House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.


Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

St. Boniface Manitoba


Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on the renewal of the equalization program for the next five years, starting April 1, 1994, because I believe that this transfer program is among the most important. In a way, it makes our country unique, in that we are ready to share, albeit imperfectly, the wealth of all this great country.

According to the current provisions, equalization payments will grow from $8 billion in 1993-94 to $10.4 billion in 1998-99, that is, within five years. This is an average annual growth rate of more than 5 per cent. It is a very large growth rate, considering the financial situation we are in now.

What are we trying to do with this program? Well, quite simply, we are trying to establish a level of funding within Canada to provide services of comparable quality for all citizens. As I just said, it is an important program, although less than perfect, but it still succeeds in giving more to the provinces that have less.

We were just talking about national standards. I accept them provided that they are established with elected officials who meet and discuss possible objectives. Then the provinces should be allowed, not just allowed but asked, because some of them have a constitutional responsibility, to decide how they will achieve these objectives that were established in discussion, dialogue and co-operation with one another.

I find the following fact interesting. Are agreements like GATT or NAFTA not bilateral or multilateral standards? If I understood correctly, the program between the province of Quebec and the federal government was just being criticized. There is a flagrant contradiction in that. Clearly they are prepared to enter agreements with other countries involving dialogue, discussion and co-operation, but here, because we belong to the same country, they are not prepared to do so. I find that unfortunate and even unhealthy.

I believe that all Canadians, including Quebecers-note that I do not say Canadians and Quebecers; I say "all Canadians, including Quebecers"-derive significant benefit from this transfer program.

I was just indicating that this is one of the very important transfer programs because it attempts to ensure that all Canadians, whether they live in the territories, in Quebec, in my home province of Manitoba or wherever in this grand nation, receive comparable levels of service so that the quality of life for each Canadian is as even as possible and as like one another as possible.

It is not perfect but let us remember that it is an attempt to redistribute wealth so that we can have from our provincial governments and from other levels of government services that compare favourably with one another and that we do not have one part of the country so terribly disadvantaged that the basic essentials of life such as health, education and other services do not exist or have for all intents and purposes disappeared.

We want to remind each other that there are three provinces which give. That is often forgotten. The provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario redistribute some of their wealth to the seven other provinces. It is unfortunately something that is forgotten and probably something that is resented by certain citizens of those provinces on occasion. I would say generally speaking it is reasonably well accepted that those with more, even though it has been difficult, will share some of that extra.

It must be remembered as well that this is an unconditional transfer payment. In other words we do not really put conditions that it must be spent on such and such a program.

However it must be spent in such a way that the essential programs or those basic programs to citizens are maintained so that they enjoy as much as possible a quality of life as similar as possible to that of others in other jurisdictions.

I have heard today the ceiling and the floor criticized. Surely if we are going to be responsible we need to have a ceiling and a floor. We cannot simply pay out without any restrictions. We cannot simply let the bottom fall out without any restrictions.

I was really surprised that no one got up and applauded the government or said thanks for having come to its senses unlike the previous government. Five years of this particular program has been given so we can plan. We know what the ceiling is. We know what the floor is. Now we can make decisions much more easily on those programs that are under our jurisdiction, our responsibility. Perhaps that will happen before the debate is over. I am hoping it does.

Finally, we need to remind ourselves that if we did not have the program there would be a lot less equity, a lot less fairness. Some provinces would have a lot less than others. This gives us a sort of efficiency capacity, in other words being like one another in terms of providing basic essential services, of roughly 93 per cent as opposed to roughly 85 per cent if we did not have this.

It makes up a significant contribution to equalization of services to bring additional equity into the country in the services we offer our citizenry.

Let me make two final comments before I invite remarks. I want to read to Canadians and my colleagues here the kinds of moneys being transferred through this particular program during fiscal 1993-1994.

For example, we transferred $910 million to the Northwest Territories, $164 million to Prince Edward Island, $880 million to Nova Scotia, $895 million to New Brunswick, $3.739 billion to Quebec, $854 million to Manitoba and $522 million to Saskatchewan, for a total of nearly $8 billion in 1993-94.

This is a lot of dollars being redistributed for the benefit of citizens who happen to live in those particular provinces and in those two territories.

