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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, he certainly does not deserve a bonus for coming up with $12 billion extra on the backs of the unemployed and the least fortunate members of our society. The unemployed are not getting any bonuses.

Let us talk about Canadian solidarity and equity, because that seems to be the new slogan of the Liberal propaganda machine on the eve of the election campaign, a slogan paid for with taxpayers' money and appearing in ads in several dailies this morning.

This is what my question to the Prime Minister is about. Is the Prime Minister going to put his own propaganda slogan "Canadian solidarity and equity" into practice by handing over the $2 billion he owes the Quebec government for harmonizing the GST?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on the one hand, as the member is well aware, when I set the forecasts for this year, there were three months to go, the last quarter. At that time, I said that this year's budget would not exceed $19 billion. There is a possibility that it will be less than $19 billion, as I pointed out. Where does the figure of $12 billion come from? I do not know. I think it was plucked out of thin air.

As far as Quebec's claim is concerned, the member knows very well that Quebec has not lost any money. Under the formula, provinces that lost more than 5 per cent of their revenues were entitled to compensation. Quebec did not lose more than 5 per cent. Quebec is in exactly the same position as Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, our forecasts are based on figures from his own department, nowhere else. It is disgusting to hide the true size of the deficit in order to conceal one's failure to do anything about unemployment and the rise in poverty. That is the plain truth of it.

As for the GST, the Minister of Finance is the only one giving out this version. The reaction throughout Canada, and from the Premier of British Columbia in particular, whom I quote, is that: "The federal government must treat all provinces equally. If it compensates three Atlantic provinces, it must also compensate Quebec".

The Minister of Finance is in an apparently indefensible political position. What is he waiting for to admit his error and pay Quebec $2 billion so as to compensate it fairly and equitably as it is requesting?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have a little trouble understanding how the member can tell me I am hiding figures, when he says his own figures come from my department.

That having been said, I do not know where he has come up with the amount of $12 billion. He may have done some calculations, but unfortunately, as with other calculations, they were erroneous.

When we look at how Confederation is functioning, when we look, for example, at technological partnership, Quebec has received over 60 to 70 percent of the spinoffs to date. Quebec is now receiving 31 per cent of transfer payments, with only 24 per cent of the population, so we can see that Quebec is certainly receiving its fair share, if not more. It would be very detrimental to Quebec if the member were to continue in this vein. It is very clear that Quebec has made money by harmonizing, while the other provinces have lost more than 5 per cent.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, last month while the government was trotting out its budget, 38,000 full time jobs disappeared, 44,000 women lost either part time or full time employment, and our young people were dropping out of the workforce at a record not seen since the 1960s.

The so-called federal jobs strategy is an unmitigated disaster with 1.5 million people unemployed, 2 to 3 million underem-

ployed, 800,000 people working at two jobs to make ends meet, and 1 out of 4 workers afraid of losing their jobs.

Why does the Prime Minister not simply admit that the federal jobs strategy has been a disaster and start taking a new tack based on tax relief?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have had occasions to talk a lot about the economic policies of the government. We have been accused by the Bloc Quebecois of being too successful in our fight against the deficit.

As a result of our policies, a situation has been created where at this moment we have the lowest interest rates in 35 years in Canada.

Anyone who reads the newspaper will realize that sales of durable goods are increasing very fast and housing sales are improving very fast. It is moving so fast that, I read in the Toronto Star yesterday, some people in Toronto are selling their homes for more money than the asking price.

This is a sign that the market is developing and the policy of low interest reduction of deficit is the best way to create jobs. This is why we have managed over the last three and a half years to create more jobs than Italy, Germany, France and Great Britain together.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister lists off the jobs that have been created in Canada by the private sector, he only tells half the story. He never tells about the jobs that have been killed by high government taxes.

The government has never said how many jobs it has killed through the $2 billion increase in GST. How many jobs have been killed by the $15 billion increase in personal income taxes? How many jobs will be killed by the $10 billion increase in payroll taxes proposed by the government?

The 1.5 million unemployed Canadians would like to hear the other side of the story. If the Prime Minister wants to tell the whole story, will he tell the House how many jobs have been killed in Canada by his high tax policies?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have not increased any taxes since we formed the government. However, because growth has come back into the economy we have received more revenue.

