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House of Commons Hansard #181 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Susan AglukarkStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Jack Iyerak Anawak Liberal Nunatsiaq, NT

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Inuktitut.]

On Sunday the Juno Awards for Canadian music excellence were handed out. Among the winners was a young Inuk from my constituency, Susan Aglukark. Susan received two Junos, one for best new solo artist and one for best music of aboriginal Canadian recording.

These Juno Awards are in addition to the rising star trophy she received at last year's Country Music Awards and her 1994 National Aboriginal Achievement Award.

It is fitting that Susan should receive these Junos this month as March is Aboriginal Language Month. An Inuk from Arviat, Northwest Territories, Susan is proud to sing in her native language, Inuktitut, as well as in English. Her newly released album "This Child" is meeting with great success. Her music touches the hearts of many.

Congratulations, Susan.

The Late Donald MorrowStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a man who served his community, his province and his country with distinction.

Don Morrow died in Ottawa on Wednesday at the age of 86. He represented the people of Ottawa West in the provincial legislature for 29 years, from 1948 to 1977, and served as the Speaker of the Ontario legislature.

Don Morrow had been out of office for nearly 20 years. However, his service to his community and his links with its people were so strong that when Don Morrow walked into a room or down a street, he was greeted with warmth, affection and remembrance.

I think that is what we would all like to have at the end of our careers.

I say thank you to his family for the time they allowed him to give to all of us, and I offer our condolences on his passing.

Human ValuesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the regional commissions have finished their work in Quebec and have submitted their recommendations to the national commission. Unfortunately, some remarkable facts came out of all this which were not reported by the media. Many people set aside the constitutional and political option to discuss a blueprint for society, a society based on human values and social measures that enrich all members of society and reflect the philosophy that we are our brother's keeper.

They rejected out of hand a number of corporate values, including those of multinationals who want no government intervention, and free trade where the profit motive is king and one must be competitive at any cost.

I am convinced the same exercise would produce the same results across Canada, in other words, all Canadians want to live in a country where human values come first, and the economy must serve the people, not the other way around.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, after strangely downplaying the importance of the increased number of suicides in the Canadian armed forces, and, in particular, among the military returning from peacekeeping missions, the Minister of Defence finally agreed yesterday to look into these tragic incidents.

The situation is very distressing. Why are members of the military more inclined to use external rather than internal resources to overcome the difficulties they face in adjusting on their return?

The official opposition wants answers to these troubling questions. It calls on the government to act quickly in this matter and make public the results of the Minister of Defence's internal inquiry.

National DefenceStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, five Airbuses purchased by the Department of National Defence at a cost of $250 million three years ago have spent 11 months of the year on the ground.

National defence's spending $250 million taxpayer dollars for planes to sit on the ground for 11 months of the year is beyond comprehension. All the while we are spending another $45 million per year just to move our troops around the country. What is going on?

While it has been clear that the defence minister has many troubles in his department, this simply cannot go on. These planes and all the money we have been spending is not in the best interests of our troops and not in the best interests of taxpayers.

So my message is, stop the waste and spend the money on better equipment for our troops who work so hard and make Canadians proud.

Liver DiseaseStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, March was proclaimed Help Fight Liver Disease Month.

The liver is one of the body's largest and most crucial organs. Much like a complex chemical factory, the liver manufactures essential proteins, cleanses the blood and stores energy vital to the functioning of the human body.

There are over 100 known liver and biliary tract diseases, including hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. An estimated one in 12 Canadians of all ages, races and cultures are expected to develop a liver disease at some point in their lives.

For over 25 years the Canadian Liver Foundation has been striving to reduce the impact and incidence of all liver diseases through support for research and education. Health Canada contributes to the fight against liver disease through its support for research into improved treatment and prevention.

I salute the Canadian Liver Foundation and all its volunteers who worked during this Help Fight Liver Disease Month.

FisheriesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about an issue that has been at the forefront of the news in my province of Newfoundland and indeed, all of Canada, the conservation of the turbot stock.

I congratulate the Prime Minister and the fisheries minister on their unfailing commitment to the preservation of the turbot stock on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks.

Last week I attended the 22nd annual meeting of the Canada and European Parliaments and had the opportunity to discuss with them fish conservation. I spoke to many European parliamentarians, including those attending the European fisheries committee. Many of these people expressed support for Canada's efforts to conserve turbot stocks from overfishing.

As a result of these talks a joint resolution was signed by members of both the Canadian and European delegations to these meetings. The resolution recognized the need to ensure that turbot and other fish stocks are fished in a sustainable manner so they can be conserved for future generations.

I look forward to further progress being made on this issue at the UN conference on straddling stocks that is presently taking place in New York.

The CabinetStatements By Members

March 31st, 1995 / 11:15 a.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, baseball fans are worried about the calibre of play this season if replacement players take to the field. If the second stringers in the Liberal cabinet are any indication, fans should be worried.

No one has dropped the ball more than the minister of defence playing outfield. He missed the signals on the Bosnia peacekeeping play. He misjudged airborne base hits and dropped the Fowler ball. He cannot find the bases because he keeps moving them.

Let us look at some of the other players. The heritage minister writes notes during the game. The minister of Indian affairs is drafting separate rules for aboriginal players. The health minister is headed back to the minors. She swings her bat without hitting. The minister for western economic diversification hits every ball to the centre fielder, named Winnipeg. The justice minister fired a bullet over the pitcher's head and was arrested for playing with an unregistered bat. The environment minister takes too big a lead off to suit the Prime Minister. She will be tagged out.

Fans know it is time to get concerned when the star player, the Prime Minister, tells the President of the United States that Canada has won the world cup of baseball two times in a line.

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

At a time when the federal government is bragging about the new freedoms it is giving the provinces in the areas of social assistance and post-secondary education, Ottawa is getting ready to impose new national standards in these areas of provincial jurisdiction, actually restricting the freedom of the provinces and of Quebec.

How can the minister reconcile the statements he made yesterday that the 1995 budget in no way shows any readiness on the part of the federal government to impose more national standards on the provinces, when legislative measures introduced since blatantly encroach on the powers of the provinces and of Quebec in areas which fall exclusively under their jurisdiction?

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, no new conditions are set out in the omnibus legislation.

As the hon. member knows, the Canada Health Act already has a series of requirements for the provinces to meet. Those are being maintained. There are also requirements under the Canada assistance plan about mobility, to ensure that everybody in need gets assistance. Those are the conditions which are being put forward in the legislation, subject to future discussions and negotiations with the provinces to see how we can provide a more coherent approach to social programming across Canada.

Frankly, the assumption which the hon. member makes is simply not the case.

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to the minister that he is adding conditions. This having been said, how can the minister justify that the provinces, to whom the Constitution grants exclusive jurisdiction over social assistance and education, will only play a consultative role regarding the determination of the new national standards?

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the proposed transfer program is a clear recognition that the provinces can take more responsibility for making decisions.

We are freeing up and making far more flexible their choices of priorities within a broad range of programming on education, welfare and health. That is the whole point of consolidating the existing transfer system, to give the provinces the freedom of choice to look at programming which suits the individual needs of their own areas.

At the same time, it is a national transfer program. There are base conditions and those conditions are already X stamped, as we said in the budget itself, such as the five conditions under the Canada Health Act and the condition under the Canada assistance plan which protect the mobility rights of Canadians so they can move from one region to another and still be eligible for some form of assistance. Those are the basic conditions which were put forward.

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understand clearly that national standards are here to stay.

But given the government's policy regarding transfer payments, which will ensure that Ottawa will dictate these national standards and will reduce the provinces to mere administrative branches, are we to take this as another example of the flexible federalism so touted by the Liberals?