I believe this is the kind of program that makes Canada unique. It is the kind of program that takes, even in very difficult times such as the ones we are experiencing right now, from those who have more-the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario-and redistributes to those other seven provinces and the territories that have considerably less, relatively speaking.

I applaud the government for the five-year program, for the limitations that it has put in place, because it is good for long-term planning. It is wise management. I would hope we would put aside our political differences which need to exist for a moment at least to see how the program can serve Canadians and perhaps be improved.

I think that is what we should aim for today, tomorrow and beyond.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.


Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was impressed by how the hon. member for St. Boniface paid close attention when my colleague from the Bloc Quebecois made his speech.

I myself listened very carefully to his own speech, which the hon. member was kind enough to make in the two official languages, since he is fluent in both, and I thank him for doing that.

However, I would like to point out to him some nuances. For example, when the hon. member compares standards related to Canada's signing of an economic treaty such as NAFTA, it must be stressed that those are international standards. It seems to me that, in French, national and international standards are two different things.

NAFTA standards apply specifically to agreements on the economy, the environment and labour relations, among others things. I must admit here that I am not an expert on this treaty.

National standards, to the extent that they apply to this large country, aim at somehow putting all the provinces on an equal footing. It so happens that, out of the ten provinces in Canada, one claims to be different. What makes people and nations different is precisely their differences. You will understand, as will all the members in this House, I am sure, that when the federal government tries to impose standards in the education sector to Quebecers, our province, which defines itself as a state, and which will soon officially become one, must reject such national standards. I might add that the federal government has been trying to impose those standards for several decades.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, first I want to say that I appreciate the comments made by the hon. member. I agree with her first comment. Indeed there are major differences between national and international standards. However, the process is quite similar in that elected representatives sit down together to discuss issues and reach some agreement. The agreement is not imposed: it is negotiated. I do hope that the hon. member will recognize that other side of the coin. Of course, nothing can be perfect but this is not to say that there is no similarity, because there is some similarity.

The hon. member also said that the Canadian government imposes its decisions, but the Quebec government has also done the same on occasion, as well as the government for the Northwest Territories. It may be that we impose our views too often. But to claim that Canada constantly does that is unfair, insensitive and totally inappropriate.

I would like to make another comment. If, some day, Quebec does become an independent nation, then that new nation will decide how it will negotiate and decide whether it wants to deal with Canada. But this is not a fait accompli. Why not work within the existing structure? Why not consider that your party, which forms the Official Opposition, is there to represent all Canadians? I deplore the fact that this is often overlooked. We only talk about Quebec, Quebec and Quebec. I truly love Quebec. My ancestors came from Quebec. I have not forgotten my language nor my culture, but I have a responsibility, as the member for St. Boniface, to represent not only my constituents but also the rest of Canada. And that includes Quebec.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta


Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, in entering this debate on Bill C-3, an act to amend the federal-provincial fiscal arrangements, I want to focus on two things. First, I will make some comments on the bill and equalization and, second, look at equalization in other areas of governments in reference to the formula that we are establishing today.

The bill has two basic purposes. The first purpose is certainly to try to eliminate the disparities that may exist among the provinces. The second is to design a formula for the redistribution of federal taxes to these seven provinces; some $8 billion in the early stages and as we move to 1999 some $10.4 billion.

There are some positive aspects of the bill as I examined it. First, the bill does have the support of the provinces of Canada and that is significant in itself.

Those who have worked at official levels and at ministerial levels have worked it through. They have reached agreement with the provinces and the provinces support the equalization formula that is here and the basic concept. That is important as we as legislators pass this piece of legislation.

The bill is an attempt to reduce fiscal disparities among provinces. As my colleague from Calgary said earlier in the House, basically we as the Reform Party support that objective.

I look back at my own history as a legislator and think back to the 1960s when I entered the legislative assembly of Alberta. This program, as we all recognize, came into effect in 1957. It was in its early stages of maturity and understanding in the mid-1960s. I remember raising the question when I came into the legislature with the premier of the day, the Hon. Ernest Manning. I asked about the resources and the revenue of Alberta being distributed to the other provinces and on what basis we made that decision.

