House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mai.

Topics

The Debt
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's record is very clear. It has added $100 billion to the debt and the only debt it has paid down was paid down with borrowed money from the Canada pension plan. This is not a very good bargain for Canadians.

The fact is the $6,000 in taxes that Canadians pay every year in interest could be used for things like paying household bills, preparing for their own retirement or paying for their children's education and sending them to university, something the government claims it is very concerned about.

Given the shameful fact that Canadians pay $6,000 a year in taxes just for interest on the debt, why again is the debt not the number one issue in tomorrow's budget?

The Debt
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, once again as we quite clearly said in the fiscal update, we have made it clear that the contingency reserve will be used to pay down the debt once the deficit is eliminated.

The quickest way to lower the debt is a growing economy. That is why at the same time we pay down the debt, we will invest in Canadians, grow this economy and watch the debt go down.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

February 23rd, 1998 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Over the course of the weekend we learned that the Secretary General of the United Nations was successfully negotiating an agreement with the government of Iraq on the application of the UN resolutions. In other words, the diplomatic solution we advocated is within reach and the Security Council will be asked to vote on this solution tomorrow.

If the members of the Security Council move in one direction and the United States in another, which direction will Canada take?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first off, we were certainly encouraged by the proposals the Secretary General made to Baghdad over the weekend.

At this point, we, like the other countries, will have to wait to have a chance to examine the proposal carefully to be sure that all the issues have been properly dealt with. Then we will be able to consult the other members of the coalition in order to decide on a response.

Certainly, the initiative of the Secretary General is to be applauded.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the start of this crisis, the government has said, sometimes half heartedly, that it favoured a diplomatic solution.

Since a diplomatic solution has now been reached, negotiated by none other than the Secretary General of the United Nations, does the minister intend to promote this approach among his partners, including the United States?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have not just been talking about it. We have been working on it. We have been making every effort to ensure that all the possibilities that could be explored for a settlement were explored.

I am very pleased to report that as of Friday the security council has decided to double the amount of money that would go into a humanitarian program for Iraq to ensure that there would be a proper set up of oil for food. That is an issue Canada took a particularly strong role in promoting.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the proposed seniors benefit was announced nearly two years ago but the government still has not tabled its legislation. Under the seniors benefit some seniors will face clawbacks and taxes on their retirement savings of as much as 75%.

I ask the minister, will tomorrow's budget assure Canadians that this huge tax grab on their retirement savings will be scrapped?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I invite the hon. member to be here in the House tomorrow at 4.30 p.m. so that she can see what is in the budget.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been waiting two years and all the member can give them is a glib response like that.

How can Canadians plan their retirement savings without knowing how this government intends to tax their savings? In fact we understand from the minister's leaky department that he will not even be introducing seniors legislation until the fall.

Why will he not clear things up for Canadians now?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first let us make it clear that this government believes the creation of the seniors benefit is critical if we still believe in Canada. It is important to provide pension support for low income senior women and men. This government believes that. Sadly the Reform Party does not.

Oil Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

A study of competitiveness in the oil industry, commissioned by Industry Canada among others, was released in Toronto last Wednesday. Based exclusively on the large oil companies, this study completely ignores independent distributors, who represent 20% of the market in Quebec alone.

Given that this study is incomplete and biased, will the minister agree to have an independent group of experts conduct an impartial study of operating costs related to retail gas sales?

Oil Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, a study was done a long time ago. I think it has been available to the public for six months now. A number of questions were raised regarding the study's methodology, and I will consider them.

Oil Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is for the Minister of National Revenue.

Given that the Government of Quebec already treats the large oil companies and many independents equally with respect to road tax, unlike the federal government when it comes to excise tax, will the Minister of National Revenue agree to follow Quebec's example and allow independent distributors to charge excise tax as well?

Oil Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the hon. member that all corporations fully comply with the excise tax. Independents will also apply on the same basis. I will take his representations and look at the matter.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, media reports indicate that yesterday the secretary-general of the United Nations brokered a deal with Saddam Hussein.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell Canadians whether or not the Canadian government finds the deal acceptable?