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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was police.

Topics

Action Plan For Young PeopleOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I understand fully the inability of the hon. member to understand the notion of co-operation. That is probably not part of his vocabulary. It is certainly not part of his behaviour in the House.

However, I want to emphasize that at the present time we are already-and I will just take one province as an example-in the province of Quebec, co-operating with the province on the development of the purchase of training courses. We are working with the provinces directly on looking at labour market needs. We work in a co-operative fashion with the SQDM. We have joint management of co-operative education with the province of Quebec. We have joint approval of stay in school initiatives. There is a substantial number of areas where we work in co-operation with the provinces and with the province of Quebec. It is too bad the hon. member is not interested in co-operation.

FederalismOral Question Period

April 20th, 1994 / 2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister or any of the senior ministers from Quebec.

All of us in the House know that the people of Quebec will be making a fundamental choice later this year that will affect all Quebecers and all other Canadians. That choice will be between a federalist provincial government and a sovereignist provincial government committed to the separation of Quebec from Canada.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Because of the seriousness of this issue I hope that she will not regard this as a partisan question. What steps does the government believe Parliament should take in the next two months to ensure that the federalist option is chosen by a majority of Quebecers?

FederalismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the admonition of the leader of the Reform Party to take this issue seriously.

The Liberal Party believes that the future of the country is a very serious matter. We do not consider it a family feud and we do not consider it simply a matter to be discussed by Quebecers. We think the issue of Canada staying together is an issue that touches every single one of us in every part of the country.

That being said, we think that the best way to convince Quebecers that Canada wants them as part of our country is by showing Quebecers and the rest of the country that we are capable of providing good, decent, honest government for all Canadians.

FederalismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister's reply makes myself and other federalists uneasy because it suggests that status quo federalism, simply "good government", is enough to rally support for federalism.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister and the government not acknowledge that what Parliament really needs to do is put a new and better face on federalism; the face of a balanced budget, the face of a more accountable Parliament, the face of economic and social renewal, in order to deepen the commitment of all Canadians, including Quebecers, to Canadian federalism?

FederalismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, over the last six months the government has shown it is not the party of the status quo. We do not believe that by changing suits you are going to somehow show people that you have a better government.

What this party has shown over the last six months and what we will continue to show is balance in decision making. We will also continue to fight, as we fought yesterday, for the rights of every single minority wherever they live in our country. An important part of a country is understanding that in building for the future you also have to understand your history and that is what the Liberal Party represents.

FederalismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the Deputy Prime Minister's answer. However what is missing from it is any deep commitment or acknowledgement of the need for real reform of federalism itself.

If it can be demonstrated to the government that a majority of Quebecers want a balanced federal budget, that a majority of Quebecers want an overhaul of federal language legislation, that a majority of Quebecers want systemic change, like many other federalists in the country do, would that persuade the government to offer Quebecers and indeed all Canadians something more than status quo federalism?

FederalismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, to understand what Quebec wants I think the member has to start by electing some members of Parliament from Quebec.

The member's unfortunate ignorance of the situation in Quebec is reflected by the resolution put yesterday which basically tried to carve up the city of Montreal into east and west.

The reality is a nation is built by celebrating its differences, by making sure every part of the country feels it is part of the whole. Every single policy that passes through the government is going to be based on principles of equity and fairness. Therefore we say exactly the same thing in the city of Montreal as we do in the city of Vancouver. We do not wait for a telephone call to tell us what our policy should be.

Transfer PaymentsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in response to the federal finance minister's intention to slash transfers to the provinces in order to reduce his deficit, the Quebec minister of finance issued the following warning to his federal counterpart:

-we told the federal government that this reform should not be achieved on the backs of the provinces and that the issue of government debt in Canada will not be resolved by offloading the federal deficit onto the provinces.

Will the Minister of Finance ever understand-now that his Quebec counterpart has joined with the Official Opposition in trying to make him understand-that he must cut federal government waste and stop dumping his deficit problem on the provinces?

Transfer PaymentsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we fully agree that we should not dump our problems on others. That is why we first settled the issue of equalization that has been of enormous benefit to Quebec and six other provinces. That is why we agreed with finance ministers, including the Quebec minister of finance, to impose a moratorium on social security reform. That is why, as I said in my speech, we clearly stated in the budget the objectives agreed on by the finance ministers in January.

