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House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cpp.

Topics

Krever ReportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that we have now received a summary, a very detailed report concerning what happened. We are most grateful to Justice Krever for his report. It will truly be an ongoing legacy to ensure the safety of Canadians.

As far as claims by victims are concerned, I have already made my position clear. I would prefer to avoid a decade of litigation. I will be working with my provincial and territorial counterparts to find solutions.

Krever ReportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, he blocked Krever when he was trying to do his report and now he is blocking the victims.

The minister apologized and then said that the federal government was in fact involved and that he would act fully on the report. But by his vague answers on compensation, he now is hurting the victims. Would he prefer these victims of hepatitis C to drag their hospital beds into court where the lawyers will get most of their settlements, or will he give them a dignified compensation package before Christmas? Hepatitis C deserves better than this minister.

Krever ReportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have made my views on the issue of compensation very clear. I do not think victim claims should be bogged down for 10, 12 or 15 years before the courts. At the same time we have received from Mr. Justice Krever some clear recommendations, some findings that include the past, the present and the future.

It is my intention to take up these matters in the very near future with my provincial counterparts. That is the place to start. We should have a concerted approach to these issues, and I shall be working toward that result.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, in a statement that was both arrogant and without precedent, claimed that the question during the last referendum was a fraud.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister who, on the eve of the referendum, stated at Verdun that Quebeckers were going to make the most important decision of their lives, if he was inviting them to participate in a fraud.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that when we heard Mr. Parizeau's statement after the referendum, there was a very great difference between what was on paper and what the government intended.

I suspected there was a trap in this, and I asked Quebeckers to be careful.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister voted in his riding of Saint-Maurice on October 30, 1995, did he have the impression of participating in a fraud, in a fraudulent exercise, when he went to vote?

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that there was no mention of separation in the question. When I read the question, there was no mention of creating a new country. When I read the question, there was no mention of becoming a member of the United Nations.

They were saying that an association would be worked out with the rest of Canada, that Quebeckers would keep the Canadian passport, Canadian money and Canadian citizenship, and also economic union and political union. I have always said that I hope one day they will be honest enough to ask an honest question “Do you want to separate from Canada, yes or no?”

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote part of the speech by the Prime Minister in Verdun, in case he has forgotten it. He said “Listen very well to what the separatist leaders are saying. They are being very clear”.—That is what he said: “They are being very clear. The country they are proposing is not a improved Canada, it is a separated Quebec”.

I ask him again how he can speak today of fraud, when he was saying on the eve of the referendum, with a look of desperation, of understanding, of openness towards Quebeckers, that the separatists were being very clear. How can he say today that it was a fraud?

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I was telling Quebeckers that when looking at what was written at the time of voting and when hearing what the separatists were saying in some areas of the province, what they meant was not very clear to the people.

They were saying “Nothing will happen, you will receive your old age benefits from Canada, and all the benefits of Canadian citizenship, while at the same time voting yes to this ambiguous question”. I am asking for only one thing, and that is a little bit of honesty, to ask Quebeckers “Do you want to separate, yes or no?” There is nothing complicated in that, it is not much more than a sentence and the people would understand clearly. They would vote very clearly, once again, for Canada.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we want to speak about honesty, the last person we would want to deal with is the present Prime Minister of Canada.

In the evening of October 30, 1995, following the results, when the Prime Minister had promised to everyone in Canada that there was no danger from sovereignty, that Quebeckers did not want it, these are the things he said.

He said, considering the narrow margin, “In a democracy, the people are always right. Tonight, there is only one winner, and that is the people. Tonight, more than ever, we can be all proud of Quebec democracy”.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East has the floor.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the prime minister.

This morning Campaign 2000 released its report card on child poverty, confirming that child poverty has increased by 58% since 1989. It demonstrates the appalling record of the government on child poverty.

Government talk is cheap considering that the funding for programs our children need has not been there. The new child tax benefit does not even replace what the government has already cut.

