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

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I was listening very attentively to the debate. Clearly the member used the word bigotry but in no way in any instance referred to anyone in the House being a bigot.

I would remind all of us to be conscious and selective in the words used in vigorous debate. I would ask the hon. member for Calgary North to conclude her remarks.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I urge hon. members opposite to look at proposals, ideas and suggestions without labelling people or attacking people who make them and suggesting that somehow proposals are invalid because of where they are coming from.

It is not helpful to the debate. It does not help us work together as parliamentarians to solve the very real difficulties in the country. I suggest that we need to spend less time on attacking each other and more time on attacking the difficulties that face our country and coming up with concrete and positive solutions together.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Broadview—Greenwood Ontario

Liberal

Dennis Mills LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by picking up on some of the remarks the member made in her speech. It is very important for Canadians and for the Reform Party to understand that the Government of Canada cannot be run in the same way as a business.

The Reform Party mentioned earlier that I have had a little business experience and I would like to deal with that. The fact is that I have had a little business experience. In business the preoccupation is with earnings per share per quarter, and profit and loss is the bottom line. The bottom line for the board of directors of the House is not profit. The bottom line that we are responsible for is the people of Canada.

My colleague comes from an eastern part of the country, a rural region. He spoke earlier with passion because he has been sent to this boardroom to speak for his people, not unlike my colleague, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, who has to come to the Chamber and speak for the people of his region who right now are going through a hell that very few of us in the House can imagine. If the House becomes preoccupied with cuts, cuts, cuts and eliminating the deficit entirely, who will speak for and who will look after Canadians who are truly disadvantaged and in real pain?

When General Motors decides the earnings per share per quarter are a little low it lays off l,000, 2,000 or 10,000 people. Who picks those people up? It is the programs designed by the men and women in the Chamber. General Motors does not pick them up.

I had the privilege of working for two years with one of the most successful companies the country has ever produced, Magna International. Its latest report was published about two weeks ago. It made pretax about $400 million and paid about $140 million in taxes. Its net profit was about $240 million. In the middle to late seventies Magna was one of those companies the taxpayers of Canada supported. It developed computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing that allowed it to be one of the greatest companies in North America, one of the greatest exporters. Today that small company employs 20,000 Canadians.

In debate in the House on better public policy we cannot focus on just cuts, cuts, cuts; lean government; efficient government; and wasteful government. I am not going to support waste. No one in the House would. We all want lean government but we must have a caring government, as my colleague from New Brunswick said earlier. She said that it could not be a mean government.

What concerns me about the debate today is that there is not enough focus on growth. We have tried with concrete activities in the last year not to focus just on deficit and debt. We have also focused on growth.

We said in opposition and during the campaign that small business was the greatest hope for driving this economy and putting Canadians back to work. We said the 900,000 men and women who own and operate small businesses across the country represent our greatest hope for putting Canadians back to work. The government acted immediately in the industry committee to work on their greatest difficulty, which was access to capital. We heeded; we were told by them.

We consulted them in opposition and they said that if we became the government we had to have the courage to challenge the financial institutions because as small businesses they needed access to capital not just on the debt side but also on the equity side. We did that. I am happy to say that we did it with the help of the Reform Party and with the help of the Bloc. We recognize that. We acknowledge it publicly. It is concrete action that we took.

When members of the Reform Party stand today they should not be shy in acknowledging that a specific action has taken place that affects the business lives of about 300,000 small businessmen and women who employ possibly millions of Canadians. Do not just focus on the negative, do not just get caught up in opposing for the sake of opposing.

Since coming into power we have taken specific action on the information highway. In terms of that activity we are probably one of the most advanced countries in the world. It allows us to hook up, network and interact with companies all over the world. This is a tremendous aid to our export activity. The results are shown in the hard numbers. These are not Liberal numbers nor are they Government of Canada numbers. These numbers are acknowledged by independent agencies. Our exports have increased dramatically in the last year and no one can deny that.

We should be looking at those export numbers. We should be encouraging them even more because we cannot reduce the deficit and attack the debt unless we get those 1.5 million Canadians back to work. We are not going to leave them hanging. Jobs have been our central focus before the campaign, during the campaign and in our first year as government. The facts are that over 300,000 Canadians have been put back to work not by us directly but by assisting in creating some hope and an environment where we were serious and were focused on a direction.

I did not pull those numbers out of the air. They are real numbers reported by independent agencies. I am not standing here saying that we are satisfied with those numbers. We are not satisfied. How could we possibly be? However, progress has been made by this government in the first year of its mandate.

