House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.


The BudgetGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to preface my remarks in my first address in this House by offering my own congratulates to our Speaker and our Deputy Speakers for the even-handedness in the way that they have conducted the interventions in this House.

We are witnessing a new civility and decorum in this place rarely witnessed in recent memory. I think all members, regardless of their politics, are showing Canadians that serious discussion, debate and, yes, some disagreement can take place with respect and honour.

I want to take a few moments to reflect on my riding and the wonderful people who elected me as their representative and voice in Ottawa.

My riding of Huron-Bruce is situated on the easterly shore of Lake Huron. It is a riding that consists of the entire county of Huron in the southerly half of the county of Bruce.

It stretches from Grand Bend in the south to Southampton in the north. This beautiful riding includes towns and villages such as Kerkton, Dublin, Teeswater and Zurich, and on the far easterly boundary, Paisley. My riding constitutes 43 municipalities in total.

It is without doubt one of the most truly rural agricultural ridings in Canada. It is decisively agricultural in its base, with pork, beef, dairy and poultry all being produced in great numbers.

The climate is also well suited for beans, navy beans and other cereal grains including canola. I would also like to mention that my hometown of Zurich boasts being the bean capital of Canada. While the town of Goderich boasts being Canada's prettiest town it is also the manufacturing base of Champion road graders which builds graders and other road building equipment. I am glad to see some of that equipment on the streets of Ottawa. Farther to the north of Lake Huron we have the Bruce nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear generation plant in the world.

Among notable Canadians to have come from my area of Huron-Bruce, Paul Henderson in 1972 scored what proved to be the winning goal and made world history in the Canada-Russia summit series.

Timothy Eaton, upon immigrating to Canada, established his earliest roots in Usborne township in the southeast area of my riding.

Kipple Disney, the grandfather of the famous Walt Disney, settled on the family farm in Bluevale. This is where Elias, Walt's father, was born and later went to central school in Goderich.

Most recently we were made proud when another famous person from my riding, Lloyd Eisler from Seaforth, or as he would like it to be known, Egmondville, the suburb, and his partner Isabelle Brasseur from the riding of Richmond-Wolfe won a bronze medal in the 17th Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

To all those people who worked and voted for me in Huron-Bruce I offer my sincere appreciation and gratitude. Their friendship and encouragement are reward enough for a task that at times seems impossible.

Most important in my life has been my family, my wife Kathy and our two sons, Cam and Brian, their wives Kathy and Bonnie and our two grandsons, Brent and Shawn. They have all supported me in my efforts to come here and they have also given me great encouragement in the many years I served in municipal politics. Thank you for your love.

This being the year of the family causes me to reflect in the directions we take as we determine social policies for the country. My view, which I think is shared by many hon. members, particularly my hon. colleague from Central Nova, is that life is sacred from conception to natural death. This view will obviously give cause for some difference of opinion. I welcome the opportunity to debate and address this and other issues in this place of democracy.

Prior to the election, Canadians had lost confidence in their political representatives and the institutions in which they served. I believe we as the new government have begun to reverse this opinion and return people's trust and confidence in us as members of Parliament.

During the election the public had some clear choices before it, parties with very different policies and ideas. We as Liberals believe that the people should know exactly what they were voting for and that is why we put our policies in our famous red book.

Canadians overwhelmingly chose to support our party and, most important, our policies. This is where the confidence factor comes in. What better way to improve Canadians' confidence toward politicians than to give them exactly what we promised and ran on in the election?-not exactly a new idea, but one that has been forgotten for some time.

People's confidence is essential if we as a government hope to be successful in making the necessary reforms to a whole host of policy areas from social security to foreign affairs and defence.

Confidence in Canadian institutions has also increased due to the unprecedented level of consultation and open debate that occurred on recent peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and cruise missile testing discussions in northern Canada. This open consultation has also shown that this place does serve as a forum for constructive debate on matters of national interest.

These changes are just the beginning and I look forward to future debates and changes that will further improve our representative role.

If we look at the budget that the hon. Minister of Finance presented last month we see that the commitments made in the red book are almost kept item by item. If I look at page 111 of the book I cannot find anything that has not been acted upon.

