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House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was promise.

Topics

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, here are the ten most often heard phrases at the Liberal Party convention this weekend.

  1. Policy? What policy? We're here to party.

  2. I can't speak to that resolution. I forgot the Liberal Party script back in my hotel room.

  3. Hello, are you a regular party delegate, or are you a lobbyist?

  4. Let's not offer Quebecers a better Canada. Let's just try to buy their support.

  5. How do you get that boot polish off your tongue?

  6. I know that gagging sound will go away, just keep forcing that distinct society down their throats.

  7. The minister of youth didn't actually do anything wrong. She just made a mistake when she bought a fur coat on her government credit card.

  8. Will that be Chablis or Chardonnay?

  9. Liberals believe that Canadians don't need or deserve tax relief.

And the number one most heard phrase at the Liberal Party convention this weekend was the Minister of Finance repeating: "I want to be Prime Minister. I want to be Prime Minister. Pleeease let me be Prime Minister".

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, Liberal delegates from across the country met over the weekend to discuss their party's platform in the next election campaign.

They passed resolutions on job creation, youth, child poverty, health, social security, pensions, the environment, safety, aboriginal people, citizenship and immigration, to name but a few.

The federal Liberals have reaffirmed their deep commitment to the values of social solidarity, sharing and tolerance.

As the Prime Minister told the delegates in his speech at the convention, the Liberal Party is a party of the center. The Liberal vision of Canada is one of justice, equality and responsibility. And it is this positive and dynamic vision that we will be proposing to the voters in the next election.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in their typically arrogant way, last weekend, the Liberals wrote their own report card on their so-called brilliant performance since the Grits' return to Ottawa.

The Liberals gave themselves a score of 78 per cent, after getting elected on a platform of jobs, jobs, jobs and doing nothing since; after promising in 1993 to abolish the GST and finding nothing better to do than have the Deputy Prime Minister temporarily resign and then apologize for having failed to fulfil their commitment; and after promising to put the government's fiscal house in order but merely cutting funding to the most disadvantaged members of our society and shovelling the deficit in the provinces' backyards.

One year to the day after the Quebec referendum, there is no reason to applaud this government's achievements in this respect. At their convention over the weekend, the Liberals swept aside the embarrassing issue of the constitutional debate, no doubt to make sure they got a passing grade.

In fact, the only 78 per cent score the Liberals deserve today is for the act they put on at their convention.

PovertyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the days prior to the Liberals meeting and convention in Ottawa, the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops released a report on poverty.

That report is a listing of the dismay felt by Canadians about the level of poverty in this country. Certainly the Liberals should have been dealing with that issue during their convention. Seven hundred thousand people have joined the ranks of the poor since this government took office.

The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops talked about jobs as being one of the key elements in ensuring we can eliminate poverty. Creating jobs deals with problems within aboriginal communities. Creating jobs deals with matters in our urban environment. Creating jobs helps to ensure a better economy for rural Canadians.

The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops has sounded an alarm of which the Liberals have to stand and take note. I urge them to pay attention to that. I urge all Canadians to ask for the creation of jobs.

Health CareStatements By Members

October 28th, 1996 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, our health care system is one of Canada's proudest achievements. Based on the belief that every Canadian has the right to receive the care he or she needs, our health care system is an affirmation of Canada's commitment to human dignity, compassion and collective well-being.

Over the past few months, it has become clear that the Liberal Party is the only party willing to protect this very important component of Canadian society.

The Reform Party has no qualms about supporting user fees and creating a two-tiered health care system, putting the burden of being sick squarely on the shoulders of those most in need.

The Tories want all Canadians to pay up to $2,000 a year for private health insurance in case you suffer the misfortune of becoming ill.

Meanwhile at the 1996 Liberal Party biennial convention this past weekend resolution after resolution was passed upholding the five principles of the Canada Health Act to ensure access to quality health care for all.

When it comes to health care, Canadians know who they can trust.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will not comment. The Liberal convention was pretty rough this weekend. I will not go further than that, in order to stay within the rules.

The Prime Minister has spent the past few days applauding his own performance as Prime Minister. He even said that he had done enough for Quebec, as far as his referendum promises were concerned.

My question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. How can he explain the Prime Minister's statement about having done enough as far as his referendum commitments are concerned, when the majority of Quebecers are dissatisfied with his job, a majority which includes the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, the leader of the Conservative Party, and some of those who backed the Prime Minister in his referendum promises and now admit he has not delivered the goods?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has, through a resolution of this House, recognized the distinct character of Quebec. It has adopted legislation conferring regional vetoes. Since the throne speech, it has launched a vast program of reform, affecting areas as diverse as mines, forests, social housing, manpower, and social and economic union.

This is a very significant reform, and we are still open to all truly concrete suggestions the opposition or any other political party in Canada might make to us with a view to pursuing our efforts to improve Canadian federation, which is already one of the best there is in the world.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, before the minister starts calling for suggestions from anyone, I have one to make to him: let him just meet the commitments the Prime Minister has made to people. If the government met its commitments, this would already represent huge progress, in everybody's eyes. That is my suggestion to the minister.

The Prime Minister has said that, now the referendum is a thing of the past, it is no longer necessary to always be on the same wavelength, with the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party in particular. How, then, can the minister explain to us what he means in this statement, other than that, now that the promises have had their desired effect-winning-it is no longer important to follow up on them?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, following up is what is important. That is what

Quebecers and other Canadians have done together since this federation was created, one of the best known countries in the world, not only for its quality of life, but also for its values of tolerance and openmindedness.

