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House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was equality.

Topics

Advanced TechnologiesStatements By Members

March 8th, 1996 / 11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is now some good news for high-tech, aerospace and biotechnology companies.

In his budget speech, the Minister of Finance announced that the Minister of Industry would soon introduce a program called Technology Partnerships Canada. This initiative will make Canada more competitive in advanced technologies.

Under this program, the government will share the risks of technological research with the private sector. This fund will increase from $150 million this year to $250 million next year. Moreover, the Federal Business Development Bank will receive an additional $50 million to finance businesses.

These initiatives will help create jobs and revive the economy in some parts of the country like the Montreal area and the national capital region.

Joseph Bernier Residential SchoolStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Jack Iyerak Anawak Liberal Nunatsiaq, NT

Mr. Speaker, last week in Igloolik former students of the residential school in Chesterfield Inlet, operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate received an apology that was a long time in coming.

During the 1950s and the 1960s Inuit students at the Joseph Bernier school suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse. For over 30 years the victims have struggled with heavy hearts. Their load was lightened by the sincere apology of the Bishop of the Hudson Bay diocese, Bishop Reynald Rouleau. I commend the bishop for this brave act.

As well, I pay respect and honour to all those former students of the school. Despite their painful burdens and the pace and stress of the transition to modern society, many have become successful leaders in their communities. I salute their courage and determination.

International Women's DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this international women's day, the Bloc Quebecois strongly condemns the unacceptable situation in which women are placed regarding pay equity. In 1996, Canadian women still earn only 70 per cent of what Canadian men make. This situation has bad consequences for society as a whole. Equal work should mean equal pay. However, as we near the third millennium, this is still not the case.

The only initiative taken by this government regarding employment was the infrastructure program, which essentially created temporary employment traditionally associated with men. Women are also still underrepresented in certain employment categories. For example, in the federal public service, women only account for 25 per cent of Transport Canada's departmental population and 34 per cent of DND's workforce. Moreover, they hold only 19 per cent of management positions. The government must act.

Child SupportStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Daphne Jennings Reform Mission—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, regarding the proposed change in the taxation of child support payments, I disagree with the approach taken by the government. I believe the taxation of these moneys should be worked out between the divorcing parents at the time of divorce, hopefully with the help of a mediator.

My main concern is that these new rules can be made retroactive. This new legislation will open the floodgates for renegotiation of agreements. This will lead to enough litigation among family law lawyers across the country to ensure that very few of them will be sitting idle.

The obvious increase in litigation resulting from this change announced in the budget is particularly upsetting for me. The justice minister and his Liberal colleagues on the justice committee voted down my private member's bill on grandparents rights because Liberal committee members argued it would increase litigation, in spite of the fact that three eminent family lawyers argued to the contrary.

Is it the government's intention to help divorcing parents or to help their Liberal lawyer friends?

Child SupportStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is very appropriate during International Women's Week that the finance minister as part of his annual budget would include changes affecting child support. These changes affect the most needy in our society, namely women and children. It is primarily the children of Canada who are experiencing hardship as a result of marriage breakdown and subsequent divorce.

Few Canadians think it is right to tax child support as income to one parent while giving a tax break to another. These changes to child support will ensure that the benefits will reach the children it is targeted for and will update a law designed over 50 years ago.

I say bravo to the finance minister, justice minister and the revenue minister.

National Engineering WeekStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ian Murray Liberal Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Engineering Week. As part of the celebration, I attended the official transfer of the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame from the National Research Council to the National Museum of Science and Technology.

The hall of fame began in 1992 with the induction of 16 engineers and scientists. A survey had shown that most Canadians could not name a single Canadian scientist or a single Canadian science or engineering achievement. National Engineering Week is designed to make us aware of the contribution engineers make to our quality of life.

This year a special emphasis has been placed on youth and the importance of students maintaining interest in mathematics and science. The continuing success and prosperity of Canada depends on our having a society that is technically literate.