As I have told my constituents, the contents of the budget should come as no surprise to anyone. This most of all will increase the people's trust in their representatives. I am also proud of this budget and have absolutely no problem with defending it and selling it to my constituents. It is a balanced, far reaching budget that lays the groundwork for future reform on improvement to programs and services.

In my riding over the last couple of weeks I have spoken with a great many people and have conducted several media interviews. In all instances people had a positive opinion of the budget. What I think people like about this budget is that it is realistic. People were tired of budgets that promised the impossible and then failed to deliver. It is realistic in terms of deficit reduction, economic projections and job creation.

What we did was lay out before the people the serious financial problems of the country which included a deficit that has skyrocketed to $45 billion, far more than what was expected.

We as Liberals believe in getting our fiscal house in order and that is why the minister has put forth a budget that over three years attains a ratio five to one in terms of spending cuts to revenue increases. This sets us well on our way to meet the deficit target of 3 per cent GDP in three years; again, something which was in the red book and is what Canadians supported.

To those who would say that we have not gone far enough, I want to say that we are not going to abandon those in need or risk spiralling back into recession by cutting and chopping, spending wildly or giving no thought to the consequences at a time when 1.6 million people are unemployed, when welfare rolls are skyrocketing and child poverty is up 30 per cent. It is not the time to abandon these people.

Those people who argue for deeper cuts forget that we did not get into this situation overnight and it will take time and a great deal of fairness and compassion to get out of it. These people forget that they were not on a different planet during the time of deficit spending. They voted and supported governments and benefited from the spending just like we all did.

We must now not take radical approaches but take a balanced approach that emphasizes building a framework for economic growth, restoring fiscal balance and creating jobs.

This budget pursues job creation, not in the old ways in which government provided the jobs, but in a way that produces the climate and provides business with the tools to create the jobs.

I also want to point out that the government wanted to invest in the infrastructure of this country, an investment that will enable Canada to stay competitive in this time of increased globalization. This will create approximately 50,000 to 60,000 jobs.

The minister has listened to Canadians who said that they wanted deficit reduction without tax increases. They wanted a beginning to policy reform without drastic cuts to programs for the most needy. They wanted job creation. They wanted a constant, systematic decline in the deficit. They wanted investment in R and D. They wanted economic renewal and revitalization, and they wanted a fair and more equitable tax system.

This is the budget we delivered and it is the one that I am proud to support.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to not only express my dissatisfaction over the budget that the finance minister introduced on February 22, but moreover I want to state for the record the dissatisfaction of my constituents in the riding of New Westminster-Burnaby.

A measure of opinion was expressed to me publicly in a recent town hall meeting. It was specifically called to discuss the budget and the fiscal priorities for the nation. I took the public risk and advertised very widely for an old-fashioned town hall meeting in which any constituent could express himself or herself on the budget in front of their own community. The meeting went for over two hours and I listened to the line-up of speakers who came to the open microphone.

Government ministers should have been there for they would have heard that the Liberals have no political mandate to do what they are doing in this budget. I did not hear a positive thing said with regard to this budget except a relief that the government did not announce massive new spending on grand, misguided schemes. Most complained that there was no long term job creation in this budget. The budget did not inspire hope.

The election was a mandate for change. What the country got in this budget was just more of the same.

There was a promise in the budget to fix sewers and repair old roads. Suffice it to say these are not long term jobs to put us on the international cutting edge.

In the budget the finance minister withdrew the government's support for the KAON particle accelerator project in British Columbia. I suppose it is more important to pave old roads than to keep Canada at the competitive forefront of science and technology.

I can remember back in the election campaign when the Liberals promised Canadians jobs and hope for change. When in opposition, the Liberals decried that the Conservative government had let the unemployment rate rise to 11.2 per cent. The red book, which now looks like the Liberal red ink book, promised to put Canadians back to work and decrease the unemployment rate.

When the unemployed of New Westminster-Burnaby watched the budget presentation on TV they were expecting, and I repeat expecting, that the finance minister would give them a job or at least the hope for one and provide a plan to slash the rate of unemployment.

