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House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was reform.

Topics

Laval CosmodomeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, after long months of uncertainty, a miracle has occurred: the Laval Cosmodome has been saved.

Thanks to major financial commitments by a number of partners in Laval, such as CIMA+, the Dessau group, Gendron-Lefebvre and Multimarque, Ottawa and Quebec City have agreed to be part of the Cosmodome's revival. The National Bank, another major participant in this salvage operation, has agreed to forgive a $4 million debt.

I would like to draw attention to the important role played by Alain Contant, the chairman of the Conseil de développement régional de Laval, who never stopped believing in the viability of the Cosmodome. A hard driving manager, he proved that the Cosmodome has all the elements of success. As we can see, solidarity moves mountains.

To the young and the not so young who want to find out about it, I extend a welcome to the Laval Cosmodome.

TransportationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, NDP leader, Alexa McDonough, and the federal NDP caucus joins with the Saskatchewan NDP government in expressing outrage at the news that the federal Liberals are giving the railways the right to charge more for hauling grain by increasing the cost of capital formula by 1.5 per cent.

The federal Liberals have failed to defend farmers' interests again. In fact, this Liberal government sat silently as the railways let farmers' grain accumulate into an unprecedented backlog costing farmers $65 million.

The Prime Minister said last Friday that his government would not force the railways to speed up the movement of grain. Instead of holding the railways accountable for poor performance, the Liberals have the gall to reward the railways with a raise of $15 million for their bad service record.

The Liberal government is allowing the railways to boost their profits for poor service at the expense of farmers. This is yet one

more example of the federal Liberals' arrogance which will come back to haunt them in the upcoming federal election.

Negative Option BillingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Rex Crawford Liberal Kent, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadian cable subscribers are currently being ripped off by large cable companies with negative option billing. Right now, the cable monopolies are adding new specialty channels to existing services with a big price hike. The problem is that consumers do not have a choice in the matter. This is wrong.

I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Sarnia-Lambton for getting Bill C-216 passed in the House of Commons. This bill prohibits the crime of negative option billing by cable companies and defends the rights of Canadian consumers. The great cable revolt is still going on and the citizens of Kent and across the country are sick of being cheated by the cable companies.

As this bill sits in the unelected Senate, I would hope all sides of the House strongly encourage senators to get this important bill passed. If the rights of consumers are once again compromised by the lobbying of big business, Canadians will lose their faith-

Negative Option BillingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

Juno AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 1997 Juno awards were held last night at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.

The 10,000 people attending the show, and the thousands who worked on the event, meant that the hotels and restaurants in Hamilton were booked solid for the weekend. The city organizers can be proud of bringing this economic boost to Hamilton.

This event provides a great showcase for the tremendous talent of Canadian singers and Canada's vibrant music industry. The organizers of the Junos are to be congratulated on producing a wonderfully entertaining program.

Many awards were handed out last night. The recipients included Celine Dion, Shania Twain, the Tragically Hip, Bryan Adams and the best new band was the Killjoys from Hamilton.

I am sure all members will join me in congratulating last night's winners and in saluting the great achievements of all Canadian artists.

Pay EquityStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, over this past weekend, members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada had an extended stay at my constituency office in Hunter River over the issue of pay equity.

As a government, we have supported and continue to support the principle of pay equity. I understand that currently the issue is before the Human Rights Tribunal and, as such, the government cannot interfere. The dispute is not on the principle of pay equity but on the methodology of calculating the amount of pay equity.

Government believes that the PSAC request is too high, especially in light of the fact that other unions have already settled. I personally believe we must settle as soon as possible but in a way that is fair to the public as well.

I would therefore urge the minister responsible for Treasury Board, as soon as the tribunal reports, to act on this in a reasonable and fair fashion as quickly as possible.

Abitibi-ConsolidatedStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Deshaies Bloc Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have just learned that the new Abitibi-Consolidated, a merger of Stone Consolidated and Abitibi-Price, has decided to locate its head office in Montreal.

Abitibi-Consolidated is thus joining other companies like Avenor, Donohue, Tembec, Cascades and Kruger, which also have their head offices in Montreal. This good news means that Montreal can consolidate its role as a major player in the pulp and paper industry.

The new company, whose annual sales top $4 billion, becomes the world's top producer of newsprint; 54 per cent of its jobs will be divided among 14 plants set up in Quebec.

In addition, the presence of numerous other head offices of paper manufacturers, forestry research and training centres, and the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, is a clear indication of Montreal's strong position in the pulp and paper sector.

We are delighted at this news and welcome Abitibi-Consolidated to Montreal.

Juno AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Junos were awarded in a gala ceremony in Hamilton last evening. Congratulations to all those who were nominated and to the winners of this most prestigious award.

