House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pornography.

Topics

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, appreciating the rules about remarking on attendance, I will be faithful to that and pose my question to the acting Prime Minister.

In terms of knowing with some sense of confidence in which government documents we as Canadians can have confidence, when I asked the Prime Minister yesterday about his commitment to reduce the 1995 excise tax on gasoline he simply said “Never mind that, just refer to the red book”.

I need to know which government documents or which statements can we rely on as being accurate and factual. Is it the red book? Is it the budget? Is it documents from the House? Is it statements the Prime Minister stands up and reads? Since there has been some history of inaccuracy, which statements and which documents can we rely on as being truthful?

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

All of them, Mr. Speaker.

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, then we hold the Prime Minister to his commitment to reduce the 1995 excise tax. Why is that not happening?

We have helped the government remove all the obstacles. It said that there was no provincial co-operation on gas tax. We now have provinces talking about it and one province saying it will match it penny for penny. We have said that it will not be a non-confidence vote. Every area the government raises, we are helping it with the obstacles.

Are there any more obstacles that the Prime Minister would like us to help him with so that we can see this gas tax reduction go to Canadians?

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition could help the government by understanding the work the government is doing to deal with this issue and give the government its support. It is not doing that. It should do that and it is about time.

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have been doing a lot of work clearing the way for this. There seems to continue to be obstacles although the government will not name them.

The finance minister was decent some time ago in terms of apologizing for not reducing or eliminating the GST. I wonder if the Prime Minister would be willing to make an apology at least to Canadians. If we do not get the money back can our hearts be somewhat comforted with an apology from him for not doing something about the 1995 commitment relating to the excise tax on gas?

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when will the Leader of the Opposition apologize for sitting in the Alberta legislature as minister of finance for nine years and not doing anything to remove the increases in gasoline taxes in that province which came into effect before he was minister of finance. He could have dealt with that when he was minister of finance but did not. Where is that apology?

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think he did quite a few things in terms of lowering taxes in Alberta.

Let me read from the minister's 1995 budget. It said “Federal excise tax on gasoline will be increased to help reduce the deficit”. The deficit is gone but the tax is not.

It is not just low income Canadians who are worried about this fuel crisis and who are in the midst of it. All Canadians are worried about heating their homes this winter and putting gas in their vehicles.

Is it not time that the gas tax being lowered would be one promise that the government should keep?

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to helping Canadians, including homeowners, the best thing the government can do is to have the amendment proposed by the member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge included in the debate and in the record in terms of the motion that was proposed by the opposition party yesterday.

The Alliance proposal to us does not do anything to help homeowners, truck drivers or the public at large.

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure as a member of the government he would be happy to bring that legislation in any time under government orders. We would be happy to deal with it.

I said that it was not just low income Canadians who are worried about this. Canadians of all brackets and all walks of life have vehicles that need gas and homes that need heat this winter.

I find it interesting that the government all of a sudden says that it has to consult with the provinces. It sure did not consult with them when it jacked up the tax. I do not know why it is so worried about consulting them now. No one will ever buy that argument. The Canadian public sees right through it.

If the Liberals could get their nominations through in holy haste, surely to heaven they could lower this tax about that fast as well.

Fuel Taxes
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we challenge the official opposition to accept on the spot, because it can do it, the amendment to its motion proposed by the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge. This would ensure that the relief got through to Canadians and was not just gobbled up by the oil companies.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are, within the Liberal cabinet, significant differences of opinion on the rules governing access to employment insurance. Everyone knows this, it is an open secret.

Does the minister intend to support the position taken by the Prime Minister, on the eve of an election, of making the changes necessary in the field of employment insurance?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House are all of one mind. We are here to help Canadians who do not have the benefit of work to find work.

As I have said on a number of occasions in the House, as part of the 1996 amendments there is an annual review of the Employment Insurance Act to see if the changes are doing what they are supposed to do. If there is evidence that changes need to be made, we will make them.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the minister finally be brave enough to listen to public opinion and announce significant changes to the employment insurance plan established by this government, which affects women, young people and seasonal workers especially.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is incumbent on the government to ensure that its programs are efficient. As I have said on a number of occasions, we continue to look at the impact of the employment insurance legislation and, if changes need to be made, we will make them.

I want to remind the hon. member that we are having this debate in the context of making sure that Canadians have the opportunity to work. In that regard, I am very proud of our record. Since taking office in 1993, the level of unemployment has been reduced significantly. That is something we should all be supportive of.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people who made the greatest contribution to eliminating the deficit are the very people denied their fair share of the fruits of the economic recovery. Cabinet bickering is denying justice to seasonal workers, women and young people.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development drop this pointless bickering, assume her responsibilities and announce the specific measures that these workers and unemployed individuals have been awaiting for all too long?