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House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was deputy.

Topics

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Please do not forget me. I feel lonesome up here.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Does the minister's department favour declaring grain handling to be an essential service? Could the minister advise the House on that point?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the hon. member will know, as a western Canadian with a great deal of interest in the health and well-being of the western Canadian grains industry, I am very anxious to pursue every conceivable possibility that will enhance the position of western Canadian grain farmers properly within the context of national public policy.,

The precise question he has asked in terms of labour relations and other issues affecting the west coast grain handling situation must be put within that broader national context of overall policy considerations with which the Minister of Human Resources Development, with his particular responsibility for labour, would be intensely involved.

The idea the hon. member suggests is not a new one. It has been proposed by others in western Canada from time to time, but at the present moment it is not under active consideration.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a further supplementary question. I am sure the minister does not want to see agricultural producers left twisting in the wind.

Previous governments have legislated an end, as the minister knows, to particular grain handling disputes on the west coast. Would the minister recommend similar action in this case and within what timeframe?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is helpful, in the context of the circumstances existing at the present time, to speculate about the proposition the hon. member has raised.

It is extremely important for us to urge the parties to assume their responsibilities, to get back to the bargaining table and to take full advantage of all mediation facilities that are being made available to them in the present circumstances by the Government of Canada.

They have a responsibility to resolve the dispute and to resolve it fast.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. During the election campaign, on October 1st, 1993, to be more precise, in an interview he gave to Le Téléjournal , the Prime Minister was asked if he would commit himself not to increase taxes for the next two years. The Prime Minister replied, and I quote: ``So, I want to be quite clear on this. There will be no tax increases''.

Can the Minister of Finance reaffirm the commitment made by the Prime Minister not to increase taxes for the next two years?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, is the hon. member telling us that his party does not want to eliminate tax loopholes? If that is the case, it would be totally contrary to what the finance critic of his party has told us.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I almost found myself having to answer a question, when it should be the opposite. So, I will ask my question again and suggest some alternatives.

Would the Minister of Finance not agree that instead of increasing taxes, we should implement the tax measures Jean-Robert Sansfaçon is suggesting in today's Le Devoir , namely a decrease from 80 per cent to 50 per cent of the deduction rate for meal and entertainment expenses and the same tax treatment for gambling and lottery winnings as for capital gains?

Would the Minister of Finance not agree that there are other measures besides tax increases that can be considered? Those measures are the kind the Bloc could support.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

First of all, Mr. Speaker, if I am helping him put his questions, it is just that I think our questions are better. We have more experience.

I have read the article the hon. member just quoted and I found it very interesting. I also find interesting the fact that, unlike the Reform Party, the hon. member believes that eliminating tax loopholes would really make the tax system more fair and equitable, and is not just another way to increase taxes. I am glad he is making this distinction, which the Reform members do not seem to be able to do.

PetitionsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

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

One of the few mechanisms which the Canadian public has for making direct input into the House of Commons is through the use of petitions. Yet petitions seem to be simply tabled here and left to collect dust. There is no mechanism whereby they can be debated or acted upon directly.

Would the government entertain the notion of further amending the standing orders so as to allow even for a one day debate on those petitions that enjoy a large degree of public support?

PetitionsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has made an interesting suggestion. I think it can be best dealt with by having it studied by the House procedure committee on which her party is represented. This would enable the idea to be explored further.

In the meantime opposition parties have opposition days during which they can debate subjects of their own choosing. Certainly it is open to the member's party to use one of its opposition days to discuss the subject matter of one or more petitions.

PetitionsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, surely some of these things are important to the government, not just the opposition ranks.

My supplementary question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Would she allow debate on just one petition pertaining to the credibility of Parliament and public trust in this particular institution, namely the petition that is currently circulating in the riding of Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville?

PetitionsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has called for this to be a matter of a change in the standing orders. As a first step I think the broad implications of having debates on petitions should be considered in the committee set up by the House for the purpose of considering such changes, and that is the House committee on procedure.

Property TaxesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board. In December 1992, the previous Conservative government froze the payment of all grants in lieu of taxes on federal lands and buildings, which of course caused a significant shortfall in revenues for municipalities across Canada.

Does the Minister intend to honour the promise made by his Prime Minister during the election campaign so that the federal government meets its obligations regarding payment of grants in lieu of taxes to local governments?

Property TaxesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of the concern that many municipal leaders have expressed. Having been one myself formerly I understand the issue involved here.

The matter is under review, as indeed the legislation is with respect to grants in lieu of taxes which comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. I hope we can have a further response before long for the member.

Property TaxesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary. Should we understand that the Minister is committed, on behalf of his government, to paying this year the full amount of grants in lieu of taxes owed to municipalities,

such as Montreal and Toronto, as any responsible property taxpayer should, thus leading by example?

Property TaxesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, we want to carry out our responsibilities with respect to grants in lieu of taxes right across the country.

We are looking at the matter, as I responded a few moments ago, and will be responding accordingly.

Elections ActOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

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

On Wednesday the Prime Minister said that he believed the restrictions on free speech contained in the contested gag law are compatible with democracy. He said that there are a lot of people who want to influence the outcome of an election but "do not have the guts to run for Parliament".

Why does the government believe that participation in the political process outside the party structure should be so severely restricted?

Elections ActOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada welcomes participation by every Canadian in the political process. The Government of Canada is concerned about the issue of paid advertising and paid activity which is a direct attempt to influence the electoral process.

In 1976 when the Government of Canada amended the Elections Act to put all political parties on a level playing field, it did so because it recognized that money should not be the tool to influence democracy.

The federal government believes that everybody should be on a level playing field. The level playing field should not simply restrict spending by political parties but there should be an open opportunity for everybody to participate, not to buy their way into influencing the election.

Elections ActOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Deputy Prime Minister. Political parties are not on an even footing and political parties have a financial advantage over private individuals in an election campaign.

Does the minister believe that Canadians should have to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to defend their right to freedom of expression during an election?

Elections ActOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, nobody is denying Canadians the right to free expression during an election.

The fact is that the Canada Elections Act requires that paid advertising by political parties be restricted. Indeed official agents of political parties are subject to fines and even jail terms of up to five years if they do not respect the advertising limitations.

All that the Liberal Party and the Government of Canada are asking is that when it comes to paid advertising the level playing field be preserved so that democracy can be preserved and no single big money private interest can buy its way into influencing the election process.

Armed Forces BandsOral Question Period

February 4th, 1994 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. We learned recently that the Department of National Defence spends more than $32 million a year for several military bands within the Canadian Forces. Given the terrible state of Canada's finances, does he consider it acceptable to spend $32 million on the bands of the Canadian Forces?

Armed Forces BandsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on a number of occasions I have said that in view of the party's commitment, as outlined in the red book, every aspect of our defence budget is under review. I hope when we make our pronouncements on changes in the defence budget, the hon. member and his party will support the government's action.

Armed Forces BandsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, to help his Minister of Finance who is desperately in need of money, is the minister ready to use the same reasoning in the case of the Canadian Forces bands as he did in the case of the RCMP marching band?

Armed Forces BandsOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I gave the answer earlier.

Is it a question that hon. members opposite are trying to denigrate our cultural heritage as we see it in the Canadian military with music and bands? I always thought that the hon. member's party was one that was very concerned about cultural

matters. Now they are showing they are not interested in Canadian culture. Military bands are very much part of Canada's culture and I hope they will continue to support them.