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House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

TobaccoStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Pillitteri Liberal Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have witnessed the Liberal government's ongoing commitment to Canadian youth by several initiatives geared to provide our young people with a better and brighter future. To achieve this important goal, the government needs the full co-operation of the whole community.

The recently introduced tobacco legislation is focused mainly on deterring our young from ever starting to smoke. Therefore, the report showing that the community of retailers in Niagara Falls has the highest percentage of refusals to sell tobacco to minors, 90 per cent against 50 per cent which is the national average, is indeed welcome.

Niagara Falls retailers have demonstrated their commitment in helping to prevent youth from experimenting with and becoming addicted to tobacco, thereby contributing to a healthier society.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Harold Culbert Liberal Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Finance announced the tabling of the 1997 budget on February 18. I suspect this budget will be delivered in the same balanced fashion as the first three budgets of this government: balanced in order to protect the social programs respected by all Canadians yet building economic growth and jobs for Canadians while meeting the financial goals and obligations that will allow Canada to continue as a leader among the G-7 industrialized nations.

Today, Canadians are proud of bringing our financial house to order and no longer being referred to as a financial third world country, but instead being known as a world leader for building economic growth and creating over 700,000 new jobs for Canadians.

I am certain that once again the 1997 budget will focus on economic growth and jobs, the protection of our social programs and keeping our financial house in order.

Brome-Missisquoi RidingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, two years ago this week, on February 13, voters in Brome-Missisquoi elected me to represent them in this House. To all my constituents, I would like to say again how proud I am to be their member, their communications highway to Ottawa, their voice in this Parliament.

In the by-election held two years ago, federal and provincial Liberals working together and a strong federalist force helped to take Brome-Missisquoi away from the Bloc Quebecois. This solidarity has been beneficial to all our constituents.

Now that a federal election is imminent, let us all join in a common effort to ensure that all of Quebec's regions, especially the Eastern Townships, elect those who are truly prepared to defend the interests of Quebec within our country, Canada.

My nomination meeting will be on Thursday, February 13, 1997, and I will say again how proud I am to be a member of Team Canada.

Minister Of Human Resources DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the weekend in Drummondville, the Minister of Human Resources Development said quite bluntly that the French language and culture survived in Quebec thanks to the federal government, because Quebec, according to the minister, never invested a red cent in culture.

Apparently, these words were a clear indication of the minister's attitude. He lost his cool before the young Liberals.

If that is indeed the case, we have reason to be concerned about the minister's ability to keep his cool during the next election campaign.

The official opposition believes that the minister's remarks reflect this government's contempt for Quebec. The federal government feels superior to Quebec and sees Quebec culture as merely a regional phenomenon in Canada.

The Quebec Department of Culture was established on March 24, 1961, and it was a federalist, Liza Frulla, who reminded him of this. He is young yet, so there is still hope for improvement.

Canadian Forces Base North BayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, today a group of North Bay residents is on Parliament Hill with a petition. It brings attention to the possible move to Winnipeg of the North Bay military base's main function, monitoring and maintaining air surveillance over North America. Political influence is expected to play a major role in the decision.

We are asking Mr. Chrétien to ensure the survival-

Canadian Forces Base North BayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

You cannot use the name of a member of Parliament. Use his title, please.

Canadian Forces Base North BayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

We are asking the Prime Minister.

I am quoting Monika McGrath, a resident of North Bay and organizer of the bus trek: "The politicians always make decisions that affect everyone but tend to forget this country's most valuable resources, our children. Therefore, we will be here to present their petition to the Prime Minister under the heading: Don't Kill My Future".

Since 1993 the DND workforce at North Bay has been reduced by two-thirds. The people of North Bay deserve a response from this government-

Canadian Forces Base North BayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Hillsborough.

Province HouseStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

George Proud Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the second oldest legislative building in Canada. Province House in Charlottetown, the home of the P.E.I. legislature, turned 150 years old in January of this year.

Over that 150 years it has been the location of gala receptions for numerous visiting dignitaries and the site of countless heated debates. More important, it was the site of the Charlottetown conference of 1864 where the Fathers of Confederation first discussed the formation of our great country.

In recognition of its historical significance, Province House was declared a national historic site.

