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House of Commons Hansard #32 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I would remind hon. members please to not use any props in the House of Commons.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, documents submitted this morning to the commission of inquiry indicate that the chief of defence staff, Jean Boyle, had indeed received a memo addressed directly to him suggesting that the information to be handed over on Somalia be modified, contrary to what he told the military police last December, when the current minister was in office.

Since this memo was directly addressed to Mr. Boyle, how can the minister justify that it was not handed over to the commission of inquiry at the very beginning and that, in order to obtain it, it was necessary to mobilize the entire army in an unprecedented search? How does the minister explain that?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to say that I share the sentiments expressed by the hon. member for Shefford on the death of former General Jean Victor Allard. He was a man of great distinction who served Canada well. He was the first French-Canadian chief of defence in our history. He was a great man.

Concerning the question of the hon. member for Charlesbourg, he knows I have been giving the same answer to that question for two weeks. I have answered the question for two weeks because that is what Canadians expect to hear.

They expect to hear that the commission that was established by this government, an impartial setting, will look at all of the allegations which have come forward.

The hon. member should have paid attention to the comments made by the counsel for the commission this morning who at the hearings warned Canadians not to be misled by partial evidence, not to jump to conclusions, but to allow the commission to come to its deliberations and answers in the fullness of time.

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a number of occasions the minister has replied that we must wait, but now we have the proof that the chief of defence staff did not carry out his duties.

With this new cover-up, which severely undermines the chief of defence staff's credibility and by extension that of the entire armed forces, what more is the minister waiting for to suspend him temporarily from his duties, so that we can get to the bottom of this business once and for all?

Somalia InquiryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am waiting for the process of justice to take its course. The process of justice established by the creation of the commission will allow all of the allegations and all of the questions to be answered over the next few weeks. It will allow those people who have been accused in a public forum, in the House of Commons, to have an opportunity to state their case. That is the way we do justice in Canada and I believe all Canadians support that.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, Liberal MPs across the country promised Canadians that they would scrap, kill and abolish the GST, just as they said.

They have delivered, a billion dollar bribe to hide the GST and hide their broken promises. The Prime Minister has gone back on his solemn word to Canadians and the finance minister simply said yesterday: "We made a mistake in the last election campaign".

The Prime Minister can wave the red book all he wants, but the question to be answered is this. Will he apologize to Canadians for breaking his number one promise of the 1993 election?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in 1990 during the byelection in the riding of the hon. member, in order to get her elected, her leader of the day who is in the House today, called for the election of a Reform Party candidate who would rip the GST right out if it was imposed against the will of the people.

In 1991 it was not the same. If Reformers were to form the government they could not repeal it. They would have to wait until they had a balanced budget. In 1992 he said something else and in 1994 in a report tabled in the House of Commons the members of the Reform Party complimented the Minister of Finance for the harmonization of the tax with the provincial governments.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was elected four months after the Tory government in the spring of 1989 and the GST had not even been talked about then. Nice try.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Get the facts right and get the time right.

This government has shown its contempt for the Canadian people. It has shown complete disregard for the promises it made in the last election. It has destroyed whatever credibility the red book might have left. It just goes to show that the Liberals will say anything, do anything and believe anything to get elected.

The Prime Minister supported the GST when he ran for the Liberal leadership. He opposed it in the last election and then he supported it again now that he got Canadians' votes.

They can wave the red book all they like but can Canadians trust anything in the red book?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The red book is being used on both sides as a prop. I would ask please, do not use props in the House of Commons.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, 75 per cent of the red book commitments have been passed by this government. The member even has a copy of the red book in her hand. We are still waiting for the alternative budget that they were supposed to prepare for the last budget.

