House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Canada Elections Act
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I totally reject that accusation against the people who serve the democratic process in Canada as electoral officers. They are appointed. They are qualified people. The same process that is used at the federal level is also used in six provinces.

The Lortie commission, the royal commission on elections, recommended not to change the system from what it is now. Finally, the Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario said we would have to double the size of the bureaucracy in order to do what the hon. member is suggesting.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am looking in the Vocabulary of Parliament at a number of definitions that help us to a clearer understanding of the terms used in the House of Commons.

Under the heading of absolute majority, clear majority or clear-cut majority, is the following definition “more than half the votes or seats”.

I ask the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, is that clear enough?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, a clear majority is a majority greater than 50% plus one. If 50% plus one is not a clear majority, then what would an unclear majority be?

A good bit more than 50% plus one is needed to break up a country. A good bit more than 50% plus one is needed to move ahead toward the irreversible act of breaking apart a country, a decision from which there would be no turning back.

Yet the Bloc Quebecois claims that it wants to plunge Quebec into such a situation. That is totally irresponsible. At some point, there is a need to be a bit reasonable.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, because of the EI reforms brought in by this Liberal government and the Progressive Conservative government before it, only 30% of unemployed women are receiving EI benefits, compared to 70% in 1989.

A Statistics Canada study shows that EI cuts are the leading reason for the increase in poverty among families with children.

Is the Minister of Human Resources Development prepared to admit that, by reducing the eligibility of unemployed parents for EI benefits, she is increasing child poverty?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have already responded to the way in which we are looking at this data.

I remind the House that although the hon. member opposite would have us believe that women are not making gains in the labour force, in fact, the opposite is true. The unemployment rate of 5.8% for adult women is the lowest in almost 25 years. Since we were elected in 1993, over 800,000 jobs have been created for women. Women's employment has grown faster than men's in each of the last four decades.

Without question the hon. member has said that the most important social program for a family is a job. We are working to ensure that women have them.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is refusing to talk about the downside of the referendum. So through you, Mr. Speaker, I will put the question to the Minister of Finance.

Can the Minister of Finance, who has spoken about the downside of the referendum, tell us what impact the debate launched by the federal Liberal government is having on the financial, social and economic well-being of Canada?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, is there a downside to the referendum? Absolutely.

And we have experienced it in Quebec. Quebec's business community, those working in Quebec, have seen it for years, ever since the Péquistes took office.

When we look at the political uncertainty and see the impact on business and job creation, when we look at the social problems in Quebec resulting from the uncertainty surrounding the referendum, it is very clear that there is a downside, and that is why Canada will never break up.

Post-Secondary Education
Oral Question Period

November 25th, 1999 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last month the federal government announced the launch of Can-Learn Inter-Active. Can the Minister of Human Resources Development explain why Canadians need another Internet site? How is this new site different from the existing sites already offering information on learning?

Post-Secondary Education
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago I was very pleased along with several of our partners, including the Canadian students association, the provincial and territorial ministers of education and the private sector, to launch the Can-Learn site.

This is a unique site that allows interactive tools such as a student financial planner, a scholarship search and a tuition fees data bank to be available to those who are looking for information on post-secondary education. I encourage all Canadians who are interested in this to look it up.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of two guests today: the hon. Pat Atkinson, Minister of Health of Saskatchewan and the hon. Helmut Giesbrecht, Minister responsible for the Public Service for the province of British Columbia.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Business Of The House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if this is fair or not. I get one question every three weeks and the government House leader has had three today alone.

I might as well proceed with a short question for the government House leader and ask him if he would mind telling us in the House the nature and the type of legislation that we will see for the remainder of this week and what legislation we will see for next week. Perhaps he will also tell us when the House will recess for winter break.

Business Of The House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could answer the last question first. Hopefully, soon. In any case, the tentative date is Friday, December 17. House leaders do negotiate from time to time on such issues.

Getting back to the business at hand for the next few days, this afternoon we shall continue debate on the health institution bill, Bill C-13.

Tomorrow we will consider the tourism bill, Bill C-5, possibly followed by a resumption of the consideration of Bill C-11, the Devco bill. I intend to consult House leaders on this item a little later.

For Monday, the first item to be taken up, if necessary, will be Bill C-13. This will subsequently be followed by the Canada Labour Code amendments, Bill C-12.

Tuesday shall be an allotted day.

On Wednesday, I expect that the House will be able to turn once again to Bill C-9, the Nisga'a legislation at report stage.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, during question period today, I raised an issue with the Minister of Industry with respect to gas pricing and the Competition Act. The parliamentary secretary who responded made reference to the absence of a member during committee this morning.

I was at two committees this morning. That was not one of the three, but I did attend two. I am wondering if it is in order to comment on the presence or absence of a member in committee.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I thought about that when it came up, but I felt it was outside the House. Until I hear something in committee about it, I should perhaps advise the hon. member to bring it up in committee. If the chairman wants to bring it to the House in a report, I will look at it then.

In the meantime, I prefer that we do not comment on the absence or presence of any member. We will let that sit right there.