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House of Commons Hansard #32 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was powers.

Topics

Search And Rescue HelicoptersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the issue is in the media; the companies are promoting their product, the lobbyists are busy, and the issue is under review by cabinet. It is discussed by everyone, except the elected members of this House.

Does the Prime Minister not find it unacceptable that elected members of this House cannot discuss one of the most important purchases made by the government since it took office, one that will cost in excess of $600 million?

Search And Rescue HelicoptersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the helicopter issue goes back a long way. There have a number of opposition days during which members could have raised the issue and made proposals. They did not do so, even though the opposition can do so in this House. Bloc members did not dare raise the issue and have a debate on it. It was their prerogative. They chose to talk about something else. Too bad for them.

Search And Rescue HelicoptersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Canadian government is about to spend over $600 million to purchase helicopters without holding any real debate on this issue in Parliament.

Does the Prime Minister agree that it would be essential that Parliament hold a special debate on this issue, and does he intend to call such a debate himself before a contract is awarded and to stop laying the blame at the opposition's door?

Search And Rescue HelicoptersOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member has provided the answer herself. If this issue is so important, why did they not raise it on an opposition day?

Moreover, each department's forecasts are studied during the year. They did not point to any problem. The helicopter issue has been around for a long time, and the government has said that helicopters were needed to patrol Canada's shores for rescue operations, and the opposition never raised this issue, neither in the House nor in committee.

We will make the decision that it is the responsibility of the government to make in the coming weeks.

Search And Rescue HelicoptersOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this issue has been raised often in this House and in committee.

Since this is an expenditure involving over half a billion dollars, would the Prime Minister agree to allow the defence committee to verify the transparency of the process in terms of the selection criteria that will be used to choose the helicopter model?

Search And Rescue HelicoptersOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as we have said many times, there were four bids, which are presently being reviewed to make the decision to buy.

Once the decision has been made, we, that is myself as Minister of Public Works and Government Services and other ministers, can appear before a committee with officials.

But presently, we are at the review stage. Once the analysis has been completed, cabinet will meet, a decision will be made and there will be a public announcement.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

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

As the minister knows the confidential document prepared for his defence management committee discloses government plans to cut $350 million by the year 2001. This means axing up to 9,000 civilian defence employees.

Will the minister confirm that his management committee is in fact considering job cuts of this magnitude?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are, as are other government operations and departments, going through the results of program review. Deficit reduction is required. Decisions on cuts in government spending were made two or three years ago and we are in the throes of implementing them.

Yes, there are changes. There are cuts in jobs. I cannot confirm those figures however. The cuts that are being made are being done in a fair and reasonable fashion. People are being treated fairly and humanely in terms of departure incentives from the defence department.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, you would never know we are talking about the lives of tens of thousands of people.

Well placed sources indicate the defence management committee is considering additional job cuts of 5,000 civilian workers and 18,000 regular force military personnel by December 1999. I repeat these 23,000 cuts are in addition to those already announced.

Is it the minister's intention to begin issuing these pink slips before Christmas, or will he be delaying the massive layoffs until Easter when his budget kicks in?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think we are hearing a lot of scare mongering here, in particular with these figures that do not have a basis in fact.

We are going through implementation of cuts. As we go through them we consult with the unions involved and with the personnel involved. We are doing this in a fair and reasonable fashion as in fact we have done with all cuts in terms of the public service, because that is the proper way our employees should be treated.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, we welcome the Prime Minister back to Canada, but I am sorry to inform him that in his absence the unemployment rate under his government went up once again to 9.1%.

Notwithstanding, the government will increase CPP premiums, a job killer, by 70%. I would like to know today whether he continues to refuse any tax relief to Canadians.

Furthermore I would like to know, given this increase in premiums, whether he will make public today studies on the impact this increase in premiums will have on the jobs of Canadians.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the issue has been discussed and is currently before this House. The agreement concerning the Canada pension plan was reached with the provincial governments. The legislation reflects the decision of the provincial governments and of the federal government to ensure that the Canada pension plan can continue to operate in the next century.

There is an agreement with the provinces, and there will surely be an impact because of the increase, but at the same time we expect that during the coming years, there will be a reduction in contributions for—

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the Right Hon. Prime Minister, but the hon. member from Sherbrooke has the floor.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, once again, is trying to evade the question. I am talking about his government's taxes, not those of the provincial governments.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has already affirmed now and stated that this increase in CPP premiums will cost a firm that employs 10 people about $7,000 a year. This will cost jobs for students, two to three summer jobs.

How could the Prime Minister accept this? How is it that he will not offer tax relief to Canadians to offset this increase in CPP premiums?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the first responsibility of the federal government was to clean up the mess created by the Tory government. We took a deficit of $42 billion and reduced it to zero. In fact during the last four years more than 970,000 new jobs have been created.

During the last campaign the leader of the Conservative Party promised one million jobs in five years and we have done it in four years.

AirbusOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government refuses to withdraw a letter containing a false accusation that was the basis for the $50 million lawsuit in the Airbus scandal. It settled that mess out of court and it cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Based upon that same false piece of correspondence we now have a $35 million lawsuit against taxpayers. When will the Prime Minister withdraw that letter and stop the lawsuits against taxpayers?

AirbusOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the hon. member knows, I cannot comment on the Schreiber case. It is a matter before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Let me remind the hon. member that in the terms of settlement entered into between the government and the former prime minister of Canada, he specifically acknowledged the fact that it is a duty and obligation of the RCMP to pursue all investigations and all allegations made in relation to the matter before us.

AirbusOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question for the Prime Minister was why he would not withdraw the letter that laid the base for the $50 million lawsuit and that now lays the base for the $35 million lawsuit.

They know it contains false information and false accusations. Why will they not withdraw that letter?

AirbusOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it very plain to the Swiss authorities to whom the letter was sent that anything contained in that letter are in fact allegations. No conclusions of guilt or innocence are raised. They are in fact allegations.

The terms of settlement are clear. The former prime minister acknowledges the right and responsibility of the RCMP to pursue these investigations.

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Réjean Lefebvre Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for Canada Post.

Last night, the minister responsible for the Canada Post Corporation stated that before special legislation could be introduced there had to be a strike. In so doing, he was suggesting that he would not hesitate to use special legislation if there were a postal strike.

Over and above the good intentions the minister responsible for Canada Post claims to have, is he not provoking postal workers with such thinly veiled threats?

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the hon. member and the House that negotiations resumed yesterday and are still under way between Canada Post and the postal workers' union. I can state that these are progressing well and I would like to give them a chance.

The hon. member can, therefore, be glad that negotiations are under way. We trust that they will continue, and that a settlement will soon be negotiated.

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Réjean Lefebvre Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the real scenario the government wants to see not a general strike it could settle promptly through special legislation, as the minister let slip late this past summer?

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the wish of the government, and of all Canadians I believe, is for a settlement to be negotiated, and we hope to have one as soon as possible.

TaxationOral Question Period

November 18th, 1997 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the tax department released its 1994-95 report which confirmed that in that year alone income taxes paid by the average taxpayer went up by 10%. That is largely because the government has kept in place Brian Mulroney's hidden tax grab called bracket creep, which the OECD says is hammering our economy.

Since the finance minister will not commit to broad based tax relief, will the Prime Minister commit to stop raising taxes through the hidden tax grab called bracket creep?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, members on this side of the House are very familiar with the fact that our income taxes are very high. When we have the appropriate measures—