I remember the leader of the third party telling Canadians: "Ladies and gentlemen, we will have a budget to tell the Minister of Finance what to do". We are still waiting. The budget has been voted on and we are waiting. Where are the people who made these commitments? They do not have to deliver. They just gave us a plan that they would never have to implement. There is no danger if they do not even have the guts to table a plan they will never have a chance to implement.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, nobody in western Canada can do a two step that fancy. This red book means nothing, absolutely nothing. It is a prop. It is a sham.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Sit down.

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development referred to a problem in letting the UI fund surplus continue to accumulate. There is, in fact, a surplus of $5 billion this year, with another $5.3 billion predicted for next year, while at the same time the minister is making a gift of some $500 million to big business.

At a time when the Minister of Human Resources Development is in the process of cutting back unemployment insurance benefits by billions of dollars, thus creating poverty in the regions, why does he not withdraw this bill and use the available funds to help the needy unemployed in Quebec, in Acadia, in New Brunswick, and everywhere in Canada?

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague is aware, he could not have asked the same question last year, for the UI fund had no surplus at that time. In fact, there was a deficit.

Obviously, changes in situations such as what has happened with the unemployment insurance fund must be taken into account. At the moment, however, what needs to be kept in mind is that the amendments made to the bill before the House at this time will result in improvements to situations that have been recognized as a result of presentations made by those interested in making fair changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act. The opposition's assistance in this would have been appreciated.

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I could have asked the question last year because indeed there was a surplus, and I am sure I would have got the same reply. We have finally got the minister's message. He is cutting $45 million from manpower training courses in Quebec, while the UI fund accumulates billions in surplus funds.

When the minister says he is pulling out of manpower training and leaving it to the provinces, that means he is no longer putting any funds into it, but he will continue to impose his centralizing views on us, and to duplicate programs already in place in Quebec.

Is that what federal withdrawal is all about: continuing involvement in manpower, but cutting off funding to the provinces?

Unemployment Insurance ReformOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we have been asked many times to withdraw from manpower training in a number of provinces, including Quebec. We have made the commitment, reiterated by the Prime Minister and confirmed in the throne speech, to withdraw from manpower training, not only in Quebec but throughout the country. Thanks to this decision, the Government of Canada is, in fact, pulling out of training. We have promised to do so within three years, and I hope to be able to do so earlier than that.

[English]

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think the House is embarrassed by the wrong thing. It is upset about a book on the floor but not by the deception that it represents.

The Liberals promised that they would kill, scrap and abolish the GST. What they have delivered, however, is a billion dollar bribe and a blended sales tax. Actually the BS tax is a good name for it because that is exactly what Liberal candidates were spreading on the campaign trail during the last election.

Since the government readily admits that it broke its promise on the GST, will the Prime Minister keep at least one election promise and ask the Deputy Prime Minister to resign?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I read earlier in French what is written on page 22. Hon. members are not setting a very good example by throwing books on the floor when there are kids in the House of Commons. They are trying to look at their Parliament and they see that behaviour from members.

I can start to read this but it would take a long time. On page 111 of the red book we called for the cancellation of the helicopter program. Done. We called for cuts to national defence. Done. We called for cuts in the professional service budget. Done. We called for cuts in grants to business. Done. I can read more. The youth service corps. Done. Literacy, done.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The House is rather spirited today. The wording of the questions and preambles is getting very close to being unparliamentary.

Members know the rules of the House. They can quote from a document but the document should not be flailed about in any way. I would appeal to members, both in the questions and the answers, to put them succinctly so that we can get on with question period.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign the Prime Minister boasted about his decades of experience in the House of Commons. Now he is telling Canadians that he did not know what he was doing.

The Prime Minister is saying he did not know what he was doing when he said that he would kill, scrap and abolish the GST. For crying out loud, the man was the finance minister. That is nothing but garbage, just like the red book.

Since it is clear that he played Canadians for fools in the last election, since it is clear that the Liberals knew they could not keep their commitments, and since it is clear that the Deputy Prime Minister pledged to resign if that commitment was not met and yet she still sits here, why should Canadians believe anything this Prime Minister and this government says?