House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last year, we were quite accurate when we projected what the surplus would be, which was far from being the case for the minister. The top economists said that the surplus would be between $18 billion and $20 billion.

Could it be that the reason the minister does not want to reveal these surpluses is that he knows full well that he took that money from the unemployed and that, under the changes to employment insurance, he will only give them back $300 million at best?

During the election campaign, in the coming days, the minister will talk about compassion, but could he show compassion for the unemployed now while we are sitting in the House and take appropriate action?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I just said that a consensus will be reached based on the projections of the economists. These projections are not yet ready. As soon as they are, we will present them.

That being said, the reason for these surpluses is certainly our economic growth, which is one of the strongest in the world, our job creation, which is the strongest in the world, and the economy in general, which is doing very well in our country.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, with surpluses mushrooming at the rate of $94 million a day since last April, there are persistent rumours that the Minister of Finance will give in to the Bloc Quebecois' repeated requests that he bring down a mini-budget before the next federal election is called.

Will the minister assure us that his mini-budget will include tax cuts to match his huge surpluses, tax cuts aimed at middle and low income earners?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have always said that our priority was to cut personal taxes, with priority going to middle and low income earners.

When it comes time to bring down a budget, I assure members that I will do so here in the House, not in an airplane or bus, as the leader of the Canadian Alliance suggested.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Minister of Finance to be serious.

Last week, when I asked him whether he would be lowering taxes for families earning $35,000 or less, he said it had already been done.

How does he explain the answer he gave last week to those families watching today, families earning $35,000 or less, who are still filing tax returns every year and still paying taxes?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the answer I gave last week is based on our budget, which cut taxes.

The answer I gave last week is entirely true, which is to say that, according to our forecasts, a family earning $35,000 will not pay any net taxes to the federal government.

Health
Oral Question Period

October 4th, 2000 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, prescription drugs are the fastest growing health care cost. Yet the government has still done nothing to address this crisis. Liberals have been promising year after year a national pharmacare plan for seniors, for hard pressed families, but they are still waiting.

Surely the health minister will take the opportunity at the meeting this week in Winnipeg to propose a national pharmacare plan to his health provincial counterparts.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will there be a pharmacare plan in place before the next election?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think we are tabling a bill in the House of Commons either today or tomorrow on the agreement we signed with the provinces which includes all elements of medical services in Canada.

In our discussions with the provinces we discussed not only hospitals but medication too. Part of the agreement we have made with them is that some of the money which will be made available to them, something like $23 billion over the next five years, is to go toward helping the provinces to deal with the problem of pharmaceutical care for citizens within each province.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, there is not the vaguest hint of a national pharmacare plan in the so-called agreement with provincial governments.

Canadians are sick to death of hearing vague talk about a possible discussion, about a future proposal for a pilot project that may or may not take place. They cannot take that to their local pharmacy and get the prescription drugs they need.

What Canadians need is a national pharmacare plan, the one the Prime Minister has been promising for seven straight years. Let me ask again: Will there be a national pharmacare plan in place before the next election?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, after discussions with the three NDP premiers at the conference, they all agreed that the agreement we reached together was the way to cover all the elements of health care in Canada, including pharmacare.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. I welcome his assurance that he intends to give parliament the opportunity to live its full life.

However, in the event that some unforeseen circumstance might arise, I wonder if the Prime Minister can give the House his assurance that the full report of the auditor general will be made public on or before October 17, whether or not he goes to the polls.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the leader of the Conservative Party was.

I will repeat what I said before. On October 17 of this year the House of Commons of Canada will be sitting. I do not give instructions to the auditor general but he will be able to table his report. If he feels there is an urgency, under the law he can decide to table it earlier.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Kings—Hants, NS

For the record, Mr. Speaker, I am treating that as an assurance that the full report of the auditor general will be made available to the public on or before the 17th.

I have a question about the health accord, an accord which we believe cheats the provinces out of $3 million because it is a post-dated cheque. Will the Prime Minister give the House an assurance now that legislation giving effect to the health accord will pass through this parliament before a general election is called?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the bill will be introduced today. If the government proposes it, the opposition can dispose of it. If it wants, we can pass the bill without debate right away: one, two, three and it will be done. It depends on the opposition.

The money will be voted before March 31. I understand that the hon. member is not keen to seek the advice of the Canadian people but the Canadian people have the right to decide what kind of society they want for the years to come.

Human Resources Development
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the latest tabling of the public accounts shows some figures that I think need to be explained by the HRD minister.

It shows that under her watch public money was written off to the tune of $50 million in 1997-98. That jumped incredibly to $280 million in 1998-99. This year it will jump even more, if that can be believed, to $344 million.

I invite the minister to explain why under her watch the write-offs of public money have increased so dramatically.