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House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debt.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we cannot talk about people being in the House and so on, but I would say that from what I see of the Reform House leader there is a real improvement in his hairdo and perhaps the Leader of the Reform Party ought to go to the same barber.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we will not comment about hair, but we will comment about the Kyoto deal.

The premiers have said the deal is dead and it is going absolutely nowhere. They know that the deal could lead to thousands of job losses and a 35¢ jump at the pumps for gas.

At the end of the day the environment has not been helped and neither has the economy, so we are no further ahead on this.

Let me ask the government, someone who will answer a question finally about Kyoto.

Why did this government let itself get swept away by an environmental Meech Lake sequel?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we believe that Canada has worked out a good deal in negotiating with the other countries. It is a deal that is good for the world. Above all, it is good for Canada in terms of balancing our economic and environmental interests.

If the hon. member thinks this was only a photo opportunity, why should she worry about its effect on Canadians?

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the premiers are unanimous that the federal government should stop spending on new programs in provincial areas of jurisdiction.

Judging by the panic of the federal ministers of finance and intergovernmental affairs yesterday, Quebec and the provinces have hit a nerve.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that, through its arrogant and narrow attitude, his government is cutting itself off, when it is his government, the federal government, that has the furthest to go to find common ground with the provinces?

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois has only to look at the areas in which we have invested. The first thing the government did was to put $1.5 billion into the Canada social transfer, and it did so at the request of the provinces. We invested $850 million, to be matched by a similar amount in a second stage, according to the Minister of Human Resources Development, at the request of the provinces. We invested in infrastructures at the request of the provinces.

A look at what the Canadian government has done—

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is again telling us that he invested $6 billion in just a few years when, instead of cutting $48 billion, he cut $42 billion. His math is interesting.

My question is how can the federal government still claim to have the monopoly on being able to interpret what the public is thinking, and why, with the provinces unanimous, is it once again the federal government alone that is right about what to do with the fiscal dividend?

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member talks about unanimity. When we look at the initiative of the Minister of Human Resources Development with respect to the national child benefit, the provinces were certainly all for that. When we look at the infrastructure program, that was at the request of the provinces.

So, if the member wants to talk about unanimity, he should have been with me at the meeting of finance ministers. He would have seen that the priorities of the Canadian government, the priorities of the provinces, and the priorities of Canadians are the same: child poverty, health, training, human resources, research and development. The priority is to build the future.

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. All the evidence points to the fact that the federal government cannot resist the temptation to sprinkle the anticipated fiscal dividend here and there, despite the consensus of the provinces.

If the federal government has that much difficulty resisting temptation, is it not because it is constantly seeking to justify its existence and sees going over the heads of the provinces and delivering services directly to the population as an easy way of doing so?

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the role of the Canadian government is to protect the national interest and it is our intention to do so.

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, from the minister's replies it is obvious that the dice were stacked from the start, the decisions have already been made, and if the provinces do not bow to the federal government's point of view, the conference will be a failure.

In that case, what is the point of the provincial premiers coming to Ottawa?

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada is one of the most decentralized federations in the world.

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Fiscal DividendOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

The Canadian government fulfils its responsibilities and it will do so in conjunction with the provinces in the social field, for this requires us to work together. We have one of the most generous social systems in the world, and if it is successful, it is because we are working together. That is why they have come today, to strengthen our concerted efforts.

EducationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the average university graduate in Canada today goes out into the world with high hopes and high debt.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said he is ready to reinvest in Canada's young people. Does that mean he is ready to abolish the death sentence being imposed on students? Will he reinvest the $1.4 billion in education cuts and ensure that there is a student assistance program that provides grants based on students' economic needs?

EducationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House are well aware of the difficult situation faced by a growing number of students in this country. We began to tackle this situation in the budget of last year. The Minister of Finance is helping parents to save money toward education. He has increased the interest relief period for student loans.

A few weeks ago I held in Ottawa the first ever conference of stakeholders on this very subject. Many very good propositions were made to us.

EducationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of parents who do not have money to save. Government cuts have forced many university students to play tuition roulette. They are hoping the wheel stops on a number they can afford. Luck should never determine anyone's chance for an education.

Is the Prime Minister ready to stop the tuition roulette wheel? Will he work with the premiers to freeze tuitions until accessibility becomes a national standard in this country?

EducationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we have direct grants to students in need and we will continue to build on the system we have. The leader of the NDP is asking us to set tuition fees, which is a provincial jurisdiction, and we respect provincial jurisdictions in this country.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the years leading up to this first ministers conference the provincial governments have been saying that rather than having unilateral decisions by Ottawa in areas of shared jurisdiction, there should be agreed upon national standards. Rather than having unilateral cuts from Ottawa there should be a shared funding agreement and rather than having unilateral sanctions from Ottawa, there should be shared mechanisms for some of the conflicts.

Will the minister or the government agree today that it is now time for a new agreement, a new approach, a national covenant between the provinces and the federal government?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we want to work in partnership with the provinces in the interests of all Canadians. For that purpose we not only need a partnership, we need national leadership.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, we hope that leadership would happen in all areas. Let us start with youth employment. I do not think national leadership would be qualified as setting a full half hour aside to discuss youth unemployment at a first ministers conference.

The government has since admitted that it has no new ideas, no new plans. Could we reiterate today the demand made by the unions, all the business groups in the country and now the provinces that the government decrease EI premiums to $2 to allow young Canadians to get back to work? Exercise leadership.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we already cut EI premiums this year by $1.4 billion. Let me simply say to the hon. member that for the 10 years the Conservative government was in power the provinces asked if there could be shared co-operation in the administration of the tax system. Year after year the Conservatives said “we won't co-operate”.

My colleague, the Minister of National Revenue, and I met with the provinces and we are putting in place a new era. The minister of finance from Alberta stood up in the Alberta House and said that he was delighted to see the way in which the federal government was working with the provinces.

Search And RescueOral Question Period

December 11th, 1997 / 2:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, we can all learn lessons from the terrible plane crash that occurred in Manitoba. It is painfully obvious to the public and to this House that we need search and rescue helicopters now. Why do we not have them? Because of a squabble taking place between the Department of National Defence and the cabinet.

I ask the Prime Minister this. How long is the Prime Minister going to allow a cabinet squabble to interfere with the safety of Canadians?

Search And RescueOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is totally incorrect. We should first recognize the tragedy that occurred in Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba. We should indicate our sympathy with the families of the people who lost their lives. We should indicate our thanks to the people in the community who put out a great effort to try to help the victims. Finally, we should thank the search and rescue personnel who brought out 13 survivors from the crash.

This has nothing to do with the matter of purchasing new helicopters. Yes, we need new helicopters, but our search and rescue did its job.

Search And RescueOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, it has everything to do with search and rescue helicopters, machines the military can use so that it can do its job.

We all know why the cabinet is in turmoil over this issue. It spent four years. It spent half a billion dollars and risked the lives of troops and of Canadians. Military experts long ago informed them which helicopter is the best. They are just trying to save political face.

Would the prime minister set aside his petty political concerns, do what is right for public safety and announce a helicopter deal today?