House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tobacco.

Topics

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

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

I find it ironic that, on the one hand, the minister claims to want to protect the health of young people in Quebec and Canada, while, on the other hand, the primary effect of his anti-tobacco policy will be to jeopardize the future of events such as the film festival, which gives young creators a chance to make themselves known, show what they can do and get their career off the ground.

Does the minister recognize that his policies banning the sponsorship of cultural events may well result in denying young artists important opportunities to launch their career?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the preamble of the hon. member's question is absolute nonsense. The hon. member knows that the full intent and purpose of that legislation are health related.

The hon. member also knows, as do all the groups in his province and elsewhere to which he has referred, that sponsorship is not being banned, that sponsorship promotion is not being banned and that after the implementation period there will be no banning of promotion and no banning of sponsorship promotion.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us approach the issue from a different angle. The government is attacking sporting and cultural events in Quebec, while continuing to support tobacco research in Ontario.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

How can the minister claim his sole focus is health, when his government is still subsidizing, through Agriculture Canada, experimental research on tobacco growing?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman should know that in 1996-97 the funding for research was down some 90 per cent compared with the level it was at in the mid-1980s. That research, which involves about one and a half person-years, is focused on agronomic matters which have absolutely nothing to do with the promotion of tobacco production. Our emphasis is on diversification and assisting farmers in finding ways to get out of tobacco production.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, for a month the Prime Minister has been in denial about his government's role in cutting health care. But yesterday in question period he finally admitted that the Liberals had cut health care, and cut it they have, with a $1.2 billion cut in federal transfers to Ontario alone.

The effects of these Liberal cuts are being felt today in Toronto with the announced closings of 10 hospitals, including the Wellesley and the Women's College hospitals. Ten hospitals are gone in Toronto, a dozen closed in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Pembroke, London and Ottawa, and behind it all, the Liberal Government of Canada.

How does the health minister propose to repair the damage that federal cuts to health care are doing in Ontario?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when a government is faced with a deficit the size of ours it has to cut. It cannot ignore 20 to 25 per cent of its spending which is transfers to the provinces.

The leader of the Reform Party referred to the $1.2 billion reduction in those transfers to Ontario. What he did not mention was the $500 million reduction in interest cost to that province as a result of the actions that the government has taken. Nor did he make a reference to the $4.5 billion tax cut that will reduce Ontario's revenues, three and a half times larger than the reduction in transfers.

In other words, he should understand that if hospitals are being closed in Ontario it is as a result of a political choice. Tax cuts are being made. I will not dispute them, but they are not the result of a reduction in transfers from the government.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, where was the health minister in all of this? This health minister clawed and scratched to get a couple of million dollars transferred from another riding to his riding but where was he when there was a $4 billion cut in health care?

There was a budget discussion in cabinet before the budget came down and a choice was made to subsidize businesses and corporations to the tune of $7 billion while cutting health care by almost $4 billion.

Why did the government choose to cut health care by almost $4 billion but continued to fund crown corporations and subsidize businesses to the tune of $7 billion? Where are the priorities of the Liberal Party?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, provinces across the country are cutting in a number of social areas. The fact that it is happening in Ontario is not the result of the reductions in transfers. It is the result of a political decision taken by that government.

At the same time the province of Alberta is declaring surpluses and cutting taxes. He cannot say that it is reductions in federal transfers when Alberta is cutting taxes and declaring surpluses.

The province of Saskatchewan began cutting and closing hospitals before this government took office. The statements of the Reform Party are nonsense and they do not bear any kind of examination.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government cannot avoid the fact that it had a choice and it chose not to cut subsidies to crown corporations and businesses and it chose to cut health care.

Thanks to the Liberal government, hospitals across the country are closing. Thanks to the Liberal government, waiting lists are longer. Over 170,000 Canadians are on waiting lists, and 45 per cent of them say they are waiting in pain. That is what the government's choice to cut health care and to continue to subsidize corporations and businesses through handouts has meant to Canadians.

When the government had a choice between corporate handouts and hospital closures, why did the government choose hospital closures?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Reform Party has not read two documents. The first document is the series of budgets brought down by this government. Subsidies to businesses have been cut by 70 per cent. Crown corporations have been privatized. The Canadian National Railway has been privatized. Air navigation has been privatized. The funding to crown corporations has been cut.

The Reform Party does not seem to understand that when we chose the priorities we put the money back into health care in this budget. We put the money into research and development. We put the money into education.

As well, there is a second document which Reform has obviously not had a chance to take a look at. It happens to be its own fresh start.

Where does the leader of the Reform Party get the nerve to stand up in this House, having recommended over the last three years that old age pensions be cut further, that health care be cut further, that the basic social fabric of the country be cut further and then say that the first thing Reformers would do on taking office is cut the Canadian health and social transfer by a further $3.5 billion. That is what they said. Now stand up and justify it.

Hostage From Quebec In Niger
Oral Question Period

March 6th, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

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

Yesterday, we learned that Serge L'Archer, a Quebec volunteer with the Canadian Centre for International Studies and Co-operation, was captured on Friday, in Niger, by Toubou rebels. When the incident occurred, Mr. L'Archer was with four local people at an oasis in the Sahara located 1,200 kilometres from Niamey, the capital of Niger.

Can the minister reassure this House and tell us, without any doubt, that Mr. L'Archer is safe?

Hostage From Quebec In Niger
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, officials from my department and from the Canadian International Development Agency had a telephone conversation with

Mr. L'Archer. I personally had an opportunity yesterday to talk to Mr. L'Archer's sister. I telephoned her, at her house, to inform her of the communication between her brother and departmental officials.

It goes without saying that the Canadian government is demanding that those who are detaining this Canadian volunteer release him immediately, so that he can continue the good deeds and the humanitarian work that he is doing, as are all those who do this kind of work for the good of humanity.

Hostage From Quebec In Niger
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to point out that we did not get any information about whether Mr. L'Archer is safe.

Therefore, as a supplementary, I ask the minister whether he can tell us why Toubou rebels are holding Mr. L'Archer hostage and what demands have been made for his release.