There is another thing this government has decided to push. The Prime Minister is in Vancouver today announcing our renewed focus on tourism activity in Canada. After the forestry and automotive sectors tourism is our greatest job creator. There is not one member of Parliament in this House who would stand up and speak against tourism.

We have taken action on tourism. From a piddling little budget of $13 million in the Department of Industry for tourism for all of Canada, the Prime Minister today will announce that we are going to make tourism a priority sector. He is announcing a further $50 million for partnerships with the private sector.

As every member in this House will stand up and say, tourism can generate a return in less than four or five months, once we get out there and market it and tell people to come to Canada. And it is not just for tourism, it is for trade shows and conventions, activity that will support other business opportunities. Sometimes people think tourism only concerns a family on holiday but it is more than that. Tourism is making sure we get our share of trade shows and conventions. This government has taken specific action and the Prime Minister will announce that commitment in Vancouver today.

I have been around this town. I have been an assistant to a prime minister and this is my second term as an MP. I watched the Tories when they governed here. I sincerely believe our government has been one of the most effective and hardest working governments I have ever seen in this town.

This government is making decisions almost at the speed of light. I know it is never fast enough and I will be the first one to admit that. There is a transition period and it takes a little bit of time. Many in the Reform Party are business people. You do not just go in and take over a business and make all your decisions in the first month or the first quarter. You have to get a handle on things. We have been able to get a handle on things very quickly. The numbers are starting to go in the right direction, but is it enough? It is never enough, but we will press on.

There is another thing I want to take on today in challenging the Reform Party on its motion. One of this government's commitments has been to support Canada's export activity. I cannot remember when another government has done so much as this one in terms of selling products and services abroad, especially in the Asia-Pacific region and the eastern European countries. We must be one of the most export oriented governments Canadians have ever seen.

In reflecting on one of the reasons that our exports have so dramatically improved, we can trace a lot of this export activity back to Pierre Trudeau's multiculturalism policy of 1971. I will explain this to the Reform Party. In 1971 when Pierre Trudeau stood in this House and said that we were going to have a policy in which no culture was less than or greater than another culture and we were going to encourage people to retain and promote their cultural heritage, this was something no other country in the world was doing. The United States had its melting pot theory and we did the opposite.

Today there are Canadians who have retained their language and culture of origin. We have a trading advantage into every part of the world because of that facility with language and culture that no other nation on earth has. A close analysis of our trading activities abroad will trace a lot of that success back to that multiculturalism policy, the very policy the Reform Party wants to strike and cut saying that it adds no asset value to Canada's balance sheet.

I suggest to member's opposite that multiculturalism is not about dancing, it is not about books. It is about turning Canadians into assets for Canada's balance sheet. Those people who have been able to use their links and their roots back to their country of origin have provided tremendous success for our exports side.

My point is that in this last nine months we have acted aggressively on some very specific issues. We appreciate the constructive tone of the members opposite during the debate over the last year. There have been times when they have not just opposed for the sake of opposing and the debate has been very constructive.

In many respects I am quite comfortable with some of the Reform Party's thrusts, especially in the area of tax reform. As I said earlier, there are only a few years to get things accomplished in this Chamber and the greatest catalyst for making things happen in this place is a constructive opposition.

I say sincerely that if it focuses, the Reform Party has a chance to act as a real catalyst for tax reform in Canada, which is the one thing we have not yet taken on. Even though we have accomplished all these other things in the last year I hope the Reform Party will not give up challenging us on tax reform.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

I thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on the dissertation of the hon. member for Broadview-Greenwood this afternoon. I want to acknowledge the fact that this hon. member does have a very real interest in the debate today. It is not just a matter of his having to be here to speak about it. I am sure the hon. member is here because he wants to be here and he is doing what is in his heart to do.

During his dissertation the hon. member mentioned that when a company takes over a business it had better take its time to find out what is going on before doing anything. It is a good idea, if you can afford it. However it would seem to me in my experience that before a business decides to take over another business, those taking over the business have a pretty good idea of why they are doing it and what they intend to do.

The analogy of course is that this government in getting ready to accept power had nine years in the wilderness. It has had one year in power and what has it accomplished? I would suggest precious little. I am afraid I have to chalk up one more member of the Liberal olympic low hurdle team. If you make the hurdle low enough, anyone can stumble over it.

I ask the hon. member for Broadview-Greenwood should all social programs in Canada be based on want or need?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dennis Mills Liberal Broadview—Greenwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am going to answer the last part of the member's question first. Of course we have always based any government expenditure on need and not on want. As I said earlier in my remarks, governance is not to be focused on those who are advantaged. It should be focused on those who are disadvantaged.

