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

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. Right now, the provincial governments have made a joint decision to consult the people before adopting resolutions in their respective legislatures.

In the case of Quebec, the present government of Quebec is not interested in consulting Quebecers on their genuine participation within Canada. Right now, the provinces have decided to consult their citizens before adopting their resolution. As soon as Quebec wants to adopt its resolution, I would ask the Government of Quebec to do likewise.

As far as we are concerned, if these resolutions are passed or adopted by all the provinces, I said before that the House of Commons has voted on distinct society, and we are prepared to vote on the words chosen by the premiers after a debate in this House. But we will have to wait and see what happens in the provinces, which are working on this right now.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Bouchard has said that he will not take part in any public consultation process. Meech Lake and Charlottetown failed because Canadians were not consulted.

Knowing this, will the prime minister clarify how the Calgary declaration will be communicated to the people of Quebec and by whom?

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with due respect to the hon. member, on Charlottetown people were consulted. There was a referendum. Among the reforms that we favoured was the election of the Senate. The Reform Party voted against it.

At this moment the provinces are doing their work. In due course we will act. I have talked with the premiers and they are doing, in a very different way, the way they want, their own consultations before they vote on the issue. We do not want to duplicate that in the other provinces.

At this moment there is no debate going on before the national assembly on the question of the Calgary declaration. When there is a debate I hope they will consult with the people. If need be we might consult with them, but at this moment the timing is not appropriate.

Speech From The Throne
Oral Question Period

September 24th, 1997 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the throne speech, the government claims to be sensitive to the problems of low income families with children and the problems in the education and health case systems.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Does the Minister of Finance admit that the problems the government has identified in these areas are basically due to the cuts of over $40 billion it made during its first mandate and intends to keep on making during this mandate?

Speech From The Throne
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, because of the efforts made by this government, and indeed all Canadians, in terms of putting our fiscal house in order, the government can now afford to provide assistance to society's most disadvantaged, namely poor children.

In fact, our intentions were not expressed only in the throne speech. Judging from recent budgets and the actions taken by my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development, and by other colleagues regarding the child tax credit, internship programs and all this government has put in place for the poor in this country, it is very clear that what our government intends to do is to help Canadians, not to divide them.

Speech From The Throne
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the axeman seldom woos his victims, but that is what the Minister of Finance is doing, since he is responsible for poverty in Canada.

By the way, will the minister admit that his solution to health, education and poverty problems is to cut $42 billion instead of $48 billion as initially planned? In other words, all he has to offer as a solution is to cut $6 billion less than he had planned.

Speech From The Throne
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that the hon. member across the way, where he was before the election, compare the first Campeau budget tabled when the Parti Quebecois took office in Quebec with the forecast now being made by Mr. Landry.

He will see that, thanks to federal activities and initiatives, the amount available to Mr. Landry to help the disadvantaged is $1.5 billion higher than originally planned by Mr. Campeau. I do hope the PQ government will use this money to help the most disadvantaged in Quebec.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the health minister was recently asked where he would find the money for national pharmacare, he replied: “I don't know but it's a really good idea”.

When patients are trapped in the longest waiting lines in history why would anybody be thinking about a brand new national program?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the first and fundamental challenge we face with our health care system, and I know the hon. member is aware of this, is restoring the confidence of Canadians in the basic medicare which we have come to know and depend on.

The government is firmly committed to not only the five principles of the Canada Health Act but to working with our partners in the provinces, with providers and with other stakeholders in the system to restore the health system to the quality Canadians expect and deserve.

That is going to mean a lot of work. It is going to mean working with provinces and others to tackle issues such as waiting lists. It is going to mean dealing with—

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Macleod.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, they really had quite a commitment as they chopped 40 per cent from the health care transfers. Now they come along and promise us national medicare with no clue how much this program will cost, with no clue where the money would come from. I call that clueless.

Medicare has suffered and lies wounded. Why would anybody carry on with a brand new program like this when medicare itself needs to be fixed?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member is a better doctor than he is a mathematician. He knows full well that the cuts by this government were nowhere near 40 per cent.

What I said to my provincial partners is that we are going to work toward pharmacare as a long term goal because this government believes that in the long term the partners should work with us in creating a system where every citizen of this country should have access to the drugs they need and should not be kept from them because of price.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The Liberal government has cut unemployment insurance by billions of dollars, turning a deaf ear to the cries of alarm coming from the unemployed and from seasonal workers.

How can the minister justify a throne speech that contains nothing at all for the unemployed and for seasonal workers, when he knows that the unemployment insurance fund will again this year produce a surplus of at least $7 billion?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will have to take another look at the throne speech, because there are several references to what we are going to do and have been doing for some time now. In particular, we announced a youth employment strategy, which is extremely important. We are working very hard on the unemployment issue and you know it. This strategy, which creates work experience, is doing well.

We have identified tools that worked well and we will consolidate and extend them so that the work experience young people need to make the transition from school to the work place is a very positive one. There is also the transitional job creation fund, $95 million of which has been invested in job creation in Quebec.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear from the minister's reply that he is not in the least concerned about the plight of seasonal and other workers entering the job market.

My question is not what he is doing to help them re-enter the job market, but what he is doing to help them survive and not all end up on welfare.