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House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, dealing with the last part of the member's question, I would like to thank all members of the finance committee for the report which came out today. I say to the chairman and the members who wrote the majority report, it appears to be a very good document, very constructive and worthwhile.

Although I have not had the opportunity to read the minority reports in full, I would like to mention to the Bloc finance critic that-

I would like to thank the financial critics from the Reform Party. I am sure the work they have done will be of the same quality as in the past.

The hon. member said that the Reform Party does not intend to cut health transfers. Let me simply-

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

We will call you offside for using a prop. The hon. member for Bourassa.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the immigration minister.

At its last convention, the Liberal Party of Canada passed a resolution calling for the lowering or the outright elimination of the $975 head tax immigrants must pay when they apply for residence in Canada. This tax which is particularly outrageous, unfair and discriminatory for refugees comes on top of the $500 processing fee for each application.

Can the minister tell us whether she intends to comply with the request put by members of her party and what exactly she is considering doing in response to their demand?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I believe I have a better knowledge of my party's resolutions than the member for Bourassa. I was at the convention when this resolution was passed. Clearly, my department will follow through with it.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe the minister is not a loyal member of the Liberal Party since she has no intention of complying with her party's resolutions.

The vast majority of people working for agencies involved with assisting immigrants, labour unions, a number of community groups, the Bloc Quebecois and now members of her own party are asking her to change the rules. What more does the minister need to take action?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the member for Bourassa who is questioning my loyalty to my party to come and join our ranks. The least we can say is that the House is not unanimous on this issue.

I say again that we are going to look into it very seriously.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Liberals and airports are like drinking and driving: they should not be mixed and if they are, the consequences can be horrendous.

First Mirabel, now Pearson. Mirabel cost taxpayers billions. Unbelievably we are heading in the same direction with Pearson. Taxpayers may have to pay $662 million in compensation to the former developers of Pearson. The government has been found at fault but has been stalling settlement since February.

Will the government commit to settling with the Pearson Development Corporation before the next election so the voters will have a clear picture of this whole sorry mess?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the transfer of Pearson to the local authority, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, took place on December 2 and was very successful. I am delighted that we now have Pearson in the hands of local people from the greater Toronto area who represent all facets of the municipalities and the people involved in operating the airport and using it. They will be able to exploit all the advantages for Pearson.

We want Pearson to be the premier airport to the east of the Mississippi, the central point for connections from Europe and that entire region of North America. To achieve this, approximately $2 billion of expenditures and upgrading at Pearson airport are needed over the next few years. I am confident that the new administration we have put in place at Pearson and the transfer of the airport to that new authority will result in Pearson taking its rightful place as the gateway to Europe for all that part of North America.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I never did find out about the $662 million.

Since the new corporation was introduced, the new Pearson airport authority has indicated that it will cost $2.5 billion to redo Pearson. It has ruled out user fees to pay for that. It claims that the $2.5 billion can be raised solely from bonds, increased volume, and-wait for it-restaurant fees.

Has the government studied the Pearson authority financial plan? Will it assure this House that the taxpayers will not pay one cent for the renovations at Pearson airport?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member started off by making references to drinking. When he talks about $662 million to be paid by the people of Canada to buy out mythical profits of a Tory corporation, perhaps he is in the area where something is affecting his judgment.

Let me now go to the issue of fees at airports. Vancouver International Airport, our newest airport, is occupying the same relative position for Asia which I hope Pearson will be in for Europe. Forty-two per cent of the revenues of that airport come from the stores and restaurants which are operating on airport property. It is that which provides a great impetus and money so that it is not necessary to have large increases in landing fees.

I admit to the hon. member that in Vancouver the local authority in its wisdom saw the need to put on a departure tax which ranges from $5 to $15. The local authority in Toronto in its wisdom is choosing a different financial formula. That is what I mean by using local people's knowledge and initiative and local people's entrepreneurship to make the local decisions which suit local conditions.

TradeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Harold Culbert Liberal Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade. It concerns the recent trade agreement with Chile.

Members of the aquaculture industry are concerned that a subsequent NAFTA agreement will allow low cost Chilean aquaculture salmon products into Canada and the U.S. due to Chile's low hourly wages and virtually no environmental standards requirements.

Can the minister ensure Canada's aquaculture industry a level playing field in Canada's agreement with Chile and in any subsequent NAFTA agreements?

TradeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Dartmouth Nova Scotia

Liberal

Ron MacDonald LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, in reply to the member's question, I wish to say that there is no history of dumping measures between Canada and Chile. We are not aware of any evidence of the dumping of salmon by Chile into Canada. As the member knows, Canadian imports of salmon have been duty free for a number of years.

