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House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

Apple IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, this problem arose because the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, a Canadian body, ruled against the Canadian apple growers.

It is therefore imperative if we are to win in a subsequent appeal to that body which would follow a national revenue ruling, that we have the clear evidence to make sure that its previous decision is overturned.

The dilemma the hon. member and I have in this instance is that very much the same evidence was provided in the initial hearing of potential damage and was rejected. It is therefore imperative before we go before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal for a second time that we have what I would describe as an airtight case in this regard.

As I said yesterday and will repeat today, the consequences to the Canadian apple industry of a second defeat probably would be catastrophic.

Apple IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Reform Okanagan Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, indeed I agree with the minister that we need to have good factual information. He is quite right in that. I believe the B.C. fruit growers are fully aware of the difficulty that is there. They believe these numbers are correct.

I challenge the minister to recognize that we are dealing with perishable fruit that cannot wait five or six months. Will the minister act now to speed up the process involved and have the complaints heard by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal so that others will not suffer in the same way in the future, that is, the next crop that is coming up.

Apple IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, certainly I agree with the hon. member that it is particularly important to make sure this damage to the industry which I believe is taking place does not continue in the future, particularly into the next crop year.

It is important to note this is a fairly technical area. We have to have information on costing. We have to have information on import pricing. We have to have information on injury.

I will be quite willing on the representations of the hon. member and indeed the hon. member who questioned me yesterday in this regard to review once again with my officials the information made available to us from the apple growers. We will check with legal counsel once again to see whether at this point we have evidence which can guarantee a win.

Let me repeat that it would be thoroughly irresponsible for me or any other minister to-

Apple IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell.

Advertising ContractsOral Question Period

May 3rd, 1994 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works. Following a statement by the Prime Minister on November 4, the government announced its plans to review its policies with respect to the awarding of advertising, polling and communications contracts. Is the Parliamentary Secretary now in a position to inform the House of the corrective action the government intends to take to clean up the mess inherited from the previous government?

Advertising ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

St. Boniface Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it was on November 4 that the Prime Minister made a clear and unequivocal statement to Canadians that the former government policies with respect to polling, advertising and communications would be reviewed.

This review is now complete. There will be new guidelines announced in the very near future. They will respect the principles of accountability, fairness, openness and transparency.

It is because of efforts such as those undertaken by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Works and Government Services who have spearheaded the charge for change in this area that this government will return integrity to government and will return integrity for Canadians.

I am very pleased to announce that new guidelines will be adopted. These will show that our policies are equitable, fair, open and transparent for everyone.

Correctional ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Solicitor General. The weekend newspapers reported that the RCMP was currently investigating an alleged case of influence peddling within the Correctional Service of Canada and the National Parole Board and that certain charges could be laid very shortly against employees.

Can the Minister confirm that an investigation is indeed under way into allegations of influence peddling within these agencies and that charges could be laid against certain commissioners?

Correctional ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that an investigation is under way, but I cannot provide the House with any additional information at this time.

Correctional ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in light of his response, can the minister tell us whether the allegations of influence peddling involve any persons other than those mentioned in the weekend newspapers?

Correctional ServiceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP and the Correctional Service of Canada are currently investigating this matter very thoroughly. When additional information becomes available, I will be happy to convey it to the hon. member.

Child Support PaymentsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. It is on a matter that has been discussed earlier today.

As we heard, a landmark decision was rendered today by the Federal Court of Appeal that will fundamentally change the approach to child support payments in this country. Justice Hugessen ruled that Suzanne Thibodeau was discriminated against on the grounds that the inequity, the inequality created for separated custodial parents is discriminatory and imposes a burden on them not imposed on others.

The Federal Court has taken the lead in recognizing the importance of stabilizing the family unit, whether you are together or apart. Will the minister follow suit and do the same?

Child Support PaymentsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, may I take the hon. member's question to relate to the issue of appeal.

If the hon. member is asking whether we are going to appeal the judgment, may I first of all say that although I have received the reasons over the lunch hour, I have not yet had the advantage of reading them. I know there is a dissenting judgment. I will be reading them with care and interest. It is a very important judgment. Once I have had an opportunity to consider the judgment I will be speaking with the client ministry to determine from a policy perspective what the minister would like to do and to make my recommendation.

