House of Commons Hansard #87 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Option Canada
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister can certainly not justify the expenditure of public funds by not responding to any question on the pretext that he is defending Canada. Is that what I am to understand from his response? It does not make any sense.

I would ask him whether the minister responsible for operation unity at the time, now the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, could confirm that the link between operation unity and Option Canada was such that the senior official of one ordered the other to spend?

Option Canada
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley West
Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we have already answered all these questions many times. We have submitted over one hundred pages of responses. The matter is totally clear. There are very few responses, because we have already provided the documents required and requested.

Option Canada
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the House that Mr. Bullock, now the Canadian ambassador to China, was then director of Operation Unity and therefore reported directly to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Since Option Canada's budgets were apparently spent, as she herself said, by the director of the Operation Unity team, how could the minister claim not to be perfectly aware of how the $4.8 million given by the federal government to Option Canada right in the middle of the referendum campaign was spent?

Option Canada
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, the question is based on false premises.

Second, we know that the Standing Orders do not allow ministers to comment on their previous responsibilities.

I repeat, it is too bad, but most Quebeckers and other Canadians support the Canada option and the Bloc Quebecois is opposed to it. Present polls show that the Bloc Quebecois is mistaken in its criticism.

Option Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister's response is also based on false premises.

Since the federal government could already rely on the services of Operation Unity, which had a budget of almost $12 million at the time, a budget which could easily have been increased if necessary, why did the federal government pay almost $5 million to a phoney organization like Option Canada, unless it needed a front to get around Treasury Board's usual accounting requirements?

Option Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley West
Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we have responded to the criticisms, of the auditor general for instance, by saying that changes will have to be made in future. We then answered the questions asked.

But we also have our own questions. We could also ask the Bloc Quebecois about Plan O, a plan to spend billions of dollars in the event of Quebec's separation. This question should be put to the representatives of Mr. Parizeau in this House.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Whether or not the federal minister likes it, health ministers will hold further talks next week on hepatitis C compensation.

To date the health minister and his cabinet colleagues have closed their eyes to the injustice and inhumanity of not compensating tens of thousands of hepatitis C victims. Canadians are watching. What will the health minister take to next week's talks?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is woefully misinformed. Next Monday, Clay Serby, minister of health for the NDP government in Saskatchewan who this year is the chair of provincial ministers, will co-ordinate a conference call among provincial ministers of health to talk about the membership of the board of directors and other details for the creation of the new blood service.

The ministers of health of the governments of the country, all governments of all political stripes, believe strongly that we have an appropriate and a justified approach to the compensation issue. They are solidly behind this deal. The hon. member should not cruelly raise—

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Halifax.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister can repeat his mantra. He can continue to try to evade his responsibility but it does not change the facts.

Unlike this health minister, some provinces have had the courage to acknowledge that the proposed compensation package does not provide a satisfactory solution for tens of thousands of victims.

Is the minister now prepared to negotiate a new deal? Will he say yes to all victims by bringing more money to the table, or will he continue to say no to fair compensation for all hepatitis C victims?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member is simply wrong. If her reference is to Premier Clark, I assume Premier Clark has by now spoken to his minister of health with whom I spoke yesterday and has been reminded that the British Columbia government was at the table, part of the discussions, part of the agreement, and stands solidly with the rest of the governments of the country behind this agreement.

As to responsibility, we did take responsibility as those responsible in government. We considered a difficult matter. We came to a conclusion as to the appropriate response. We announced that decision and we have explained the principles behind it. That is the responsibility of public officials.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

April 3rd, 1998 / 11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, small private woodlot owners are being penalized by the federal tax code for following environmentally responsible standards.

The national round table on the environment and the economy report tabled last October recommended that private woodlot owners be treated as small business owners. This would require a change to the tax code to allow sound forestry management practices and silviculture expenses to be deductible from their taxes against their income.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. What is the government's response to the round table's recommendation, and when can private woodlot owners expect a change?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for giving me advance notice of the question.

It is my understanding that there is a differential between the odd woodlot owner and a woodlot owner who has a business plan and is actually in the business. Owners under the second category are considered to be in the business of operating the woodlot and would be able to claim silviculture expenses.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his unusually succinct answer.

The national roundtable also recommended that private woodlot owners be provided with the same capital gains tax exemption currently available to farmers. At present if an owner wishes to pass on their woodlot to an heir it is more advantageous to clearcut the woodlot and pay less capital gains tax than manage the woodlot in an environmentally sound manner. The current tax code offers an incentive to prematurely clearcut woodlots rather than use sustainable forestry practices.

When will the government respond to this recommendation?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I guarantee you that if I am given advance notice I can be succinct.

We have again looked at the capital gains tax. The view was that would be a very small part of the solution to the problem of overcutting. We are certainly prepared to sit down with the national roundtable and with the provincial governments and take a look at the overall problem.

The question is simply one of expense versus the cost.