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House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ports.

Topics

EdmontonStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

John Loney Liberal Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, Edmonton is noted for having one of the largest urban parkland areas per capita in North America. This spectacular river valley park system, combined with the city's role as the gateway to the northern forests of Alberta, led to the designation of Edmonton as the 1994 national forestry capital.

The purpose of this designation is to promote a better understanding of the dynamic nature of sustainable forests, to highlight the significance of the forest industry on the economic prosperity of the community and to recognize the historical contribution of the forests to Edmonton for two centuries.

Recently I had an opportunity to participate in the ceremonial sod breaking for the John Walter Forest Interpretive Centre. The Interpretive Centre is part of a major legacy project involving a forest capital trail in the river valley and other educational projects.

The John Walter Interpretive Centre is an excellent example of what can be achieved when all levels of government, industry and community interest groups work together to achieve a common goal. The Interpretive Centre will be a major educational legacy for future generations.

I would like to congratulate the city of Edmonton and the organizers from the Forestry Capital of Canada Society for having the vision and initiative to undertake this impressive project.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

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

Within less than a year, three different estimates of the balance of the Unemployment Insurance Fund were announced. Last March, there was a deficit of $216 million; in September, a surplus of $240 million; and in October, a surplus of $2.2 billion. This week, the Supplementary Estimates indicated that this year, there has been a reduction in $3.4 billion of unemployment insurance benefits.

Would the Minister of Finance confirm that the Unemployment Insurance Fund will have a surplus in excess of $2 billion this year and that the surplus will be used to reduce the cumulative debt of the fund?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the year, the Unemployment Insurance Fund had a deficit of around $5.9 or $6 billion, I believe.

This year, we expect a surplus for the current year. However, that will still leave us with a cumulative deficit in the account. I think it would be premature for me to give any figures, which will certainly be less than $6 billion, but I think we will have to wait until the end of the year. In any case, at that time we will still have a deficit.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, when he brought down his budget, the Minister of Finance said that premium increases were killing jobs and that he would create 40,000 jobs by reducing these premiums starting next January.

What explanation does he have for the fact that with a surplus of $2.2 billion, a surplus that is growing very rapidly, he did not immediately announce a reduction in unemployment insurance premiums in order to create thousands of jobs? Was that not his priority?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I repeat that despite this year's surplus, the cumulative UI account will show a deficit. Obviously, we will have to eliminate that deficit before we have a cumulative surplus.

That being said, the hon. member is quite right when he says that we want to reduce unemployment insurance premiums. We certainly do. In fact, that is the position I announced before, and it certainly is the position of the Minister of Human Resources Development.

What is even more important is, that when we lower unemployment insurance premiums, we will be able to keep them down. This means we must be able to give the business community the assurance that the account is in good enough shape to keep premiums down.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance made a slip that was very revealing. He referred to bringing down unemployment insurance premiums. In fact, we now know that he is far more inclined to reduce the benefits paid to the unemployed than to reduce the premiums paid by workers.

Would the minister agree that this enormous surplus in the Unemployment Insurance Fund, which, I may add, is growing very rapidly, was partly accumulated at the expense of workers that the government's social security reform has excluded from the unemployment insurance program and thus prevented from drawing benefits?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, the unemployment insurance account still shows a deficit. We will have to deal with this deficit, and that is what is happening.

I would have thought the hon. member would wish to commend us, as the government, for the fact that as a result of our economic philosophy, we are at last bringing down this deficit and putting ourselves into a surplus position.

I may add that the reason we are now bringing down the deficit and giving ourselves a surplus is, that as a government, we are creating jobs at record levels. I am very pleased to say that the unemployment rate in Quebec went down again this month.

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Question Period

November 4th, 1994 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-91 protects pharmaceutical manufacturers who invest in research and development; they have major investments in the Montreal area.

In most industrialized countries, these manufacturers benefit from legislation that protects the results of their research for at least 20 years. Now, manufacturers of generic products, most of whom are in Ontario, have put tremendous pressure on the government to eliminate these same guarantees in Canada.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Given the importance of the brand-name drug industry in the Montreal area and the concern raised in this industry by the attitude of some Liberal members, can the Deputy Prime Minister rule out any threat to amend Bill C-91 and its regulations?

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question seemed to suggest that only Liberal members were interested in this issue. Obviously, the people throughout the country who have to pay the cost of drugs, organizations of all kinds, seniors and so on are very interested in it as well.

I want to assure my hon. colleague that although a committee of the House is looking at Bill C-91, the Government of Canada is very clear in its commitment to check all the data concerning this law, as the law itself provides, or any other legislation which must be reviewed at the appropriate time.

The original law already provided for a review of Bill C-91 at some point. We will do what must be done, but do not believe that just because a House committee is looking into some issue, the government's policy will change.

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the minister responsible for the Montreal region.

Could the minister for once defend the interests of the Montreal region and formally commit himself in front of this House to defend Bill C-91 in Cabinet and against all comers?

Pharmaceutical IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we will obey the law, which requires us to review the regulations before 1997. We will obey the law and I hope that the member opposite wants us to obey the law.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government recently released its much ado about nothing immigration plan for 1995.

Included among the things that were expected to be reformed but were not was the strengthening of the enforcement branch of immigration. No firm action was taken to beef up Canada's woefully inadequate deportation system. The government said that Bill C-44 would ensure that those who are ordered deported actually get deported.

