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House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nuclear.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, maybe this is a classic case of believe what I write but not what I say.

Ms. Savoie showed last night that her memory was certainly far better than the Prime Minister's. In October 1990, December 1992 and May 1994 the Prime Minister promised Canadians that he would scrap, kill and abolish the GST. He even said it in this place. That is the promise that Johanne Savoie said she voted for in 1993. That is the promise the Liberals ran on in 1993 regardless of some small print in the red book.

Instead of trying to rewrite history and change what was seen on the news last night which was the actual truth, why will the Prime Minister not just admit that he broke his campaign promise to abolish the GST? He should just admit it.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we wrote in the red book that we were going to modify the GST. For a while the Reform Party had the GST in its program. After it did not have-

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was just commenting that in the report made by the Reform Party on the harmonization of tax on page 118 it said: "We commend the government on its attempt to harmonize the tax with the provinces. While we support the much needed harmonization of the tax, this will be a very difficult political objective to achieve".

Let us not forget that at its party convention in 1992 it promised to eliminate the GST only after the budget is balanced. It changed its position about six or seven times. We put it in the program and we are in the process of harmonization right now.

Information CentresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard St-Laurent Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Until November 1, there were 126 people working in 11 Quebec information centres, 66 of these people in Montreal, and the other 60 distributed throughout the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec City, Outaouais, Eastern Townships, Eastern Quebec and North Shore regions. According to certain sources, the government apparently intends to close 9 of the 11 information centres as early as February of 1997.

Will the minister confirm that his government intends to close nine information centres, retaining only two: one in Montreal, which is totally logical from a geographical point of view, and the other, purely coincidentally, in the Prime Minister's riding, in Shawinagan?

Information CentresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is true that today's technology makes it possible for us to repatriate certain services to a certain number of strategic spots, to which we can gain access in a far more interesting and administratively far more efficient manner.

We are, therefore, taking advantage of the technologies now available to deliver better government services.

Information CentresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard St-Laurent Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us call a spade a spade. Will the minister admit that there is only one thing involved here: patronage?

Information CentresOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the people in the opposition will have to do their homework a bit better. The Quebec regional division selected Shawinagan for their centre for reasons of efficiency, because the Revenue Canada centre is already located there.

Since Revenue Canada is there, this was an opportunity to save the Canadian taxpayers a considerable amount of money.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, last night the Prime Minister tried to browbeat a waitress from Montreal simply because she had the nerve to call the Prime Minister on his bogus GST promise. At least the tape does not lie.

Is this Prime Minister so arrogant and so out of touch with reality and so contemptuous of the electorate-

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask the hon. member to please proceed to his question now.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, is the Prime Minister prepared to beat up on people simply because they expect him to keep his promises?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian people are entitled to know what the agenda of the Reform Party is. Reform stands up in this House and talks about taxes, what it would do with taxes and about what the government does. I think the Canadian people would be very interested in

knowing what the hon. member himself, as he sets out the Reform Party program on the Internet, says about what we have done.

The Reform Party has criticized the government for eliminating the tax advantages for family trusts. The Reform Party has criticized the government for taking measures to combat the underground economy. Reform would let tax cheats off the hook and would call it tax breaks.

The Reform Party has criticized the government for the elimination of the preferential rate for large corporations. Reform does not believe that we should help small businesses.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Liar.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Canadians are entitled to know what the real tax agenda of the Reform Party is.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, sometimes my sound system is not as good as I would like it to be. I hope I did not hear what I thought I heard. I do not know where it came from but it is not in keeping with our traditions to use the words I think I heard. I hope that those words would not be used in the House of Commons.

I want to proceed directly to the member for Medicine Hat.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am not surprised the Prime Minister did not get up to address that question. He should be embarrassed to get up after that performance last night

For almost 33 years straight, the Prime Minister has been part of the elite of Canada. He has been a big city lawyer and a professional politician. He has no idea what people go through in the real world out there.

Last night he chided people who were unemployed. Today, Stats Canada tells us that child poverty has rocketed upward in the last year.

