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House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

Child PovertyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to the National Council on Welfare over 1.2 million children under age 18 live in poverty. From a recent report by the Campaign 2000 coalition we learned that there are over 300,000 more poor children today than five years ago.

Furthermore at the latest Canadian Medical Association conference it was reported that poor children are twice as likely to suffer psychiatric disorders, failing grades and hyperactivity than more affluent children. Evidently poor children are more apt to drop out of school.

For social, moral and economic reasons the government has a responsibility to ensure that all Canadian children have an equal opportunity to fully participate in Canadian life.

I therefore urge the government to implement the resolution on child poverty unanimously passed by this House in 1989.

Mrs. Marie MalavoyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the resignation of Quebec's new minister of culture, Marie Malavoy, is indeed regrettable. However, the unacceptable justifications she gave for her illegal actions are even more regrettable.

Ms. Malavoy probably forgot that Canada welcomed her and her parents to one of the best countries in the world, if not the best, where she enjoyed all the advantages of a generous country, even becoming a faculty dean, something which immigrants cannot aspire to in France. Furthermore, did she think about the thousands of Canadians who gave their lives to help liberate her native country?

There is an old saying that gratitude is the highest form of justice. The former minister's comments show a lack of gratitude as well as a poor sense of justice.

Underground EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Landry Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, in an interview he gave to La Presse on Saturday, the Minister of Finance tries to surprise us with his perceptiveness as a businessman. According to the minister, the underground economy far exceeds the levels reported by his own officials.

However, once the problem has been recognized, the minister's perceptiveness starts fading. He has no information to give us on the size of the underground economy, much less a solution to propose.

With regard to the GST, the government has lost control over its revenue but the minister does not have the courage to undertake a comprehensive review of his fiscal policy. He proposes to act alone in the dark.

Same thing for the debt and the deficit. Although the minister knows that he must cut spending in the public service, he has not made a single proposal. Yet, the minister is already slashing social programs without the necessary studies in hand. History repeats itself: Ottawa has decided to cut but it is the provinces and the unemployed who will pay the price.

Westray Mine DisasterStatements By Members

November 28th, 1994 / 2:10 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Westray mine in Nova Scotia was the scene of an explosion accident on May 9, 1992. Twenty-six men lost their lives, 11 of whom are still entombed in the mine.

During the five day rescue operation conditions were present for another explosion. Roof falls had to be crossed. Lethal carbon monoxide gas which is an after product of a coal mine explosion was heavy in the mine. Miners put aside their own safety in the hopes of finding their fellow workers.

In an unprecedented presentation 195 individuals of the rescue crew are receiving the Governor General's Medal of Bravery in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, today. Fourteen of these individuals now live in my hometown of Campbell River, B.C., and work at the Quinsam coal mine 25 kilometres out of town.

I know my colleagues will join me in applauding these brave individuals who were involved in a tragedy which affected Canadians from coast to coast.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Simon de Jong NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, according to press reports the government is seriously considering selling off CBC television stations.

Despite the promises made in the Liberal red book to support the CBC and the fact that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is presently examining CBC financing, cabinet is debating a plan to radically change public broadcasting in Canada.

The CBC has been and is an essential instrument that allows Canadians to see and hear each other and to develop their own cultural identity. Is what the cabinet is debating the first step to privatize the CBC and to kill public broadcasting? By selling off the CBC TV stations what channel will Canadians be able to tune into to see Canadian programs?

In this age of the 500 channel universe and other rapid technological innovations, there might come the time to deliver public broadcasting through new methods like the telephone companies. However, that time is not now.

I concur with the chairman of the CRTC who stated before the Canadian heritage committee: "Give-

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Conference On Lifelong LearningStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the first global conference on lifelong learning will be taking place in Rome from November 30 to December 3. The object of this conference is to shed light on the importance of lifelong learning and to create an action agenda that will promote and implement learning initiatives throughout the world.

My constituent, Robbin Frazer, who was key in promoting this conference in Canada, has informed me there will be 500 participants from 50 countries, including 10 delegates from Canada.

