House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

But there is more. Let us see if they are going to applaud.

The provincial program will come into effect on January 1, 2002. This means there a year and a half left to negotiate.

Will the Prime Minister do the right thing, will he think about the future and negotiate?

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing to negotiate. We have a program that will be implemented and that will benefit Quebecers who want to avail themselves of that option. Instead of a 6 month period, they will receive money from the federal government during 12 months.

The provincial government can complement the federal program if it so wishes. That happened in the past with family allowances. There were family allowances from the federal government and the Quebec government of the day added provincial family allowances. It can do exactly the same thing with parental leave.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister obviously does not understand the whole situation, the modern reality of young families. Even The Montreal Gazette agrees with the Quebec government, something which rarely happens.

I am asking the Prime Minister to not look at the past, to not remain frozen in the past. Let historians deal with the past. Will the Prime Minister think about the future, about young families and sit down to negotiate in good faith, as he must, under his own legislation? Will he think about young families, not his own personal interests and those of his party? That is all we ask of him.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a few years ago, we undertook negotiations on this issue with the Quebec government. Its officials left the negotiating table, so we acted accordingly.

The federal program is in effect. The money is collected by the federal government across the country and is distributed in the same fashion in all the provinces.

If the Quebec government wants to add on to our program, fine. Nothing prevents it from doing so. Families will then receive money from the federal government and whatever amount the provincial government is prepared to give them.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government's parental support program is far less advantageous that that proposed by the Government of Quebec. Ottawa's comes from the employment insurance program, and is therefore funded by the contributions of employers and employees.

Why is the Prime Minister, stubborn as he is, acting as if this were his own money, when it is the money of young families?

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the EI fund is contributed to by all workers and all employers in Canada.

As I said earlier, it is my understanding that the provincial program they want to put into place requires more contributions by employers and employees. That is up to them.

We have our program, and if they want one that is more specific, they can add very easily onto what we are already doing. The families of Quebec will be very nicely covered, with both the money from the federal government and the money from the provincial government. We are going to respect the jurisdictions of both.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, privately, the Prime Minister's own colleagues are telling us that they are interested in seeing the federal program brought in line with the Quebec one, when it is in place.

Could the Prime Minister commit to agreeing to negotiate with Quebec and could he state here in this House that the federal government will agree to join with the Quebec program, once it is in place, as his colleagues and certain of his ministers would like him to?

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a program in place. Let them join with ours, and improve it. They are welcome to do so.

They have our permission. There is no problem. We each have our own jurisdiction. If they feel our program is not satisfactory, then let them adjust it. They are responsible for social programs in Quebec, just as other provinces are responsible for theirs.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

June 15th, 2000 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

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

It is clear that, for this government, money comes before people and profits come before quality of life.

Yesterday, we had proof of this again. The Minister for International Trade stated in committee that trade agreements had nothing to do with human rights.

Does the Prime Minister agree with his minister's surprising remarks?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the minister said and what we are saying is that programs and economic and trade problems must be negotiated in this context.

There are other forums for the other issues. We firmly believe that if we have trade relations with other countries whose systems are not as good as ours, we are in a better position to influence them than if we were to completely isolate them . This is the case with many countries.

We always refer to human rights, but we try to create jobs for them and for us.

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, whether it is labour, environment or human rights, the government is all for it as long as there is no teeth and no enforcement. Listen to what the trade minister said:

Can we deprive countries of South America of one of their assets which is cheap labour?

Cheap labour is not an asset. It is deprivation. It is exploitation. It is human misery. Such conditions should not be applauded; they should be condemned.

Will the Prime Minister agree that labour, the environment and human rights must be essential elements in any trade deal involving Canada?

Human Rights
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Speller Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the hon. member and all Canadians that the Government of Canada takes this issue very seriously.

Our goal is to ensure there is a coherent approach with the ILO on labour, with UNEP on the environment, with the IMF and the World Bank. We want to get these groups all talking together to ensure that these issues are in the forefront of the international agenda.

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, increasingly the spectre of a legal battle between Quebec City and Ottawa on the question of parental leave is raising its head. It is not up to the judiciary to decide whether the federal system is working well, but rather the electorate.

Could the Prime Minister of Canada not follow the example set by his Minister of Finance, who agreed with his provincial counterpart and found a common ground they could agree upon, or should we quickly replace the Prime Minister with his Minister of Finance?

Parental Leave
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we gave Quebec the opportunity to negotiate a number of years back. They left the table. We have a federal program that applies to all Canadians. I think the people in Quebec are happy to have a federal government that looks after their social problems.

Oddly enough, when the federal government wants to do something, what does the Government of Quebec want? It wants the money from the federal government so it can distribute it. I think that the electors are better served when they know that their money is distributed by the government that collected it.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the specifications for replacement of the Sea King helicopters were signed off two months ago by DND and then sent to the Minister of National Defence, who I understand has also signed off and forwarded them to the Prime Minister's office.

Would the Prime Minister inform the House today what is holding up the final approval of these specs? Is it because the Prime Minister does not want to have the Cormorant as part of the tender process?