House of Commons Hansard #162 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Canadian Wheat Board
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is early March and the phone rings at the Canadian Wheat Board office:

"And good morning to you, Mr. Minister. Did you consider our request for an increase in initial wheat prices for farmers?"

"No, no, of course not, Mr. Minister, we haven't said anything publicly. We certainly know how you feel about that. But that is nearly two months from now, Mr. Minister. Do you not realize that we are over half the way through the crop year? With this horrible transportation mess you have allowed, our phones are ringing off the hook. Farmers need cash. You know it is their money and there is quite a bit of it considering how low you made the initial price last summer."

"An election in the spring. Oh I see, I see. You certainly are a wily old politician."

"Yes, yes, okay sure. You bet. We will definitely delay our request for another six or seven weeks. We will await your call in late April. You have a nice day too, Mr. Minister. And good luck in the election. You are going to need it."

Rick Hansen
Statements By Members

April 23rd, 1997 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of an outstanding Canadian who will soon be celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Man in Motion World Tour.

Rick Hansen is a remarkable person who has used his determination and success to bring attention to issues affecting many people with disabilities.

In the two years, two months and two days that it took Rick Hansen to travel over 40,000 kilometres through 34 countries and across four continents and in the 10 years since, he has raised the world's awareness of the potential of persons with disabilities.

We may never be able to measure the impact he has had on attitudes but we know that the $20.8 million awarded in grants and the $20.9 million that the Rick Hansen Institute has contributed to removing barriers to the participation in society of people with disabilities has changed their lives and promoted their equal citizenship in communities across our country.

Presence In Gallery
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Before we proceed to question period today, I would like to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of

Baroness Caroline Anne Cox, Deputy Speaker, House of Lords, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Presence In Gallery
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canadian Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Leader of the Opposition

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

The Liberal government is going into an election without much to show in the way of jobs, According to the government's real record, it is still more than 900,000 jobs short of the prerecession job rate. Faced with the Liberal government's appalling inaction in this respect, thousands of discouraged workers have given up even looking for work.

When the Prime Minister meets unemployed Quebecers on the hustings, what will he tell them? Will he repeat that jobs are on their way? Will he advise them to move if they are in a hurry to find a job? Or will he again say good luck?

Canadian Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will tell voters, when we have an election, within the next 17 months-

Canadian Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Ha, ha.

Canadian Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Saint-Maurice, QC

-that when we started, unemployment was at 11.4 per cent and it is now at 9.3 per cent; that the Canadian economy created 757,000 new jobs during the past three years; that this morning, the International Monetary Fund stated that it expects Canada will have the highest economic growth rate of any G7 country for the year 1997-98; that the IMF expects unemployment to drop in 1997 and 1998 and that if Canadians show the necessary discipline, inflation will not be more than 2 per cent.

I will also tell them that we have been able to reduce short term interest rates by more than 3 per cent, compared with the Americans. We offer better interest rates than the Americans, so that the Quebec government, for instance, can save $600 million on its interest payments.

Canadian Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should tell voters during the election campaign that there are nearly 1.5 million people unemployed, five million living in poverty, fewer and fewer people eligible for unemployment insurance and an impressive number of discouraged workers. That is something the IMF did not mention. The IMF did not say that deficit reduction was achieved at the expense of the unemployed and the provinces.

Will the Prime Minister admit he did not keep his promise of "jobs, jobs, jobs", any more than he kept his promise to scrap the GST?

Canadian Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian economy has performed reasonably well, because 757,000 new jobs were created since we came to power. Of course we would have liked to have more. However, in the circumstances, it is a very good performance because, as I have said on several occasions, this is a problem facing countries throughout the world. In Canada we have created more jobs than Germany, Italy and France combined, although the population of each these countries is much larger than ours.

We are not satisfied, however, and we feel we should keep working on it. However, we have put the government's financial house in order. The country's finances are in better shape than they have been for a long time. Our objective was to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP, and we are more than a year ahead of schedule. That is why today, people throughout the world are saying that Canada's example is the one to follow.

Canadian Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should realize that economic growth should mean more tax equity, more jobs, more humane policies for the unemployed and more social justice.

Will the Prime Minister realize that economic growth should benefit the unemployed and not take place at their expense?

Canadian Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why in the last budget, for instance, we invested new money totalling $850 million in tax exemptions to fight child poverty, because we on this side of the House have a social conscience and we want to ensure that everyone benefits from the progress we have made.

The first amounts that became available were applied to poverty. We then provided incentives for training people. We invested $800 million in innovation, so Canada will be ready to compete in the 21st century.

Instead of being negative, we look positively to the future because we believe that Canada is the country that will be best equipped to enter the 21st century.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister neglects to mention is that, while a few million dollars will be forthcoming, but only in 1998, to combat poverty, he has cut $4.5 billion from social programs.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

An hon. member

True.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Let us talk GST, Mr. Speaker.

Since April 1996, the Minister of Finance has defended the $1 billion in compensation paid to the maritime provinces, through a pseudo-program of adaptation assistance, one which, when applied to Quebec, entitled it to no compensation whatsoever. Such was the minister's position for eight or ten months, the time Ottawa took to provide Quebec with the figures and information on how they were reached. Since then, Quebec has proven that the federal government cheated in its calculations and that, in reality, Ottawa owes it two billion dollars.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Can the Minister of Finance, who generally admits to his mistakes, tell us why he is not giving Quebec the compensation to which it is entitled?