House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was waste.

Topics

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

December 14th, 2001 / 11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government undermined the role of the Governor General of Canada, one of Canada's institutions. The viceregal household must be above politics and John Ralston Saul broke that rule.

In light of her consort's controversial comments and continued insistence on participating in political debate, will the government advise the Governor General that His Excellency should withdraw completely from his public role?

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister addressed this question yesterday, as did the Prime Minister outside the House. Mr. Saul is a private citizen and is entitled to his own views. His views in no way constitute official government policy or statements of government policy. For that reason we will certainly not accede to or address the hon. member's question.

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, this government forced Jean-Louis Roux to resign as lieutenant governor of Quebec because of controversial activities in his student days, 50 years in the past.

Why is this same government defending His Excellency, when it forced Mr. Roux to resign?

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I already said, Mr. Saul has the right to express his own views, and I think that the situation was clarified by the government.

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister announced the Governor General's appointment he said that the Governor General and her consort would be partners. That is not exactly what we just heard. We heard that this individual is a private citizen.

Which is it? Are they acting as partners, as the Prime Minister said, or is this individual in fact a private citizen?

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that Mr. Saul throughout years of being an author has expressed a number of views, not all of which the hon. member may be comfortable with. The fact is that he has the right to express those views. He is an author. Simply because he now is with the Governor General at Rideau Hall is no reason to tell people that he can no longer pursue his chosen career as an author.

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, on a day when bin Laden's guilt is an accepted fact around the world, His Excellency Mr. Saul contends that western democracies are to blame for the September 11 disaster.

If the government will not demand that the viceregal household desist from making comments like this, will it at least disassociate itself from such insidious remarks?

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said outside the House and the Deputy Prime Minister yesterday said that Mr. Saul's thoughts on various subjects in no way represent an official statement of government policy.

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism. I am wondering if the minister who imagined burning crosses on lawns in my riding knows real bigotry when she sees or hears it.

His Excellency Mr. Saul blames Canada and the west for the events of September 11 and he even blames Christian civilization for the Holocaust. Does the minister condone these bigoted, anti-western and anti-Christian statements?

Literary Works
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it serves debate well to enter into this kind of discussion. The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and I, today, have stated the government's policy on this matter and I think that should be the end of it.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, this session ends today. Unfortunately, we learned in recent days that thousands of seniors who were entitled to the guaranteed income supplement never received it.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. As the holiday season is fast approaching, would it not be nice to show to seniors that the government changed its mind and has decided to apply full retroactivity to those who did not get what they were entitled to?

The government once accepted a $1 billion tax free transfer for a family trust on December 23. This time, why not do something nice for the elderly?

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, one of the most remarkable achievements in Canadian social policy in recent decades has been the substantial reduction in poverty among seniors.

According to Statistics Canada, the incidence of low income among persons aged 65 and over declined from 20.8% in 1980 to 8.2% in 1999.

Without question, that has a lot to do with programs like the guaranteed income support system. From my point of view I think the best thing we can do together is ensure that all citizens know about the guaranteed income supplement, have access to the information and, if they are eligible, receive those benefits.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's figures are small consolation for the 300,000 seniors who are living below the poverty line and who are listening to us. These figures will not put food on their table.

I am asking the government, and more specifically the minister, to show some compassion. I am asking her to follow up on this request and to treat seniors fairly. This is what they expect from their government and this is what the opposition is demanding from the government.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed Canadian seniors expect justice and Canadian seniors appreciate the program of pension structures in place to support them.

The job here is to make sure those benefits that are so important are known to seniors.

I would point out that as a result of the programs we, myself along with my colleague, the minister of revenue, are putting in place, the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens' Organization and St. Christopher House are all agreeing that our strategies are the correct ones and they will help us get the news out to Canadian seniors. I would ask the hon. member to join us in that undertaking.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, many seniors listen to our debates in the House. They do not understand why the Liberal government is refusing, despite what everyone would expect, to apologize to those who were deprived of their due and, worse, why it is refusing to pay them the full retroactive amount they are owed.

The federal government is cross referencing information in order to track down unemployed workers who leave the country or anyone who owes it taxes.

How is it that the government is refusing to do the same in order to track down those seniors—