Last evening we saw the depth of the pool of Canadian talent. However, it is unfortunate that the heritage minister continues to

exhibit her lack of faith in the development of the great Canadian spirit in our artistic community.

On February 10, in a CBC radio interview, the minister stated: "Canadian artists essentially would not be where they are today if not for the policies, particularly the Canadian content rules, of this government". To which I say shame.

These performers are talented and successful because of their hard work and perseverance and determination. They are stars nationally and internationally because Canadians and people around the world recognize their talent for what it is. Canadians support these people not because of this minister's bureaucratic Canadian content rules. Canadian support these people because they are good.

MiningStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Cowling Liberal Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the government and the hon. Minister of Natural Resources for releasing the government's response to the House standing committee's final report on streamlining environmental regulations for mining.

The response is an impressive demonstration that the government is making significant progress toward the reform of environmental regulations affecting mining. These reforms will improve Canada's investment climate, not only for the mineral and metal sectors but for all natural resource sectors.

Canada is an excellent place to invest. It is estimated that some 30,000 direct and indirect jobs related to mineral development may be created over the next five years. These high paying, high tech jobs will benefit every region of the country including Manitoba. The economic, environmental and social benefits that come from the mineral development managed in the context of sustainable development will contribute to the prosperity of all Canadians.

Municipality Of St. NorbertStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the members of the St. Norbert sociocultural centre committee. They have worked tirelessly in recent years to revive this old Trappist monastery, which was the centre of community life in St. Norbert in the last century.

With support from the federal and provincial governments, these very creative people have renovated this lovely building so as to revive the social and cultural activity of the fine community of St. Norbert.

Commonwealth DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is Commonwealth Day and this year's theme is "Talking to One Another".

I have a children's poem written by Joseph Nancoo, and I will read some of it.

Children of the Commonwealth, In countries large and small, Children of the Commonwealth, We are brothers, sisters all. Children of the Commonwealth, Of every creed and race, We are God's creation We share his love and grace. Children of the Commonwealth Let's Talk To One Another: Our unity in diversity; A model for humanity. Children of the Commonwealth, A new century challenges you To be the best-only you can be, And respect each other's dignity. Children of the Commonwealth, Remember those who led the way, Again, our Affirmations let us say, This glorious Commonwealth Day.

International Women's DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to draw your attention, somewhat belatedly, to International Women's Day and comment on the place of women in politics.

In the latest study by the Interparliamentary Union about men and women in politics and "unfinished democracy", we read that women today have only 11.7 per cent of the seats in parliaments throughout the world. Here in this House we are not doing much better, since women have only 18 per cent of the seats.

Much remains to be done to remedy the under-representation of women in politics, a situation that is one of the most serious flaws of our modern democracies.

To improve the situation, all political parties should follow the example of Scandinavian parties and adopt measures to promote the integration of women in politics. The Scandinavian experience has been successful, since that region has the highest percentage of female parliamentarians at over 37 per cent.

Criminal CodeStatements By Members

March 10th, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, March 11, will be a day of shame for the Canadian

justice system as Clifford Olson's application for early release is filed. Tomorrow, March 11, will be a day of sorrow for the parents, relatives and friends of the 11 innocent children who were so sadistically murdered by the same Clifford Olson.

Many Canadians believe that the Liberal government has failed to take the actions that are within its power to stop the revictimization of those that suffer from the evil deeds of vicious criminals. Liberal governments over the past 20 years have shown too little sympathy for victims of crime and have placed far too much emphasis on the rights of criminals.

Canadians are protesting the inaction of this government. Tomorrow protest demonstrations will be held in Vancouver, Saskatoon, Terrace, B.C. and Edmonton in support of the parents of these murdered children.

A Reform government would enact a victims' bill of rights that would put the rights of law-abiding Canadians ahead of those of criminals.

Quebec Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I speak for all my colleagues when I congratulate the Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Daniel Johnson, on the tremendous vote of confidence he received from his supporters.

At their convention in Quebec City on the weekend, the provincial Liberals discussed and adopted a series of innovative resolutions that will form the nucleus of their next election platform. They also reaffirmed their faith in Canadian federalism as the only valid alternative for Quebec.

The only fly in the ointment was the totally inappropriate and uncalled-for attempt by the Conservative Leader to approach Liberal supporters. His attempt to attract the attention of Liberal supporters can only be explained by the panic and fear that are rampant in his party.

Regional DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, residents of the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands have reason to celebrate the latest intervention by the Government of Canada in their region.

This morning, before an audience of representatives of the socio-economic community, the Secretary of State responsiblefor the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec andthe Liberal member for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine announced $3 million in assistance for the purchase of the Chandler-Gaspé line.

