party's proposal for reform, does it have the support of any of the provinces? It has the support of none of the provinces, let alone a two-thirds majority. It does not have the support of any.

We have, also, the support of the Canadian people. The Canadian people want a secure, publicly funded pension program and we have the support of the Canadian people.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that this junior minister talks about having the support of all the provinces on it.

In 1965 Mr. Kroeker stated that the Pearson government simply lured the provinces into the CPP by offering them loans from the fund at amazingly low bargain basement interest rates. No wonder they are keen on the project.

Thirty years later in the 1990s this government is doing exactly the same thing with the provincial governments. Using the CPP as a cash cow for governments was a lousy idea in 1965 and it is a lousy idea now, 30 years later.

Why did the Prime Minister and those in charge of dealing with the provinces right now on this deal lure the provinces into a sweetheart deal at the expense of the Canadian taxpayers who will have to belly up and pay that cash?

The Liberals learned nothing since 1965. Which way will it be, sweetheart deals for the provinces or the best deal for Canadian taxpayers in their retirement?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, what we have in the CPP now is the best deal for the Canadian people.

Compared with the Reform Party's absolutely ridiculous proposal with rates of return that are absolutely beyond belief, our proposal is a reasonable proposal. It is a proposal backed by the Canadian people and it is backed by the provinces. It is not a proposal that any of the provinces do not want. It is a proposal that the Canadian people want.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian young people want to know that there will be a sustainable

plan for them. They would like to earn three times as much through privately funding their own RRSP rather than any CPP plan.

Thirty-two years ago these Liberal politicians called John Kroeker crazy for predicting that CPP was unsustainable without constant payroll tax increases.

In the next 6 years from now alone, premiums will have gone up over 70 per cent and Canadians will be paying a full 10 per cent of their paycheques toward a pension plan that still is not sustainable.

The minister thinks people in the galleries here and across the country are really pleased about this plan of mismanagement of their own money.

Is it not true that the government is hiding the fact that premiums will have to go up again before the Canadian public gets any benefit which these people have promised?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member said that younger Canadians want to know there is a secure pension plan. This Canada pension plan is that secure pension plan.

What would the Reform Party offer instead? The Reform Party's finance critic said about their own proposals on pension: "I'm kind of reluctant to get into the numbers". Why would he be reluctant to get into the numbers? It is because their numbers do not add up.

Why do they not add up? What would their contribution rate be? Would it be 10 per cent? Would it be 15 per cent? They do not say. How would they honour the commitment to today's seniors, $18 billion a year and growing? Would they honour those commitments?

If they are going to honour those commitments, where would they find the money? Would they simply renege on those commitments? What do they plan for Canadians who have contributed?

Tobacco Act
Oral Question Period

March 4th, 1997 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

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

To explain why his government is going to such lengths to unreasonably restrict the sponsorship activities of the tobacco industry, the Prime Minister keeps referring to the health issue. There are other more efficient ways to protect the health of the public. What the Bloc Quebecois is against is a ban on sponsorships, because it will be irretrievably detrimental to various sports and cultural events.

Is the Prime Minister aware that the official opposition has supported 80 per cent of the bill, that the Bloc has even moved more proactive measures to fight smoking among young people and that if the Prime Minister were to agree to sit down with the opposition and event organizers, a solution could be found? Is he aware of that?

Tobacco Act
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is precisely for the reasons that the hon. member has referred to that we on this side of the House have accepted the very reasoned amendment which has been put forward by the chair of the Standing Committee on Health, that we have a period of time for the purposes of implementation keeping in mind, as I said previously, that in no way are we at the present time banning sponsorship or banning sponsorship promotion. After the implementation period is over there will still be the opportunity to promote one's product. So we are just restricting the promotion as well as the sponsorship.

Tobacco Act
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the minister acknowledge that by trying so hard to save his head before the next election, he is not helping to improve the health of our fellow citizens, but is contributing to the demise of the tourist industry in Montreal, which will only make the people in Montreal and throughout the province of Quebec even poorer?

Tobacco Act
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

I have great respect for the honourable member opposite and I want to share with you, Mr. Speaker, and the hon. member the words of a prominent Quebecer: "Sponsorship is subliminal publicity. People associate cultural products to tobacco brands. It is a very powerful way to push consumption of the product, in particular among youth".

I know the hon. member does not wish to believe me, but perhaps the hon. member will believe the minister of health of the province of Quebec.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, first the unsustainability of CPP was blamed on too many baby-boomers, then not enough people having children, then full indexing and disability benefits. Next it will be an act of God.

Now they want to simply continue the status quo, only with double the tax revenue.

The minister says that our numbers do not add up, but what does not add up is Canadians paying $3,200 a year for a $9,000 pension 30 years from now. That does not add up. Canadians deserve better than paying more to get less.

Why will the government not dispel the fears of Canadians that CPP will not be there for them and offer individualized tax sheltered accounts for their mandatory CPP tax deductions?