House of Commons Hansard #158 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wheat.

Topics

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the country currently has the worst string of jobless numbers since the great depression. That is a fact and the government knows it. One would think the Liberals would be trying to come up with some new ways to put Canadians back to work, but the government is so void of ideas that it wants to call an election after only three and a half years in office.

Does the Prime Minister have anything new to offer unemployed Canadians or does he still believe, as he said during the CBC town hall meeting, that some are lucky, some are unlucky and that's just life?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member and the members of his party were truly concerned about the plight of the unemployed, they would have supported the government when it brought in the infrastructure program, when it brought in programs to deal with tourism, when it brought in programs to deal with education, when it brought in programs to deal with research and development.

The fact is the Reform Party voted against every single measure, whether youth unemployment or summer jobs. Every measure the government brought in the Reform Party opposed. On the other hand, it is understandable why it has opposed these measures. The

House leader made a reference to what the Reform Party has had to say about its program for the unemployed.

I quote from the taxpayers' budget, which is the Reform Party talking about what it would do: "The short term employment impact of the Reform Party program is negative but manageable". How much unemployment is manageable? How much human suffering is the Reform Party prepared to put up with? How much degradation of families from coast to coast does the Reform Party want to recommend in order to put in place its archaic policies?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister can huff and puff and bluff all he wants. He can talk about documents that are years old. We could go back to when the government was in opposition and see what it said when it was over on this side. That is the debate that will occur in the next election and I look forward to that.

In the past three and a half years the Liberals have done little to put Canadians back to work. The minister talked about programs. I guess there were not enough canoe museums, hotels and armouries to go around, only enough for Shawinigan. There are 1.4 million unemployed, two million to three million underemployed and one in four Canadians worried about losing the job they have today. That is the Liberal legacy.

In 1993 the Prime Minister said that he had the plan. Is his only plan in 1997 to have all the unemployed move to Shawinigan?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the ink is barely dry on the two-year-old taxpayers' budget and already Reformers deny it. Is there no policy the Reform Party will stand behind?

The taxpayers' budget is two years old and we reject it. The false start, six months old, we reject it.

Time and time again members of the Reform Party stand up in this House and deny what other members of the Reform Party have said. It is why so many of them have already decided to leave.

Every single policy reform of the Reform Party contradicts itself. The only consistent factor the Reform Party puts forward is its inconsistency.

We will match any one of our budgets against anything that we have said. We stand behind our first budget. We stand behind our second budget. We stand behind our third budget. We stand behind our fourth budget. We look forward to bringing in four more.

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, for months now, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has been saying there must be a reasonable consensus before the government can go ahead with the constitutional amendment requested by Quebec. Yesterday, he finally admitted that there was consensus on the issue in Quebec, but that he would do everything in his power to include Alliance Quebec in that consensus.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the only reason his government is requiring public hearings on the eve of a federal election is to satisfy a pressure group, Alliance Quebec, an ally of the federal Liberals, whose view it values more than that of all allophone, anglophone and francophone MNAs, who were democratically elected in Quebec and who voted unanimously in the National Assembly?

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, yesterday it was still good news. The Government of Canada said that it supported the proposal to amend the Constitution put forward by Quebec. We approve it and we are going to defend it. This will be done: it is still good news.

What is so scandalous about having a parliamentary committee on an issue as important as this one, which involves language, religion and education? Why is this a problem? Why is the official opposition unable to accept good news? Is it because it is afraid that good news, by definition, will be interpreted by Quebec as additional proof of the benefits of a united Canada?

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of rambling on, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs should repeat what he said yesterday on RDI. He said that people would have to vote Liberal in the next election if they wanted the constitutional amendment to be approved, because it would not be done before the election. That is what he said.

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

An hon. member

That is blackmail.

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is truly unacceptable and shameless blackmail.

My question is directed to the Acting Prime Minister. Will he admit that he can, if he wishes, pull out all the stops and have his government approve the constitutional amendment before the election, even if it means postponing it?

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I note that the official opposition is applauding the idea of voting Liberal. That is already progress.

Second, what I said was that, if in fact it cannot be done before the election, people will know that if they vote for the Liberals they are voting for candidates that support the amendment. It will be an interesting piece of information. I fail to see how it is such a problem

And finally, as for how long it will take, it will take far less time than it took the Government of Quebec. The Government of Quebec, which was elected in September 1994, only put the proposal forward last February 7, only presented the exact wording of the amendment March 24, and only approved it last Tuesday, after waiting six days for the leader of the official opposition to come back from holiday.

That was very nice of Premier Bouchard, but it shows where his priorities lie.

Employment
Oral Question Period

April 17th, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals want to run on their record in the next election. That is some record.

The government has spent millions of dollars to build armouries in the ridings of the Minister of Health, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister; millions of dollars to build hotels and canoe museums in Shawinigan; millions more to build golf courses, town hall canopies, boccie courts and other things through the infrastructure program; and has given half a million dollar expense accounts to patronage appointees. It is three and a half years of waste, mismanagement and spending.

Is pork-barrel spending the Liberal government's idea of a job creation policy?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, is $50 million put into the Business Development Bank of Canada to finance small and medium sized business pork-barrelling? Is $50 million put into the Farm Credit Corporation to help with rural diversification pork-barrelling? Is $800 million put into the Foundation for Innovation so that Canadian universities and teaching hospitals can spawn the new economy pork-barrelling? Are tuition credits, helping students to go back to school and helping parents to save for their children's education pork-barrelling?

No. It is the result of sound policy that will build a great country. The Reform Party ought to get on board.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, we just heard the Minister of Finance brag about all this new spending when taxpayers cannot afford to pay their own bills, much less the bill for taxes that he wants to squeeze out of them.

Let us listen to the record. Unemployment insurance premiums are up by $900 million. Corporate tax revenues are up $1.3 billion. Revenues from the GST are up $700 million. Other revenues are up $1.3 billion. And the list goes on. He has even squeezed taxpayers for $3.5 billion more in personal taxes.

What are cash strapped Canadians getting in return for all this extra money, other than the worst string of jobless numbers since the great depression and a pitiful job creation program?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at what has happened.

Since we have taken office unemployment insurance premiums, which under the Conservatives were supposed to go to $3.30, are now down to $2.90. The last three years the Tories were in power they went up every year. We have brought them down the last three years.

The hon. member wants to talk about tax cuts. How about the tax cuts and the credits that were given to students to enable them to go back to school? How about the tax credits given to disabled Canadians to level the playing field? How about $600 million in new tax credits for poor children to give them a decent shot?

The hon. member objects to the fact that the government's revenues from corporations are going up. He ought to understand that they are going up because business is better and the economy is booming. That is a good thing. It is not a bad thing.

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister or anyone who aspires to take his place.

Yesterday, as I listened to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs answer questions, I could almost hear Pierre Elliott Trudeau back in 1982. Once again, the government was busy denying the Quebec National Assembly's legitimacy and thumbing its nose at the people of Quebec by interfering directly in matters that come under the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that, through the arrogant attitude of his Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, his government is setting itself up as the judge of democratic decisions reached by the national assembly?