This amount, which will go to the Gaspé railway corporation, will be used to cover the estimated $2.6 million needed to buy the line, as well as the costs of development activities for the first two years of operation.

The Canadian government recognizes the importance of transportation for the economic development of regions like the Gaspé and that is why we are happy to provide assistance.

Bolo AwardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, La bande à Gilet , a popular radio program on FM 93 in Quebec City, is at it again. Last Friday, the BOLO award for blunder of the week went by popular vote to the federal health minister.

The member for Rimouski-Témiscouata will award him the prize in the House of Commons foyer after oral question period.

Bravo to the public and way to go, minister of health.

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this government got elected by making Canadians believe that its priority was job creation. However, since the beginning of 1996, the unemployment rate has gone up instead of down, although there was a significant drop in the number of unemployed who said they were seeking employment.

Would the Minister of Finance confirm what was said by economist John Lester of Wood Gundy, who indicated that if the labour force participation rate of Canadians were the same as it was in 1989, the current unemployment rate in this country would be 14 per cent?

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt there is a connection between the participation rate and the unemployment levels reported by Statistics Canada.

This is why we talked mainly about job creation. The Prime Minister has said many times, and so have I, that since we came to power, we have created more than 790,000 jobs in the private sector alone, the vast majority of which were full-time jobs.

Even with last Friday's figures, if we consider the past five months, we created more than 70,000 jobs, most of them in the private sector, and these are full-time jobs, precisely for the reason mentioned by the hon. member. We must mention job creation, because the unemployment levels only tell us part of the story.

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, 14 per cent unemployment based on the 1989 participation rate is hardly something for the Minister of Finance to be proud of. The government has certainly nothing to be proud of. And if it does not mean a thing to the Minister of Finance, it has a particularly cruel meaning for the families of those who are looking for work.

The Minister of Finance bragged about creating full-time jobs. How can he brag about full-time jobs when, according to Statistics Canada, 40 per cent of the new jobs created in the last 12 months are part-time jobs?

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows perfectly well that figures are very volatile, that the situation changes from month to month, and that since we came to power, the vast majority of jobs have been full-time jobs. In fact, if we consider the five past months, that is what the situation is.

The hon. member would probably be able to find another period with figures to suit him. However, when we look at the indicators, we see that consumer spending increased 5.6 per cent during the fourth quarter, that investment in housing is rising. In January, housing resales rose 3.8 per cent. In February-and this is very important because of the multiplying effect-housing starts reached their highest level in two and a half years. Fixed investment by business rose to 23 per cent.

My point is, yes, we are concerned about the employment situation, and yes, we are concerned about the job situation for young people, but when we consider Canada's financial situation at the very beginning and the improvement in the employment situation since we came to power, the indicators show that Canada, despite its shortcomings, has one of the strongest job creation rates of any industrialized country. There has indeed been tremendous progress.

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance made a number of appalling statements that deserve some comments at the very least.

He said that I could always find figures to suit my purposes. We know he specializes in finding figures to suit him over the short term, to try and justify the government's poor performance. He also said that figures were volatile. Well, I would say it is not the figures but the jobs that are volatile.

What justification does he have for the fact that, always according to Statistics Canada, between February 1996 and February 1997, young Canadians lost 64,000 jobs?

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are of course concerned about the employment situation among young people. In fact, less than a month ago, the Minister of Human Resources Development announced a very detailed program to help young people, a summer job program, a program creating internships with large corporations. That is why the government also encouraged the private sector to make the announcement they made last week about creating internships for young people.

It would also be very helpful if the Bloc Quebecois voted with the government. The Leader of the Opposition seems to object when I quote economic indicators. But I can him that the economy is recovering, and the broad indicators show that we are already seeing the results of our policies. Retail sales are reaching record highs, exports are picking up, manufacturers' deliveries are resuming and interest rates have dropped. So all the conditions are there, and next year we can expect an economic upswing.

Now, Mr. Speaker-

Job CreationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Thank you very much. The hon. member for Mercier.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Not only is there reason to despair at the low number of jobs created in Canada, the increasingly low quality of jobs created moreover, but also the unemployed have had increasingly less access to unemployment insurance since this government came into power.

How can the minister explain that, when the Liberals came in, 60 per cent of the unemployed were drawing unemployment insurance while, according to Statistics Canada, in 1996 the figure for the percentage drawing benefits was no longer 60 per cent, but only 41? How does he explain this?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Mercier is drawing to our attention a problem that is of concern to the government, and it is true that the number of people who can make use of the employment insurance system has dropped.

I do, however, question the figure the hon. member for Mercier is giving out. Unfortunately-or fortunately, I should say-that figure excludes people who are in the EI system and who can work, which was not the case until now. This raises the numbers considerably, when those who are working for a time as well as drawing EI are included.