House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was education.

Topics

Éric Bédard
Statements By Members

February 18th, 1998 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Réjean Lefebvre Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Tuesday, February 17, Éric Bédard, a speed skater from Sainte-Thècle in the riding of Champlain, won the bronze medal in Nagano in the men's short track 1,000 metre.

I am very proud to pay tribute to the courage and determination of our first Quebecker to win a medal at the Nagano Olympic Games.

My congratulations to Éric Bédard for an exceptional performance. I also offer my congratulations to his parents Gaétan and Claire Bédard and to his family and to the people of Sainte-Thècle.

This is the first time an Olympic medal has been awarded to an athlete from the Mauricie. Éric Bédard's success brings honour to his region and to all of Quebec.

Congratulations, Éric, and good luck in the relay.

Employment
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated many times in the House, unemployment is Newfoundland's biggest problem. Therefore I believe government should not be shocked if I say I was outraged when I learned that Newfoundland has taken the biggest percentage hit in federal job losses.

On March 31, 1995 Newfoundland had 6,440 federal employees. As of June past we have 4,836 federal employees, for a loss of 24.9%. That compares with the 18.4% loss in Atlantic Canada and the 14.6% loss nationwide. I am told that Newfoundland will have lost nearly 30% of its federal employees by the end of March 1998. By the end of the fiscal year the province with double the national unemployment rate will have taken double the national rate of federal job losses.

The government came to power on a promise of jobs, jobs, jobs. What has that cost Newfoundland? Jobs, jobs, jobs.

Canadian Society
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has honoured Canada for several years by acknowledging that our country is the best country in the world. That honour has been sustained because of our commitments in a number of areas.

In the area of justice and security we commit to promote a peaceful, just, tolerant and civil society governed by respect for the rule of law and for our fellow human beings.

We commit to a universal, accessible, portable, comprehensive and publicly funded health care system.

We commit to the provision of a compassionate social safety net for the benefit of the unemployed, the disabled, the aged and those who live in poverty.

We commit to the protection and promotion of the health and beauty of our natural and manmade environments.

Finally, we commit through our example and our initiatives to always promote international peace and co-operation.

These are the kinds of commitments that make Canada great, not only in the eyes of Canada but also in the eyes of the world.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on page 29 of the Prime Minister's 1997 red book it says this: “We will allocate every billion dollars of fiscal dividend so that one-half will go to a combination of reducing taxes and reducing the national debt”. It was a clear-cut debt reduction and tax reduction promise for every billion dollars of surplus.

Yesterday the finance minister told the CBC he is not going to apply that formula to the 1998 budget.

The finance minister is breaking the Prime Minister's promise. What is the Prime Minister going to do about it?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will read from the red book. We will allocate our budget so that over the course of our mandate one-half will be spent to improve programs—and a lot of people agree with that—and one-half will go to tax cuts and reduction of the debt. That is the Liberal program which we ran on during the last election.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Official Opposition will read from the red book: “We will allocate every billion dollars of fiscal dividend so that one-half will go to a combination of reducing taxes and reducing the national debt”.

Now the finance minister is breaking that promise and the Prime Minister is agreeing with him. It is just like the GST promise.

Will the Prime Minister tell us how this broken promise differs from the broken GST promise?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I could read from the Speech from the Throne where it was said that one-half of the surplus would be used to address the social and economic needs of Canadians. That is something the Reform Party does not want to do. The other half will go toward a combination of reducing taxes and the national debt. It is very clear, very simple and very Liberal.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition will read from the sermon on the mount. “We will allocate every billion dollars of fiscal dividend so that one-half will go to a combination of reducing taxes and reducing the national debt”.

Liberal candidates went door to door making that promise and less than a year later it is being broken by the Minister of Finance.

If the Prime Minister will not keep his debt reduction and tax reduction promise this year, why should Canadians ever again trust him on anything he says about debt reduction and tax relief?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadians watch members of the Reform Party. One day they are for debt reduction. The next day they are for tax reduction. They change all the time. They do not know.

For us it is very clear. Over the term of our mandate, because we have provided Canadians with good government, because there will be a surplus, we will do it the Canadian way, the reasonable way. Half will be used for solving economic and social problems and the other half for reducing taxes and the debt. It is very simple.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing what can sneak up on you in a mandate.

The Prime Minister told the country in 1993 that he would scrap the GST, but he was just crying wolf. Last year he said that 50% of any surplus would be split between tax relief and debt reduction. Now he has just admitted that he is crying wolf again. The finance minister also says “No problem. We don't really need to keep our word”.

Let me ask the Prime Minister what happened between the promise and the present.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I invite the hon. member to look at the Speech from the Throne where it was very clear, and in the red book it was very clear.

We will do the right thing for Canada. It is not to be able to put our heads in the sand and not recognize that we have social problems and economic problems which need some government intervention. At the same time we will do something that has not been done for 50 years: a series of balanced budgets.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister talks about social programs. It is because he has racked up such a horrendous amount of debt over the last 30 years.

The Prime Minister broke a GST promise. Now he has broken this promise for 50% of tax relief and debt reduction. The finance minister said on CBC radio “Oh, well, I am not under any real constraint to keep that promise”.

Was this latest tax promise reneged on just recently, or was it just another GST hoax right from the beginning?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, maybe I have to read again very slowly so that they understand.

We will allocate our budgets so that over the course of our mandate one half, 50% in English, will be spent to improve programs and one half, 50 p. 100 en français, will go to tax cuts and reduction of the debt.

It was exactly the same thing that was in the Speech from the Throne that was presented and voted on by the House of Commons.

Reference To Supreme Court
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is a great deal of confusion about the government's position with respect to the supreme court reference. There is the position of the Minister of Justice, the position of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the position of the lawyer, Yves Fortier.

I would ask the Prime Minister to tell us what the government's position is. Is it the position of the Minister of Justice, who says that Quebec's sovereignty would create such an exceptional situation that the Constitution would be of no help, or is it that of Yves Fortier, who argued the exact opposite before the supreme court?

Reference To Supreme Court
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government's position is very well known. We are saying clearly that the case is before the supreme court right now, that the lawyers are making their arguments, that we are going to let them do so, and that the supreme court will be able to make its decision.

The important thing for us is to ensure that all Canadian citizens comply with the law of Canada.