I recall the premier's comments very clearly at that time. He indicated to me that as a have province which has been blessed with natural resources, oil, gas, water and forestry, we have an obligation to help others not blessed with some of the same types of resources. That was the thinking of the fathers of fiscal arrangements with regard to equalization. I see in this bill the same type of thinking.

Another aspect that is positive about this bill is that the formula has a ceiling and a floor to protect the provinces from major revenue reductions and to protect the federal government at the same time from open ended growth in payments. There is also the tax back problem that is dealt with here in this legislation. That is positive in itself.

Still another aspect that is significant is that the payments are unconditional. When we transfer payments from the federal government to the provincial governments, and we expect it to bring about the most amount of equity possible, those dollars cannot have conditions on them. If they are targeted and have conditions on them, what we are going to do is build in another interface that will not allow for flexibility, priority setting and certainly the ability of the provinces to reflect the wishes and the needs of their respective electors.

On the other hand, as I look at this bill there are some concerns and questions I would raise. There are two questions. Can the federal government, under our present fiscal circumstances, afford to continue the current level of equalization transfers to the seven provinces? This House must answer that question.

It is more incumbent upon us than previous houses because we are faced with an upcoming budget. We are faced with a deficit, most likely in this new budget, of at least $38 billion dollars as I understand. In the current budget we are faced with $44 billion to $46 billion of deficit. We have an accumulated deficit of $500 billion and most likely if things continue as they are by the end of this 35th session the accumulated deficit could be $600 billion.

We must show respect for that. Our concern, as pointed out well by my colleague, is that we feel this is one of the areas where we should have reduced the cost of government and we called for a 10 per cent cut. That is a question that I raise in the House. The rest of the members should raise the very same one as we raise in the Reform Party.

The second question I want to raise is equally significant. Is there equality in the federal transfer payments to provinces beyond Bill C-3 which we are facing today? Is there equity built into other programs beyond Bill C-3?

I would again like to remind hon. members of the objectives of Bill C-3. The first objective is to transfer federal funds to the seven provinces to raise their per capita income to a representative sample of $4,800 on a per capita basis. The second objective, and this is from the material given to us in our briefing, set out by the government, is to enable provincial governments to provide their residents reasonable, comparable levels of public services at reasonable levels of taxation.

In other words, Bill C-3 is to create a level playing field across Canada. Every province has a somewhat equal opportunity to serve its electors with services that they need in terms of health, education and social services, supporting their highway structures, their infrastructures and so on.

It is to build in that level playing field. That is what we are doing with Bill C-3. I want to raise a point to put the government on notice, that when it moves into new program areas it keeps that understanding in mind. It is very important.

Government often forgets. I can give some personal experiences which I will in my remarks. We must think of the infrastructure program that we just announced to Canadians. We said in that infrastructure program that we would have a factor in there in terms of employment or unemployment that would allow some provinces to get more of the infrastructure dollars than others.

If we create equalization by Bill C-3, why then do we build that into the infrastructure program if it is not already there? We could look at retraining programs. One will find the very same thing.

I would like to look at a document that I received from the Privy Council just a few days ago. It is a good reference when I examine the question that I raised in this Parliament. This document is called "Federal-Provincial Programs and Activities: A Descriptive Inventory 1992-93". The Privy Council put it out as of November 1993. It is an up to date, current document that should be referenced.

How does one recommend it to all the members of Parliament? It is a document that I used many times as a leader of the opposition in the Alberta legislature to raise the question with the government at that time. I asked if it were receiving a fair share as Albertans from various federal programs. If one looks through the document one will find the answer to that question.

I would like to raise a couple of points. First there is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. I was one of the ministers from Alberta who negotiated Alberta's share of the moneys available through that program for housing in Alberta.

I remember sitting around the table and walking through those negotiations. I remember my attitude and it reflects on the question I raise here. My attitude at that time was that if some of the other provinces, the maritime provinces, Saskatchewan, or the Northwest Territories, required more funding to meet some of its social housing needs, I was prepared to be flexible, move on that and to give a portion of Alberta's moneys to them.

In other words I was saying because Alberta should have x per cent or whatever it is, 10 per cent or 11 per cent of the federal funding relative to our population, I was willing to give on that. I saw that there may be a need out there that needed to be met. There were less fortunate in terms of revenue than we were in the province of Alberta. I was willing to give.