Let me say that once I have read the judgment I will be happy to discuss the matter further with the hon. member. However, I take it her question related to appeal and that is my response if that was the point she wanted to raise.

Child Support PaymentsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, having heard the hon. minister I have no supplementary question. I thank him for his answer.

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

John Nunziata Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

The tragedy of youth crime is a ticking time bomb in this country, yet the minister has said that he does not expect a bill to be passed by this Parliament until late this year, possibly next.

These delays are simply not acceptable. In light of the urgent need for changes to the Young Offenders Act will the minister fast-track his agenda and will he give his undertaking to this House that a bill will be passed before this House adjourns for the summer holidays?

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, any such undertaking would require a degree of control by a member of Parliament over the process of government that I am not sure any of us possess.

However, let me respond directly to the hon. member's question. I respect and to a large degree share the hon. member's sense of urgency in this issue. As I have said in the past, as recently as yesterday, I expect that within weeks I am going to introduce legislation in this House with respect to changes to the Young Offenders Act that we think are in the public interest.

Let me also emphasize to the hon. member that while we are concerned about crime in this country, it is not the enactment of a change to a statute, it is not the introduction of new legislation that is going to come to grips with the underlying problem we face. Quite apart from the criminal justice system we have to

take a wide ranging, holistic approach to crime in this country if we are going to make real progress.

Yes, there will be changes to the Young Offenders Act but I hope the hon. member realizes that is one of a variety of responses that we must muster to this social issue.

Bill C-91Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Industry. It concerns Bill C-91, the drug patent legislation.

Since this bill passed in the last Parliament drug prices have skyrocketed and Canadian consumers are being gouged with high prices for prescription drugs.

The minister knows this to be true because he has stated he will be reviewing Bill C-91 soon. The minister is also aware that the Leader of the Opposition supports the wishes of multinational drug companies in Quebec.

To the minister, is the government going to continue to play politics with people's health by waiting until after the Quebec election to make any changes to this bill or is he going to repeal this disastrous legislation now to protect all Canadian consumers?

Bill C-91Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, certainly the member's position is clear on the issue. I thank him for that.

As the Prime Minister said in the House last week, the review that was promised during the election campaign is one which is ongoing. We are looking at the question of prices. We are also conscious of our international commitments under the Uruguay round. Likewise we are conscious of the fact that the present legislation, Bill C-91, contains within it a statutory review mechanism which will occur prior to the completion of this Parliament.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Reform Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, during my supplementary to the minister of Indian affairs, the member for Hamilton East shouted "racist" at me and I find the remark very offensive and insulting. I would ask the Speaker to ask the member to withdraw that.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I will review the blues and if it is stated in there I will take whatever action is necessary. If it is necessary I will come back to the House.

The House resumed from May 2 consideration of the motion that Bill C-22, an act to respecting certain agreements concerning the redevelopment and operation of terminals 1 and 2 at Lester B. Pearson International Airport, be read the second time and referred to a committee; of the amendment; and of the amendment to the amendment.

Pearson International Airport Agreements ActGovernment Orders

3 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 3 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 45(5)(a), the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred division on the subamendment to the motion for second reading stage of Bill C-22.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the amendment to the amendment which was negatived on the following division:)

Pearson International Airport Agreements ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the amendment to the amendment lost.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate being able to continue after Oral Question Period. Earlier, when I rose, I was followed by a parliamentary secretary who made a comment. When the time comes to vote on the Bloc Quebecois motion for the creation of a committee to review public finance management, I hope that the parliamentary secretary, who is a Liberal member, will make good on his comments and support our motion.

I explained that a child is burdened with a $20,000 debt the minute he is born. I also talked about students and workers, and I would like to follow up by telling you about the elderly. Our seniors are overtaxed. These people have paid school, municipal, provincial and federal taxes throughout their life. Many of these people raised large families but managed to save a bit of money in RRSPs to enjoy a more comfortable retirement. Unfortunately, the government is still going after these people by forcing them to pay tax when they cash in their RRSPs.

Indeed, in his recent budget, the Minister of Finance decided to tax all seniors with a revenue of $26,500 and up. School and municipal taxes still have to be paid by those who keep their home. Retired seniors with a low income still pay the provincial sales tax as well as the GST. Many people who have reached the age of 65 continue to work because they do not have the means to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Seniors should benefit from major exemptions, so that people can retire no later than when they turn 60, or even 55 if possible.

