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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

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesdays, we will now sing O Canada, which will be led by the hon. member for Vancouver East.

[Editor's Note: Whereupon members sang the national anthem.]

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anna Terrana Liberal Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is National Volunteer Week, an opportunity for us to thank those Canadians who devote their time and energy to helping individuals and causes and to improving the quality of life in our communities.

As a volunteer for many years, I know the dedication necessary to get involved in important causes to improve our society.

In my riding of Vancouver East life would be much worse without the help of our volunteers.

Volunteerism is a tradition as old as Canada itself and is quite unique to Canadians. Active, caring citizens have always played a critical role in our society. In celebrating National Volunteer Week we are recognizing the vital contribution of today's volunteers. At the same time, in highlighting their example, we are helping to nurture volunteers for the future.

I urge my colleagues and all Canadians to join me in thanking all the volunteers in Canada. They are undoubtedly our greatest asset.

Liberal Party Of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, voters need accurate information to make wise decisions at election time. With one vote they are asked to choose their member of Parliament, select the government for the term, indirectly choose the Prime Minister and give their approval to a complete all or nothing list of agenda items.

During an election campaign it is not acceptable to say that the GST will be axed with pledges to resign if it is not, to write in small print that it will be harmonized, but to keep it and hide it once the election has been won. It is not acceptable to promise more free votes if all this means is that the status quo of free votes on private members' bills will be maintained. It is not acceptable to say that MPs will be given more authority to represent their constituents if it means nothing and that MPs will still be whipped into submission by threats and actions of expulsion.

I cannot understand why the Liberal Party, running on words of rebuilding the trust of Canadians, would so blatantly ignore its campaign commitments now that it has gained power.

Farm Credit CorporationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, it would appear that the federal Liberals are planning to turn the future of farm financing back to the banks. Liberals in the Senate, particularly those on the banking committee, have released a report calling for the shutdown of the Farm Credit Corporation.

While there has been warranted criticism of the FCC, which has yet to be properly addressed, there is no question about the need for an understanding and supportive farm lender. The banks have demonstrated that they would rather make outrageous levels of profit than provide service. They cannot be trusted to be the sole lender in the farm community, especially with respect to the needs of the primary producer.

The Liberals are using the back door, through the Senate, to get this issue into public debate and to continue their undermining of our agricultural support institutions. In response, the Liberals should be told that there is a role for a public sector lender with a

farm background and that there should be no support for the shutdown of the Farm Credit Corporation.

Bert CosmanStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, as this is National Volunteer Week, I rise today to thank all the volunteers in my riding of Saint John, which has been ranked third nationally for volunteerism.

In particular, I want to congratulate an outstanding volunteer, Mr. Bert Cosman, who resides in the greater Saint John area. Mr. Cosman recently returned from working overseas for CESO, the Canadian volunteer advisers to business. CESO volunteer advisers are retired, professionally skilled men and women who share their experience with businesses and organizations in developing nations.

Bert went to Romania to assist a government owned company which manufactures high voltage equipment such as power transformers as well as electric and diesel locomotives. He interviewed all management and trade union representatives. He then prepared a report which recommended the centralization of market planning and sales and improvements in areas such as customer service.

I congratulate Mr. Cosman for his dedication and commitment to making this world a better place in which to live.

St. James Breakfast ProgramStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the St. James Church men's club is one of the volunteer organizations in the Peterborough riding which is providing an early morning breakfast program for students. They feed between 50 and 75 students every morning of the school year. They do this at minimal cost.

They believe, and I agree with them, that their program goes way beyond simply providing a good breakfast for the children who attend. The children find themselves in a happy, welcoming environment. They get a good meal to start the day but they also get to start their day in an upbeat, friendly atmosphere.

I thank all the volunteers across Canada who, like the St. James group, are giving our children a head start.

Sir Wilfrid LaurierStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the federal election campaign kicked off on April 25, 1896, Wilfrid Laurier, the Liberal member for Québec-Est, was Leader of the Opposition. He said at the time that Canada could accommodate more than one race; he was referring to French and English Canadians. Today, he would probably say more than one people.