In his ultimate prediction the Minister of Finance did predict a lower unemployment rate, a walloping .1 per cent. Canadians from coast to coast could not believe what they heard: .1 per cent. Unbelievable for a party that spent the entire campaign promising jobs. We all heard it: "We have the plan, we have the team, trust us".

The Minister of Finance wants us to believe that next year is when more jobs will occur and that is when we will see an improvement in the economy. The mandate for this election was crystal clear. It was to change, to drastically reduce spending, to go in a new direction and thus spur on the economy. The mandate was not to shuffle a few things and hope that the economy would turn around on its own.

The people in New Westminster-Burnaby know that in our present predicament high taxes, the high spending of this budget and high unemployment are directly linked.

The government needs to go on a diet. For starters it should have put a cap on all federal spending at $153 billion bringing the deficit to $27.8 billion rather than the predicted $39.7 billion. This would have been a modest broadly based goal that would have sent the right message to the international markets where we are ultimately judged.

Instead of making an effort to lower federal spending, the government raises it by $3.3 billion to $163.6 billion from $160.3 billion just the year before.

If the finance minister had done nothing at all the federal deficit for 1994-95 would have been $41.2 billion. However, since it is mandatory for the government to introduce a budget, the minister put on his new footwear and lowered the deficit by a mere $1.5 billion.

Folks in New Westminster-Burnaby wonder how federal spending can be so high. I will zero in. Some of my responsibility is in the field of justice and legal affairs. I will comment on some of the spending in that area.

The continued funding for special groups is incredible. For example the Law Reform Commission which was reinstated in this budget had previous expenditures of $4.8 million in 1992-93, $4.9 million in 1991-92 and $5 million in 1990-91. All of this is for an unaccountable organization of academics who turned out obscure reports that were mostly forgotten the day after they were published.

The taxpayers are going to foot the bill for this Liberal academic think tank. It will clothe itself with credentials in the appearance of political neutrality while preaching Liberal dogma. Political parties have their own funding from their supporters. Now the taxpayers are going to fund a Liberal think tank. This is old Canada thinking of the Pearson-Trudeau era. We should support the legitimate academics in our universities to do research on legal public policy. We do not need the social engineering of a reconstituted Law Reform Commission.

Another example of waste is that of the court challenges program. The actual expense of this program for 1992-93 was $1.06 million. In 1993-94 the forecast was $1.26 million. For 1994-95 the main estimates show it will be allowed to use $3.35 million. What a retirement plan for lawyers, well the Liberal lawyers anyway who might get the retainers.

If I sound cynical it is because I watch from here and see it is business as usual, old Canada thinking from yesterday's leader who peddles an outdated budget philosophy ill-suited for the new world economy.

The court challenges program was initially introduced in 1978 to fund individuals who brought forward constitutional cases based on equality and language rights. It was expanded in 1982 for the new charter arguments.

The scope of the program has changed dramatically. It now serves as a taxpayer supported platform for radical feminists, the gay-lesbian agenda and other social engineering groups who want to revise the political landscape via the back door of the

court rather than obtain a mandate for their changes at the ballot box.

The appointments to the selection committee for this program will be suspect and most financially burdensome as there will be no market forces to moderate who gets what. If a case is worth fighting to the Supreme Court of Canada the people of Canada will voluntarily support it. If it cannot fly in the marketplace of ideas in the community, then it should not proceed to court.

I also hear now that salary increments are frozen for the RCMP which is causing an internal uproar. Yet the government is committing millions for court challenges and a commission. What does this say about the priorities of this government? Our economy is in a tenuous state.

The government should have realized that the first cuts to be made should have been to the special interest groups. The National Action Committee on the Status of Women has regularly received $300,000 since 1991 with the exception of last year when it received $270,000. The government gives this group over $250,000 and then the group complains that it is not enough.

By cutting off all spending to every special interest lobby group the government would eliminate two problems. One, it would reduce a substantial part of federal expenditures. Two, it would eliminate the bickering and rivalry that goes on among groups if the government cuts part of their budget. It would stop the divisiveness in our communities.

For Canada the international community is holding its breath and has given the government a short term breather. I am not so optimistic that the Liberals can or will deliver later. Reformers have asked for a minibudget in the fall to stave off what is now starting to happen, especially with those in the area of more liquid assets.

