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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

Communications Security EstablishmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the same subject. Serious allegations have been made about the existence of a section called "French Problem" within the CSE. In response to the questions the opposition has been asking in the past few days, the government hides behind official secrecy and flatly refuses to answer, saying that the CSE reports only to the Prime Minister.

Can the Minister of National Defence at least tell us if the government checked if a section called "French Problem" existed in the past?

Communications Security EstablishmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I stated in the House that it is not our intention to discuss recent operations of the CSE.

Communications Security EstablishmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the Office of the Prime Minister is the only link between the people targeted by a so-called "French Problem" section and the CSE, if the government did not look into this, who can find out and reassure people that they were not spied on?

Communications Security EstablishmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and I, as the responsible minister for the operations of the CSE, have given those assurances.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I point out that this is the first anniversary of the election of 52 Reformers to Parliament, which is worth celebrating.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

On this day last year the federal debt stood at $489 billion. After one year of so-called Liberal restraint the debt now stands at $535 billion, an increase of $46 billion. For all the talk of deficit reduction and spending restraint the government has put Canada deeper in debt than it has ever been before.

My question is: Will the Deputy Prime Minister admit that the government has wasted this last year in its mandate by not acting vigorously enough to reduce spending? Will the government commit to a more vigorous spending reduction program in its second year before it is too late?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada was elected one year ago today with an overwhelming mandate to create jobs.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sheila Copps Liberal Hamilton East, ON

I am happy to report that we have delivered on that promise of jobs: 327,000 new jobs created since February; manufacturing shipments, the strongest six-month growth since the start of the survey in 1981; real growth, 6.4 per cent, far outstripping the performance of any other of our G-7 partners; and business confidence, up to its highest level since 1979.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

More, more.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I think this is going to be a long question period.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister labours under a delusion with respect to job creation. Until recently Liberals have claimed that job creation is primarily stimulated by government spending. Now the finance minister and others are saying what Reform has been saying all along, that debt, taxes and government overspending kill jobs and that deficit reduction and lower taxes are what stimulates private sector job creation.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister now admit that by creating $6 billion of additional federal, provincial and municipal debt through the federal infrastructure program the government has killed more long term jobs than it created? Will the government commit to a Reform job strategy based on deficit and tax reduction?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister stated in the House and repeated it again yesterday to all Canadians that he has a reasoned, reasonable approach to deficit reduction.

What he did say yesterday and what we want to repeat in the House is that if we followed the leader of the third party's recipe for deficit reduction it would drive the country back into the recession the Liberal Party is finally pulling us out of.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, we told members of the government months ago that social programs had to be overhauled. Now they are staggering in that direction. We told them that immigration levels were too high. Now they are talking about reduction. We told them that the spending cuts in the February budget were not sufficient and now they are making repairs.

The government has been forced toward Reform positions in the social and fiscal areas. Can we now count on the Liberal government to steal the rest of our platform, in particular our democratic reforms such as free votes, referendums, citizen initiatives and recall?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the only thing that has been staggering in the last 12 months has been the staggering number of people who have fled the Reform Party because they finally see the Liberal Party as the party that delivers.

If we talk about productivity, as a result of the government the unit labour costs show the best performance in 40 years for Canadian products. We have the highest rate of growth in employment and the strongest growth in output of any of the G-7 countries.

The unemployment rate has fallen from 11.4 per cent to 10.1 per cent. This is not strong enough and we want to keep going. We think the infrastructure program has contributed to the improvement in the confidence of Canadians.

Job CreationOral Question Period

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

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

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

A year after the election of the Liberal government, we have come to realize that its employment strategy simply amounts to setting up an infrastructure program that creates only temporary jobs, reducing access to unemployment insurance and passively benefits from the economic recovery. Considering population growth, we are still over 800,000 jobs short of the pre-recession level.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister realize that her government's approach to job creation is coercive, reducing access to unemployment insurance and UI benefits and to forcing the unemployed to re-enter the labour market and try to find jobs which simply do not exist?

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. It gives me an opportunity to say, I am sure with some great satisfaction, to her and her constituents that as a result of the efforts of the government the unemployment rate in her riding has gone from 12.1 per cent down to 9 per cent.

If we keep it up, at that rate she will have no unemployment by the end of our term.

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the government be so smug and proud when there are still

over a million unemployed workers in Canada, not counting all those who have precarious, very short term jobs?

How can the Deputy Prime Minister pretend that her government has restored hope and dignity for the unemployed, when in Quebec alone, 22,000 unemployed workers had to resort to welfare after the 1993 cuts in unemployment insurance, and since then, her government has never stopped forcing those who are no longer eligible for UI benefits to live on welfare?

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in response to that question I want to pose this one: How can that member make the statement she just did when she and her party continually oppose every effort of this government to invest in better training, better job creation, better development? They are against any attempt to reform. All they want to do is keep people on unemployment insurance, keep people on benefits. They do not want people to have jobs. That is their position.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, today the Financial Post reported on a memo from the government's finance department which concluded that this government's immigration policies are worsening the unemployment crisis. It said that current levels which are twice as high as any other nation on earth are not creating jobs but creating competition for them.

Will the minister of immigration heed the conclusions of the finance department and dramatically reduce immigration levels?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, some of the thoughts contained in that report are by no means new. We heard those representations being made during the eight month consultation. Next Tuesday the government will be presenting its plan for 1995 in large measure based on the things we have heard and discussed with Canadians. I ask the member to wait until Tuesday and render an opinion then.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, for a year now this minister has been telling Canadians that high immigration levels are okay, even when unemployment is high. We have said there is a level at which immigration hurts the economy and the finance department agrees with us.

Will the minister wake up to the facts, show some political will and cut the numbers? Will he do what is right for Canadians and not just for the immigration industry?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the member read the entire document. To say that it agrees entirely with Reform Party policy is exaggerating one great leap.

Immigration generally has been a positive force for Canada. On page 74 of the red book it is stated very clearly: "We will continue to support an immigration policy that balances our demographic and economic need with our capacity to settle and absorb immigrants". In other words it means a balanced program which we do have and will continue to have after November 1.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

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

During the last days of the federal election campaign, the Prime Minister promised to reduce the deficit without raising the taxes of Canadians during the first two years of his mandate.

Last week, however, in another about-face by this government, the Prime Minister referred in no uncertain terms to the possibility of raising taxes, contrary to his campaign promise.

How can the Minister of Finance account for the fact that exactly one year after it came to power, his government has already reneged on its commitment not to raise taxes and that the minister himself is feeding speculation about the possibility that his government will tax RRSPs?