House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Auditor General
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member that this government is not spending today and paying for it tomorrow. It is setting up a reserve fund and that innovation fund is going to be paid out over the next little while. We have made that commitment and acknowledged that at the time we made it.

This government has not followed the example of the previous governments where we found out some years later that we had a deficit of $42 billion instead of $32 billion. We are not making commitments and then paying for them later. We are making commitments now and we are recognizing those commitments.

The auditor general has stated specifically that our books were in good order for last year.

I would ask the member about this building which he is sitting in. When was it expensed? It was expensed in the budgets of 1917 and 1918 when it was built and we have used it for the last 80 years. We are doing the same thing with the innovation fund. We are setting it up. We have made that commitment. It is there and it will be used over the next few years.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance.

When he left the room where the Standing Committee on Public Accounts that was supposed to be sitting late in the afternoon yesterday, the auditor general described the GST harmonization formula which, as we know, gave $1 billion to the maritimes, as a political decision. This squares exactly with what we have been saying about that formula since it was announced. It we fully apply the McKenna formula to Quebec, Ottawa owes Quebec $2 billion, which the Quebec government has been asking for, as was demonstrated in black and white in the last provincial budget.

Why is the government persisting in not treating Quebec the same way as it is treating the maritimes?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we are treating the Quebec government exactly the same way under those regulations as we are treating every other province. If the Quebec government had lost funds on the harmonization of the GST and the QST we would have compensated it. It did not lose funds.

As I said yesterday in the House, the Quebec government accounts show clearly that the numbers went from $5.1 billion to $5.4 billion to around $6 billion. That represents an increase every year since harmonization. It has not cost Quebec any funds at all. The Quebec accounts show that.

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. McKenna was at the Château Champlain, in Montreal, at 12.30 p.m. today, no doubt in order to praise the merits of his province in the taxation area and thus rob us of our businesses and our jobs.

Does the government find it normal that the premier of a province should use some of the money paid by Quebecers to come and draw Quebec's businesses away, businesses that Montreal needs so badly to counter poverty?

Goods And Services Tax
Oral Question Period

April 24th, 1997 / 2:25 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question should be addressed to the premier of the province he has indicated. It is not the policies of the Government of Canada he has complained about but the policies of the province of New Brunswick. If he has problems with the provincial politics I suggest he bring those up in provincial parliaments.

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, don't you just hate getting junk mail? I got some this morning from the Liberals. Although they would not answer our questions yesterday I think they are trying to give us some hints about what they are planning for the upcoming election.

For example, on the cover of their pre-election brochure they feature six young children. I wonder if this means the government plans to reannounce its national day care program, the one it promised it would bring about last time but failed to deliver. Maybe these kids are some of the hundreds of thousands from families that have been driven from the middle to the low income bracket because of this government. Maybe they are supposed to represent the $20,000 per head of debt that men, women and children bear because of Liberal-Tory overspending.

Which one of these policies is the government planning to run on? Which policy will the Liberals bring before the Canadian people in the upcoming election?

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as we have found over the years, the selective reading habits of the Reform Party did not permit the hon. member to take a look at what is probably one of the most significant initiatives taken on behalf of children in the last decade, the announcement of a major investment in a child benefit that will ensure that every child in a low income family will receive a guaranteed benefit from the Government of Canada.

It provides a basic income flow for poor children in this country. It will put income into the hands of their parents so their parents can make the best choices about their education, their nutrition, and so on. That is the Liberal way of doing things, giving choice to people to help their children. That is the real issue.

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, by the government's own account, over a million children live in poverty in this country. There is no national day care program after the government promised it.

I am looking through the Liberal list of achievements page to see where it says that the Liberals fulfilled their promise on the GST, but it is strangely absent. I am looking for the section on national unity, but I cannot find it. Could that be because the government came within 50,000 votes of losing the country?

What about health care? It speaks about $300 million in a new health care initiative, but it does not mention, for some reason, that it has cut $7.5 billion.

Is the government planning to hoodwink Canadians once again, just like it did in 1993, or is my brochure missing some pages?

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I find it exceedingly bizarre that the hon. member, while he seems to be poring over the literature of the government with a microscope, totally ignores the literature of his own party.

The last so-called Reform budget was going to totally decimate the entire pension plan of Canadians. It was going to reduce payments to the disabled, children and low income families. It was going to totally and completely rewrite the social structure to give tax breaks to high income earners and higher taxes to the low income earners.

I would suggest the hon. member change his reading habits.

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party is the only party that has a plan to save the Canada pension plan.

The chairman of the committee on the government side who comes from Winnipeg said that in 15 years the Canada pension plan will be in trouble because of the government's initiative. Is it any wonder when Liberal MPs secured their own MP pension that they are not concerned about Canadians' pensions?

The government cannot run away from its record. Look at the GST promise, the day care promise, the NAFTA promise. There have been 37 tax increases. The country has the worst jobless record since the great depression. Look at Somalia, Airbus, the Krever and the Pearson scandals.

After that pathetic record of incompetence and duplicity why should Canadians trust the government for another four years?

Liberal Party
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of having served as a member of this government. First, it has been able to restore the confidence and trust of Canadians in government. That is something the Reform Party has never, in its wildest dreams, had the notion of doing.

Second, unemployment has been brought down from the high levels it was at in 1993. More than 750,000 jobs have been created.

Interest rates have been brought down to a 30 year low.

We have restructured government and restructured the finances of the country which has given us a platform from which to launch into the new century.

We approach these issues with pragmatism and reality, not with ideology and rhetoric, which seems to be the only stock in trade of the hon. member.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

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

Canadian Airlines is still having problems despite the assistance provided by the federal government. If the company cannot sell Inter-Canadian, it will shut down operations in Quebec in less than five weeks, killing 500 jobs.

What is the federal government going to do about this potential closure, after agreeing in the last few months to postpone the last payment on the $120 million loan it extended to Canadian in 1992, and after granting Canadian last February a reduction in fuel taxes of $20 million a year over the next four years.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the situation with respect to the regional subsidiary of Canadian Airlines is fairly straightforward. The company has proposed selling the airline. This happened only a few days ago. There is, I believe, at least a 16-week period before there would be developments that would involve the government.

At the present time it is simply a private company offering to sell a company which has frequently been sold. It was once known as Quebec Air. It has frequently been purchased by other companies.

It appears to be a normal readjustment within the airline industry where one company might move from ownership of one group to ownership of another. At the present time there is no cause for the government to step in.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, are we to understand from the minister's comments that all Quebec taxpayers are good for is to pay tens of millions of dollars that the federal government then gives to Canadian, and that they do not

have the right to say anything when this company shuts down its operations in Quebec two months later?

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the hon. member, this is a private offer of a Canadian company to the market generally. It is not a question of taxpayers' money being involved.

The hon. member seems to be under the misapprehension that Canadian is owned by the Canadian government. It is not. Canadian Airlines is a private corporation.