Investors are increasingly betting against Canada and money is going offshore. That trend will continue at a steeper rate until it will actually develop into what is commonly known as a run on the dollar.

Right now Canada is draining its gold and foreign reserves to buy up Canadian dollars on the international market just to keep the price from falling too fast. It is the old law of supply and demand. The problem is that Canada does not have the deep pockets to keep up this defence for any sustained period.

The old standard advantages of political stability and a prospect for reasonable return may not stay in place for Canada. When one places the political instability of Quebec along with the general fiscal malaise we are due for a major shock from offshore.

If we do not straighten ourselves out then the international community will do it for us in blunt, brutal terms. The best predictor for future performance is past behaviour. At least since 1984 the world community has listened to Canadian governments promise time after time to deal with deficits and proportional taxation levels. Then they see a stay the course budget delivered time after time.

The prescription is that we must now run consistent balanced budgets for a number of years because of where we have been economically in the past few years. The cure is known but it takes courage to act. The overweight needs a crash diet to bring us back to health. The pain must be shared equally by all.

The first dramatic steps need to be done with Parliament Hill operations and general spending at the top for a leadership by example package.

Currently the burden is not equally shared. Eighteen new spending programs for ideological reasons are outlined in this budget. Debt charges are underestimated, a very risky forecast. The international capital markets are waiting until this fall but not much longer.

Parliament is where government comes to the people to get permission to tax and spend. This House bears the responsibility for the financial consequences of this nation. It is up to members to decide to take action.

Those in the Reform camp, those who are indeed in touch with their communities, have heard the people speak and have made a start. However, there must be 100 ways for members who are not Reformers to apply pressure against those stuck in yesterday's old Canada thinking. To put it in psychological terms, spending behaviour reveals inner character.

Let it be said right now that where there is conviction let there be the courage to act. If we believe in what we do we can journey to the new Canada where equality is our standard and compassion is our principle, where humility is our manner and truth is what we say.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


David Berger Liberal Saint-Henri—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I commend the member on his speech. At the same time however I would like to ask him to perhaps go back and check his arithmetic.

He criticizes the rather modest expenditure the government is undertaking in re-establishing the Law Reform Commission, but criticizes the rather sensible decision the government made about the KAON factory. The hon. member should know that the KAON factory would cost the Canadian taxpayers in excess of $200 million a year in capital and operating costs.

Given that extremely high cost and the futuristic nature of the science involved, the government's advisory councils made a recommendation. The National Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Science Council of Canada and a committee of the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology appointed by the previous Prime Minister unanimously recommended this expenditure could not be justified given the country's priorities with respect to science

and technology and the current levels of science and technology spending and the other needs we have.

The hon. member also failed to mention in his speech that this government has committed in this budget substantial resources to implement the red book commitments for example to upgrade the industrial research assistance program and create a Canadian technology network. There are very important expenditures on the diffusion of technology.

That will benefit the many small and medium sized businesses which really comprise the Canadian economy. Canada has a small firm economy and that is where the efforts of this government have been directed.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, it comes down to a matter of opinion concerning basic government priorities. I talked about how spending behaviour reveals inner character and a person's underlying philosophy.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being two o'clock p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to statements by members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Women In Arts And CultureStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to the many Canadian women who have made significant contributions in the field of arts and culture. Arts and culture have made a real impact on the continuing development of Canada's social fabric, as well as on our economic growth as a country.

I am truly inspired by extraordinary performers like Karen Kain, by authors like Margaret Laurence and by artists like Keterina Mertikas.

I am proud of women in my riding like Linda Schuyler who recently received the 1994 Order of Canada for her outstanding contribution to the media. Ms. Schuyler is most notably known as the executive producer and series creator of the acclaimed television series "The Kids of Degrassi Street".

Virginia Little is the musical director for the Little String Orchestra in Brantford. Recently Ms. Little was selected Arts Citizen of the Year by the Brantford Regional Arts Council.

As performers, entrepreneurs and volunteers Canadian women are making their mark in the world of arts and culture. My congratulations and thanks to them all.