Canada has produced such hall of fame members as Banting, Bell and Bombardier. With its new home in the Museum of Science and Technology, many thousands of Canadians will be exposed for the first time to men and women who have been true builders of this country. It gives me great pleasure to salute the 160,000 professional engineers who continue that legacy of building the Canadian dream.

Committees Of The HouseStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals profess to be federalists but they support the separatist Bloc Quebecois here in Parliament. Why?

The Prime Minister says his blood boils when he sees those separatists in front of him but his Liberal MPs in the House committees vote time and time again for Bloc Quebecois members to be the committee vice-chairs. Why? There is no consideration of candidates' qualifications. The Liberals' order to their MPs is simply: Vote for the Bloc.

In the last week, with the exception of one independent minded MP who bucked the party line, every single Liberal MP on the following committees has voted for a Bloc Quebecois member as vice-chair: procedure and house affairs; environment; foreign affairs; aboriginal affairs; agriculture; human resources; and health.

The record so far is that 33 out of 34 Liberal MPs have voted for the Bloc. We will make their names public. Tune in next week to see if they do it again in the national defence committee.

Completing The CircleStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the Prime Minister's recent response to the throne speech, he outlined the measures our government will continue to take to ensure a strong economy and foster a positive climate for the private sector to create jobs.

In order to be successful we must forge a new and active partnership between the public and private sector. With this vision and agenda in hand, I recently launched "Completing the Circle". This York region initiative identifies available jobs in the community, provides pre-employment training and matches unemployed clients to jobs. This local initiative demonstrates the type of successful partnership that can and must be forged between the private sector and various levels of government.

Human Resources Development Canada, Tetra Pak and the Career Foundation have all joined together to enable a minimum of 100 people in the York region to greatly benefit through $200,000 in contributions by HRDC and Tetra Pak.

This is Team Canada in action.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

The Liberal government's third budget calls for women's pensions to be determined according to their partner's income in future, thus reducing their level of benefits and their degree of economic independence. When questioned yesterday in the House on this subject, the Minister responded as follows: "Nine out of ten women will get more money because of our reform".

Did the Minister of Finance deliberately attempt to trick senior women by referring to inappropriate statistics which apply to single women, not married ones on whom there are no statistics in his budget documents?

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, in his budget, the Minister of Finance has tried to be as equitable as possible, by enabling the most vulnerable members of our society to continue to receive a pension over the long term, and he has done so by reducing what would otherwise have gone to the better off.

Clearly women will benefit from this exercise, for they constitute one of the major vulnerable groups in our society. We support a system of social programs which redistributes funds from the most well off to the most vulnerable.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Really, Mr. Speaker, I have no idea whom the minister thinks he is addressing with that response to a simple, clear, precisely set out question. Either he just likes to hear the sound of his own voice or he did not get the question, so I shall repeat it.

On page 16 of the budget speech, we find the following, and I quote: "nine out of ten single senior women"-not those with spouses but single women-"will be better off" and so on. The reference was to single women, but the Minister is playing with the semantics of rich and poor. I want him to answer the opposition's question on what will happen to married women.

Why is the minister twisting his own statistics and what he said in his speech? Why will he not answer my question, not his own idea of a question, but what I asked?

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the important question relating to women is how the government is treating women in general, whether single or not. And the important principle is not what the opposition member is proposing. The important principle is: How are we fulfilling our redistributory role by taking from the most fortunate a portion of their surplus to pass it on to the most vulnerable members of society, which include women?

The present situation, particularly in Quebec, is such that it is mainly women who are poor and vulnerable, and our desire to help vulnerable women is what has prompted changes to our program in order to ensure them of long term protection. We make no distinction between categories of women. We want to give all women the protection to which they are entitled.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is determined not to understand the real question.

Will the minister admit, without any shilly-shallying, that the new method of calculating old age security based on family income treats women like dependent children and represents an unacceptable backward step for the women of Quebec and of Canada in their struggle for equality and financial independence?

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member of the opposition is determined to create a problem where none exists, and to refuse to grasp the true principle behind our reform.