However, Laurier also added: "But there must be only one nation".

From Saint-Lin-des-Laurentides to Arthabasca, from Cap-aux-Meules and Halifax to Vancouver and Victoria, let us follow, in the coming weeks, Wilfrid Laurier's election campaign.

The people of Brome-Missisquoi would now say to the then member of Québec-Est: "Good luck, Wilfrid Laurier".

Drummond's Economic PerformanceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, a recent report by the Société de développement économique de Drummondville shows that, in 1995, our region broke industrial investment records, with the creation of 43 businesses for a total of 13,000 jobs.

These figures clearly highlight the entrepreneurial spirit of the industrial community in Drummond and result from the various local stakeholders' successful partnership to promote economic development.

I wish to point out that our region boasts the highest rate of entrepreneurship in Quebec, with 51 manufacturing businesses per 10,000 people, compared to 17 for all of Quebec. With a rate that is three times the provincial average, our region is more than ever Quebec's industrial heartland.

Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week in Quebec, we are celebrating volunteer week under the theme "Volunteer work; it concerns you".

Tens of thousands of volunteers regularly dispense to those around them the friendship, care, understanding, respect and human touch we all need so much. In today's world, can you think of a better way to express love than through the daily actions of these volunteers?

It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to acknowledge the dedication of our great many volunteers in the riding of Saint-Denis, who, like those of PEYO, la Maisonnette des enfants, la Maison des grands-parents and Moisson Montréal, through their patience and generosity, reflect the common values which are at the heart of Canada's identity.

The greatest gift one can give is oneself. Through volunteerism these people do that everyday. They deserve our gratitude and our continued support.

Clifford OlsonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Allan Kerpan Reform Moose Jaw—Lake Centre, SK

Early release, Mr. Speaker, early release. Go out and kill 11 children, admit to it, and apply for early release under section 745 of the Criminal Code. No problem.

If the self-proclaimed beast of British Columbia or any others of his ilk ever get early release under section 745, then all Canadians will lay the blame at the feet of the Prime Minister, the justice minister and this Liberal government.

The member for Saskatoon-Dundurn who was the chairman of the justice committee and the member for Prince Albert-Churchill, who is the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister and who has Clifford Olson living in his riding, had better be prepared to answer to their constituents if Olson is released and goes on to commit another violent crime.

A final note. If Clifford Olson is released early, he will have served 1.36 years for each murder.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week is National Volunteer Week, which celebrates the work of millions of Canadians and Quebecers who volunteer their time, energy and talents to help others. These volunteers, 55 per cent of whom are women, express their love and generosity through a wide range of actions.

I want to praise the thousands of volunteers in my riding of Bourassa who generously help enhance their fellow citizens' quality of life. I am proud to represent a riding where dozens of community organizations are active. I would like to draw special attention to the work the Centre d'action bénévole de Montréal-Nord has been doing for several years now.

I encourage all Canadians and Quebecers to keep acting with solidarity, generosity and dedication toward the most disadvantaged members of our society.

Christine IchimStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John English Liberal Kitchener, ON

Mr. Speaker, courage is expressed in many ways. Sometimes it is the heroic effort of a Canadian peacekeeper or the selfless act of a firefighter who saves a child from a burning building. However it is expressed perseverance and strength always shine through in the drive to overcome nearly insurmountable odds.

Today I wish to acknowledge the courage of one individual, a young woman, Christine Ichim, who is from my riding of Kitchener, has taken upon herself the challenge of roller blading across Canada in an effort to raise awareness and research funding for the deadly disease of leukemia.

Her case is not unique in that thousands of Canadians and their families suffer as a result of this terrible cancer. With her mother falling ill with leukemia, Christine has made it her personal mission to find a cure to this disease, first by establishing a centre devoted to its study and more recently by organizing her personal challenge to skate across the country to raise funds for continued research.

It is for this reason I feel it is appropriate we acknowledge her courage to fight rather than despair. I salute Christine Ichim and ask that my colleagues share with me in wishing her all the success deserving of such a worthy cause.

