House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was china.

Topics

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We must be able to hear the hon. member for Laurier--Sainte-Marie's question.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Soon, they are going to get up and say “ and you too, my son ”.

Now that many of those with whom he claimed to be so close are seniors and hoping to receive the guaranteed income supplement which the government denied them, the Prime Minister is abandoning them. His government would rather help billionaires skip out on taxes than look after the country's poorest seniors.

In the name of justice, will the Prime Minister recognize the full responsibility of his government and see to it personally that these people receive the $3.2 billion they—

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. the Prime Minister.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I thank the leader of the Bloc Québécois for showing clearly that, in fact, we are still looking out for the less fortunate in our society. Seniors and others in need have been a concern of this government for a very long time.

Those who qualify for benefits must receive them, and they will do so in accordance with the legislation passed by Parliament.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that being true, he must use the same logic.

When citizens owe the government money, the government goes back many years in collecting the money they owe. But when the shoe is on the other foot, when it is this government which owes money, and to the least fortunate members of society to boot, there is an 11-month cut-off.

Is the Prime Minister going to hand over all the money he owes, all the money of which the least fortunate members of society are being deprived, this $3.2 billion, and make it retroactive, as he did with society's richest members? That is the question.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know that as part of the guaranteed income supplement, there has always been a provision for retroactivity. The supplement is determined and based on annual income.

I would also note that this particular retroactive principle is the same as that which is used in the Quebec family allowance.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, during my recent tour of Quebec, I met hundreds of elderly people who are alone, poor and needy, and for whom the guaranteed income supplement is really not a luxury, but a necessity.

I am asking the Minister of Human Resources Development to give up her technical explanations and to answer a simple question: Do these people not deserve our compassion? The Bloc Québécois wants to help them. Does the minister want to help them too?

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, they deserve our support. That is why I am very glad to tell the House of the things we have done to ensure that Canadians have the information they need to participate in this program.

We sent out recently 4.5 million information inserts in old age security and tax forms. We have touched 250,000 people by providing them with information about the program. We have posters distributed in nursing homes, seniors organizations and with anti-poverty groups.

The hon. member himself congratulated me yesterday for simplifying the forms and making sure that Canadians have the information they need to participate in the program.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister, who is a man of my age, and whose riding is adjacent to mine, knows the sacrifices that these elderly people have made. Now, these seniors are trusting that we will help them.

Can the Prime Minister accept that these elderly, who are among society's poorest and who were treated unjustly, are not receiving their due? How can he accept to refuse to give them full retroactivity?

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, working together to make sure that all of our constituents have the information they need to participate in the guaranteed income supplement is very important to us all.

The hon. member for Frontenac--Mégantic in his S. O. 31 talked about things that he is specifically doing in his riding to touch his constituents. I would hope the hon. member would take note of that and do the same.

Minister of National Defence
Oral Question Period

February 27th, 2002 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, there is no point in beating a dead horse or beating around the bush. Canadians have lost confidence in the defence minister. Parliamentarians have lost confidence in the defence minister. Worse still, Canada's military has lost confidence in the defence minister from the front lines in Afghanistan to the most senior level of defence staff.

Why does the defence minister not put an end to this mess, do the right thing and resign his cabinet position today?

Minister of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the cabinet, the Liberal Party and I have confidence in the abilities and the dedication of the Minister of National Defence.

Minister of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, for Canadians it is no longer a question of whether the defence minister lied or whether he is incompetent. It has gone way beyond that.

It is clear that the defence minister is not up to the task. He cannot go on cowering in the cabinet corner while the lives of military men and women are at risk from the front lines in Afghanistan all the way up to the senior defence level.

For the sake of their safety and Canada's honour, will the defence minister resign today?

Minister of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no. At the committee the member representing the NDP said clearly that he could not agree with the proposition that the Minister of Finance lied to the House of Commons.

Minister of National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.