House of Commons Hansard #161 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us make things clear here. Why does the minister not agree that the real reason he and his government, the Liberal government, are dragging their feet on what Quebec is asking is that he does not want to get on the wrong side of his former allies, his natural and traditional allies, Alliance Québec and The Gazette ?

That is the real reason. And what is more, he does not want to get on the wrong side of the disciples of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who are in the process of organizing into a common front, once again at the expense of Quebec. That is the real reason. Let him admit it.

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:20 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, we have before us an official opposition that cannot accept a piece of good news, because any good news on the evolution of Canadian federalism carries the risk of convincing Quebec that Canada is, in fact, a country that is functioning well, developing well, serving their interests well. However, the official opposition is in a conflict of interest situation.

Trotsky wrote a book called The Permanent Revolution , and later Mitterrand wrote one called Le coup d'État permanent . I propose that the next book written about the Bloc Quebecois be titled The permanent conflict of interest .

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

In his notice of motion, the minister proposes to appoint a special joint committee of both Houses of Parliament. The committee will be asked to consider the various aspects of a constitutional amendment that would allow linguistic school boards in Quebec. It would submit its report on May 31, 1997.

Does the minister realize he is insulting Quebec's intelligence by setting up a bogus committee that will never see the light of day, since an election call is imminent?

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:20 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, if an election is called, we will pick up the process after the election and the constitutional amendment will be taken care of by a re-elected Liberal government.

Meanwhile, the various political parties would be well advised to say whether they are for or against the amendment. The Liberal Party of Canada will support the amendment. This information will be useful for the voters. We will have to say where we stand.

The official opposition may prefer us to say we are against the resolution, but we support it. We agree with the National Assembly.

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister ought to know that when Parliament is dissolved, the committees are dissolved as well.

The minister should learn the ABC's of the Parliament of Canada and put a book on parliamentary procedure in his backpack. By setting up a committee that will include unelected senators, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is more or less telling the National Assembly and the Quebec nation to forget it.

Would the minister agree it is not up to unelected members of Parliament to consider and approve a legitimate, democratic and unanimous decision by the Quebec National Assembly?

Linguistic School Boards
Oral Question Period

2:20 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, I repeat that if there is an election, even the opposition will be dissolved. And we hope it will be dissolved for a long time, and that includes when Parliament returns after the election.

However, speaking of books on parliamentary procedure, the Canadian Constitution makes it quite clear it is not up to the Senate to decide. The House of Commons, not the Senate, will make the decision.

Government Spending
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have had a glimpse of the government's spending priorities and they are not very pretty. Somehow over the last several weeks national priorities for the government have become things like armouries in the Prime Minister's riding, armouries in the Deputy Prime Minister's riding and the health minister's riding, a sock factory in Montreal and billions of dollars on other pre-election goodies.

If the government has all this money lying around, which of course it does not, why is it not spending it on health care, by far the most important priority for Canadians? If it does not have this money lying around-and again I do not think it does-why is it racking up the national credit card in a pre-election spending spree?

Government Spending
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as usual the member has it all wrong. There is no armoury in my riding.

Government Spending
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, some would say there is not much of a minister in that riding either.

When we start adding up the pre-election goodies the Prime Minister has thrown around to buy votes, it adds up to just under $7 billion. When I look on my Doppler radar, I see storm clouds ahead for the Liberal government.

Given the desire of Canadians for a balanced budget, lower taxes and for a reinvestment in health care, why is the government resorting to this old fashioned, out of touch, smarmy attempt to win votes over?

Government Spending
Oral Question Period

April 22nd, 1997 / 2:25 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to reply to the hon. member from smarmy. It is not something he would understand, but government does not operate on a day to day basis with respect to projects that take years to put in place and years to evaluate.

If the hon. member is suggesting that in any part of the country, including his riding, the government should come to a complete halt and not proceed with projects and initiatives that have been undertaken by people who have had an interest in them over many years, then he should tell us. However, if the member looks closely into that radar-although I am not sure it is a Doppler, knowing the hon. member-he might want to look at what the future holds for the Reform Party in this country.

Government Spending
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, after the minister was booed so loudly while giving a speech recently in his part of the country, I do not think things look so hot for him either.

The Prime Minister says he is against broad based tax relief. I guess that becomes very obvious after he has gone out and spent just about $7 billion in the last little while. The fact is that if he had taken that $7 billion and given it back to Canadians in the form of tax relief, we would have had about 200,000 jobs created in this country.

Can the Prime Minister tell us why he thinks buying votes with borrowed money is more important than real job creation through tax relief?

Government Spending
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, once again the member's facts are all wrong. Included in the figure that he is putting forward is a significant amount of money spent under manpower transfers which is currently going toward job creation.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

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

While spring brings joy to many, it brings anguish to a great many Quebec families and Acadian families facing the harsh reality of the spring gap. Between the time when unemployment benefits run out and the time when they get back to work, there is

waiting period during which unemployed workers can be without an income for more than ten weeks.

How can the Deputy Prime Minister say that the severe cuts made in the unemployment insurance program create jobs when they are forcing an inordinate number of families in Quebec and elsewhere to live on public charity?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, that question has been asked by the member on a number of occasions.

One of the key areas she fails to mention every time she gets up on her feet is the fact that the employment insurance system has been significantly changed. When the changes came in, included in the changes as she relates to Cape Breton and other high unemployment areas was the $300 million transitional jobs fund. This has created a significant amount of economic activity in ridings like the member's and mine. That extra $800 million we also put in the investment portion of the employment insurance system is helping people to find employment.

To suggest that part two of the EI system is not improving the plight of the unemployed is factually incorrect.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that these millions are not nearly enough and there are thousands of families confronted with the spring gap.

The unemployed are not fooled by the government's compassionate words. They can see that poverty has grown because of this government's actions. They know that there have been billions in cuts to transfers for social programs and to the unemployment insurance program.

How can the Deputy Prime Minister honestly think that making people poorer will boost consumption and stimulate employment?