Job CreationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Fondation de l'entrepreneurship has just launched a new initiative called ``A quarantine for employment''. The foundation has teamed up with a number of regional organizations in order to generate local initiatives of job creation. The Défi Emplois program of the foundation will try to have some input in every community in order to facilitate the emergence of new job-creating businesses.

I wish to congratulate the Mouvement Desjardins for putting network of credit unions at the disposal of the foundation in order to support the Défi Emplois program. We must pay tribute to the social involvement of the Mouvement Desjardins which, beside this program, is involved in Forum pour l'emploi , Qualité Québec and the Desjardins Chair for the Development of Small Communities.

It is too bad this government does not show the same enthusiasm in proposing job creation measures for Quebec and Canada.

Father Albert LacombeStatements By Members

2 p.m.


John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the anniversary of the birth of Father Albert LaCombe, born on February 28, 1827.

Father LaCombe migrated from his native community of St. Sulpice in the province of Quebec to found the settlement of St. Albert in 1861 and several other missions in the province of Alberta such as St. Paul de Cris.

He worked with the native Indians of Alberta, the Cree and the Blackfoot. His efforts led to the peaceful acceptance of the building of the CPR. During the 1885 Louis Riel rebellion he acted as a calming influence in the region. He was also an adviser on the negotiations of Treaty No. 8.

Father LaCombe was also an accomplished linguist. He wrote a dictionary and a grammar book of the Cree language and he translated the Scriptures into native languages.

In conclusion, I wish to recognize Father LaCombe as a great Albertan and a great Canadian.

TibetStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the 35th anniversary of the uprising of the Tibetan people against the Chinese occupation of their small peaceful country.

Each year I have risen in the House on this date asking our government to protest with the Chinese government the massive violation of human rights in Tibet, the destruction of its environment, and the denial of its self-determination.

During the past year political arrests have risen by 30 per cent and have included children and Tibetan nuns.

Yesterday China was once again successful in having the United Nations put aside the resolution criticizing its human rights record. That is a tragedy.

The people of Tibet have always pursued a non-violent approach in dealing with this issue. In 1989 the Dalai lama won the Nobel peace prize.

I hope that this matter will be positively dealt with in the government's review of foreign policy. Human rights abuses in Tibet and elsewhere cannot be ignored.

Prostitutes AnonymousStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Anna Terrana Liberal Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are many success stories among women but some are more touching than others.

Paige was a prostitute sexually abused at a young age. In spite of trying to get into a normal lifestyle she ended up on the streets and became more and more involved in drugs to the point of having seizures when she was clean.

After many years of prostitution Paige had the good fortune of learning of a woman who started Prostitutes Anonymous. This fortunate turn of events helped Paige start on her difficult road to recovery.

Battered women's shelters, drug and alcohol centres and recovery houses became Paige's new environment. In 1991 Paige started Prostitutes Anonymous in B.C. She is now a member of an ad hoc citizens' committee of elected women helping women.

Last week I participated in my first committee meeting. I met Paige and also Cindy-Lou. These women are only two of many who fortunately were able to get out of prostitution. Paige needs help in her task. Transition houses are crucial to give prostitutes a chance.

In this International Women's Week I rise to pay tribute to a young woman who went against all odds and won.

Quebec Week For The Developmentally HandicappedStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Raymond Lavigne Liberal Verdun—Saint-Paul, QC

Mr. Speaker, next week from March 13 to March 19 will be the Quebec week for the developmentally handicapped, during which traditionally, parents, friends, caregivers and persons who are developmentally handicapped organize various activities throughout the province, to make the public more aware of the experiences of the developmentally handicapped and their families.

I would urge members from Quebec and other provinces as well to take part in the week's activities under the theme: My family accepts me-do you?

This being the International Year of the Family, I want to thank all the people in Verdun-Saint-Paul and especially the "Droit de Vivre" group of volunteers who work with the developmentally handicapped who are living with their families.

PovertyStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Laurent Lavigne Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently, the Assemblée des évêques du Québec met with a group of influential people to discuss ways to deal with the ever widening poverty gap which is causing more and more damage and suffering in our society.

The proposals developed by this group of experts echo the pressing demands submitted by many groups and organizations to a government that still refuses to listen.