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my dismay at the recent increase in the price of gasoline.

I do not remember reading about a crisis in any of the countries belonging to OPEC. I have not heard about a shortage in oil or petroleum and we all know there was no gas excise tax increase in the last budget. Therefore I am at a loss as to how to explain to my Scarborough Centre constituents why the price of gasoline keeps going up and up. They are fed up as I am with the greed of the large oil companies.

Could it be that the only reason the prices are increasing is that these oil giants are in collusion with each other? We have been told to reduce the deficit, to reduce our spending, not to raise taxes, to stabilize our monetary policies and we have done so and have acted in good faith. We are now asking these large oil and gas companies also to act as good corporate citizens and stop their gouging.

Canadians should not have to put up with gas price hikes every time the weather gets warm or every time a long weekend comes around. The time has come to let these oil giants know that enough

is enough. Canadians want to know what justifies these gas price increases.

West Bank And GazaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, no one in Canada tolerates the random acts of terrorism committed by Hamas in Israel. The violence in Lebanon has also shocked and saddened all of us. However the prolonged state of siege that the Palestinians are enduring in the West Bank and Gaza is causing unbelievable hardship to the residents, particularly the women and children who are desperate for food and medical supplies.

With their border crossings closed, an already fragile economy is enduring 90 per cent unemployment. The movement of goods has shut down. While people are hungry, tonnes of fruit and vegetables are rotting in the fields. Schools have closed down, turning thousands of children loose in the streets. Universities have also been shut down. Many cases of maternal and infant deaths have been recorded as access to hospitals is restricted. All Palestinians are being punished for the insane acts of a few.

Is it not time for Israelis who have known hunger, torture and fear to lift the regulations to keep hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in the worst conditions imaginable? How can peace be achieved when such suffering is allowed to continue?

Manitoba FloodStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, again this spring we are watching anxiously as Manitoba residents battle flood waters. Certain parts of the province have been declared disaster areas as people try to salvage what they can of their personal belongings and livelihood.

We have all seen the images of flood waters rising to the roofs of houses and barns. Our hearts go out to these people who have bravely faced these disastrous conditions. We cannot help but admire those who are reluctant to leave their homes and are determined to get back as soon as possible to start rebuilding.

I hope that all three levels of government will be able to work co-operatively to give all possible assistance to these besieged families. I know all members of the House would like to join in offering our support for all those affected by the Manitoba floods.

Harmonization Of Sales TaxStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's important announcement made by the Minister of Finance regarding the harmonization of the GST was well received in Quebec.

The Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance of the PQ government said: "This is very good. It sets a VAT all around us. Ours has the advantage of being the lowest one, thus putting us in a competitive position. This is good for trade and it harmonizes the economic space".

With this reaction, the PQ government proved wrong the gloomsters who keep saying that no agreement is possible between the governments of Quebec and Canada. Now that these people have been proven wrong, let us hope that the Bloc Quebecois will take note and will stop obstructing any attempt to bring the two governments closer to each other.

Armenian GenocideStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the Armenian genocide of 1915.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of Parliament who participated in yesterday's debate in the House and to congratulate them on passing the historic motion which reads:

That this House recognize on the occasion of the 81st anniversary of the Armenian tragedy which claimed some 1.5 million lives that took place on April 24, 1915, and in recognition of other crimes against humanity, the week of April 20 to 27 of each year as the week of remembrance of the inhumanity of people towards one another.

Canadians thank their MPs for this motion. It is a giant step forward toward recognition that the use of genocide and violence as instruments of national policy by any nation or any group at any time is a crime against humanity and must be condemned.

Government GrantsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is an interview for a grant, I mean a loan. No, I mean a contribution or whatever it is called.

Knock, knock. Come on in. Yes I'd like some money. Well first you have to qualify. What do I have to do? Do you know a Liberal? Yes. Have you paid your share to a Liberal's campaign? Yes.

Do you live in the region? No, do I have to? Has your business been successful? No. Will you employ more people? Not necessarily. Will you pay the money back? No. It's a grant isn't it? Are there similar businesses in your area? Yes, but they won't get a regional development grant. Well sir, it looks as though you qualify. As soon as we borrow the money from Japan, Germany or the U.S.A., we'll write you a cheque. And don't worry about any pay back-our children will look after it.

