This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #203 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was milk.

Topics

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the minister said a few minutes ago, the government's objective is to ensure that people can work. This government's objective is to create jobs, and the aim of reforms in unemployment insurance and other social programs is to make it possible for people to work with dignity instead of being completely dependent on unemployment insurance or welfare.

That is why the minister wants to reform the system, and we will have a chance to discuss this when the minister tables his reform proposals this fall. This reform is badly needed, because

these programs were introduced 30 or 40 years ago, and the time has come to make some adjustments.

Peacekeepers In BosniaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

As fighting intensified in Sarajevo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicated yesterday that he was unhappy with the current situation, stating that the peace plan was going nowhere. He also indicated that he would soon be consulting with the French and British authorities, hinting that a pullout from Bosnia could be closer than ever.

Does the Prime Minister confirm what his Minister of Foreign Affairs said yesterday about the possibility of Canada withdrawing its peacekeepers from Bosnia in a few weeks?

[English]

Peacekeepers In BosniaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Jesse Flis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada calls on both parties to withdraw their forces from the zones of separation.

Canada's position all along has been that the conflict can only be resolved at the diplomatic table, politically, not by military means. That is still Canada's position.

The minister made it very clear Canada will not withdraw its forces unilaterally. We are consulting with our partners, France, Great Britain, et cetera.

Peacekeepers In BosniaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the Prime Minister or, again, the parliamentary secretary tell us whether Canada is prepared to consider UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's suggestion that UN troops in Bosnia be reduced and regrouped?

Peacekeepers In BosniaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the situation is obviously very complicated in that part of the world at this time. As the hon. parliamentary secretary said, Canada belongs to a group of countries ensuring a military presence in the area and we have agreed not to withdraw without first consulting with our partners. The French have indicated that they were contemplating pulling out, but if and when they do, it will not be unilaterally, since they have asked us not to withdraw our forces unilaterally.

As far as we are concerned, any suggestion from the UN secretary-general deserves to be considered because peacekeepers are under UN command.

So, consultations are under way with the secretary-general, and we will inform the House of any new development.

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, after months and months of floundering it is becoming abundantly clear the social policy reform Liberal style is all but dead.

The Minister of Human Resources Development has failed to reform anything. His plans for a two tiered unemployment system are now on the back burner, as are income contingent student loans and TAGS retraining. Canada pension reform did not even make it to the back burner. We fear the minister is going the way of the turbot, barely clinging to the front benches by his fingernails.

Why has the minister failed so completely to provide Canadians with a new vision and plan for social policy?

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to reply to this question.

Reform of social programs is a very high priority for the government. At the moment the minister is engaged in consultations with the provinces. Members of Parliament have held consultations across the land over many months. We will put all the discussions together and take them to cabinet during the summer.

There will be real reform, not fake reform which the member is trying to promote with the name of his party. I hope the Reform Party will agree with the reforms.

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, reform may be a priority as the Prime Minister says, but the fact is Canada's social safety nets are in a terrible mess.

The federal government's influence over medicare is diminishing, CPP is headed toward bankruptcy, consultations with the provinces are going nowhere, UI is unreformed and Atlantic Canadian workers are quitting their jobs to get on TAGS.

A government that proclaims to be the architect and defender of social safety nets is now presiding over the demise of those safety nets through its inability to act.

Does the Prime Minister want to go down as the Prime Minister who presided over the demise of the social safety nets or does he have a fresh new approach to social policy to lay before the House?

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since the road to Damascus I have never seen such a

conversion. I am delighted the leader of the Reform Party now supports the safety net.

When we make it more effective in the fall I would be delighted to have his support. It is great that the Reform Party is now getting more and more Liberal.

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the collapse of the government's social reform program hurts not only Canadians dependent on those programs but also taxpayers.

Every member of the House knows there is absolutely no way the federal budget will be balanced unless there is social program reform and reform of social spending. If the Minister of Human Resources Development cannot lead that overhaul, then someone else in the government must be assigned the job.

With the Prime Minister prepared to provide leadership on this subject, since his government's budget is undermined by the failure of this minister to overhaul social funding, is it the Department of Finance that will now be providing the leadership for social reform?

