House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

November 3rd, 1998 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Charleswood—Assiniboine, MB

Mr. Speaker, earlier this summer the House made what amounts to the single biggest change in Canadian grain marketing in 60 years. For the first time producers will directly elect 10 of the 15 directors to the Canadian Wheat Board.

Can the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board tell the House how this historic election process is progressing?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wheat Board electoral process is going very well.

Sixty-four candidates, many of them brand new people, are running for the 10 positions, so there is obviously a healthy contest. For the most part, the debate is positive and constructive.

An editorial in yesterday's Lethbridge Herald

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Brand new people?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Were they just born?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the debate on the prairies is obviously healthier than the debate across the way.

An editorial in yesterday's Lethbridge Herald said this: “Democracy is alive and well in agriculture in western Canada. The most important thing from a farmer morale perspective is the actual vote. Finally, for the first time since the federal government instituted the wheat board in 1935, farmers will have a say in who serves them in the global marketplace”.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Hong Kong war veterans, having endured as prisoners of war of Japan in World War II, also suffered from a Canadian government cover-up in 1955.

Fifty years later the concerns are still unanswered, though all-party committees give full support for compensation. Time is running out.

When will the minister listen to his colleagues, apologize for the cover-up and get on with the compensation?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is aware that there is an all-party agreement, presented in a committee report, which is before parliament and which the government is considering. He is very much aware of the file, as am I, and we have discussed it personally. He is also aware that this is a very complex file. It is 58 years old.

I want to assure the House that this government will take the time that it needs to take all of these factors into consideration and put forward the most positive solution possible to this age old problem.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has a solemn responsibility to look after our war veterans, and yet this government has neglected the veterans who are under care at the Perley-Rideau veterans' hospital in Ottawa. Our veterans do not deserve that kind of treatment.

I ask the Minister of Veterans Affairs, why is this government shirking its responsibility to provide veterans with adequate health care?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I have discussed this in committee.

I want to tell the hon. member that no one is more concerned about the health of veterans than we are on this side of the House, in this government.

I also want to tell the hon. member that this country has the best veterans' benefits in the world. I stand by that.

I also want to tell him with respect to the Perley-Rideau veterans' hospital that we are concerned about the level of health care. I do not know if the hon. member is aware of it or not, but I will tell him and all members of this House that we have done two audits. The last one was done in April. The audits show that the health care is the same level as it was four years ago.

Social Program Funding
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

In the first year of the CHST my home province of Saskatchewan lost about $100 million in transfers for health and education. Now the federal government is going to allow wealthy hedge fund investors to make the same $100 million on tax deductions if they channel money into health and education.

How can the government justify putting hospitals and schools in the financial position where they have to rely on the casino economy and participate in hedge funds in order to secure financing for their operations?

Social Program Funding
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government intends to monitor this situation very closely. We would certainly insist that any of the donors be fully at risk for any of the investments that are to be made.

At the same time, we are going to take a look at the advisability of a number of charities engaging in what could conceivably be risky investments.

Social Program Funding
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hedge fund in question is for wealthy individuals who would receive a tax credit of up to $700,000 for an investment of only $250,000. It is really a subsidy for rich and wealthy gamblers like the Conrad Blacks of the world.

How can the finance minister possibly sit on his hands and allow schools and hospitals to starve in order to use a hedge fund to divert tax money to subsidize the rich?

Social Program Funding
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the difficulties of having a supplementary question prepared in advance. I just said that the donors will have to be fully at risk if the tax consequences they seek were to arise.

At the same time, we are going to look at the advisability of hedge funds in this particular circumstance.

Canada Pension Plan
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the CPP investment board is responsible for the pensions of all Canadians. It will have $80 billion worth of assets and it will be the most powerful force in Canada's equity markets.

The finance minister has assured this House that there will be no political interference with the Canada pension plan, yet of the twelve members of this board six are prominent Liberals.

How can Canadians trust that there will be no political interference in the decisions of this board when in fact there has been political interference in the appointment of this board?