I wish to assure the member that if there is evidence of dumping we will use the appropriate mechanisms in the agreement to seek a proper remedy, up to and including countervail duties which are still permitted under the agreement.

ZaireOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

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

One week after it was announced that a consensus had been reached among 20 countries on the disputed food drop mission over eastern Zaire, the multinational force has not been given the green light yet to help some 300,000 refugees who are still stuck in that area.

We were also informed this morning that a political meeting would be held this weekend to set the date for the operation to begin.

Since the situation over there is not getting any better with the new offensive by the rebels and the incursions of the Ugandan Army into the Zairian territory, which makes the dispatching of assistance even more tricky, what does the minister now intend to do to ensure that the humanitarian assistance can be delivered efficiently?

ZaireOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first of all, we must distinguish between the two aspects of the problem: the humanitarian dimension and the presence of serious political turbulence in the area.

The mandate of the multilateral forces is limited to delivering humanitarian assistance and, as you know, we have taken several initiatives. General Baril has developed an action plan with the help of our partners. We have supported the refugees.

Yesterday, I attended a meeting with Sadako Ogata, the High Commissioner for Refugees. We discussed how the multilateral forces and the partners could work together with the United Nations and other organizations to ensure the refugees' safety.

If is very important to ensure now that the mandate is still to protect the refugees, but we must also encourage the movement of refugees in order to solve the problem.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, at the Liberal convention in October the Minister of Health said that the problems with our health care system have nothing to do with money and that better management is the answer.

In British Columbia hospitals, patients are being fed by volunteers because of cuts to nursing staff. Sick patients are being dumped out to home care and home care budgets are frozen.

We are going to put in $4 billion to restore health care funding. What is the minister going to do to ensure that these essential health care services will be funded properly?

Health CareOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has made reference to statements I made at a convention of our party. I wish to share with the hon. member some statements: "Saskatchewan has a stronger health system today than it did four years ago. The provincial health spending has stabilized and better health services are now being provided". This was from the provincial minister of health in Saskatchewan.

In the province of Quebec, Mr. Rochon said on May 28, 1996 in the Medical Post : Less money can be devoted to health care while maintaining the same level of population health''. Dr. Rochon set a target of 8.5 per cent of gross domestic product as the level that Quebec's health care expenditures should not exceed.We can devote less money to that sector while maintaining accessibility of care in the level of the health of the population''.

These are provincial ministers of health who have the direct responsibility to deliver health care. It is not the Reform Party that should stand in this House and condemn provincial governments for the hard work they are trying to do to protect and enhance the health of Canadians. Shame on the Reform Party.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

December 5th, 1996 / 3 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am appealing to the Secretary of State for Veterans to replace two memorial cross medals received posthumously during the second world war. The original medals were stolen in 1988 and the Will family in my riding is seeking to replace them.

I ask the Secretary of State for Veterans to demonstrate compassion for this family, to do the right thing and replace these medals given in recognition for two brothers who died on the European front in World War II. Will he do so?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSecretary of State (Veterans)(Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to get the details from the hon. member. If it is possible, I will see that the medals are returned to the family.

Canadian AirlinesOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

John Nunziata Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question relates to the plight of Canadian Airlines.

Yesterday the Royal Bank announced record profits of close to $1.5 billion, the largest profit of any corporation in Canadian corporate history. The Royal Bank is also Canadian Airlines' lead banker. It has literally made tens of millions of dollars from Canadian Airlines.

Why are the workers at Canadian now being asked to kick in $15 to $20 a week? Can the government indicate what sacrifices the Royal Bank of Canada is making? What is the Royal Bank of Canada's contribution to the survival plans? Does he not believe the Royal Bank and other bankers and lenders have a social responsibility to ensure the viability of Canadian Airlines?

Canadian AirlinesOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the difficulty of restructuring Canadian Airlines and turning it from a corporation which has had chronic losses year after year, totally $1.3 billion over the last decade, to a profitable corporation in the black requires corporate restructuring.

It also requires of course the creditors, including the Royal Bank, to take their share of that restructuring. It also requires to get the credibility of the corporation in front of those corporate creditors to have all in the Canadian family showing their willingness and determination to make the restructuring work.

That is why last week I went to Vancouver with two other governments, the Government of Alberta and the Government of British Columbia, with five unions and the company. We were working together to get to a common front to show that we were determined to allow restructuring to work.

Now that we have-

Canadian AirlinesOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

That concludes question period.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I draw to your attention the presence in our gallery of His Excellency, Eduardo Stein, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Republic of Guatemala.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the government tell us what is on its legislative agenda for the coming week?