House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was new.

Topics

Pay Equity
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has decided to give public service executives bonuses totalling some $12.2 million, when close to $2 billion is owed to the 80,000 members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and when many Canadian families continue to live in poverty and unemployment.

The government is not in compliance with its own pay equity legislation. While public service executives are getting significant bonuses, many clerks, secretaries and other employees are still not being paid the retroactive payments owed to them.

I hope the Treasury Board will pay what is owed to these employees and thus fulfill its commitment to female members of the public service and to women in general.

In order to correct this injustice, we are also asking that a new budget be tabled as early as this fall.

Princess Diana
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, death stalks all of us and can be cruel, but never more so than when it takes the life of the young.

On August 31 the world lost a beautiful soul in the death of Princess Diana. And we all grieved. We grieved not only for the loss of someone filled with so much promise, but also for someone in whom we saw ourselves.

She set an example in how to overcome our difficulties. She taught us to reach inside ourselves to become something greater than what we are by helping those who are less fortunate. Diana championed the plight of sick children, AIDS patients, the terminally ill. Recently she brought to the front of the world stage the horrors of landmines and their tragic victims.

As Canadians, we extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the family of the Princess and especially to her sons, Princes William and Harry.

Université Du Québec À Chicoutimi
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday I had the pleasure of announcing on behalf of the Government of Canada the investment of $750,000 over five years, via the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, in a new industrial engineering chair at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

The professor currently holding that chair, Masoud Farzaneh, will study the impact of freezing rain on power transmission network equipment. Two industrial partners, Hydro-Quebec and Alcan, have also contributed to the funding of this chair.

Creation of this chair is evidence of the Liberal government's desire to work in conjunction with our partners in industry, the universities and provincial agencies to develop new knowledge which will improve electrical service and eliminate power outages caused by precipitation freezing on transmission lines.

This is further evidence that Canada is working to ensure the success of all Quebecers.

Canada Pension Plan
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's throne speech gives Canadians every reason to be worried about their future retirement plans.

Older Canadians have earned the right to a secure retirement. Middle class workers cannot afford to pay more for the same benefits. Younger Canadians want the CPP to be there when they need it.

The Liberals plan to fix the CPP will be a further $11 billion tax hike on working Canadians and employers if the government refuses to reduce the EI premiums.

This government has a hidden agenda with the proposed seniors' benefit. It hurts middle income Canadians the most. It disproportionately attacks women by basing it on family income and it discourages people to save for their retirement.

I ask the government to stop punishing Canadians who have worked and saved for their retirement and urge them to put the seniors benefit on hold until there are full consultations on the proposed plan.

Mother Teresa
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month the world lost the moral beacon of the 20th century. Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa led a life that challenged the modern world by teaching us that lifestyle is not more important than life.

She accumulated no material possessions, shunned political power and never succumbed to moral compromises. Her life was consumed by the simple goal of providing food, education, medical care, love and hope to the sick and desolate.

Her notion of charity was not to hold black tie fundraisers and send others to do the messy work. No, Mother Teresa's example was to pick the maggots out of people's open wounds herself.

No human has done so much, for so many, for so little. But her life's work, not even respect for the dead, could spare her from those who want to protect their world from her message. Fully half of the media's coverage of Mother Teresa's death was devoted to criticism of her life and beliefs.

There are obviously many maggot infested wounds that still need to be cleansed by the millions she inspired. She will be remembered simply and affectionately as Mother.

Mother Teresa
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Before starting question period I want to share with you some of the intentions developed with the House leaders in consultation with me.

I know that this is the first day and I will give us all a bit of leeway. However, I would like to ask you to consider joining with me in the days and weeks ahead in the following manner.

It would be my intention to shorten the length of time for both the questions and the answers from what we had in the last Parliament so that, on average, we can have more questions. This will mean that the advance statements by the questioners will be shorter. I would also ask for the help of the ministers to keep their responses shorter.

So now we shall see how things go today.

We will keep track of the time.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

September 24th, 1997 / 2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be back in the House, and I am not just talking about Stornoway.

In his election platform the Prime Minister promised Canadians a 50:50 split between increased spending on one hand and debt and tax reduction on the other. Yet in yesterday's speech from the throne his government listed at least 29 new spending measures, but not one single practical measure for either debt reduction or tax relief.

Was this simply an oversight? Did he just leave something out of the speech or does this signal a return to Liberal chequebook spending?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the new Leader of the Opposition in this House. We have made a commitment that very soon the country will be in a position to operate with a surplus.

The budget is scheduled for the month of February. We have the time but first we have to go to a zero deficit.

We had to reduce the disastrous deficit of $42 billion left by the Conservative Party. Every year we are obliged to spend some money on some programs because of the problems in society which need to be taken care of.

It is always the Liberal approach to care and be responsible to others.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and I find it inconceivable that the Department of Finance would truly endorse a return to spending as the number one fiscal priority of the government.

Economists inside and outside the department have been saying for years that the federal government cannot spend its way to lower unemployment and that irresponsible spending and taxation is what is keeping unemployment high.

Has the Prime Minister simply forgotten about the seriousness of the debt or the high tax levels, or is he telling the House that higher spending is the number one fiscal priority of his government?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Obliged by your dictum, Mr. Speaker, the answer is no.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there are 29 proposals in the throne speech for higher spending and nothing on debt reduction or tax reduction.

If the government makes higher spending its number one priority, there will be no surpluses. Therefore 50 per cent of zero is zero, and there is zero for tax relief or debt reduction.

Is not this 50:50 formula simply a shell game, like the GST promise in the previous election, to allow the government to do what it really wants to do, which is to return to excessive spending?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously the Leader of the Opposition does not have anything very concrete on which to attack the government. He is setting a target to shoot at. We said very clearly we will spend more money when we are in a surplus position.

When we were elected we said we would reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP. It now looks as if within the first four years of our administration we have managed to reduce it to zero, or very close to zero. At the same time there are problems in society that have to be fixed and we will do it in a responsible way.

Around the world today people look to Canada because we are an example of a fiscally responsible government and, at the same time, a government caring for those who need the most help in our society.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, in February the Minister of Finance said a 5 per cent jobless rate was not only achievable but desirable. However, according to his department this is hogwash. It is forecasting 9 per cent, 8 per cent next year and 7 per cent until the year 2015.

Can the minister explain why he is publicly talking about a 5 per cent unemployment rate when privately his department says the opposite? Who is right and who is wrong?

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong.

The debate to which the hon. member refers is a discussion over the natural rate of unemployment, the rate at which inflation would take off, and there is, in fact, a difference of opinion.

This government clearly states that an arbitrary number, like 8 per cent for a NAIRU, is not applicable to a country whose productivity is improving, a country where interest rates are low, a country whose industry has become lean and competitive.

All I can tell the hon. member is that Alan Greenspan agrees with me and I will take him over the member for Medicine Hat.

Employment
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, in Canada several economists say that the long term natural rate for unemployment is well over the 5 per cent that the minister is talking about. Under this government my 13 year old son will be middle aged before we get within shouting distance of that 5 per cent target.

When is the minister going to take the advice of the real job creators and cut taxes? Canadians want tax cuts. I would like an answer from the prime minister-in-waiting, please.