I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all those attending the conference. I assure them that the government, through the ministry of human resources, is committed to improving the quality of life of its citizens and ensuring access to education and training.

I am confident the global conference on lifelong learning will be a success and that a strategy of lifelong learning will be established to lead us into the 21st century.

Reform Party Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, last week when the Reform Party of Canada announced its proposed cuts to the federal budget, the most draconian cuts ever proposed in the history of Canada, the leader of the Reform Party had the nerve to claim that these cuts focused on non-social spending.

By calling for a 25 per cent reduction in the budget of CMHC, Reform Party members are calling for the federal government to break hundreds of federal-provincial contracts and agreements as well as thousands of contracts with public and private non-profits and co-operatives across Canada. They are also calling for cuts in social spending in the worst areas, affecting the poorest of the poor.

They are kicking those most in need, the poor, the old, the young, the disabled, single mothers and aboriginals, out into the streets. The Reform Party is saying to people whose annual income is on the average less than $12,000: "Get out of social housing and out on to the street corners".

This would have the effect of reducing the federal share of the shelter by 25 per cent.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the situation continues to deteriorate in Bosnia, where 55 Canadian peacekeepers are still being kept hostage. In an obvious attempt at intimidation, Serb forces launched rockets yesterday near observation posts manned by Canadian peacekeepers near Visoko. The United States, France, Russia, Germany and Great Britain are asking for an immediate cease-fire at Bihac and in all combat zones in Bosnia Hercegovina, while General Michael Rose, commander-in-chief of the 24,000 peacekeepers in Bosnia, mentioned the possibility of withdrawing the UN peacekeepers in view of the escalation of armed conflict.

Could the Prime Minister confirm that the 55 Canadian peacekeepers being kept hostage are being treated well and that negotiations with the Serb authorities for their release are still deadlocked?

BosniaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the 55 Canadian soldiers are not, strictly speaking, being kept hostage. They are being kept in the positions they occupied, and they continue to do the job they were doing

before in the territories concerned. I am also informed they are being treated quite acceptably.

Negotiations are continuing, to try to bring the situation back to normal. Everyone hopes there will soon be an agreement on a new cease-fire. Of course, here in Canada, we should all support our troops, who are going through a very difficult situation on their humanitarian mission to this part of the world. We hope that although our soldiers are experiencing problems at this time, and with them soldiers from other countries, things will get back to normal in a matter of days.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the mobility of the 55 Canadians have been severely curtailed, in the situation that now prevails in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Could the Prime Minister tell the House whether the Serb authorities have reacted officially to the request by the United States, Russia, France, Germany and Great Britain for a cease-fire at Bihac?

BosniaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to our information, the Serbs would accept an indefinite cease fire, while the Bosnian Muslims want a cease fire for A period of three months. Meanwhile, discussions are continuing to try and reach an agreement. It is encouraging, that both parties want a cease fire. We now have to wait and see whether it will be for an indeterminate period or for a specific period.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister share General Rose's views about a possible withdrawal of all peacekeepers from Bosnia, and does he agree that such a withdrawal will only lead to a escalation of the Serb offensive, with dire consequences for the civilian population and thousands of refugees who will be left without help or humanitarian aid?

BosniaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadian troops and other UN troops are playing a very useful role. They have managed to protect the civilians there, giving them food and medication during the past many winters of conflict.

To withdraw them, the hon. member is quite right, might cause extremely difficult circumstances in Europe.

At the end of next week I will be in Europe. I am going to Budapest on Sunday where all the heads of state will be. It will be a good occasion to deal with the problem. Of course the position of Canada is the same as the French and the British. We are there but if there is a lifting of the arms embargo we will get out.

In the meantime, having troops there is very useful. I would like to praise the Canadian soldiers who are doing a fantastic job. I would like to tell them they have the support of the Canadian people.

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Of the G7 countries, Canada spends the least on AIDS research, while Canada is third among the G7 countries for the per capita rate of HIV infection.

