House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Registered Retirement Savings PlanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Reform Okanagan Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, every year through RRSPs many Canadians manage to put aside a small portion of their income for retirement.

This nest egg does not mean they are wealthy. But it does represent their hard work and gives them some assurance about their future. Today that nest egg is in jeopardy of being taxed because of a government which cannot find a better way to balance the budget.

Instead of encouraging Canadians to provide for themselves, taxation of RRSPs in effect says, do not earn, do not save, do not invest and do not plan for retirement.

To tax our RRSPs is to tax our future. It is a short-sighted solution that will provide for the migration of Canadians and their money out of this country.

On behalf of the constituents of Okanagan Centre I urge the government to listen to Canadians. They are tax weary and they are angry.

Today the debt of Canada stands at $532.8 billion.

TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to congratulate a dedicated group of public servants who are striving for excellence. The Latin American and Caribbean Trade Division, Ambassador David Winfield and the staff in our Canadian Embassy in Mexico are creating Canadian jobs.

I recently attended the opening of the first Canadian Business Centre abroad and I am proud of this smart initiative. This pilot project in Mexico provides Canadian businesses with a venue to showcase their products through exhibitions, trade shows, conferences and seminars. The centre offers short term office space, computer, secretarial and translation services.

The latest trade figures between Canada and Mexico are at an all time high. The total two-way trade for the first six months of 1994 is up 40 per cent over the same period for 1993 for a total of $2.8 billion. This translates into 12,180 Canadian jobs annually.

Investing in foreign affairs and international trade is one of the best ways to create jobs and help Canada prosper.

Aids Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday 25 Canadian communities walked the fourth annual Walk for AIDS at the start of AIDS Awareness Week. In fact our own Minister of Health was walking for AIDS in the city of Montreal.

More than 1,000 people from the region in which I live took to the streets of downtown Ottawa, raising over $150,000 for prevention and support services for local AIDS victims.

Throughout the week the Canadian AIDS memorial quilt will be on display at the Ottawa-Carleton regional headquarters. A benefit concert of traditional, contemporary and spiritual music by the Canadian Centennial Choir will be presented on Thursday night at St. Joseph's Church on Laurier Avenue. The week will culminate in a 7 p.m. vigil at RMOC headquarters in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to AIDS.

I offer my best wishes to those who have organized these events and I congratulate all those who have and will be participating in AIDS Awareness Week.

Universal Children's DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, today Canada and countries around the world celebrate Universal Children's Day, a day designated by the UN to recognize the rights of children everywhere.

I pay tribute to Canada's children and highlight the many Third World children in need of assistance. I particularly point to PLAN International Canada, formerly Foster Parents Plan, a group dedicated to lifting children from poverty around the world.

To commemorate Universal Children's Day, PLAN today unveils an African children's toy exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre. These toys, made from recycled material by African children, demonstrate the challenges they face and the ingenuity they possess.

On behalf of the chair of PLAN's board of directors, a constituent of mine, I congratulate the some 611 foster parents of Fredericton-York-Sunbury for helping better the lives of roughly 677 children. There is no better time than today to encourage our constituents to support children everywhere.

Francophone RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, first in Kingston and now in Longlac, in northern Ontario, francophones are being denied their rights as taxpayers and French speaking citizens.

The English majority trustees on the school board just blocked the construction of a combined French school and community centre. Francophones in Longlac have been demanding this high school for six years now. According to the daily newspaper Le Droit , and I quote: The ill will of anglophones in Longlac towards their French speaking fellow citizens is blinding them''. The chairman of the French section of the school board is equally blunt:This is an anti-French vote''.

Mr. Speaker, this is what one might call pulling a Kingston, and yet this government touts the success of its bilingualism policy.

Reform PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party is giving Canadians a real voice in government. This evening we are going to experience the first ever, Canada-wide, live, nationally televised, interactive electronic town hall meeting.

It is true that technologically we are limited to communities receiving cable television and to people who have touch tone phones, but this is a most important genesis of an idea whose time has come. We are a democracy and it is time that our citizens are heard between elections as well as at elections.

