This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said repeatedly, in no uncertain terms and as recently as yesterday, that we are firmly committed to bringing the deficit down to $25 billion in 1996-97.

The Prime Minister also said that we wanted to proceed mainly by cutting spending, but if we had to change this, we were prepared to do so because the main objective is to avoid the burden of higher interest rates.

The Prime Minister also made it very clear that he wanted to close tax loopholes, a process we started in the last budget.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government talks about eliminating tax loopholes, but not the right ones, only those that benefit people on middle

incomes, not those that benefit the very wealthy Canadian taxpayers that the minister is protecting in his Budget and his pre-budget consultations.

Why will the Minister of Finance not admit that you do not change the rules halfway through the game and that he will have to stop these damaging speculations by telling the House quite clearly that he will not tax RRSPs?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I have said repeatedly that I want the consultation process referred to by the hon. member to be successful, and in that case, the Minister of Finance cannot afford to comment on specific suggestions.

The hon. member said that we were attacking the middle class. In fact, in the last Budget we eliminated flip flop deals by large corporations and multinationals. We eliminated the preferential tax rate for large corporations. We eliminated the $100,000 capital gains exemption. And we introduced new rules for foreign affiliates. We made promises and we acted on them.

Infrastructure ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the past year boccie courts, the Saddledome and a canoe hall of fame have all been funded under the guise of infrastructure. By the minister's own figures we have only seen 7,000 long term jobs created. However in the same time and in spite of government interference the private sector has created over 300,000 long term jobs.

When will the minister admit that his program has not lived up to the promise of jobs, jobs, jobs but indeed has dug the debt hole deeper?

Infrastructure ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, we have delivered on this program as we promised in the election campaign that ended a year ago today with our successful election.

We said we would respond to local needs and local priorities as established by municipalities. That is exactly what we have done. We have done it right across the country with the support of all the provinces, and do you know what? We have done it on reallocation, not on increasing the debt of this government. Most of those municipalities and provinces have done the same thing.

In the course of this program we have put 100,000 Canadians back to work. We anticipated most of these projects would put people to work on construction in the short term but they would also create spin-off jobs which will put still another 100,000 Canadians back to work.

With over 7,000 permanent jobs that have been created so far, this program has been a great success.

Infrastructure ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, 100,000 short term jobs means one day or one week for some workers. Yet every Canadian family is paying $800 for this program.

How does the minister justify those few jobs at such a high cost to our taxpayers?

Infrastructure ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, I suspect that many of these jobs are going to be longer term than the member's job.

When it came to the projects in his riding of Simcoe Centre, which included an arena and a library, the hon. member not once protested any of them. The member was sent memorandums asking to respond if he had any disagreement. He responded to absolutely none. He supports all the projects in his area.

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. For the past year, in his efforts to cut spending, the minister has targeted unemployment insurance benefits and transfer payments to the provinces for social assistance, post-secondary education and health. The federal share of these social programs amounts to $32.6 billion.

Why is the Minister of Finance making cuts in these social programs which represent $32.6 billion when it could instead reduce its operating expenditures, business subsidies and further reduce the defence budget which all together amount to $34.5 billion?

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ. The member is very precise, but unfortunately inaccurate.

In the last budget, we cut government operating expenditures, we cut business subsidies, but we did not cut transfer payments to the provinces. We gave notice to the provinces that in 1996-97 we were going to freeze transfer payments at the 1993-94 level. I must say that the provinces were really thankful to be given ample warning.

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance seems to be saying that the provinces were really happy to learn that there were going to be cuts.

After one year in power, does the Minister of Finance recognize that he has reached a dead-end with respect to the election promise to do away with the GST, since several provinces are refusing to go along with his proposal to create a 12 per cent national sales tax which is nothing more than the GST in disguise?

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, indeed, the provinces were very happy to be treated with some decency for the first time in more than ten years and to be given ample warning, contrary to the previous government which just made cuts without any warning.

I must add that we have been having extremely productive discussions with the provinces on the GST and that we will continue to do so, since, unlike the Bloc Quebecois, we want this country to work.

FirearmsOral Question Period

October 25th, 1994 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Justice.

Port Perry, my home town, was the sight of a gruesome bank robbery this last Thursday. Three police officers and two civilians were shot.

Port Perry and Durham want to know if the minister is going to require mandatory sentencing for the possession of illegal firearms.

FirearmsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member will know, there are already sections in the code that create offences in relation to illegal firearms, some of which provide for extended maximum sentences. The member will also know that the whole firearms policy has been under review by this government intensively in recent weeks.

