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

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has been very clear. The compensation program offered to provinces having harmonized their tax with the federal tax applies to all of the provinces.

The provinces which lost money because of harmonization are entitled to compensation equivalent to half of the losses incurred. In the case of Quebec, it broadened their tax base since harmonization. For each of the past six years, it has collected more in sales tax than it did at the time of harmonization. Having lost nothing, therefore, it did not qualify for compensation.

This has been stated clearly, moreover, by the person who was Minister of Finance at the time of harmonization, and is now the opposition finance critic. He stated clearly and honestly that, in fact, Quebec had gained rather than lost in this arrangement with the federal government.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the Prime Minister to read the ten pages of Mr. Landry's budget, and he will gain some understanding of the matter; at the moment, he understands absolutely nothing.

I am now asking my question of the Minister of Finance. Will the Minister of Finance acknowledge this legitimate claim and reimburse Quebec?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the answer I have just given applies, because there was no loss for Quebec, there was a gain. That is clear, and easily verified.

When people have nothing else to say, they refuse to look at the truth. I know very well that many Quebecers will recall that, a few years ago, employees were given pay raises before the referendum, and then, for the second time in Quebec history, those who received something before the referendum had their pockets picked by the Parti Quebecois after the elections.

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is preparing to go to the polls after only three and a half years in office, the earliest election call by a majority government in 50 years.

Why is it that the government is going to the polls so early? Not because it has anything new to say on generating jobs. Not because it has anything new to say on its high record of taxation and debt. Not because it has anything new to say on national unity. The government is calling an early election because it has run out of steam. "Running on Empty" is the name of this movie.

How can it be that this Liberal government is so utterly devoid of new ideas that it has to go to the polls after only three and a half years?

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, after years of the leader of the third party's wanting us to go to the people, now he is chickening out.

We want to go to the people because of the work we have accomplished since the beginning of our term.

We will say to the Canadian people that his party does not have a program any more. That party was always talking about the deficit. We solved the problem.

We will go to the people of Canada and say that because of the good government we have provided we now have the lowest interest rates in 35 years. We will go to the people of Canada and tell them that because we had a good government their mortgage payments are about half of what they were six years ago. Now when people renew a $100,000 mortgage they have $6,000 or $7,000 more in their pockets each year, after tax.

That is much better than the tax cuts which that party promised to give to the banks.

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister must be joking if he thinks he can run on his record. He must be imagining things. He consulted JoJo the psychic who read his mind and went bankrupt shortly thereafter.

The Prime Minister cannot run on his record because during the election he will be running away from it. The Prime Minister is going to be hiding from the 1.4 million unemployed. He is going to be hiding from the two to three million underemployed. He is going to be hiding from those millions and millions of taxpayers to whom he promised tax relief and then broke his promise.

How does the Prime Minister think an early election call will help him to run away from his record, especially when he has nothing new, fresh or creative to say?

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I always take into consideration the fear of the leader of the third party before making up my mind.

The leader of the third party says that we will run away from our record. No, we will not.

We were supposed to have a new type of opposition. It was supposed to give free votes to its members. It never did that. There were more free votes on this side of the House than on that side.

I will go. We will go. We are very confident because we have restored integrity in the public's eye. In the last four years there has not been a scandal on this side of the House. We have changed completely the mood of the country.

Last month a poll was taken. Five years ago the same poll was taken. It surveyed 18 countries. At that time the confidence which Canadians had in their national government was at the bottom of the list. Only 15 per cent of Canadians had confidence in their national government. In the poll taken last month we were ahead of every other nation. In four years confidence rose from 15 per cent to 55 per cent. That is the best level of confidence of any of the 18 countries surveyed.

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is a prophet. He said he will go, and he will go.

The Prime Minister brings back the memory of Liberal Premier David Peterson who called an early election, could not explain it to the public and then played to protect the lead and lost the game.

There are four things which the Prime Minister cannot escape through an early election call or through last minute deal making.

He cannot escape the worst record of unemployment numbers since the depression. He cannot escape the broken GST promise. None of them can escape the obscene MP pension plan. He cannot escape a pathetic national unity strategy that came within 50,000 votes of destroying the federation.

Since the government has a record like that and it has nothing new or creative to say to Canadians, why is the Prime Minister going to the polls after only three and a half years?

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I want to go to the people of Canada. I will tell them that when we were fighting for unity in the referendum the leader of the third party said nothing, trying to make our life difficult.

I will tell them that if we want to keep the country united, we need a party that can get members elected in every province and territory of the land.

I will go to the people to tell them that Canada will survive with Liberal values and not with values that try to divide the country on different bases.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

April 23rd, 1997 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

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

The Minister of Finance has nothing better than unconvincing sophistries to offer in response to the Quebec Minister of Finance, who reviewed his calculations and was able to provide evidence, in black and white, that Quebec is indeed entitled to $2 billion, and not to zilch, as maintained by the minister.

Since it has been established that the minister's McKenna formula, when used properly, provides for $2 billion in compensation for Quebec, why is the minister not paying this $2 billion to Quebec? Why is he stubbornly defending the indefensible?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we talked to the Quebec government. The federal government held numerous discussions with the Quebec government on the calculation of the compensation for the GST and the QST.

We continue to arrive at the conclusion that Quebec simply does not qualify for adjustment assistance. Quebec has not suffered losses to the harmonization of the QST and the GST, the public accounts of Quebec.

I suggest the hon. member look at the public accounts. They show us that the annual revenues derived from the QST increased following the signature of the harmonization agreement. They went from $5.1 billion in 1988-89-90 to $5.4 billion. That is up. In 1991 they went to $6.2 billion.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 19, the Minister of Finance himself compared the adjustment assistance paid to the maritimes for harmonizing their taxes to the financial support provided to the Saguenay flood victims and to equalization payments, as if this was just another federal assistance program for have-not regions. The minister finally admitted that his harmonization adjustment assistance formula was a front, a pretence to deny Quebec compensation.

With his share of the $1 billion paid to the maritime provinces, Frank McKenna is wooing away our businesses with our own tax money. When will the minister put an end to this unfair competition? When will he pay Quebec the $2 billion it is entitled to?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, when the federal government does the calculation, assuming a full harmonization of the GST and the QST in 1990, using data supplied by Quebec, it still arrives at the conclusion that Quebec simply does not qualify for the adjustment.

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the pork has all been divvied up now. The tires are being checked. The beer is on ice right now and it looks like the Liberal campaign plane is all but ready to take off, except for one small problem. The fuel tank reads empty.

Canadians are still wondering what this government intends to run on. Maybe it is its job record: 1.4 million Canadians unemployed; 800,000 Canadians moonlighting; 78 months in a row of unemployment over 9 per cent; the worst jobs record since the Great Depression.

Since the Liberal jobs, jobs, jobs record is in the tank, can the Prime Minister tell Canadians if this is the record his government plans to run on?

Liberal Government
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I suggest the hon. member look at the labour market statistics which are published each month. I suggest he look at the labour market statistics for October 1993: 11.2 per cent unemployment. That was at the time of the last election. Presently it is down almost 2 per cent to 9.3 per cent. That is a record.

Today the IMF has come out with a new statement. The IMF says that this year and next year Canada will have the highest growth of the G7 countries, 3.4 per cent, which will bring the unemployment rate down even more.

Of course that is not enough. Of course our unemployment rate is too high. We are working on it and are bringing down. That is the Liberal system.