House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was women.

Topics

Grants And Contributions
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard answers from the minister and the government before. They say they cannot comment because there is a police investigation and blah, blah, blah. They keep going on like that but they could at least answer this.

While they were twiddling their thumbs and the police were doing their investigative work, doing the good work they are supposed to, why did the minister not at least ensure that no more money went to people who were already charged with theft and fraud?

Grants And Contributions
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again I would suggest the hon. member is presuming the outcome of an investigation.

Let us be clear. As I said on a number of occasions, the government takes very seriously the investments we make in communities right across the country, but if there is ever any evidence of misuse of Canadian tax dollars we send it to the appropriate authorities for investigation.

Grants And Contributions
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, eventually, in July 2000, Mr. Pépin was actually charged with fraud and theft. He had been investigated all spring.

We could ask ourselves why. Why would the government give another $5 million grant, this time from Industry Canada, to a guy who has been charged with fraud and theft?

The better question is not why. The question is where. Where did it take place? It took place once again in the Prime Minister's riding. Why is it that whenever the Prime Minister's riding is involved, even if someone has been charged with theft and fraud, the money just keeps getting ladled out by the federal government?

Grants And Contributions
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Scarborough Centre
Ontario

Liberal

John Cannis Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member is just not listening. I think the minister not once, not twice, but three times has said repeatedly that with the situation and the position it is in it is inappropriate to answer. Hopefully they are professional enough to understand that.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all know that the government is enjoying huge budget surpluses, including a surplus of over $30 billion in the employment insurance fund, something which the Bloc Quebecois has been condemning for months.

In the context of the World March of Women, is the government prepared to make a formal commitment and follow up on women's claims by ensuring that the surpluses in the employment insurance fund are used only for employment insurance purposes and that women will finally get what they deserve?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, like many of my colleagues I am looking forward to meeting with those who are representing women on this very important march and looking forward to hearing directly from them about their demands.

I would say to the hon. member that he need not look too far for our record in support of Canadian women. First and foremost let us remember that since 1993 the unemployment levels for women working in the Canadian marketplace are the lowest they have been in 25 years.

In addition we have made focused investment, not only using EI money but through the national child benefit that goes directly to low income earners.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I met with the women's delegation. These women did not share the minister's opinion. They condemned the government for being driven by vote-seeking motives with its employment insurance reforms, on the eve of a general election. Two thirds of unemployed women do not qualify for benefits.

I am asking this government and particularly the Minister of Finance, who is about to lower the tax rate on capital gains for the wealthy, the following question: Could they not get moving and take concrete action to meet the needs of women, considering that two thirds of those who are unemployed and who paid premiums are not getting any benefits? There are no words to describe this situation.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, had the Bloc Quebecois leader listened to the minister, he would have heard her list a whole series of measures taken by the government, and the minister in particular, for the benefit of women.

Also, in other areas, including measures to improve employment, support for universities, help for single mothers and so on, the leader of the opposition will know that this government is fully aware of the plight of women.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

October 16th, 2000 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we know 75% of single parents are women, and they taxed federally even though they earn less than $35,000 a year.

As the Bloc Quebecois is advocating and as we know that billions of dollars are accumulating monthly in his coffers, would the Minister of Finance agree to relieve these families of having to pay taxes after his mini budget is tabled?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no need to await the budget or the upcoming economic statement, one needs only look at the February budget to see that we substantially increased help to Canadian families.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the National Council on Welfare, 42% of older women living alone are poor. This is totally immoral when the government is floating in billions of dollars in surplus.

Could the Minister of Finance simply promise right now in the House of Commons to respond to one of the demands of the world march of women and substantially increase old age security benefits? That is easy enough.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the women's cause is one that is very important to this government. This is why a number of ministers, including the Minister of Finance, intend to meet their representatives tomorrow. This will certainly be one of our topics of discussion.

Women's Rights
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, every day Canadian women are paying the price for Liberal choices. More and more women and children are forced to use food banks. More and more go without adequate child care. More and more live in substandard housing.

Yesterday 50,000 women, on behalf of millions across the country, came together and said that is not good enough. When will the government recognize that investing in women and children must take priority over investing in hotels and golf courses?

Women's Rights
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member of the investment that the government has made in support of Canadian women. First and foremost, let us look at the doubling of parental benefits from six months to twelve months.

Second, let us look at the $2.5 billion that will be invested in the Canadian child tax credit which goes directly to low income families, many headed by women.

Let us look at the recent changes to employment insurance where we will not claw back from women who choose to stay home with their children. There are a number of investments specifically directed at Canadian women.

Women's Rights
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadian women are not buying the government line. Women finally got to meet with the Prime Minister yesterday, and do we know what they said? They said it was a waste of time.

Women have been waiting for seven years for the Prime Minister to take them seriously, for the government to take action against poverty and violence. When will the government get beyond the publicity stunts and begin to address the real needs of women?