House of Commons Hansard #160 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was organized.

Topics

Anti-Smoking Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have to keep in mind that the tobacco legislation is a very comprehensive and very effective piece of legislation. It puts restrictions on the price, on the product, on the place and even the promotion. This will be effective in curbing smoking in this country.

With regard to the letter that I have provided to the individuals she has referred to, the hon. member is very much aware that both in the House of Commons as well as in the other place I have indicated to groups across the country that I am prepared to consult in a very meaningful way and if necessary, as I indicated in the letter, changes will be made.

I do not think the hon. member should prejudge what those changes might be.

Anti-Smoking Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone remembers the broken promise to scrap the GST.

Now that we know the worth of this government's promises, could we also know, before the elections, the amendments the minister intends to make to this legislation?

Anti-Smoking Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that members of the Bloc have decided to be partisan on this issue.

Let us keep in mind that on second reading members of the Bloc were in favour of the bill. But when it came to third reading they voted against the principles of this bill, thereby doing a flip-flop in terms of their position as it relates to tobacco.

I suggest to the hon. member and to others that one should not venture into the field of prejudging amendments, whether they be in the form of regulation or thereafter.

We have to embark on a period of consultation. That is part and parcel of the bill and it is part and parcel of what I will do in the future.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, according to the finance minister, record high bankruptcies in Canada in January are a good thing.

If he thinks it is such a good thing he must be laughing himself silly over the 78 months in a row of unemployment over 9 per cent in this country. The 800,000 people out there who are moonlighting just to put food on the table must be a real knee slapper for the finance minister.

Can the finance minister explain to Canadians his hare brained theory of how record high bankruptcies, record high debt, record high unemployment and record high taxes are good for the Canadian people? Let us hear the Liberal logic on that one.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it would probably advance the cause of the Reform Party a bit more if it were able to cite people accurately and not create straw men on the premises of its questions.

Of course nobody ever said that bankruptcies were a good thing. What I did say was that business bankruptcies were down and the normal procedure is that personal bankruptcies decline following

business bankruptcies. As a result of that, it may well be that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

I have also said very clearly that the high number of personal bankruptcies in Canada, the United States and in most western countries is in fact a source of considerable concern. Most people think they are due not to high levels of unemployment, as the hon. member is alleging, and the same situation exists in the United States, but that they are due to a very high use of credit.

The member opposite clearly did not understand what I said. That normally happens with this member. The member is incredibly eager but I will give him an opportunity because I must say that there is nothing I enjoy more than responding to his questions.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to contribute to the minister's pleasure.

The finance minister says that Canadians should be managing their debt better. That is what he said. Do they really need to take advice from a minister who has added $100 billion to the Canadian debt in the past 3.5 years, someone who has sprinkled armouries around the country like Johnny Appleseed over the past week and who has doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in pre-election goodies?

How does the minister have the nerve to lecture Canadians on their debt levels when after this past week he has practically worn the numbers off the national credit card? Where does he get the nerve?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the very high level of household debt that exists in Canada is a direct result of the recession, 1989 to 1992. What we saw was that personal debt rose, disposable income dropped and Canadians found themselves, as a result of policies largely recommended by the Reform Party, in rather deep difficulty.

Since 1993, when we took over, the levels of household debt have dropped. The levels of household net worth have risen. The levels of household income have stabilized.

However, there is one level of bankruptcy in this country that shows no sign of getting better, the degree of intellectual bankruptcy in the Reform Party.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is under this government we have record high levels of personal debt, record high bankruptcies, record high levels of personal taxes and record levels of unemployment. That is the Liberal record.

Canadians know why that has happened. One of the big reasons we have all these problems is the government has driven tax levels through the roof.

After 3.5 years of doing diddly, after 3.5 years of shrinking incomes and after 3.5 years of rising debts, can the finance minister explain to voters why they should be masochistic enough to have that done to them for another four years?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think it was two weeks ago that the hon. member's expression was rinky-dink, now it is doing diddly. I want to congratulate the Reform Party on its extensive vocabulary.

If the hon. member would like to know the Liberal record perhaps I could remind him. In the month of February manufacturing shipments rose. In the month of February housing starts rose 24,700 units. Real merchandise exports increased by 1.3 per cent. The nominal merchandise trade surplus increased by $2.5 billion. The real net worth per household rose 2.7 per cent. Gross domestic product up again, unemployment down, employment up and retail sales increases. That is the Liberal record and we will stand behind that.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I remind hon. members not to use props during question period.

Decontamination Of Military Sites
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of National Defence.

According to national defence department estimates, it will cost $242 million to decontaminate 21 of the 42 American radar bases on the DEW line. It is therefore likely that it will cost $484 million to decontaminate all the sites. We know that the United States will pay $100 million in damages to Canada for decontamination of these military sites.

By burying the waste, as the Inuit claims it is doing, instead of decontaminating it, which would eliminate all toxic substances, but which would also be more expensive, is the government merely trying to save money?

Decontamination Of Military Sites
Oral Question Period

April 21st, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the work that was to be done following the departure of U.S. military forces was considered, at the time, to be normal and reasonable. Obviously, the Government of Canada recognizes its obligations with respect to the environment and we recognize that we must take all means necessary to try to clean up the sites to which my hon. colleague is referring.

I would like to point out, however, that as a general rule the American government has never paid any compensation for problems that may have occurred following its departure from military installations.

As for the situation involving Canada, we have succeeded in negotiating an agreement whereby the American government will

pay US$100 million, which is a considerable amount and which is a first. Regardless of what the Americans do in this connection, the Government of Canada will respect its environmental obligations.

Decontamination Of Military Sites
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, by burying PCBs or other toxic substances, Canada is creating a veritable time bomb, which, very soon, will contaminate the water table and the fragile habitat in northern areas.

Should the minister not immediately impose a moratorium on burying wastes until his department has made a complete and exhaustive assessment of the environmental situation at military sites and found an ecological manner in which to destroy these contaminants?

Decontamination Of Military Sites
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this is a phenomenon that several sectors of the government and of the private sector must address. It is now recognized that situations that were acceptable in the past are no longer tolerable.

The Government of Canada has undertaken to do as much as it can to protect the environment, both in the north and elsewhere in the country. The agreement signed with the United States, which has not yet been approved by Congress, will make it possible for us to do some of the work.

There is no doubt that the sites to which the hon. member is referring are not the only locations where there is a problem. The Department of the Environment, the provinces and the federal government are aware that there are several locations in the country facing the same problem.

While it is not just up to the Department of National Defence, I would like to reiterate that the Government of Canada will do its utmost in all circumstances to ensure the integrity of the environment in a contemporary situation such as the one with which we must contend and in the situations she has raised today in the House.

Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week the separatist government and the Liberal Party of Quebec affirmed or claimed that Quebec alone can determine its future regardless of English, aboriginal or other minorities in that province, regardless of what the rest of Canada thinks and regardless of the rule of law as stated in Canada's Constitution. Mr. Johnson went so far as to say: "It is our right in Quebec to take over ourselves, our development and our destiny".

During debate on Bill C-95 earlier today the attorney general stated that he is the guardian of the Constitution and the rule of law. Has he communicated to Mr. Johnson and to the separatist government in Quebec that last Wednesday's rhetoric is unacceptable to the government and will not be acceptable in the coming election campaign?