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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesdays, we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe.

Canadian Forces Base North BayStatement By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Wood Liberal Nipissing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend the work of the people in my riding of Nipissing for their efforts to save CFB North Bay. In recent weeks there has been a remarkable team effort made to inform the members of this government about the consequences of the NORAD facility leaving our city.

Our most powerful weapon has been the co-operation that has existed between all the stakeholders. So far we have received over 16,000 signatures on a petition to save our air base. This grassroots support is echoed across our community. It extends from the affected employees and their local unions to our city council and our business community.

This support has been essential in allowing Mayor Jack Burrows and I, along with the valuable assistance from North Bay MPP and Ontario Premier Mike Harris, to bring a strong and unified message to Ottawa.

This issue crosses political and ideological lines as we fight collectively to save hundreds of jobs in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec.

The BudgetStatement By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Vegreville, AB

Mr. Speaker, this morning on CBC the finance minister said his government is focusing spending on those things which are most important to them: health care, children and jobs. Let us look at the record.

The minister has slashed $7 billion from health care, education and welfare. In fact health care has been cut 40 per cent. This is how the finance minister focuses on health care.

The minister has gouged the average family's after tax income by $3,000. Parents are working longer and harder just to make ends meet. This is how the finance minister focuses on children.

And jobs? Our unemployment rate is hovering around 10 per cent compared to Japan at 3.4 per cent and the United States at5.4 per cent. If the minister taxed less and left more in the hands of those who earn it, this would increase consumer spending and drive the economy and businesses to create jobs. Instead, through 36 tax increases this minister takes $24 billion more every year, killing jobs in our communities. This is how the finance minister focuses on jobs.

The finance minister's words and his record conflict.

National Battlefields Commission Of CanadaStatement By Members

February 19th, 1997 / 2 p.m.

Independent

Gilles Bernier Independent Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw attention to the archaic method used by The National Battlefields Commission of Canada to collect fines for traffic violations on federal property, particularly in Quebec City.

The people ticketed for very minor violations cannot pay the fines even if they wanted to because these fines are not set in advance. They have to immediately sign a guilty plea, which is referred to the Court of the Sessions of the Peace for a judge to set the amount of the fine and additional court costs. Failing that, the documents will be served on them.

This is a costly procedure for all taxpayers. It is high time that The National Battlefields Commission of Canada updated its procedures. This is another good way of saving money.

Medical Hall Of FameStatement By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is a national organization which recognizes the outstanding achievement of Canadian medical

scientists. The Medical Hall of Fame was founded in November 1993 and is located in my home city of London, Ontario which has earned an international reputation as a leading medical centre.

Inductees to the Medical Hall of Fame are all outstanding Canadians, both men and women, who have distinguished themselves with extraordinary careers to the benefit of mankind. Perhaps the best known example is Sir Frederick Banting, the discoverer of insulin, who started his work in London, Ontario.

Today I am pleased to welcome to Ottawa several distinguished laureates of the Medical Hall of Fame, accompanied by J. Allyn Taylor, honorary chair, Ted Eadinger, board director, Betsy Little, executive director and Barbara Tomlin, administrative assistant.

Matthieu Da Costa AwardStatement By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, a year ago on February 13, along with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, I announced the Matthieu Da Costa award. The award honours black history month by commemorating the life of Da Costa, the first recorded black person in Canada. Through literary essay and art competitions it encourages students to explore contributions made by individuals of cultural minority backgrounds to the development of Canada.

Today I am proud to announce that elementary and secondary schools all over Canada from coast to coast actively participated in the award contest. A special ceremony was held at the Canadian Museum of Civilization to honour the 1997 winners. We all congratulate Skye Smith, Caitlyn Doyle, Crystal David, Marie-France Pare, Kimahli Powell, Marie-Claude Latreille, Warren George Lefthand and Michael Lomenda.

Along with the Canadian Teachers' Federation, I invite all members to join me in celebrating this truly unique initiative which fosters a shared sense of Canadian identity.

Medical Hall Of FameStatement By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to welcome today to our nation's capital six members of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Although we are very pleased to have the physical presence of London as the hall of fame the talent comes from across our diverse land.

