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House of Commons Hansard #250 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-7.

Topics

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, if the Reform Party were really interested in the financial state of the country, instead of using question period on this very important day to score cheap political points, it would be working with the Government of Canada to keep Canada together which is the best message for the Canadian dollar that we can expect.

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

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

I think it is fair to say that citizens in all provinces and territories today are concerned about what they hear of the government's plans to reduce the unemployment insurance program, reduce pension coverage, reduce health care funding, reduce post-secondary education funding, reduce support for all social programs and last, high interest rates and high unemployment levels.

Knowing that this is in place and these are the trends, why should Canadians in any province and territory today be hopeful about the future?

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question, because it gives me a chance to repeat the message I sounded loud and clear in the Gaspé on Saturday.

It was that Gérald Larose, who for 25 years has worked for the sole cause of separation, is spreading false versions of the federal government's policies on unemployment insurance. I can assure the hon. member, as I did in the Magdalen Islands yesterday, that the documents prepared by Gérald Larose and the CSN are pure separatist propaganda and of no value in the current debate.

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is also for the Deputy Prime Minister and concerns integrity in government and particularly in this government.

The Deputy Prime Minister promised Canadians that if the hated GST was not abolished immediately that she would resign her seat. Why has the Deputy Prime Minister not resigned her seat?

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, when I hear a member of the New Democratic Party from British Columbia talking about integrity, I want to say "bingo".

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

An hon. member

Under the "N" for New Democrats.

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Sheila Copps Liberal Hamilton East, ON

I will say that during the election campaign I gave my word to the people of my riding that if we did not scrap the GST before the next election, I would resign and I intend to respect that promise.

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Income TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, regardless of the outcome tonight, the government should proceed with important, positive and constructive changes in the area of taxation.

The Liberal red book clearly states that fairness, simplicity and harmonization should be the key objectives of Liberal tax policies.

If they want to meet this promise, when will the Minister of Finance commit his government to full parliamentary review of our convoluted, complicated, confusing income tax system?

Income TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, compared to some other tax systems, ours is model of simplicity. We review it every-

Income TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Income TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Doug Peters Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Have a pack of yahoos taken over the seats over there?

Income TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me try again.

The charter of rights and freedoms has 7,000 words, the Bible 773,000 words, the Income Tax Act has 1,200,000 words. Our current system of taxation has become an enormous social experiment which can no longer be understood, much less justified. Given that the United States is looking at flat tax reforms being brought forward by almost every Republican candidate for the next presidential election and this parliamentary secretary jokes about simplicity, when will the government follow suit and offer Canadians some hope in the form of tax reform and tax relief?

Income TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, every time someone proposes the flat tax, I ask them: Are you going to pay more taxes or less taxes under a flat tax system? They always answer one way. They are going to pay less. I do not know who is going to pay the taxes under a flat tax system if that is the case.

I know under the Reform Party plan who will pay more taxes. The poor and the middle class are going to pay more and the wealthy are going to pay less because that is the Reform Party platform.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

October 30th, 1995 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of National Defence.

Yesterday, the first Canadian Forces flight to leave Bosnia arrived in Quebec City. A second flight will arrive today. These members of the peacekeeping force have worked under very difficult conditions in an extremely difficult situation.

Could the minister tell the House about the role these Canadians have played in saving the lives of civilians and opening the door to peace in a region torn by war?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. I wish to commend all members of the Canadian Forces who worked in the former Yugoslavia during the past four years.

They served with great distinction, and we are proud of all members of the Canadian Forces.

It is not very well known that Canada now has joining among its citizens upon the return of members from the armed forces more veterans from armed conflict at any time since the Korean war. The men and women who have served in Bosnia and Croatia have seen terrible hostility. They have seen a society that has been ravaged.

They have brought the best principles of civility, tolerance and compassion of a united Canada to bear upon their service in that area.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary for the minister.

Could the minister tell us of the prospects for the future deployment of Canadian peacekeeping forces in Bosnia?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said, Canada would consider participating in any force set up to help keep the peace in Bosnia after the appropriate peace settlement is negotiated. That is an option we are keeping open and one that we will consider.

Canadians appreciate that we have worked very hard in that area for the last three or four years and that we have contributed much. That does not mean to say we would not be prepared to continue our co-operation with any new force.

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, as Reformers and as Canadian we sincerely believe in a strong and

united Canada both today and for the future. I know the Liberals share our vision for a more decentralized federation.

Regardless of today's vote, to indicate an end to the status quo what specific powers and changes is the Minister of Human Resources Development prepared to offer to the provinces in the area of social programs?

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the opening question of the leader of the third party asking us to engage Canadians in a major debate.

Up to now the Reform Party has opposed the major public participation that we encourage in looking at the changes to social programs. I am glad to see there has been a change in attitude on the part of the Reform Party.

One of the most important lessons out of the dialogue that has taken place with hundreds of thousands of Canadians is when they are talking about decentralization there is much talk about giving the individual more choice, providing more resources in the hands of individual Canadians and local communities to allow them to help shape, design and customize employment programs and social programs to meet the requirements of their own local communities.

As the hon. member will know, we have already taken a major step to fundamentally decentralize the operation of the Department of Human Resources Development which serves 11 million Canadians. It is the largest service delivery organization in the country. We have already announced those steps to bring the locus of responsibility, accountability and decision making to the local level so that we can work in partnership at the local level with individuals.

That is an indication of the kind of changes we want to make.

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, in French, please.

The Reform Party would like to offer more hope to Canada and all the provinces, including Quebec. We believe we must decentralize control over social programs. Canadians are calling for it and so are the provinces. We want the provinces to have the final say over training, education and social assistance programs.

Will the minister of human resources be consulting in this regard?

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member for Calgary Southeast knows, we have, in the past year, offered all of the provinces the option of full responsibility for training so they would have all the flexibility they need to manage this area of jurisdiction. I set up a negotiating process with all the provinces and many agreements have been reached.

As far as unemployment insurance is concerned, I hope that, with the reform, there will be a new system, a new network for Canadian jobs. There will be a lot of opportunity to continue negotiating with the provinces, the unions, businesses and social groups in order to come up with a new approach to developing an employment system for all Canadians.

Jaswant KhalraOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific.

Jaswant Khalra, a human rights activist who appeared before Canadian parliamentarians in March, was abducted from his home in Amritsar, Punjab, India on September 6 by unknown persons. He has not been heard from since and police investigations in India have revealed no information as to his whereabouts.

Mr. Khalra's abduction is of great concern to many Canadians as well as to the international human rights community. What action has Canada taken regarding the abduction of Mr. Khalra?

Jaswant KhalraOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Richmond B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan LiberalSecretary of State (Asia-Pacific)

Mr. Speaker, after my department learned of Mr. Khalra's abduction our high commission in New Delhi made immediate approaches to the Indian authorities regarding this case.

We have contacted the human rights person in the Punjab state regarding his abduction. I raised the case of Mr. Khalra with the foreign affairs minister of India in New York when I attended the United Nations conference earlier this month.

The Prime Minister and I will be travelling next week to New Zealand for the Commonwealth conference. At that time we will continue to follow up with the Indian government regarding this matter.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, regardless of the outcome of today's referendum, Canadians continue to be extremely concerned about their safety. The early release of violent offenders is one issue that will not go away.

Can the solicitor general explain to Canadians why a first degree murderer is allowed to appeal his parole eligibility after serving only 15 years of a life sentence?