That would open up new jobs for our young people, for those who graduate from university and wait for the government to create jobs.

The government will tax seniors till the very end, that is until their funerals. Undertaking and burial services are taxed. The GST applies to those services as well as to the cost of a coffin. We will have paid all of our lives and until our death.

The government is racking its brains to find new sources of revenues, but it will choose the easiest solution and increase taxes. The government urgently needs to set up a committee to review the reduction of government expenditures. In its red book, the Liberal government said it wanted to get rid of the GST. Of course, the government wants a hidden tax, that would increase from 7 to 12 per cent. It also wants to tax food, education, books, computers, all basic education needs, prescription drugs and health care.

The Bloc Quebecois will strongly oppose any effort by the government to tax prescription drugs and health care among other things, since poverty is rampant in Quebec and in Canada. A lot of people cannot even afford bread and butter.

I think the most urgent thing is to set up this committee. We are going through harsh economic times, and the cost of living is still very high for low-income and very poor families. More and more, wages are being frozen and people are working at the minimum wage. We have to deal with high levels of unemployment and welfare, smuggling, the underground economy, a rise in criminal activity and the fact that our prisons, in Quebec and in Canada, are more and more packed-full. Who pays for all of this? It is our society and our workers.

Under the Conservative government, we were told that the GST was supposed to reduce the deficit, but the deficit has grown ever since. Despite GST revenues of $14 billion, the deficit has tripled during the last nine years the Conservatives were in office.

Finally, I hope the government will set up a committee made up of course of government members who are responsible for running this country. In the latest budget, the Liberal government showed its inability to efficiently manage the public finances. If that committee is to be increasingly efficient, the government should add to its team a group of Bloc Quebecois members because they really want the government to lower taxes or at least freeze them for years to come.

They will have to review all the overlapping and duplication occurring in this government. In Quebec, we do not need the federal government to manage our health program, nor do we need the federal government to manage our education and occupational training, our manpower or our social programs.

It is urgent to cut on travelling expenses for ministers, senators, members of committees and parliamentary associations. Last week I attended a on Public Works meeting and asked the Minister of Public Works if he was ready to say in front of the committee that he would issue a public call for tenders in the papers to give those who wanted to bid the chance to do so; I also asked him if he would accept the lowest bid coming from a compliant bidder. He answered no, that he could not commit himself to that. The government must manage public funds; if businesses were managed like the government, they would all go bankrupt a few weeks after opening. Not a single business is managed like the government.

As a member of the finance committee, if the Liberal Party government invites me to do so, I will be happy to assist and work hard to find places where we can cut out the fat from government operations, items that could bring the budget down.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the members of the Bloc Quebecois and of the Reform Party who are concerned and worried because of the increase in the last budget.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

René Canuel Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is to be commended for his tremendous understanding of senior citizens. Like me, the hon. member represents a rural riding. When we are in a rural area, we realize that the problems may not be as obvious to the government as the problems of our big cities. I have tried to listen carefully to what the hon. member had to say.

In our area, there are seniors who worked all their lives to save a few dollars, and it certainly was not easy. These people worked in factories. They worked in the fisheries. They worked on farms, and I am referring to my own constituency. And, the government is going to take some of those hard-earned savings away from them. When we consider the multinationals which pay practically no taxes and family trusts which are not taxed at all, I say there is some incredible injustice in this country, and especially in rural communities.

I have a brief question for the hon. member. He said, and perhaps he would like to repeat what he said or rephrase it: Is there not another way to let senior citizens take advantage of the few years they have left, people who worked from the age of 7 until 65, at one, two or three jobs, and who worked for as long as 18 hours a day?

I speak on behalf of these people in rural areas and also on behalf of people in the cities, because they worked very hard as well. Is there no other way to get more taxes from the big corporations? He commented on that, and I wish he would expand a little on family trusts and duplication.

There is also the forestry sector. A lot is being done, both provincially and federally. One example is the so-called sociétés de la Vallée, which have a staff of engineers and technicians. What often happens is that two technicians from different associations turn up at the same place, so would it not be a good idea to have only one technician visit the landowner and be able

to offer the whole range of services instead of having two technicians going separately, each with his own proposals? I would like to ask the hon. member whether he could expand a little on this.