House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, with the provincial health ministers meeting with our federal minister, the provinces want one question answered, and that is, why in priorities would this government spend more on cash for grants and contributions than it spends on cash for health care? Why would it do that?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is really off base. Last year we put $11.5 billion into health care; in this year's budget, $2.5 billion. There are billions and billions of dollars of equalization and adjustments under the cap on CAP to resolve that problem.

The hon. member is really off base in what he is saying. We are putting very substantial funding into the health care system through the provinces, but then why do provinces like Ontario not spend the money on health care when we give it to them?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me quote from an unbiased health care activist: “The total transfers, cash and tax points together, are still less in real terms per capita than seven years ago when this government took office”.

Who was that? The Deputy Prime Minister's wife.

Why do they not tell—

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I am not sure what the administrative responsibility is. The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has proven that he and his party are not even in the 20th century. They are back in the 19th century. Spouses are not extensions of their spouses. They have independent careers, and if my wife is speaking on behalf of the Health Care Association, then that is something she is doing on behalf of her organization. We should be willing to accept that in the 21st century.

The hon. member ought to go off to sensitivity training before he gets to his feet—

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, a ship called the Wan Lay is on its way from Japan to the port of Vancouver. It is carrying 90 tonnes of toxic military waste containing PCBs and they are bound eventually for northern Ontario.

This waste is from an American military base in Japan, but the Americans will not touch it in the United States because it is too toxic. The Government of Ontario has made it clear that it does not want it in its province either.

Will the Minister of the Environment intervene to stop this shipment of toxic waste from being unloaded at the port of Vancouver?

Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Ontario, as the member correctly points out, yesterday indicated that it would not accept this waste in Ontario. We were in touch, in fact previous to that, with the United States department of defence. It will be approximately a week before this vessel gets near the west coast. We expect to have this matter dealt with in conjunction with the United States by that time.

I can assure the hon. member that if the level of contaminants in the shipment is above Canadian regulations we will not accept it in Canada and it would then have to be returned to Japan.

Environment
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear that, but let me ask a more general question. Canadians want to know why they are in the business of cleaning up after the cold war: first plutonium from old nuclear warheads and now toxic waste from U.S. military bases overseas. Our environmental laws actually make it possible for companies to set up shop here when it is illegal for them to do so in the United States.

Will the minister commit to improving Canada's environmental laws to end this disturbing trend toward turning us into the world's toxic waste dump?

Environment
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is perhaps unaware that we have altered the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which was brought into force in 1992. We had a review of it, which took many years. We now have the revised act coming into effect, which will improve substantially on the previous regime of the last century. I look forward to being able to deal with shipments such as this effectively under the new legislation.

Health
Oral Question Period

March 30th, 2000 / 2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister expressed disappointment in the lack of questions in the last number of weeks concerning his budget, but he was not as disappointed as Canadians were in his budget. The $2.5 billion dedicated to health care in this country will keep our system running an average of three days in each province.

Is that the best the government can do after seven years, keep our system running for a mere three days?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, as the Deputy Prime Minister said, in last year's budget we devoted $11.5 billion in transfers to the provinces. In the last budget we devoted another $2.5 billion. That is a 25% increase over two years.

In addition to that, we said that we wanted the provinces to sit down with us. If we can work out a way to save the principles of medicare, then there will be more money on the table.

Canadians do not want provincial and federal governments bickering. They want quality health care for Canadians.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, we all realize that we want quality health care for Canadians. The health ministers and the premiers recognize that. But the government is escaping the responsibility that was given to it seven years ago. It has taken government members seven years to realize that there is a problem and there is still finger pointing, name calling and blaming someone else other than themselves.

I remind the minister that his government has taken $30 billion out of the system. They selectively remember what they want to remember. The fact is, they have taken so much money out of the system that they have buried the health care system. They killed it. We want it fixed.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member that our transfers in the CHST to the provinces are now at the level of $31 billion, the highest ever. In addition, we are transferring the highest amount of equalization ever, which is close to $10 billion. That is over $40 billion. When we consider that the total amount spent by the provinces on health care is around $56 billion, it is not an unsubstantial amount.

As I said before, working in harmony and co-operation with the provinces we are prepared to do more.