House of Commons Hansard #151 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was legislation.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that Canadians are being overcharged with their EI premiums. That is the point we are trying to get across to the government.

Canadian workers are being overcharged by $350 per year and businesses by $500 per year per employee. It is a very simple question that we keep asking and do not get an answer from the government.

Why will the government not consider giving the money back to the people it belongs to, hard working Canadians?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I guess I should also remind the hon. member that the Reform platform is to give the premiums back just to employers. What about the workers?

If we are talking about this mix, if we talk about providing what is best for Canadians and if we are talking about the best bang for our buck, let us not forget that 14 million Canadians benefit from any personal income tax cut. Only eight million Canadians would benefit from an employment insurance cut.

If what we are talking about what is best for Canada, we will continue that debate.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, every year the finance minister meets with the Employment Insurance Commission in mid-November to set employment rates for the next year. Businesses need some time to adjust to the new tax levels.

Why is the minister's announcement of rates now delayed well into December?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, once again the Reform Party has it all wrong. The more I stand in the House, the more I wish we could do something about its research staff.

The Minister of Finance does not meet with the EI commissioners regarding the setting of EI premiums. He has never met with them, has no meeting planned with them and has no intention of meeting with them.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, concerning EI premiums, the government obviously takes far too much at this time for the reasonable future of the plan. Now he will make business spend Christmas worrying about Scrooge, always paying and never getting anything back.

I would ask for a more complete answer. Why is there a delay in the announcement of the rates? Why does he hurt business planning to serve a political agenda? I ask him to justify the choice of one over the other.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I guess we should also look at the bigger picture. The unemployment rate announced this morning was 8.1%. The job grouth pace for the first 10 months is outpacing the first 10 months of last year. We have numbers that are improving. Canadians are back to work and they are full time jobs.

While the hon. member wants to continue to talk about this issue to advance his own political perspective, we are working for Canadians.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

November 6th, 1998 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health admits that needs are great throughout the country and is beginning to understand that it is high time he gave the provinces back the money he cut in the health sector, particularly now that his colleague, the Minister of Finance, has a surplus that has reached $8 billion only five months into the fiscal year.

Would the minister confirm that the scenario he has in mind is one in which the federal government would place conditions on funding to the provinces, telling them how it is to be spent?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have said repeatedly that, in working with the provinces, we were going to respect their jurisdictions and priorities.

I would add that, with respect to the Canada social transfer, the principal transfer payment to the provinces, the province receiving the most per capita is Quebec.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

We are very glad to have a fair federation that tries to help provinces in difficulty. However, one of the reasons Quebec finds itself in that situation is the political uncertainty hanging over it—

Health Care
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

—an uncertainty we hope Quebeckers will very soon leave behind.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, given that the proceedings are being televised, one might wonder whether the minister is not delivering a paid political announcement.

The minister's answer is far from reassuring. He talks about partnership. He says he will respect provincial jurisdiction, but we know what the government is up to. It wants the provinces to do what it says, and no questions asked. A look at Quebec's unemployment rates today will show that Quebec is far from being badly governed.

What right does the federal government have to impose its priorities in the health sector, when its cuts have been so deep as to make its funding insignificant?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is not insignificant that Quebec's transfer payment is 9% higher per capita than that received by the average province.

I hope that this can be turned around and that, one day, we will receive less than the average. That will prove that we have left behind a situation that is a huge drain on our economy, a situation of political uncertainty that we do not need, because most of us in Quebec want to remain in Canada.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1994 the federal government's transfer payments were the equivalent of $678 per capita. Four years later, the figure is only $386. When it comes to being the great protector of health care, we have seen better.

My question is for the Minister of Health. What credibility can there be when a minister wants to impose conditions on any additional funding for health care, when all that anyone wants is for transfer payments to be restored to the level they were at before he started slashing them?