Province House stands as a symbol of Canadian and Prince Edward Island strength and unity. Tonight the Charlottetown Historical Society and Parks Canada will officially celebrate its birthday, with more festivities planned throughout the year.

On behalf of all my hon. colleagues, I would like to wish Province House of Prince Edward Island a happy 150th birthday.

Job CreationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Lavigne Liberal Verdun—Saint-Paul, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Government of Canada announced it was granting $1.3 million to the Société nationale des communications du Québec. This amount will come out of the transitional fund for job creation, which includes $90 million for Quebec.

Thanks to this financial assistance, the Société nationale des communications du Québec will be able to establish a call centre that will offer business and residential customers a wide range of telephone services.

This is another way for the government to make a tangible contribution towards job creation and economic recovery in Montreal.

Sir William Mackenzie InnStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Victoria—Haliburton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform the House of one example of turning disaster into success. In Kirkfield, Ontario the Sir William Mackenzie Inn is doing just that.

A tornado in 1995 wiped out many mature trees across the 13 acres of land. Instead of this devastating the land of the inn, it gave the owners an idea. On June 22, 1996 the inn decided to have a wood carving contest using chainsaws. The inn awarded free accommodation, great prizes and lots of media coverage.

Once destroyed trees turned into works of art. One carving resembled a moose in the forest, while another resembled mother nature. The winner, "Cougar on the Rocks", by Peter Turrell was spectacular.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate Joan and Paul Scott for turning a near business closing incident into a huge success.

Mr. Speaker, when you visit Kirkfield this summer, drop in to view these masterpieces.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, enough is enough. There are limits to rewriting the red book to reflect the devastation wrought by this government.

Before the 1993 election, we read on page 88 of the English version of the red book, and I quote: "Funding cuts to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canada, Council, the National Film Board, Telefilm Canada, and other institutions illustrate the Tories' failure to appreciate the importance of cultural and industrial development".

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage. How can she say this morning, following a cabinet meeting, that, by promising stable funding to the CBC as of 1998, she is fulfilling the commitments of the red book, when for the past three years the Minister of Finance has relentlessly cut more than $500 million from the budgets of the CBC, Telefilm, the National Film Board and the Canada Council?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the figures quoted by the member opposite are incorrect.

We must not forget the remarks made by the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata on "Midi Quinze" regarding cuts to be made to the budget. She said: "If we are going to cut, there are major cuts to be made at the CBC". These were the remarks she made on March 16, 1995.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister thinks she has made a great discovery. I repeat: the CBC needed trimming at head office, and Mr. Beatty closed it. He understood.

For the third time, this government is promising the CBC stable funding. Today it is again making this promise after hitting the CBC with the hardest cuts it has ever faced in its history.

How can the minister think for one second that the people will believe her, when her government has already twice reneged on this promise? Does this new promise signal elections, which will the permit the cock to crow for the third time and the Liberals to deny?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, clearly we had to make cuts in government. I would like to look for a moment at the cuts made to Radio-Québec. According to Le Soleil of August 20, 1995, half the employees at Radio-Québec were cut.

It is true cuts were made, but what we have said is that, as of next year, we will guarantee the CBC five years of stable funding up to a maximum of $900 million. We have made a firm commitment to the CBC, which none of the other parties has made, unfortunately.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is quite extraordinary, because the previous Minister of Canadian Heritage promised the same guarantee, and it prompted the resignation of Mr. Manera, who felt the government was not keeping its word.

As regards Radio-Québec, Quebec contributes $7.50 per capita to its television, whereas Ontario contributes only $5.50. The minister should compare apples with apples and not with carrots.

Even with four former CBC presidents saying that the Corporation can no longer fulfill its mandate, the minister in her cynicism is promising stable funding, but after additional cuts of $200 million and 4,000 jobs. This is a far cry from Radio-Québec.

What are the government's real intentions in promising stable, insufficient and long term funding to the CBC? Are they to shut down the regions, to run the French network into the ground or simply to shut down the now redundant English and French television networks of the CBC, as her colleague for national defence has suggested?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, two facts have to be pointed out.

First, when we took over the government we were faced with a very difficult financial situation. Cuts were required which were absorbed in all departments of government and to a lesser extent in the cultural industries.

In fact, the CBC cut which caused a lot of pain and a lot of jobs represented 23 per cent of their budget as against 50 per cent of the Department of Natural Resources and 30 per cent of the Department of the Environment.