What absolutely must not be followed up on, is the destructive project represented by the opposition. This is a project which would bring deep divisions, not just between Quebec and Canada, but between Quebecers themselves. Quebecers understand this, and the numbers turning away from this project represented by the opposition are increasing by leaps and bounds.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs that the circus is over now. He is no longer in the Liberal three-ring circus, but back in front of the House of Commons. People want answers, not dissertations on the meaning of the federation and of Canada and of continuation of the opposition's project. For heaven's sake. Let us have an answer then.

The Prime Minister has once again tried to get the rest of Canada to swallow the idea that the Quebec question can be solved with a spoonful of sugar. Does the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs realize that the Prime Minister's commitments of this weekend on the question of the distinct society within the Constitution are merely an illusion, an illusion which serves to mask the emptiness of their constitutional position?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again, what is the emptiness are we talking about, when we enjoy the finest quality of life in the world, one envied, by not just millions but billions of people who would dearly love to share our emptiness with us, that emptiness which Quebecers and other Canadians have worked together to build? Will they turn their backs on that to launch into a project fraught with uncertainty, a project that is ill-defined, a project that is aimed at division and not at the open-mindedness which Quebecers and other Canadians have within them and wish to preserve for themselves and their children?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is the Prime Minister's new strategy: he has his party adopt a resolution on a vague concept of distinct society which he will trot out across the country, saying it means nothing to English Canada and means a lot to Quebec, and all this for the sole purpose of fostering illusions among the electorate. This is so vague, it is just playing for time by lulling people to sleep. It is just a way to save the ship once again until the next election.

Will the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs admit that this resolution on distinct society is just another way to gain time and get through the next election without having to explain that they have done nothing and once again run an election campaign on the basis of so-called promises of change?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our federation is changing, it is changing for the better and in such a way that it will be able to provide Canadians with a better quality of life. It is changing because we now have the lowest interest rates ever, a low inflation rate, and we are creating jobs.

It is changing in that it is clarifying the roles of various levels of government, to have a federal government that is strong in its particular jurisdictions and provincial governments that are strong in theirs, and a strong partnership between these two levels of government.

This federation is also changing in that it recognizes the place of Quebec in the federation, through a resolution adopted in this House or as expressed in a resolution by the Liberal Party of Canada adopted on the weekend, whose purpose is to convince Canadians that recognition of Quebec in the Constitution would be one of the fundamental values of Canada, something Canadians could do in full confidence.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in that case, what explanation does the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs have for his comments on the weekend, when he said that a distinct society involves no concrete or specific powers for Quebec?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that was never mentioned. Does the hon. member know what Meech Lake said about this? "Nothing in this section derogates from the powers, rights or privileges of Parliament or the Government of Canada, or of the legislatures or governments of the provinces, including any powers, rights or privileges relating to language".

Canadians in the other provinces would not be sending more power, money or privileges to Quebec but a joyous signal, a positive signal to show how much they want Quebecers to remain in Canada and, by their distinctness, be part of this great Canadian diversity.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says that Liberals will have to fight arrogance, overspending, overconfidence and complacency.

It is a losing battle. The unemployment rate is hovering around 10 per cent and yet the Liberals claim that they have kept their promise of jobs, jobs, jobs. Just in case we had any doubts, the Liberals now have sent out 1.4 million flyers entitled "Integrity in

Action" in an attempt to gloss over their dismal record on jobs. This is arrogance in action, certainly not integrity.

My question is for the Prime Minister. However, I am not sure who to ask over there today. Wasn't that a party? How can the Prime Minister even imagine that he has kept his promise on jobs, jobs, jobs?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the applause and the welcome. I hope I will get equal applause after my answer.

The facts speak for themselves: since this government took office, more than 600,000 new jobs have been created; the unemployment rate has gone down by some 2 per cent. There is a lot more to do but we are going to do it because we are keeping and will continue to keep our commitment to help create jobs for Canadians.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, when they talk about 600,000 jobs gained, they never seem to say how many hundred thousand jobs have been lost since this government's inaction.

While we are on the topic of Liberal arrogance, let us take a look at the government's record on health care funding. Surely that answer will not be quite as easy.

At the Liberal love-in over the weekend, the Prime Minister tried to downplay his government's cuts to medicare by saying that it was simply a squeeze. I do not know how he could call that a squeeze. It seems it was a choke hold with a body slam thrown in. The Canadian Medical Association-

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not think I heard a question, but I know it is coming.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, you will hear it now. Will they admit that $3 billion of cuts in health care is hardly the Liberal way? Will they admit they have gone too far with their slashing? Will this government commit to putting more federal money back into health care, as it promised in the sixties?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this is one for the record books. The party that wanted to wipe out medicare and privatize it is today calling for the preservation of medicare. I am glad its members realize the importance of it and have come around to supporting this key Liberal commitment.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, each hospital in this country that has empty beds should have a banner over it saying: "This brought to you by the Liberal Government of Canada". That is shameful.

I am surprised the Prime Minister will not make any firm funding commitments because in his keynote speech on the weekend he seemed all too eager to get back to his free spending, big government Liberal roots.

The real reason why the Prime Minister rejects any talk of tax relief is that he would rather spend taxes than cut taxes. The best way to create jobs in this country is to balance the budget and lower taxes through smaller government.

Why will they not give Canadians some tax relief, not tax increases?. Why is it that Liberals always think a dollar in the hands of a bureaucrat or a politician does more good than a dollar in the hands of the Canadian taxpayer where it belongs?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I can ask my hon. friend why the Reform Party always thinks that Canadians doing things together through government is worse than not working together to have a better country. Surely having a better country through a sound fiscal framework as well as government doing things for all Canadians is better than the Reform approach of slash, burn and destroy.