As I look at this today relative to Bill C-3 and equalization, as a minister at that time I could have sat at the table and said equalization has occurred. We had a formula in place. Today we are putting through Bill C-3 hopefully to become legislation. We are going to put that in place.

Perhaps Alberta at that point in time should have received a percentage of the grant relative to its percentage of the Canadian population. Looking at the structure it does not quite work that way.

For example under the RRAP Newfoundland received $12 per capita, Alberta received $2.10 per capita, and Ontario received $1.85 per capita. The question is: After equity, should there have

been a $10 differential between Alberta and Newfoundland? Should the numbers have been skewed in that direction?

A second example is under transportation looking through the report I mentioned a few moments ago. Even under transportation there is disparity. For instance as noted in this report New Brunswick received $131.3 million under a program negotiated between 1987 to 1996 to do highway and transportation work. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Newfoundland received millions of dollars to improve their highways. Yet when we look at Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario on the list there are no dollars for those respective programs.

The question is: Did we create equity by the formula to begin with or not? If we did, should we be allocating special funding over and above? Should not all provinces and all residents of Canada be able to receive the same type of treatment if equalization is real and that we do not have to keep shoring it up by giving political funds or other kinds of funds at a later date?

Another example cited in the document is that some provinces receive additional money for health and education. Special dollars are allocated. Around $1 billion is provided for what are called the seven less prosperous provinces, the same seven provinces that are receiving moneys through equalization.

As legislators and as people who want to create fairness, we want fairness. When Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia say that the formula is fine and that they are receiving no benefits, they should raise the question: Are the benefits after that of other government programs allocated fairly across this nation? We should ask that question.

Looking back at my own political experience provincially I raised this once in a while but not in the same context. I often look at provincial treasurers and those who negotiate at the table as to whether they ask the same question. If we created equality with Bill C-3, why are the other funds not allocated from the Government of Canada done equally for all Canadians no matter where they live?

We should think about that in this assembly as we proceed to the budget in the third week of February and look at the new programs and raise the question: Are all Canadians no matter where they live going to receive equal treatment, have equal access? Will each province have some equality in the distribution of the funds of that budget? If that is so, then we have improved the circumstances and we have made a contribution.

I am not always sure going back in history whether parliamentarians or governments look at it on that basis. It was often allocated for political reasons. Often there was this misconception that equalization had not occurred so some more would be added to some of the provinces that are called the have not provinces of Canada.

With those remarks, we in the Reform Party in general support the concept of equalization. We are concerned about the dollar amount of $8 billion and that there was not some kind of reduction. Because of that we are not going to be voting for the bill. The other concern I have is the one I raised about continued equalization and fairness in other moneys that become available for us to distribute as parliamentarians.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


John Harvard Liberal Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of observations and a question. Maybe I can allude to the question and then go on to the observation.

I appreciated the remarks of the previous speaker with respect to this matter and especially Bill C-3. I want him to elaborate a little with respect to his comments on programs outside of the equalization program.

Perhaps I misunderstood him but the message I got was that the hon. member supported the notion of equalization within the ambit of what we call the equalization program. Then he began to raise questions about the notion of equalization as a principle as it pertains to other programs and he specifically mentioned a couple of programs. One in particular was the RRAP. If I recall correctly he pointed out that on a per capita basis Newfoundland was getting about $12, Alberta about $2, and Ontario even less.

It makes me wonder if he is saying that equalization is fine insofar as the large equalization program is concerned, but when it comes to specific programs, RRAP for example, that we should not consider equalization at all, that we should just throw it out the window. Also, if we use population as a basis Alberta will get whatever its share is according to population and Ontario the same and Manitoba the same. That is what I am beginning to wonder.

I do think that equalization as we understand it embodies the highest ideals of this country. It reflects our society, that being a caring and sharing one. It says we are one country. We are not two countries; we are one and everyone is going to be treated equally in so far as some of these basic programs are concerned.