I will be introducing proposals in the coming weeks before the House of Commons that will deal among other things with illegal firearms entering Canada and the sanctions in the criminal justice system for those persons who use firearms in the commission of crimes.

Committees Of The HouseOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister about a promise that he has not kept.

In the red ink book on page 92 it states that committees will be given greater influence over government expenditures and individual members of Parliament will be involved in an effective prebudget consultation process.

Since the minister is a co-author of this red ink book, will the finance minister keep his promise and allow committee chairs to request that officials-

Committees Of The HouseOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The question itself and the way it is being phrased now, the government is not responsible for committees. Perhaps the member could rephrase his question.

Committees Of The HouseOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Would the Minister of Finance agree to allow members, if requested by motion of the opposition parties or by motion of the party opposite of the government, to have department officials appear at a committee to review-

Committees Of The HouseOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I think I will pass this until tomorrow.

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The minister claims that the Government of Quebec does not understand the federal proposal for manpower training. Indeed, it is the minister himself who does not want to understand and who refuses to accept the Quebec consensus expressed at the employment forum which brought together all stakeholders from the business, educational and labour communities in 1989.

Does the minister not realize that what he is offering Quebec perpetrates confusion between the federal and provincial governments and in no way reflects the general consensus in Quebec? Does the minister realize that he is the one who does not understand Quebec?

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, last week, as you know, my colleague signed an agreement with the Mohawk band to have them become partners in setting priorities for human resource development. It was not a question of transferring funds but helping them to set priorities. The Quebec minister responded by saying: "Why can Quebec not have the same thing?"

I want to point out that we have already offered the province of Quebec much more in terms of responsibility for managing human resource programs than we have offered to all the other provinces. We said to all the provinces that we would invite them to take planning responsibility for close to 60 per cent of federal manpower expenditures, that we would transfer the full responsibility for deciding on training programs under the CEGEPs and community colleges, that we would ask the provinces to take the responsibility of setting up a single window, guichet unique, and we would also look at sitting down with provinces and talking about transferring certain federal pro-

grams as they relate to education, such as stay in school programs and other areas.

In other words, the offer that we made to the province of Quebec, as we made to all the provinces, goes way beyond the proposals that have been made to the particular Indian bands across the country.

I hope now that we have clarified that matter we will get a positive, co-operative response from the Government of Quebec.

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is confusing this with his evaluation of the administrative agreements which he proposed to 10 native Indian groups. According to former minister André Bourbeau's estimate, his stubborn refusal to transfer federal responsibilities will waste more than $750 million in the next three years and maintain the present confusion which penalizes Quebec's unemployed. Is he aware of that?

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid I am not the one who caused the confusion. We made it very clear. My deputy minister has written to his counterpart in the Government of Quebec again underlining that we are quite anxious, willing and open to sit down with the Government of Quebec and the governments of other provinces to negotiate based upon the proposal that we have submitted for manpower training just as we are prepared to co-operate on helping to support strategic initiatives, helping to support new child care initiatives and helping to support a changeover so that we can develop a way of assisting on the very active and very useful program in Quebec, APPORT, which is a social assistance program.

In all these cases we have indicated time and again that we are prepared to co-operate with the province of Quebec to find new ways of solving problems. That stands in stark contrast to members of the opposition whose only position is to defend the status quo. They do not want to make any changes at all. We are the party and the government that wants to make the changes. It is about time they joined in.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, as we have heard, today marks the first anniversary of the election of the 35th Parliament. While we have seen nothing but foot dragging on social reform, deficit reduction and replacement of the GST, we have seen some minor promises upheld.

My question to the Deputy Prime Minister is why has the government decided to put funding of special interest groups by way of reinstating the court challenges program ahead of much more urgent and wide ranging promises such as meaningful deficit reduction?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, probably the greatest legacy of the first year of the Prime Minister's government is that Canadians are starting to believe in the public process again.

Part of that public process means living up to your promises. The decision of the Government of Canada to reinstate the court challenges funding was a direct result of a promise made not only in the red book but a direct promise by the Prime Minister because of his belief that it is important that every Canadian have the right to have their rights defended under the charter.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night the Prime Minister stated he wanted people's money to be used productively.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister explain how spending tax dollars to sue the government thus triggering the spending of even more taxpayers' money can be described as productive?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party and the Government of Canada believe in human rights and fairness. We think that the court challenges program at a cost of approximately $3 million annually is a great investment in the right of Canadians to have their rights respected under the law.

The court challenges program is a good investment. It is a smart investment. It is a wise use of Canadian taxpayer dollars.