Dr. Henry Barnett from London has been recognized for his work in stroke and clinical trials.

Dr. Douglas Harold Copp from Vancouver discovered the hormone calcitonin which regulates calcium levels in the blood.

Dr. Jacques Genest from Montreal has been recognized for his research on hypertension.

Dr. Herbert Jasper from Montreal has been recognized for his work in electrophysiology and EEG.

Dr. Charles Leblond from Montreal has been recognized for his research in anatomy and cell biology.

Dr. Robert Salter from Toronto has been recognized for his work in orthopedic surgery.

These individuals are our best and brightest. It is a wonderful and fitting tribute that they are here today. We owe them an immense debt of gratitude. I encourage all members to show their gratitude.

Unparliamentary LanguageStatement By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, an election year is no doubt a time when things get a little hot in this place. That in itself comes as no surprise. What is regrettable however are the unacceptable attacks on our colleagues that we have witnessed on a number of occasions in the past few weeks.

Following the incident the hon. member for Beaver River was involved in yesterday, I would call upon each and every member of this House to behave like a mature adult.

The House of Commons is a forum for debating ideas. The fact that the two sides of this House hold diametrically opposed views is normal.

There is nothing wrong with heated debates per se, but I wish the respect we owe one another would always prevail. This way, unfortunate events that do nothing to improve the opinion the public has of parliamentarians could be prevented. This is another responsibility that rests with all of us.

TaxationStatement By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, hello Edmonton North. I look forward to campaigning on Reform's platform of more jobs through smaller government and lower taxes and against the Liberals' tax gouging, job killing record.

The Minister of Finance says that he has not raised taxes. Oh, really?

What about the tax increase on life insurance premiums, gasoline, air transportation, private corporation dividends and securities?

What about the elimination of the lifetime capital gains exemption, the income test for age credit, and the lowering of the withdrawal age for RRSPs?

What about the 70 per cent increase in CPP premiums that will deliver $9,000 a year to Edmonton pensioners while the MP pension plan yields five to six times that amount?

Call it what you like but it is still a tax, T-A-X. By increasing overall taxes for Edmontonians 30 per cent and personal taxes40 per cent, the Liberals have picked an extra billion dollars out of our pockets.

Let us set things right. Hello, Edmonton North.

Fonds De Solidarité Des Travailleurs Du QuébecStatement By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to applaud the joint decision made by the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec and the Fonds régional du Bas-Saint-Laurent to invest $1.5 million in Carrière Glendyne, located in Saint-Marc-du-Lac-Long. This investment will bring the slate mine back into production and preserve 60 direct jobs in this small village of 534 people.

Getting Carrière Glendyne back into operation will give new impetus to the economy in Saint-Marc-du-Lac-Long. The initial stages involving rock scaling activities have resumed, and it is expected that all of the company's 60 employees will be called back to work by March 17.

Quebec is among the world's ten largest mining countries, and the first one in the Francophonie. To be a master in one's own home is to have at one's disposal the means to make decisions and to fully benefit from them.

The BudgetStatement By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, this budget is yet another Liberal con job.

Instead of jobs, there is $3.2 billion in further cuts to social programs scheduled this year. Instead of helping to reduce child poverty now, there is another red book promise to help children in need effective July 1998, only 18 months from now. And if it does materialize, it is only 20 per cent of the commitment the B.C. NDP government has made to help end child poverty now.

The Liberals have taken $14 billion out of the economy through cuts to social programs. Now they insult Canadians with a snow job pre-election budget. This budget offers nothing for struggling families who are looking for stable employment and no hope for their children's future.

The Liberals have achieved one thing. In 1993, the last year of the Mulroney government, 5,250 taxpayers earning over $70,000 per year paid no taxes. Under the Liberals, there has been a 400 per cent increase: 21,270 Canadians earning over $70,000 a year paid no taxes.

Women's InstituteStatement By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Larry McCormick Liberal Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to celebrate the centennial of the Women's Institute with my colleagues in the House. Over the last 100 years the work of the Women's Institute has become well known and respected across Canada and around the world.