As I listened to the previous speaker from the Bloc a few minutes ago I thought that it must be embarrassing for a separatist in this House to be participating in this kind of a debate. Embarrassing. In fact to participate would suggest that the participants are almost shameless because when we talk about equalization we are talking about the benefits of Canada, the benefits of the citizenship of the country. That is what equalization is about: As Canadians they are treated by their federal government with a particular standard of respect. It does not matter where they live, in Newfoundland, Alberta, Quebec or wherever, they are going to be treated with respect and with a certain touch of equality. Imagine the kind of embarrassment

those people must be feeling right now because they want to shove that all aside.

I want to get back to the previous speaker from the Reform Party because I want a little more clarity. I think the member understood my question. Is he suggesting more or less disregarding equalization outside of this program called equalization?

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta


Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

I want to make the statement I have made very clear to the hon. member who raises the question. The purpose of Bill C-3, and I read this verbatim out of notes from our briefing, "is to enable provincial governments to provide their residents reasonably comparable levels of public service at reasonable levels of taxation".

In other words Bill C-3 creates a level playing field across Canada. This bill provides that we will bring the per capita payment up to the standard of $4,800. Now that does not bring it up to 100 per cent but it brings it from 85 per cent to 93 per cent in terms of comparability. A group of factors have been taken into consideration to bring about this standard and to do the best in comparability.

If we have equalized the opportunity for Canadians in whatever community they live, whether it is Quebec, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia or Alberta or wherever it is, we have equalized it by Bill C-3. That is the starting point. Any programs allocated after that should not require an equalization consideration.

For example, housing through RRAP and if everything is equal, if it is $10 per capita in Newfoundland, then it should be $10 per capita in Alberta and $10 per capita in British Columbia or Saskatchewan or Quebec so that we should not have to consider it as much. However as we observe the distribution of federal funds in a variety of programs, and we even note it in the infrastructure program, we built a factor into that program that said it was still not quite equal in some of the provinces and that we had to consider the unemployment factor so those provinces receive more per capita.

That is really saying that our equity considerations were not working and that we still have to work on them and shore them up. I am saying let us be careful so we do not overdo that in the programs we design from this period of time on and in the programs which will be introduced in the budget which is coming up in February 1994 as well.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

It being 1.40 p.m. I do now leave the chair until 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(2).

(The House recessed at 1.40 p.m.)

The House resumed at 2 p.m.

Voyageur FestivalStatements By Members

1:40 p.m.


Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, from February 11 to 20, this year, the members of the community of St. Boniface will don their voyageur garb and welcome you to a great winter festival, one of the biggest in the world.

This year, the Voyageur Festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary and feature well-known Franco-Manitoban artists like Daniel Lavoie and Gérald Laroche, and also Marie-Denise Pelletier, Richard Séguin, La Bottine Souriante and many more.

There will be a host of popular shows and events featuring performers from all over the world. Come and see Voyageur Park, Fort Gibraltar, winter promenades and La Fourche, a historic park that showcases artifacts reflecting the rich heritage of the founding nations of Manitoba.

This year, more than ever, I am giving an open invitation to all my colleagues. I would like them to come to the Voyageur Festival and see that we have a dynamic and proud French-speaking community which knows how to celebrate its traditions and its contribution as well as those of the other founding peoples.

StarmaniaStatements By Members

1:40 p.m.


Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the name of all Quebecers and Canadians, I would like to congratulate Mr. Luc Plamondon and all those who made possible the remarkable success of Starmania , the rock musical.

At the ninth Victoires de la Musique award ceremony yesterday in Paris, the third Paris version of Starmania received the Victoire award for the best musical of the year. Most performers in that rock musical are Quebecers. Therefore, I think it would be appropriate to thank them most sincerely, in everybody's name, for the honour they bring us and for their contribution to the promotion of French language song.

This recognition by the large French public is reason enough to be proud of our artists and to increase our support of all cultural industries which contribute to Quebec's uniqueness.

Canadian Embassy In ChinaStatements By Members

1:40 p.m.


Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, a number of journalists have recently chronicled the financial boondoggle associated with the new Canadian embassy in Beijing, China.

From the lease of 1.3 hectares of prime swamp land in 1978 to the purchase of imported Utah grass and Canadian maple trees at a cost of $5 million in more recent times, Canadian taxpayers have seen this project go from $18 million to $79 million.