At a time when we are being pressured into redefining Canada, the outcome of which will affect us all profoundly, I urge all members of the House, as I urge all Canadians, to invest the $1 user pay fee to express their views on the subject of national unity. For French dial 1-900-451-4032. For English dial 1-900-451-4841.

World Habitat DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Georgette Sheridan Liberal Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has designated the first Monday in October as World Habitat Day.

World Habitat Day is marked through the efforts of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements. In this, the International Year of the Family, it is fitting that this year's theme for World Habitat Day is called "Home and the Family".

The objective of World Habitat Day is to focus special attention on shelter. The conditions under which we live affect our health, productivity and sense of well-being.

Home is not only a physical space; it is also a symbol of warmth, security and identity.

In other words, home is where the heart is. Canada is among the best housed nations in the world, thanks to organizations like CMHC. Not all are so fortunate however. Over one billion of the world's population are inadequately housed and over one hundred million are absolutely homeless.

We still have work to do here in Canada to ensure all men, women and children have decent shelter. Let us mark World Habitat Day by renewing our commitment to this cause.

Social PolicyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Audrey McLaughlin NDP Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, this week the government will be bringing forward its long-awaited social policy reform paper. Certainly poverty is increasing in this country, not decreasing, and there needs to be real change in the way that we deal with these issues.

However, I would say that while we see lots of hype about welfare reforms, let us take a look at whose welfare really needs reform. Each year thousands of corporate companies get away with paying no income tax and receive millions of dollars in tax credits.

There are no means or income tests for the corporate sector as there are for those on unemployment insurance or welfare.

In 1992, 7 per cent of tax revenues came from corporate income tax and 48 per cent came from personal income taxes.

Poverty is on the increase in this country and the Liberal government has decided to hit the middle class yet again through social policy reform while continuing to let the corporations off scot-free.

Take the Auditor General's recommendations. Taxing offshore profits is $600 million and taxing private family trusts is another $400 million.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bernie Collins Liberal Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, climate change represents a real and growing threat to Canada's economy. It threatens our forestry, fishing and agricultural industries, worth over $50 billion. The unabated growth in greenhouse gas emissions will lead to more frequent and severe weather events costing billions of dollars for all Canadians.

The government recognizes the nature of the threat and is committed to having an action program in place on greenhouse gas emissions by 1995. Furthermore, Canada is committed to table its plan. A draft report on options for such action will be before the Canadian public. Consultations are being held this week and next week and comments collected then will be incorporated into the report.

Once a credible program for stabilization is achieved the government will work with urban and provincial governments with the aim of reducing emissions. Climate change represents a tremendous opportunity for Canadians to propose creative and credible solutions. Our children's children are looking to us. Let us not let them down.

TradeOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister's office said in a rather offhand way, and I quote: "The invitation to participate in the trade mission to China was addressed exclusively to the Premier of Quebec". The federal government would not let Mr. Parizeau be replaced by one of his ministers, and the same spokesperson for the Prime Minister even let Quebec know, somewhat contemptuously, that it was not as easy as ordering pizza.

I want to ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether her government would reconsider its decision and let Mr. Parizeau, who obviously has more pressing matters to attend to, send one of his ministers instead.

TradeOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we assume the premier of Quebec can accept the invitation since he was elected by Quebecers on a promise of economic growth. He was invited to take part as premier like all the other premiers, and we are waiting for him to reply whether he will play on Team Canada.

TradeOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, one wonders since when does the federal government have the right to set the agendas of provincial premiers?

I want to ask the Deputy Prime Minister, since Bob Rae may have to decline as well, what Team Canada will look like if neither Quebec nor Ontario are on the team?

TradeOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the team Canada is sending to the Orient includes a number of outstanding members of the business community in Quebec, including Laurent Beaudoin and Guy Saint-Pierre, who both accepted the invitation. We are still waiting for the Premier of Quebec to decide that the invitation extended by the Prime Minister of Canada is important enough for him to take part as Premier.

TradeOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, how can the Prime Minister of Canada expect us to take his commitment to co-operate with the new Quebec government seriously, when at the first opportunity, his attitude is so uncompromising and so inflexible that he refuses to let Mr. Parizeau be replaced by one of his senior ministers?

TradeOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I think the main question is that if the Premier of Quebec was elected on a promise of economic growth, is it important enough to him to play on Team Canada?

I think none of the other Premiers were given an opportunity to be replaced, not the premier of Ontario nor the premier of Alberta nor the Premier of British Columbia, because we wanted a delegation at the first ministers' level. That is important, Mr. Speaker.

This effort by Team Canada is an effort at the prime ministerial level. We do not want substitutes because we want Team Canada to be represented by the first ministers across the country.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

October 3rd, 1994 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

Last week, in reply to a question, the minister claimed that her department was involved in the preparation and monitoring of the operation to clean up sediments contaminated by PCBs in the St. Lawrence River, across from the city of Massena. This operation has in fact been put on hold because of serious safety problems.

Will the minister confirm the direct involvement of her department in this extremely delicate operation, or is her department merely receiving and blindly approving plans made by American authorities?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, last week, I personally contacted the Canadian government representative regarding this issue. Indeed, I was informed that the curtain is not working and that the operation has been delayed. The Canadian Minister of the Environment was on hand every day. I personally wrote to the U.S. EPA administrator to ensure that no operation would be undertaken in Massena without our approval.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister claim that her department is fully involved in the clean-up operation when a memo provided by her department to SVP and dated September 23 indicates that no emergency plan, in case of a disaster, had yet been made public, this on the eve of the PCB clean-up?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the note from my ministry made it quite clear that the Canadian government was on site and that the curtain which was supposed to contain the sediment was not functioning. That is the reason the operation did not begin.

I personally contacted the administrator of the EP in the United States to advise her that the Canadian government was taking the very firm position that no dredging would go forth until we were satisfied that the technology was going to protect the environment and the health of Canadians.

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the well orchestrated leaks to the media from the ministry of human resources leaves little doubt as to the contents of the social policy discussion paper.

The Deputy Prime Minister says this social policy exercise will not go to reduce the deficit. Yet the finance minister says: "It does not take a genius to figure out that the government will have to slash spending to meet its deficit cutting targets".

Given that two-thirds of all spending after interest is on social programs, how does the government square these two statements?

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York North Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.

The hon. member has to understand that Canada's social security system dates back almost 40 years. There have been

many changes in our system. I think this will give the hon. member an opportunity to debate fundamental issues.

One thing is certain however. The hon. member can rest assured that this government on this side of the House is not advocating the lion's bite as stated by the Reform Party to cut $15 billion, taking away student programs, taking away seniors' programs, taking away all the programs Canadians have grown accustomed to.

Early on in the debate it was quite clear that the Reform Party only cares about who is paying. The Bloc Quebecois only cares about who controls. The only people who truly care about the quality of life of Canadians is the Liberal Party.

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, members opposite lose no opportunity to distort what Reform says on social programs.

Reform's deficit elimination plan calls for reductions in transfers to provinces and now so does the government's social policy paper. For years Reformers have proposed restoring UI to its original role as a short term insurance support in case of job loss and now so does the government policy paper. For years Reformers have proposed a voucher system for distributing federal education dollars and now so does the government's policy paper.

I ask the minister this: When did the government stop reading its red book and start reading the Reform policy blue book?

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York North Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member once again for her question. I want to clearly outline to her that we have not tabled the discussion paper yet. I think it is only a couple of days away. She can wait. The member can rest assured that there is only one measuring stick on this side of the House, the discussion paper. The implementation of the legislation thereafter will only be successful if it improves the quality of life for Canadians. That is what this government is all about.

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I only wish that we could hear about these proposals here first instead of in the media. The government has obviously been reading the Reform policy book but it has been reading it backward. We recommend reductions to social spending only after there have been cuts in other areas, including reductions in subsidies to businesses, interest groups, crown corporations, government operations and Parliament itself.

Now that the government is proposing cuts how long will Canadians have to wait for cuts to MPs' pension plans?

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York North Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has to understand that far too many of our children live in poverty, far too many of our students are having a hard time finding that very first important job, far too many of our workers are having problems with the transition from work to work. The social security review is about bringing positive change to the lives of Canadians and I am sure that the hon. member will participate in this historic debate.