The movement began with one woman, Adelaide Hoodless, and her response to the death of her 18-month old son from drinking impure milk. Impelled by her personal loss, Mrs. Hoodless became an activist campaigning for clean milk. On February 19, 1897 at Stoney Creek, Ontario the Women's Institute began, creating a movement to educate women in the home sciences.

The local movement spread quickly to become the pre-eminent women's organization in Canada. At the turn of the century the concept spread to Britain and throughout Europe. In 1933 the organizations joined forces and the Association of Country Women of the World was formed.

Over the years, issues have changed and the WI continues to make a difference. I am honoured to acknowledge those who continue that important community based work which was started a century ago.

National Child Benefit SystemStatement By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to draw attention to the Liberal government's commitment toward building a strong future for all Canadians, especially Canadian children.

Yesterday we were presented with a workable budget, a budget that invests in jobs, health care, education and children.

The government has long recognized that children are our greatest resource, that they are our future and we must invest in them. The government has made the investment.

The national child benefit system is an innovative approach to reducing the number of Canadian children who live in poverty. The new system will provide a total of $6 billion in assistance to low

income families across Canada which will improve the living standards of hundreds of thousands of Canadian children.

The national child benefit system is a step forward in the fight against child poverty. It is exactly the type of program that will give our children a fighting chance for a better future. It demonstrates our commitment to our future: Canada's children.

The BudgetStatement By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Lavigne Liberal Verdun—Saint-Paul, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Finance confirmed that our deficit reduction objectives have not only been reached but exceeded. Indeed, the deficit is a little over $5 billion less than expected.

Yesterday, the Minister of Finance announced that his budget does not include any tax increase or new tax affecting individuals or corporations.

Yesterday, the minister also showed that it is possible to manage public finances effectively, while also helping the poor in our society. And I do mean the poor in our society.

Our government has once again demonstrated that the solution to our country's economic and social problems does not lie with extremists, but is based on a good Liberal government establishing a balance between economic and social needs.

International TradeStatement By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, from February 22 to 26, the Minister for International Trade and sixty or so business people will make an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The Bloc Quebecois expects the minister to raise the topics of democracy and human rights in his meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. A climate of peace and democracy is essential to prosperous trade between our countries.

We hope the minister will take advantage of this trip to obtain, from the Palestinian authorities, the letters promised during consideration of the bill to implement the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. We are still waiting for these letters.

This Middle East visit is therefore important and the results of the minister's meetings during this trip must be made public and will be of the greatest interest for the future of the Canadian and Quebec economies in this part of the world.

The BudgetStatement By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's budget only proves that Reformers were right three years ago: the debt is the problem.

The finance minister has raised tax revenues by $24 billion and has reduced spending by $13, billion, a $37 billion gain. But lo and behold, we will still have a $17 billion deficit. Why? Where did the $37 billion go? It has gone to pay big interest on Canada's ever growing debt.

The finance minister blew it by not making cuts in the first year. He blew it by not reducing the size of the government faster. He blew it by not including businesses and regional development grants in his spending cuts.

Under Reform with spending cuts in the first year we would have balanced the budget today. Under Reform we would be talking about budget surpluses to share with taxpayers, hospitals and universities.

Yes, yesterday's budget only proves that Reform's zero in three plan was after all the best vision for Canada versus this slow pain for no gain, two year roll over, let us hit you somewhere else targets of this Liberal government.

The BudgetStatement By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is good news for the provinces in the budget brought down yesterday by our Minister of Finance. Our government has announced that no additional reduction is planned in transfers to the provinces in 1997-98.

Let us not forget, as our colleagues from the opposition often do, that Quebec continues to receive 31 per cent of transfers when it only represents 25 per cent of the population. Moreover, Quebec receives over 45 per cent of all equalization payments.

Our government has therefore done its part to preserve social and health programs. Our recent budget is a clear indication of our intention to work with the provinces to ensure sustainability.