Tribute To General Jean Victor AllardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to pay special tribute to the first francophone to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general in the Canadian Armed Forces, Jean Victor Allard.

Mr. Allard had a brilliant career. In 1964, he was promoted to the highest rank in the Canadian military forces. It was the first time that a French speaking person was appointed to that strategic position.

In 1965, he was appointed commander of the new mobile force, in Saint-Hubert. In 1966, he was promoted to the rank of general and appointed chief of the defence staff. It is under his supervision that the Canadian forces were integrated. In the late sixties, Jean Victor Allard left the military and proudly represented the Government of Quebec in New York City.

On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I offer my sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Allard, and I salute the great soldier that he was.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

April 24th, 1996 / 2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government was elected on the strength of a solemn commitment to abolish the GST. The Prime Minister said during the electoral campaign, "We are going to scrap the GST". The Deputy Prime Minister said, "If the GST is not abolished, I will resign". On May 2, 1994, the Prime Minister again said, "We hate this tax and we will get rid of it".

The Liberals made a number of solemn promises to eliminate the GST. Yesterday, however, not only did the Minister of Finance announce that the GST was being kept, he went on to say that we were going to pay $1 billion to extend it to the Maritimes.

How does the Prime Minister justify such a spectacular about-face?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, we can see what is going on in the Government of Quebec, where the mother house is making major changes to the Parti Quebecois program as it stood at election time. I just make this comment in passing.

I would simply like to read what is in the red book, the document our election campaign was based on. Here is what appears on page 22 of the English and on page 20 of the French:

A Liberal government will replace the GST with a system that generates the equivalent revenues, is fairer to consumers and to small business, minimizes disruption to small business, and promotes federal provincial fiscal co-operation and harmonization.

This is exactly what we have begun to do. We have succeeded in doing it with three Atlantic provinces and are negotiating with the others. Quebec was even ahead of the others. It understood the advantage of harmonization. We will finish the job with Quebec and we hope the other provinces will understand that a unified sales tax system in Canada is much simpler for everyone and much more effective.

We made it clear in the red book that we could not abolish a tax without equivalent revenues, because the priority of all governments at the moment, in Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto or elsewhere, is to eliminate deficits, which have been a source of economic problems throughout Canada, in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada is becoming a specialist in post-election program changes. The changes should have been made before.

As the Minister of Finance acknowledged yesterday, it was a mistake to promise to eliminate the GST and not do so. Is the government not making a second and very serious political mistake by developing another harmonization model, different from the one already in place with Quebec, which had the advantage of not costing Canadian taxpayers a thing.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, now the Bloc Quebecois is asking us to be inflexible, to give the exact same thing to everyone. Because it is complex, we are looking with the provinces for a solution that is acceptable and fair to everyone.

I hear the leader of the Bloc Quebecois saying we are changing our program; we are not changing our program. I just read our program. But we will see on Monday whether the leader of the Parti Quebecois in Quebec City has changed the Parti's program on Bill 101.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, is the Prime Minister in such a tight spot in this House that he has to try to draw attention away from commitments he made and did not keep? It was right there on the TV screen yesterday: the Prime Minister in shirt sleeves before Liberal supporters making commitments to scrap the GST. What about the Deputy Prime

Minister who was going to resign if the GST were not eliminated. Where is she now?

How can the Prime Minister explain to Quebecers that, really, they have not been taken in again by the federal government, when, despite their good faith and their being the first to harmonize their sales tax with the federal tax, they did not get the compensation the Maritimers got.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will not read what I read earlier again; it is in the red book. It was very clear, and we are keeping the promise we made in the red book.

The Bloc Quebecois told Quebecers to vote for the real power. They are in opposition and they will be there for a long time to come. Their cousins in Quebec City are today changing, for political gain, the political program Mr. Parizeau used to get himself elected.

They are the last people to talk to me about not keeping my word. I have it in writing, and I-