It is very fascinating that the leader of the third party does not distinguish between tax levels and revenues. If we gained more revenue it is because people are working more. There is more economic activity which is bringing in revenues to the government. This is why the deficit is lower than predicted.

This is also why short term interest rates in Canada are 2.5 per cent below short term interest rates in the United States. This is why interest rates in Canada have dropped by more 4 per cent in the last two years.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I lay before the House two irrefutable facts. First, the Liberal government is taxing Canadians more heavily than any federal government in history.

Second, we have the worst string of unemployment numbers since the depression, 77 consecutive months with the unemployment rate over 9 per cent.

There is a connection between these two facts. We are demanding, in the name of 1.5 million unemployed Canadians, that the government acknowledges the connection.

Will the Prime Minister finally acknowledge that taxes, taxes, taxes kill jobs, jobs, jobs?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, the leader of the Reform Party ought to know that when the Prime Minister refers to job creation he is referring to net job creation. Those are additional jobs in the economy.

Second, we should also be very clear that the debate is not over whether there should be tax cuts. The debate is what kind of tax cuts should we bring in. In the last budget we brought in over a three-year period more than $2 billion in tax cuts for the physically disabled, students and low income Canadians.

If we want to understand the kind of tax cuts the Reform Party is talking about, under its program a single parent earning $30,000 with two children will get a tax cut of $175. Under the same program a one-earner couple earning $250,000 with two children will get a tax cut of $6,700.

This is not about giving Canadians a tax cut. It is about rewarding Reform's rich friends.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, motorcycle gangs are running rampant in Quebec. We all know that our society is based on democratic values set out in the provincial and federal charters of rights, but these charters were not created to protect the likes of the Rock Machine and the Hell's Angels.

Can the Prime Minister make a personal commitment, on behalf of his government, to table a bill in this House as soon as possible, that will ban the Rock Machine and the Hell's Angels in Canada, as acknowledged groups of criminals and law-breakers?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that the administration of justice within a province falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial government. I would like to tell the hon. member that the Quebec Minister of Public Security, Robert Perrault, has said that a bill such as the hon. member is calling for is not a magical solution.

In November 1995, former Quebec Minister of Public Security Serge Ménard made the following comment: "I remain convinced that what we lack to fight organized crime is not legislation but sustained law enforcement, and we have just taken a giant step in that direction". On September 26, the same minister said the following: "Quebec police authorities have all the means available to them to control the explosion of violence between rival motorcycle gangs. They do not need an anti-gang law to do so".

When the Quebec police authorities say they have all the legislation they need, and when this is something that falls under their jurisdiction, it surprises me that the person who may be leader of the Bloc Quebecois next week is already starting to meddle in provincial affairs, whereas I respect the autonomy of Minister Perreault and his predecessor, Mr. Ménard.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I imagine the Prime Minister is aware that the Criminal Code is a federal matter. I would imagine that, after 33 years, he must at least know that. I imagine he does. And I did not make any reference to an anti-gang law.

The Prime Minister tells us that the police forces have everything they need when, in fact, those who have everything they need to sit back and laugh in our faces are groups such as the Rock Machine and the Hell's Angels.

I again ask the Prime Minister: Because the Criminal Code is under federal jurisdiction, is he going to use the notwithstanding clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to outlaw the Rock Machine and the Hell's Angels? The choice is clear. Is the Prime Minister going to protect the public, or the Rock Machine and Hell's Angels?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, my response to the hon. member is that I myself have been Minister of Justice, and I am very proud to have been the one responsible for giving all Canadians a charter of rights and freedoms.

I take great pride in saying that, before making any changes to the Criminal Code, any good federal minister of justice consults and listens to those with the responsibility, such as the provincial attorneys-general and ministers responsible for police forces.

