House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, there is an inquiry on the whole issue involving the Chicoutimi . It is obviously clear that we should await the results of that inquiry before making any further comment or drawing any conclusions.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that answer is not good enough.

One of the Prime Minister's own ministers stood and told us that the Chicoutimi was seaworthy. His committee chairman contradicts that.

Can the Prime Minister tell us, is he standing behind his minister's comment or not?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I can certainly inform the hon. member that I am standing behind my comment. It was appropriate in the circumstances.

The Prime Minister has said that an inquiry is taking place around all the circumstances about the Chicoutimi putting to sea.

I told the House that the Chicoutimi had had extensive trials and it was the judgment of the navy that it was fit to make the voyage back to Canada and that it was seaworthy for that purpose. That is what the navy has told us. That is the correct position in respect of the Chicoutimi 's voyage to Canada.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear the minister stands by his own comment. He may want to check after question period to see whether his leader is prepared to stand by his comment.

When the Prime Minister was finance minister, he cut defence spending by 30%. Then he said he would increase spending. On the weekend the revenue minister said he was looking for another 5% cut, or over half a billion dollars.

When it comes to spending cuts, why does the Prime Minister always target our men and women in uniform?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the government has announced over $7 billion in new military equipment.

What the hon. member would like to do is to go back to the reductions in budgets that were made in 1995. They were made as a result of a declining economy and an increasing deficit.

May I remind the hon. member that his party, in fact, advocated substantially more cuts, but we refused to engage in the scorched earth policy that was recommended by his party.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, as finance minister, took over $20 billion from the military.

We now have the unconscionable situation where the government is considering taking between $300 million and $800 million from the underfunded forces.

The revenue minister, who is in charge of this activity, said when he was Minister of National Defence that the forces need more money simply to keep operating.

Will the Minister of National Revenue provide the House with a justification now for taking money from the cash strapped forces?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham—Unionville
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the forces need more money. As the Prime Minister and the defence minister have said, they have received billions of dollars in the very recent past.

My job as chair of the expenditure review committee is to solicit 5% of the lowest priority items in the budget of every department, from the PCO to the Governor General to every department in government. Then the committee will examine these offerings and will find ways to improve efficiencies and improve services to Canada across the board.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's action in this case demonstrates the real attitude toward the armed forces. It is prepared to have a military as long as it does not have to pay for it. The government has said it will increase the defence budget and at the same time it continues with the expenditure review. The government is sucking and blowing at the same time.

Would the Minister of National Defence explain to the House why he is not defending the Canadian Forces from this ill-conceived and unjustified tax grab?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I rose in the House on Friday and on Thursday to respond to exactly the same convoluted accusation.

The fact of the matter is, every single military organization in the world today is going through a process of evaluating what equipment it has, what personnel it has, what needs to be done to change to meet new strategies.

We are no different. This government will insist that we choose the right priorities. We will do that through our defence review. I am confident the military will come out of this enriched, both by increasing what we get and by getting rid of things we should not maintain.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

October 18th, 2004 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, a study conducted by Luc Godbout, of the Université de Sherbrooke, revealed that, over the last decade, federal transfers to Quebec increased by only 2.7%, as compared to 34.4% for the Canadian provinces.

On the basis of these figures, will the Prime Minister admit that the fiscal imbalance is penalizing Quebec, and that it is in fact penalizing Quebec more than the Canadian provinces?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, the leader of the Bloc Québécois should consider the health accord, under which very substantial amounts will be transferred to the province of Quebec as well as to the other provinces. Also, we have a meeting on equalization scheduled for next week, and Quebec will benefit yet again.

The leader of the Bloc should also, I might add, consider the fact that Quebec's economy is doing very well under this Liberal government, here in Canada, and under a Liberal government in Quebec. This is one reason. This is great news. Quebec's economy is doing well.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, since he does not want to talk about equalization, let us talk only about the transfers for health, education and social services. These have increased by 37% over 10 years in the other provinces, as compared to 8.3% over the same period in Quebec, all that because this Prime Minister changed the formula in 1995, and this formula puts Quebec at a disadvantage.

I am asking him if he will be working on eliminating this fiscal imbalance—at least, that is what it is called by everyone except the Liberals—at the October 26 meeting.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have not yet had the opportunity to read the full report that the hon. gentleman is referring to, but I certainly will do that.

In a preliminary way it appears that the report relates to a period of time when first of all, a limitation was placed on the payments under the Canada assistance plan to certain provinces, most especially Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia under Mr. Mulroney's government. Later on that limitation was taken off. Again, the effect was largely felt in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. It did not affect the flow of revenue to Quebec.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about the same thing. We are talking about the measures taken in 1995 by the former finance minister, now the Prime Minister. Those measures penalized Quebec.

The study by Professor Godbout of the Université de Sherbrooke clearly shows, with statistics to back it up, that Quebec has been penalized far more than any other Canadian province by the changes the current Prime Minister made in federal transfer payments.

How can the Prime Minister claim that the meeting on October 26 will deal only with equalization, when it should be discussing the entire question of transfer payments?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again let me say it is important to examine the period of time that is referred to in the report. It is a period of time when the flow of certain revenues to certain provinces other than Quebec was reduced and then increased again. In relative terms that showed a shift in numbers from one province compared to another.

Through all of that period of time, Quebec was unaffected by the limitations. Quebec always received its full fair share of equalization and the transfers for social and health purposes.