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House of Commons Hansard #161 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry.

Yesterday's budget established a path for solid economic growth. It lived up to the commitments that were made in the election. One of those commitments was job creation through small and medium size businesses.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry expand on what the budget does to address the concerns of small and medium size business?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Broadview—Greenwood Ontario

Liberal

Dennis Mills LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the greatest hope we have for putting Canadians back to work rests with small and medium size businessmen and women in the one million enterprises that employ close to 70 per cent of the nation.

In the budget the Minister of Finance did three very specific things for small business. First, the small business corporate tax rate was not touched. Second, the $500,000 capital exemption was not touched. Third and most important, the Minister of Finance announced last night that the chartered banks of the country would be brought to task for their relationship with small and medium size business.

Today the chairman of the Standing Committee on Industry announced that within the next two and a half weeks the presidents of all the financial institutions in this country will come to the committee to report on what they are doing for small business.

That is how we will create jobs.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, hidden in the bowels of this Liberal budget are gas taxes, a 2 per cent interest increase on penalties, UI premium surplus revenues, and elimination of PUITTA transfers just to name a few. Does the minister admit that he is digging deeper and deeper into the pockets of middle income Canadians?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 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 have just spent a year and have finally quite satisfactorily solved alternative fuels in terms of ethanol.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish I had never started on this. I am being sandbagged.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

We have bowels on one side and bags on the other.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, on a more serious note, the minister prides himself on being open. He does talk about a 1.5 cent per litre gasoline tax but surprise, surprise, there is a tax on this tax: the GST. Would he agree that this might be a tactic which would be considered deceitful by some Canadians?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

No, Mr. Speaker, clearly not. Canadians understand quite well those areas in which the GST is applied. With the budget now behind us, we look forward to dealing with the GST question this year.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

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

Faced with new spending cuts, the Minister of National Defence announced yesterday that the headquarters of the land component of the armed forces and the facilities at Saint-Hubert would be closed. According to the newspaper La Presse , because of this decision, 400 people will lose their jobs, half of those civilians.

After closing the Saint-Jean military college last year, how can the Minister of Finance justify the decision to shut down these facilities and the base at Saint-Hubert, while we know that Quebec is under-represented when it comes to armed forces facilities and spending, and is getting at least $650 million less per year in this area than it should?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons and Senate special joint committee on defence recommended that to save money we eliminate one command structure within the armed forces. In yesterday's budget we did that by closing air command in Winnipeg, maritime command in Halifax, and land forces command at Saint Hubert.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Finance commit to rapidly announcing adjustment measures to help these civilians find new jobs?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in last year's budget we announced the elimination of 16,500 people from national defence. Yesterday it was just under 12,000. That is nearly 30,000 people. All of these people will be eligible for the force reduction plan covering the uniformed personnel and the civilian reduction plan covering the civil servants.

There has been a 73 per cent take up with an average payout of $53,000 for those people announced last year. We envisage that these people will be dealt with fairly and humanely and will accept the buyout packages.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, according to the budget estimates tabled this morning, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation has a budget increase of 69.3 per cent. That is right, an increase of 69.3 per cent over last year. I thought the Minister of Finance stated yesterday that he was going to cut spending.

How can the Minister of Public Works and Government Services possibly justify this increase in spending in his own riding? Justify that to Canadians in the rest of the country.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

He should be aware that the cutbacks to ACOA and Enterprise Cape Breton come to a total of $173.5 million over a three-year period. The reductions with regard to Enterprise Cape Breton are in excess of $2.5 million, with a 24 per cent reduction in personnel in that particular office.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

I thought I said it was an increase of 69 per cent, Mr. Speaker.

I also noticed in the estimates that the Department of Canadian Heritage will be spending $1.8 million on a golf course in Cape Breton.

Yesterday, the Minister of Finance said: "Cut spending". He also said that the second principle of the government is that priorities must reflect the needs of the people and that the third principle is frugality, that every dollar counts.

Does the Minister of Public Works and Government Services not understand what the Minister of Finance said, or does he refuse to give up this pork barrel way of spending?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, again I want to thank the hon. member for his question.

He should be aware that regional development agencies have been cut in excess of $550 million by the Minister of Finance. All ministers of the crown and every agency of the Government of Canada has been looked at under program review. Each and every one has had to sustain a reduction.

ACOA amounts to $173.5 million over a three year period. In that category 50 full time positions will have to be removed from the books.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development.

Yesterday's budget reflected the very serious fiscal situation we face as a government and as a nation. It is important in coming to terms with our deficit that we also continue to build the framework for future economic growth.

With that in mind, could the secretary of state advise the House how the budget affects science and technology funding and its future?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Portage—Interlake Manitoba

Liberal

Jon Gerrard LiberalSecretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, science and technology was given priority treatment in the budget.

For example, while the budget of the Department of Industry Canada was cut by some 43 per cent, the cuts to the two granting councils which fall within the Industry Canada portfolio, NSERC and SSHRC, are only 14 per cent over the next three years. The cut to the National Research Council is only 15 per cent over the next three years.

Thus the budget is tough but fair. It has given priority treatment to science and technology which is important for our future.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Audrey McLaughlin NDP Yukon, YT

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

The minister has stated that a cornerstone for his budget is regional fairness. Yet today if you are a farmer, a fisher, a small business person in a rural community or a miner, this has not just been a tough budget, it has been devastating.

Will the minister agree that it is small town and rural Canada that have been held hostage by Wall Street in this budget?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

No, not at all, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member knows we have a debt and deficit problem. Canadians wanted us to face up to it. This action has been delayed for virtually a decade. In fact it was the very industries the member refers to and small town and rural Canada that were suffering because the Canadian standard of living was declining, not because of this budget but because governments had refused to face up to it.

In facing up to this issue we have provided rural and small town Canada with an enormous amount of hope. The hope is that now our social programs will be preserved, that the basic industries will be preserved and that Canadians will continue to create jobs. That is really what we have done in this. This is a budget for Canadians.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. It concerns the proposed-

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Sherbrooke.