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House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Canadian Embassy In WashingtonOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that this information was the result of reports following representations made by an American government employee against his superior.

The employee claimed that representations had been made to find out whether someone had been present at a breakfast.

Let us be serious when we talk about spying activities. As for myself, at this point, based on the facts that are known, I have no reason to believe that spying activities were conducted against the person in question.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary said that the CPP premiums are not a tax but a contribution to a public pension plan. Let us just look for a moment or two at a private pension plan, the MP pension plan, the most obscene in the country.

Canadians are now paying twice as much of their salary for a paltry $9,000 a year in CPP. Thanks to the government, parliamentary porkers like the member for Sherbrooke and the Deputy Prime Minister are going to pocket five to six times that amount. That is scandalous.

How can the Prime Minister justify asking Canadians to pay 70 per cent more of their meagre pensions when he and his Liberal colleagues are just going to lap up the lavish MP pension plan?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

An hon. member

There is more than a slab of bacon talking there.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is mixing up two things; one has nothing to do with the other.

In making the Canada pension plan fund able to meet its future obligations, the government with the provinces is making sure that the plan is sustainable. In terms of the members of Parliament pension plan, we reduced it by 20 per cent and reduced the cost. We have introduced 55 as the age when it can be collected. Therefore, once again, we have made the plan much more in conformity with the requirements.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it may be that I am a porker but I opted out of that pension plan and the taxpayer does not owe me one single penny for that.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

A pension porker I am not. I opt out; Sheila copped out.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I know we would all prefer to stay away from personal remarks. I would ask you, my colleague, without further preamble to please put your question.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Prime Minister this question. To be consistent, to be fair to all Canadians in this Chamber and outside, will the Prime Minister today announce an immediate 70 per cent increase in the premium for the potlicker MP pension plan?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, I

have already mentioned that benefits for MPs in respect of service after July 12, 1995 have been reduced by 20 per cent.

During the debate on Bill C-85, which was retirement allowances for MPs, there was an MP for the Reform Party, whom I will not name, who said: "We should get fair compensation, fair remuneration. It is a senior executive level. Pay us $150,000 a year". That is the example Reform gives us.

Canadian Embassy In WashingtonOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for Bellechasse, has twice asked the Minister of National Defence whether there has been an investigation into allegations that military staff of the Canadian embassy in Washington engaged in certain illegal activities.

I am simply asking the Minister of National Defence a very simple question for the third time: Did his department conduct an investigation to check out these allegations? It seems like a rather simple question to me.

Canadian Embassy In WashingtonOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, obviously, following statements reported in the newspapers, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I looked into the matter, because obviously we have to know what is going on, and in my mind there is no doubt, based on the information we have, that no spying took place, no activity that could be described as spying, in the situation to which the American government employee is referring.

Canadian Embassy In WashingtonOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Well, Mr. Speaker, we have just obtained a quicker answer from this minister than from the former minister. It took the last one a good two months before we could get at the first thing about the Somalia affair.

So, if there was an investigation, surely there was a written report for the minister. The minister must have taken his decision on the basis of written reports.

Could the minister, in the interests of transparency, make this report public, so that the allegations that have been made and that appear to be serious, since there are affidavits, so that we can know clearly that it is not true that Canada is acting in this manner and can put an end to this story? Is the minister prepared to make this report public, yes or no?

Canadian Embassy In WashingtonOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have said three times, when we learned, through the newspapers, that an employee of the American government, in a dispute with his boss, alleged that discussions had taken place concerning a representative of a government of a Canadian province, obviously we asked what exactly had taken place.

According to the information I have received, which is very limited, I am told that it was a question of finding out whether the gentleman in question was attending a breakfast.

This is not something I consider to be spying, even from the perspective of separatists.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

February 18th, 1997 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the $1,300 job-killing Liberal Canada pension plan payroll tax increase will patch over deficiencies in the plan for the time being at a terrible cost in job opportunities for young Canadians. The very young Canadians who are already saddled with a $600 billion national debt will now be forced to subsidize the retirement of the very Canadians who built up the debt in the first place. However, because the Canada pension plan is still a pay as you go plan, it is not sustainable.