Two days before he leaves for Paris to take part in an important international conference on AIDS, how can the Prime Minister justify Canada's lagging behind in the fight against this terrible illness which affects and threatens the lives of thousands of Quebecers and Canadians?

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member says that Canada is not doing its share. On the contrary, I think that Canada is doing its share and that we have invested considerable amounts in research to find a solution for this global scourge. I hope that the summit organized by France and chaired by Mr. Balladur can move things forward in all countries of the world. I will be able to tell them that Canada wants to do as much as other countries to address this difficult problem.

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Prime Minister explain his sudden interest in the fight against AIDS when his government only reluctantly maintained the $42 million budget for phase 2 of the national AIDS strategy, an amount which-may we remind you-the Liberals found clearly insufficient when they were in opposition?

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this program, like all others, is now being discussed with all departments. We have a difficult budget problem. We inherited a $500 billion debt and the government's resources are necessarily limited. We are maintaining the program and we hope that research will advance in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are appalled that some of our peacekeepers are being held hostage and were targeted in a rocket attack yesterday.

In September the Minister of National Defence informed the House that he had renewed Canada's engagement in Yugoslavia conditionally for six months. He said that the situation is under review, if the situation on the ground changes, if the safety of Canadian troops is threatened and if the usefulness of the UN mandate has been undermined.

Since the situation on the ground has changed and the safety of our troops is threatened and the ability of the UN to carry out its mandate has been undermined, will the minister reconsider Canada's participation?

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I had the occasion to say earlier that the Canadian role there is very useful. There will be a discussion this weekend in Budapest where the heads of state will be meeting. It will certainly be one of the items discussed.

The Canadian position has always been that we want to maintain our troops there as long as there is no lifting of the arms embargo. We are to review our commitment every six months. The commitment we made in September will be maintained until February and we will review our position in due course.

In the meantime, I will discuss this next week, especially with the French and the British who are in the same position as we are. We have decided to have a discussion before making the final decision. I will be in a position to report more next week.

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I know there is general support for Canada's involvement in the United Nations and in NATO but we fear that the situation in Bosnia is jeopardized by the suggestions that the U.S.A. has now sided with the Bosnians while Russia is sympathetic to the Serbs and may unilaterally withdraw its peacekeeping forces.

How is Canada responding to this move away from neutrality by our peacekeeping partners?

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is not useful for anybody to encourage any side there and whoever is doing that is not rendering a service to the situation.

We have been there for three years. We have soldiers there and other countries have soldiers there as well. I think the people who do not have soldiers there should be prudent because it is the lives of Canadian soldiers and others that are at stake. They should keep that in mind.

We are there and we think we play a very useful role in terms of maintaining peace and helping the citizens to survive. I hope the people with no soldiers there will remember that we are there.

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are justifiably proud of our peacekeepers but the disregard for the blue berets in Bosnia suggests that the UN has mismanaged this mission and is tarnishing the reputation of UN peacekeepers, thereby setting a very dangerous precedent for this and future peacekeeping operations.

What is the Prime Minister's government doing to prevent our continued participation in this mission from compromising our effectiveness in future peacekeeping operations?

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the best way we can maintain our international reputation is to fulfil our mandate there. When I had the occasion in June to go to Sarajevo I was told that the best soldiers there are always the Canadians, that the UN always relies on Canadians in very difficult circumstances.

We are all very proud of them. The fact that they are participating will not reduce their reputation. On the contrary, they have kept their cool under extremely difficult circumstances over the weekend and they should all be congratulated. We want to tell them that we are very proud of them.

Fight Against AidsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Daviault Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. When Phase 2 of the Canadian strategy against AIDS was approved, it was agreed that $1.5 million would be allocated for unplanned requirements. Consequently, after proposals are made by national partners, the minister has discretionary power regarding the use of these funds.

How can the government justify that, four months before the end of the fiscal year, researchers and organizations fighting AIDS still have no guarantee that they will get the promised $1.5 million?