The second point that I hope the hon. member would reflect on is that this is the first time in the history of the fiscal framework that the CBC will be given a guarantee that it will receive a stable amount of funding for the next five years. That will permit planning a movement to an all Canadian network.

Contrast that commitment in the fiscal framework to the statement by the Reform Party that it would abolish CBC television, to the statement by the Conservative Party that it wants to get out of CBC television, and to the statement of the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata that there is too much fat in the CBC.

Distinct Society ConceptOral Question Period

February 11th, 1997 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the leader of the official opposition asked the Prime Minister when, in its decision making or legislative process, the government had taken into account the meaningless resolution that was passed by this House last year. This was a quite simple question that the Leader of the Opposition asked, but the Prime Minister did not answer.

Let me ask him the same question today. If indeed this resolution is as important as he claims it is, could the Prime Minister give us one example, one clear case where the concept of distinct society has been used to give Quebec more power or to give legislation an interpretation favouring the interests of the people of Quebec?

Distinct Society ConceptOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the whole program we set out in the throne speech in February of last year clearly shows this government's desire to find common ground in many areas so as to provide for the respect of jurisdictions, as requested by the people in Quebec.

Read the speech from the throne; you will see what we have accomplished since then and the hon. member will have all the examples he needs.

Distinct Society ConceptOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

No, Mr. Speaker, I only know one case where the concept of distinct society, as the Prime Minister understands it, has been applied and that is harmonization of the GST.

The maritimes have been paid $1 billion to harmonize it, but the federal government still will not compensate Quebec, which agreed three years ago to harmonize its provincial sales tax with the federal GST. For the Prime Minister, Quebec is a distinct society when it does not make any difference.

Will the Prime Minister not recognize that breaking so many promises has made him an embarrassing ally for Quebec federalists and all those who once thought it possible to reform the Canadian federation?

Distinct Society ConceptOral 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, may I take this opportunity provided by the opposition to get to the crux of the debate?

In Quebec, polls show that 80 per cent of the population regard themselves as Canadians. Outside Quebec, more than 50 per cent of the population are prepared to recognize Quebec as an essential part of Canada. Our role is to help these populations come to terms, in spite of the official opposition's divisive philosophy.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the last election the Prime Minister promised Canadians jobs, jobs, jobs.

This is the Liberal record that is etched on the minds of Canadians: 1.5 million people unemployed; two million to three million underemployed; 700,000 moonlighting to make ends meet;

one out of four Canadians afraid of losing his or her job. The Prime Minister can try to ignore it, to explain it, to inflate it and excuse it, but that is the Liberal's dismal record on jobs.

With a record like that how does the Prime Minister expect Canadians to believe him when he promises jobs, jobs, jobs in the future?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we said our priority was to create jobs and to improve the economy of Canada and that is exactly what we have done.

As I said yesterday, the Canadian economy has created more than 700,000 new jobs since we formed the government and I gave examples. It is recognized by everybody that we have done better and we have created more jobs in Canada with 30 million people than Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain together. That is a fact. Of course we are never satisfied and we have to create a lot more.

We had to get to the bottom of the problem. We knew we had a big deficit, that the costs of interest were exceedingly high. We had to put the finances of the nation in good standing so that people could find jobs because we were able to compete.

That is why today in Canada we have the lowest interest rates we have had in 35 years. That is why we see today that housing, which had been in great difficulty for many years, is starting up again. More people are buying houses and new houses are being built every day.

That is why people have a higher level of confidence today than in the last number of years. We have done what has to be done to make sure the deficit is under control and that we are respecting the goals that we stated to Canadians. We have created more jobs and we have made sure that the deficit is under control. That is exactly what we have done.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister wants to get to the bottom of the jobs problem he has to eventually get to the tax problem. High taxes kill jobs and the government's tax record is even worse than its jobs record.

Since 1993 the federal government has increased taxes 35 times. The average family take home pay has been reduced by $3,000 and the federal tax collector is taking in $24 billion more per year than in 1993. That is the dollar cost of the Liberal tax policies. The job cost is even worse.

Does the Prime Minister accept responsibility for all the jobs killed by Liberal high taxes?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there have been absolutely no tax increases since we have been here.