That underlying principle is that vulnerable women are entitled to government protection. In the system as it exists at the present time, the guaranteed income supplement already includes the yardstick of the couple's income, the revenue of the husband and of the wife. We have extended the principle that applies at the present time to the guaranteed income supplement to the reform as a whole.

We have brought in this reform because we, unlike the Bloc Quebecois, want people to be able to receive government assistance when they experience hardship. We are the ones implementing true social democracy.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, and we say women will continue to be hard headed.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. At a conference on violence against women organized this year by the UNESCO women's program, it was concluded that women's financial independence is the key to change. As the minister has already determined the fate of female senior citizens by making them more dependent, would he be willing to improve women's financial situation generally, and, if so, how would he do it?

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, here again, the important principle is our desire to protect women who are most at risk, and we are doing so.

We will have revenues redistributed to the women who are the least well off. In Quebec it is clear that most of those receiving or

who will receive the increased pension are women. Furthermore, cheques distributed to couples will be divided equally between husband and wife so that each gets half the money due the couple and so that each may remain independent.

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the key to change lies in women's economic independence. That means jobs.

In the budget speech, at page 26, the minister said, and I quote:

-that ten years hence increasing child poverty rates will be a thing of the past-

Are we to understand that the Minister of Finance advocates the status quo in this area? Is he telling us that his government is resigned to keeping 1.3 million children in poverty?

[English]

Status Of WomenOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely right. The key to women's equality lies in their economic independence. The government recognizes that fully.

When one looks at the initiatives we have taken in the past and looks even closer now at the initiative we took during this budget, we looked at women at every stage of their lives in order to ensure their economic independence.

When we look at the education changes we made in terms of increasing the eligibility for day care and the tax credits for going to school, we are ensuring single women get the same break as women who live in families. The child support of the WIS will be doubled in the next two years.

In the seniors package we are ensuring that 90 per cent of women, whether they live singly or in couples, will benefit from this new seniors benefit. We are talking about the economic independence of women.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government finger pointing on its broken GST promise seems to be intensifying.

Yesterday it was somehow the fault of Canadians that the government has failed to meet its promise and has failed to scrap the GST. Today we find out it is blaming the provinces. We had this embarrassing display from government members from Saskatchewan saying to the premier: "Please help us hide and expand the GST". It is ridiculous.

Why does the government not admit, why does it not come clean with Canadians and tell us it has absolutely no intention of killing, scrapping or abolishing the GST despite what it said during the election campaign?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it is very easy to answer that question. We do have every intention of keeping our promise and every intention of replacing the GST.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an issue of trust. The government has betrayed the trust of Canadians on this issue. It made promises to scrap the GST. It did not say harmonization. The only people interested in the government's new super tax are the members opposite.

Ontario has said no, Manitoba has said no, Saskatchewan has said no, Alberta has said no and British Columbia has said no. The only provinces that the government is trying to get on side are the Atlantic provinces and the only way it can do that is to pay them.

Since the provinces have no intention of being co-conspirators in the government's efforts to fudge the public record, why will the government not simply live up to its election promise and scrap the GST?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member forgets is that there are significant advantages to a harmonization program. There are significant advantages to having the GST replaced by a retail tax on an equal basis across the country. The advantages are clearly there. If the Reform Party does not want to see those advantages, fine.

It is unfortunate to have the Reform Party accuse the Atlantic provinces of taking bribes.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is the hon. member who said they were taking bribes. We said nothing of the sort.

I remind the hon. member that the Deputy Prime Minister said in the House that the GST was a job killer. We also know the GST harmonized would kill 70,000 jobs in Ontario alone. That is four times as many as the public servants in Ontario are currently striking over.

It does not matter how many times Liberal members read from the small print in the red book. They can pretend all they want that harmonization was what they told Canadians on the campaign trail, but Canadians know that is not true.

I ask a simple question which Canadians across the country want answered. Why did you lie?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

In the course of question period sometimes words are used that should not be. I ask the hon. member to withdraw the word "lie".

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the word "lie" and simply ask why did it break its election promise to scrap the GST?