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 #15 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party promised to abolish the GST. It also promised to replace the GST. This is the finance minister's third budget and he still has not replaced the GST. Why?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I answered this question in the House before but I am delighted to respond to this member, whose views are obviously considerably more enlightened than others of his party.

What we are doing is fulfilling the recommendations and the advice given by the Reform Party in the finance committee of the House when it dealt with the GST. It simply said we should replace it with a harmonized tax. It went on to say that will obviously require future negotiations with the provinces. The Reform Party was right.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, this confirms the finance minister is the master of myths.

Our report, if he read the first part, recommends tax reform and a simplified system of taxation to replace the GST. It was in the final form, out of context, that he was taking our recommendation, but that is fine; he is the master of myths.

Will he confirm for the House that the real problem he is having with the new Liberal supertax, which he is trying to get co-opted with the provinces, is that the combined rate, for instance, in Ontario of the 8 per cent and 7 per cent to 15 per cent would actually represent a $2 billion to $3 billion increase to the consumers of Ontario? That is why he is having trouble.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has "mythd" the point. There is no possibility of a supertax. What we are seeking is a harmonized tax.

Obviously if there was a transfer from one segment of society to another, any province would have the ability to right that and to shift it back. There is all kinds of flexibility built in there.

I simply quote the Reform Party again from the finance committee. This is in context: "We commend the government on its attempt to harmonize the tax with the provinces".

PipelinesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, the National Energy Board is holding hearings in Calgary this April on stress corrosion cracking, a potentially dangerous occurrence on Canada's pipelines.

What can the Minister of Natural Resources do to ensure the Ontario Pipeline Landowners Association can participate in these hearings in the public interest?

PipelinesOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a very important issue in relation to how groups such as the Ontario Pipeline Landowners Association can fully participate in hearings such as those before the National Energy Board.

As the hon. member knows, I have communicated with the National Energy Board, asking it under the existing regulatory regime to see whether some form of intervener funding will be possible. It is important to keep in mind that is not the only thing we can do in the present circumstance.

Parties do not go unrepresented before boards such as the National Energy Board presently. For example, OPLA is presenting written questions to pipelines such as IPL in this hearing. It will get written responses to those questions. It will be able to file written arguments to the National Energy Board at the end of the hearing.

The National Energy Board has gone out of its way in relation to this hearing to ensure that OPLA and other interested public groups have full access to information. For example, we are making available all documents that have been filed, public minutes of the fact finding process and a 1-800 number.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Landry Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture. Contrary to what the Secretary of State for Agriculture said, the dairy subsidy was not eliminated with the industry's consent. The Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec condemned this measure, which will lead to losses of up to $8,000 for the average farm.

How can the Minister of Agriculture-who, after the referendum, made promises of fairness and equity-justify this measure hurting dairy producers, nearly 50 per cent of whom live in Quebec?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, at the time of the federal budget in 1995 we indicated certain staged reductions in the dairy subsidy that would take place during the current fiscal year and the next fiscal year.

We also indicated that we would consult with the dairy industry across Canada, particularly in provinces like Quebec and Ontario where the dairy industry is concentrated, to discuss the future of the dairy subsidy beyond the initial two years that were dealt with in the budget last year.

Those consultations took place very extensively. They involved me, my parliamentary secretary, my departmental officials, the Canadian Dairy Commission and a broad cross-section of representatives in the Canadian dairy sector.

We raised very clearly the fiscal difficulty the government was facing. We indicated the dairy subsidy would not be sustainable for the long term. We sought their advice in terms of how best to handle the dairy subsidy in those circumstances. A wide variety of options was discussed in terms of how this situation could be managed. The dairy industry very clearly indicated that while it would prefer to retain its subsidy, faced with the fiscal reality of the country to deal with this issue it would recommend the phase out approach that we have implemented.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Landry Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that eliminating this subsidy without any kind of compensation compounds the unfairness in federal spending in Quebec, where his department will spend a mere 8 per cent of its budget this year?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, obviously one of the issues that remains to be dealt with, an issue the dairy industry in terms of producers and processors is very anxious to deal with, is the question of future pricing.

