House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Terrorism
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend the entire world learned of the horror visited upon innocent Israeli civilians by suicide bombers. Over 20 youths were killed and some 200 others were injured.

These acts of terror must cease. The deliberate targeting of civilians, whether they are Israelis, Americans or citizens of any other country, can only be qualified as an act of terror. The fact that they are carried out in the name of Palestinians' right to a free, autonomous state can in no way justify or even explain the use of terror against Israeli citizens.

Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian authority must now work resolutely to bring these terrorists to justice.

The Palestinian authority and other countries in the Middle East that have allowed these terrorist groups to spread their hatred of Israel must stop supporting this hateful cause.

Canadians deplore these acts of terror. I would offer my profound condolences to the families—

Terrorism
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if Canadians have been wondering why the armed forces budget has been cut so much over the last few years, the answer was given to us today by the auditor general. In her report, she states of the minister's national defence policy that:

--management decided to reduce the readiness level of Canadian Forces... because...the international situation no longer warranted high levels of readiness.

If ever there was a case of ministerial irresponsibility, it is here.

The report also says that pre-September 11, $1.3 billion was needed to help the armed forces.

Since the Prime Minister is writing the budget, will he write in at least $2 billion on the line for the armed forces?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there will be a budget in less than a week from now, so we have to wait.

It is always very interesting that when we come to the House of Commons, there is not one day when the Alliance Party does not ask for spending of $1 billion or $2 billion or $3 billion. It is very interesting.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general's report also shows clearly that the fiscal capacity is there, but there is a big if for this. The if has to be that the Liberals have to be willing to move from wasteful spending and low priority spending to high priority spending. The auditor general lists hundreds of millions of dollars of waste.

Does the Prime Minister have the will, and will we see it, to move from low priority, wasteful spending to high priority spending? It can be done within the capacity of the budget. We need to see $2 billion. Will he write it in? He is writing the budget. Will he write that in?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, from 1993 we cut a lot of spending in the government, more than any other government. When we formed the government in the year of 1993-94, the spending by the previous administration, excluding payments on interest, was $121 billion. We reduced it to $101 billion.

There is not one day that the opposition is not asking us to spend more money on health care, more money on defence, more money on everything. Of course we do not because we are very responsible.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

December 4th, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister cut more than other governments and he cut it in health care to the provinces.

In Halifax yesterday the Prime Minister said that he did not support acts of terrorism, but we cannot get him or the government to come out very clearly against Yasser Arafat, asking Mr. Arafat to denounce all terrorism, including from his own Al-Fatah organization, to come out very clearly to stand shoulder to shoulder beside Israel and say that we will support whatever actions it takes to defend itself. Will he say that clearly?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I deplore it, and I said right after the incident on Saturday that these acts of terrorism by those who committed suicide are completely unacceptable. Of course Israel at the time had the right to respond to that kind of attack. That is what we always say. That is what we repeat all the time.

The escalation in violence will not result in a solution to the problem. They were very close to a solution a year ago. They should go back and try to resolve the problems that are left. More violence will not result in a peace process acceptable in the area.

Heating Fuel Rebate
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general said today that the heating fuel rebate that was announced two days before the last election was a fiscal boondoggle. We all know it was a blatant vote getting exercise.

It was announced two days before the last election, but today we found out how much we lost: $500 million dollars was sent to people who did not need it, including high income people.

Will the finance minister apologize for wasting 500 million tax dollars on this blatant, vote getting exercise?

Heating Fuel Rebate
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, when we instituted this program we put in place two criteria. First, it had to be targeted to low and modest income Canadians who were going to need it the most, and second, it had to be timely. There was no point in people getting a cheque in July when their heating costs had spiked so high in January. That is why we chose the most cost effective program for doing this, one which had the best chance of delivering that help and that relief to low and modest income Canadians.

Heating Fuel Rebate
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, if it was targeted for low income people the target was missed by a mile. Ninety thousand middle and high income people got the cheques, $500 million worth, but many low income Canadians did not get anything, including aboriginal people. Some 1,600 prisoners, 7,500 dead people and 4,000 people not even living in Canada got these cheques.

Does the finance minister believe that paying out money to prisoners and dead people is a good way to spend tax dollars?

Heating Fuel Rebate
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, first, the question dealing with prisoners was corrected last July. Let me admit this: anomalies have been identified and 0.2% of the cheques were anomalous, were not going to the people they should have.

That means that 99.8% of the cheques went to the people who needed them the most. Sure there were anomalies, but it was a darn good program.

Middle East
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the current escalation of violence in the Middle East is distressing. The attacks on Haifa and Jerusalem claimed by Hamas, and the attacks by the Israeli army against the facilities of the Palestinian authority are creating innocent victims.

The situation has grown so bitter so quickly that all hope of peace is now lost in this region of the world already so badly hit by war. As the explosion of violence currently wracking Israel and Palestine could well affect the whole region, Canada and the rest of the international community must act.

Could the Prime Minister tell us how his government will intervene to promote peace in the Middle East?

Middle East
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said a few minutes ago, the escalation of violence will lead absolutely nowhere. I hope these people will consider that the only way to have peace is to return to the negotiating table.

I hope chairman Arafat will put pressure on those using violence to attack Israel—Hamas—so they will stop doing so and he may return to the negotiating table.

A year ago, a solution was in sight, but it was dropped. Canada is asking the parties to return in good faith to the negotiating table—

Middle East
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.