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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

Clifford OlsonOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vaudreuil Québec

Liberal

Nick Discepola LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am not aware that Mr. Olson is receiving a loan. What we are aware of is that definitely Mr. Olson never had access nor was he given permission to use video cameras.

In the situation at hand, we are looking for a full inquiry and the commissioner has asked for a full report. Once the report is available, we will make it available to all members of the House.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. On page 94 of the red book, we can read, and I quote: "The integrity of government is put into question when there is a perception that the public agenda is set by lobbyists exercising undue influence away from public view".

What are we to think about the credibility of the taxation committee, six of whose eight members contributed more than $80,000 to the Liberal Party in 1994?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if they made contributions as individuals, in partnership or if they are companies.

I am convinced that they likely made donations to other political parties at the same time.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government gives contracts to defeated candidates and provides government committee seats to those who contribute to the election fund. The Liberals have come full circle.

To ensure the transparency of the decision making process, does the minister commit to at least expand the committee to include parliamentarians, so that the taxation review will be public and that

the recommendations and decisions will be made in the public interest?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, any discussion concerning the taxation review will certainly be public, because the objective of that committee is really to prepare a background document that will be used for consultation, undoubtedly by parliamentarians, including members of the finance committee with his colleague.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, UI premiums are creating a $10 billion surplus. This money belongs to the UI system and therefore to Canadian workers and employers. When will the government reduce the regressive, job killing UI premiums on Canadian workers and employers?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, at the last revision, and of course a revision occurs every fall, the Minister of Human Resources Development announced a reduction in premiums. There was a savings passed on of $1.2 billion. The answer to the hon. member's question is: We have already done it.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, in spite of the announced reductions and the reductions which will be coming in the next few months, the budget document indicates that the surpluses for the next two years of $10 billion have taken into account those reductions. However, the government now plans a $2 million campaign to advertise changes to the UI system.

Canadians need jobs, not UI advertisements. Will the minister stop this costly advertising campaign and simply reduce premiums to create jobs?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I understand the hon. gentleman's concern about the UI surplus and I understand his concern about jobs.

I wish it were as simple as cancelling a program to provide over a million Canadians who receive UI benefits with the information which they will require as a result of the changes we are bringing to the act. If it were that simple, I want to assure the hon. gentleman that we would be happy to cancel the campaign, if we knew it would work as a result of creating all of those new jobs.

However, in the real world, all of these men and women across the country have been confronted for the past three or four months with an act that we know will be changed. A lot of amendments will undoubtedly be brought to it in the next few weeks. Therefore it is only fair to assume when we have in excess of a million people who are involved in the employment insurance program that we have to spend some money to ensure they understand what the new rules will be.

Canada Social TransferOral Question Period

March 18th, 1996 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the government's own figures, the new formula to determine the Canada social transfer is such that between 1996 and 2003, the only provinces which will see an increase in federal funding for their social programs are Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, that is the three richest provinces of Canada.

How can the Minister of Finance explain that a transfer which is meant to help the neediest in our society will increase only for the richest regions of Canada?

Canada Social TransferOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is precisely for the same reasons that the seven other provinces will receive more in equalization payments than the three provinces mentioned.

In other words, you have to consider the transfers as a whole. If you do that, you will see that Quebec will be doing very well.

Canada Social TransferOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly we do not have the same figures, although I took them out of the minister's own budget. The figures I have say that the three richest provinces of Canada will, up to 2003, see their share of the Canada social transfer increase while the poor provinces will see theirs decrease.

Canada Social TransferOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. member

Oh, oh.

Canada Social TransferOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Look at the budget. This is serious. If the Minister of Finance does not even know his own figures there is a problem somewhere.

What kind of logic brings us to this result, which shows an increase in federal contributions to the richest provinces while the poorest regions of Canada will see a decrease in federal contributions? Could he explain to me the logic of this system?

Canada Social TransferOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, as to the formula, at the end of the fifth year, transfers to the provinces will have increased from $25.1 billion to $27.4 billion-that is the total transfer to the provinces. Second, the transfers under equalization will increase for the provinces.