Under the Canadian system of supply management producers will have the opportunity to deal with the price setting regime in the future in consultation with processors and the Canadian Dairy Commission. It is obvious that as the producers no longer have access to what they call the direct payment they will want to recoup a good portion of that, as much as they possibly can, from the pricing system.

Over the last 10 years or so the general inflation rate with respect to food products in Canada has been in the order of 30 per cent. By contrast, the inflation rate with respect to dairy products in Canada has been only in the neighbourhood of 16 per cent, which indicates there is some room for price adjustment.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of agriculture. On Friday the minister said with regard to the Deloitte & Touche report on the Canadian Wheat Board that since the report has been completed the board has acted on its recommendations.

Would the minister please inform the House how the wheat board has addressed the report's criticism that accredited exporter relationships with the board are neither sound nor positive, nor is there any evidence of an ongoing corporate strategy plan.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know the report to which he is referring is at least four years old. He will also know that when it was originally produced it was about an inch thick.

I have consulted with the board on this matter not only last week but over this weekend. It has assured me the recommendations brought forward by Deloitte & Touche four years ago have been pursued and implemented. If the hon. gentleman would like to put a question on the Order Paper about any specific recommendation I would be happy to respond to it.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would surely love to hear those answers on the Order Paper and I will bring my questions to the minister.

First the RCMP lost my complaint on the wheat board, then the information on an outrageous severance package disappeared, then the wheat board held secret in camera meetings before the grain marketing panel hearings. Will the minister finally make an effort to provide accurate information on the problematic grain marketing industry?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman knows the major purpose of the western grain marketing panel, which has been conducting its work over the last several months and which is meeting in the city of Winnipeg as we speak. The major purpose of the whole initiative is to provide complete, full, accurate information about the Canadian grain marketing system. It is significant that in all of this effort to the largest extent, members of the Reform Party have not bothered to show up.

Revenue CanadaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue.

In designing the forms for the 1995 income tax return, Revenue Canada decided not to provide detailed income tax tables, but rather opted to produce a single form to calculate the taxes owing.

Will the minister explain the reasons for this decision?

Revenue CanadaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, Revenue Canada has come to the realization that not every single tax filer needs every piece of documentation and supporting tax tables that can possibly be provided.

In fact, it was discovered that Canadians were using the simple arithmetic formula to check the tax tables. The tax tables were stripped from hundreds of thousands of packages sent out and in so doing have saved the taxpayer countless thousands of dollars and saved trees.

I point out that I did the tax calculation. If I can do it, pretty much everybody can.

Revenue CanadaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

That brings question period to a close.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw to the attention of members the presence in the gallery of a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association from Malaysia, led by the Honourable Dato Wong See Wah.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Also I would like to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of Dr. Oscar Hector Camilion, the Minister of Defence for Argentina and accompanying delegation.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to two petitions presented during the first session.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I have the honour to lay upon the table my report of the 13th Conference of Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers which I attended in Nicosia, Cyprus, from January 3-6, 1996.

Endangered And Threatened Species ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 1996 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-238, an act respecting the protection and rehabilitation of endangered and threatened species.

Mr. Speaker, this bill means a step toward the overall protection of Canada's natural biodiversity. It requires the Minister of the Environment to identify, protect and rehabilitate flora and fauna in Canada when it is threatened or endangered by human activity.

The minister would also have power to develop and implement programs to restore populations of threatened and endangered species to self-sustaining numbers.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Endangered And Threatened Species ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

In the opinion of the Chair, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-275 of the first session of the 35th Parliament at the time of prorogation. Therefore, pursuant to order made Monday, March 4, 1996, this bill is deemed to have been read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development.