Will the government guarantee there will be no further premium increases or benefit decreases to the Canada pension plan?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Barry Campbell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what we have done in responding to the wishes of Canadians is to provide a plan that is sustainable in the long term. By moving to the new contribution rates we are ensuring that they will not have to rise to the rates they would have had to rise if we had not taken action, something no earlier government has done. The provinces by and far agree with this. Canadians will benefit from sustainability of the plan, a plan they know will be there for every working Canadian.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is like the federal government saying: "We are not guilty because all we are doing is driving the getaway car".

The most vulnerable Canadians in the workforce, younger Canadians, the last hired and the first fired, will pay the price for maintaining the Canada pension plan. The minister's own officials have admitted that younger contributors to the Canada pension plan will not receive a fair pension from the plan.

Is it right to force young Canadians to pay almost 10 per cent of their income into a retirement plan that will return substantially less than the same amount invested in an RRSP?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Barry Campbell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have explained, and maybe I have to go slower, that it has been fundamental in western societies indeed since the turn of the century to have programs like a public pension plan, social insurance type programs. Working Canadians

of all ages want that. They want to know it will be there for them. It will be there for them.

By contrast, the member opposite and his colleagues have proposed a combination of things which may or may not be there for them at some unknown cost to Canadians. When are they going to come clean and tell us what their costs would be?

Zairian RefugeesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

The minister has decided to resume expulsions of refugee claimants to Zaire, while the authoritarian regime and the civil war in that country continue. The minister is showing a flagrant lack of compassion and humanity toward these persecuted people.

Can the minister explain to this House just how the political situation in Zaire has improved to such a point that she can now resume expulsions of refugees?

Zairian RefugeesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the advisory committee on country conditions for removals has examined the situation in Zaire most particularly. A number of people in Canada and elsewhere have provided it with input.

We looked a bit at what was being done internationally, and found that a number of countries continue to return people to Zaire. It is very clear that we will not return people to certain regions of Zaire, the east in particular. This is not the case for other regions of the country, where it is totally possible.

I will conclude, if I may, by stating that no one has been returned to Zaire without a risk assessment being done to ensure that he or she is returning to one of the regions of Zaire in complete safety.

Zairian RefugeesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of taking refuge behind a phantom committee, the minister ought to face up to her own responsibilities.

Is the minister aware that she is committing a flagrant injustice toward the Zairian refugees, whose country is experiencing serious instability, while maintaining the suspension of deportations to Rwanda, Burundi and Afghanistan?

Zairian RefugeesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Henri—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I repeat: there is no question whatsoever of returning a person whose life would be at risk if he or she were returned to certain parts of Zaire.

However, yes, people can return in complete safety to certain regions of Zaire, and this is why we do an individual assessment. This is exactly the same policy as in some other countries, and I can assure you that we are keeping close tabs on the situation. If ever we have to suspend deportations, we shall do so. We will never put anyone's life in danger.

Science And TechnologyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville—Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development.

It is recognized that research, technology, information and knowledge are now the driving forces of economic growth. What is the government doing to ensure that Canada is leading this parade as Canadians march together toward the 21st century?

Science And TechnologyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Portage—Interlake Manitoba

Liberal

Jon Gerrard LiberalSecretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, our government has a vision for the 21st century. We are investing in science, technology and building the information society.

We announced last week numerous programs for science for young people. We have renewed the Canada space plan. We put major funding into Technology Partnerships Canada. We are putting Canada on the fast lane to develop the information highway with programs like CANARIE, SchoolNet, the community access program, and digital collections. We have invested in the health services research fund, have started the medical discovery fund and numerous other initiatives. The auditor general has said we have the best ever strategy for science and technology.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, for the past 76 months unemployment has remained above 9 per cent. Youth unemployment is a fixture at 17 per cent. Every welfare and job creation program introduced by this government has been a failure. Yet the Minister of Natural Resources was quoted last week in Alberta as saying the pain is over. She wants to get back to more Liberal tax and spend policies to create jobs.

Will the minister acknowledge that the tax and spend youth jobs strategy is merely another welfare program for the unemployed rather than a serious attempt to get Albertans and Canadians back to work?