Mr. Speaker, poverty is not just a statistic. It has a face, that of men and women who suffer and try to recover their dignity in any way they can.

The Bloc Quebecois supports this initiative and intends to make sure that the recommendations of this group of experts is not ignored by this government.

Capital PunishmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, in February newspapers reported that the Solicitor General promised sweeping reforms to the National Parole Board following the investigation into the release of Robert Leech, a convicted rapist sentenced to life imprisonment in 1972, whose subsequent parole resulted in the sadistic murder of Jewel Gamble in Regina in 1992.

Now that Mr. Leech has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the second time, we all wonder what steps the government

will take to ensure Mr. Leech never gets out of jail to rape and kill again. If Mr. Leech hoodwinks the parole system again, will he be released into our neighbourhood?

Considering the fact that national polls consistently indicate the majority of Canadians support a binding referendum on the reintroduction of capital punishment, I beg on behalf of this silenced majority that the government introduce legislation giving voters what they want, a binding vote on capital punishment.

Social ProgramsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, hunger and poverty are very real problems in Atlantic Canada. The Metro Food Bank Society of Halifax-Dartmouth has recently released a comprehensive survey of food bank users in the metro area. This survey serves as a sombre reminder of the often forgotten members of our society.

It found that food bank clients receive incomes far below the poverty line; 94 per cent have incomes of less than $1,000 a month. For the few who have incomes of slightly more than $1,000 a month, most have households of four or more persons. Forty-four per cent of food bank clients experience days when they go without food. Many of these are parents who go without food to ensure that their children have enough to eat.

Here is proof that our social programs are not working. Here is proof of the real need for reform.

Child CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, we must ensure that the needs of self-employed women get as much consideration in tax laws as those of self-employed men.

The number of women in the workforce with children younger than school age has risen to 68 per cent. The majority of these women are working or running a business full time and cannot claim child care expenses as a business expense.

Child care is an important family support service and an integral part of society's ability to sustain a broader income. Because women are the parents whose careers are still most affected by child care responsibilities, the inclusion of child care expenses as a business expense would certainly give women more incentive to further develop their entrepreneurial skills and ingenuity.

Surely child care is more of a true business expense than country club memberships, seasons tickets to a sporting event or the rental of a luxury car.

During this International Women's Week, I join with the Canadian Farm Women's Network, my constituents and, in particular, the women of London-Middlesex in urging the government to consider legislation that would allow the deduction of child care expenses as a business expense.

Archbishop Of SarajevoStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, Monseigneur Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo, is with us here today.

After 22 months of living under siege in Sarajevo, Monseigneur Puljic received permission from UNPROFOR on Sunday to leave the war torn capital of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Monseigneur Puljic has long been an outspoken advocate of a just and peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina and a harmonious co-existence between all of its peoples.

Despite the threat to his personal safety, the Archbishop remained in Sarajevo to oversee the distribution of desperately needed humanitarian aid to all citizens in need.

I would like to welcome Monseigneur Puljic in Croatian as well.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have been in office barely four months, but the new government is already showing its true colours. Elected on the strength of a program borrowed from the NDP, they are now resorting to the practices and policies of right-wing conservatives to govern the country.

When the time came to translate the red book into a budget, we see that it was not the corporations or the wealthy families who were enlisted to help fight the deficit, but rather the least fortunate, including the unemployed. The eagerly awaited, much-ballyhooed GST reform will be a camouflage operation aimed at hiding the tax in the overall price, meaning that it will apply to all goods, including food.

The Liberals speak of strengthening the social fabric of the country. Instead, they are dividing society. Retired persons are being asked to sacrifice their pensions for youth training programs.

Now we are seeing the true face of the Liberals. Their election facade has crumbled.

BilingualismStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard much from the government about a new integrity in politics. The Prime Minister recently stood in this House and refused to speak strongly about the Leader of the Opposition's promoting separatism abroad. Instead, we have heard the government condemn my party for being against bilingualism.

I rise today to appeal to all members of this House to stop the name calling and deal with the facts. The facts are that we are for individual and regional bilingualism. What we are against is the Official Languages Act and the ridiculous cost it has created.

