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House of Commons Hansard #227 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was punishment.

Topics

Marine AtlanticOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, in a September 6 letter to the minister of the Nova Scotia economic renewal agency regarding the cancellation of the Bluenose ferry winter service the Minister of Transport stated: ``I have asked Marine Atlantic to consult with the appropriate stakeholders. Until the consultations have been completed I will not be in a position to provide specific details concerning changes to the service levels''.

One day after that letter was received Marine Atlantic chose to ignore the minister's undertaking and announced the October 10 closure of the ferry.

Will the minister direct this government corporation to retract its decision until a total economic impact study, now under way by the province of Nova Scotia, has been completed?

Marine AtlanticOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Kootenay West-Revelstoke for having given me notice of the question.

As a result of a meeting held today with the premier of Nova Scotia, Mr. Savage, and his minister of transportation, Mr. Mann, and particularly as a result of long discussions with the member for South West Nova, the member for South Shore and the member for Annapolis Valley-Hants, we have determined with the people at Marine Atlantic that although they were quite confident that very lengthy and in depth consultations had taken place and that all of the financial data and information required to make a decision had been reviewed, in the spirit of fairness and flexibility, as the government always tries to respect its undertakings, we will delay the implementation of the decision to suspend the service of the Bluenose .

We are looking forward to that study being commissioned by the Government of Nova Scotia and we expect we will be able to take a final decision on winter service before the end of this year.

Marine AtlanticOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his positive response to my question.

It is unfortunate for those in southern Nova Scotia that it takes an advocacy other than their elected representatives in order to bring this matter to the minister's attention.

Marine Atlantic's lack of response to market needs and ministerial direction coupled with Liberal strongarm penalties for MPs is interfering with the economy of southern Nova Scotia.

Will the minister agree it is now time to start the process of privatizing Marine Atlantic so it can be controlled by market needs instead of some unknown internal or political agenda?

Marine AtlanticOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, schizophrenia is still rampant.

What we are attempting to do with the process initiated by Marine Atlantic is achieve the objective of putting Marine Atlantic on a commercial basis.

We look forward to co-operating with the people in that area. We understand the levels of service provided in the past. We understand the subsidies being paid by Canadian taxpayers are no longer sustainable.

In response to the member's original question we have said we will look at the feasibility study commissioned by the Government of Nova Scotia. We will respond to it and with the co-operation of most of the members of the Reform Party we will attempt through every means possible to continue working to make sure transportation in Canada is affordable, efficient and as subsidy free as possible.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

September 20th, 1995 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

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

First, I want to mention that the student protests today in every region of Quebec are being organized to condemn the drastic cuts made by the federal government in social programs, as well as the stubbornness of a government which continues to ignore the legitimate demands of Quebec students.

Does the Prime Minister realize that Quebec will experience a shortfall of over two billion dollars between now and the end of 1998, and that the province will have no choice but to substantially

increase tuition fees, strictly because of the federal government's action?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

André Ouellet Liberal Papineau—Saint-Michel, QC

The decision will be made by Quebec.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out to the hon. member yesterday when he said he did not like to deal with numbers, this year alone we are increasing the transfer to Quebec by $20 million.

Unfortunately for whatever reasons, and this is certainly the responsibility of Quebec, the minister of education for Quebec has already cut $200 million from the budget for higher education.

Instead of laying the blame the hon. member should be placing the question where it properly belongs. Education in Quebec is the responsibility of Quebec. It decides on tuition and on curriculum. We have given it full right under the new transfer payment to make those decisions. I hope that when the hon. member has the opportunity he will go back to raise the same kind of issue, the same kind of question with the Government of Quebec.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the Prime Minister's silence, and since the Minister of Human Resources Development apparently wants to answer my question, I will tell him that this information is taken from his green paper on budget commitments.

Can the minister deny today that the federal government will force Quebec to substantially reduce its spending by depriving the province, through the new Canada social transfer, of more than two billion dollars? Can he deny that?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:40 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 figures quoted by the hon. member are not valid. In 1996-97, Quebec will only get $350 million less than it did in 1994-95. That is less than one per cent of the total revenues of the province, which was informed of that decision two years ago. In fact, Quebec's minister of finance, Mr. Campeau, accepted that decision at a finance ministers' meeting.

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister today talked about doing things a new way in Canada, but while the House rested this summer the Prime Minister's office did another masterful snow job on the media with a three day blitz designed to polish up the image of Atlantic Canada's king of patronage. Two so-called independent studies allegedly cleared the minister of public works of wrongdoing.

My question for the minister of public works is a direct one. Did he or anyone connected to his office have any influence in dictating the terms of reference of the Price Waterhouse study into the Canada Post scandal in Sydney, Nova Scotia?