Now it is up to the Premier of Quebec and his Minister of Finance to show us that they in turn can reduce Quebec's deficit while maintaining our social programs, as several other provinces have already done.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the budget tabled yesterday by the Minister of Finance is a most disappointing one. If there is one underlying theme, it is the Liberal vision of a highly centralist federal government, encroaching unrestrained onto areas of provincial jurisdiction every time it has the chance.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Yesterday, the Minister of Finance had such a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to us his government's real belief in a decentralized federalism which respects provincial areas of jurisdiction. Why, then, did he prefer to follow his usual pattern, the usual habit of the Liberals, and to announce still more overlap, still more duplication, still more waste?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, could the Leader of the Opposition tell us which measures in yesterday's budget did not please him? Does he believe that the federal government ought not to have used the taxation system to help the disabled? Does he believe that the federal government ought not to have used the taxation system to help those who give donations to small charities?

Does he believe that the federal government ought not to have created a new and greatly enhanced benefit for the poor children in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec? Does he believe that the federal government ought not to have bowed to Quebec's demands for an infrastructure program?

Which programs does the Leader of the Opposition find unacceptable for helping Quebecers and Canadians?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will tell him what I find unacceptable. It is that his government has, over the past two years, cut $4.5 billion from transfers to the provinces for social services and education. Today he imagines that a few million dollars are going to make us forget the $4 billion in past cuts.

As for the details, I will get to shortly, but just now I have three questions for him. Here is my question for the moment.

What we want to find out from the Minister of Finance is how he can justify, on the one hand, that he is short of money and therefore needs to cut transfer payments to the provinces, when these are mainly for health care and education services and, on the other hand, he can at the same time justify sprinkling a few million here, a few million there, in areas in which he has no jurisdiction at all?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts. In 1997-98, Quebec will receive $10.3 billion, 31 per cent of federal transfers, which is more than any other province. In equalization payments alone, Quebec will receive close to $4 billion, 46 per cent of the total payments. From 1993 to 1998, transfers to Quebec have dropped about 11 per cent. Our own cuts exceeded 14 per cent.

Two weeks ago, the Bloc Quebecois asked us to increase assistance to students who need student loans. They asked us to increase tax credits for parents who wanted to finance their children's education. This we did in yesterday's budget. I am waiting for the Bloc Quebecois to congratulate us.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if there is anything that characterizes the fundamental differences between us, this is it. For the Minister of Finance, for Liberals, it is incomprehensible for the federal government to play its true role of distributor of the wealth, as they often describe it, while at the same time minding its own business.

Can the government not respect the areas of jurisdiction set out in its own Constitution? That is where the problem lies. How can they imagine that they are better placed to look after prenatal nutrition? Ottawa will look after prenatal nutrition. Ottawa will look after literacy, the disabled, poor children, family policy. These are provincial areas of jurisdiction. Can they not grasp that, on the other side?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if Ottawa is involved, it is because Quebec asked for it. Where assistance to students is concerned, it is the Bloc Quebecois who asked us to increase student aid. If we are involved in infrastructures, it is because the President of Treasury Board got a letter from Bernard Landry asking Ottawa to get involved in the infrastructure program in Quebec.

If we are in research and development, allow me to point out that, in 1993, the Government of Canada funded 22 per cent of Quebec R & D activity. Quebec's share was a mere 8 per cent. A good thing, then, that we are involved.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, because if they were not, Quebec's deficit would be down by 60 per cent.

The Liberals, who were elected three and a half years ago to the shouts of jobs, jobs, jobs, have nothing to offer one million and a half unemployed workers in Canada today. Yesterday's budget had nothing better to offer than a paltry $25 million in new money for job creation measures for the coming year. This is an average of 90 cents per Canadian.

My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Now that he has given up doing anything about high unemployment, does the Prime Minister have anything to offer 1.5 million Quebecers and Canadians who are looking for jobs, besides wishing them a cynical good luck?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for three years we have worked very hard on job creation, and Canada has created more than 700,000 new jobs, which, I repeat, is more than Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy combined.

I agree the demand is enormous, but we managed to reduce unemployment from 11.4 per cent in January 1994 to 9.7 per cent. We want to do better, we always do.

Today, for instance, Canadians benefit from interest rates that have dropped by five percentage points in two years and are now two and a half percentage points lower than interest rates in the United States. When you look at the Canadian economy, you can see the results of this policy, because today, car sales, housing sales and construction, and industrial expansion are all benefiting from the lowest interest rates we have had in Canada for 35 years.