Even though the Quebec authorities are saying that they do not need an anti-gang law to deal with the problem, that what is required is proper co-ordination between the various levels of government, the various jurisdictions, the would-be leader of the Bloc Quebecois is now asking me, a respecter of the Constitution, to become a big bad centralizer.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, taxes, taxes, taxes kill jobs, jobs, jobs, but the government has ignored the blindingly obvious and forever has trotted out all kinds of job creation schemes like the infrastructure program, job training programs, money for its wealthy friends at Bombardier, and none of it has worked. We have had 77 months in a row of unemployment at a rate of over 9 per cent, the worst job creation record since the Great Depression.

When is the millionaire finance minister going to get it through his head that taxes-

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask my hon. colleague to please put his question. A couple of adjectives might be left out, but I leave that to him.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, when is the finance minister going to get it through his head that taxes are the number one killer of jobs, and that by refusing to lower taxes he is personally responsible for allowing one and a half million men and women to remain unemployed?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have now been in this House for a little over three years. We have heard Reform members stand up time and time again talking about the problems of the day.

After the first budget we said that we would have a balanced approach, that we would cut spending and deal with jobs. The Reform Party said do not deal with jobs, cut the deficit further. In the second and third budgets we said exactly the same thing.

What we have is a picture of the Reform Party swallowing itself whole. Reformers stand up and try to defend health care after attacking health care for three years. They stand up and attack the government's economic policy when they said they did not care about jobs.

The hon. member has a chance in his preamble. His leader said in Penticton that jobs were not a priority for the Reform Party. He said that if he brought in his program there would be fewer jobs today than there were three years ago. Does he deny it? Will he stand up in the House and deny what his leader said in Penticton? If

he is not prepared to say that his leader said that, then he should sit down and let the country get on with the job.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false and the finance minister knows it. The Reform Party is the only party that has offered a real alternative to the government's failed job creation policies in this country. Only the finance minister would call 1.5 million people unemployed a balanced approach to job creation. It is absolutely ridiculous.

This week in the Senate committee studying the BST the minister confessed that lower taxes would create jobs in Atlantic Canada. By extension, obviously if we had lower taxes across the country we would have lower unemployment across the country.

Why then is the finance minister continuously trotting out rinky-dink programs like his infrastructure programs and his recycled training programs when he admits that lower taxes are the best way to create jobs?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, rinky-dink, rinky-dink, the infrastructure program, tell that to every mayor and municipality in this country.

Let us keep going. Rinky-dink, the R and D program for every university and every teaching hospital. Tell that to the teaching hospitals. Tell it to the universities.

Rinky-dink, helping students go back to school, helping workers return to the job market. That is rinky-dink. I will tell you,Mr. Speaker, that is value and we will put our values against Reform values any time.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

March 12th, 1997 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

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

On Monday, in response to a question on the adjustments the minister had to make just two months after his bill's implementation, he said, and I quote: "Where unemployment is at 10 per cent, there is less likelihood of finding work that would give people longer weeks. The aim of our system is precisely to encourage people to accept as much work as possible".

If that was really the minister's objective, how can he justify the fact that the regions where unemployment is above 10 per cent for unemployment insurance purposes, like the Montérégie and Hull, and those that will exceed this figure are not included in the adjustments? How does he explain that?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as you know, we were committed to monitoring the transition of employment insurance very closely, and that is what we did.

The adjustments we made in the second month after its implementation were made precisely because we are an attentive government and do our work carefully.

We wanted to cover the 29 regions with unemployment above10 per cent, because we felt the problem was greater there, as work is harder to find. So, where unemployment is at 10 per cent, we will have two solutions. One will enable workers to combine weeks or ignore weeks so that, at the end of 18 months, we can compare one system with another or evaluate the fact that we did not touch the system. We will be able to compare three elements.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should understand that, from the time the provisions were on the table, we and others said that people would be discouraged from working, because they are penalized for working short weeks.

Will the minister acknowledge that these so called responsive measures were designed not to solve the real problem with his bill, but to calm the rumbling in the maritimes in an election period?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we must avoid the pitfall of political cynicism. From the moment we fix a problem, what we should do in the weeks and months that follow, what it is our duty to do, is continue to listen to the people of Canada, to the Atlantic provinces and to Quebec, which asked us to resolve this problem. We will do so with the sense of responsibility we want to demonstrate to Canadians.