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:45 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

No, Mr. Speaker.

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

At least I got him up today.

The corporate manager of real estate at Canada Post is on tape with CTV admitting that the minister not only interfered with the awarding of the postal contract, but successfully manipulated the Price Waterhouse process to avoid the very question it was supposed to answer.

My question is for the minister of public works. How is it that the minister of public works can hire the company of his choice, tell it what it can and cannot investigate, pronounce himself cleared, and expect the Canadian people to accept this charade?

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:45 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 do not think the hon. member will accept the word of anyone when it comes to verifying the facts about a particular matter.

I want the record to show that the incident he refers to took place as a result of representations made by a member of Parliament to me as the minister responsible for Canada Post. The House should know that I have received in excess of 1,500 representations up until this time from members of Parliament on a variety of aspects concerning Canada Post. It is my duty and my responsibility to refer that subject matter to the appropriate authorities, which I did in that particular case.

The hon. member can stand in his place and question that an international organization such as the accounting company in question has reported all of the facts.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. The federal government is forcing the provinces to significantly raise the tuition fees in higher education because of the drastic cuts it has made to social programs.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development acknowledge that the cuts he is imposing on Quebec will raise tuition fees by $1,500 a year thus limiting access to higher education?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is a very strange irony that the very members of the House who are constantly demanding more responsibility for the provinces now want us to take the responsibility back and start making decisions for them.

The reality is that in the area of education the Government of Quebec makes the decisions. It had already made decisions before transfer payments have even been effected.

I recall very well Mr. Parizeau on his election saying that he would not raise tuition for the students of Quebec. I ask the hon. member, does he not have any faith in Mr. Parizeau?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the minister is neglecting to say is that he is transferring responsibilities but keeping all the money. That is what he is doing.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Is the minister also aware that these cuts are forcing many students to spend more than half their income just to pay tuition fees, putting them further in debt? This is why they took to the streets today.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out yesterday, the members of the Bloc have been so busy during the summer campaigning that they have not taken the time to recognize or appreciate the initiatives we have taken to help students.

On August 1 we announced the new student loan program that would provide direct grants to students who have fiscal needs, high needs for support. While Quebec has its own student loan program, we have transferred millions of dollars over to Quebec so direct grants could be provided for part-time students with fiscal needs, for disabled students, women going to graduate school, and to provide loan forgiveness.

It seems to me that we are doing our part to help the students of Quebec. I wish the Government of Quebec would do the same thing.

Study By Economist Georges MathewsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. In the context of his ministerial responsibilities, does the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs agree with the economic impact of Quebec's possible separation as described in the Mathews report?

Study By Economist Georges MathewsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Yesterday, the hon. member for Roberval raised a question. I have reviewed yesterday's Hansard . It seems to me that the question as it was asked yesterday was somewhat off the mark.

I have listened carefully to the question today and I am going to allow it. The minister has the floor.

Study By Economist Georges MathewsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, obviously matters of national unity are important in the exercise of my responsibilities, particularly the costs of separation.

When studies are published on the cost of separation, it is extremely important that they be based on objective facts and that the conclusions drawn by their authors not be controlled by the Government of Quebec.

With the Mathews study, which indicates clearly that the costs of separation are much higher than what the Parti Quebecois has indicated, it is obvious that the studies published by Mr. Le Hir of the Parti Quebecois are no longer credible, because when a study raises points the Parti Quebecois does not like, the conclusions are left out.

The conclusion is clear: we can no longer believe the studies the Parti Quebecois is producing.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is proposing to raise $50 million by imposing a new tax on fishermen. Of course DFO does not call it a tax, but an access fee. But that does not take away from the fact that for some fishermen this new tax will mean a 400 per cent increase in their licence fees and an end to their livelihood.

Why is the minister insisting on cutting the incomes of Atlantic fishermen rather than making much-needed cuts to the bloated bureaucracy in his own department?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank the

hon. member for his question. I want to tell him that the basic principle is that fees should reflect the benefits of privileged access to public resources managed at public expense.

The members of the Reform Party talk about the deficit, about increasing revenue, about reducing costs. Should a fisherman who makes $320,000 in the six week fishery not pay a fee for the use of a public resource?

I can assure the hon. member and all fishermen that this will be based on an equitable formula and we will ensure that there is an even share. Those fishermen who are getting large revenues from their income will have to pay the highest fees. It will be on an equitable and fair basis.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is not a fee, this is a tax. A fee implies that the bearer receive something in return for his payment. The minister offers only headaches to the fishermen in this case.

The minister just does not get it. Canadians are taxed to death. Fishermen are in one of the worst predicaments they have ever been in as a result of overwhelming government mismanagement of the fishery. Now the minister has decided to stick it to the fishermen again.