House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreed.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, after all these years it should be fairly clear that nobody likes Christmas fruitcakes.

We want some clarity now on the finance portfolio. The hon. minister's party does not believe in tax relief. The Prime Minister does not believe in tax relief. Apparently this minister himself does not believe in tax relief or he would not keep raising taxes.

With taxes going up again on January 1, why should Canadians believe for a moment that the minister wants to cut taxes?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, speaking of Christmas fruitcakes, it is a pleasure to respond to the Reform Party. This government brought taxes down in the last budget and in the budget before that.

The basic issue that Canadians want to know is why the Reform Party stands up in the House and pretends that it is in favour of tax cuts when a clear statement in its own election platform, Fresh Start, says that it would not cut taxes before the year 2000.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the draft bill introduced by the government on Friday does not include any objective test. It is up to Ottawa, Ottawa acting as both judge and jury.

Will the Prime Minister recognize that this draft bill is unique and that it is a paradox, since Ottawa will enjoy all the flexibility, while Quebec will have all the constraints?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:20 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, the answer is no.

The draft bill fully respects the rights of the National Assembly, which can ask any question it wants to Quebec voters. However, it is not just any question that can lead to negotiations on secession.

This is what the Supreme Court of Canada said and it only makes sense.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he likes consensus. There is a large consensus against the federal legislation among all democratic groups in Quebec, including all political parties at the National Assembly and the overwhelming majority of Bloc Quebecois, Progressive Conservative and NDP members who represent Quebec in this House. Democrats are opposed to that measure.

The Prime Minister finds himself in a provocative group, with allies such as the Reform Party, Keith Anderson, Bill Johnson, Howard Galdanov and Guy Bertrand. Does the Prime Minister feel comfortable with such allies?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:20 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, we are very comfortable with the vast majority of Quebecers who believe it would be better not to have a referendum. But if there is to be a referendum, then it should be on separation, not on a confusing question, and that it would be totally irresponsible to try to achieve separation with 50% plus one.

This is the view shared by the vast majority of Quebecers and, again, it is consistent with the supreme court opinion.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, one consensus is emerging in Quebec against the government bill, while another is emerging in the rest of Canada in favour of it, just like in 1982 with respect to patriation of the Constitution and in 1999 with respect to adoption of the social union framework, which saw Quebec and the rest of Canada go their separate ways.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, whenever Quebec and Canada differ on an important issue, he sides with the rest of Canada against Quebec?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:20 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, this bill is pro-Quebec. This bill is pro-democracy. This bill guarantees us Quebecers that we will never lose Canada through trickery, that we will be able to remain part of Canada for as long as we wish, because we built this country. It is ours and we will not give it up.

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, by going ahead with this bill, as he means to do, is the Prime Minister admitting that what he is trying to do is give the House of Commons an actual veto over decisions made by the people of Quebec and over the authority of the National Assembly, a veto over Quebec's democracy?

Referendums
Oral Question Period

2:20 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, Quebecers are fortunate to have two governments with constitutional powers, two parliaments with constitutional powers, and Quebec's democracy finds expression here as well. Each member of the House has the constitutional and moral responsibility to look out for the interests of all Canadians, including Quebecers.

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

December 13th, 1999 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, today the National Council of Welfare and UNICEF slammed our Prime Minister for ignoring poor children.

In Canada today 60% of young families are poor; 1.4 million children are living in poverty. That is the legacy of the government. That is the legacy of the Prime Minister, turning his back on poor children.

Is that how the Prime Minister wants to be remembered?

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, historically there is an unwarranted and faulty premise in the hon. member's questions. We have worked actively for poor children. A major example is the national child benefit. We put billions of dollars into it. We will do more. We will continue working for poor children and we will build on the good record we have already achieved.

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government's record is 1.4 million children living in poverty. The government is in denial. The Prime Minister is in denial. He does not believe that child poverty is real. I wish the Prime Minister were half as obsessed with child poverty as he is with his poor performance in the 1995 referendum.

Children are a nation's future. A child growing up in poverty will never have an equal opportunity in life. I implore the government to make the elimination of child poverty its first priority.

What will it take to get the government to do that?

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as was stated clearly in the throne speech, our priority is the elimination of child poverty and the improvement of conditions for all Canadians.

To show how out of touch the hon. member is, instead of standing up and supporting our position on clarity and keeping Canada together, she makes an unwarranted and inaccurate slur on the fine work of the Prime Minister in making sure that the referendum was won by people who want to keep Canada together. Where is she when she has to stand up for Canada in the House? Nowhere.

National Unity
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Will he advise the House whether, prior to Friday's release of the so-called clarity bill, he not only consulted with but sought the opinion of all provincial premiers on the bill and if he has not, will he be convening a first ministers conference prior to putting this matter to a vote in the House?