I challenge the member's approach to taking over a company. He mentioned that you have a pretty good idea of what you are taking over. Generally speaking that is the case but I can say to the member, and he knows this, that when we took over there was close to $7 billion on the deficit that had never been talked about during the election campaign.

If the member was-

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The hon. member will have more time after question period to share his views with the House.

It being 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5) the House will now proceed to Statements by Members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Infrastructure ProgramStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that, one year ago today, this government received its mandate from Canadians. Since then, numerous commitments have been fulfilled, including the Canada-Quebec infrastructure program, which has resulted in the implementation of several projects.

Thanks to federal contributions of some $90 million, this year the city of Montreal was able to start urban infrastructure projects of over half a billion dollars. On top of improving the residents' quality of life, these infrastructure projects will result in the creation of some 4,800 new direct and indirect jobs, during the construction work itself as well as in the following months.

During the first year of its mandate, the government strived to create jobs, restore confidence and rebuild the credibility of the federal administration. Contrary to the Parti Quebecois government-

Infrastructure ProgramStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. The hon. member for Verchères has the floor.

United NationsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. The Bloc Quebecois takes this opportunity to highlight the work of this organization, which is a source of great hope for many peoples and nations.

Whether it is by helping developing countries, promoting human rights, or preserving peace in the world, the UN strengthens international unity, which is currently a major priority.

The United Nations is also at a crucial time in its history. It must undertake a major reform of its structure. It must also face new challenges, including the emergence of numerous new players with whom it will have to deal with from now on.

We present our sincere congratulations to the United Nations Association in Canada and to all Quebecers and Canadians who have helped build the UN and make it so respectable.

Reform PartyStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, one year ago today Reform defied the odds, confounded our critics and thrilled our supporters as 52 of us were elected to the House of Commons.

Canadians saw in Reform the fresh wind of change. They saw men and women just like themselves who believed in what they believe in. Live within your means. Protect honest citizens. Listen to the people. In short, use common sense. That is exactly what they told us.

That is exactly what we intend to do. While the government wrestles with change and fights it every step of the way, we embrace it. While it takes tiny steps and as my hon. friend says, sets the hurdle very low, we stride ahead. While it breathes each other's air, we say: "Crack open the doors and let the fresh breeze of Reform blow in".

American Hellenic Educational Progressive AssociationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to thank the Canadian Order of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association or AHEPA for honouring the Prime Minister and the members of Parliament at a banquet last night.

At this event, the Prime Minister was presented with the order's highest honour, the Socrates Award, for promoting democratic ideals and institutions and exemplifying the finest traditions of leadership.

As a Canadian of Greek origin, I am proud of the honour that has been bestowed upon my Prime Minister and moreover, of the many accomplishments and contributions that AHEPA has made to Canadian society.

This association recognized the contribution made by the Prime Minister in his more than 30 years of public life. Canadians also recognized the merit of the Prime Minister by electing him one year ago today to lead this government.

Congratulations to the Prime Minister and to all Liberals.

Status Of WomenStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the red book, the government indicated that it wanted to improve the standard of living of all men and women across Canada. Women and, of course, children.

In my riding we have an agency called Network which does advocacy work in economic, social, political, educational and cultural areas, for instance. It has some advice for the government, and I would like to quote: "The federal government has announced its intention to amend the Alimony Act; since the vast majority of alimony recipients are women and their children, these women call upon the minister responsible for the status of women to pressure the government to find an equitable solution that takes into consideration the real needs of women and children".

Mr. Speaker, I support this proposal.

Breast Health Awareness MonthStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, October 25 marks the first anniversary of our election victory. At that time we said that women's health issues would receive proper attention.

The proclamation of October as Breast Health Awareness Month will raise awareness of one important health issue for women. Each year more than 16,000 Canadian women develop breast cancer. It is the most common type of cancer in women and their leading cause of cancer death.

New initiatives on breast cancer have been implemented by the federal government in four main areas: funding for breast cancer research, support of prevention and screening activities, treatment and care, and support, advocacy and networking of women with breast cancer.

Breast Health Information Day was successfully held in my riding of London West.

Events have been organized for this month across the country to help Canadian women and their families become better informed about the issue. I urge Canadians to attend and support these activities wherever they may be in Canada.

Collège Militaire Royal De Saint-JeanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and proud to draw the attention of the House to yesterday's results in the Saint-Jean by-election. The election has confirmed the mandate given to the sovereignist government of Quebec.