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is obviously trying to use scare tactics. The budget makes it clear that fewer strings will be attached to the Canada social transfer than was the case for transfer payments previously.

The conditions to be met in the area of health care remain the same, as is explained in the budget. There have never been any conditions tied to post-secondary education, particularly in Quebec, which has opted out since 1964. All the conditions tied to social assistance have been eliminated, excepting the one barring any minimum period of residency to qualify.

Therefore, it is very clear, and the budget states this, that any future federal-provincial agreement will be based on mutual consent and, consequently, contrary to what the hon. member would have us believe, there are fewer conditions to be met than before.

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, while it is recognized that social assistance and education come under provincial jurisdiction, the federal government clearly shows its intention to interfere shamelessly in these areas of provincial jurisdiction by imposing its views and goals on the provinces through national standards.

My question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. How can the minister reconcile this denial of the provinces' exclusive jurisdiction, which leaves the door wide open to confrontation with Quebec, and the openness, mutual understanding and flexible federalism he is talking about?

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am hearing the exact same argument being put forth again and it is as flawed as it was in the previous question. The budget clearly indicates that the requirements attached to social transfers will be reduced and that, if social assistance programs are subject to standards, these standards will be set by mutual consent.

This is mentioned several times in the budget. There is no mistake about it and I can only conclude that the members opposite are, once again, misrepresenting to the people of Canada and Quebec facts that are clearly stated in the budget.

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the mere fact of thinking about imposing standards or Canada-wide requirements in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction constitutes in itself interference in Quebec's exclusive jurisdiction. That is what the minister just said.

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Will the minister acknowledge that explicitly linking transfer payments for social assistance, postsecondary education and health, which are areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction, to strict compliance with national standards imposed by Ottawa looks like a new attack against Quebec?

Social ServicesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

The propaganda effort continues, Mr. Speaker. The Bloc Quebecois just keeps stating a position contradicted by facts, by the budget and by reality.

I can only repeat what I said earlier, namely that the budget is clear, that the requirements for social assistance have been reduced, that, if any standards are established, they will be established by mutual consent. It is very unfortunate that the opposition informs the people of Quebec so poorly on such major issues.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been reported today that diplomatic sources and federal officials are deeply concerned that Canada's peacekeepers will be targeted by the warring factions in Bosnia and Croatia.

They say Canadian combat troops are entering one of the most dangerous conflict zones at a time when tensions are rising and fighting is escalating.

Given the government's expressed concern for the safety of our peacekeepers, why are we now sending more troops to Bosnia and Croatia?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well that a variety of scenarios can exist on peacekeeping missions, particularly one of this nature where the requirements of the peacekeepers are so varied and different, whether it is in Croatia or in Bosnia.

He also knows that the Canadian forces have a number of contingency plans to counter any of these operations. We are prepared. We have contingency plans. He also knows that it would not be appropriate to divulge the contingency plans on the floor of the House of Commons. I see he is nodding, Mr. Speaker.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's ad hoc approach to peacekeeping in the former Yugoslavia is unacceptable. It is sending our soldiers into a war zone with no criteria to judge when that mission is accomplished.

We are heartened to hear that the military is drawing up secret evacuation plans but it should not need to because the government should not be placing our troops in danger for what looks to be a futile cause.

What criteria has the government established to decide when our troops are to be withdrawn?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, perhaps if the hon. member had a conversation with the hon. member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, who voted in favour of our troops in Yugoslavia, he may be enlightened as to what it is we are thinking about.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

We still did not find out the criteria, Mr. Speaker.

The last time the government renewed our mandate in the former Yugoslavia, the minister said he would reconsider our participation if the situation on the ground changed. The situation did change. Canadian soldiers were taken hostage and the minister was powerless to act. Instead of learning from the past, the government is making the same mistake again.

Lord Owen is right. Our peacekeepers are the best in the world. The government should not be putting them into obvious danger. Will it reconsider its decision and move to withdraw Canadian peacekeepers now while it has the chance?