Social PolicyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the kind of leadership I have shown in this area is when I named an extremely able minister to be in charge of this very important project.

The leader of the third party should relax because I am looking forward to the day he will get up and applaud the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board. Contrary to what the Minister of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, Foreign Service Directives Nos. 45 and 50 still allow diplomats to cash in their plane tickets to Ottawa, to pay for vacations anywhere in the world. The auditor general is critical of Treasury Board's decision to no longer ask for vouchers.

Given the condition of our public finances and the fact that the government is about to eliminate 45,000 jobs in the public service, how can the President of the Treasury Board still allow such a privilege for diplomats, which will cost over $8 million this year to Canadian taxpayers?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, it has long been a tradition that those in foreign posts, particularly those considered to be in hardship posts, would have the opportunity for themselves and their families to return home from time to time, once a year in fact.

Of late the policy has involved a reduction in the amount of money to 80 per cent of the full economy fare. That has been on a test basis. All of that is subject to review. Every three years a review is automatically required. It is part of the union agreements. Therefore we will do it with the bargaining agents and it will be done this fall.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the President of the Treasury Board confirm that this privilege, introduced in 1993, was designed to allow diplomats posted overseas to avoid the salary freeze now affecting public servants?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Not at all, Mr. Speaker, as has been pointed out.

A number of diplomats serve in hardship posts in spots in the world that nobody would envy. We want to give them and their families the opportunity to be able to come home from time to time. That was the purpose behind all of this.

Having said that, we have to make sure of the best value for the taxpayers' dollar. The program has to be operated in an efficient fashion. We are reviewing it in the normal three-year cycle and will be negotiating this matter with the bargaining agents this fall.

BosniaOral Question Period

May 17th, 1995 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, as we have already heard today, reports out of Bosnia indicate that the fighting has risen to the highest level in three years. The UN Secretary-General says the current peacekeeping mandate is totally inadequate. Reform has been warning that this would happen for months now, but the government did not listen.

My question is for the Minister of National Defence. For the safety of our peacekeepers, will the government pull our forces out now?

BosniaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, though we are very concerned about the situation in the former Yugoslavia, the Prime Minister made the government's position quite clear last week.

There is good work still to be done by UNPROFOR. The Canadian government is still committed. We are consulting with our allies to see whether or not the mission should continue and if changes are required what could be implemented.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is no peace in sight in Bosnia. The UN is powerless facing the renewed fighting and no amount of tinkering with the UN mandate is going to change that.

Now is not the time for the Prime Minister to be timid, waiting for the governments of France and Britain to tell him what to do in Bosnia.

Will the Prime Minister stop wavering and initiate the process of withdrawal immediately?

BosniaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the troops have done a great job.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

I do not think it would be responsible for us to start a process that could result in many lost lives. Canadian soldiers are considered to be the best. I was told so by the president of Bosnia. It was also mentioned when I met last week with the president of Croatia. They both praised the quality of our soldiers' work. Our soldiers are committed to be there and will not leave unilaterally.

When we tell our partners we will do something, Canadians keep their word.

Film IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

According to the director of Telefilm Canada, the Minister of Canadian Heritage plans to charge the major American film companies a tax of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent on their revenues for the distribution and showing of their films and videos in Canada. The director of Telefilm Canada has confirmed that the Minister of Canadian Heritage discussed this matter during his now famous trip to Los Angeles.

Would the minister confirm having discussed such a tax with the representatives of the major film companies during his short trip to Los Angeles?

Film IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that we have such a strong and imaginative individual, with an eye for change, at the helm of Telefilm Canada. My discussions with the major American companies, however, did not cover this particular point. They were much more general in nature.

Film IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, as my supplementary, I would ask the minister what measures he is considering in order to force the major American film companies to reinvest in Canadian culture some of the billions of dollars they are making here, as is being done in France, for example?

Film IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that our colleague is interested in this matter. Now she understands why the Minister of Canadian Heritage wants a policy on the film industry supporting the interests of the industry in Canada.

There are a number of ways to go about it. This is in fact what I am looking at with representatives of the Canadian industry and with the American major film companies and independents.