The election was mainly about the future of the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean. The verdict is clear, in that the people of Saint-Jean see the agreement initialled by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and the former Quebec Minister of Education as a bare minimum.

The Government of Quebec therefore has a mandate to improve on this agreement by ensuring that the CMR maintains its military avocation. The federal government will have to go back to the drawing board, and we urge it to respect the decision of Saint-Jean's voters and reverse as soon as possible its decision to abandon officer training at the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean.

Parliamentary ReformStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has done nothing in the area of parliamentary reform in its first year in office. The thinnest part of the Liberal red ink book is a chapter on integrity and parliamentary reform. Once again the Liberals set low standards for themselves and failed to meet them.

The red ink book talked about giving MPs a greater role in drafting legislation. It has not happened. Whenever a committee begins to show any independence, government members are whipped into line.

The red ink book talked about giving committees greater influence over government spending. It has not happened. Committees could not reduce the estimates by one dollar.

The red ink book talked about parliamentary review of order in council appointments. That has not happened either.

The red ink book also promised to change the outrageous MP pension plan. In good Liberal fashion, they have talked about it, they have studied it, but they have done nothing. They will not even allow conscientious MPs to opt out.

That just about sums up the Liberal's first year: All talk, no action, just broken promises.

Confectionery Manufacturers AssociationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ian Murray Liberal Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak today on this, the first anniversary of the Liberal Party's great election victory of 1993.

On a different note, as Hallowe'en approaches it is fitting that we pay tribute to the members of Canada's Confectionery Manufacturers Association. This industry has annual sales in excess of $1.4 billion, exports of more than $235 million and employs over 70,000 Canadians.

The confectionery caucus consists of MPs who have confectionery manufacturers in their ridings. We in Lanark-Carleton are very fortunate to have a Hershey Canada facility in Smiths Falls which employs over 600 people.

I encourage all my hon. colleagues, their staffs and families, to come trick or treating at our first annual "Hillowe'en" party tomorrow evening at the National Press Club.

On behalf of all attendees at this event the Confectionery Manufacturers Association of Canada will be making a donation to the Children's Wish Foundation.

Small Business In QuebecStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Liberal Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is Small Business Week, and I would like to draw the attention of the House to what is being done by the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec.

I want to take this opportunity to mention the strong commitment of the Government of Canada and, more specifically, of its various economic departments that are involved in job creation in Quebec. Federal departments are the key to, and the strategic allies of, growth in Quebec's small business sector.

The Federal Office for Regional Development will also give more assistance to businesses in developing and conquering new foreign markets, like China, for instance. Too bad Mr. Parizeau will not be on the trip!

We must realize that the Federal Office for Regional Development and the Government of Canada support the extraordinary culture of entrepreneurship that we find throughout Quebec and Canada as a whole.

The development and continued support of small businesses in Quebec is a priority for the Government of Canada.

PipelinesStatements By Members

October 25th, 1994 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year an application was put before the National Energy Board to convert an aging oil pipeline that runs across southwestern Ontario to natural gas. A number of my constituents of London-Middlesex appeared before a hearing of the NEB to object to the potential environmental risks this conversion posed to their land.

In hearings such as this, property owners are up against large companies with unlimited resources to prepare their applications. Affected landowners have no choice but to spend their own money to cover legal fees and expenses in preparation for an NEB hearing.

In all fairness, access to intervener funding would ensure a more level playing field. I urge the government to amend the National Energy Board Act to provide the NEB with the authority to award intervener funding to landowners who are forced to intervene in such proceedings.

Bloc QuebecoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the first anniversary of the Bloc Quebecois in the House of Commons.

Bloc QuebecoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Bloc QuebecoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

One year ago, Quebecers gave a resolutely sovereignist party a mandate to protect their interests at the federal level. This is precisely what we have done by fighting cigarette smuggling and obtaining a reduction of taxes, by opposing the closure of the military college in Saint-Jean, by supporting the poor, by questioning the government on the activities of the secret service, and by forcing it to repay the costs of the referendum on the Charlottetown accord.

From issues of defence and social justice to the need for responsible fiscal policies, the Bloc Quebecois has won battles on several fronts.

The message given to us by our voters is clear: Keep on going! This is exactly what we intend to do.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, as this freshman Liberal government prepares to graduate into its sophomore year, our party feels that the time has come for a pop quiz. Backbenchers, feel free to participate.

Have the Liberals eliminated the gold-plated MP pension plan?

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Have the Liberals introduced long overdue social reform?

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.