House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was military.

Topics

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, once again another study documenting the national disgrace of child poverty has been released. It confirms that 300,000 children in Canada rely on food banks every month. That is 1,000 hungry children for every member in the House.

It was in 1989 that the House passed a motion unanimously calling for the eradication of child poverty by the year 2000. Thirteen years later, the situation is worse. Families in need are having more trouble escaping from poverty.

Will the finance minister commit the necessary resources to correct the government's pitiful record on child poverty?

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Laval West
Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we welcome the publication by the Canadian Council on Social Development.

We are, however, encouraged to see that, contrary to what the hon. member over there tells us, the rate of child poverty is continuing to drop. The Canadian Council on Social Development report also reports there was a decrease in 1999 in the extent of poverty, and in how far poor families fall below the poverty line.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, 300,000 children have to go to the food bank every month and the government is proud because it has cut employment insurance when we have $40 billion in surplus.

Are the government and the Deputy Prime Minister ready to make changes to employment insurance to make sure that children in our country do not go to the food bank, but go to the refrigerator to get some food every morning?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Laval West
Québec

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would add, if I may, that a Statistics Canada report released last week indicates that the rate of child poverty continued to improve between 1999 and 2000, to reach—I repeat—one of the lowest levels recorded in the last 20 years.

These are encouraging findings. We are aware, however, that there is still much to be done to reduce the incidence of poverty, and we intend to do what needs doing.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, 10 days ago the Minister of National Defence went public with his concerns about his government's defence policy. He described the treatment of our soldiers as “shabby” and he said that we needed more money just to sustain current operations.

Why is the minister facing resistance from his Minister of Finance and cabinet colleagues for more money for the military? Why does the government want to cut the military?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government, evidently, will make its position known at the time of the budget so the hon. member will simply have to wait, as will I, for the budget to come down.

I might say this as well on her leader. Who is the dictatorial leader? Is it our Prime Minister who gives a certain freedom of speech to his ministers, or is it the leader of the fifth party, who gets all frazzled because the Prime Minister did not go over my speech with a fine-tooth comb? He behaves as if he is a little Napoleon, albeit with a very small yard in which to play.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, last October when speaking about defence spending the Deputy Prime Minister said “You can't just sit at the G-8 table and then, when the bill comes, go to the washroom”. He has now been finance minister for almost five months but has yet to reinvest or even commit to reinvesting in our military.

Why has the Minister of Finance not given badly needed resources to our armed forces? What is he waiting for? Is he still in the washroom? Has he not come out of the washroom yet?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member from Elba for her question and I assure her once more that the decision on this matter will be made in the budget.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

November 4th, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, finance ministers come and go but the annual employment insurance rip-off goes on and on. Every year the Liberals force workers and business to pay far more into the EI fund than they will ever get out. The Auditor General is now not so subtly criticizing the government for its creative accounting.

My question is for the finance minister. Why are accounting scams so bad in the corporate world when shareholders are at risk but perfectly acceptable to the government when it involves tens of billions of taxpayers' dollars?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it seems like critics on that side come and go too, but it is nice to have the member for Medicine Hat asking a question about finance again. If he is having difficulty reading the public accounts we will try to help him with it. I think that the numbers with respect to employment insurance are very clear.

I have also, in response to questions last week at the time of the update, indicated that we will be setting the rate for 2003 in the normal time, by the end of November, and that we will undertake as promised to consult with Canadians on how the rate-setting mechanism should apply in future years.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister only has to listen to the chief actuary. It is very simple.

I cannot get anything out of the finance minister so maybe I will direct my question to Martha Stewart. Did I say that? I thought I was only thinking it.

If the human resources minister is at all concerned about protecting workers and expanding employment, expanding jobs in Canada, my question for the human resources minister is this: Will she stand up today and speak out on behalf of workers and employers and demand that the finance minister bring premiums into line with the rates that are demanded by the chief actuary?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I cannot say what he is thinking. He might want to make a mental note of it if he has something to write on.

A hundred billion dollars in reductions in taxes is the most in Canadian history. Who does he think pays those taxes? Does he think that contributors to the EI program do not pay taxes somehow and therefore they are getting ripped off? The reduction in taxes includes all the charges that people were paying. Canadians pay taxes. They wanted to pay less and they are paying less.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, after the Michel Jalbert case, newspapers are now reporting that a Quebec trucker was mistreated by U.S. customs officers when he crossed the border for his delivery. According to the citizen in question, he was treated like a circus animal, for no reason.

Given the growing number of such incidents at the border, is the Minister of Foreign Affairs planning on sending an official letter of protest to U.S. authorities to condemn the lack of discretion demonstrated by U.S. customs officials?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are in regular contact with our American counterparts. I assure the House that I will contact the U.S. embassy to share with them Canadians' concerns regarding all of these types of incident.

However, a handful of such incidents should not hinder the close relationship between two countries that have the best relations in the world.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, indeed, this type of incident is unfortunate when it occurs between countries that are friends. For this reason, I ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to inform his American counterpart of the extremely serious consequences that any incident of this type at the border will have for Canadians, including for those travelling with Canadian passports who were born in other countries, particularly in the Middle East.