I am sure that the hon. member is not interested only in the Quebec situation, but Quebec will receive 31 per cent of transfers for 25 per cent of the population.

RacismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, March 14, B'nai Brith released its annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents. This report showed that anti-Semitic harassment is at its highest level since the group began keeping audits.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage please tell us what the government is doing to combat hate and racism?

RacismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I want the hon. member to know how much I am concerned with that finding by B'nai Brith. I share her concerns on this issue.

There are a number of things my department is doing with regard to this issue. March 21 is the day United Nations has set for the elimination of racism in the world. For weeks prior and for weeks following there will be a series of events set up to bring to the attention of Canadians, especially young people, the issue of racism in this country.

We do not concentrate on racism only during that period. All year round the department of multiculturalism looks carefully at how we set up projects and programs in order to assist social cohesion. We work with the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Human Resources Development and with the solicitor general to ensure Canadians are all treated alike.

This will continue to evolve and change so that we meet the continuing needs of the country with regard to the very important issue of racism.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister has once again picked Canadians' pockets with another tax grab on RRSPs.

By eliminating the deductibility of the administration fee on self-directed RRSPs and lowering the maximum age for contribution by two years, the government engages in sneaky tax grabs while preaching fiscal restraint.

How can the finance minister justify this delayed action tax grab while preaching no new taxes?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the reason for taking the decision on deductibility was that what we were dealing with were charges that were utilized primarily, in fact overwhelmingly, by higher income Canadians. Also, these were fees were not available to lower income Canadians simply because of a lack of disposable income.

If I understand what the hon. member is recommending, there should be tax breaks available in practice for the well of that would not be available to the less well off. That is the reason they exist and that is the reason we will fight that kind of idea.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the message to the government is that it has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. That is the message we want to get through.

It is quite clear that this dismantling of the RRSP program is under way by the Liberal government. First, it reduces the maximum contribution limit. Second, it froze those limits. Third, it eliminated the deductions. Fourth, it has attacked seniors who will be living long enough to enjoy their hard earned savings.

Why is the finance minister so determined to dismantle the RRSP program?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me simply give one example of a change we brought to the RRSP program. Prior to the last budget there was a restriction that people could go back only seven years in order to make maximum use of it.

We eliminated the seven years because we recognized that there are a lot of young families which are not able to take advantage of it because they were raising their children and which would be able to use that space later on when their children had left the nest. What we have done is open it up so that all Canadians can use the RRSP.

Once again the question is why does the Reform Party think the only purpose of the country and government is for the rich? We think it is for all Canadians.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of Indian affairs.

Since the Oka incidents in 1990, the federal government has bought a number of properties near the Mohawk community in Kanesatake. Since May 1995, the federal government has not been paying its power bills for some of these properties.

Can the minister explain why his department refuses to pay its bills as the owner of these houses?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, there are 83 pieces of property purchased by the department, most at the behest of the opposition

and people in the community. A package was put together. We thought it was appropriate and so we went along with what the opposition suggested.

The problem is now we have to develop a housing authority within the community to make sure housing is properly allocated and that there is proper policing. It is difficult, especially in Oka now with two chiefs, but we are working toward that end. I met this morning with the negotiator to see if we could have some positive movement in there.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I say to this minister, who has been touring Quebec for a while trying to stir up trouble between the First Nations and Quebecers, that he will not succeed. He should deal seriously with the issues that concern him. He just seems unable to find a solution.

My question concerns his incapacity to solve the problem of illegal occupation of houses, because that is the basic problem in Kanesatake. It has a number of consequences, including a major loss of revenue for Hydro-Quebec.

Will the minister finally deal with this problem seriously and stop trying to spark fires between the aboriginal peoples in Quebec and Quebecers?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I do not try to spark fires but I do ask questions, which I think is my right in a democracy.

The response from Mr. Bouchard was that I was an idiot. The response from Mr. Brassard is we deal with assassins and murderers. The response here on Friday was atrocious. I missed the hon. member on Friday. Usually our dialogue is at a higher level.

I will continue to ask questions, which is my job, on behalf of native people I serve, as well as the hon. member.