House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was moved.

Topics

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I had presumed that the hon. Leader of the Opposition had finished his question because I could not hear it. We deserve to hear both the question and the answer in question period.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think I can answer the hon. member. We did not just make promises, we have begun to cut taxes.

Everyone knows that the program we put forward will cut personal income taxes of the people of Canada in the next few years by an average of 23%. For example, people with two children earning $60,000 a year will have their income tax cut by 35.6%. This is what the government is doing, we are reducing taxes. At the same time, we are reducing the debt and we have invested a lot in health care. I see the Minister of Health smiling, he was very happy to—

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's budget surpluses were predictable. If nothing is done, this money will be invested according to the whim of the Minister of Finance without any discussion or his making his intentions known.

Does the Prime Minister not see a need for his government to present a mini budget in order to deal with emergencies such as employment insurance, the price of gasoline and especially reductions in income tax?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a tax reduction program. The Minister of Finance has said himself that the additional resources we have received will enable him, at the appropriate time, to lower taxes more quickly than expected. This is good management. Fortunately, we had revenues higher than we expected, because the economy is doing much better than foreseen, and everyone should be pleased at this, including the leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that we said last year there would be $11.5 billion in surpluses, and the Minister of Finance was expecting $3 billion. I am convinced that he knew as well as we did. The problem is that he does not want this debate. The government is making promises without substance.

Does the Prime Minister not see the need for a mini budget so that we have more than just election promises with no guarantee that they will be kept when the time comes?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since July there have been reductions in taxes that will total $4 billion over the year and that will benefit taxpayers. Perhaps we could speed up the process even more.

Exactly two weeks ago, we decided to inject $21 billion over five years, that is, more than $4 billion annually, into health services in Canada. The hon. members were totally in agreement. That means that, of the $12 billion announced, $8 billion has been already allocated. That is two thirds.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should look at the next five years, not the past year. The forecasts of his Minister of Finance apply to the next five years.

In the first four months of the current fiscal year, the federal government has accumulated an $11 billion surplus, compared to last year. By the end of the year, the surplus will exceed $21 billion, while the Minister of Finance anticipated a $4 billion surplus.

Does the Prime Minister realize that if a mini budget is not tabled in the coming days regarding the allocation of these new surpluses, the Minister of Finance will do as he did in previous years and will allocate all the unexpected surpluses, the hidden surpluses, to debt reduction, without any debate on current major and urgent social issues?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that, under the law, when there is a budget surplus at the end of a year, that surplus is used to lower the country's debt.

The hon. member should be pleased that a government which faced a $42 billion deficit when it took office was able, over the past three years, to pay more than $20 billion off the national debt. That had not happened in 50 years.

The hon. member should be pleased, because future generations will benefit from this reduction of the national debt. He should congratulate the government.

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, a government that forces people to take to the streets to fight for their rights because of the drastic cuts made to their employment insurance benefits does not deserve any congratulations.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, in the coming months, any surplus that was not anticipated by the Minister of Finance in the last budget will be allocated to the debt, even though there are urgent needs relating to unemployment, gasoline prices and excess taxes? The money that the Minister of Finance has in his pockets is money that is no longer in the taxpayers' pockets.

Will the Prime Minister ask that a mini budget be tabled by his Minister of Finance, who keeps hiding the real figures from us?

Budget Surpluses
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance always presents an economic report to the House of Commons in the fall. This report presents the situation at the half way point during the year. The minister will make such a presentation again this year.

Things are going well, but I should point out to the hon. member that, for example, we allocated substantial amounts of money for health, even for the current year. Right now, all the provincial governments can buy equipment which they would not have been able to buy if an agreement had not been reached two weeks ago.

We co-operate with everyone to invest in health, to reduce taxes and also to provide a very good administration.

Health
Oral Question Period

September 25th, 2000 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

Today, we learned that certain pediatricians in Montreal are charging up to $60 a shot for standard vaccines that protect our children against the usual childhood diseases.

What does the minister have to say about this troubling state of affairs? Will he tell us what he is going to do to put a stop to this practice?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I intend to raise this matter with Quebec's health minister.

I have asked my officials to investigate to ensure that the principles of the Canada Health Act are being respected everywhere at all times.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, last spring the health minister said with respect to queue jumping and user fees for operation rooms in Montreal “We're looking into it”. With respect to queue jumping and user fees for cataract surgery in Calgary he said “We're looking into it”. Now we learn that privatization has taken another step forward, this time targeting our kids.

Where is the government? How many families will have to pay $500 for their kids' vaccinations before the government is willing to take action?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, less than two weeks ago, on September 11, the premier of Quebec joined with all other premiers and the Prime Minister to reaffirm their confidence in the Canada Health Act and their adherence to the principles in the Canada Health Act. I have every confidence that the minister of health of Quebec will work with this government to ensure that in the case cited by the hon. member those principles will be respected.

I have always believed and I believe today that the best answer for those who would want access to private parallel health services is to reinforce the public system so there is no market for private services. That is what we are doing.