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House of Commons Hansard #171 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cbc.

Topics

National Forum On HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Daviault Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

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

The minister declared on Friday that the federal government, despite the large cuts in transfer payments to the provinces, holds all of the strings needed to ensure that the five great principles, the untouchables of the Canada Health Act, will be respected.

Must we gather from the minister's statements that the national forum on health will unilaterally review the Canada Health Act and identify the changes to be made, without giving the provinces, who are responsible for administering the health system and who will have to absorb these budget cuts, the right to negotiate anything?

National Forum On HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have said this many times, and so has the Prime Minister: the principles enshrined in the Canada Health Act are not negotiable. The national forum on health is studying the future of the health care system and of the health of Canadians.

The forum will make some recommendations, which we might accept, and the provinces will be given the chance to review the same issues. Both parties want to help each other, because we both know that we have one of the best health care systems in the world and we want to keep it that way.

National Forum On HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Daviault Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the Prime Minister, because I am no closer to understanding than I was before that answer.

Does the Prime Minister, who is also the chairman of the forum on health, have any explanation for the fact that the provinces are not participating in the forum other than that he intends to impose national standards on them which they will never have had the opportunity to negotiate?

National Forum On HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if I recall correctly, we discussed this issue when the forum was announced, and we determined that we were not interested in having the provinces participate. Later on, we invited each one to have a representative on the forum. They all declined.

We offered them a spot but they refused to take part. It is a forum; there are no conditions, and all are free to express themselves. Canadians know that I listen a lot. So every time I go there, I listen. It would have been my pleasure to listen to the provinces, but they denied me this pleasure.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, environmental extremist Paul Watson who allegedly was attacked by concerned residents in the Magdalen Islands was widely reported as saying he held off his alleged assailants by using a stun gun and his fists.

Considering that his fists were probably not lethal weapons, my question is for the justice minister. Stun guns are prohibited weapons under section 90(1) of the Criminal Code. Mr. Watson admits to having the prohibited weapon in his possession. Would the minister confirm if the gun was confiscated and if Mr. Watson was charged with having an illegal gun in his possession? If he was not charged, why not?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I admire the hon. member's familiarity with the firearms legislation and I commend him for it.

I also remind him that the enforcement of such provisions is entirely a matter for provincial authorities to which I invite his attention.

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of enforcement, my question is for the revenue minister.

In his view is the anti-smuggling initiative working when a publicity seeking, U.S. based environmental extremist admits to having an illegally smuggled, prohibited weapon in his possession when he clears customs and the weapon remains in his possession one week later?

Could he explain to law-abiding Canadians who will be required to register guns what the use of registration is if this environmentalist can walk around with absolute impugnity?

Gun ControlOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Essex—Windsor Ontario

Liberal

Susan Whelan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member well knows, customs officials do their utmost at the border to ensure that all the laws are kept. They will continue to do so in the future.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

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

If the Liberal government goes ahead with its planned legislation, wealthy Canadians will be compensated for estate taxes paid in the U.S. under a new agreement signed in August. The agreement is retroactive to 1988 and will cost Canadian taxpayers over $2 billion in compensation, by giving families with estates worth over $600,000 in the U.S. a foreign tax credit in Canada.

Does the minister have the courage to say no to this outrageous legislation, or does the Liberal government plan to create a new $2 billion tax loophole for the wealthy?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, primarily because of some of the noise and static around the member I had a little difficulty understanding. However I understand the question referred to the tax protocol that was signed with the United States. The member is nodding.

We have made sure that Canadians are not subject to double taxation. Yes, Americans are not subject to double taxation as well arising out of the same piece of legislation.

The member will understand that it is very important for the Government of Canada to protect Canadian citizens. I am sure he will understand, when he talks about the large amounts of money involved which he says we should be saving, that the amount is roughly what the railway strike will cost us if we do not deal with it. One might ask the member why he is not prepared to support the government.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the same minister.

This has become more and more curious. The Mulroney Conservative government supported this tax break for the wealthy. The Liberal government opposite supports this tax break for the wealthy. It is a $2 billion tax break for very wealthy Canadians who have estates in the U.S.

Will the minister give Canadian taxpayers a break and cancel this deal of a lifetime for wealthy Canadians?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as a result of this piece of legislation we are now able to tax Canadian snowbirds who have gone south and we are able to prevent double taxation.

As the hon. member knows, in the last budget and in the one before we probably closed more loopholes than any Canadian government has done since the Prime Minister was finance minister.

The EconomyOral Question Period

March 21st, 1995 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

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

Much of the recovery in the economy has been driven by export markets. Durham and Oshawa have benefited since automobile production is a big feature in the area.

When can other small and medium size businesses, their employees and consumers generally see some relief?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:55 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 once again confirms his reputation for articulate economic comment. He is absolutely right when he points out that the recovery has been largely export oriented and to that extent has been one legged.