Will the prime minister commit now to restoring these cuts?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed the prime minister took the leadership in June 1996. The premiers of the provinces have asked us to work very hard on child poverty. I have seen the report of Campaign 2000 and it supports the initiatives we have been taking on the national child tax benefit. It has seen what we have been able to do along with all the governments of this country to help children with CAPC, which my colleague, the Minister of Health, has been increasing thanks to last year's budget. We are working toward that.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is not acceptable. The federal government is behaving like the schoolyard bully who takes the weak's lunch money and then feels he deserves a reward for buying a small milk. By refusing to index the child tax benefit, the government is allowing it to slowly fade away.

Will the government as a first step commit to fully indexing the child tax benefit?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the government will commit very clearly that we will have $850 million more dollars as of July 1, 1998. The Government of Canada will commit very clearly today that there will be at least another $850 million in this Parliament directed toward children. That is a lot more money than they are talking about on the other side.

We should realize that a lot of work was done in the last Parliament and will be in the next Parliament because child poverty is a major priority and concern for us.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the prime minister was away at the APEC conference, peppering his meals with other APEC leaders and peppering Canadians with amusing jokes, the Governor of the Bank of Canada this week peppered Canadians with a 25 basis point increase in interest rates. As a result of this, the value of the Canadian dollar went down the following day and continues to go down again.

Could the prime minister explain to Canadians why the financial markets are reacting negatively? Could the prime minister tell us what is wrong with his policies that is provoking this downward trend in the dollar?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the record of the government in managing the economy is much better than when the Tories were in power.

Under the circumstances there is a fluctuation in a lot of the currencies around the world. But at this moment because of the good management of the government we have low interest rates, much lower than American interest rates. We have more room than when we took over government from the Tory administration when interest rates were at least three points above American rates.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I doubt that Canadians are applauding as the Liberal benches are applauding with 9.1% unemployment, more Canadians having a lower standard of living than when he was elected and there are more poor children.

Could the prime minister tell us what are the policies of the government when it maintains artificially high payroll taxes, when there is an increase in CPP premiums which will kill jobs and increasing interest rates which will also kill jobs? What are the policies of the government that has made Canadians poorer today than when he was elected in 1993, that has created more child poverty today—

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. prime minister.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there are one million more jobs today than there were when we formed the government. When we took office there was 11.2% unemployment and now it is 9.1%.

In terms of employment insurance premiums, we stopped an increase which was supposed to raise the level to $3.30 in January 1994. Last week we reduced it another 20¢. It will be lowered to $2.70.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

November 27th, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is in crisis and the minister refuses to answer questions. She continues to say that only 3% of her social assistance budget is misused yet her own internal reviews state that as much as 75% of the money is unaccounted for.

Will the minister now admit that her native welfare administration is in chaos and in crisis?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, what is interesting about this line of questioning is that the hon. member of the opposition picks up a report and thinks it is news. Indeed that report is not news to me, nor to my department.

Let us look at some of the chronology. In 1994 the auditor general looked at social assistance and gave us some recommendations for change. The department responded immediately and commissioned a report. When we received that report in 1996 we shared it with the Assembly of First Nations. Together in partnership we are building new strategies to provide social assistance to aboriginal peoples.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister can bet her bottom dollar that it is news.

The fact of the matter is that she has been unaware of the crisis within her own department because her own officials have stonewalled her. On the other hand, she is not able to obtain information from the grassroots Indian people about the horrific conditions under which they live because she will not meet with them.

Inasmuch as her own officials will not tell her the facts about what is going on, will she change her mind and explain to the House why she will not meet with the aboriginal grassroots people who have been pleading with her to do so? Why will she not do that?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed I have had the pleasure since being made Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development of crossing this country and meeting with aboriginal people and First Nations from coast to coast to coast.

The hon. member should look at the kinds of things I have been talking about in my speeches. They focus on social assistance. They focus on the need to modernize our programs. They focus on the understanding that indeed aboriginal peoples are going to be connected to the economy of this country. We have to modernize social assistance. We have to make it proactive. Aboriginal peoples have to have training and educational opportunities, as do all Canadians.

Minister Of Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Yesterday, the minister said that the 1995 referendum question was phoney, fraudulent and would never be repeated.

Are we to understand from the minister's remarks that the federal government intends to prevent Quebec from holding another referendum?