The government member has asked us to provide accurate costs. We tried to get these costs but his government will not provide them because it does not know what they are. Research estimates the direct and indirect costs at between $2 billion and $4 billion a year.

I challenge the government to provide us with the real costs and open the debate up in this House on this issue.

Fisherwomen Of Newfoundland And LabradorStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate International Women's Week I would like to draw the attention of this House to a unique group of women comprised of the fisherwomen of Newfoundland and Labrador.

While we often talk about the men who earn a living from the sea, the lives of women who fish for a living are almost forgotten. These brave souls face the cold ocean day in and day out to help support their families. In the fishing boat everybody is equal.

In these days of declining fishery activity there is a difficult job to be done and the fisherwomen of Newfoundland and Labrador have proven they are up to the task. Their efforts are a great part of the Newfoundland culture. During International Women's Week their spirit and determination should be applauded.

International Women's WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today on the occasion of International Women's Week to invite all members to join me in honouring those women who have offered their services to their relative communities as volunteers.

We will find them in the slums of Third World countries and in the community centre next door. We will find stories of their courage and dedication in the history books and in today's newspapers. We will find them performing singular acts of voluntary courage for their community and we will find them dedicating years of service through unending commitment to various causes.

Women have courageously and selflessly volunteered their services to their respective communities throughout history in a variety of ways.

International Women's Week has given us the opportunity to ponder the achievements of women throughout the world. A week long recognition of these achievements would not be complete without mentioning the efforts which women have made to serve their communities as volunteers.

I call upon all members of this House to join me in recognizing the years of dedication and service which women have contributed to their communities throughout the world.

Unemployment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jag Bhaduria Liberal Markham—Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of this House an issue that I trust all hon. members will support.

Michelle and David Gebe, two constituents in my riding of Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville, became the proud parents of a baby girl, Erin-Denise, on February 10. They became parents through the adoption process monitored by Ontario Social Services. This is indeed a joyous occasion for Mr. and Mrs. Gebe.

Unfortunately, they have run into a major roadblock trying to obtain maternity benefits through the unemployment insurance program. As adoptive parents, they are only eligible to receive 10 weeks of UI benefits as opposed to up to 30 weeks of benefits that a birth mother can obtain.

I humbly call upon the government to investigate the obvious discrepancies in the unemployment insurance legislation and to rectify this problem. Adoptive parents such as David and Michelle should be supported and rewarded by the federal government. They need our assistance.

Old Age SecurityOral Question Period

March 10th, 1994 / 2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec


Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Prime Minister.

We are gradually getting a better idea of the government's real plans for changing our social programs. Yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources Development confirmed that he wanted to review old age security programs. However, during the election campaign, the Leader of the Liberal Party strongly condemned the Reform Party's plans to cut old age pensions and said that it was not something he would recommend.

Why does the Prime Minister feel that cutting old age pensions is advisable today, while that was not the case just before he went to the polls? Why is he coming down hard on senior citizens today and why has he reneged on his commitment to leave old age pensions intact?

Old Age SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec


Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said it before and I say it again, we do not intend to cut old age pensions, and those who insist on spreading these rumours are trying to scare people.

What we have to do is look at the serious problems we have in connection with the Canada Pension Plan. This is a very long-term program, and we know that in 2005 and 2010, it will be difficult to finance the program.

Since we want to do a good job, we are trying to anticipate the problems we will have when we form the government in 2010.

Old Age SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec


Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, instead of daydreaming, the Prime Minister should look at the source of these rumours. He should look at his Minister of Human Resources Development and tell us whether he endorses the minister's irresponsible statements. Does he wants to force Canadians to choose between training for young people and old age pensions?

Old Age SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec


Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I want to make it clear that I have full confidence in the minister, who is working very hard to reform what needs to be reformed in this country. As Canadians we must ensure that we can once again give people on welfare and unemployment insurance the dignity of having a job. That is what the minister is trying to do now, and I think he is doing a very good job by consulting the provinces and all concerned.

I think there is no connection with what I mentioned earlier. Because of an aging population, we expect that the Canada Pension Plan will run into problems after the year 2000. Our government must start looking at these problems right away, and the minister is doing an exceptional job in trying to restore the dignity of Canadian workers.