Is the Prime Minister's `them's the breaks' answer all he can muster for the 1.5 million unemployed people out there today, all the poor people who have been revealed by Stats Canada and all the people his government has completely abandoned?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not very well informed. I was elected to Parliament and represented a rural riding of Quebec all my career. I am very proud of that. My career has been based on coming to Parliament in order to serve my constituents and all the people of Canada.

A little snipe like the one from the hon. member will not take anything away from my record as a servant of this country.

Regional AirportsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Bloc Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understand that they are all wound up, but I would like to at least have the opportunity to ask my question. My question is for the secretary of state responsible for regional development.

The matter of transferring the regional airports in Sherbrooke, Charlevoix, Forestville and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is still dragging on, and the municipal representatives are anxiously awaiting answers from the federal government. The federal government is the one responsible for withdrawing from airport management, and thereby imposing unacceptable financial burdens on the municipalities.

Is the secretary of state aware that, unless the federal government rehabilitates these airports' infrastructure, the Government of Quebec will not sign the agreement to transfer these airports, as the Quebec Minister of Transport has recently stated?

Regional AirportsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalSecretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, as I have already stated in this House, my colleague, the Minister of Transport, has indeed drawn up a national transportation policy in order to give full responsibility for certain facilities back to communities. At issue are wharves and airports.

The policy was introduced so that regions could manage airport facilities in a manner better suited to their particular situations and needs.

This said, a policy has been implemented in connection with airports, and will be adhered to throughout the country. It is aimed at allowing us to provide assistance, under a certain program, to airports serving commercial airlines. The others, which are not used by commercial carriers, will receive somewhere in the order of $50,000, if memory serves me correctly.

I have met with all of the mayors, and the matter is being looked into.

Regional AirportsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Bloc Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the same response as I got last week. I get the impression that the hon. secretary of state has acquired the same bad habit as his colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development, but I will give him another chance to answer a real question.

Since a number of major projects are now on hold, pending a federal government decision, can the secretary of state tell us when he intends to settle this matter of vital importance to the economic development of the regions?

Regional AirportsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalSecretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec)

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to point out that, in large part, this matter has been brought to my attention by all of the members of the Quebec caucus, who represent the interests of the Province of Quebec very well.

I have met with all of the mayors and some reeves of the regional municipalities, and I must say that my Quebec colleagues and myself are greatly concerned by the airport issue. I believe, however, that it is incorrect to say that the projects are on hold. The municipalities are awaiting a government decision, but there is a national policy in place which applies at the present time, and a decision will be brought down shortly as to whether we shall be in a position to provide a positive answer to the various requests from the municipalities. This is of considerable concern to all members of the Quebec Liberal caucus.

National Gun AmnestyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice.

Last Friday, December 6, 1996 Canadians everywhere held vigils and church services to commemorate the 14 lives lost in the Montreal massacre.

Is the Minister of Justice planning a national gun amnesty program for Canada, a program with a national focus and a national thrust, and will the details be released soon so that all interested Canadians can co-operate and participate?

National Gun AmnestyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Leeds-Grenville has been a vigorous and longstanding proponent of a gun amnesty. On those occasions when he has spoken about it the hon. member for Leeds-Grenville has pointed out the many advantages of a gun amnesty. It provides Canadians with an opportunity to turn over unwanted guns to the authorities, no questions asked. It gives people a chance to get removed from their homes, in a convenient way, weapons that could be dangerous if stolen or found by children.

We are going to consider very carefully the declaration of an amnesty in conjunction with the implementation of the firearms act, Bill C-68.

This government is profoundly convinced that the implementation of Bill C-68 will make this a safer country. The suggestion made by the hon. member for a gun amnesty is a very constructive one which we will actively consider.

TaxationOral Question Period

December 11th, 1996 / 2:55 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's answers today are very similar to his answers on a CBC town hall last night.

To quote commentator Brian Stewart of the CBC: "The Prime Minister made a number of strong statements in defence of the government's record but he did not always tell the whole truth".