House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Quebec
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if I understand correctly, the hon. member is saying that being Canadian means clouding the issue. It is a serious thing to renounce one's identity. I want to ask him the following question. Why, in the 1980 and 1995 referendums, did they not ask Quebeckers, “Do you want to stop being Canadian?”

We are quite happy to be Quebeckers, to be part of the Quebec nation and the French-Canadian nation. We are quite happy to share a country with the Acadian nation and with all the first nations of Canada. We do not want there to be a barrier erected in this country between—

Quebec
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

Quebec
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I can guarantee the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs that the next question will be clear, “Do you want Quebec to become an independent country, yes or no?” And he will get his answer.

I am telling the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs this; back in the days of the Patriotes, he would have been considered a real “chouayen”. He knows what I mean by that. Now, today, we are asking the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to answer the question and it is his turn to answer, “Does Quebec unequivocally constitute and form a nation, yes or no?”

Quebec
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to say two things. First, to the Quebec premier, the answer is yes; to the Bloc Quebecois, the answer is no, because their idea of nation excludes a Canadian dimension.

Second, the hon. member has just made a confession. He has just confessed that the questions asked in 1980 and 1995 were not clear and that they were frauds. I challenge him to make his most recent question a part of the Bloc Quebecois' platform.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Stryker is not a tank and, therefore, it cannot replace our main battle tank.

The notion that the Stryker can be airlifted overseas by our Hercules aircraft is likewise utter nonsense.

To add to this, an internal defence department memo now raises concerns about the Stryker's weapon system, armour and confined operating space.

Considering all the above, why is the defence minister now voluntarily reducing the future capability of the Canadian army?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, again, we are hearing nonsense from the opposition.

As I have said many times, this is the army's visionary plan for the future. It is the army plan. I liked it so much I made it happen five years earlier than it otherwise would, but it is the army plan.

I have spoken to Secretary Rumsfeld and General Hillier has spoken to his counterpart.

The United States is firmly committed to the Stryker. It is a state-of-the-art, extremely modern and transformational vehicle. We will be fully interoperable with the United States. We will get it fast.

As I have said before, this is fantastic news for the Canadian army. I know the opposition does not like good news.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, not all of our armoured personnel think that it is wise to get rid of the tank.

While the minister plows ahead with the Stryker, the Sea Kings sit grounded again. To add insult to injury, our Canadian forces had to endure the Prime Minister telling them that, since the President of the United States flew in one, they were good enough for our air crews. That is like saying a 1960 Volkwagen Beetle is the same as the one that sits on the lot today.

Why are older Challengers not good enough for this government, but 40 year old Sea Kings are? Could it be because of who flies in them?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member says that not all armoured personnel want to get rid of the tank, I am sure he is correct.

When there are transformational changes, like getting rid of horses for tanks, certainly the horse people would have objected. However, I commend to them the head of the army, General Hillier, who has driven tanks or run tanks for 20 years. He has a picture of a tank in his office. He says that if he can go along with getting rid of tanks, everybody else can as well.

Finance
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the Liberals have allowed the Sea Kings to become the tarmac kings, but my question is for the Minister of Finance.

Today the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says that this year's surplus will be $6.6 billion. Over the last four years, the CCPA's estimates have exactly mirrored the exact surpluses while the Liberals have been out $36 billion. It is a good thing they are not forecasting the weather, we would not know what to wear.

Will the minister finally admit that he is in fact sitting on a surplus next year and has money to spend on things worthwhile?

Finance
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I looked at its forecasts. I hope they are right, but we do not rely on forecasts that we make up ourselves. We take 20 private sector forecasters, we take the average of their recommendations and we ask four private sector modelling firms to run those forecasts through their computers to come with the estimates, which I will present next Monday in the annual fiscal and economic update.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, given the obvious likelihood of a surplus and given all the talk around here about a democratic deficit, the fact of the matter is the House of Commons has spoken by unanimously adopting the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Defence and Veterans Affairs with respect to paying all war widows the VIP benefits. Therefore, it is not a question of what the Prime Minister can do, it is a question of the House of Commons having spoken.

Given this government's so-called commitment to democracy, will the Minister of Finance, because he can make this happen, get up and say that the government will honour the commitment to the widows and honour the will of this House?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Liberal

Ivan Grose Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, speaking personally, which I am not supposed to do, I would like to honour that request. However, things do not operate that way around here. One has to get consensus. Sometimes one even has to get consensus from the members opposite. However, in this case the consensus will be reached and there will be an answer.

Finance
Oral Question Period

October 31st, 2003 / 11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, federal health care funds in the provinces have dropped from 50% of the total cost to as little as 14% in some cases. Veteran's widows have been told only some of them will get pensions.

How can the Prime Minister brag about a balanced budget when it is balanced on the back of the sick and the elderly?

Finance
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, both on our website and in document form, the hon. member may want to look at this year's budget where we increased funding for health care over the next five years by $35 billion. The single largest increase in spending this year is transfers to the elderly. He might want to rephrase his question.

Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, deeds, not words, is what we want.

The infrastructure in the country is literally falling apart. The government is higher on grass than it is on pavement. Downloading on the provinces and eventually the municipalities has led to an inability to maintain the system.

Instead of bragging about a balanced budget, when will the government deliver treats not tricks?