Transfer PaymentsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the finance minister's insensitivity despite his Quebec colleague's appeal be explained by his urgent need to carve out for himself, at the expense of the provinces, enough fiscal leeway to finance his colleagues' repeated, brazen and appalling intrusions in areas of provincial jurisdiction?

Transfer PaymentsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, let me simply read what I said. I will do this in English because it is part of the speech that was given in English.

-then we took a look at the absolute necessity of renewing fiscal federalism.

The provinces agree with that. The minister of finance for Quebec agrees with that.

-it is now crucial that we begin to take a look at what all levels of government do, not with some political aim in mind, but in terms of its affordability and efficiency.

The Government of Quebec agrees with that, as do all of the provinces who want to solve our problems. Then I went on to say that we have discussed that with the provinces.

-they have two years in which to complete with us this process. At the end of that two years we will be taking massive amounts of money out of the federal-provincial structure, hopefully not at their expense nor at ours, but as a result of the more efficient programs between the two levels of government.

That is what the provincial finance ministers want. It is what the provincial governments want. It is what the federal government wants. It is what Canadians want. It is what we are going to deliver.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. I will give him a little hint on the answer: billions versus millions.

Today's Financial Post reports that the Deutsche Bank has recommended to its clients to reduce their Canadian bond exposure to zero from 3 per cent which could represent up to $10 billion. One of the primary reasons given is that Canada's heavy budgetary risks will result in further underperformance. It is obvious the Deutsche Bank does not share the minister's optimism and opinion that the budget was a success.

Why would the Deutsche Bank recommend pulling out of the Canadian economy?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the questioner being a businessman himself understands that what makes markets are obviously differences of opinion.

The fact is the analyst in the Deutsche Bank has expressed an opinion. I had breakfast with the president of the Deutsche Bank not long after that report and it certainly was not his. He wanted to give you his best.

The fact is the majority of investment houses in the United States recommend a holding of Canadian bonds at 3 to 4 per cent. That is what makes markets and that is why we are very confident.

The member should have read the whole report because the Deutsche Bank talked about provincial deficits and about the very uncertain political situation in Quebec. Let me tell you, once the political situation in Quebec is cleared up with a victory to the provincial Liberals the Deutsche Bank will change its mind.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, further to the remarks of the finance minister I would like to add another possible reason the Deutsche Bank gave this recommendation despite the breakfast.

One of the reasons both foreign and domestic investors are uneasy about the Canadian economy is that mixed messages

keep coming from the Prime Minister and the Finance minister. The billions versus millions controversy is only the latest contradiction by these two senior ministers.

Could the Minister of Finance clarify once and for all for the House and for foreign and domestic investors, whose comments on deficit reduction can be relied on, his or the Prime Minister's? And no double talk, please.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked the same question yesterday. I will give him the same answer.

The fact is that in the red book, in the budget and in statements in the House the Prime Minister and I have made it very clear that the cuts have been made in the budget which are required to get us to 3 per cent of the GDP within three years. At the same time we have said a major review of every single program is being carried on by the Minister responsible for Public Service Renewal.

The Prime Minister has said it; I have said it; and you can keep asking us. I would really suggest to the hon. member that he come up with some new questions. Ask Canadians for some new questions. I think your research well is running dry.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure all hon. members will continue to address the Chair.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans unveiled his new program regarding income support and labour adjustment for fishery workers adversely affected by the dwindling groundfish stocks in the Atlantic.

How can the minister be satisfied with a program which does not propose any measure to get the fishing industry going again through the development of new markets or new products, and how can he justify the reduced assistance, considering that compensation cheques will now drop by 6 per cent?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, quite frankly I am surprised at the attitude of the hon. member, given his previous experience with the fishery.

The fact of the matter is the Government of Canada is not reducing the groundfish sector. The Government of Canada is not shutting down the groundfish sector. The hard truth rather than the easy rhetoric is that the groundfish sector today is closed. There are 14 moratoriums in place. People in the groundfish sector are not working today and a great many, the majority, have not worked for two years.

