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 nuclear.

Topics

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am kind of surprised that my hon. colleague would be discussing misrepresentation. The fact of the matter is, as I have said many times, there is a proper process to take if he has a complaint against the RCMP. He knows that is the process to take.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

December 14th, 2001 / 11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, a coalition of people who support the introduction of a new parental leave system is meeting today with the government of Quebec. They want the two governments to agree to the introduction of a new program, but right now Ottawa is refusing to co-operate.

Since the Employment Insurance Act allows the federal government to transfer money to provinces which set up an equivalent or superior program, how can the Minister of Human Resources Development explain her refusal to co-operate in the introduction of a new program for Quebec?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we are very proud of the fact that we have been able to double parental benefits to ensure that all Canadians, including those living in the province of Quebec, now have the choice to stay at home with their newborns or their newly adopted children for up to a year.

As I have always said, if the government of Quebec, wishes to add to that important addition in the employment insurance system, it is welcome to do so.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government's program is limited to those receiving employment insurance benefits, which excludes many families.

Quebec wants to introduce a program that would cover all families, including self-employed workers. Furthermore, the EI fund is full to overflowing.

If the government truly has the interests of families at heart, why will it not support the new parental leave program the government of Quebec wants to set up?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, another important aspect of the expansion of the benefits the government has provided is the fact that we have done it without increasing costs. As the Minister of Finance has said, in every year for the last eight years we have been able to reduce employment insurance premiums.

Again, if the government of Quebec chooses to add to that very strong base, it is welcome to do so.

Middle East
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, just last week, the European Union formally called upon Yasser Arafat for “the dismantling of Hamas' and Islamic Jihad's terrorist networks, including the arrest and prosecution of all suspects” , and asked him to give a public appeal in Arabic for an end to the armed intifada. Arafat has not done this but the Prime Minister is calling on Israel to negotiate with him.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs agree that before Yasser Arafat can be a credible spokesperson, he must eliminate Hamas and Jihad and unequivocally call for an end to--

Middle East
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Middle East
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, not only our government but the United States has indicated that Mr. Arafat is the spokesperson for the Palestinian people and the head of the Palestinian authority.

That is in no way inconsistent with our agreeing with the call that was referenced by the European Union, which has been very consistent with the insistence that we have had with Mr. Arafat; that he must arrest those people who are responsible for the terrorist attacks. He must use the authority he has to rein in the terrorists. He cannot expect a better result in the Middle East until he does so.

Middle East
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. position is clear but Canada's is inconsistent, and it cannot afford to be on an issue as sensitive as this.

Just yesterday the Prime Minister urged Israel to re-establish ties with Yasser Arafat, even though he has refused to take the steps the European Union has asked. The foreign affairs minister said that he understood very well Israel's decision to try to protect itself.

Who is speaking for the government on this? These are two very different opinions.

Middle East
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that this is a difficult area for people who perhaps are not that familiar with it but they are not contradictory points of view. There is no other person who can be an interlocutor on behalf of the Palestinian people other than Mr. Arafat and the Palestinian authority.

If co-operation is to be resumed, not just at the negotiating table but in the whole range of activities, including enforcing security arrangements, it has to be between the Israeli government and the Palestinian authority. There is no other way. In that respect, not only does our Prime Minister say so, but so do the Europeans and the Americans.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, to our great astonishment, the Minister of Finance stated that the health transfers to the provinces had been increased. The minister's statement is surprising because we know that all of the figures indicate the opposite.

How can the minister be so cynical and make such comments, when we know that the current levels of health transfers are below what they were in 1994-95?

Given the circumstances, how can the minister say that there has been an increase?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I can quote the figures: there was a $2.8 billion increase this year; it will be greater than $3 billion next year and greater than $4 billion the following year.

These are increases, following the historic agreement between the Prime Minister of Canada and the provincial premiers, of $23 billion.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has added to this cynicism by asserting that employment insurance benefits were increased when in fact the benefits are lower and the criteria more restrictive.

How can he make such an offensive statement when we know that it is harder than ever for young people and women to qualify for employment insurance and that benefit periods have never been so short and so meagre?

Given the context, how can he claim that they have increased?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, once again, all the member needs to do is look at last year's results.

Not only were there improvements in benefits for the unemployed, but there is also parental leave.

The problem is that there was a marked increase in benefits but the Bloc Quebecois voted against it.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance hides behind a bogus claim that he consulted Canadians when preparing his budget through the finance committee. It turns out that he ignored or contradicted virtually every major recommendation of the finance committee like its sensible proposals to: reallocate spending from low to high priority areas; hold program spending growth to 3% as opposed to his 10%; eliminate the capital tax; and use the contingency reserve to pay down the debt.

Why did the finance minister trash the advice of the finance committee and of Canadians along with his reputation for fiscal responsibility in this budget?