House of Commons Hansard #178 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Question Period

February 10th, 1999 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the reality in this country is that the government has hiked taxes 37 times. Even after the budget next week with a $2 billion proposed tax cut, taxes are still the biggest component in any family's budget load.

Why is the government continuing to tax Canadians more and giving them less in services?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we have continuously cut taxes. We made major tax cuts in the last budget, $7 billion over three years. The minister has indicated that our forthcoming budget will have tax cuts as well.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister talked about 400,000 taxpayers being eliminated from the tax rolls. We do not want to hear about the people who have moved out of the country or have died. We are talking about the 14 million people who have to stay here and pay these exorbitant taxes. The reality of living in Canada is that we are paying more and getting less.

What we would like to know is why can the government not understand that people want the government to cut taxes, not health care.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I think we have to know where the Reform Party is coming from. This is the party that over the three years in its prebudget submission proposed $54 billion of new fiscal measures.

What has it done? It is predicting there will be growth in our economy for each of those years of 5.5%. It is absolutely no wonder that it wants to unite with the Tory party which has won the governor general's prize for fiction for its budgets.

Aboriginal Living Off Reserve
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

In October 1998, the federal government announced that the labour force agreements signed with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and the Native Women's Association were expiring. These two groups represent an off-reserve aboriginal population of more than 800,000, who will now be excluded from the training program.

How can the Minister of Human Resources Development justify the fact that he has yet to meet with officials of these two organizations to discuss renewing and restoring funding to these programs in the next federal budget?

Aboriginal Living Off Reserve
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the responsibility for labour and manpower issues, we have signed a new agreement with the Government of Quebec.

The Canadian government does not have sole jurisdiction over aboriginals living off reserve. That concerns us. I have met with a number of aboriginal leaders and it is extremely important that we make sure the best possible services are provided to these aboriginal people living off reserve, so that they can join the labour force.

It is one of our concerns, but we do not hold all the cards. The Quebec government has been holding some of them since this historic agreement was signed.

Year 2000
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

There are fewer than 215 working days until the year 2000. I know the minister has given us his assurance in the House regarding the government's preparedness for the Y2K on the operability of the government's computer systems, but what concrete third party proof can he give the House that the government's payment systems will be fully operable when the clock strikes January 1, 2000?

Year 2000
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the international group, the Gardner Group, is universally known and has been assessing the various countries. It has for the last few months repeatedly been saying that Canada is now the second country in the world, behind the United States, in terms of preparedness.

Also for January we now have the latest report for the level of preparedness of departments for their government-wide mission critical systems and the departments are on average at 84% of preparedness. They give us assurances that they will be ready for the year 2000.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary keeps telling us the government has cut taxes. Has he heard anything about the CPP $10 billion tax increase he stood up and voted for? Does he know about the impact of bracket creep which every year takes a billion additional dollars out of the pockets of hardworking Canadian taxpayers?

How can the minister stand in his place and tell us he has cut taxes when in fact as we speak the government is raising taxes on Canadians through bracket creep and the CPP?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I could not be prouder of the measures our government took in concert with the provinces in order to ensure the continuity and ongoing viability of the Canada pension plan.

I look at the Reform Party proposal to hold the line on all existing programs, including seniors pensions. As if there are not going to be more and more seniors in Canada who require more and more support over the next three years. I would not be cutting seniors pensions the way the Reform Party is. We have preserved them.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party would take every low income senior off the tax rolls who should not be paying taxes today but is because of bracket creep. We would take every low income Canadian off the tax rolls who should not be paying taxes but is because of bracket creep.

How can the minister continue to stand in his place and justify a tax system which taxes people without their even knowing it through this pernicious tax grab called bracket creep?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we have continuously reduced taxes and we have said there will be more forthcoming.

In terms of the $54 billion in new tax measures that the Reform Party has proposed for the next three years, it has not come clean on exactly which programs it would cut. This is irresponsibility of the worst order, but unfortunately that is what we have come to expect from the Reform Party.

Devco
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Mancini Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, it has been over 10 days since the Minister of Natural Resources made his drive-by announcement killing over 1,100 jobs in Cape Breton.

Today a delegation of labour leaders, representatives of Devco workers, is meeting with representatives of all parties with a simple question for the minister: Why did he reject their reasonable proposal for the future of Devco given that the corporation had previously approved the plan?

Will the minister now agree to have the union proposal reviewed and costed by an unbiased third party in consultation with the union?

Devco
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the union proposition was put to me informally when I met with the union on January 11. I was provided with a written description of what it had in mind.

I subsequently had that proposal very carefully analysed. The information revealed that under any of the various scenarios, which I am sure were put forward with the best of intentions, but under any of the various scenarios proposed by the unions, Devco unfortunately would continue to be a losing proposition because the arrangement was simply not economical.

Devco
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill Bras D'Or, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. The government's recent announcement regarding Devco is devastating the Cape Breton economy as we speak. In 10 days real estate is down 20%. It also leaves hundreds of workers with 25 years and more of service ineligible for pensions.

To restore at least some trust, will the minister tell union leaders in Ottawa today that he will agree to set up a labour-management committee to deal with this crisis?