Now we all know the current government was not responsible for this spending nor should we believe it condones it. However Canadian taxpayers, like Roger Napier on Thetis Island in my constituency, would like some assurance that this type of chaotic spending will not occur again.

My constituents simply ask that the current government learn from the mistakes of past governments to prevent a repeat performance which we surely cannot afford.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Elijah Harper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, like many other First Nations people I was pleased to hear aboriginal self-government addressed in the throne speech.

The inherent right to self-government is a unique and special relationship between Canada's First Nations and the crown. The formal acknowledgement of self-government is a historic occasion even though it is just an acknowledgement of this right which has never been surrendered or extinguished.

In acknowledging the inherent right to self-government the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has announced to move to implement self-government.

I believe the government is finally honouring and respecting the unique positions of First Nations within Canada. I hope the first peoples will join me in saying yes to this renewed partnership.

The 1994 TankardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Gar Knutson Liberal Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the city of St. Thomas in my riding of Elgin-Norfolk will have the honour and privilege of hosting the Ontario 1994 provincial men's curling championships.

Known as the Tankard, this prestigious event brings together the very best curlers in Ontario and I am sure, the world. The Tankard runs until February 14 and I encourage all in the southern Ontario region to come to St. Thomas and witness this excellent event.

To the players: Great curling and may the best team win.

Moncton DepotStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


George S. Rideout Liberal Moncton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about the closure of the depot in my riding.

I want to thank the Minister of National Defence for giving the group from Moncton a chance to make their pitch to keep the depot.

Moncton has been hard hit with the closure of the CNR shops, the base and the loss of thousands of jobs. Therefore it is important that we maintain the depot in Moncton.

I believe the group got its points across. There is economic value in having the depot maintained in Moncton with its strategic location between Halifax and Gagetown.

I am sure the minister will take cognizance of all the information that was given to him, particularly the hard working labour force, the bilingual labour force and the efficient labour force that exists at that depot.

Fishing IndustryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, like many Canadians, I was shocked when I read in this morning's paper that the fisheries and oceans department is approving some travel expenditures in excess of $175,000 for two of its senior officials while the fisheries industry is battling very serious economic difficulties and lack of financial resources.

Since the application of the moratorium on northern cod fishing by the Fisheries and Oceans Department, thousands of workers and fishermen have no more job in the Atlantic region.

In such circumstances, some senior officials of the Department dare to organise a northern cod celebration and spend taxpayers' money when coastal communities have no idea yet what amount of financial assistance they will receive once the northern cod adjustment and recovery program ends on May 15, 1994.

That kind of unforgivable waste-

Fishing IndustryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but his time is up. The hon. member for Macleod has the floor.

International Gay And Lesbian AssociationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, last July the International Gay and Lesbian Association was endorsed by Canadian diplomats and granted consultative status in the UN. This group included North American Man Boy Love Association representatives who openly promote adult-child sexual relations.

In response to questions directed to Canada's foreign affairs department as to how this could happen, it said that groups applying for consultative status do not have to identify the nature or purpose of their organization.

Now that we know who our diplomats voted for, I call on the department to reverse this consultative status forthwith and to ensure that anyone promoting adult-child sex does not receive any endorsement whatsoever from the Government of Canada.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bob Wood Liberal Nipissing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to relay to the finance minister a few of the concerns regarding the possible content of the upcoming budget which have been expressed to me by many of my constituents.

Many people in Nipissing feel it would be unfair for this government to lower the maximum contribution which individuals may place in registered retirement savings plans. Many of these people are self-employed with no access to corporate pension plans, making RRSPs their primary retirement investment mechanism.

Furthermore, I would like to encourage the finance minister to extend the RRSP home buyers plan which will expire this month. Approximately 200,000 homes across Canada have been purchased through this plan, contributing of course millions of dollars to local economies.

I realize the minister faces many difficult choices in making his budget, but it is my hope that he considers some of the suggestions which have been brought forward today when doing so.

Child Support PaymentsStatements By Members

February 8th, 1994 / 2:10 p.m.


Morris Bodnar Liberal Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

Mr. Speaker, several of my constituents have brought to my attention their concerns that there is a grave problem with the taxation of child support payments.