My question is very specific. What effect would Bill C-44 have on those who have been ordered deported for violations of immigration law as opposed to criminal law to the minister of immigration?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Halifax Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mary Clancy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

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

I hope it means that the hon. member and his party will be supporting Bill C-44. Bill C-44 will ensure that deportations take place in the required time with all due speed and that the laws of Canada are properly enforced.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, six filing cabinets full of deportation warrants were recently discovered in Ontario. Tragically, they were discovered in the same office as the misplaced deportation file of Clinton Gayle who stands accused of killing a Toronto police officer.

These warrants are for violations of immigration law. Therefore they are not subject to any of the terms of Bill C-44, are not addressed by the 1995 immigration plan and would not be given priority by the minister's so-called task force.

Why has the government, the minister and the department done nothing this year to address the enormous and dangerous backlog of removal orders relating to immigration violations?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Halifax Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mary Clancy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I want to again thank the hon. member for his question. I am delighted he asked it because a number of misconceptions are out there with regard to the story.

It was an inaccurate story. These files were not lost. They had been screened by the department of immigration. They have been input into the Canadian police information computer and are in the process of being input into the immigration department's computer.

I want to reassure the member that things are going as they should. I thank him again for his question and the opportunity to set the record straight.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is making much ado about the tiny steps that have been taken to push criminal immigrants out the back door while she and the immigration department and refugee board appointees, at least one of whom was an illegal immigrant, are allowing with no screening whatsoever thousands of refugees with criminal records in through the front door.

Will the minister or parliamentary secretary admit that the RCMP refugee identification section has found in the first part of this year that fully one-quarter of all successful refugee claimants to Canada were identified after the fact as having criminal records or having made multiple illegal refugee claims?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Halifax Nova Scotia

Liberal

Mary Clancy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows or should know, this problem is one that affects all refugee receiving countries.

The minister travelled to Russia very recently to deal with international concerns in this matter. An international conference will be taking place within the next month to deal with this very serious matter.

Again I am delighted that the member has shown such an interest. I hope this means his party will be supporting Bill C-44 and our endeavours to clean up problems with regard to criminality.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. At the Rio Summit, the previous government undertook to stabilize carbon dioxide emissions responsible for the greenhouse effect at their 1990 levels, and to do so by the year 2000. In their red book, the Liberals went further, promising to cut these emissions by 20 per cent from 1988 levels by the year 2005. But the Minister of the Environment has admitted publicly for the first time that she will not be able to fulfil this election promise.

Does the minister still intend to fulfil one of the most basic environmental undertakings in the red book, namely cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent from 1988 levels?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I never said that we would not fulfil our commitment. What I said is that, in order to achieve a 20 per cent reduction, as provided by government of Canada policy, co-operation will be required from both the private sector and the provinces. That is why I am really looking forward to seeing, on Monday, what policies the governments of Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia have, so that we can develop a plan of action not only for federal institutions but also at the provincial level. We need the support of the provinces to succeed. I hope that the hon. member opposite will speak to her Quebec counterpart to convince him to develop a plan of action in conjunction with the federal government.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister reconcile the answer she just gave with a recent statement made in Vancouver to the effect that the government did not think it would be able to fulfil its commitments with respect to greenhouse gas emission control?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, last week, the hon. member opposite said that we could not have a Canadian environment act because environmental issues fall under provincial jurisdiction. Her leader approved of the bill, yet voted against it.

Today, she is suggesting that a plan of action affecting industries in every province be developed without getting the provinces involved.

As I said-I repeat it here today and I will repeat it in Bathurst on Monday-the federal government will do its utmost to try and achieve a 20 per cent reduction, but we need the co-operation of all provincial governments, including the Quebec government. And I do hope that Mr. Brassard will join us.

Salmon FisheryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

John Cummins Reform Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, a Department of Fisheries and Oceans document reveals that on March 25 of this year, three months before the opening of the salmon season, senior fisheries officials on the west coast were warning of a disaster if the level of enforcement was further downgraded on the Fraser River. They warned of a "repeat of the missing sockeye problems that occurred in the 1992 season".

Why did the minister ignore these warnings and initiate the reduction in the enforcement effort which led to the disaster of 1994?

Salmon FisheryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I know of his genuine concern about the state of the salmon stock. Many stakeholders in British Columbia are concerned about the state of the salmon stock.

I do not know what document the member is referring to. It is evident that many enforcement officers who work for DFO in the Pacific region have expressed concerns through the system about the state of enforcement. Indeed, as I said several weeks ago, many of those concerns and detail have not reached me.

It is for that reason two nights ago, for two and a half hours, that I as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans sat down with 40 enforcement officers from all over the Pacific region to hear from them firsthand their concerns about the state of the stock and their suggestions for improving the situation.

I have given them a commitment that I will come back to them through the department with a solid plan within our fiscal means to ensure proper enforcement everywhere the salmon run to do the job that is necessary.

Salmon FisheryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

John Cummins Reform Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I warned the minister last spring and others tried to and he refused to listen.

As we learned on BCTV last night, rather than accept blame for his incompetence the minister is fanning the flames of racism by saying: "The biggest goddam conservation problem on the Fraser River is the Sto:Lo"-

Salmon FisheryOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Order. I would urge members feeling as passionately and as strongly as they do in this place of vigorous debate on all issues of importance, and this one specifically, to choose their words carefully.