I must say we are beginning to see the signs of increasing consumer confidence. The statistics this week from Statistics Canada demonstrate that consumer confidence is up sharply. Retail sales were up again in January for the fifth time in six months.

We are beginning to see that because of the tremendous productivity and hard work of Canadians confidence is once again back into our economy after the long desert of the last recession.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Reform Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Finance. It has been reported that after meeting with Calgary mayor Al Duerr last Friday he has agreed to review his government's decision to end the private utility tax rebate.

Is he reviewing the decision and when might the House expect the results of the review?

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there were two newspaper reports on that meeting, one of which was the indication the member is referring to. The other newspaper report citing the mayor made it very clear the government is not reviewing that decision. It is the second newspaper report that is accurate.

Convenience FlagsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Landry Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport. On March 17, the minister responded to a question from the official opposition by stating that the privatization of Marine Atlantic Inc. would resolve the matter of this company's foreign flagging of its ships.

Is the minister not aware that, by not bringing all of the ships of Marine Atlantic Inc. back under Canadian flag before the corporation is privatized, he is condoning this practice, which is followed by many Canadian shipowners, contrary to our economic interests?

Convenience FlagsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the question of foreign flagging at Marine Atlantic is one we wanted to address once the matter was raised.

We have determined it has been ongoing, depending on the vessel, for a number of years. As I indicated to a colleague of my hon. friend in the House yesterday, we have asked the president of Marine Atlantic and the board to look into the potential for the commercialization of all the activities of Marine Atlantic.

Certainly we will be addressing the question my hon. friend has put to me one way or another. If the commercialization proceeds, we will have to take into account the implications of reflagging the vessels prior to sail. If the commercialization does not go forward, we will review the matter in the light of my hon. friend's question.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, in view that Canadians are continuing to lose their jobs as a result of the rail strike, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House for the following order:

That, notwithstanding any standing order, immediately after the completion of Private Members' Business on this day, the House shall revert to Government Orders for the purpose of considering Bill C-77, an act to provide for the maintenance of railway operations and subsidiary services at second reading stage, in committee of the whole, at report stage and at third reading stage, provided that the House shall not adjourn this day except pursuant to motion by a minister of the crown.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is there unanimous consent?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify to the House that while the opposition denied consent, it was not the Reform Party that denied consent. We would support any back to work legislation the government introduces.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, due to question period, I was interrupted for an hour since we are to follow Standing Orders, which we agree to do. I was discussing the official opposition's motion concerning funding for the CBC, along with the amendment proposed by the Reform Party.

I recalled my surprise at seeing the Liberal Party renege on commitments it made during the election campaign. I must say it was not an entirely unexpected surprise. Traditionally the Liberal Party has always sung two tunes: one for the election campaign and one for after the campaign, and the two are diametrically opposed.

In my introduction, I recalled the agricultural double talk. For example, when the Liberals were in opposition, they were committed to supporting the dairy producers, defending article XI and maintaining subsidies. Well, once they are in office, what do they do in their budget? They cut aid to farmers and to dairy producers by 30 per cent. They also cut the income support program by 30 per cent.

I also mentioned unemployment. During the election campaign, they said that their priority was to fight unemployment and create jobs. Once they are in office, the language and the

speech change. The latest budget speech contained no job creation measures whatsoever. It has become a joke.

I was at the Sorel and Bécancour employment centres last week. What was the joke of the day? The question went: What is the difference between a Liberal MP and an unemployed person? The answer: The unemployed person has worked in the past.

We have reached a point where people no longer believe in this government. They do not believe the government will make good on its promises. It was the same thing when it came to defending the Acadians and the francophones outside Quebec. We saw francophone MPs from the rest of Canada claiming during the election campaign that they would defend the French fact here in the House of Commons and throughout Canada. But when there is a 5 per cent cut in the operating budget of their association, they say nothing. Not one francophone MP from outside Quebec rose to denounce the policy of the Liberal Party once it took office.

The same thing happened in a number of areas. With respect to copyright, for example, they made a written commitment in a document submitted to the Canada Council to take action to bring copyright under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Once elected, they turned this responsibility over to the Minister of Industry, and gave the heritage minister power to make recommendations only.

The Liberal Party always sings two different tunes: one when it is going after the vote and another when it is in power.

It was the same thing with free trade. They fought against free trade for years and denounced it during the election campaign, but once in office, they were not only all for it, but wanted it extended to other countries. The Liberal Party has always operated this way: it sings one tune before it is elected and another tune after.

I could give other examples. There is patronage, for instance. They criticized the Conservatives for making patronage appointments, but once in office they turned around and in less than six months gave out more than 300 appointments to friends of the party, under the expert guidance of Senator Rizzuto. And I mentioned the example of Michelle Tisseyre, Camille Samson and others.