Child support is paid for the benefit of the children, not the custodial parent. According to statistics, 60 per cent of single parent families live below the poverty line. Child support does not cover the cost of raising a child. However, for income tax purposes child support is considered part of the income of the custodial parent as opposed to the income of the contributing parent.

Therefore, I call upon the ministers of finance and national revenue to review this problem, to find a solution that will create greater equity between the custodial and contributing parents.

Small BusinessStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Herb Dhaliwal Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, as our government is demonstrating the interests of small businesses are central to the Liberal strategy for economic revitalization. I commend the Minister of National Revenue for the work his department has done with Bill C-2. Once enacted this initiative will go far to reduce the excess paper burden on small business owners.

In keeping with our concern for small businesses, I would make one further recommendation for the consideration of members of this House on another small business concern.

Under the last government, remittance of payroll deductions for small and medium sized businesses were increased from once a month to twice a month. The result of this change in the process of payroll deductions has been to place an extra and unnecessary burden of time and paperwork on an already overburdened small business sector.

I am confident that with initiatives like Bill C-2 and a review of the frequency of payroll remittance we will be able to free small and medium sized business owners from the burden of paperwork which will allow them to spend more time doing what they do best, running their businesses.

Tv ViolenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, we heard that the president of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission had met several officials to discuss the issue of violence on television.

We of the Bloc support this kind of initiative since we can all witness the shameful show of pointless violence, especially on popular American TV series.

The Bloc members support all incentives to producers, aimed at reducing the level of violence in TV programs, as well as stricter regulation of the broadcasting industry.

Challenger FleetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I read in the newspaper yesterday that the government is considering selling most of its fleet of 16 Challenger jets. I certainly want to encourage the government to follow through on this positive impulse.

The article said that the Challenger fleet cost taxpayers $54 million last year, and the selling of these jets is a move that would certainly be applauded by Canadian taxpayers.

I applaud the Prime Minister for this decision. I am very glad to see the government is prepared to respond positively to constructive public pressure and to constructive input from this side of the House.

Canadian taxpayers eagerly await the official announcement that the Challengers will be sold.

TradeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise to raise concerns with respect to the free trade agreement with the United States. That is the continued use by the United States of its export enhancement program, specifically with respect to agricultural exports impacting on Canadian farmers and Canadian markets.

The U.S. is currently providing an export subsidy under the EEP of $3 to $40 per tonne into Mexico and of $65 per tonne into China.

Article 701(4) of the CUSFTA states the United States is obligated to take into consideration the negative impact its export subsidies will have upon Canadian exporters of agricultural products into a third country.

The United States is failing now and has failed repeatedly to respect this provision. This is unacceptable.

It is time for the federal government to call for a formal binational dispute settlement panel to examine the issue and determine the extent of the injury caused to Canadian farmers and force the U.S. to cease the use of EEP.

Vyrt SissonStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that a volunteer helps others, but Vyrt Sisson, a new retiree with an impressive record of service in the Brantford area has turned the tables and is helping volunteers.

Mr. Sisson has opened The Office at the YM-YWCA. This provides a place where retired or displaced business people have an office environment available to them to facilitate their work for volunteer organizations. So much more can be accomplished with the right equipment and atmosphere. Networking, co-operation, camaraderie; that is a great combination.

Leading by example has always been Mr. Sisson's style but this novel idea shows the impact one individual can have on a community.

I am bringing this to your attention because Mr. Sisson is a fine example of volunteerism in Brant.

Sherri McLaughlinStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the early evening of September 13, 1993 a young woman, Miss Sherri McLaughlin, went missing in a Kamloops, British Columbia suburb. The only evidence of foul play was discovered within hours and included a bicycle which had been run over by a vehicle along with her abandoned backpack.

Since then in spite of a comprehensive and thorough investigation virtually no useful evidence has been uncovered regarding her whereabouts and what happened that fateful evening.

What happened that evening remains a mystery. She disappeared and the authorities are desperately seeking for new clues.

The people of Kamloops ask the people of Canada to join with them and assist them in any way to find out what happened to Sherri McLaughlin on that fateful evening. They ask the Government of Canada to take whatever steps necessary to make our communities safer.