House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nunavut.

Topics

Health
Oral Question Period

October 28th, 1998 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he needs a consensus before he will take action.

All of Canada is asking him to take a portion of the budget surpluses and return it to the provinces for use in the health sector, because that is the priority everywhere.

If he is serious, why is he doing nothing?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the day before yesterday in Toronto I gave a speech in which I again repeated that the government's priority in the next budget would be the health sector.

Obviously, however, the Bloc Quebecois is not interested in the real world. But, if any major consensus has come out of Quebec in the last two referendums, it is that Quebeckers want to remain in Canada.

Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, at a conference this morning the human resources minister told a story about a panhandler reluctant to accept money from a young father in case his child needed the money tomorrow. Pitting the needs of a desperate, poor man against the needs of children is moral bankruptcy. That is precisely what the minister's story illustrates.

Can the minister not understand that this approach will never solve the problem of growing poverty in the country?

Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry the leader of the NDP was wrongly briefed about an anecdote I used this morning at a very important conference on children.

I was expressing that in Canada and in the government Canadians want their children to come first. Indeed an assistant of mine rolled a stroller by a hotel and a panhandler seeing the child said “I don't want that money because it would be better used on the child”.

Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, 500,000 more children have been driven into poverty by the government and this minister is proud of that record.

The Liberals' child tax benefit program excludes many of the poorest children in the country. He knows that because he designed it that way.

What would it take to persuade the minister to fix the program so that all poor children benefit?

Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the national child tax benefit, in which the government will invest $1.7 billion every year as of next year, was designed by this government and the governments of the provinces including the two NDP governments of the provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

This national child tax benefit will help parents to get off welfare and go out into the labour market without penalizing their children, which is the problem now in Canada. That is how we can help children.

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, apparently the RCMP recommended that charges be laid against 11 officers with respect to their actions against protesters at last year's APEC summit.

If the RCMP felt that charges should be laid against their officers, who instructed the crown not to proceed? If the crown can instruct charges to be laid when accusations are groundless like Airbus, why were charges not laid here?

The plot thickens. Will the solicitor general tell us what he is going to do?

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the decision as to whether to lay charges was a decision of the attorney general's department of British Columbia.

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, there is evidence of political interference at the highest levels of this government. First Airbus, then Somalia, and now APEC. To what ends will this government go to prevent the truth from coming out?

Canadians want a government that is honest and accountable, not a Prime Minister obsessed with getting his own way to protect his partisan interests.

I ask the Prime Minister to display courage and integrity and stop this charade. Will he put the APEC affair into the hands of an independent judicial inquiry or is he afraid of what might be uncovered?

Apec Inquiry
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, parliament has already decided how Canadians should deal with complaints against the RCMP. It is the public complaints commission. It was established in 1988. It has a good record. It is internationally respected and it is on the job now. It is master of its own proceedings. This government respects this parliament's decision to establish that commission.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he needs a consensus to act.

There was a national consensus on employment insurance. All the provinces, all the opposition parties, everyone is asking him not to touch the employment insurance surplus.

If he is serious, why does he not act?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, our government's attitude toward this country's public finances has always been extremely responsible.

We have also behaved responsibly with the employment insurance fund, managing it a little more interestingly than was done before we took office.

We have a surplus, where the employment insurance fund used to have a deficit. The opposition should rise and congratulate us for this surplus, which stabilizes our finances.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says that a consensus must be achieved before he can act.

Everyone in Canada is asking him to lower EI premiums and to use the EI surpluses to improve protection for the unemployed.

If he is serious about this, why is he not acting?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, when we took office, the EI rate was going up to $3.30. We have lowered it every year since. Just last year, we lowered it another 20 cents, to $2.70. This goes to show that we are committed to a steady reduction, which is an excellent thing.

In addition, we have developed, for those who were not covered by the employment insurance system, a youth employment strategy designed to help young people enter the labour market.

We have put $300 million into the transitional jobs fund while reducing—

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Skeena.