The issue is not whether or not we are going to shut the sector down, but how much of the sector we can reopen, how much of the capacity we can employ based on the ability of the resource to sustain that sector.

We are taking the hard and difficult choices but the honest choices to work with communities, fishermen and plant workers to restore as much of the industry as possible and, where that is not possible, to give them the truth so they can make the decisions to rebuild their lives.

Does the member want us to do something different? If he does, we will not.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is all very nice; however, what fishery workers need is hope. Right now, the government is giving them false hopes; in fact, the package offered is 6 per cent smaller than last year's.

Nevertheless, I will give the minister a chance. How does he reconcile his will to help Atlantic economic diversification with the fact that his government just reduced by $160 million ACOA's budget for the next three years, as well as FORD-Q's budget, an office whose role is precisely to promote regional economic diversification? Perhaps the minister could clarify this issue, because so far, rather than discussing he is cutting.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about empty hope. We are not talking about empty hope. We are talking about a $1.9 billion program. It is the only new major expenditure in the February 22 budget. That expenditure represents the commitment of the Prime Minister and the government to the people of Quebec and Atlantic Canada affected by the fisheries crisis to stand by them in their time of crisis and to help them rebuild their lives. The member ought to recognize that.

We have said clearly there are three legs to this program. The first is assistance for individuals. That we have delivered on. The second is to restructure the industry. That process begins over the next six weeks through consultation. The third is to diversify the economy of Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

I have the greatest confidence the Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the minister responsible for FORD-Q will work hand in glove with the Minister of Human Resources Development and me to see that commitment is delivered in spades.

EducationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Yesterday the Reform Party suggested the concept of post-secondary education vouchers given to students and income contingent repayment plans for student loans.

Could the minister tell the House if education vouchers and income contingent loans are specifically on his agenda?

EducationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, on the matter of income contingency repayments, if the hon. member would look at the announcement we made on Friday he would know the legislation we propose to bring in the House very shortly will include the opportunity for us to undertake a series of pilot projects with the provinces to develop an ICR system.

That was based upon the meeting with the ministers of education I spoke about earlier. Several of them requested that we undertake that kind of approach. Others were not in agreement. Therefore rather than bringing it in on a national basis we thought we would work with those provinces that were interested to develop it and see how the methodology would work.

As for the question of a form of education voucher or education investment that idea has been presented to us through the work of the House of Commons committee by experts in the field. It is one of the considerations I would like to raise when we meet with the ministers of education and labour at the provincial level.

EducationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I hope the program the minister is talking about is not the band-aid type variety but is a true reform to a commitment to education.

One of the most appealing aspects of a voucher system is it allows individuals to choose what is best for themselves.

Could the minister tell the House if he has already discussed the idea with his provincial counterparts and, if so, what was their general reaction?

EducationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification

Mr. Speaker, I just told the hon. member but I am glad to repeat it.

When we met on February 28 with the Council of Ministers of Education we outlined the proposals we would want to undertake to substantially improve the student loans program.

As the hon. member knows we substantially increased the loan limit to bring it into reality with today's costs. We have undertaken a program of more direct support for students, particularly women going into graduate school, students with special needs, single mothers, so that they can get back into a higher education program.

What we did discuss with them is how we can provide a program that would enable all Canadians to be able to go into the educational system on a lifelong basis. We want to turn the notion of lifelong learning from a cliche into a reality for people.

Members in the entire House would be interested that the co-chair of the Council of Ministers of Education who happens also to be the minister of education for Quebec said in a speech recently in Vancouver that it is a fact Canadians everywhere have common expectations.

It is also a fact that we are faced with common problems. It is clear that we must adopt a common approach in dealing with them. That is our philosophy too.

Flu VaccineOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Public Works. Yesterday, the minister used decisions of previous governments to justify awarding 50 per cent of the flu vaccine contract to Connaught. Need we remind him that in 1991, when Connaught was awarded this contract, the maritimes ran out of vaccine, and that last year, 100 per cent of the contract was awarded to BioVac?

On the substantive issue, does the minister know that Connaught is only a distributor of flu vaccine in Canada and imports this vaccine from the United States, while BioVac, the only manufacturer of this vaccine in Canada, made a bid that would have saved $600,000 of public money if the minister had accepted it?