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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

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman's preface made reference to the implications of world trade agreements with respect to Canadian dairy policy. While there are some implications of world trade agreements for Canadian dairy policy, the particular connection that he draws in terms of the dairy subsidy is not a connection at all.

The reductions in the dairy subsidy that have been announced are taking place over a seven-year period, two years of which have already gone by and five years of which are yet to come. We consulted with the dairy industry very closely in terms of the best possible way in which to manage the issue. The phase down approach we have adopted is quite consistent with the advice we received.

As the dairy industry deals with the reductions in subsidies I am hopeful there will be good co-operation between the producers and the processors in terms of how pricing issues and a variety of other issues are handled within the framework of a long term dairy policy.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will remind the Minister of Agriculture that we are talking here about the total reductions expected. Overall, Canada will reduce its subsidies by 21 per cent over three years, while our neighbours south of the border will take almost twice as long, seven years in fact, to cut their subsidies by 23 per cent.

Since the level of farm support in Canada is now among the lowest in the world, except for Australia and New Zealand, can the minister at least approve the dairy producers' request to postpone the next reduction in dairy subsidies from August 1, 1997 until February 1, 1998, as this would give them another six months to adjust to the austerity measures taken by the Liberal government?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, there are two aspects to that question. The latter point was about a change in the timing for the period during which the phase down of the dairy subsidy would occur.

That request was put to me a number of weeks ago by the dairy farmers of Canada, I understand with the support of the National Dairy Council. That request is under active consideration as we speak. I hope to be in a position to respond to the dairy industry within the next short while.

On the other point, the comparison between the Canadian situation and the American situation, I point out to the hon. member one fundamental distinction. In the United States there is essentially an open market system with respect to the dairy industry. In Canada we have a supply management system which was instituted by a Liberal government and not three months ago was thoroughly, totally and successfully defended by the government before the NAFTA commission.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians are now facing a 73 per cent tax hike because of the government's decision to double CPP premiums, all Canadians that is except federal public servants. Due to the government's delay in amending the public service pension plan they are exempt from this huge tax grab.

If private sector employers could get their act together to adjust their pension plans, why couldn't the government?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Superannuation Act for the public service is not negotiable.

A committee of people have for the last few years been looking at ways to amend it. A way to amend it to deal with the increase in CPP premiums is part of the discussions which should be concluded within the next few months.

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting answer. If the act is not negotiable I wonder how the government intends to change it.

The government just like its Tory predecessors has been talking forever about overhauling the federal public service pension plan. For years it has lacked the political will to tackle the issue.

How does the government intend to convince public servants that an increase in premiums is justified when the government is benefiting from using the $24 billion surplus presently in the account?

Canada Pension PlanOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the way in which the pension plan is accounted for is according to the rules of the Canadian chamber of actuaries and accountants.

Not only that, but it is done with the approval and support of the auditor general. Would the member want us to start breaking the rules just to satisfy his biases?

Child LabourOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Liberal Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa.

The people of my riding of Elgin-Norfolk are horrified by recent images of child labour in the developing world.

Could the secretary of state tell us what were the results of a recent international conference on child labour and, furthermore, what Canada is doing in general to deal with the issue of child labour?

Child LabourOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of attending a conference in Amsterdam a few weeks ago that dealt with the most serious abuses of child labour worldwide.

Canada, along with the Dutch government, the International Labour Organization and other members of the international community, is working to put together a convention in 1999 which will ban the worst cases of child labour abuse.

Examples of this are the exploitation of children in hazardous work including military service, the sexual exploitation of children, and the exploitation of children when they work in indentured and slave labour.

Legislation has been brought into the House this past session which would make it possible for Canada to bring to court Canadian citizens involved in sexual tourism abroad to face the same charges they would face if the situation had occurred in Canada.

As well a subcommittee on sustainable development has brought in a report with several recommendations and we look forward to responding to those valuable recommendations.

Employment EquityOral Question Period

March 10th, 1997 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the acting Prime Minister.

On Friday the secretary of state responsible for women's issues said the Liberal government had over three and a half years strengthened employment equity for women by targeting women as a key group for employment, creating opportunities for women in construction and addressing women's jobs in a comprehensive and holistic way.

Today the Minister of Finance says he is proud of his jobs' record as it pertains to women. How does the Acting Prime Minister explain the so-called economic priorities to employ more women with the fact that 44,000 women saw their full time jobs disappear last month?

Employment EquityOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the public service, it is incorrect to say that women are being discriminated against in terms of numbers. The percentage of availability of women in the workforce is 47 per cent. For this year our report indicates that women make up 48.7 per cent of the public service, more than their actual number in the labour force.

In the public service in the last few years of downsizing we have been careful to maintain the number of women to at least what they were as a percentage of the total labour force and we have more than succeeded.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Dr. Benita Maria Ferrero-Waldner, State Secretary in the federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the country of Austria.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Before I hear the point or order I have notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie.

Is the question of privilege related to something which happened during oral question period?

I will take the question of privilege first.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, during Oral Question Period, the Prime Minister called members on this side of the House, members of the Bloc Quebecois, racists and fanatics. I ask the Prime Minister to withdraw these unacceptable and unparliamentary terms.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, the Prime Minister is not here right now. I did not hear him say that, but I will review the blues and, if necessary, I will get back to the House.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope it is in the blues, the Leader of the Opposition and I asked the Prime Minister on three occasions to repeat what he had said, and he did. You might want to ask the Prime Minister himself.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

As I told the member, I will review the case. I will look at the blues and the video tapes to see what happened. If necessary, I will get back to the House.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with regard to the hopefully raised questions of my hon. colleagues from Crowfoot and Calgary North. The point of order I want to raise is with regard to consistency in judging how questions can be asked and what the content of those questions can be.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I explained to the hon. member for Crowfoot the decisions that were taken today and the dilemma I was having because of the specific nature of his question. At that point-

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Vegreville, AB

What about the tobacco bill? What about that? What about fairness?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I hope I did not hear the words "what about fairness" because if I did, and if they were directed to me, then that is another matter altogether. However, I am going to let that pass.

I permitted the hon. member to rephrase his question and he withdrew. He decided not to go on with his question. I proceeded to another member from the same party. I thought the preamble to the question was going down the same road, but I permitted the question to go ahead. I thought the question was marginal but permissible. But then I got into the answer and the answer dealt directly with that subject matter which is going on today.

I want to give members as much room as I possibly can in formulating questions at all times and I want to give the government as much room as possible to answer the questions that are put because I think they are important.

However, if we are dealing with that precise subject matter and it is not general enough, in my view, then I would hope that members in turn would be fair enough to accept my decision that the question is out of order. I judged the questions to be out of order and that decision stands.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, a point of order.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

If this is on another point of order, I will recognize the hon. member for Fraser Valley East. Is this another point of order? It is.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, in trying to formulate when an answer from the government side makes us out of order, you can see the dilemma this places us in.

When we were discussing the tobacco bill last week, the government answered in terms of amendments proposed for the bill being discussed that day in the House, specific amendments, and that was okay. But now when we have asked questions and the answer comes back in such a manner that you, Mr. Speaker, consider that answer out of order, then it rules everything we are doing out of-