House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Apec Summit
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, this morning the chairman of the public complaints commission said they will follow the APEC fingerprints wherever they lead.

So far those fingerprints seem to lead directly to the doorstep of the Prime Minister's office.

Why wait for the subpoena? Why does the Prime Minister not just volunteer to appear before that commission immediately?

Apec Summit
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the commission has not asked the Prime Minister to appear. The member's question, as usual, is totally hypothetical and besides, the commission is just beginning its hearings today.

Let the commission do its work. This is what the protesters want. Let the hearings take place in an active and thorough atmosphere. Why does the hon. member not want to support that sensible approach?

Apec Summit
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the sensible approach is that this commission seems to be going a little further than just checking into RCMP activities. I think the Canadian public is looking forward to that. If our Prime Minister refuses to appear before this commission if he is subpoenaed, Canadians will never know what the truth of this story is.

I would like the Deputy Prime Minister to answer my question for a change. Why will the Prime Minister evade this? Will he voluntarily appear before the commission or will he let Jean Carle be the fall guy for him?

Apec Summit
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the weakness of the assertion in the hon. member's question is shown by her admission that a former senior staff member and a current senior staff member in the Prime Minister's office are going to appear before the commission.

Let us allow the commission do its work. Why does the hon. member want to hamper the commission before it even begins its work? Let the work continue. Let us see what happens as a result.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Minister of Finance, the United States and Japan are the key players in the economic crisis we are currently experiencing. Nothing new there. What matters is that everyone here knows that all economic levers necessary to effectively counter the threat of a recession are available to the government.

Does the Acting Prime Minister not realize that, when all indicators point to a downturn in the economy, the government has a duty to take action to boost the Canadian economy and avert a recession?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the figures are pretty good. Two hundred thousand new jobs have been created since the beginning of the year. Our interest rates are low. There is no inflation. We have a balanced budget.

We are in a good position to ward off the effects of the international crisis. Our prudent policy must be recognized as a good policy for the future of our country.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

We are doing very well indeed, Mr. Speaker. The Canadian dollar is worth 65 cents US; the GDP has dropped for four consecutive months. But all is well.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

An hon. member

We are doing very well.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

The king is happy.

As I said, we must act and act now. Does the Acting Prime Minister not understand that action is urgently required because taking immediate action, as we suggested, will produce positive results in the long term? Does he not agree action must be taken now to ensure the results are not postponed indefinitely?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, one thing is certain. The Bloc's proposals would certainly plunge us back into a deficit which would be the worst possible signal that we could send to the financial markets.

Here are the straight goods. Immediate tax cuts would have no short term effect on the economy. Heavy spending on social programs is what got Canada into our fiscal troubles in the first place, and a return to that practice would leave us even more vulnerable. It is nothing but bunk coming from the Bloc.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government says it would like to use several billions of dollars from the EI fund to make general tax cuts and stimulate the economy.

My question is for the Acting Prime Minister. Does he not realize that using the EI fund to lower the taxes paid by the rich, a cut which would be funded primarily by workers earning $39,000 and less annually, is the most unfair, most illegal and most immoral course he could choose?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear that when we turned the corner with respect to the deficit reduction, what did we do? We started to reduce taxes for those most in need at the bottom end. All the Bloc is talking about is trying to bring us back to where we were left by the Tories who tried to bury this country.

This government through its policies ensured that Canada has a bright future and we will stick with our policies.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister wants to protect the economy of Quebec and of Canada against the risks of recession, why does he not immediately lower EI premiums, which would be an effective, fair, morally acceptable and, above all, legal way of creating jobs?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we will certainly take that as representation from the hon. member. We are in the middle of a debate among Canadians. We have repeatedly talked about our priorities, our health care, tax reduction, debt elimination and continued cuts to EI premiums. The premier of Saskatchewan seems to agree that Canadians require a debate. We have the best interests of Canadians at heart and we will continue to do what we have done in the past, ensure this country has a bright future.

Apec Summit
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the solicitor general. For weeks now the government has been giving assurances that the RCMP commission will get to the bottom of the Spray-PEC inquiry.

Why then did the solicitor general say that the Prime Minister will not be attending the inquiry because he would only become the focus of it but instead the solicitor general will act as cover for the Prime Minister? Why did the solicitor general say “I'm the cover” for the Prime Minister on this issue?